IT was a mild autumn afternoon back in 1996.
The newsroom at the Manning River Times was typically frantic with reporters racing to meet deadline. Well, most of the reporters were racing to meet deadline. The sports writer was doing, well, not much at all, day dreaming of a possible Roosters premiership later that year (it didn't happen).
"Any chance of you doing some work today,'' a harried then-Editor Manusu snarled.
"Clean your desk. Write a column. Just. Do. Something!"
The sports writer was in no mood to clean his desk given the enormity of the task. So he wrote a column, a silly little thing about home brewing.
It appeared in the following Wednesday's edition, under the banner 'My Shout'. No-one much took any notice. Plus ca change, plus cest la meme chose, as the French say
"You'd have been better off cleaning your desk,'' then-assistant Editor Bell drily noted after briefly scanning the piece.
In the 25-years since there's been two constants with the My Shout column - mediocrity and appearing in the Wednesday edition.
That was until today. Now we've made the big move to Friday. Break out the champagne.
A new day will mean... well, nothing much really. If all goes to plan we have a touch over four years left writing for this newspaper and its rapidly expanding online platforms. My Shout (and it's the only time you do shout, one observer once observed) will continue to comment on the major issues of the day, including:
- Life on Struggle Street
- The Roosters
- Horrors of the Catholic education system in the 1960s and 70s
- Beer, either prices thereof or imbibing
- Zebras (the former junior rugby league club, not the horse-like things)
- An Australian republic
- Our mango tree
And that's about it. Exactly what we've been scribbling about for the last quarter of a century, so why change now? We won't comment on politics too often, and on the rare occasions when we do, we shall be completely unbiased, as has been the case for the last 25 years.
But it's a different world for us old newspaper hacks. Back in 1996 a website would have been a spider infestation. Social media was going out for drinks with colleagues.
If we wanted a comment from council about a particular topic we contacted a councillor or the mayor. Now we have to work through the myriad of media people employed there. Barrington Coast didn't exist, because Barrington was way out west, nowhere near the coast.
But enough musing. We're a big, grownup Friday column now. At least until 2025, anyway.