Private school ‘Fight Club’ sets tongues wagging

CANBERRA CITY NEWS JULY 18

By Mike Welsh

DESPITE the non-negotiable first two rules of “Fight Club”, there has been a bit of chatter about a version of the 1999 cult classic operating at one of our private schools.

Word is a fight club during school hours, complete with betting, but modified with boxing gloves, was flourishing on school grounds until being closed down. Those in authority have so far remained faithful to rules one and two, even if some students haven’t.

THE ACT maternity inquiry has heard harrowing stories from local women that have reportedly left committee members “visibly shaken as they sat through evidence, audibly gasping, clasping hands over faces and shedding tears”.

It’s reprehensible and beyond comprehension that such an inquiry is only happening now, given the well-documented toxic culture of bullying and incompetence that has pervaded ACT Health for many years.

DROPPED in the deep end, new Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith quickly found her stroke. Ms Stephen-Smith said she “welcomed the inquiry and the women’s evidence”, but soon reverted to standard spin: “Every day our hospitals and clinical staff strive to provide the best possible birthing services and to do this in a compassionate and supportive way.” No consolation for the unnecessary heartache endured by many while the official line of “it’s no worse than any other jurisdiction” was adhered to rigidly.

IF you think you’ve heard all the things we Canberrans regularly whinge about, think again, there’s a new one. At least new to me. Petrol prices, the tram, the bubble, the weather, old trees, new trees, pill testing, roo culling, parking and – the lifeless Jolimont Centre.

Even on the coldest, meanest July day in Canberra a dog poking its head out of a car never fails to amuse and lift the spirits of our columnist. He spotted this beautiful character at Cooleman Court helping its human locate a parking space. Photo: Mike Welsh

Senior “SMH” journalist Stephanie Peatling tweeted (possibly while waiting for a midnight bus): “Although I am a big defender of Murrays bus service, the Jolimont Centre does lack a certain joie de vivre”.

Many agreed with Peatling with tweets such as: “It’s a soulless place” and “It’s no Grand Central Station”. But some prefer the centre just as it is, posting: “Pleasantly unvarnished” and “I’d rather keep it cheerful and cheap than pay extra for a barista”.

LEGENDARY radio man John Laws reads “CityNews” or, at least, this column. Laws was “flattered” by a recent piece in which I rated Alan Jones as “a brilliant broadcaster second only to John Laws, with daylight third”. The nice thank-you note I received from the man once described as having a voice that would curl a frangipani, made my day. Still on making one’s day, the last time I spoke with Laws we talked about who would play him in the movie. Clint Eastwood.

ACT Police have issued a blunt warning to ram raiders after a high number of smash-and-grabs in the region. While playing down the recent spate of aggravated burglaries (18 so far this year), as “cyclical”, Sgt Shane Scott’s message is: “We’re looking for ya and we’re going to get ya”.

CHINESE stand-up Ronny Chieng slayed a sell-out Canberra Theatre crowd without, refreshingly, resorting to the stand-up’s lazy and cliched Canberra fall back of porn, fireworks and roundabout jokes. The 33-year-old star of “Crazy Rich Asians” now lives in New York City where he’s part of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah.

A PAINFUL anniversary of one of Canberra’s most horrific days was remembered on Saturday. It was July 13, 1997 that 12-year-old Katie Bender was killed after debris from the demolition implosion of the Royal Canberra Hospital rained down on more than 100,000 people gathered around the lake. Bender, who was more than 400 metres from the site on Acton Peninsula, was killed instantly when struck by a piece of flying metal.

WHEN SLOBBERING SIR LES RATTLED THE GATES

By Mike Welsh – July 8, 2019 Share Canberra’s trusted news:

Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH reflects on a week in the life in Canberra. 

THE gravitas of the office of Governor-General remains safe after the smooth transition from Sir Peter Cosgrove to David Hurley. But there was a time when the sobriety and decorum of the role was seriously disrespected. 

It was the day in 2003 when 23rd GG Peter Hollingworth resigned. A drunken, loudmouthed former diplomat turned up at the gatehouse to Yarralumla’s most prestigious address, demanding to be admitted.

