Aug 24

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the death of whale Colin.

The Australian public will today pause to recall those emotional days ten years ago when the abandoned baby whale Colin captured our hearts. His tragic death has since become as much a part of our nation’s psyche as Gallipoli or Don Bradman.

Rarely has this country witnessed the outpouring of emotion which followed Colin’s passing. His state funeral, the first ever for a marine mammal, was televised live to millions of viewers. Hundreds of thousands of Sydney-siders looked on silently as the funeral cortege proceeded along George Street to Martin Place, where Colin’s remains are now interred in a permanent memorial, The Tomb of the Unknown Whale.

In the aftermath of Colin’s passing, former NSW Premier Morris Iemma pushed legislation through state parliament renaming Pittwater to Colin’s Bay. As part of the same bill, the pristine waterway was zoned recreational and commercial, although plans for a state government operated theme park, “Colin World”, were permanently shelved following the assassination attempt which ended Mr Iemma’s political career.

Then came the musical tributes. John Williamson’s album My Mate Colin won an unprecedented nine ARIA awards. Colin: The Musical, a lavish stage production, opened at the State Theatre, starring John Wood as Colin and Rhonda Burchmore as Colin’s neglectful mother.

Colin’s image has been reproduced on postage stamps and has replaced Edith Cowan on the fifty dollar bank note, now known colloquially as “a Colin”.

An unexpected consequence of the Colin mania which gripped the nation a decade ago was the resurgence in popularity of Colin as a baby name. The effects of this are only now being felt. At one primary school on Sydney’s northern beaches nearly half the boys – and several girls – are named Colin, presumably a cause of great confusion in the classroom.

But today is a day not only for acknowledging Colin’s legacy, but also for looking to the future.

In a fitting tribute, Prime Minister Peter Garrett yesterday officially opened the Colin Whale Orphanage & Rehabilitation Facility, constructed on the former site of Kirribilli House. Built with funds diverted from the proposed upgrade to Sydney Children’s Hospital, this state-of-the-art centre will provide foster care for homeless and orphaned cetaceans.

The Prime Minister was visibly moved as he cut the ribbon to open the new facility. Addressing the assembled crowd of dignitaries, including Governor-General Sir Shane Warne, Mr Garrett trembled with emotion as he spoke. “What a special day it is today, as we celebrate the opening of this much-needed facility”, he began as a tear rolled down his cheek. “If only Colin was here to see this”.

Aug 21

Last night Rach and I went to see Paul Weller at the Enmore Theatre. What a fantastic show! The Modfather looks and sounds great for a fifty-year-old, and he still has the pointiest shoes in rock.

We’re both big fans of Paul Weller’s solo records, and he played alot of our favourite songs, which was nice of him. And now that I’ve seen Mr Weller perform “Eton Rifles” and “That’s Entertainment” I suppose my life is complete.

Just before the show was due to start the two seats in front of us were empty, so we were hoping they belonged to a nice dwarf couple who wouldn’t obscure our view. Murphy’s law, however, deemed that the two guys who came and sat down were perhaps the two most annoying prats I have ever sat behind.

The guy who sat in front of me was wearing a trenchcoat, and he had the enormous, rounded collar pulled way up. Imagine sitting behind this guy:

The Count’s friend was a big, burly bastard who sat way forward in his seat, which meant we struggled to see past him. In the more exciting moments, he bobbed around like the sand-filled inflatable punching bag I had when I was a kid.

The balcony at the Enmore is too gently sloped to easily see over the head of the person in front of you, so you need to adjust your line of sight until you can see between the heads of the lower rows. It reminded me of the double-slit experiment you learn about in high school physics. I’ll be sitting downstairs next time.

Other observations/complaints from the night:

  • the bouncer made Rach throw her bottle of water away, the miserable prick
  • the support band Ooh La La were tops!
  • what’s with the strange upstairs bar that looks more like Osama bin Laden’s bunker?
  • what is it that compels people to get up during a show for which they’ve paid almost $100 – and waited more than 20 years! – to go to the bar and pay $7 for a can of VB?
  • Bank’s Thai across the road is dee-lish!
Aug 17
Olympic Highlights pt. 1
icon4 Aug 17th, 2008 | icon2 Bric-a-Brac | icon3Comments Off

A quick note from your Beijing correspondent.

The first week of the Beijing Olympics is now history.

Or in the words of Channel 7 commentator and wordsmith Johanna Griggs: “As week one of competition draws to a near.”

