Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On The Fruitless Task Of Commenting On A Newspaper Website

Catherine Deveny sure knows how to write an opinion piece.

As I write, 194 comments have been left in today's Age column about private schools.

That's 21,006 words.

At an average of 181 words per comment.

It would take 35 hours to read them all aloud if you were reading at the standard speaking speed of 100 words per minute.

The standard novel is around 60-80,000 words.

Why do all these people bother?

To convince?

To be read?

To be noticed?

Well, there's not much chance of that happening.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

5 Lovely Songs From The Olden Days In New Zealand

When it came to dweeby, jangly and cool, we had the Go Betweens and The Church.

New Zealand had this bunch.

Pyromaniac by The Verlaines

She Speeds by Straightjacket Fits

Leather Jacket by The Chills

Block of Wood by The Bats

And of course, the beautiful, Love Not Given Lightly by Chris Knox.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Day We Queued Many Hours To Almost Meet Two Of The World's Most Wildly Important Entertainment Figures EVER

I was excited to meet them.

The Age's all time favourite sculpturerist and boho chi enthusiast, Nicholas Jones wasn't much.

So who did we queue 17 hours with thousands of the world's youth to meet?

Former Czech playwright President, Vaclav Havel?

Writer of several dozen books of note, Gideon Haigh?

No, neither!

Introducing two of the world's most wildly important entertainment figures....


Unfortunately by the time we got to the front of the queue, James Sherry had rushed our fifth favourite Idol contestant ever, Scott to a pertinent game of racket ball.

And for those who want great tax advice, tune into Scott's dad, Max Newnham's tax column in the Saturday Age.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yet Another List Of 10 About Blogging and Social Media and Shit Like That By Someone Who’s Been Doing It For Years

1. Keeping a blog is, and should be, hard work.
Look down the page. See that big break between February and now? That’s when I had a long hours job. All my smart and funnies were put into that job. The last thing I wanted to do after writing an ad that 'must have a dog in it' was to come home and write something witty about kittens falling off couches.

2. Nobody completely ‘understands’ ‘social media’. It’s magical.
That’s right. It’s magical. Now pay me shitloads as a social media consultant and then I’ll tell you again. It’s magical.

3. Comments are fine. But who reads the long ones?
Really, if you can’t say tell us you don’t like the new Vegemite name in less than three lines, you’re only really telling us you’re probably a tedious person to live with.

4. Talk about the supposed death of the newspaper all you like but please don’t diss the journalist.
I was one all through my 20s. It was hard work, and because I wasn’t good enough at it to be on staff in big media, it was especially hard to make a living out of it. Chasing 120 day old invoices from owner-operator shit rags isn’t my bag.

My lovely girlyfriend is good enough at it to be a reporter at a big newspaper. She works really hard. Her hours are consistently longer than mine were while I was a copywriter a big advertising agency. And every day she writes at least one story of 600ish words, citing quotes from real sources. Real people. Not quotes lifted from other websites. To get those quotes, she uses the phone, visits people at their workplace or meets them for coffee. That time doesn’t even come close to the time she needs to research the story enough to understand what the hell the sources talking about.

Also she refuses to be inspired to start chasing a story from reading a press release.

Now a challenge. You find me a good 20 or so blogs you read everyday where the writer a) actually uses the phone to quote their sources in all their articles b) only uses the contacts in their address book to break their own stories c) NEVER republishes press releases.
They don’t exist. And they don’t exist because writing and reporting is hard work.

While you ponder that, read this.

5. Should everyone have a blog?
Only if you think it’s interesting enough for me to read it.

6. Keep it simple (and) stupid.
Cats are funny. If that’s not your bag, read some David Sedaris to learn how to be funny while poignant.

7. Everyone can be famous (and annoying as fuck), on Facebook and Twitter.
I think Simon Townsend got it right when he once accidentally told viewers 'It’s nice to be important but it’s important to be famous.' Stay tuned to my Twitter and Facebook feeds for the announcement of when I decide to elaborate on this tedious point.

