By Mike Welsh – January 2, 2020 citynews.com.au
“I’ve weathered society’s cruel intolerance to short, Tasmanian, Catholic, recovered bed wetters, but to be judged on my fashion sense – in a menswear shop – was beyond the pale.”
MIKE WELSH admits he’s no fashion plate, but he wasn’t ready for a form of discrimination to which he’d not been subjected to before.
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 in a new city, the rules change.
Waiting for a family member at a nearby barber, I impatiently loitered outside a funky menswear store in the heart of Auckland’s fashion district.
When the light rain, which had been falling 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 eye-catching window display could have easily been the NZ bricks and mortar version of the J Peterman (of “Seinfeld” fame) fashion catalogue.
Once inside 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 (though not one Urban Sombrero in sight). As I stood in awe, I spotted in my periphery a man of similar age to myself but more flamboyantly attired.
I was ready with the universally accepted response, “No thanks, just looking” to the anticipated, “Can I help you sir?”.
Instead, I was completely floored by his long, slow, judgemental scan down my person beginning at the black woollen beanie through the burnt-orange Kathmandu windbreak and battleship-grey backpacked torso down my beige Vinnies Country Road chinos with holes in both pockets and finishing with a scowl at the Vans (again sourced from an Op shop) on my feet.
At this point he rolled his eyes superciliously and mumbled 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?”.
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 ignorantly entered his hallowed and tasteful turf and apparently assaulted his sartorial sensitivities. I apologised “sarcastically’ and left.
It was a form of discrimination to which I had not been subjected before. I’ve weathered society’s cruel intolerance to short, Tasmanian, Catholic, recovered bed wetters, but to be judged on my fashion sense – in a menswear shop – was beyond the pale.
I know I should have 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”, but I didn’t have playboy corporate raider Edward Lewis’ black plastic to splash about.
On reflection, at the very least I should have flounced out the door after a dramatic “well, I never!”, but the truth is I have never flounced, out of a menswear store or anywhere for that matter. Not a good time to begin the theatrical exit on holiday in a foreign city.
Clearly NZ is not yet ready for the edgy, almost homeless, semi-retired over 60s with precious f@#$s left to give look.
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 umbrella he was collapsing and shaking with a friendly: “You’ll need this”. The only caveat was: “If you are 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.
The day definitely wasn’t a complete loss as I also made a high-grade celebrity spot. The Australian actress Rachel Griffiths was out doing a spot of shopping. I have no doubt that if the stylish star of the Aussie classic “Muriel’s Wedding” and director of current hit “Rides Like a Girl” entered crusty old mate’s gentleman’s emporium. he’d be gushing like the geysers at Rotorua for a month.
The last time I heard the word emasculated in a radio station was over 30 years ago. And I had to consult a dictionary. An enterprising PD (Program Director for Millenials) at the then chronically under-resourced 7AD Devonport swapped some unwanted record stock for a record player for the station’s library. But when the branded vinyl began popping up at a second hand store a member of the family which owned the network was most unimpressed with the “emasculation” of the station’s music library.
According to a few industry experts the once rightwing Sydney based broadcasting powerhouse 2GB has also been emasculated. But the alleged neutering is not in the station’s record library. It’s its raison d’etre , its talkers.
2GB, now part of the rebranded Nine media family which includes the perennial Melbourne ratings dominator 3AW, has apparently become burdened by the weight of relentless rightwing ranting, to the extent that the new owners are ‘re-positioning’ the station in order to attract a younger female audience.
Recovering night-time rightwing ranter/infomercial wizard Steve Price, who recently replaced the punted afternoon lightweight loudmouth Chris Smith, was quickly punted himself. Price is to be replaced in 2020 by Deb Knight, freshly punted herself from Nine’s Today breakfast TV settee.
Meanwhile, down south at 3AW the inoffensive former Young Talent Timer Denis Walter was “reclocated” from his longtime afternoon slot to nights to make way for another female presenter Dee Dee Dunleavy in 2020.
