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  DUSTIN THE TURKEY a strange article  



14 Dec 1994 

Nog Nog Noggin ON HEAVEN’S DOOR-Come with us on a fantastic voyage to the mythical kingdom of Gibletland in the wondrous empire of Sallynoggin where sex, drugs and rock'n'roll rule and where your decadent host is, eh, Dustin the Turkey. DUSTIN THE TURKEY!!! -Read on but beware of fowl play.-Your demented guide: LIAM FAY.

Never sleep on a full stomach. Especially if it’s full of brandy, schnapps and creamy porter. If the cramps don’t get you, the nightmares will. -I’d been Christmas shopping all day and had decided to treat myself to what on the face of it were two very different gifts, Elvis: The Last 24 Hours by Albert Goldman and Not Just A Pretty Face by Dustin Hoffman. One to restore my faith in rock’n’roll, the other to destroy it even further.-Back home, I snuggled up in bed with my book, my CD and, I have to admit, my Yuletide hooch stash. Before long, I was drifting off into a world that was at once both eerily familiar and extraordinary. It was a night that I will never forget . . . --It’s a little after 4am and the last of the hookers has just left. Dustin and I have now been awake for 72 consecutive hours and that sixth ounce of Durban killer skunk, the strongest hashish known to man or turkey, is only starting to kick in.-“Do you want to see me hand gun collection?,” Dustin asks, uncorking yet another bottle of Dom Perignon with his beak, and nodding towards the mirror-lined corridor of his lavish Sallynoggin love palace.-Slowly and clumsily, Dustin’s unsteady webbed feet lead me into a darkened room where a massive bank of TV sets covers one entire wall. With a simple flick of what farmyard creatures have instead of a wrist, the remote control he’s holding brings all the screens to life. Each one of them is showing a different episode of Suite Talk.-“Ah, brutal,” Dustin chirrups. “This is so brutal I love it. Did you see yer one Clare McKeon, they have her picture on the back of the bus. Isn’t that very fitting, isn’t it? Oh yeah, Clare McKeon, a face new to television but, sadly, all too familiar to Store Street Garda Station.”-Draining the dregs of his DP, Dustin produces a cut crystal phial of yellow pills from the breast pocket of his silk pyjamas and gobbles down the lot, pausing only to spit out some tiny shards of glass. After a few moments of obvious disorientation, his bleary gaze settles once again on the panorama of flickering goggle boxes.-“Ah, there’s yer one Cynthia,” he chortles. “After she messed up the Eurovision, you’d think they’d get rid of her altogether. Scaoil amach ná bubblies.”-Suddenly and without warning, a look of anger sweeps across Dustin’s face like a j-cloth over wet Formica. From nowhere it seems, he produces a .44 magnum, and begins to open fire.-“Die fuckers,” he roars, as he empties an entire clip of bullets into the tiered array of televisions. “You’ll never take me alive.”- -To the general public, Dustin G. Hoffman is the rowdy but likeable co-presenter of The Den on Network 2. From Maamtrasna to Monkstown, he and Ray D’Arcy are revered and loved by children of all ages. That Dustin occasionally goes a little over the top and gets carried away with himself on air only endears him more deeply to his fans. In their eyes, he’s the cheeky little boy at the back of the class who sometimes winds up in trouble but whose quips, more often than not, make even the teacher laugh. -The reality, however, is very different. Dustin’s erratic and unpredictable behaviour is, in fact, a side-effect of the chronic cocaine addiction with which he has battled for years. Some months ago, he checked into an exclusive detox clinic in LA but discharged himself after only four hours. -“They kept talking about me behind my back,” he recalled later. “I distinctly heard them call me a cold turkey on several occasions. What did they expect? Mr. Warm and Vivacious? I wasn’t even allowed to smoke a shaggin’ joint while I was in the place.” -To make matters worse, Dustin drinks like a fish. Actually, he drinks like a fish which has to be regularly warned by its doctor that there are limits to how far a marine creature should be prepared to go in the interests of simile authenticity. -His daily intake of Jack Daniels in bottles is between three and four. Between the other hours of the day, he drinks it by the cask. As a result, there are those who believe that Dustin was blessed with two livers. This rumour has been brought to the attention of a number of pâté manufacturers, and their eagerness to prove its veracity adds yet another pressure at what is always a fraught time of the year.