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Residing in a run-down Sydney suburb during the Depression, Jack Gudgeon, age 48, is a male chauvinist, money-owing cynic, layabout, and barroom philosopher. His wife, Agatha, having had more than she can take, has finally walked out on him. With Jack and his equally unreliable adolescent son, Stanley, left to fend for themselves, pandemonium ensues. Full of sardonic wit and mad capers, father and son blaze a trail of drunken chaos through the city's pubs, clubs, race courses, and their own increasingly battered home. Along the way, they fall in with a weird and wondrous assortment of lowlife characters who turn up to enliven the kind of party that Mr. Gudgeon invariably intends to be a "quiet, respectable turnout," but which, somehow, never is.