Bang a gong, get it on

The stars of The Pueblo Chieftain copy desk circa 1984. Two of us are still walking the earth. Guess which ones.

The news biz is a tough racket. Yeah, I know, “stop the presses.”

Up in Colorado, The Denver Post is in a bad way, thanks to the vulture capitalists who have been treating it like an ATM at a Vegas casino. They may be wiping their overfed asses with your local daily, too.

And now The Pueblo Chieftain is said to be in the midst of a sale to … well, someone. Some thing.

I worked at The Chieftain for a spell back in the early Eighties. It’s where I met my man Hal Walter, who helped me get off the cigarettes and back onto the bike — at that point, a $320 fire-engine-red Centurion Le Mans 12.

As I wrote in my journal in 1983 — you remember journals, a sort of analog blog with a readership of one — “I can’t wait to get it and start riding all over fucking town. I may take it with me during my vacation so’s I can get some exercise between drinks.”

Yeah, I still had a ways to go. But still, baby steps, amirite?

Anyway, Hal has penned a recollection of the glory days — and some observations about The Chieftain‘s future — for Colorado Central magazine. He makes mention of Your Humble Narrator, and yes, my lawyers have been informed, so you’ll want to read the piece before HBO makes a documentary of the entire sordid mess and we’re strolling along the red carpet at Cannes giving the finger to Tarantino, the Coen brothers and del Toro.

I see T.J. Miller playing me, or perhaps Rory McCann, and probably Justin Timberlake as Hal, whom we used to call “Teen Angel,” for reasons that should be obvious. I mean, just look at that fucking picture, f’chrissakes.

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24 Responses to “Bang a gong, get it on”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    That’s what I like about the local Albuquerque and Fanta Se fish-wrappers. Both are locally owned and operated. No vulture capitalists here….yet.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Wow, maann. You look like the guy sitting down just hit you with the ruler and said, “Shut the fuck up and look at the damn camera!” I never had the courage to sport the whole denim suit. But I did wear freshly ironed and creased jeans with an Irish wool tie, western sport coat, and sneakers. During the summer I would sport polyester or silk bicycle themed ties. I still have one, and it is my only tie. Wore it once in the last 14 years. I told Sandy if she buried me in a tie, and without a Swiss Army knife, I would haunt her the rest of her days.

    • khal spencer Says:

      I thought O’G looked like someone had just goosed him.

      Had the denim suit in college along with the Honda motorcycle. But it was functional wear in my case. As in, “oops, dropped the bike again, better drink more beer next ride”.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I disremember what the occasion was. Copy desks were always the final refuge for the newsroom weirdos. We used to do an occasional parrot-shirt day on The Chieftain desk, and someone clearly suggested a suit day, but I was not (and am not) a suit kind of dude, dudes. So I improvised.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Well, you looked fine. O’Grady for President. Four more years of work with great pay, good eats, and free rent. People throwing money at you to boot. You could ban all dress codes, then retire. Easy, sleazy.

        • Libby Says:

          Pres. O’Grady wouldn’t need a Communications Directrice to “steam”, a là HHicks, his pants. Jeans or Lycra is just fine!

  3. khal spencer Says:

    “…After an incident in which he got down on all fours howling like a dog, then stood with his leg lifted at a post in the newsroom, he was offered a severance that left the entire newsroom gasping in a vacuum of departing talent….”

    Hee and haw…but seems somehow in character, at least back in our misspent youth.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thank the suffering Christ for newspapers. Were it not for them I would’ve died alone under a bridge sometime in the late Seventies, wearing a blanket made of the Sunday funnies, an empty short dog of MD20/20 clutched in one grimy paw.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Or, I suppose, served some rich guy’s sentence for him.
    http://www.velonews.com/2010/12/news/fridays-foaming-rant-restitution-or-retribution_153327

  5. Geoffrey Knobl Says:

    Is that you front center with the long hair, glasses and jeans jacket?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O, indeed. And yet I wondered why I had a hard time navigating the old dating scene. No mirrors in that fella’s house, apparently.

      • Geoffrey Knobl Says:

        Thought you were a Steely Dan clone. I was similarly challenged in the 80s. Found a good woman though in the late 90s, got married in 2000 and believe I’m set. I even own a jersey with that fat guy on your icon!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        This was back when I thought whiskey and cocaine made me ruggedly handsome and witty. They made everyone else look pretty excellent, but that’s not the same thing.

        I had settled down a mite by the time I met Herself. She might have touched me with a 10-foot pole in 1983, but only to flog me with it while screaming for the cops.

  6. lisafw Says:

    MadDog O’Grady, as played by Johnny Depp ala Raoul Duke. I’d watch that movie.

  7. Libby Says:

    Casting you and HW: what about a reteam of Ryan Gosling and Dale DeHaan?

  8. JD Dallager Says:

    Had to start at the bottom of the retorts/responses/replies, since I suspect very few of you would read this if in the “reply” category to a previous response. Please prove me wrong! 🙂

    If you didn’t click on the link to “Hal Walter” (and read it!), you’ve missed a Mark Twain/Oscar Wilde-like revelation on homo sapiens and its organizational structure that will likely never change!

    Please do so and enjoy some PO’G quality, “pre-Dilbert” sense of how our species has risen to the top! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      JD, thanks for giving Hal a shout-out. He slings the words right smart, but finds his style cramped by a job of editing, the same affliction from which I suffered for lo those many years.

      There’s something about editing that kills the urge to write — well, for me and for Hal, anyway. At its worst, and both of us have seen plenty of that, editing feels like janitorial work. There’s always a wet cleanup in Aisle 666 and you’re the dude with the mop and bucket.

  9. Hurben Says:

    Oh wow man, Nam flashbacks dude, I wore that gear man & yeah, I’m talking about Namibia

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The uniform of the day in Namibia was Levis? Who knew? Nobody ever mistook me for a man of action in that garb. Especially when it came time to hire.

      Still, I managed to find newspaper work for about 15 years. “Yeah, sure, he looks like Charlie Manson’s crazier younger brother, but we’re down two copy editors and the slot man is talking to himself. We gotta hire him and pray that an actual homo sapiens comes along before he kills and eats the religion editor.”

  10. STEVE NIX Says:

    Bang a gong? Looks more like gang a bong.

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