There might still be a few of you who remember the Fish & Chips of yesteryear. I do and remember well that The Daily Telegraph was the preferred newspaper into which the fish and chips would be wrapped in. Nothing will ever wipe out the memory of the fragrance of the newsprint embedded into those chips. The generous sprinkling of vinegar would help not only spread the newsprint bouquet but also actually imprint the black lettering onto the chips.
Who could ever forget or replace the joy of eating them and at the same time enjoy the luxury and opportunity to do some serious reading while picking at the lovely fish and chips. It was then as it is still now that juicy scandals were the preferred newspaper article. In those days a divorce could only be obtained if proof of infidelity could be obtained and presented into a Court. As the chips were being unwrapped so were the juicy divorce articles that I would eagerly devour as well. I was a randy teenager given to raging spontaneous erections no matter from which concrete reinforced steel park bench I was eating my chips.
Boy, oh boy (or, if you like, Girl, oh girl) did people go through trouble finding that proof. Nothing was more profitable that being a private detective stalking the guilty party. The best ones could name their price. Some had waiting lists as long as your arm and would even feature on the Sunday Telegraph social pages. They were the aristocracy of Australian Society on the move, almost on par with Nola Dekyvere who was the doyen of raising funds for charities and President of The Golden Ball committee. The private detective’s job was to get clear and unequivocal proof of sexual peccadilloes from anyone not being the conjugal and legal spouse (wedded bliss).
I remember reading (while devouring my chips) of a gabardine cloaked detective who had hidden underneath a bed into which, he feverishly hoped, an improper act would come to fruition. It did not take long for a couple to enter the room. He could tell they were man and women by just able to observe feet. One wore male shoes while the other had high heels. He ‘observed the undressing’ he told his Honor solemnly. It became very un-appetizing he went on to say.
“Why”, his Honor asked, keen to get to the nitty gritty? “Well, the detective offered,” while they were clearly enjoying the fruits of their improper behavior, they chucked the peeling onto my coat, he replied. “They did what,” His Honor clearly getting into his stride now, asked? “Not just once, the detective offered, but three times in one hour.” He followed this up by taking a small parcel from out of his suit pocket which the Court’s orderly, ever so solemnly, took to the Judge for damning evidence.
There was to be a short break for his Honor to contemplate this damning evidence. After resuming and the obligatory three knocks on the door, the ‘all to stand’ order was given, the divorce was granted. It was noticed by the detective, who had seen it all, that his Honor looked slightly flushed. Human nature is frail, he pensively reflected. He would not have been surprised if his Honor had a bit of private fruition just by himself. It’s not easy to listen to all those stories of human frailty and expect not to be affected.
It’s all so much Fish & Chips.