YEAR out from the next election, ACT Opposition Leader Alistair Coe has candidly confessed it will take a miracle to loosen Labor’s almost two-decade grip on power in the capital.
Miracles aside, all the party needs is to appoint Mark Parton leader. The former radio man is ready made for the role, principally because he is the exact opposite of the string of dry, beige, awkward Canberra Liberal leaders who have spectacularly failed to pressure successive Labor governments.
He is genuinely enthusiastic about politics, people like and respond to him and, tellingly, he’s had a career outside politics endowing him with that rare but essential gift – the common touch.
In November 2017 “minister for greyhounds’ MLA Mark Parton stood in persistant rain, soaked to the skin through his business shirt , passionately vowing to hundreds of angry local greyhound owners and trainers assembled that he would “keep on fighting” for them after a cruel ban was placed on their sport by the Barr government.
Also on the podium that day in Garema Place was Liberal leader Alistair Coe who told the irate placard waving mob that in Parton “they had no greater champion in the assembly”. Coe also pledged to “stand side by side with you”.
The Canberra Times (Friday Sept 25) reported the while ACT libs “had previously vowed to overturn the greyhound ban and cannabis legislation if elected in 2020” leader Coe declared “neither would be a priority in government”.
On the greyhound issue Parton told me “I don’t believe there’s actually been a change of position here”. When pressed he added “our position has not changed”. What that position/policy “actually” is remains ambiguous. Might be clearer afterthe election.
…at the end of the off ramp outside the Richmond Railway station a small, animated man, decked out head to toe in the instantly recognisable red and black colours of his team rapidly approaches.
And as he propels himself past you, you dressed in the unmistakeable navy blue strip of your team, this deliriously happy Bombers fan lets fly with ….”eat sh*t you f***ing c***s”…..
No explanation was required – the essence of the wheelchair wordsmith’s message was abundantly clear. Nor was any personal offence taken by we three Canberrans wearing the “offending” apparel of the “blue baggers”, who had just suffered an humiliating defeat at the nearby MCG, bringing to an end four long seasons of horror for the Red and Black brigade. Only momentarily stunned, we quickly recovered and pissed ourselves laughing once the spray from the colourful gobfull had subsided. Unexpected, but after all to be expected in Melbourne in the shadow of the MCG late in Winter.
Of course people in wheelchairs are perfectly entitled to get excited when their football team wins, particularly when that team has been to hell and back. Of course wheelchair bound people have a perfect right to heckle rival fans outside the Richmond Railway Station and any place they so desire. But when “eat sh*t you f***ing c***s” is hurled in your direction at close range and the giver of the “directive” is a disabled person, apparently you just have to wear it. There appears to be no choice but to wear it.
Abuse of this nature from an able bodied person in the same location and under similar circumstances would almost certainly be returned with interest and potentially end up in a “blue”. And if there’d been a member of the constabulary nearby there may have been an “awkward” situation. Not to mention the women and children among the scores of fans streaming away from the “G”.
The abuse wasn’t aimed at our weight, skin colour, sexuality or age, but rather our football team and therefore, in some circles of society, more than likely considered far less offensive.
A Google search of ‘how to respond to strong abuse from a disabled person in a public space’, returns virtually nothing.
Alan Jones and John Laws were at the centre of one of Sydney’s great feuds in 2004, but it appears even the deepest wounds can heal, especially in grief.
Theirs was a headline-grabbing cat fight, sparked after Jones left his old 2UE stablemate and jumped ship in 2001 to join 2GB in a mega-buck deal orchestrated by then owner John Singleton.
Jones took most of 2UE’s listeners and advertisers with him. Laws was furious – with his radio star already waning, Jones had delivered a lethal blow and before long Laws was gone.
He famously called Jones “a vicious old tart” on air. Jones remained silent, saying he would not comment on “rubbish”.
Laws added further salt into Jones’ already raw wounds by going on Andrew Denton’sEnough Rope to say Jones would be a “gold medallist” if “hypocrisy were an Olympic sport”.
Laws, who along with Jones had been embroiled in the cash-for-comment saga, also revealed on his radio show that not long after the scandal, Jones had instructed former prime minister John Howard to reinstate David Flint as boss of media watchdog the Australian Broadcasting Authority.
