Why on earth do people take camping holidays?

There are some people whose idea of a holiday is having to do everything for yourself. These people find it relaxing to go to a place where you have to perform an even more time-consuming version of your everyday domestic chores, with vastly inferior equipment and no dishwasher. And these same people, rather than sinking their tired bodies into a comfy bed or sofa at the end of an arduous bit of travelling, would rather build an annoyingly elaborate shelter for themselves before they can so much as close their eyes for a few moments.

These people are called campers, and they are wrong. Continue Reading →

In defence of the Daggy Friend

Keira+Knightley+Stars+Film+Can+Song+Save+Life+5Q0zf_Oswo7lKeira Knightley sings in her new movie, and is really quite good. No, honestly. And even if they did AutoTune her vocals to bits, I’d have to say that they did a great job. She sounds a lot better than Scarlett Johannsson covering Tom Waits, at least.

The film’s called Begin Again, and it’s deliberately adorable. Keira plays Greta, a shy singer-songwriter who, at the start of the film, is dating her college sweetheart and fellow singer Adam Levine, who’s headed to New York to make it big.

Well, he’s called Dave in the movie, but he’s a twit with an implausibly high voice, so it’s just Adam Levine beneath the tiniest of cinematic fig leafs, really.

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State of Origin is not a beauty contest. Fortunately

It’s usual for a famous Origin victory to be sealed by crashing across an opponent’s try line, not scurrying behind your own so the mean men in maroon can’t have the ball. The Blues’ fullback proved last night that while regular aeroplanes might not work in reverse, Hayne Planes certainly do.

But we NSW supporters will take the win that Jarryd Hayne’s strategic retreat – and of course his try saving tackle on Sam Thaiday – secured.

In fact, the Blues would have taken pretty much anything that sealed Origin 2014 on home soil, and not required us to travel north for a decider at that cauldron of northern – well, I’m not going to say “hate”, but only because it doesn’t seem strong enough a word for tens of thousands of seething Queenslanders. Continue Reading →

Did I waste my youth by not being wasted?

640px-Sensation_White_08.03.2008_015In my early twenties, there was a brief, glorious period when I went to dance parties. Raves, they used to be called, if my fading memory serves. They were so cool, I thought; and so, briefly, I was so cool – even though, in hindsight, tickets were on sale to the general public.

My approach was to have a drink or two along with copious, overpriced bottles of water, and dance until dawn while hoping the lighting was dim enough to hide the mediocrity of your dancing. In fact, I think that’s why the strobe light was invented, to make it impossible to see dancers in motion. I’ve always been very grateful. Continue Reading →

Ten things I learned travelling with kids

jarjarOver the Easter break, I went travelling with my four-year-old nephew and one-year-old niece. (And their parents, obviously.) I thought it’d be a wonderful chance for some family time, and it was, but in many respects it was a handy reminder that there’s plenty of upside in the fact that I can still travel solo. Because parenting is always harder than I realise, and parenting while travelling is harder still.

And yes, I know that I’ve written before about how much I’d like to be a father. Yeah, um, about that. Let’s just say that while I’m sure that dandling my own child on my knee would be brilliant in lots of ways, I now realise that having young children would make one of my favourite activities a far trickier proposition.
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Of men and… makeup

DCF 1.0If you ask a management consultant how to grow a business, they’ll have two broad strategies for you. (I know this because I was one once, albeit for only long enough to learn how to make PowerPoint slides and drink too many ‘bonding’ tequila shots.) You can convince your existing customers to spend more, either by increasing their consumption or up-selling them to more expensive products, or you can grow your customer base.

And now that you’ve read that, I’ll be invoicing you for $10,000.

More specifically, if you asked a management consultant how to make the beauty industry more profitable, they’d probably tell you that lots of people already spend a huge amount of money on a great many expensive products, so the best bet for expansion would be to target people who don’t currently buy cosmetics – the great unwashed, so to speak – or at least uncleansed, unmoisturised and untoned.

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Ten things I want to see in ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4

Game_of_Thrones_title_cardToday’s the first day of the new series of the greatest television series of all time (if measured by either gratuitous nudity or gore, at least.) So, quivering with anticipation, I’ve put together a wish list of the things I’d like to see in the ten weeks ahead.

Yes, I know these things probably won’t happen – naturally, I’m more than nerdy enough to have read the books. But the producers have already taken a few creative liberties with the story – maybe they can take some more?

Note – if you haven’t watched to the end of Season 3, there are spoilers below. Continue Reading →

What ho, Jeeves, monocles are back!

Neville ChamberlainApparently monocles are back in. Yes, really. Men, I’m assured, are deliberately leaving the house with a tiny circle of glass chained around their neck so they can squint through it, wilfully ignoring the decades of heady success that the optometry industry has had with stereoscopic glasses.

It’s highly likely that waistcoats and pince-nez are back too, and probably even spats and plus fours, as privileged young men the world over have begun to blow their (parents’) hard-earned income on fashion items that were once found in the voluminous wardrobe of Bertie Wooster, or perhaps even Little Lord Fauntleroy.

This part of the ‘young urban male’ or ‘yummy’ phenomenon, something that definitely exists and is not just one of those awkward media labels written by lifestyle writers desperate to identify a new trend, although it definitely is that as well. Continue Reading →

How to be a knight (or dame) by someone who already is

This week, the Prime Minister announced that he has restored the imperial system of honours – something he was apparently able to do unilaterally, subject to the Queen’s approval, a curious reminder for anybody who might have forgotten that we do indeed live in a monarchy. But it’s been several decades since we last had any newly-minted knights and dames, and those who do still live among us are advancing in years.

Consequently, there are not many people in our community with the suitable heraldic knowledge to induct our new honorees into the chivalrous ways and rich traditions of the knighthood.

Hence, as a proud member of a family who have been Knights for many generations, I proudly offer my expertise to all knights, dames, and would-be knights and dames who might be looking to pull up their imperial socks ahead of the receipt of such a pre-eminent honour. Continue Reading →

Ten things I don’t miss about my twenties

zacIt’s common for those approaching forty to mourn their lost youth. Being extremely common, I feel the same way. Oh, how I miss that time without responsibility, those days without much to do besides the uni work that I could comfortably neglect, and taking advantage of that effortless adolescent ability to sleep in until midday which has now deserted me.

But when I find myself reflecting on my twenties, my memory conveniently wallpapers over what I was actually like in my twenties. What I’d really like, I’ve realised, is to be 21, but pretty much as I am now.

What I want, then, is to be exactly like Zac Efron in 17 Again, but with Matthew Perry’s brain. I’d be happy to have Zac Efron’s level of attractiveness to the opposite sex as well, actually – or even Matthew Perry’s. What I want isn’t possible outside the realms of excessively contrived Hollywood comedies written by people like me who frittered away their youth and are now bitter and resentful about it and spend their writing careers in wish-fulfilment.

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