Will the “emasculation” of commercial talk radio be successful? Not at 2GB at least and 3AW is a vastly different beast. As different to 2GB as Melbourne is to Sydney.
One longtime Sydney talk radio insider is not optimistic about ratings sucess with the new touch, suggesting “nice doesn’t get numbers “.
People listen to 2GB for the hate it radiates. Melbournians have been accustomed to 3AW’s balanced, intelligent and quality talk back broadcasting for decades and don’t seem to have a problem with “ladies” on the wireless.
Already 2GB’s Ray Hadley, diligently striving to project himself as a softer, kinder human being after one too many bullying incidents, is losing audience share. The former racecaller ended 2018 with a healthy 17.9% share of the Sydney mob. But ended this year with a much softer 13.8%.
And the unchallenged headmaster of the school of shockjocks Alan Jones spent most of 2019 witnessing his once almost 20% audience share vapourise. He also has the humiliating, for him, “one more slip of your acid tongue and you’re out” caveat hanging over his head.
While 3AW’s numbers appear to be stable, putting a stockinged ‘sock in it’ at 2GB is going to be problematic and radically recalibrating the right wing ranting richter scale will be tricky.
POST FROM FEB 2015
When writing about matters of ladies’ parts it’s important to try and be mature and broad minded.
As I hail from an era (and the Island which gave birth to the euphemism) when the ladies’ “down there” region was referred to as her “Map of Tassie,” I rarely venture over the Bikini Line.
I recently wondered as to the origins of the “the Brazilian.” Apparently it has nothing to do with the association between the alarming rate of the clearing of Brazilian rain forests and the demand for a personal “clear felling.” Turns out it’s just a name among many for a trend in body haircare along with “the butterfly,” “the cricket pitch” and the fashionable sounding “Hollywood” (also known as “sphinx”), where the pubic hair is completely zapped.
Hollywood star Cameron Diaz wasn’t splitting hairs when last year she launched a full frontal attack on those who opt for the “napalming” of their nether regions in the name of fashion.
Favouring the natural look, Ms Diaz candidly suggested that trying to get rid of one’s pubic hair “is like saying ‘I don’t need my nose’”.
While Cameron’s controversial comments cast a five o’clock shadow over the downy debate, another round of fur has just hit the fan. Thanks to a new so called “Vagina poster girl,” model Hannah Davis, who features on the latest Sports Illustrated swimwear cover, the plot has thickened – or in this case, thinned. Apparently the mons pubis (the mould of skin covering the front of the vagina) is no longer deemed attractive and can be “corrected.”
According to author Wendy Squires writing in The Age…
…in a teeny tiny bikini with her thumbs hooked in her bottoms, pulling them down so low they may as well not be there, that vagina of Ms Davies is about as hard to achieve as Senate approval for Joe Hockey’s budget.
It is the mere mention of this once unmentionable “unmentionable,” the mons pubis, which has Ms Squires positively bristling.
She claims to have been “blissfully unaware that this is the term for the small deposit of fat over the female pubic bone and as fat and fashion are not friends the new body obsession dujour is the holy grail of a mini mound.” She says, “The only way to get this streamlined snail trail is through monsplasty surgery, also known as a pubic lift, to reduce and tighten the mons pubis region.”
The reason for the spike in shaving pubic hair today, for both sexes, is apparently driven by the porn industry, and it’s there Ms Squires is most vocal. The fashion and porn industries are conning women, whereas in reality, she states, men don’t care about the hair.
If that famous Tasmanian Errol Flynn were around today, I wager there would be “hell-to-pay” over all this trimming and repositioning of his favourite birth map.
FROM Canberra CIty News Jan 2011
GOOD Morning… it’s Jorian Gardner filling in for Mark Parton and Mike Welsh over summer on the Breakfast and Drive shows on Talking Canberra 1206 2CC.