Shouting: “Let me in, let me in”, the dishevelled, slobbering interloper with suitcase on wheels and large media pack in tow, was none other than cultural attache to the Court of St James, Sir Les Patterson, who felt his turn in the vice-regal gig had come. The brilliant publicity stunt was arranged by promoter to the stars Coralie Wood to drum up ticket sales for the Canberra leg of yet another Barry Humphries touring show.

Alan Jones will present the 2CC morning show from July 15.

LISTENER reaction to 2CC’s shock decision to outsource its breakfast show won’t be known until October when results from GfK’s Canberra radio survey are released. The struggling station will simulcast Alan Jones’ 2GB breakfast show from Sydney. Dislodged breakfast host Tim Shaw moves to drive (3pm-6pm).

The move is smart business. Jones is a brilliant broadcaster and, in my humble opinion, second only to John Laws, with daylight third. Given Shaw’s soft ratings, Jones (who will be much cheaper) will rate highly and provide his GB stablemate Ray Hadley with the greater Canberra lead-in audience he’s been demanding for years.

Goodbye to the “Human Headline”, Derryn Hinch. Photo: Mike Welsh

FORMER shock-jock and now former Justice Party senator Derryn Hinch has left his mark on the capital. The “Human Headline”, who has returned to TV and SkyNews, has had the pathway to his favourite Canberra bar named in his honour and made safer.

Before leaving Canberra, he cut the ribbon to “Hinch Way”, a new, improved path to Ostani Bar and Restaurant at Barton’s Hotel Realm where he had a fall in the dark last year.

TRANSPORT Canberra is dexterous in disciplining staff if nothing else. The body managed to slap the wrist of an employee’s heavy handed approach to a suspected light-rail fare evader. TC has apologised to the teenager who was booted off the tram after failing to produce a student ID. Executive group manager for Transport Canberra Judith Sturman mitigated the incident, explaining staff are on a “learning curve”.

CANBERRA renters may have stumbled upon an inexpensive method of keeping warmer this winter. Local renters are bubble wrapping their windows to retain heat. Advocacy group Better Renting, which offers the home visit scheme “Home Truths”, says the DIY insulation can cut heating bills by up to 50 per cent.

The homeless campsite in Civic. Photo: Mike Welsh

AND spare a thought for those forced to sleep rough during a harsh Canberra winter. A campsite has materialised just metres from one of our major traffic thoroughfares. It’s possibly the same camp that until recently was briefly located in Glebe Park across from building giant Geocon’s city office. But any awkward juxtaposition was eliminated when the camp moved to West Basin before relocating to its present Civic site.

THE ANU AFL club won’t forget a recent road trip to Batemans Bay quickly. Three players ended up at the local ED, with two requiring some serious needle work after a clashing of heads in the final seconds of a game against the Batemans Bay SeaHawks. A hospital official said it had been a quiet afternoon until the wounded Griffos landed

CANBERRA CITY NEWS JUNE 6

By Mike Welsh

SPARE a thought for recently re-elected ALP member for Fenner Andrew Leigh.

Poor sod spent countless hours smiling on early morning TV and arguing on late night “Q&A”, building a national profile, only to find himself on the backbench. 

The factionally unaligned Leigh was heading for a ministry in a Shorten government, but has been overlooked for a spot on Albo’s opposition team.

ANU economist Warwick McKibbin’s tweet: “When Andrew Leigh, the best economist in the parliament is not in the shadow ministry, you know something is wrong”, may test Leigh’s commitment to Labor’s cause. And the general consensus that Albo’s team is lined with “mediocrities”, would add to Leigh’s misery.

THE cruel dumping hasn’t dampened Leigh’s liking for a sledge, though. Leigh tweeted: “Since 2016, Labor has had a shadow minister for charities, now the Coalition has decided to copy the idea. Just two small downsides: 1. It’s an assistant minister. 2. It’s Zed Seselja. Perhaps they should be honest, and call him the assistant minister against charities?” Seselja fired back: “On the other hand, there appears to be little downside for the ALP in dumping you”. Ouch !!

FANS of angry-old-man-radio are pleased to learn Alan Jones remains on the wireless until at least his 80th birthday. AJ signed a two-year contract with 2GB, which relays parts of his breakfast show to Canberra via 2CC. The shock jock’s stablemate Ray Hadley, recently touted as a replacement should Jones “walk”, was quoted as being “comfortable” with the signing. Sources from inside the conservative bunker suggest Hadley is anything but.

