Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Les Murray and Les Murray

were and are two different people. I met one of them twice and I have met the other numerous times.
One of them was a journalist-presenter with our multicultural broadcasting channel SBS. The other is a poet. They were two very different men.
I met the journalist by accident. He first sat next to me on a flight between capital cities in Downunder.  I had no idea who he was. When the news reaches the sports section I switch off. I know. I am sorry. Sport, unless it is cricket, really doesn't interest me - and even cricket doesn't really interest me that much. 
But there was Les Murray. He had introduced himself politely, in the sort of way people do on those sort of trips. I said something like, "Well I know you aren't Les Murray the poet."
He didn't know about Less Murray the poet. I explained. I didn't know about soccer. He explained. I told him about my great cricketing adventure - my single achievement in the field of sport - and he laughed. We agreed that my sporting experience was rather limited and went on to talk about his family and how they had migrated to Australia.
On the second occasion I met him he was in the lobby of a building waiting to interview someone. I was waiting for someone else.  He looked over, saw me and excused himself from a knot of journalists. It was a brief conversation but, like a good journalist, he had not forgotten me or what we had talked about. I suppose there was always a chance in the future that I might have some nugget of information for him. 
He seemed pleasant and, at just 71, much too young. His former colleagues were clearly distressed at his passing. And yes, he did a lot for football or the game Downunderites usually refer to as soccer.
I wonder what he would have made of Les Murray-the-poet, winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry and other prizes. They were and are two very different men. Had they met I know that Les Murray-the-poet would have written something.


Jan said...

I was much like you and yesterday I was puzzled by no mention of his poetry. A quick search showed two by that name. Puzzle solved. What did not surprise me in the least was that search resultes showed heaps for the journalist, very few for the poet.

catdownunder said...

I suspect most people have never heard of Les Murray-the-poet. Sad, because he's a very interesting man!