July 1996, Regal Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia
You know you’re an articled clerk, ladies and gentleman, when you’re sitting in a room full of people you hardly know, and you’re sitting there and some guy storms into the room, and he says to the people that he’s got some high powered finance deal that he’s organised, and you think, ‘this is going to be exciting, I’m going to something really interesting, the years of study are going to pay off.’
But then he adds a rider. He says: ‘the first thing I need doing in this very exciting project, is that I have ten thousand pages of documents and these pages need to be (a) spread over the widest area humanly possible; (b) numbered in reverse alphabetical order; and (c) I want you to colour them in.
We all speak from experience when these types of things happen. And the thing is, you’ve got your normal response, the response you would have given when you were at uni, the person hands you the crayons, tosses them over to you, and suddenly your mouth is about to say, ‘I’ll tell you what you can do with your Faber Castels’ - when suddenly this hidden dweeb that’s been there for about fifteen years starts speaking, and you come out with ‘I think crayons will be a better go here, I worked with them extensively when I was at kindie, and you're thinking to yourself, ‘dear god , what has become of my life’.
You know you’re an articled clerk when your sitting in a room full of, again, people you hardly know, and somebody has made the most appalling gag you have ever heard connected with mezzanine debt, and you turn around to the person next to you, and you’re about to say, ‘who was that cornball, how bad was that gag’, and suddenly you realise that everybody’s laughing. And they’re laughing hard. And they’re slapping their thighs at the mezzanine debt gag. And you’ve got no idea, you’re thinking ‘what is mezzanine debt, and how on earth could it possibly be funny.’
Ladies and gentlemen you know you’re an articled clerk when you spend two very hard hours doing research on the UN and you present it to the partner, and you’re really sort of excited -- you're thinking, 'this is really great work, I expect some kudos out of this one,' and they say, ‘thanks alot for you work Chris, I’m sure my thirteen year old son Waldo is going to absolutely kick it in his social studies assignment.’
Once again I speak from experience, of course the names were changed to protect the innocent -- and also because I couldn’t remember the name of Michael P’s daughter.
Ladies and gentlemen, for all the things you come through in law, all these frustrating things, all the crappy tasks you have to do, there’s one thing that’s very important, and that’s your relationship with other people. And we must say that the thirteen of us have bonded together, both with each other and all the other members of the firm, and that’s been one of the highlights. Of course we haven’t taken this 'bonding', if you will, quite as literally as last year’s group of articled clerks – we’re a clean living bunch this group. We’re either married off or perhaps completely unattractive to the rest of the firm
So a bit of what we’re doing tonight. Essentially we’ve decided to go without the theme tonight, no theme tonight, the only I can say is that all the skits are linked by one thing, and that is that they are funny.
GLADIATORS SLETCH [DELETED]
For the beginning of our next video sketch, I’d like to introduce one of our articled clerks who has stood out above all others. She has been both our emotional and spiritual 'mothers'. Essentially, what she does is keep the other ACs in line, every time we want to do something -- we’re irritated at, say, for example a photocopier, we think about going berserk, Rita Zammit gives us the verbal spanking that we needed. Her wise pronouncements make the things that Yoda say sound like the incoherent ramblings of Ronald Dale Barassi. And this woman is about to introduce a skit that cost $750 to edit, so management, enjoy it, because you’re getting the bill on Monday.
So now I’d like to introduce, Rita Zammit.
TWELVE ANGRY ARTICLED CLERKS SKETCH
Ladies and gentleman, you have no idea how much fun that sketch was to do.
The next skit revolves around the principle -- what if all of a sudden for some strange reason, our group of ACs suddenly gained the power in the firm. Basically, not a lot would get done if I was in charge of the AC’s work schedule, but we thought we would try to make the partners do the same sorts of menial things that we do. Not only would we do this, but we’d have to do it too far, essentially we’d get them doing things like cleaning out our ears with cotton buds. Ladies and gentleman, we’re basically children, and if given the chance to have power in the firm -- we’d take it .
ABUSE OF POWER SKETCH
As articled clerks, we do a lot of amazingly menial tasks. Say for example running down to the ASC and filing something. Well quite frankly, some of these tasks sometimes lose their initial sparkle. There’s only so many time you can do these things and still find them -- arousing. Ladies and gentleman, we suddenly thought to ourselves, and this is the basis of the next three skits, what if we tried to spice it up a bit. Instead of heading down to the Titles Office and trying to file, say a caveat. Let’s go to the Titles Office and try to file -- a fifteen pound cod. We thought about it, and so then we did it.
The next sketch is essentially the same thing again, but it’s one of my personal favourites. This time we thought to ourselves, haven’t you always wanted to don a chicken suit, storm around the streets of Melbourne, and then raid the main reception at Blake Dawson Waldron. We thought about it, and then we did it.
CHICKEN SUIT SKETCH
For our last segemnet today, we’d like to present to you a bit of a musical number. About four of our group can sing, and the others will be staying as far as way from the microphones as is humanly possible.
SONG: ‘YOU MADE ME LOVE ME’ – JUDY GARLAND
Dear Minter Ellison
We are singing this to you
And we hope that you are listening so you know
Our year’s been so rewarding
Over partner’s we’ve been fawning
To keep their smug and condescending glow
You know we’re just adoring fans of yours,
But now we’d like to tell you where to go-ooooo!
You gave us crap jobs,
We didn’t want to do it, we didn’t want to do it,
You made us eat Schwobbs
And what was with those pickles,
And who the hell eats pickles
Why did you hire us Trevor,
Get off the piss
There must be easier
Ways to suicide than this
About that missing file
I didn’t want to tell you, I didn’t want to tell you
I think law’s grand,
That’s true, yes I do, ‘deed I do, you know I do,
I must tell the world how I’m feeling
Doing tasks that are inane send my heart reeling
You know you made me, love you.
I don’t care what happens I’m an articled clerk
As far as work’s concerned we couldn’t give a f*ck
You really made me, love you.
Chris Daffey took his own life on 21 December 2013. This was one of his eulogies in his honour, delivered by close friend and collaborator on this production, Tony Wilson.