The 9pm Curiously Circular Ham and Potato with John Birmingham

John Birmingham is loomed over by a chicken parmigiana, for reasons which are explained in the podcast. (Photo: Supplied; schnitzel photo and digital imaging: Stilgherrian)

The spring series of The 9pm Edict continues with another visit from author, columnist, and man of words in so many, many dubious contexts, John Birmingham.

We talk about food crimes, JB’s Big Green Egg, Margaret Thatcher, Australian opposition leader Peter Dutton, custard, trickle-down economics, how the world has changed since Peter Dutton became opposition leader, the war in Ukraine, Liz Truss, the history of TV clip shows, iceberg lettuce, and sparkles.

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John Birmingham has been on the podcast many times before.

Thank you, Media Freedom Citizenry

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For this episode it’s thanks.

And of course it’s thanks again to all the generous people who contributed to The 9pm Spring Series 2022 crowdfunding campaign.

CONVERSATION TOPIC: Gay Rainbow Anarchist and Richard Stephens.

THREE TRIGGER WORDS: Peter Sandilands, Peter Viertel, Phillip Merrick, Sheepie, and one person who chooses to remain anonymous.

ONE TRIGGER WORD: Andrew Groom, Bic Smith, Bic Smith (again), Bruce Hardie, Elana Mitchell, Errol Cavit, Frank Filippone, Gavin C, Joanna Forbes, John Lindsay, Jonathan Ferguson, Jonathan Ferguson (again), Joop de Wit, Karl Sinclair, Katrina Szetey, Mark Newton, Matthew Moyle-Croft, Michael Cowley, Miriam Mulcahy, Oliver Townshend, Paul Williams, Peter Blakeley, Peter McCrudden, Ric Hayman, Rohan Pearce, Syl Mobile, and four people who choose to remain anonymous.

PERSONALISED AUDIO MESSAGE: Mark Cohen and Rohan (not that one).

FOOT SOLDIERS FOR MEDIA FREEDOM who gave a SLIGHTLY LESS BASIC TIP: Andrew Kennedy, Benjamin Morgan, Bob Ogden, Garth Kidd, Jamie Morrison, Kimberley Heitman, Matt Arkell, Michael Strasser, Paul McGarry, Peter Blakeley, and two people who choose to remain anonymous.

MEDIA FREEDOM CITIZENS who contributed a BASIC TIP: Bren Carruthers, Elissa Harris, Opheli8, Raena Jackson Armitage, and Ron Lowry.

And another five people chose to have no reward, even though some of them were the most generous of all. Thank you all so much.

