Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2017

Absolving Change the Date of Andrew Bolt's sins

With the recent passing of the date variously noted as Australia/Survival/Invasion Day, it was gratifying to note that ever year, the Change the Date campaign grows louder and more visible. Seems it's going the way of the campaign for marriage equality - from those wanting change being a fringe movement, then going mainstream until those who don't want the change are a fringe movement (though still controlling the law in Australia, alas). Of course there is the inevitable backlash from the cranky, condescending and confused. Australia's most urbane and sophisticated frothing right wing nut job, Andrew Bolt, has published his latest missive pompously proclaiming the "Seven sins of the change-Australia-Day movement" . Now refuting Andrew Bolt is like confusing Malcolm Roberts ; it seems too pitifully easy to be fair. Nevertheless, we'll just quickly dispense with him here. First of all, the ABC has not "thrown its weight" behind the campaign to change

Are you a neo-Nazi or just don't think they should be punched? Read this.

"The actual camp appeared like an untidy slaughterhouse. A pungent smell hung heavily in the air… The further we walked into the site, the stronger the smell of burnt flesh became, and dirty-black ash rained down on us from the heavens, darkening the snow… Innumerable exhausted, wretched figures with shrunken faces and bald heads were standing outside of the barracks. They didn’t know that we were coming. The surprise made many of them faint. A picture that would make everyone wither away who saw it. The misery was horrifying. The ovens [ of the crematoria ] were still hot and some were still blazing fiercely when we approached… We were standing in a circle, everyone was silent. From the barracks more and more hungry children were emerging, reduced to skeletons and enveloped in rags. Like ants they assembled in large groups, making noise as if they were in a large school yard. With arms extended, they were waiting, begging and screaming for bread. They were whining out of despair

America, I Am Not Your Ally

Today (Australian time), Donald Trump was inaugurated as US President. Now I'm not going to add to the millions of words already written expressing peoples' real grief, fear, anger and horror, except to respond to what Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said today: As millions of principled, decent Americans have proclaimed Trump is not their president, so I would like to say that Malcolm Turnbull does not speak for me, as an Australian citizen. As long as Trump is in the White House, swept in on a tide of treason, interference and corruption, standing for bigotry, hatred and pessimism, I am not an American ally. I am not an ally of the Trump administration. My alliance - my solidarity and love - is with the millions of Americans who fought and will keep fighting against everything the Trump presidency stands for. Who fight for healthcare, women's rights. Who fight for the environment. Who fight for economic equality. Who fight against racism and bigotry. Those who

Shitkanless: Sydney to Newcastle without the Shitkansen

Ah, the Shitkansen , our much beloved train from Sydney to Newcastle. Where would we be without it? Without its strange smells, its majestic purple hues, its constant delays and disruptions, the ever present threat of violence to keep things from getting dull? (Stuck in Sydney, Newcastle or - gasp - the Central Coast is where we'd be). Heck, the ride has even served as a muse: But for some of us, the Shitkansen just isn't enough. We dare to dream higher. That, or we're just sick of the damn thing. Anyway, there is a way to travel from Sydney to Newcastle entirely on public transport, without needing to avail yourself of the Shitkansen. I must warn you though, it isn't really an alternative in the sense of being just another way to get from one city to another in a reasonably straightforward fashion. No, going Shitkanless is an adventure. An odyessy. It requires time, patience, dedication. With great effort comes great reward. But it's not easy. Not all of you are go

Trump the Toddler: the Final Proof

It's hardly a novel observation that incoming US President Donald Trump acts like a toddler, as anyone who's ever had a toddler in the house will recognise: the tantrums, the self-centredness, the meltdowns when things don't go their way. We see this all with Donald Trump, but how does his behaviour on his favourite communication platform, Twitter, reflect what the parenting experts have to say about the carry on of the little people with sticky fingers careening around the house? In his 2001 collection, The CEO of the Sofa , PJ O'Rourke quoted from 1982's Your One Year Old: The Fun-Loving, Fussy 12- to 24-Month Old by Louise Bates Ames as to how the characteristics of toddlers can be seen in managers. O'Rourke describes himself having a shock of recognition, and frankly so did I. All of the "Characteristics of the Age" Ms Ames describes can be seen personified in Trump: He seems to want everything , to prefer everybody else to have nothing: A busy li

A Centrelink Job Search Horror Story

I swear on Bill Bryson's life this really happened. Today I had to go in to a disability employment services provider run through Job Active (the old Centrelink Job Network). As I was explaining to them that yes, I was taking a break from uni with carpal tunnel, unstable pelvis, and following my breakdown last year, but I'm going back to study in a minute, I was able to quickly disabuse myself of any notion I'd had that disability providers would be in any way more understanding or caring than the regular kind. As I waited for the 900 pages of intensely personal information to be compiled so this for profit organisation could tick off my attendance and be paid more from the government than I have to live on in a week, I overheard what was being said by the guy in the cubicle next to me - and they were partitioned off cubicles, not offices with doors, despite the personal nature of what gets discussed in there. He had a firm, clear, calm voice and I could hear every word.  T

A Requiem for Gothic Sydney

Venerable Sydney Goth, Steampunk and Victorian clothing boutique Gallery Serpentine recently announced that they are shutting up shop on Enmore Road and moving to Marrickville. Having shopped there for many years - I got my wedding outfit at GS - I wish them well, but it's sad to see them go. With the departure of Gallery Serpentine, the last remaining hold out - more of an elder statesperson, really - we see the end of Enmore Road as the Gothic heart of Sydney. Fifteen years ago, Enmore Road was home to a thriving Goth scene, by Australian standards. There was Cabinet de Curiosities, In Visible Light, the Wild One, GS of course, and many others I have no doubt forgotten somewhere between my first corset and my first age spot. There was also a decent club scene in the city at large, in those magical days before lockouts or drink restrictions or even smoking bans; a group of us would travel down so regularly we were known as the Newcastle group. And I'll never forget the excitem