Laws – who to this day remains unrepentant over his “loyalty” to sponsors – labelled Jones, Flint and Howard as “an unpleasant little troika”.
By that point it appeared Laws had burnt any remaining pylons still standing under his old, rickety bridge with Jones.
Or so it seemed.
On Tuesday Jones joined a cavalcade of VIPs to support his old foe during the funeral of Laws’ wife, Caroline, at Darling Point’s St Mark’s.
Jones magnanimously stood by Laws’ side as the radio star, wracked with grief, bade farewell to the love of his life, the woman he endearingly called his “Princess”.
Following the funeral, a clearly moved Jones told PS: “The grief endured by the legendary John Laws was both visible and beyond what anyone could be expected to endure.”
“I felt it was important to be there so that he knew, at this time, he would not be on his own. It was moving and inspiring that a 44-year relationship could mean so much as to produce such an overwhelming sense of loss at Caroline’s passing.”
And it appears the rapprochement will endure.
“I have indicated to John that I am here for a cup of tea if it would help,” Jones revealed.
Last November, at Laws’ former agent John Fordham’s funeral in Paddington, PS observed that old rivalries between Laws and Jones were buried, for just a few hours at least, as the radio titans cheekily traded jibes outside the church.
For many years it was Fordham who was the meat in the sandwich between the pair, who for decades waged battles over egos and ratings.
Jones had initially walked right by Laws to say hello to someone else, apparently not seeing the shock of snow white hair as Laws hovered around the crowd, his not inconsequential frame stooped over a walking stick.
But Laws’ pride was hardly feeble, and he was having none of it, shouting out to Jones somewhat incredulously: “Alan, you did not say hello to me!”
Jones, looking mortified, turned and shook hands. Smiling at each other the old radio titans spoke of their respective health issues and Jones said: “It’s good to see you.”
And no doubt it was again for Laws when he clapped eyes on Jones at St Mark’s on Tuesday.
What’s the difference between erotic and perverted? Erotic is using a feather, perverted is using the whole chook. Apparently.
What is the difference between “racy” and pornographic? There is no difference between porn and racy. Not anymore.Apparently.
A local Pink Ladies Valentine’s Day fundraising screening of the porn flick “Fifty Shades of Grey”, has been promoted as “racy”. When did this happen? It’s a slippery slope . How long before “racy” becomes respectable?
The word pornography has been successfully sanitised, homogenised and almost normalised. “Food Porn” “Mummy Porn” ….Shane Warne.
It’s just not natural. A trench coat should be stained with other unmentionable matter not Choc Tops and Popcorn.
This is what happens when you start messing with nature. Wholemeal Pizza, Low cal Coke and Porn with a Plot. It’s just wrong.
Pardon my pathetic porn puns but it’s hard, sorry difficult to be serious when you are talking about not talking about Pornography. I’m probably flogging a dead whores (last one I promise) but if it looks, smells and sounds like PORN, and “FSG” does, then FFS call it PORN.
“FSG” has aroused “serious” discussion and pricked some serious feminist consciences even on the commercial couches of our TV breakfast shows. “Today” co-host Lisa Wilkinson was completely underwhelmed with FSG. Worst movie she’d seen she said. But over at Mamamia, Mia Freedman sturdily disagreed. Ms Freedman could not see anything wrong with the flick.
The book by E L James sold by the pallet load at “all good book stores” like Big W and even scored a book deal for her husband, Niall Leonard, a serious writer before the chick lit hit the fan.
Another serious writer, Nikki Gemmell is probably regretting hiding behind anonymity when she published her porn piece “The Bride Stripped Bare” in 2003. A woman before her time it would appear.
I haven’t read or seen FSG and I won’t, but I know pornography when I hear it. Anyway I am far too busy knocking out my own piece of “racy” lit ….“Dirty Davina’s Kiss My Whip Message Parlour”in the hope of selling a pallet load……Page One Chapter One..