Episode Links

As discussed in the podcast, a chicken parmigiana from the Alexandra Hotel, Leura, photographed on 28 September 2022. (Photo: Stilgherrian)
  • John Birmingham (born 7 August 1964) is a British-born Australian author, known for the 1994 memoir He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, and his Axis of Time trilogy.
  • I write books and things. This is sort of like my private club where anyone can hang out to talk about that stuff. So, okay, not that private. I’ll let you know about the stuff I’m doing, the stuff I love, and more importantly, the sort of things I think you might love too. For once, it’s not all about me.
  • Conflux is a speculative fiction convention held annually in Canberra.
  • AFR Magazine's annual Power Issue: The definitive analysis of Australia's most powerful people.
  • Peter Craig Dutton (born 18 November 1970) is an Australian politician who has been leader of the opposition and leader of the Liberal Party since May 2022. He has represented the Queensland seat of Dickson in the House of Representatives since 2001 and held ministerial office in the Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments.
  • [26 September 2022] In a rare, in-depth interview, the new opposition leader Peter Dutton opens up about the issues that have shaped him as a politician, and his vision for Australia after the Liberal Party’s bruising election defeat. Supporters paint a picture of a pragmatic leader open to change, and a man who operates with honesty and integrity. But critics say his past words and actions - particularly around migrant communities and refugees - cast a shadow over his capacity to lead the country in the future.
  • [26 September 2022] When Peter Dutton became Federal Opposition Leader in May, he declared that he wanted Australians to see the "entire person" – not just the persona shaped by his reputation as a former Queensland policeman-turned-Liberal party hard man. On Monday Four Corners reporter Sean Nicholls puts that declaration to the test with a rare in-depth interview. [Includes transcript.]
  • [25 September 2022] Forget what you may think you know about Peter Dutton, say his friends. The Liberal leader is not what he may appear.
  • [26 September 2022] News Corp’s latest attempt to repackage the Opposition leader paints him as a friend to many. Might that include Labor’s new anti-corruption commission legislation?
  • The Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (the Fitzgerald Inquiry; 1987–1989) into Queensland Police corruption was a judicial inquiry presided over by Tony Fitzgerald QC. The inquiry resulted in the resignation of the Premier (head of government), the calling of two by-elections, the jailing of three former ministers and the Police Commissioner (who also lost his knighthood). It also contributed to the end of the National Party of Australia's 32-year run as the governing political party in Queensland.
  • Friday, September 23 2022, 07:54. [Peter Dutton's speech starts at 8.18am.]
  • Chris Masters' investigation into Queensland police corruption reaches all the way up to the Police Commissioner.
  • [23 September 2022] You will have noticed that whenever Dutts needs to avoid discussing ten years of coalition shitfuckery over climate change, he goes nuclear.
  • [26 September 2022] Bazzi will not face prospect of high court overturning earlier win and Dutton will not pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs.
  • The Big Green Egg is the most versatile and simple-to-use outdoor cooker you’ll ever own.
  • An oviform object, made from jade or other precious stone, which is inserted into the vagina to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • HP Sauce is a British brown sauce, the main ingredients of which are tomatoes and tamarind extract. It was named after London's Houses of Parliament. After making its first appearance on British dinner tables in the late 19th century, HP Sauce went on to become an icon of British culture. It was the best-selling brand of brown sauce in the UK in 2005, with 73.8% of the retail market. The sauce was originally produced in the United Kingdom, but is now made by Heinz in the Netherlands.
  • Steak sauce is a tangy sauce commonly served as a condiment for beef in the United States. Two of its major producers are British companies, and the sauce is similar to the "brown sauce" of British cuisine.
  • [28 September 2022] It's health food for me today.
  • Alexandra Hotel is the only licenced hotel in Leura, since 1903. Well-appointed rooms, multiple dining experiences, bars & function facilities.
  • Lisboa Caffé is a small batch artisan Portuguese bakery that specializes in gourmet tarts, most famous for one of the best Portuguese Custard Tart in Australia. All products are handcrafted by Portuguese bakers, using the traditional recipe from our forefathers and our unique signature puff pastry, using only premium ingredients such as cultured butter and organic eggs.
  • [18 December 2018, the first of these videos] This might be my Magnum Opus. Please see my comments below with regards to reports the video was partially faked.
  • Douglas John Mulray (born 1 December 1951) is an Australian comedian, radio and television presenter. He grew up in the Sydney Northern Beaches suburb of Dee Why.
  • Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos is an Australian television comedy programme that was broadcast on Nine Network on 3 September 1992. It was a one-off special spin-off of Australia's Funniest Home Video Show, depicting videos of sexual situations and other sexually explicit content. The programme was notably taken off the air partway through the broadcast of its first and only episode on the order of then-network owner Kerry Packer.
  • Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer AC (17 December 1937 – 26 December 2005) was an Australian media tycoon, and was considered one of Australia's most powerful media proprietors of the twentieth century. The Packer family company owned a controlling interest in both the Nine Network and the publishing company Australian Consolidated Press, which were later merged to form Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL). Outside Australia, Packer was best known for founding World Series Cricket. At the time of his death, he was the richest and one of the most influential men in Australia. In 2004, Business Review Weekly magazine estimated Packer's net worth at A$6.5 billion.
