Freelance writing for SMH.com.au, The Glebe, Cleo, SundayLife and elsewhere
At midnight on December 31, as 2018 ticks over to 2019 and revellers’ cheers erupt across the eastern seaboard, I fully expect to be fast asleep.
Couples will kiss, singles will hug awkwardly, and Auld Lang Syne will be sung despite nobody knowing what an “auld lang syne” is. The air will be crackling with good cheer and, shortly afterwards, thick smoke from the fireworks. And I plan not be conscious for any of it.
This year has featured some spectacularly poor decisions. Peter Dutton’s leadership challenge, Justin Milne’s mutually assured dismissal and the Central Coast Mariners’ Usain Bolt misadventure were all epic pieces of incompetence.
But none holds a candle to Australia’s two best cricketers and a gormless newbie getting busted ball-tampering. After years of scandals about picked seams and sticky sweets, our tactical geniuses thought it’d be bonza to use sandpaper in front of multiple high-definition cameras.
At Christmas time, Santa isn't the only one circumnavigating the globe to deliver joy. At this time of year, it feels like the entire million Australians who live overseas fly home for beach time, family time, and frenzied catch-ups with those of us lucky enough still to be deemed their friends.
I love seeing my expat mates – they’re lovely, clever, entertaining people who are doing terribly well in NYC or Singapore or Kalamazoo or wherever is lucky enough to have them. But as our globetrotting pals regale us once more with their tales of their glamorous existence exhibiting avant garde paintings in Shoreditch or collaborating with the UN in Geneva or saving lives in rural Myanmar, I have one small request.
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.
I love cafés. I love proper espresso coffee, idle chatting while I sip it, and those little cakes that are just small enough to let me pretend that they’re not unhealthy.
I like my water served sparkling, my toast with ‘smashed avo’, and I like using my local café as a ‘coffice’ even though that’s the worst portmanteau word besides ‘webinar’.
Yes, I’m an inner-city, lattè-sipping, walking stereotype, so when I recently visited Paris I made sure I visited as many of them as humanly possible.Read More »Visiting the world’s oldest café
On Sunday night, I found the best Pokémon I’ve ever seen. Right in the middle of Hyde Park, inappropriately close to the Pool of Reflection, I discovered a Golduck worth a whopping 917 combat points – more than anything in my Pokédex.
If you’re one of the rapidly dwindling number who isn’t playing Pokémon Go, that’s like coming across a $100 note, if the $100 wasn’t worth anything except in some stupid game.
But I was excited. With this spiky-headed blue creature in my Pokéarsenal, I could win my first Pokégym battle and capture the nearby obelisk for Team Red.Read More »I’m over Pokémon Go… what’s next?
Hallelujah, the election is over! Well, overish. Well, a result seems likely, at some point in the not too distant future, definitely this year. Probably. Once the AEC, the planets and Antony Green are all in alignment. Subject to recount, rethink, relapse, the Court of Disputed Returns, and the mercurial whim of Bob Katter.
At the time of writing, Malcolm Turnbull was the more likely prime minister, not least because he’s currently the prime minister, and will remain so until anybody else is.
And while his plea of “stick to the plan” has been met by the electorate with “no thanks, we prefer knife-edge near-chaos, if it’s all the same to you”, the PM is likely to be able to make the stronger case to the crossbenchers. Perhaps not numerically, but as we saw on election night, certainly in terms of emphatic, fistpumping rhetoric.Read More »Who’s up for another election?
Sydneysiders used to hibernate in cold weather. After months of beach dips, backyard barbecues and outdoor festivals, we’d shut ourselves away from May to August, only leaving the house if paid to do so.
In winter we shivered under our doonas and hugged hot water bottles because as a matter of pride, we refused to build our houses with central heating. I mean, we aren’t Melbourne.
It’s a vibrant time of the year for Sydneysiders, when the glow from the 23-day festival takes over the city.
Our winter social calendars were emptier than a screening of Zoolander 2. It was unthinkable to attend weddings, parties, or anything beyond a pub with a roaring fireplace and the footy on a big screen.Read More »Sydney shouldn’t shut down just because it’s cold