RUGBY superstar David Pocock usually has plenty to say on issues dear to his heart but was more measured recently. As the sporting media gathered to hear his plans of enhancing his World Cup chances by quitting Super League and the Brumbies, Pocock virtually confirmed a post-rugby political career by impressively sidestepping the inevitable question about his future.

The South African-born athlete, who came to the capital in 2013, said: “The Brumbies have given me a home for the last seven years. They’ve supported me through injury and given me the opportunity to work on my game and my leadership as part of an incredible group of men”. 

The activist also thanked fans and the city: “Canberra has well and truly become my home. Em and I love living here, being part of the community.”

THE shock 2017 announcement of Belconnen Myer’s closure has been reversed. After a “new lease arrangement” was reached between the retail giant and Scentre (operator of Westfield), a downsized Myer will emerge at the Belconnen landmark.

AT nearby Hawker the pharmacy is now under the bright purple and orange banner of the Hawker Discount Drug Store, part of a chain spreading down the east coast and through the ACT. One local wag, showing his age, wanted to know if the drug store sold “ice-cream sodas” and if “Richie Cunningham and The Fonz would be dropping by”.

CANBERRA AFL stalwart Aaron Bruce has reached a special milestone in his long career. The Canberra Demons’ skipper notched up 150 NEAFL games, becoming only the fourth player in the comp’s history to do so.

Rupert Murdoch may be spending more time at his Yass weekender after the announcement of a new news site dedicated to Canberra (the ‘burbs not the bubble). Murdoch, who started “The Australian” in Braddon in 1964 has launched the Canberra Star digital-only site that will focus on “connecting with local communities who are often seeking new ways to stay in touch with what’s happening on their doorstep”.

FRIGHTENING reports are emerging across social media of food, possibly laced with poison, being tossed into Canberra backyards. A Flynn dog owner warned owners to be vigilant after her dog returned home with dark chocolate in its mouth. And a Bonython resident reported finding a raw chicken stuffed with rat poison in her yard.

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IT’S A LONG WAY FROM ORANGE TO THE WHITE HOUSE IF YOU WANT TO REALLY ROCK N ROLL

Mike Welsh

 In the (politically) strange times in which we live, a big chunk of the world which didn’t vote continues to ponder over how Donald J was voted into  the  ultimate gig.

Apparently, according to Jane Everstadt writing on the  weblog the Daily KOS www.dailykos.com  it was right there all along….blasting into the ears of a lot of Americans…who vote. It was the all electric wireless and a shockjock with a mighty ( possibly almighty) big mouth   who can take the credit for the installation of Donald J Trump as the 45th POTUSOA.

ray an alan

No it wasn’t either of these two century making  roosters. However Alan Jones and Ray Hadley might want to read both of big Rush’s best selling tomes , The Way Things Ought To Be  and See, I Told You So  over the summer break if they are serious about installing Scott Morrison or Tony Abbott into the Lodge.. There is a lot of beige between an Orange by-election and the White House.

rush-x-4

Rush Limbaugh got Donald Trump elected

 By Jane Everstadt

Hillary Clinton was the most qualified presidential candidate ever. But she could not overcome the hatred that has grown against her after three decades of demonization by Rush Limbaugh. The talk-radio host started attacking Hillary Clinton in the early 1990s when she promoted health care reform. He coined the terms “Billary” and “feminazi.”  He popularized the concept of “overeducation.”

His phrases, jokes, attitudes, and lies became The Truth for millions of people. He has made excellent use of humor to influence voters to oppose environmental protection, women’s rights, civil rights, and education funding.  An entire generation grew up believing feminists are failed women, the free market will make health care affordable, and climate change is a hoax.

Trump voters didn’t come to these conclusions on their own after reading the Dallas Morning News and Time Magazine. These ideas were wedged into their brains by a sophisticated propaganda machine. Repeated, day after day, year after year. You can even recognize a right-wing radio fan by the phrases they parrot.

rush-limb-x-1

Many liberals and moderates have dismissed Limbaugh as irrelevant, or only listened to by Guys Who Eat Lunch In Their Trucks. But he is on the middle of the radio dial for three hours every weekday, in every square inch reached by radio waves.  People listen in their cars, kitchens, garages, offices, warehouses, air-conditioned tractors, and through their earbuds wherever they are.  These people vote.

