My old mate Peter Wilkins held a Woodstock party recently and so we all trouped down to his joint in Kangaroo Valley, attired in whatever we could find in our wardrobes from the era that had survived the many purges, and partied into the wee hours to a soundtrack from 1969.
Readers of this column will be aware that I require very little encouragement to indulge in a bit of nostalgia for 1969: It was, after all, the year Maitland won all three winter codes and the town was alive with civic receptions and celebration all round.
It was also, on a national level, a year for a couple of tremendous repeat sporting victories. The most notable was Rod Laver taking out his second calendar year Grand Slam, but also - and I'm getting closer to the timely point of my revisitation here - Rain Lover became the first horse since Archer to win consecutive Melbourne Cups.
Fifty years ago, 1969, Rain Lover won its second Cup. The horse was retired in 1970, put to stud and died in 1989 - 20 years later. You'd have to imagine that they were 20 quite enjoyable years for the stallion. The image presented, of a champion horse living to a ripe old age before, presumably, rutting itself to death, sits in stark contrast to the fates of the thoroughbreds that we with the stomachs for it witnessed on Four Corners the other week.
I'm writing at a little disadvantage here - writing pre-race to be published the day after - and for all I know the race may, once again, 'stop the nation.' But that is not the prediction. The talk is of an event that has somewhat lost its sheen. The cruelty revealed by the ABC has doubtless played a role in this but then, amongst it all, The Everest and The Golden Eagle have not at all failed to seize the opportunity and put the old riding boot into Victoria Racing's weakening carnival jewels.
The situation seems to most of us to be an absurd and unnecessary extension on the old Sydney-Melbourne rivalry. Why NSW and Victoria Racing cannot find ways to operate for mutual benefit is a question so far unanswered in any real sense. What is known though, and what is pretty bloody interesting for anybody following the Rugby League, is that the bloke behind this take-no-prisoners approach from Racing NSW, Peter V'landys, has just become the new Australian Rugby League Commission chairman.
And he's promising to fix everything!
Now, I know, Santa's nearly here, the football season is over. (I'd imagine I was not alone this week when I thought, 'It's November. Why am I watching Australia play Tonga?') Football played year-round is a slightly baffling phenomenon to me and I really should do my bit to resist it by writing about something else here, in November.
But Peter V'landys is promising to fix everything!
And it's the ultimate Christmas list!
He's going to sort out the referees, fix the suburban grounds, guarantee the future for every existing club (including no relocations), strengthen the grass roots and save bush footy.
Thank you Santa.
Admittedly V'landys' statements so far have been a little short on what many would consider to be fairly crucial details in the endeavour. In particular, the 'how' this will all be achieved has been pretty much left entirely out.
Supporters point to V'landys' record with NSW Racing and, it has to be said, as far as 'getting things done' goes it's quite an impressive CV. We are talking about a can-do guy here. And he grew up in Wollongong from where he played the game at serious levels. This is a man who knows who Cronulla are, which, given recent history, can't help but be a step in the right direction.
It's all very vague though - sweeping statements about V'landys being able to 'open doors previously closed to the NRL' and the like.
We'll see I suppose. And once he's sorted that lot out, I wonder what he's going to do about the concussion problem? And then there's Wayne Bennett questioning the modern preponderance of career-ending shoulder injuries. And then, as I've noted here before, modern studies are suggesting that, for all the obvious reasons, children born today will not be playing contact sports very far at all into the future; that the whole thing will be phased out in little more than a generation.
What is the future of Rugby League amid forecasts such as this you ask?
Maybe Peter V'landys can tell us.