  • [29 September 2022] Liz Truss speaks to eight BBC Local Radio stations, defending her mini-budget, saying she was prepared to make "controversial and difficult decisions" to get the economy moving.
  • [29 September 2022] Media commentators across political spectrum deride PM’s appearance on local radio to defend economic policy.
  • Reaganomics (/reɪɡəˈnɒmɪks/; a portmanteau of Reagan and economics attributed to Paul Harvey), or Reaganism, refers to the neoliberal economic policies promoted by U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. These policies are commonly associated with and characterized as supply-side economics, trickle-down economics, or "voodoo economics" by opponents,[5] while Reagan and his advocates preferred to call it free-market economics.
  • Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, DStJ, PC, FRS, HonFRSC (née Roberts; 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013), was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the first female British prime minister and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. As prime minister, she implemented policies that became known as Thatcherism. A Soviet journalist dubbed her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style.
  • Yes Minister is a British political satire sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. Comprising three seven-episode series, it was first transmitted on BBC2 from 1980 to 1984. A sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, ran for 16 episodes from 1986 to 1988. All but one of the episodes lasted half an hour, and almost all ended with a variation of the title of the series spoken as the answer to a question posed by Minister (later, Prime Minister) Jim Hacker. Several episodes were adapted for BBC Radio; the series also spawned a 2010 stage play that led to a new television series on Gold in 2013.
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 1979 British seven-part spy drama by the BBC. John Irvin directed and Jonathan Powell produced this adaptation of John le Carré's novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974).
  • Smiley’s People is a 1982 British six-part spy drama by the BBC. Directed by Simon Langton and produced by Jonathan Powell, it is the television adaptation of the 1979 spy novel Smiley's People by John le Carré, and a sequel to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (missing out the second book in the trilogy, The Honourable Schoolboy, which was not filmed for cost reasons). Starring Alec Guinness, Michael Byrne, Anthony Bate and Bernard Hepton, it was first shown in the United Kingdom from 20 September to 25 October 1982, and in the United States beginning on 25 October 1982.
  • [25 September 2022] Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to claim back all of Ukraine as he issues a dire warning to Russians conscripted by Vladamir Putin to go to war.
  • [26 September 2022] Images and social media video from the border crossing between Russia and Georgia show long lines of stationary traffic through a mountain pass. Drone video uploaded from the area suggests there are hundreds of vehicles gathered on the Russian side, with witnesses saying that people are waiting up to 48 hours to cross into Georgia.
  • [30 September 2022] Russia is likely to announce annexation of illegally captured areas in Ukraine. This sets a dangerous phase in the seven-month war. Russia has warned the west, after accession, Russia will be defending its own territory.
  • [30 September 2022] A Washington-based think tank says Ukrainian soldiers continue to advance around a key northeastern city occupied by Russian forces and may soon encircle it entirely.
  • The madman theory is a political theory commonly associated with US President Richard Nixon's foreign policy. Nixon and his administration tried to make the leaders of hostile Communist Bloc nations think he was irrational and volatile. According to the theory, those leaders would then avoid provoking the United States, fearing an unpredictable American response.
  • The Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) was the United States' general plan for nuclear war from 1961 to 2003. The SIOP gave the President of the United States a range of targeting options, and described launch procedures and target sets against which nuclear weapons would be launched. The plan integrated the capabilities of the nuclear triad of strategic bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), and sea-based submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). The SIOP was a highly classified document, and was one of the most secret and sensitive issues in U.S. national security policy.
  • [1 October 2022] So far, Western governments and officials have avoided pointing a finger directly, while Russia has blamed the West. European Union states say they believe the damage was caused by sabotage but have stopped short of naming anyone. Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, said it was "very obvious" who was behind it but did not say who that was.
  • [28 September 2022] “Bad Vlad’s Sad Grab Has Leningrad a Tad Mad.” Russian President Vladimir Putin seems intent on escalating the conflict in Ukraine, as he’s mobilized thousands of civilian conscripts and is on the verge of incorporating separatist parts of the country into Russia following a sham referendum. But will the Russian people stand for these new actions? And what will they mean for the future of the conflict?
  • Have T-34s entered Ukraine? Will Putin deploy the T-34s to Ukraine? Will we finally see the hordes of Vatnik warriors descend the mountains, riding upon Stalin's glorious armoured fist? Short answer no. Long answer, watch the video.
  • View our Big Green Egg 30sec TV commercial and it'll explain everything you need to know to have your EGG delivered to you for FREE!

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Series Credits