 

 

The Bi-Sexual Dog

By Mike Welsh

Has Lawrence “just a funny guy” Mooney finally made it to the big time?

Sharing top billing on the Douche Directory with Alan Jones and Kanye West may have elevated “LowRents” to the big end of town. Or at least people who have never heard of him now have.

All three were nominees last week for “Douche Of The Week” on the SBS current affairs show “the Feed”. For Mooney it was a Douche debut. Tough category and among Group One company but the form guide suggests he’s a chance of winning the gong. This could be career defining moment for “LowRents”.

Granted it’s only February but Mooney would also have to be a super red-hot fave to take out the influential Annual “Ray Hadley Glass Jaw” award.

Lawrence Moony who made a “name” for himself outside Melbourne comedy circles for dropping the “c” word on national TV, arced up big time over comments made by a part-time comedy critic following his show at the recent Adelaide comedy festival .

This is part of Isabella Fowler’s review in the ‘tiser…..

WHAT is the difference between “just a funny guy” and a comedian? This is what I am left wondering after an hour at Rhino Room with Lawrence Mooney. A jibe at Malcolm Turnbull that carries on a little too long (OK, we get it, he speaks like he’s had a private education) and a clumsy story about three women named Margaret has me thinking Mooney falls under the former.

While the man with a number of accolades under his belt has an undeniably natural demeanour and commanding stage presence, it seems Mooney’s comedic philosophy revolves around the idea that inserting a booming profanity at the end of a frankly unfunny story automatically makes it funny.

“The bottom line is — Lawrence Mooney is just a funny guy under a spotlight. Isabella Fowler

Bad move and poor form. Exposing your leg stump is never the best form of defence.

For days after the spiteful spray from Mooney the twittersphere was awash with juvenile barbs and surprisingly a few tweets from “establishment” comedy performers who saw fit to come to the defence of “the funny man in the spotlight”.

Similar to the “official” response after a senior pollie is caught out doing something he/she shouldn’t be doing, there are always a few colleagues who are prepared to briefly pause at the daily door stop and offer a few words in the positive. Kind of a brotherhood. Wonder what they really think.

For her sins writer Fowler copped this caustic gobful from Mooney…..

 “deadshit” and “f***ing amateur”

 “Are you deaf or an idiot? You did hear people laughing hard for an hour didn’t you @BellaFowler93 Best you stick to real estate and food. Your review is a piece of shit, your journalism is worse.”

As reviews go Fowler’s was as beige as it was brief but good old “LowRents” chose to go hard and then reload and go some more.

He pulled out the lazy and well worn tactic of the “I have nothing” brigade by denigrating the writer rather than the work, suggesting the critic was not a “real” Comedy Reviewer but a Real Estate and Food writer in her day job.

Poor form from a “pro”. That’s like saying fellow Glass Jaw alumni  “Ray-Bans” Hadley, despite his stellar radio career, is a greyhound race caller or taxi driver. Wikipedia says “LowRents” was once a window cleaner!!

Bottom Line Lawrence. Remember the infamous story of the bi-sexual family dog called “Butch” ? He was loved and respected by all because he could give it AND he could take it.

 

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Memo to Alan Jones and Ray Hadley and Tony Abbott. LISTEN and LEARN

By Mike Welsh tone 5 A “rusted on” Liberal party supporter called the open line of Neil Mitchell’s radio program on Melbourne’s 3AW today. “Andrew” offered a sage piece of advice to Neil’s studio guest, Prime Minister Tony Abbott. However, unlike the limp-wristed “critiques” handed out recently by Mitchell’s Sydney talkback colleagues, Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, Melbourne caller “Andrew” delivered his Prime Ministerial missive with the precision of a surgeon and the skill and pain of a beach-towel flick to the testicles.