Today on the program… the third spear carrier to the left in a new amateur production of “Cats” will join us; the homeless guy who lives outside the Canberra Centre – what are his political views? And, don’t miss this one, but I will have live in the studio today – that’s right LIVE! – an exclusive with that guy who washes your windscreens whether you like it or not on the corner of Northbourne and Wakefield Avenues in Dickson. An interview not to miss!
Ahh, summer. While the big guns get to retire to their summer homes down the coast or somewhere in Europe, it’s yours truly who’s left to carry the can and provide the good people of the national capital with quality talkback.
But you all know Canberra don’t you? It’s a veritable ghost town from just before Christmas to basically the end of January – which just happens to coincide with when I am on air.
Pollies, business people and pretty much anyone with a life (obviously, that’s not me) clear out of the capital for summer, leaving me with a roster of guests that’s about as long as the list of friends of Kyle Sandilands!
But fear not talkback lovers – I relish a challenge, and while everyone else might be in holiday mode, I will be scouring the news and getting the guests on that matter.
It’s lonely at 3.30am in the studio, especially in the Silly Season when interview subjects are either hung-over or still drinking. But necessity is certainly the mother of invention and no topic is too large – or for that matter too small – for me to tackle, so expect some, ummm, “surprising” guests.
“Welcome to the program Guido the office cleaner, who’s going to tell us, for the next hour, how recycling really works!”
But seriously, I am not worried about summer on 2CC, there will be still be great interviews, music, comedy and news and more. The season gives me more time to spend talking with the people who do matter – my listeners.
The stark, and unfortunate, reality of an Australian summer is that there will be bushfires and floods and accidents and all manner of tragedy that the media will report on.
But let’s really hope you are listening to me interviewing that third spear carrier from the left, because that will mean that those horrible summer catastrophes aren’t happening.
Originally published in 2018
OPPOSITION LEADER BILL SHORTEN WILL NEVER BE PRIME MINISTER, IF A LITTLE KNOWN BUT FATAL POLITICAL CURSE STILL EXISTS.
For two weeks in April 2006 the then trade unionist embedded himself in the nation’s psyche from the top of a gold mine in Beaconsfield Tasmania as international media broadcast the gripping story of two miners trapped below.
Returning to the Apple Isle to campaign for the July 28 by-election in the seat of Braddon Shorten was seriously rebuffed after only 30 locals attended a Devonport chamber of commerce sponsored “working lunch” on July 4. What Bill, or his advisers ignored was the “Devonport curse”. If Devonport rejects you, you are toast.
It was in the coastal port hub on Melbourne Cup day 1984 that the curse first materialised. Then federal opposition leader and conservative pin-up boy Andrew Peacock, dropped in to campaign for the Dec 1 federal poll before flying back to Melbourne to watch the big two miler at Flemington.
I was the mid-morning announcer on radio 7AD and the “Kooyong Colt” was scheduled for a 10 am in-studio chat.
By the time Peacock entered the studio he was 25 mins late and livid. In a huddle with advisers a frustrated Peacock muttered the F word several times- thankfully not on air-but not detected by the 30 strong media pack which had crammed into the antiquated 7AD studios. The source of Peacock’s fit of pique was also the reason for his tardiness. In the Rooke St Mall below, party flunkies had frantically but unsuccessfully searched for a local who either recognised the man who was heading for the Lodge or was prepared to participate in a photo opportunity.
On air I urged callers to “keep their questions short” as our guest had “a horse race to get to”. A member of the traveling media pack joked in the Australian the following day that “Announcer Mike Welsh needed not to have bothered with a brevity plea to open line callers as there were none”.
Whether that part of the nation which is stopped by a race had already downed tools, or the people of Devonport had decided Peacock’s birthright to rule was dead in the water, is unclear but Black Knight won the cup and in less than a month Bob Hawke was re-elected Prime Minister. Opposition leaders curse or coincidence?
