A conversation with Sir Bluey Pup-Pup
PERSONALITIES: conversations with Shirley-Higgins Croft
Bluey (above left) is a dog that wears many collars. He is best known as the North Queensland Cowboys mascot, but his responsibilities extend far beyond faffing around the sideline. He is a critical part of the finely-tuned machine that has dominated the Queensland Rugby League firmament for the last century.
Bluey met with Shirley Higgins-Croft over a latte at Stellarossa in Townsville. She found that the heart inside the dog inside the jersey inside the legend inside the kennel outside the CowHouse was beating strong for the Cowboys and the Far North.
SHC: It's a great honour to meet you, Sir Bluey-Pup-Pup. You are such an iconic figure ... I feel like I know you already.
B: (laughs) Ms Higgins-Croft, there's no need for formalities. Please call me Blue. It's what I'm most comfortable with. Thanks for coming down to see me. And may I call you Shirley?
SHC: OK, Blue it is. And please do, Blue.
B: Thank you. And can I quickly say that I love your work, Shirley. Your profile on Sir Skippy Huegill was wonderful. He is, of course, a dear friend.
SHC: Yes, he certainly is a great North Queenslander. As are you, Blue. You must know that you're a hero to everyone up here, and many beyond our borders.
B: (chuckling) Yes, I am an important figure for the huddled, sweating, bone-idle masses in this part of the world. For many of them the only speck of joy in their dreary little lives is seeing me pretending to urinate on a corner flag. There's a lot of sad fuckers up here Shirl - May I call you Shirl?
SHC: Certainly. We'll get to the corner flags later, Blue. Tell us a little about how things are set up in the mascot department at the Cowboys, and how you come to be such a world class entertainment unit.
B: Well, clearly everything is driven by our vision statement, and the SOPs that underpin everything we do. The three of us are allocated our monthly KPIs and the rest is just hard work and schmackos.
SHC: It certainly looks like an efficient operation.
B: We-ell. Not really. I don't want to speak out of kennel - and Moo-er and Octofuck are good mates of mine. But they're pretty fucking hopeless really. They have to be constantly managed. Moo-er can't even put together a simple panto-tussle with the opposition mascot and Octofuck has a frosty problem.
SHC: Really? That sounds like a nightmare.
B: Sometimes it surely is Shirl-Shirl. May I call you Shirl-Shirl?
B: Yes, sometimes it is a fucking nightmare. But you take any sunshine in the wet season don't you? I will say that Moo-er is great when I really have to offload a bit of misogyny, and Octofuck is my go-to mollusc for managing the coach when he's having a bad day. Greeny can get a bit despondent and handsy afterward a loss, but he finds Octofuck's complexion really soothing.
SHC: As do I, Bluey. Now, you've always been an keen filmmaker, and recently you've completed a documentary on the First Dog. Is that right?
B: Yes, cinema is my passion. I've known Digger since he was a pup, and Russell Mulcahy was keen to get my help in making a doco about him. There wasn't much of a script. It's basically Digger and me shooting the breeze and sniffing each other's butts. Rusty got us talking about the Kewarra 13 so he was able to really dial up the emotion. A great shoot.
SHC: We look forward to that. Can I ask, how's your relationship with JT?
B: Well, what can I say? He's an immortal in waiting. Mind you, there have been times over the years when I've had to beat the shit out of him and pretend to urinate on him. He responded well.
SHC: So the thorny topic has raised it's head. Are you willing to make a comment on that viral tweet?
B: (with a wink) All I can say, Shizza, is that my aim is true! Not like the Bubbler!
SHC: (laughing) Let's no go there, Sir Bluey Pup-Pup. Let's not go there. Lastly, do you have any comments on the state of the UNHCRL?
B: Please, Shiz. Don't talk about it. It's a morass of missed tackles and broken dreams and bribes and peptides and clumsy doggie-style politicing. A sad state of affairs. The last straw is when they appointed Mitchell Pearce to the executive.
SHC: Mmmm, such a shame to see such lofty dreams collapse into nothing. On one final note, are you seeing anyone at the moment?
B: No, Shirl-Shirl, but I'm open to offers. I was with Jess Mauboy for a while but she was so busy with the hit-making and the philanthropy that we never saw each other. We're good friends still though.
SHC: Well, I'm sure a great looking pup like you won't be single for long. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to the Plain Dealer.
B: It's a pleasure, Shirl-Shirl. And if things don't work out for you and Pete, give me a bell. You're extremely rootable.
SHC: Wow, you're such a charmer, Bluey. Go Cowboys!
B: Go Cowboys!