Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ask Bullstrode: How do I prepare for the apocalypse?

On the urging of the good people of Wollongong and Shell Harbour, I have re-enlivened my much loved advice column, featured in the Society Pages of the Illawarra Mercury in the 1980’s, entitled “Ask Bullstrode”. In its heyday, my column was the Blackstone’s commentaries of the self-help world, answering any and all questions posed by my readership on topics of importance to the people of the Illawarra, including relationship advice and, of course, statutory interpretation.

If you have any problem that you simply cannot resolve, like that of young Archibald set out below, please do not hesitate to write me at Level 8, Albert Bathurst Piddington Chambers, 177 Phillip Street Sydney 2000, or at

Dear Bullstrode,

My name is Archie Clifford and I am a graduate lawyer in private practice in Melbourne. Like many of my friends I am concerned about the impending apocalypse. As a man who was heavily involved in most of the major conflicts of the last century, how would you suggest I best prepare myself?

Best regards,


* * * * *

Dear Archie,

Thank you for your note and kind words.

I am on the public record as having long foretold the end of the world. I was first alerted to the Mayan apocalypse by perhaps the world’s leading authority on the source, Maya Angelou. Over a warm chai tea in the balmy surrounds French Guyana in the late 60’s Maya told me to rethink the way I had interpreted the writings of one of my intellectual heroes, William à Beckett, and once I did, my whole world view changed.

While known more broadly as the first Chief Justice of Victoria, à Beckett was also a knight bachelor and a doomsday prophet and "prepper" of incredible vision. His works, under the nom du plum 'Colonus', such as “The Siege of Dumbarton Castle”, the “Literary News” and most vividly, his magnificent treatise “Does the Discovery of Gold in Victoria Viewed in Relation to its Moral and Social Effects as Hitherto Developed Deserve to be Considered a National Blessing or a National Curse?” were, on further investigation, riddled with opaque references to the apocalypse, Mayan gold and the Robbie Deans’ forthcoming reign of terror as Wallaby coach that had somehow escaped my notice on a superficial reading.

Appreciating the subtext, it became clear why his writings were considered so frightening they were said to have sparked the Eureka uprising and caused Damien Martyn to spontaneously retire from test cricket. I have been warning of, and preparing for, the end of days ever since.

I must confess though, until now I did have just the tiniest slither of doubt, because part of me thought we had dodged the apocalypse bullet when John Howard rolled Paul Keating as Prime Minister. However, having seen a news program last night called “the Walking Dead” I now know with certainty that the apocalypse, as foretold by Colonus, has already struck America and is sweeping towards us as I write.

As such gentle Archie, you are sensible to ask me what to do, because time is most certainly of the essence. Obviously you will already have constructed a bunker, that goes without saying, but as far as provisioning goes, I would suggest the following:

a) obtain as many semi-automatic machine guns as you can get your hands on (obviously this will be easier for those who live near a naval base);

b) grab as many of your neighbours' dogs and cats as you can get your hands on. Such urban livestock will prove invaluable as food supplies dwindle; and

c) beg, borrow or steal at least 100 copies of Whitelocke: On Lawmanship. This book is both an invaluable road map for apocalyptic survival and likely to be the official currency in the future wasteland that was Australia. As with the one-eyed man in the land of the blind, the owner of many of my obscure legal texts will be king in the land where they are as good as a stack of cold, hard cash. If all copies have already been looted, my other works such as ‘Mary Sidney Herbert: A Winsome Spinster’, ‘The Separation of Canon and Common Law: Eight (8) Centuries of Legal Madness’ and ‘From Chaloner Chute to Sir Loveban Lislebone Long: A History of 16th and 17th Century Lawmen with Riotous Names’ will be of equivalent value.

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