8. Newspapers dying? Yeah, but nothing beats reading a newspaper or magazine.
And while you're at it, I bet you're about to tell me you get all you want from visiting The Age or if you wanna be hoighty toighty, The Guardian, online. But really, do you get everything you need?

9. Why do I do this?
To show off my mad writing skills to my friends and future employers. Hint hint.

10. There’s no money in blogging.
Over all these years I’ve earned a little over $100 from advertising on my blogs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm Back: Brownlow Medal 2009

Round one and I’m a little nervous. I put some cash on Dane Swan to win the thing and hedged it with a little on Chris Judd. If Gary Ablett wins this I stand to lose a whopping $25. I loved Dane’s 2009. Never seen a harder runner. Then again, I’m not sure if I’ve seen a better player than Ablett. Don’t tell any Cats supporters I said this.

Before the show, the best and most absurd looking blonde on the car sponsored ‘blue carpet’ was Geoff Edelston’s kooky broad. Yah yahs everywhere. Anyway here for the votes for round one.
Ablett is on three votes and Swan on one vote. Crazy already. We know Ablett drops off so I’m not too excited yet. Great to see Swanny on the board.

Sandy Roberts is wearing a mission brown suit. Awesome.

Bland montage number one is about Nick Del Santo. Should I go put the rice on? Nah, let’s live crazy. Weird ad with a guy carting a poker machine around with him on a night on the turps. Well, not weird, just advertising school style wannabe smart. “Gambling getting in the way of your social life?” Yawn.

Neil Kerney, a voice over guy who specialises in larrikins and true blue Aussies talks us into another montage. Fans looking sad and happy and the Ruddster struggling with the Carlton theme song. Ew! A couple dry rooting at the footy.

Round two.
Ablett with another two and Swan no votes. Alan Didak gets two. Alan will probably beat Swanny. I loved Alan until a few weeks ago. Brian Lake looks like an extra fresh outta NIDA. Didn’t get a role in Underbelly so had to settle for a spot on the Footscray backline.
Tim Watson interviews Nick Riewolt. So serious. Such a pointy looking face.

Round three.
Heath Shaw violated an umpire by ‘touching’ him on the arm this round. No Brownlow for you. Ablett gets one vote. I thought he was awesome that game or was I watching Chapman. Bald people all look the same when you’re drunk at the footy. No votes to Swanny. Danyle Pearce’s family gets the bogan crazy name spelling of the round award. My spell checker will struggle with these new age names tonight.

Ads. Why do Olympians insist on doing fast food ads? And how good is the new Good Guys ad? So much going on you see something new every time you watch it. This time I notice a guy gong his noggin with a frypan. Genius.

Back to show. Is that Dipper’s daughter? Phwoar! Surely not.

Round four.
Gary Ablett gets 463 possessions. Should move to nine votes. Yawn. Pendles gets three votes and sips from a very tall glass. With that three piece suit he looks more like he’s about to take part in a pool comp than go footy’s night of nights. Richo gets three votes. Remember how exciting last year was when Richo nearly won it?

Round five.
ANZAC Day. We got killed but it was in the wet so he might sneak one vote. Ablett with only 432 possessions. I was right. Swanny sneaks the one vote and Ablett three. I liked it when Demitrio called, “A Swallow two votes,” because I am puerile. Dal Santo is one behind Ablett and Judd nowhere near. Looks like I’m losing my cash again this year.

Now an Ablett montage. Make it stop.

Car ad with a midget. I would have preferred a monkey. Before we get to round six we have some knob interviewing kids. Television producers are a low bunch.

Round six.
Footage of Ablett getting his groin rubbed. He’ll probably get votes from the hospital bed. Tarks with the three votes. Leon Davis looks bored. Chapman equal third due to that hair thing I was talkin’ about.

Round seven.
We got killed by a million points by St Kilda on a Monday night. I prefer to watch Media Watch than that shit. Monday night football. Fuck off. So angry about the concept of Monday night football, I’ll ignore the rest of the round. Shit.
Akermanis does some allegedly funny thing about blonde football players. A tumbleweed crosses the stage, and we get back to the show.

Round eight.
Carlton killed Collingwood. I remember coming home from that game. Almost cried. Ablett and Dal Santo are equal lead. Demitrio says “R NAH HAS two votes.” Gorgeous delivery of a gorgeous name.