-To the outside world, Dustin is still a turkey of the people, a quintessential Dubbaliner who would head-butt you if you used the word quintessential in his presence. This too is a myth, an illusion cynically fostered by his vast team of professional image consultants. Even before he hit the rock’n’roll big time with his debut album, Not Just A Pretty Face, and the number one single, ‘Spanish Lady’, Dustin had, emphatically and gleefully, betrayed his working class roots.-While his Sallynoggin home, Gibletland, may on the outside resemble your average two up, two down semi, its interior is an opulent pleasure dome, a temple of such unrestrained decadence that Caligula would blush. Twenty four hours a day, some of the most gorgeous women in Dublin swim nude in the jungle room’s indoor pool and attend to Dustin’s every whim. And, believe me, when it comes to whims, there’s no better man than Dustin.-He never swims himself, of course. He simply lounges by the poolside in his monogrammed robe, guzzling small estuaries of booze and snorting dealer quantities of showbiz sherbert. The only exercise he ever gets is with the babes or by shuffling a deck of cards. Anyway, water clogs and mats his feathers and makes an awful mess.-“Before I became rich and famous,” he tells me, while licking droplets of Tia Maria from between the bare breasts of a young blonde, “my success with the women was based completely on my uncanny facial resemblance to Albert Reynolds. I’d tell the girls that he was me uncle and then they’d think I was yer man, his real nephew, the fella that owns the PLOD place, and that I was one of the eligible young bachelors about town. Now, of course, I just offer them money.” -Seeing Dustin naked, one is reminded of Little Richard’s famous comment about Buddy Holly: he packs a foot and it don’t have no toenails either. When he’s in the mood, he likes to strip off and have one of his handmaidens rub cocoa oil into his limbs while he curls up on a hammock in his private cinema, watching a selection of the thousands of adult video titles that he has had specially imported from Amsterdam for his own use.-Dustin has ambitions to work in film himself. He’d like to star in a road movie. Provided that he’s the one who gets rode that is.-“I’d have to have complete freedom to choose my own leading lady,” he insists. “I’d chose Pamela Anderson or, eh, Bibi Baskin. But I reckon I’d go for Bibi in the end because she looks better in the old swim suit.”- -This morning, as dawn begins to peep through the heavily draped windows, however, such thoughts are far from Dustin’s mind. Dawn is his personal physician, and, having run around peeping through the heavily draped windows for twenty minutes or so, she eventually comes in to administer a fresh supply of the pharmaceutical supplements her employer needs in order to get through the next six hours. Meanwhile, another of Dustin’s minders arrives with breakfast: three huge cheeseburgers, a family sized chocolate gateaux and seven banana splits.-Everyone senses that the boss is in a foul mood. Nothing seems to please him lately. It’s as if there’s a yawning chasm at the centre of his soul that all the hooch, all the chemicals and all the sexy high jinks with nubile young girls in the world cannot fill. -“There is,” he stutters, desperately searching to find the right words, “a yawning chasm at the centre of my soul that all the hooch, all the chemicals and all the sexy high jinks with nubile young girls in the world cannot fill.”-One of the biggest disappointments has been the trappings of rock stardom which, at one point, Dustin genuinely believed would make him happy. -“I go down to Lillies a bit, meself and Simon Carmody,” he explains. “I was told to be seen with him. He’s the man, you know, or so they say. But he’s a bit of a plonker really, isn’t he? A man who’d go to the opening of an envelope.”