…“It was still dark outside when Irish Backpacker Davina Donnelly slovenly dragged herself off the filthy mattress she’d drunkenly slumped onto only hours before. She clumsily put on the red underwear she’d randomly scooped up from a pile of clothes scattered across the floor of the dank and dingy apartment. But as she clumsily pulled his carefully faded 301s up over her long slender legs she heard a spine-chilling scream from the mattress below her. It was Oscar… “you can take my jocks but you can never take my Levis”
PEOPLE with too much time on their hands irritate me. Tourists, window shoppers and tyre kickers have the annoying knack of getting under the feet of the busy people around them, some of whom are unfairly judged as being prickly.
But when I’m on holiday and in a new city, the rules change. Sue me.
Waiting for a family member at a nearby hipster barber shop, I impatiently skulked outside a funky menswear store in what I assessed to be the heart of Auckland’s fashion district.
When the light rain which had been drizzling for much of the day began to fall more heavily, I entered the oddly named Strangely Normal store for a look. The store’s facade and colourful window display could easily have been the New Zealand bricks and mortar version of the J Peterman (of “Seinfeld” fame) fashion catalogue.
It was a cross between the result of someone getting over excited at a Peter Allen garage sale and the type of menswear store from my childhood where it was mandatory to display plastic male mannequin torsos encased in the iconic jockey brand of mens underwear. Thankfully I was not in the market for underwear that wet Wednesday in Auckland. My “boys” didn’t need “a house”.
Once inside this Aladin’s cave of haute couture (tho it may have just been funky fashion bazaar) my attention was immediately drawn to a large wall of hats. The impressive and comprehensive range of lids included straw, felt, woollen, high, low, square and peaked – suprisingly though, not a single Urban Sombrero in sight. Suprising because it was the type of men’s fashion store in which you’d half expect to spot the odd puffy shirt, and possibly the fabled Manssierre or Bro on proud display. Nor were there any velour tracksuits or belt-less trench coats for that matter. As I stood drinking in this colourful catalogue I spotted in my periphery a man of similar age to myself but vastly more flamboyantly attired. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I was ready with the universally accepted response, “No thanks, just looking” to the anticipated, “Can I help you sir?”.
Instead, he began a long, slow, judgemental scan down my person beginning at the faded black woollen beanie, featuring the East Berlin traffic light walk symbol Amplemann. He continued through my burnt-orange Kathmandu windbreak-with rain-hood and six generous pockets, my battleship-grey but extremely functional backpacked mid section, down my beige Vinnies sourced Country Road chinos. He finished with a scowl at the Vans Sports (black suede and again picked up at an Op shop) on my feet. I was speechless. I had no speech.
At this point he rolled his eyes superciliously and spat out something which may have been “bloody tourists” but was more likely “how could you possibly think we would stock anything the likes of you could afford or appreciate?”.
No service for you. He was a fashion nazi. A dictator of dapperness.
He then dramatically returned his focus to the chunky mahogany counter and the keyboard on which he was furiously tapping, one finger at a time, when I unwittingly entered his hallowed and tasteful turf, savagely assaulting his sartorial sensitivities.
It was a form of discrimination to which I had not been subjected before. I’ve weathered society’s cruel intolerance to short, Tasmanian, collapsed Catholic, recovered bed wetters, but to be judged on my fashion sense, in a menswear shop, was beyond the pale.
I “sarcastically” apologised and left the store. I could have gone harder but- given I was on holiday- my comeback locker was bereft of zingers apart from “the jerk store rang”.
I could have also pulled a “Vivian” from “Pretty Woman” and slipped around the corner, purchased an expensive hat and popped my head back into Mr Snooty’s den to show him he’d made “a big mistake”.
On reflection, at the very least I should have flounced out the door with a dramatic “well, I never” swirling in my wake, but the truth is I don’t flounce. No flounce.
Clearly this fashion nazi is years behind the edgy, “almost homeless, semi-retired over 60s Op shop loiterer with precious few fucks left to give” wave. I’ll wager he will one day kick his own arse when he twigs his dismissive and uppity behaviour cost him a ground floor fashion advantage offered by an authentic and visionary vintage trendsetter. Big mistake.