Round nine.
There’s that footage of the kid crying at the Richmond game. Don’t care how young they are – there’s nothing more satisfying than the cry of a disgruntled Richmond supporter.
Ablett back with three votes to 15. Nobody will come near. Swan gets his third. Only 12 behind. Football is rigged. Sandy Roberts reckons it will be an exciting night. It will only exciting if Geoffrey Edelston’s broad’s R NAH HAHS pop out.

There’s an Ultratune ad with a bloke talking to some other broad about getting his car worked on. He’s wearing a paper bag. So are the wife and kids! So funny. Actually it’s not. If I submitted that one to me old boss, he would have punched me hard in the gob. Apologies to any potential employers who may have wrote that one. But really, it’s a sad lookin’ ad.

Pants down and itchy ball montage.

Round ten.
Dane Swan has something stuck up his nose and Brendan Fevola is drunk.

Round eleven.
Lenny Hayes joins Ablett on 16 points for the lead for approximately 1.5 minutes. Swan can’t buy a vote.

Another montage, this time hosted by Steve Curry and the other guy on the Toyota ad. Fevola plays with his wedding tackle a lot apparently.

After the ad yet another montage- this time in super slow motion, much like footy’s night of nights.

Round twelve.
We see Dan Laidley throwing a telephone. How can Sydney get most the votes when we win the game? Alan has his shirt sleeves up. Great fashion move. No votes for Swan.

Round thirteen.
I’ve lost interest. So has Alan. He gets another 3 votes. Makes him equal with Swan at 8 votes. Ablett now on 22.

Rebecca Twigley is dull like her BF.

Round fourteen.
Swan is out of it. So is Judd. There goes my money. Demetrio says NAH HAHS loudly again. The world watching yell it back to him. Demetrio stumbles. Swan only one vote. This is the shittiest Brownlow ever.

At last a montage worth watching. A tribute to Bobby Skilton. Love to have him over for a cuppa one day.

Denis Cometi has a funny looking head.

Round fifteen.
I like Dane Swan’s shirt. There’s a black lining on the collar. Classy in a bogan sort of classy way.. Didak on 11 and is horribly drunk. This show is deep. Fevola is off his face. Get a sms from Katia pointing out that Fev should get a formal warning tomorrow.

Round sixteen.
Go Judd. I need him go win this to get my money back. Not a chance but it’s nice to hope. Ablett is on 23 votes.

Round seventeen.
Lucy: “Why do they have to do this vote counting live?”
Me: “Because it’s awesome.”
At last Swan gets a three. Johnathon Brown is within 5 votes of snatching it. Not a chance. Demetrio is doing that pause for dramatic effect thing for every player within 20 votes of Ablett. Tedious.

Round nineteen.
There’s no way I’m going to make my money back. Ablett is going to win it. Demetrio trying to do the drama thing but come on, really.

Round twenty.
Footage of the fabulous Richmond brawl. Swan got 553 possessions and will be lucky to get a vote. Ablett got 44332 disposals and will get 6 votes for his effort. I was right. Swan didn’t get a vote and Ablett… wins the Brownlow. Leads by 7 with 2 rounds to go.

Brownlow rigged. Swan robbed. At least Gary Garry Ablett is a nice kid.

Oh, and he can play.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't Diss Our Roots

“He believes many people are still captured by the white-picket view of a home, the Neighbours and Kath and Kim model of suburban living.” (In The Dock, The Age, 17/3)

And there you have it, in one icecream headache inducing sentence, an insult and reason why I would never live in that windswept dive, a place made by men and women who don’t like people but love investment. A place as much a monument to the horrible world before our recession as are foreclosure Florida ghost-towns and $400 AMFM radios.

They’re built by men and women disgusted by my, my family and most of my friend’s suburban childhoods. Men and women who think we should prefer a chain shopping precinct to a family run milkbar. Men and women who reckon they can get away with selling a home without a kitchen (yes, they exist), or backyard.

I’m the hip young professional these men and women have failed in trying to coax into their speculative investment.