I’m a Liberal voter through and through but I’ve got to be got to be honest and truthful with you, Mr Prime Minster, you’re on the nose with Liberal voters and that’s a real concern to me because I don’t want to see you give the keys to Bill Shorten at the Lodge. I have got to tell you you are the world’s worst salesman, Prime Minister”…. Andrew 3AW caller

Headmaster Jones put him “on notice” over his lacklustre performance and the Greyhound race-caller Hadley marked Tony Abbott’s report card down to a D minus, but both broadsides were no more than clouds of hysterical dust which quickly vanished. ray an alan Andrew’s articulate and concise appraisal of Abbott will hang in the electoral ether for much longer and do more damage. Andrew’s perceptive on-air judgment of Abbott’s sales performance says much about those who listen to Mitchell, and the blind followers who listen to the Talkback Titans.  While former newspaper man Mitchell is bland and measured, he has dominated the Melbourne radio market for almost three decades.  And despite the hype surrounding the conservatives Jones and Hadley, basically thanks to their programs networked to Colac, Cooma and Coonabarabran, Mitchell is considered by astute judges as consistently a better practitioner of the art of Talkback radio. mitchell While Jones and Hadley don’t listen and learn, on the off chance Tony Abbott failed to heed Andrew’s message I humbly made a few suggestions on how he may have approached his toxic talkback caller, on my “boutique” radio program on 2HC in Coffs Harbour

Can Alan Jones “DO” Campbell Newman

By Mike Welsh

jones 5Conservative commercial radio ranter Alan Jones has arrogantly entered the Queensland election campaign. Fresh from “caning” Prime Minister Abbott (also missing from the guest list) Headmaster Jones, though uninvited to participate in the scrap, has barged in regardless. His sole mission: oust Premier Campbell Newman. It’s not that Alan has “turned” and is throwing his perceived political clout behind Queensland Labour. It’s simple. Alan is mightily miffed at being lied to by Campbell Newman. Jones told radio 4BC this week…..

“Make no bones about it – this is as bad as anything we’ve ever seen in government in Australia anywhere,”

Jones said Newman lied to him in 2012 when he promised there would be no stage three of the Acland coal mine near Toowoomba, where Jones grew up.

The Sultan of Struggle Street must dexterously banish the brash son of former Fraser Government Minister Kevin and Tasmania Senator Joscelyn, but protect the LNP state government at the same time. Can Alan Jones DO “Can-Do” Cam Newman?  Of course not. If Newman is done on Jan 31 it’ll be the electorate, with some help from Newman himself, responsible. Alan “thinks” his powers are greater than they actually are. Problem is there are plenty of spineless political types who also “think” Alan is God. AJ 4Below is an edited version of a blog piece I wrote on Jones “Running The Joint” last year.

Broadcaster Alan Jones is “one of those”…One of those rare individuals utterly convinced they have a God-given right to appoint and anoint who will run the joint. Parasites of all political colours queue up to wear the yellow rubber “WWAT” (“What Would Alan Think”) wrist band before taking their next step. Why? Bugger democracy. Who gives a rat’s rear what the electorate wants and who it sends to Canberra to represent it. It’s what Alan Jones, and shock-jock work experience kid, Andrew Bolt, want. When Julia Gillard stood up to him, Jones reverted to nasty behaviour. Even PM Tony Abbott is diplomatic around Jones. This shows Abbott must be deep in a pile of political poo if he needs not one but two attack dogs to keep the upstarts from rising up while he is abroad. Hopefully Tony doesn’t catch the travel bug in the same jet-setting fashion his predecessor did, otherwise Liberal leadership blood will flow down the gutters of Struggle Street every third Wednesday. The spin is that there is no “tension” at the top and Abbott’s office is not agitating. This is merely Alan Jones doing what he does, and Bolt doing what Jones does in order to eventually do what Jones does, circumventing the Prime Minister and going straight for the throat of the danger. For the sin of breaking bread with Clive Palmer at a Canberra Restaurant, Malcolm Turnbull was ripped “a new one” this week by both the Jones boy and heir apparent Bolt. Thankfully, Turnbull who hates bullies, refused to yield when Headmaster Jones instructed him to… “Read after me”…(you wicked, wicked little boy). Jones and Bolt are no dills. They know Abbott is on the nose and are both acutely aware Turnbull is the people’s choice to lead the Liberal Party. And if the former merchant banker got the “big gig” it’d be game over for many moguls. When Alan’s on-air castigation of Turnbull failed, he reverted to bad behaviour, stating the bleeding obvious that Turnbull “would never again lead the Federal Liberal Party.” Der… Malcolm won’t rise again unless some of his colleagues, who are still loathe to say what they really feel lest they too be bullied, actually grow a pair. Wouldn’t hurt if some in the media had theirs sewn back on too.