Daily Life

Articles from my column on Fairfax’s Daily Life website, which has appeared since the website began in 2012.

Plumbing the depths of my DIY inadequacy

I got a call from the plumber at 8.30pm the other night night. He could repair my bathroom taps the following morning. I was impressed, having only put in the request earlier that day. When suited me, he asked. I work in the afternoons and evenings, so I replied that before midday should be fine. Could he do it first thing? What do you mean ‘first thing’, I replied, apprehensively. ‘7.30,’ he responded.

I grimaced a little, knowing that saying yes would sentence me to an extremely abbreviated sleep, but I needed to get it done. For weeks, my bathroom taps had been like the cartoon ones that Bugs Bunny often finds in the desert. Bugs would turn them on frantically, dying of thirst, and then one single solitary drip would make its way into his gaping mouth. Later in the cartoon a huge gush comes out of them – that was what I was hoping to achieve.Read More »Plumbing the depths of my DIY inadequacy

I am soooo over Instagram…

Whenever you make an outlandish claim on the internet, you will get the same snarky response – “pics or it didn’t happen.” The English writer and commentator Charlie Brooker discovered this a few days ago when he claimed on Twitter to have concocted a chocolate and mackerel paté. He duly posted this photo.

So, if you claim to have a tattoo of Hello Kitty in an attempt to seem quirky, or claim to have met One Direction in a misguided attempt to connect with a misguided tween, or claim, as I once did in a highly unsuccessful attempt to gain the favours of a certain young lady, to be a relative of Prince William’s, you can expect to be asked to provide photographic proof. In which case all I can suggest is “Photoshop and it did happen.”Read More »I am soooo over Instagram…

Why you shouldn’t watch The Hunger Games

I consider myself something of a trendspotter. I like to keep my ear to the ground, find out what the Kids Are Into These Days. So let me give you a little exclusive, the lowdown, the skinny, about what I’m tipping to be the next Harry Potter or Twilight. It’s a little series called The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, it tells the story of a rather special young lady named Katniss Everdeen, who…

Oh look, I can’t keep this up. It’s already earned $250 million at the box office, and, remarkably for such a massive blockbuster, has had excellent reviews, scoring 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. You’ve probably already seen the trailer, if not the film itself. But if you haven’t heard about it, just read the Wikipedia entry or one of the 27,700,000 articles that come up when you Google “hunger games suzanne collins”. To be honest, I’m just trying to compensate for the fact that I hadn’t even heard of it until a month ago. Although if I had, the oft-cited comparison with Twilight would have put me off.Read More »Why you shouldn’t watch The Hunger Games

Presenting Knight’s Ten Laws of Karaoke Etiquette

Humanity has achieved so many extraordinary things in recent times. We’ve invented space travel, self-driving cars and the little red light that tells Kyle Sandilands when to shut up. But I would argue that of all the rich bounty which science has bequeathed to humankind, there is nothing finer than karaoke.

Sure, I wouldn’t win that argument, but, in the best spirit of amateur karaoke performers everywhere, I’d give it a solid go anyway. Because karaoke gives everybody the chance to be a star. A star with a dodgy synthesised backing track, a voice swamped by clunky digital reverb, and music videos that only ever seem to feature trams trundling around San Francisco, but a star nonetheless.Read More »Presenting Knight’s Ten Laws of Karaoke Etiquette

Place a boomgate in front of your televisions

I hate The Shire, and it hasn’t even been filmed yet. I hate it even more than the Mayor of the Sutherland Shire does, and she hates it so much that she’s threatened to put a boom gate over all of the bridges in her area to stop them filming there. I hate it even more than I hated Sylvania Waters, unless you remember that the Donahers laid the ground for all the other reality TV that’s followed, in which case we really should hurry up and invent time travel so that somebody, presumably Bruce Willis, can travel back and make sure it never happened.Read More »Place a boomgate in front of your televisions

What went wrong with WotWentWrong.com

When the definitive history of bad ideas is written, right alongside the guy who gave up a 10% share in Apple, the company that paid Shane Warne to give up smoking for a year and Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth, there will be a special chapter onWotWentWrong.com.

I discovered the existence of this organisation on Twitter this week, and I simply couldn’t believe it. It’s a website that lets you to send a survey to somebody who dumped you, or stopped returning calls, or whatever it was, so you can find out why.Read More »What went wrong with WotWentWrong.com

Full equality is still a lingerie way away

It’s to the credit of the women’s movement that very few men now dare question the need for International Women’s Day. So instead of some of my more douchebaggy brothers try to run that tiresome argument that there should be an International Men’s Day as well. “If you want equality,” they bray, “shouldn’t we be treated exactly the same?”

Arguing that men are subject to “reverse sexism” and “political correctness gone mad” is one of the few complaints about feminism that men are still socially comfortable with making,  and while of course it’s no less misconceived than any of the others, it does deserve some credit for at least conceding the ideal of equality. This silly line of argument should be confined to the realm of talkback radio, where there are practically no female announcers*, neatly illustrating why we in no way need an International Men’s Day.Read More »Full equality is still a lingerie way away

Wax like an Egyptian

If nothing else, my body serves as an admirable definition of irony. I’m blessed with hair in abundance everywhere except atop my head. Despite the current hipsterish fashion for beards, I’m unable to grow a convincing one because large patches of my facial hair are now white, making my luxuriant beard appear piebald. I also have a fairly solid upper body, which makes me look reasonably strong until it’s actually time to lift anything. If nothing else, my body has proven an excellent basis for a career in comedy.Read More »Wax like an Egyptian