You’ve gotta love some of the classic quotes dished out by commentators during the past seven days.

>From the rowing centre: “When the going gets tough, the tough get rowing”.

Channel 7 legend Bruce McAvaney on US swimmer Michael Phelps: “The colossus is producing a masterpiece”. Huh?

A few other personal highlights:

The Colombian weightlifter who couldn’t quite get a grip on the bar, slipping on seven attempts to get the weight above his knees. The last we saw of him he had collapsed into a bawling heap on the floor, having pretty much wasted the last four years of his life training for this moment.

Athlete Jared Tallent showed true Aussie spirit when he chundered copiously moments before crossing the finish line and claiming a bronze medal in the 20 km walk. He then sat down on the track and spewed again, leaving a large pool of puke in lane five for some poor Chinese volunteer to mop up.

For pure sportsmanship nothing matches the bronze-winning Swedish wrestler who, upon being presented with his medal, promptly stepped from the podium, threw his medal onto the floor and stormed off in a huff.

And did you know that Australian swimmer Libby Trickett is actually Wallace’s twin sister:

Oops, the ad break’s over, gotta go.

Aug 5

Recently I posted a critical discussion of the new Rock Band video game, which extends the popular Guitar Hero model (read the post here). In short, I pretty much trashed the concept of the game, and described the people who spend their time playing it as, well, wankers.

I have since had the opportunity to have a go at Guitar Hero (thanks Vern!) and I must say, it’s really a lot of fun. I started with Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast, but screwed up the solo and was booed from the stage. I returned, plastic axe in hand, and closed the set with a rip-roaring Paranoid. I even got to put my initials in the high score list (actually Vern did it for me because I can’t work the controller).

So…

I hereby fully retract my original defamatory statements and unreservedly apologise for any harm I may have caused.

Aug 2
Mr. Mister
icon4 Aug 2nd, 2008 | icon2 Bric-a-Brac | icon31 Comment »

Recently I was filling in an online taxation form, and when I got to entering my “title”, there was a little drop-down box for me to select from. This is where most people choose “Mr” or “Ms”. A few people get to pick “Dr” or even “Professor”. But when I looked through the list I was surprised at the range of titles on offer.

First of all, the list was really long. It must’ve had over a hundred titles. Here are a few of my favourites.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 1
Our Aussie Heroes
icon4 Aug 1st, 2008 | icon2 Music | icon3Comments Off

I was browsing the web recently when I came upon a most disturbing video clip, one that made me recoil in horror. It was the Australian swimming team performing their new song “Live It, Dream It”. I barely made it to the toilet bowl in time.

Why must the Australian people be subjected to this form of musical abuse? Apparently this song is supposed to be inspirational. The only thing this musical crime against humanity inspired me to do was chew my own ears off.

It hardly needs stating, but Leisel Jones is not the world’s greatest singer. I would swim 100 metres breaststroke over broken syringes rather than listen to her warble another note. Of course all the voices are drenched in digital effects, but no amount of supercomputer power could correct the Aussie swimmers’ off-key caterwauling.

And all those healthy people in a recording studio doesn’t sit right. Where are the half-empty bottles of Jack Daniels, the lines of coke, the groupies, the drugged-out hangers-on? I only hope they gave the room a good airing after the previous band departed. Imagine the headlines when the entire Aussie swimming team fails a test for cannabis.

I also take offence to the song’s lyrics, particularly the line “We have no fear”. Fear of what, exactly? That someone might’ve done a wee in the shallow end? You’re swimming up and down a pool, what is there to be afraid of?!

I’ve just spent three weeks watching wide-eyed as cyclists fly down mountainsides at 100 km/h with nothing to protect them from an airy death but an inch of rubber and carbon-fibre nerves. These are the guys who truly have no fear.

This country has a long, sad tradition of sporting types being allowed into the recording studio. Back in 1972 the Australian cricket team released a single “We Are the Aussies”. Do you remember it? Of course not, because it was about as successful as Dennis Lillee’s aluminium bat. And don’t even get me started on Warwick Capper and Mark “Jacko” Jackson.

I can’t recall one singer who has attempted the crossover to professional sport. You don’t see Barnsey standing up there on the blocks in his budgie-smugglers (thank God). The only “individual medley” John Farnham is concerned with is his seven minute montage of hits from his LRB days.

So let’s make a deal. Entertainers, you stick to the recording studio and swimmers, you stick to the pool. Let’s leave the singing of inspirational power ballads to the experts. We already have one Vanessa Amorosi, and I suspect that one is enough.