20171204 182144
20171204 182144

Disabled parking — it’s out of control

Riley Riley

Went to see Don McLean on Saturday night.

At 77 years of age, he’s getting on, but he’s still got it, that unique sound that made him a superstar.

It was great to hear all the old hits, some covers and some of his lesser known stuff — but it was mostly about the classics.

“Botanical Garden” was written in Sydney on an earlier visit, but it perhaps should have been left unearthed. 

His eight-minute anthem American Pie will never get old and his music will never die.

The audience erupts, people on their feet, clapping and singing and generally having a good time.

The tour celebrates the 50th anniversary of the song which became an international hit.

The until then vigilant security staff gave up trying to stop people taking videos and photos of the performance.

What does it all mean? Who cares (you can watch a doco on YouTube if you’re interested). 

McLean was chatty and introduced some of his band including a guitarist who played with Johnny Cash.

In fact, he played a few Cash numbers.

Last year McLean received a 50-million record sales plaque from the TV show Good Morning America.

The singer says he will be back, but not to play music.

As the years take their toll, right now he is living every day like it could be his last, prepared to die performing.

Life, he confided, is a like a roll of toilet paper. The nearer you get to the end — the quicker it goes. 

On a darker note, his private life leaves something to be desired.

Joining McLean on tour is Andrew Farriss from INXS, who has reinvented himself as a country music singer, complete with the obligatory hat.

Farriss has a farm outside the country music capital Tamworth in NSW.

Prior to the concert, we spent an interesting 60 minutes or so sitting in our car in the carpark, feeding our faces and washing it down with a couple of beers before heading into the venue.

At events like these it pays to get there early anyway and spend a bit of time finding the ideal parking space, which means something face out near one of the exit ramps.

Where we parked was directly opposite four disabled car spaces, that were set out in a 2+2 arrangement, clearly marked with four large disabled icons on the ground – just to be clear.

ebully ndis inspiringBut, you guessed it, that didn’t seem to deter some people.

A woman in a white Kia Sportage pulled up soon afterwards and after spending five minutes fussing around stuck a disabled parking permit inside the windscreen of her car.

But then, strangely, she took the permit off again and got out, returning a coupe of minutes later in a different shirt.

Then she changed her shoes.

She’d obviously come straight from work.

Eventually the woman left, but did not replace the disabled sticker.

We couldn’t work it out?

Next came a couple in a silver Triton dual cab ute who wasted no time pulling out their parking permit and whacking it on the windscreen.

Then they were off.

The third car to arrive, an old Holden Astra that had seen better days, was forced to park behind the other two.

The thing is, the Astra’s passenger was actually disabled and it took some time for the driver to get them out and into a wheelchair.

The whole thing would have been funny if it wasn’t so sad.

I should confess we have a disabled parking permit but we only use it when we’re taking my elderly father-in-law places.

I wonder if some unscrupulous types take things a step further and source a second hand wheelchair so they can obtain preferential seating?

I worked in the Parramatta CBD for a number of years where they have had parking meters for several years.

Both sides of the street next to us was lined day in day out with cars that had disabled parking permits displayed and therefore didn’t have to pay parking fees.

Many of the cars also had P plates, bonnet scoops and beefy chrome wheels.

You can’t tell me they were all disabled drivers?

I wonder what McLean with his views on love and politics would have to say about it all?

“And I Love You So?”

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