Archive | The Glebe

My column for The Glebe (a local newspaper in Sydney), 2005 to 2008

A column about Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees

Morris Iemma won the 2007 NSW election, I believe, because he adopted a slogan whose humility was unique in Australian political history. Though it was widely mocked at the time by many sage commentators including myself, the phrase “More to do, but heading in the right direction” struck a chord in the electorate for one very good reason. Unusually for a political slogan, half of it rang absolutely true. Everyone who heard it intuitively agreed that Iemma had more to do, a hell of a lot more to do, and this made us think that the new Premier was a man who understood our concerns. Now, finally, Iemma has delivered on the second half of that slogan. Because the first Labor Premier to be dumped in the Parliament’s 117-year history is, without doubt, finally heading in the right direction. Continue Reading →

A column about Christmas

Every year, I grow a little older, and Christmas becomes a little less important. I used to look forward to the festive season with considerable excitement, because it meant I got presents. As a child, my materialism was unrestrained by any pretence of decency, so I’d dive into the lake of presents that was the happy byproduct of a large extended family with some of the purest joy of my life. Now that I’m older, far more expensive toys do considerably less for me. And so perplexed relatives ring me a few days before Jesus’ Big Day, racking their brain over what to buy me, and I’m never able to think of anything. Because if I could, I’d have bought it myself already. Continue Reading →

A column about bucks nights

As an Arts graduates of the University of Sydney I consider myself sensitive to feminism, and will gladly pontificate about the patriarchy. And yet there’s one age-old male ritual that transforms me from a committed warrior against gender inequity into a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal: the bucks night. Whenever a friend gets married, I’ll gladly set aside all my painstaking political correctness and celebrate their descent into matrimony the old-fashioned way: by regressing into adolescence. Continue Reading →

A column about Barack Obama

Where were you when Australia II won the America’s Cup? When the World Trade Centre collapsed? And the day Barack Obama was elected President? The answers to these questions are sometimes fairly dull – in my case, sofas feature prominently, and a fortnight ago, Doritos as well. But I’ll never forget those experiences of watching history unfold live before me, and I’ve no doubt that the 2008 US Election will live on in our memories for as long as the moon landing. Because Barack Obama’s victory was so moving that even Karl Rove said one or two nice things about it. Continue Reading →

A column about babies

At first there were none, and everything was peaceful. Then, the first one showed up, and then another, and I began to worry. Then, as the years passed, more and more reports of their impending arrival flooded in, and I began to panic. Now, it’s clear that they will win, and it’s only a matter of time. Nearly everyone will succumb, and although I’ll hold out for as long as I can, I realise that one day too, I will give in. Continue Reading →

A column about the global financial crisis

You know, John Howard warned us that if we elected Kevin Rudd, the economy would go to hell in a handbasket. (I’m not sure why that seems to be the preferred transportation method for those sentenced to eternal damnation, but apparently handbaskets are the appropriate way to get there.) But he could might clarified that he meant the entire world economy. If we’d only known tossing Howard out of Kirribilli House would cause the whole of Wall St to collapse more rapidly than Sarah Palin’s popularity, surely we’d have thought again. Continue Reading →

A column about Sarah Palin

Politics is often about managing expectations. If you’re Sarah Palin right now, you want expectations to be lower than the effectiveness of abstinence-based sex education. And, as her daughter Bristol could probably tell you, that’s very low indeed. Continue Reading →

A column about the Marrickville by-election

So, whatsisname the new Premier (Morris Iemma, Google reminds me) has survived his second major test, narrowly winning the ‘Triple M’ by-elections – Maroubra, Macquarie Fields and Marrickville. If only he’d had as much success with his first major test – getting people to work out who he is. Still, at least we know how to pronounce his name, thanks to the ALP’s incredibly awkward radio ads: “Is it ‘I-yee-emma’? No David, it’s ‘Yemma’.” No Morris, it’s humiliating. Continue Reading →

A column about Lehman Brothers

This may shock regular readers, given the extraordinary breadth of my wisdom in almost all areas of life, but I really don’t get the world financial system. Generally, it seems to make a lot of fairly unpleasant, money-obsessed people even richer than they already are, and far richer than they could ever need to be. But then, occasionally, it goes utterly pear-shaped in a matter of days, and the very same people start tearing their hair out and donning sackcloth and ashes. Zegna sackcloth, of course, but sackcloth nevertheless. Continue Reading →

A column about quokkas

Wikipedia tells me that the quokka (Setonix brachyurus), the only member of the genus Setonix, is a small macropod about the size of a large domestic cat. And the only reason I know this is because the poor animal became this week the latest twist in the strange saga of Troy Buswell. Continue Reading →