“ Bounding through the bush, knife drawn, in pursuit of an angry and unpredictable boar; Gary Abblett became a blur amid the trees moving expertly across uneven terrain. Such was his strength and primal instincts” …….“Playing God” The Rise and Fall of Gary Abblett. (Garry Linnell)
Pretty impressive story ???. Well I thought so, that is until I heard the story about a girl I know doing something very similar. What if I told you she is ……”Feminine, petite, slight and gentle, less than 162 cm tall and weighing 50kgs- the size of your average Feral Pig”?
And Abblett was one described by Journalist Andrew Rule thus …..“ knotted muscles and raw bones…. thighs like turkey drumsticks, his neck buttressed with a sloping ridge of muscle that links long, powerful arms. Like a silverback gorilla…”.
The difference is our heroine was not among of a bunch of hairy males packed into an old ute hunting Feral pigs for sport. Hearing the familiar but frightening noise of a wild pig and hunting dog locked in a stand-off, she was forced to engage a dormant primal instinct in order to protect an animal (the hunting dog she loved) from certain death.
One of her husband’s hunting dogs had escaped its compound and had cornered a wild pig behind a 2 metre high fence at the back of the small acreage the family shared on the outskirts of a rural village.
Unable to see exactly what was going on she knew she must act and quickly.
She rang her husband at work who told her that she MUST KILL THE PIG.
If the frenzied stalemate continued the hunting dog would eventually die from exhaustion as its instinct is not to retreat.
Most us with little or no WPS (wild pig slaying) experience on our CVs would respond to the PIG MUST BE KILLED directive similarly…. “now, let me get this straight…. You want me to go down there and place myself in the mix of a Wild Pig (of unspecified proportions) locked in mortal combat with a dog trained to kill or die in the process …and…. What’s that other thing you said?….I must pierce the wild pig’s heart with a knife.. “ Too Easy….
Without question or alarm, she quickly secured her children in the house, mounted a quad bike and, with a dog lead wrapped around her waist (for the return trip with hopefully a living dog attached), armed herself with a knife (I’d like to say clenched between her teeth but probably not) specifically designed for WPS and juggling her mobile phone on which her husband was giving clear instructions, she level- headedly headed in the direction of the unfolding massacre she and she alone had to bring to an end.
Even though she had never killed a living thing, she simply knew what she had to do.
She was calm and considered and motivated by the task of saving the life of her favourite dog.
“the hunting dog was old and my favourite and I didn’t want him to die”
For the record, our rookie pig slayer had witnessed the method by which an experienced pig hunter permanently disabled a WP during a rare hunting trip with her husband. But before she landed the fatal blow there was just one other, small detail to be addressed. With the clock ticking another skill had to be acquired before she brought about the demise of the WP and saved her favourite dog.
Top of the agenda: Disengage WP from the contest without, of course, allowing it to turn on her. It turns out WP weighed in at about the same number at which she tipped the scales.
The trick to incapacitating WP: Grab it by the hind legs and tip it over on its back. THEN you plunge your knife into its heart. Too Easy. But after one failed attempt at “flipping” the WP –which one would suspect was getting crankier and more dangerous by this point- she was forced to retreat to the relative safety of the high fence atop of which was a mobile phone broadcasting precise instructions for her to “kill”.
Oh and did I mention our woman on a mission had been to the gym and was still kitted out in her tights and whatever else one wears to the gym?
Just imagine the confusion of the combatants in the violent skirmish when Lorna Jane in full kit suddenly leaps into the fray, instead of usual John Rambo in fatigues, and competently delivers the fatal blow to end the savagery.
What happened then? Splattered with pig blood and dog spittle, her first pig kill under her belt, she calmly put an exhausted but grateful, feral pig hunting dog on the back of the Quad and headed back to the house.
In the hours following her courageous intervention, this young woman, who’s probably never heard of the footy champion they still call GOD , simply got on with the more mundane tasks of running a family. She could, however, legitimately boast similar pig slaying prowess to the Geelong legend. But my guess is she didn’t.