ONE day when my children were little John Anthony (pictured, right) stuck his head and one arm through the rear window of my car and, with a challenging tone, asked “how many fingers am I holding up?”.
As he had just recently torn off a digit in a sailing accident—yes, it was torn off rather than “lost”—my normally savvy kids incorrectly discounted just the thumb and answered “four!” in confident chorus. As my offspring grappled wide-eyed at their finger-math failure, I understood there was nothing this man could not turn to humour.
I have since heard this proven many times over, through songs he has salvaged from between the sheets of broken relationships, to tales of ablution misfortune in India that had me wiping away tears of laughter (and that served as proof that in this man’s hands, yes, a turd can indeed be polished).
Now when I think of Johnny 3 (aka—for reason above), having known him and his many personalities for years, I realise he’s the sort of guy who makes me want to get my kids off the internet. Not because he has any offensive content out there, he doesn’t, but because no matter what rarified magical adventures their glowing screens might offer them, Johnny 3 is living proof that real life is bigger, brighter and so much funnier.
And besides, it is fair to say Johnny 3 had mastered the art of being “shared”, “liked” and I suspect, even “going viral” long before Facebook, and perhaps even the internet, was invented.
So if you live in Fremantle and don’t know who John Anthony is, there are just two good reasons: either you have escaped from Joondalup or you are yet to realise that aside from already being your carpenter and counsellor, your comedian and musical bohemian, he is also the the barefoot guru cooking vegetarian stew at your last trance dance barbecue.
Ask around, there’s not a lot Johnny 3 can’t do.
Get to know him and his many personalities at the John Anthony Variety Performance Show, Sunday September 14 at The Fibonacci Centre, 19 Blinco St, Fremantle. Show starts 5pm. Tickets $10 at the door. BYO cafe will be open. Also starring Miraki with Robbie Lang as host.
by MATTHEW DWYER