6 November, 2016. 12:34

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

STEPPING OUT ON CHURCH STREET for the first time in almost twenty years, retired television presenter Ken Sutcliffe casually flicks the safety off on the Glock 23 stuffed down the back of his moleskin trousers.

The town that both he and Tim Sheridan left for the bright lights of sports journalism all those years ago is now barely recognisable to the 68-year-old.

“The first warning sign should’ve been the Bunnings,” said Sutcliffe. “You know that’s when a small town goes to shit. When they get a Bunnings. It cripples about nine other small businesses.”

“And when young country townspeople can’t find work, they either leave or hop on the ice. Tell me that’s not the truth.”

According to the latest data available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, he’s not wrong.

Now that small business has all but dried up in the town, many of Mudgee’s youth have taken to the glass barbie – which is why Sutcliffe chose to bring his Glock with him.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for “New Bowral” – as many property developers and estate agents are referring to it now. Once touted as the ‘Cooking Wine Capital of the Free World” by Time Magazine, Mudgee’s vineyards are now considered to be some of the best in the greater Dubbo region.

“We had a case of Mudgee red in the pantry for when we cooked spag bol,” explained Sutcliffe. “Or for when we wanted to strip the paint off Michael Slater’s silver Ferarri [laughs] wouldn’t strip that Superman tattoo of his arm, though. [laughs]”

“But yeah, nah, mate. I’ve only got the Glock for self-defence. I wouldn’t kill anybody with it either, just one in each knee to give me a head start. I’ve heard blokes on ice can still run with a slug in each leg. Spooky shit, aye?”

More to come.



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