Fatherhood: Stories about being a dad by William McInnes

The author’s a RCNR and wants to form a support group. I reckon I’m a bit of a one too. I’m fairly okay with my own, but over the years I’ve had great issues with my beautiful lady’s. It’s the colours you see. She likes grey tones – and so it seems do most of the rest of the population. On occasions I’ve been sent to deposit or collect and that’s when the RCNR thing hits me. It has done so to the degree that I have at times found myself attempting to break-in and enter. So for a serial RCNRer like William McInnes and those as far along the spectrum as he is, it’s a terrific move that the wordsmith-come-actor is considering. I may join as an associate member.

As one may readily discern from his current work in ‘Rake’, the star of stage and screen is no longer the epitome of manliness that gave Laura Gibson the will to live again after the departure of Diver Dan in the iconic ‘SeaChange’. He’s still picking up roles, but is no longer leading man material. He’s the first to admit this, as he does several times in ‘Fatherhood: Stories About Being a Dad’. Maybe writing should become his main gig in light of that, although, in terms of memoirs, it is hard to imagine that there are many more guffaw inducing tales from his life remaining to tell. His first collection, ‘A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby’ (2005) was a cracker. ‘Holidays’ (2014), together with 2016’s ‘Full Bore’, were not far behind. In this one he tells many more, often self-deprecating, yarns, but there seems now much ‘boofheaded’ philosophising as filler.

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McInnes never takes himself too seriously and regales us with delightful memories of teaching his kids to drive, their errors producing ‘the underhand of involuntary self-protection’. Then there’s the explaining as to how, at his stage of life, one goes about engaging in a sex scene with a comely actress for television. Perhaps it’s the one on display in the latest season of Cleaver Greene’s misadventures – not a pretty sight. He riffs on sunsets, the delicious taste of the much maligned mullet and the confusion that can come when he is repeatedly mistaken for fellow thesps Ben Mendelsohn and Noah Taylor by the punters. Once he was even mistaken for himself, a hilarious recollection. It reflects the downside of being both writer and actor. In the tome are also included the touching missives he wrote to both his offspring on the completion of their secondary education. He also recalls some more of the crazy characters he met during his formative years growing up in Queensland. Not the least of these was his own father, so prominently featured in previous publications. He writes on death and dying before informing us that going orienteering is perhaps not the best cover for having an affair.

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No book of the non-fiction variety from this Aussie larrikin can be passed up by me, even if the laughs were not as forthcoming as previous efforts. Perhaps they are even more precious for that.But now, getting back to being a Recidivist Carpark Non-Rememberer, it is worth noting that Leigh and I are about to head, at time of writing, to the Gold Coast, scene of our worst case of echoing the proposed founding member’s exhortation of frustration, ‘Who designs these bloody carparks!’ Our story of a lost car in the vast expanse of the Pacific Fair parking facility will serve as my opening gambit to apply for membership. If that’s not enough, there’s the time I opened a door to a sedan and proceeded to sit in the passenger seat, only to discover there was a young lady aside me who, indeed, was not my Leigh. There are, added on, the countless times I’ve attempted to open the boots of vehicles that, on closer examination, were patently not hers. I think joining my fellow RCNR is a given.

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