DANCE OF THE FLAMING ASSHOLE By Calvin Hill, C Coy 8/9 RAR
It was ’78 or ’79, not sure, but 8/9 RAR was having a ranges week at Greenbank and the battalion had taken over several of the areas out the back where the kitchens etc were located.
Once the day’s activities were over, the battalion went back to the camp area, cleaned weapons, had dinner etc and then imbibed our two cans per man and watched a movie.
The set-up for the movies was an old Mk V truck with a white sheet stuck to the side as the screen and a 16 mm projector. All the blokes sat in the dirt watching while the officers and Q wallahs had their chairs millionaire.
One night during the intermission (reel change) there was a bit of a commotion and Sparrow Murray – a thin, wiry bloke with heaps of character – jumped up on top of the Mk V. He had a bit of a yarn and then told us we were in for a treat – a rendition of ‘Dance of the Flaming Asshole’.
Sparrow had this long length of date roll poked into his date. He lit the other end and started dancing around on top of the Mk V. Now, as this wasn’t solid – example, canvas over metal bows – his footing wasn’t the best, but he did all right. Everyone was cheering and having a good laugh as Sparrow cavorted about singing, etc. As the burning date roll got shorter and started burning between his legs, Sparrow took his eyes off it to check his footing. As he’d moved off the bows and had a bit of a stagger, the next things we were yelling as we watched this paper burn up between his thighs, and then he started to scream as it was now too short. He couldn’t grab it or pull it out his ring and the paper burned out on his ring, singeing his nuts as well.
So Sparrow was on top of the truck with a burnt ring, singed nuts and zero sympathy. Everyone was rolling around with tears in their eyes, laughing their guts out. Even the bosses were crying.
From memory, Sparrow never got into any trouble over that. No one
could hurt him more than he’d hurt himself and it really lifted spirits and gave the battalion a great laugh. It also lifted the Legend of Sparrow to new heights… or lows.