I’m sick of upstarts in The Age's pages dissing our suburbs.

So bugger Soho, Notting Hill and the Docklands and celebrate Mount Waverley, Knox and Preston because these are the real places of childhood and Melbourne’s soul.

Friday, January 30, 2009

20 Reasons Why You Should See The Wrestler Starring Mickey Rourke

  1. Mickey Rourke is in it.
  2. Amazing inspirational hair metal every time Mickey Rourke is in his pickup truck even in the plaintive moments.
  3. Wrestling fans. Freaks and creeps. All fat. Some midgets and wheelchair bound.
  4. Mickey Rourke is in it.
  5. There's a scene where Mickey Rourke goes shopping for op shop clothes for his daughter. Hilarious. Rocky Bulboa/Adrienne style hilarious.
  6. Blood. Plenty of blood.
  7. Mickey Rourke is in it.
  8. These days we don't get to see the American flag all that often. This film rectifies the problem.
  9. There's a scene where Mickey Rourke gets a haircut. Hilarious. Rocky Balboa/Vidal Sassoon style hilarious.
  10. Mickey Rourke is in it.
  11. Mickey Rourke's name-tag when working in the deli.
  12. Bruce Springsteen's beautiful ditty written just for the film during the closing credits.
  13. Mickey Rourke is in it.
  14. Mickey Rourke's body.
  15. Mickey Rourke's face.
  16. There's a scene where Mickey Rourke visits a solarium. Hilarious. Rocky Balboa/Peter Andre style hilarious.
  17. Mickey Rourke's slurred speech patterns.
  18. Mickey Rourke's dancing.
  19. Mickey Rourke's pervert opponent who doesn't like running all that much.
  20. Mickey Rourke is in it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Still recovering from hiring The Kite Runner last weekend.

Only really liked the slingshot scene so here's Rufus Hussey, the best gawdamn slingshotter who ever lived.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Top Songs Played On My Ipod 2008

This past year, a record breaking, 14 of the top 25 songs played on my ipod are by Tom Waits. So first, here's 2008's top ten including Tom's songs.

1. Lonely - Tom Waits
2. Grapefruit Moon - Tom Waits
3. Sunswept Sunday - Duke Ellington
4. Blue - The Jayhawks
5. Head Full Of Steam - The Go-Betweens
6. Lullabye For Christie - Dirty Three
7. Train Song - Tom Waits
8. Innocent When You Dream - Tom Waits
9. Diamonds On My Windshield - Tom Waits
10. The Heart Of Saturday Night - Tom Waits

Also, because my ipod is set to wake me up in the morning, some songs like Sunswept Sunday by Duke Ellington and Sweet Thing by Van Morrison muck up the top 25 because they're repeated most mornings. So now, the top 25 non wakey wakey songs not by Tom Waits played on my ipod in 2008.

1. Blue - The Jayhawks
2. Head Full Of Steam - The Go-Betweens
3. Lullabye For Christie - Dirty Three
4. Fall On My Knees - Samamidon
5. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
6. Your Happiness - Compulsive Gamblers
7. Saro - Samamidon
8. If You Can't Give Me Everything - The Reigning Sound
9. Apology Accepted - Go Betweens
10. All Mixed Up - Red House Painters
11. Stop And Think It's Over - Compulsive Gamblers
12. Find Me Now - Reigning Sound
13. Stormy Weather - Reigning Sound
14. I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys - Reigning Sound
15. Time Bomb High School - Reigning Sound
16. Little Johnny Brown - Samamidon
17. Lucky Ones - Broken Social Scene Featuring Kevin Drew
18. You're Not As Pretty - Reigning Sound
19. Swingin' Party - The Replacements
20. Be My Baby - The Ronnettes
21. Fiesta - Ween
22. Goo Goo Muck - The Cramps
23. Reel Around The Fountain - The Smiths
24. I'm Your Puppet - James & Bobby Purify
25. The Dark End Of The Street - Roy Hamilton

Yes, again these lists suggest I'm a miserable bastard but I reckon it's looking like 2009's playlists will be a little more peppy.

Here's a link to my previous end of year ipod charts.