-The Irish music scene too has been a major let down. “Christie Hennessy? Van Morrison? The Rock’n’Roll Kids?,” he muses. “The game’s up for the lot of ’em. I like Aslan, they’re deadly, but who else is there? They’re all brutal. The worst is Chris De Burgh. I don’t like him at all. He got caught with the auld jocks down this year though, didn’t he? With the nanny, the bould man. And then, the auld Argentinian. The rocks of the Falklands, yeah, fine. -“No, I think Chris is a fool. The game’s up. I announced that on Féile TV a couple of year ago and he knew the game was up then. That’s why he had to resort to the cheap trick of getting his wife up onstage to strip. I know that wasn’t his wife, by the way. I just said it to annoy him.”-For a brief moment, Dustin’s face brightens as he reflects on the trials of De Burgh but, just as quickly, it clouds over again when some of his other worries start to re-cross his mind. Having flirted with a political career himself, he is especially despondent about the recent shenanigans in Dáil Eireann. The credibility of parliamentary democracy itself is called into question by this issue, he says, and it keeps butting in on his favourite cartoons.-“All these debates kept interrupting The Den and I hate that,” he fumes. “I want to watch me cartoons. I’d rather be watching Fiddley Foodle Bird than Mary Harney’s head any day. And now, we’re gonna get this Fine Gael fella, John Bruton, as Taoiseach. He’s a fool that lad. John Brutal, that’s his name.”-And then, there’s the day job itself. Fury and hatred seem to shoot through Dustin’s veins as he begins to speak about the unspeakable, that heinous Donnybrook mob. -“I’m too good for RTE,” he bellows, grabbing me by the lapels and knocking over a bottle of kahula in the process. “A half rotten tomato would be too good for RTE and would possibly present shows better than most people out there. RTE is a brutal organisation. They’re all ostriches with their heads in the ground. If they’ve had a good game of golf, they might be okay for an hour or so but then they’re back to their own horrible selves. It’s a fools’ organisation.”-He’s on the verge of tears now. After a long pause, he turns towards me, his bloodshot and jaundiced eyes beseeching me to do something, to make it all stop. But I can’t. I can merely put my arms around him and listen.-“Do you know what I really hate,” he whispers, every fibre of his being trembling with disgust. “I hate that bloody Riverdance.”-I’m doing my best to comfort him but it isn’t working. He’s on his feet, ranting and raving and banging his head against the side of a solid steel beer cooler. -“You wouldn’t believe how much I hate that Riverdance,” he whines. “Out in RTE, you have all these eejits goin’ around sayin’, ‘Wasn’t it brilliant? They never danced together before’, and all this sort of stuff. But, as you and I well know, all it is is rubbish. Rubbish! Absolute rubbish. They think they’re all part of it. They go over to each other and say, ‘I made the tea for yer man Bill Whelan you know’. I hate it. I HATE it.”-At this point, Dustin is ripping his pyjama top off, and I can tell by the look on his face that he’s preparing to do something drastic. Visions of Ben Dunne atop that hotel in Orlando flash through my memory. “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!,” I plead.-It’s too late. Before my very eyes, he’s plucking himself, showering fistfuls of feathers in every direction. I can only look on in mute horror while he starts to baste, rubbing great knobs of butter into his flesh. He then straps strips of bacon across his back and simultaneously prepares his own stuffing (with some chestnuts, sage, garlic and one onion, finely chopped).-As I pass out, the last thing I remember seeing is Dustin flinging himself headlong into a preheated electric oven (Mark 3). I’m not sure but I think that his final words are: “It’s better to roast – at a rate of 20 min per LB – than fade away!”--With a start, I was awake. The copy of Elvis: The Last 24 Hours was lying open on the bedside locker while Not Just A Pretty Face was on repeat play on the CD machine.-It had all been a terrible nightmare. None of it (the debauchery, the drugs, the women, the suicide) had ever happened. Just to reassure myself, I gave Dustin a call at RTE. As I’d hoped, everything was fine.-“Ah, Liamo, how’s it goin’?,” burbled that familiar voice. “I’m having a great auld Christmas. It’s too late for anyone to stuff me this year so I’m just relaxing here with a can of Pot Noodles and chilling out with Socky and Ray.-“By the way,” he added casually, “you don’t happen to know where I could get a dozen new tellies at wholesale, do you?” -

Liam Fay 
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