I’ve always been prepared to slam others for making errors – it seems now that I’ve written an opinion article whose premise is largely based on one. So it’s right that I clarify, and apologise.
Whether you consider yourself one of “Trump’s Aussie Mates” like Mark Latham, or view the President-elect as one of the Four Businessmen of the Apocalypse, one thing cannot be denied about Donald J. Trump. Of all the candidates who ran in the US election, he was undoubtedly the most entertaining.
Hillary Clinton was predictable, safe and samey, a policy wonk who probably spends her holidays devouring briefing papers by the pool. Whereas Donald Trump spent his career slapping his name on gaudy buildings, and firing people on television. If the voters had been looking for traditional qualifications like experience, it would have been as easy as choosing between Trump University and Harvard.
But they weren’t. They were looking for something to shake up the status quo and add some entertainment to the dreariness of politics. When Trump speaks, policy challenges seems simple, and victory seems inevitable. Many Americans knew and liked him, so they gave him a shot.
David Bowie. Alan Rickman. Prince. Muhammad Ali. Leonard Cohen. Sharon Jones. George Michael. Carrie Fisher. The list of the icons that we’ve lost this year reads like a morbid update of We Didn’t Start the Fire.
At times, the deaths have come so rapidly that we haven’t had time to process one before being slugged by another. In January, David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey within eight days. And just since Christmas, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and then her mother Debbie Reynolds.
We talk of 2016 as a particularly awful year. It’s as though a temporal supervillain is stalking our most beloved celebrities. Artist Chris Barker has been compiling images of this year’s losses into a 2016 remix of the Sgt Pepper’s cover – he’s now run out of room.
A remembrance shared at his memorial service – Friday 26 June 2015 at St Andrew’s Cathedral.
A Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire enters an official state function after a Knight of the Garter, but before a Knight Bachelor. He may attend special services in the order’s official chapel, St Paul’s Cathedral, and display a red circlet saying “For God And The Empire” around his coat of arms.
Bill Gates, Placido Domingo, Rudy Giuliani, Sultan Abdullah bin Khallifa of Zanzibar, Bono and Billy Graham are all KBEs, and so was the late Sir Harold Murray Knight.
But I am here today to talk not of KBEs, DSCs, or even the RBA. I am here to remember a man who proudly bore a different title – Grandpa. I somehow can’t call him anything else even at the age of 38. Continue Reading →
In Year Seven, I went to a high school where I didn’t know a soul, so had to make a name for myself from scratch. I was like Rabbit, Eminem’s character in 8 Mile when he first goes to the rhyme battles, only instead of baseball caps and baggy jeans, everyone was wearing a tie and what Scott Morrison would call an ill-fitting suit.
I’m proud to say that it took me just a few weeks to establish the identity that stayed with me until the end of the year. I was the Kid With The Messy Desk.
I was also the Kid Who Looked Ridiculous While Singing In The Choir Because He Opened His Mouth Too Widely, as some kind older kids were delighted to tell me, but the Messy Desk brand proved to be the enduring one. Continue Reading →
This election campaign still has five weeks to go. More than a month left, and we’ve already slumped into the contemptuous torpor of Johnny Depp in a quarantine apology video.
And to give you an idea of how long we still have to endure, that video was posted six weeks ago. Depp’s marriage to Amber Heard didn’t survive as long as we’ve still got to go in this campaign, and I’m beginning to wonder whether we will, either.
In an election where even the leader of the supposedly irreproachable Greens has been accused of paying people peanuts – or in peanuts; I don’t know what food they serve at the Di Natale Ranch – it’s no wonder that the opinion polls have been registering dead heats. Presumably everyone hangs up when they hear the word “election”, and stomps on their phone so it can’t happen again. Continue Reading →
When voters walk into polling booths in roughly one million years time, by which I mean on July 2, they will be thinking about their houses, and not just because they may well resent being asked to leave them in order to head down to a polling booth.
As I’ve already argued on this august website, the choice of housing policies provides an unusually clear contrast between the two major parties on one of the most fundamental and tangible of subjects.
Our houses matter to us. They’re the stage on which we live out our lives, and are generally the most important investment we’ve made for the future.
The same is true for our politicians, except that the houses in which they live at least part of their lives are often owned by their spouses, meaning that the mortgage is helpfully paid off by us taxpayers. Continue Reading →