We should share housing for longer

Unless you’re an impossibly wealthy plutocrat, or a smug baby boomer who bought in the 90s (much the same thing), browsing a real estate website is incredibly depressing. It’s like listening to Adele while watching this video of a sad kitten and peeling onions into the shape of Nicholas Sparks.

Until the bubble bursts – which may never happen – huge numbers of Australians below the age of 40 will struggle to buy their own place. For many of us, a house with a backyard, or even an apartment with enough rooms for a couple of kids, is out of reach unless we go to regional areas or live on the outskirts of major cities.Read More »We should share housing for longer

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.Read More »Forget aged care. This is awesome care.

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

  • Blog, SMH

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.Read More »Sydney is too expensive for young people to take a risk on a good idea

How to avoid tweeting your way to unemployment

Free speech is a fine thing. Unfettered self-expression is a precious gift. Some might say that in a democracy such as ours, it should have no limits whatsoever.

But in this era where we all carry portable publishing devices in our pockets, it should definitely have limits, and even if your employer doesn’t impose them on you the way the ABC does on people like me, it makes good sense to impose similar rules on yourself.

So, with that in mind, here’s some advice about how not to screw up on Twitter, the premier platform for laying social media landmines that explode beneath you at the most inopportune moments.Read More »How to avoid tweeting your way to unemployment

Say hello to election mania – and I do mean mania

Guessing what’s in Malcolm Turnbull’s head. That’s what anyone with a passing interest in Australian politics will be doing for the next three months or so. In fact, it’s recently overtaken Pin The Appropriation On The Responsible Subcommittee as Canberra’s favourite parlour game.

No doubt the PM’s head contains many things – public transport maps of our major cities, including photogenic selfie locations, and more Thucydides than anybody outside of a university classics department could possibly need. I suspect there are more tasty stories about Kerry Packer in there somewhere, too.

But if you searched long and hard enough, peeling back the layers of legal arcana and shimmying around the complex corporate structures contained therein, you would find an election date.Read More »Say hello to election mania – and I do mean mania

If crooks can communicate securely, why can’t we?

If we learned one thing from the drama surrounding Edward Snowden and his revelations about the National Security Agency, it’s that Russia is still the best place to go if you have US secrets to peddle.

But if we learned another, it’s that governments are able to access far more of our personal information than we previously thought.

Even before we heard about PRISM and the rest, we were on notice that what we keep on our phones can be vulnerable. Way back in 2005, Paris Hilton (remember her?) had the contents of her T-Mobile Sidekick (bet you don’t remember them) uploaded all over the internet.

It’s happened to a litany of celebrities in the years since – Paris always was at the cutting edge of fashion.Read More »If crooks can communicate securely, why can’t we?

My ten favourite thing about the 2016 Oscars

This was surely the first Oscars where more attention was paid to the people who hadn’t been nominated than the people who had. Sitting through the 3.5 hour ceremony, it was hard not to notice every set of five nominees was uniformly white – and there were a lot of them.

But in terms of what happened, as opposed to what should have and didn’t, here are the things worth talking about.Read More »My ten favourite thing about the 2016 Oscars

If only tonight we could sleep…

We don’t sleep enough. Our doctors tell us this, assorted lifestyle gurus tell us this, and our bodies tell us this every time we wake up feeling like our heads have been gently bludgeoned with a fence paling.

Modern life stretches us until we’re worn out like cheap rubber bands that have grown weak and flabby, no longer fit for purpose because they’ve become as horribly overextended as this metaphor.

But instead of heeding the message and retreating to slumberland, with earplugs, eye masks and a soothing recording of Dr Ben Carson’s stump speech, we struggle on.Read More »If only tonight we could sleep…

Dear Chris Martin, here’s why Coldplay are funny

In an interview coinciding with his Super Bowl performance, where his band unwisely invited a contrast with the twin musical forces that are Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, lead singer Chris Martin confesses to not understanding why Coldplay are funny:

“I had a couple of years in the mid-2000s where it was really confusing to me,” he said. “I was like, ‘Why is our band sometimes a punch line?'”

A member of Coldplay not understanding why Coldplay are funny is, itself, fairly funny.Read More »Dear Chris Martin, here’s why Coldplay are funny

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