Archive | Fairfax Media

The piece on procrastination I’ve always meant to write

I’ve always been a procrastinator. I’ve been meaning to write about this problem for a while, but never quite got around to it. And then, out of the blue, Daily Life suggested it – presumably after several years’ experience with my work habits.

And yes, it’s true – my approach to any task is to work out how late before the deadline I have to start, and then start considerably later.

At uni, I got to the point where my standard approach to any essay was to start the night before – even the 6000-word ones. As the years passed, I began them later and later, until I wasn’t starting until dawn on the due date.

From the outset, let me be clear – this is a really bad idea. Continue Reading →

Is it too hard to be prime minister in 2016?

In the future, Andy Warhol said, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes. In Australia’s future, everyone will be prime minister for 15 minutes, before being brutally rolled.

We’ve had five prime minsters since John Howard powerwalked away after 11 years, and not one has served a full term. Our political system’s become as volatile as Kanye West on Twitter.

Voters are realising they rejected Labor’s musical chairs only to sign up for the Coalition version. Polls recently hit fifty-fifty and the PM is running against both the Opposition leader and his predecessor, who’s been dubbed “Tony Rudd“. Continue Reading →

Putting the ‘mine’ in mindfulness

This is the decade of mindfulness. The practice, which derives from meditation, is being credited with all kinds of benefits – helping with depression and stress, pain management and even physical fitness. It’s apparently the mental equivalent of going for gelato.

So what precisely is mindfulness? Hmm, or perhaps, omm. It’s not easy to pin down.

Wikipedia defines it as “intentionally bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment”, which is roughly as clear as mudfulness. Continue Reading →

Forget aged care. This is awesome care.

“Help the aged”, Jarvis Cocker sings in the Pulp song of the same name. “One time they were just like you.”

His examples of those similarities in the next lyric aren’t necessarily great – “drinking, smoking cigs and sniffing glue” – but it’s a sweet sentiment nevertheless.

The rest of the first verse is “Help the aged, don’t just put them in a home, can’t have much fun in there all on their own.” And that’s the part I’ve always wondered about. Continue Reading →

Sydney is too expensive for young people to take a risk on a good idea

The world is full of bright young people building spiffy websites and nifty apps. They’re skipping the stability of traditional employment to code in cafes and co-working spaces. But they’re probably not doing it in Sydney.

World Economic Forum research found that young Australians were poorly prepared for the digital economy, and faced intense labour market uncertainty. Fewer young people want to work for a start-up than in any other country surveyed – a mere 3.8 per cent.

Who can blame them for choosing a nice, safe bank job in expensive, uncertain Sydney? Starting a business can mean years of earning almost nothing, and just surviving in this city is fiendishly expensive, let alone funding a house big enough for kids. Continue Reading →

Why hasn’t my band made the Hottest 100 yet?

Every year, the arrival of triple j’s Hottest 100 fills me with sorrow. Not because my near-total ignorance of the songs in the countdown is a sign of my ever-increasing age, although it is. Nor because for the past few years, nobody has invited me to a bangin’ Hottest 100 party, although they haven’t.

No – I mourn because every year, the Hottest 100 features a grand total of no songs by my band. Zip, zero, zilch.

It’s been that way for ever since the countdown started. A whopping 2300 songs in all, and my band has none of them. How is that fair, when Powderfinger have something like six hundred? Continue Reading →

16 predictions for 2016

2016 is here, and promises to be a year of intense competition. We’ve got national elections both at home and in the USA, the two-week carnivale of the Rio Olympics, and all those pending legal contests between hoverboard manufacturers and their unhappy purchasers.

It’s a year of big prizes, like the $2 billion American Powerball draw, and big disappointments, like that of just about everyone who entered it.

While nobody can truly predict the future, especially those unscrupulous people who’ll try to charge you for doing so, I’ve donned my Nostradomus hat and peered into my tisane leaves to try and forecast what’s likely to happen in the year that, whatever happens from here, can definitely be said to have followed on from 2015. Continue Reading →

You can’t have edgy comedy without occasionally going over the edge

Ricky Gervais returned as host of the Golden Globes this week, and as sure as night follows day and regret follows the purchase of a hoverboard, his routine sparked off yet another chorus of controversy.

The comic himself predicted it, tweeting “Better get dressed and offend some humourless c—s, I suppose” before the ceremony even began. Whether or not you agree with his characterisation of the many people who took exception, Gervais certainly achieved his objective from the first moment he took to the stage, nursing a beer as a palpable symbol of his disdain for the audience and the gig.

The indifference was an affectation, of course, because if there’s one thing that matters to Gervais even more than his forthcoming David Brent movie, it’s his reputation as a stand-up comic.

Continue Reading →

Forget Chris Gayle – let’s talk about Meg Lanning

Like Chris Gayle, Meg Lanning is a cricket superstar who can win a game single-handedly. Like Gayle, she averages more than a run a ball in Twenty20 internationals, and regularly smashes bowlers all over the ground with the carefree panache of Shane Warne on Tinder.

Unlike Gayle, though, Lanning is not serially sleazy towards female journalists. And if her bedroom has a mirrored ceiling, she’s not known for posting boastful photos of it on Instagram, a site upon which she has not chosen to nickname herself “UNIVERSE-BOSS”. Continue Reading →

This year of sequels does not bear repeating

The 2015 that Marty McFly visited in Back to the Future II was only partly like the year we’ve just lived through. We haven’t got flying cars or self-drying jackets, and let’s not say a word about hoverboards, especially to Russell Crowe.

That holographic shark that loomed at our hero to promote Jaws 19, however, was spot on. Because 2015 was truly the Year of the Sequel.

This year, it felt like most movie franchises with an admirable legacy jeopardised them with another instalment. The machine was as unrelenting as anything in Terminator Genisys, and also gave us a new Avengers, Fast and the Furious, Jurassic Park, Hunger Games, Mission Impossible, Bond and even Mad Max. Continue Reading →