By David Walsh
My meagre effort to implement Graeme Garden’s scheme to become an Earl and receive an OBE, and thus become an Earlobe, was long ago thwarted when Australia abandoned the English honours system. However, I have been offered an award within the Australian honours system: an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. I suspect it will surprise you that I accepted. It certainly surprised me. So now, if I so choose, I can sign my name David Walsh, AO. There are certain connotations of AO that I like – if my life were a movie I’d like to think that it would be rated Adults Only, but that isn’t why I chose to accept. Knowing full well that one’s motives are often unknown to oneself, I nevertheless will attempt to précis my rationale:
It has been awarded while both the local and federal governments are conservative. This, despite my regular vociferous opposition to many of the policies that conservatives hold dear (of course, had Labour been in power, the same logic would have applied).
The citation mentions my training-wheels museum, The Moorilla Museum of Antiquities. I was always kind of proud of that cultural David amongst Goliaths, but until this commendation I thought the stone had missed its mark.
The Officer award, the second highest division, has a dark side. Amongst recipients of this honour are Rolf Harris, Marcus Einfeld and Alan Bond; all, unsurprisingly, have since had their award revoked. Those bastards inoculate me against the insidious infection of self-satisfaction.
David Bowie was once offered a Knighthood, and he turned it down, saying ‘I seriously don’t know what it’s for’. I guess he didn’t need to have his ego stroked. But he was a better man than me. He was also a better man than my wife, Kirsha. She’s American, and she was not aware of the subtle differences between the English and the Australian honours systems. When I told her about my award she said, ‘Does that make me a Lady?’
Nominating yourself for an award and subsequently winning is a lot like masturbating and then declaring it the best fuck you’ve ever had. I don’t know who nominated me, but based on the citation, he or she knows quite a bit about my activities, and approves. Although the citation doesn’t include twice daily feeding, I suspect Christ the cat.
So there it is. I’m now an Officer of the Order Of Australia. An officer, yes, but not a gentleman.