Because the world needs more overwrought candour.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Two word-of-mouth rumours about Mel Gibson

One could be put down to possible exaggeration, but two rumours have a little more weight. OK, so the story is: two female friends have independently told me they have been approached by Mel Gibson in a Sydney club. K told me she and her friend spent the night dancing with Mel and his bodyguard before his minder called them the next day to suggest a helicoptered lift to spend a weekend with Mel in a private estate (they politely declined). That was interesting enough, but a few weeks later, another friend, L, told me she was in a club in Sydney with a friend when Mel stumbled into the women's toilet, pashed her friend and stumbled out again. Isn't that great? Two friends who aren't prone to exaggeration tell of a married man famous for his Catholicism making advances on them or their friend. As a happily lapsed Catholic, I really, really enjoy discovering religious hypocrisy.

Monday, December 04, 2006


So good I had to watch it twice - but what a difference between viewings! Slumming it with the plebs at Melbourne Central's multiplex, everyone laughed at the heavy satire of the Running of the Jew or Borat's priceless speech outlining his Iraq strategy. The rather educated audience at the Nova was much less certain of laughing at racial jokes, even if the joke was that the exposed Americans were racist/homophobic/etc. A few small titters but generally a stunned silence with head-shaking. You could tell anti-American anecdotes were being accumulated. I even heard of people boycotting the movie because Mr Cohen is being so vigorously sued. Bah. Humour has to hurt. Give me the plebs of the multiplexes anytime. They might not get the satire, but by god, at least they can laugh.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Australia's record drought shows no sign of breaking, and as the environment changes, so too are the gears of society slowly grinding into a new, more suitable configuration. So now we have the remarkable sight of four large Victorian businesses pleading, begging, cajoling people to use LESS of the product they have on sale - water. It's stunning - millions spent on advertising to ask people not to purchase the commodity Melbourne Water and its spin-off state companies harness, purify and on-sell. In the land of economists, demand is usually thought of as more limited than supply, but in this case, the very nature of business - to grow through competition - has been inverted in the interests of cooperation, based on an external threat to the public good. Environmentalists have taken heart from this and the apparent tipping point towards accepting climate change, and are arguing with renewed vigour for the need for more rigorous controls on natural resources of all kinds - shifting from coal to gas fired plants and wind, linking climate change to the drought presently dislodging farmers off the land. While you wouldn't know it from the dismal Green vote at the State Election, the inverted economics of restricted supply have proven that people can and will adapt en mass to more sustainable modes of being - but only if the threat is imminent and visible. Enviromentalists would love the drought to slingshot the initially painful cuts to carbon emissions into the political sphere, but they're still fighting an uphill battle against Australia's cheap coal and uranium, compounded by the long timeline required to see serious shifts in Australia's climate. It will take more than a decade of drought to force a wide-scale shift to a new energy economy.

After successfully wrestling an Ikea wardrobe into existence, I collapsed into bed contently. Lying there, I wondered why it was so satisfying to make Ikea furniture. Then it dawned - it was exactly the same feeling I used to have after making Lego according to the instructions. And what is Ikea but larger Lego? Both companies hail from Scandinavian countries, the design-oriented areas of Northern Europe, and both global products are known for their DIY Build it for Dummies ethos.

But why can't the Scandinavians step up another notch in their simple instructions - why not Ikea-style houses? Why stop at filling rooms with furniture? Think bigger - prefab houses constructed overnight, in an updated version of a Amish barn-raising.