Later that day, my faith in the humans of Auckland was fully restored. Leaving a bar, heavy rain still falling, a man entering handed me the cheap black umbrella he was collapsing and shaking with a friendly: “You’ll need this”. The only caveat was: “If you’re still standing here when I finish my pint I’ll have it back”.
He may well have been taking pity on a homeless person loitering at the front of a bar for loose change, but I’d much rather believe he was a kind soul looking out for a fellow traveller.
And the day took a major upturn later with a high-grade celebrity spot. The Australian actress Rachel Griffiths was out doing a spot of shopping. I have no doubt if the stylish star of the Aussie classic “Muriel’s Wedding” and director of current hit “Rides Like a Girl” popped into crusty old mate’s gentleman’s emporium, he’d be gushing like the geysers at Rotorua for a month.
Talking about the weather, as we all mostly seem to do, the drought has finally broken and it was an elderly (is there any other?) Alan Jones listener who predicted it. Not only did she comprehensively and succinctly “call it” she did so with nothing more than the aid of a simple and totally unscientific method. Ants.
Many people, myself included myself, believed Irish smart arse Oscar Wilde had uttered the durable and useful phrase “everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it”. While Wilde is responsible for the cynical and snobbish “conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative”, American wise guy Mark Twain gets credit for a clever take on the topic about which everyone talks but does nothing.
It turns out Twain often “banged on” about the weather, including an unkind comment about spending a “cold winter San Francisco in the summer”. But even from when the dawning of the age of Aquarius in that cold “Summer in the City” first “let the Sunshine in”, motivating creative folk the world over to have “thunder in their hearts”, “walk on sunshine”, “chase” and “catch the wind”, stand, sing, cry, dance and even get naked in the rain which was sometimes “hard” and at least once, “purple”, no one has topped Twain’s astute observation of humanity’s apathy to all things meteorological. That is until Alan Jones’ listener, Thelma last week.
Not CSIRO boffins nor the raft (a pet Alan phrase) of climate experts and scientists who’ve conscientiously mulled over data the divisive debate has coughed up for decades had come within a bull’s roar of predicting the end of our crippling drought.
But there it was, live on my AM radio ( I know, it’s a dirty and unsociable habit like nose picking) at 6.52 on Tuesday morning. Alan shared the profound thoughts of listener Thelma who wrote.. “all this climate change guff” was just that. And if only someone had “bothered to ask me I’d have been able to tell them”,Thel offered and explained…..”ants have returned to my pantry and that means the drought is broken”. And right on cue it began to piss down biblical all the way down from Queensland to southern NSW and into Victoria and is still coming down five days later.
Yet just a few hours after Thel’s BOM beating bombshell, hoards of angry people began descending on the lawns of our Federal Parliament armed with placards saying nasty and hurtful things about good ole ScoMo who was leading his embattled LNP troops back into battle for a new year just a few hundred metres up the hill. If only the protesters had tuned into Alan Jones show that day they’d be much wiser and less confused and conflicted about the climate. And less ignorant when talking about the weather.
And a tip for new Q & A man Hamish McDonald. If you desire the dizzyingly high rating numbers and frenzied Tuesday water cooler post mortems the other ‘Jones Boy (with the occasional assistance of the real ‘Jones boy) incited, put Thel up against palaeontologist and environmentalist Prof Tim Flannery and allow her to unleash her undoubtedly extensive list of tried and true methods of predicting weather patterns. Thel may even also have a few other gems up her gnarly old hand knitted beige cardigan sleeves. Such as a nifty but non surgical method of ridding oneself of warts ***. Champagne television guaranteed.
I’ve attempted to remain faithful to my mother’s considered rebuke of my bagging of humans quoting Max Ehrmann of Desiderata fame …“and listen to others. Even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story”. But there is a limit.
Back in the day (before climate change) I once made the rookie mistake of sitting too close to a barfly in a city hotel one quiet afternoon. Though mercifully a man of few words the barfly was generous enough to share with me his breathtaking and dangerously sweeping conspiracy theory that “the pill has made women savage” .
A Q & A topic for another day. Bettina Arndt?
*** Take a dead cat to a cemetery at midnight and just like magic your warts are dust.