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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 9. 1965.

Thurbage: A Seedy Parochialism

Thurbage: A Seedy Parochialism

Dick Evans, the propagator of the Wellington Rugby Supporters Club, has, it would appear, crossed his Rubicon. On the Saturday morning before the Springbok-Wellington game, our city, accord­ing to a leading morning news­paper, revelled "in a Mardi Gras spirit."

To me, lacking possibly the fiery partisanship which helped the Tiber flow once again in the inns of the city, the whole procession smacked of seedy parochialism. The parade of thinly-veiled adver­tising reached depths of banality seldom plumbed, except perhaps by our own dear Procesh. Dick Evans, a "popular figure" accord­ing to the press, led a motley group of supporters playing the "battle hymn of the Republic" on battered flugel horns.

Groups of captured seventh grade footballers were herded down the street having, at least, the good grace to look embar­rassed. They were followed by seven hostage dry-cleaning vans and the usual vintage cars from Addis Ababa. The Ancient Romans, I recall, had the prudence to hold their victory celebrations after the victories. Luckily, however, it was thumbs down at the Colosseum for the African Contingent.

The grandeur of the spectacle proved too much for one old cen­turian who turned to me, tears welling in bloodshot eyes, and con­fided that he had "seen the 'Boks in '21 in a nil-all draw at the park." It had, he continued, his voice hushed to a reverent whisper, "rained all week and on the day, too." 'Sfoot.

The University had dredged up a float consisting of half a dozen footballers milling around in an apple box enclosure, waving bloody ox-bones to illustrate some finer subtlety of the game. It's always good to see our boys raising the tone of the Capital. The menagerie consisted of one seedy lion roaring into a five-watt amplifier. Christians. I was told, were unobtainable.

The immense crowd, which lined the Via Lambton Quay as deep as two people in some places were suitably amused. The press cited as a highlight the comic master­piece of agent 007 and his leather ladies grouped awkwardly around a sports car on the back of a truck. A Springbok was quoted as saying, "They must be mad,"

From De Bretts to the Caledonian the children were lifted to the shoulders of Daddies to watch Dick Evans and his gentlemen go by. The legions were cheered and old glories relived as the moving and stately procession of cleaning vans and menswear floats wound on. Fifty, sixty years from now, these very children will remember, hands straying to old wounds, the glory that was Newtown.