Paddy McGuinness on Germaine and The George
May 18, 2004
So Mary Donaldson and her Prince met at the Slip Inn in Sussex Street and everything ended in a fairytale wedding. Good luck to them - after all, years ago the same kind of thing happened to quite a few patrons of that establishment, which was in my youth known as the Royal George Hotel.
It was there that in its heyday the Sydney Push, one of our best known bohemian groups, used to meet and no doubt some of them also were in search of something like a fairytale wedding.
Not the least of its one-time patrons was Germaine Greer, and indeed she met her prince there - he was one of the senior gurus of the Push, the two or three blokes known to their irreverent juniors as "the Princes of the Push". She did, after all, want to seize a prominent role in whichever group she found herself in. Not that Greer married her prince, nor did they live happily ever after.
Marriage was definitely not highly thought of in those circles, nor was lifelong fidelity. Or even affair-long fidelity. But then perhaps Greer was more like another fairytale princess, who after a glittering fairytale wedding in Westminster Abbey began to behave more like the Push girls of those days. Happily, Greer has not come to such a tragic end...
...To understand Paddy you've got to understand the Sydney Push and the philosophy called contrarianism. The Push was a rooting club, pseudo-intellectual drinking circle and philosophical talk shop and that flourished in Sydney from just after World War II to the late sixties. In hindsight it was mainly a support network for desperados and bullshit artists who were waiting for well-paid careers as apologists for the prevailing order.
They called themselves libertarians. Some talked out of the left side of their mouth and some out of the right, but when you get down to it, contrarianism was the most lasting intellectual product of the Push. It is a philosophy tailor-made for professional ideological provocateurs or "controversialists" as they are called in the industry...
When Push comes to Shove at Nick Possum's wonderful blog.