The 9pm Edict #5

The 9pm Edict

Australia’s smartest meth dealer found in Leichhardt. ABC chairman Maurice Newman branches out into staff supervision. And Sydney property developers whine because, well, they just didn’t automatically get everything their own way.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, no more than 20 minutes late, is episode 5 of The 9pm Edict. Finally.

You can listen to this episode below. But if you want them all, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

For more information on what I discussed today, try the NSW police media releases about Sunday’s explosion and Monday’s arrest, the Urban Taskforce media release and the ABC’s story on same, this Sydney Morning Herald story on various NSW Labor connections, Kristina Keneally’s Wikipedia entry, my post on Maurice Newman’s speech and the PM report on same, and Marcus Westbury’s column for The Age.

If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]

Letter from Newcastle

Photograph of newly-built apartment and signage reading Harbour Lifestyle

“That ‘This is Not Art’ thing this weekend, it’s like a fucking freak show walking past,” says the old guy in the yellow-tiled front bar of The Clarendon Hotel.

It’s just gone noon on Saturday. Apart from ’Pong and I having a burger and beer, he’s the only customer. His worldview of what Newcastle‘s Hunter Street should be like is challenged by the stream of paste-white black-clad comic fans, straggly-bearded eco-hippies, random hipsters and nose-ringed alternagothpunkteendykes strolling past the boarded-up shopfronts.

Noticing a skinny guy wearing yellow overalls and a torn red-striped t-shirt, our frowning drinker puts down his VB. “Hey, is there a circus in town? Because I can see a clown”, he calls out to the barman.

The barman smiles politely, but says nothing.

“Hey, is there a circus in town?”, he mutters, and takes another sip. He looks out at the soulless office buildings that replaced the landscape of his memory, in silence.

Yet these weird out-of-towners, with their experimental robotics, knitting and YouTube mashups, have brought more life to this industrial city’s ailing heart than any grandiose “development” plan.

Continue reading “Letter from Newcastle”

John “The Hipster” Faulker, defence minister

New Australian defence minister John Faulkner

Marcus Westbury, who I’ve written about before, has noticed something special about Australia’s new defence minister.

John Faulkner [pictured left] hasn’t changed his glasses for so long they’re almost fashionable again,” he tweets. “Do you think if I start referring to John Faulkner as ‘the hispter’ it will catch on? He has the retro ironic glasses for it.”

“It’s gonna be awesome to see those glasses in the back of an F-35 or sticking out of a tank. Cartoonists will love this,” Marcus reckons. And I reckon too.

So, dear Australian political writers and cartoonists, can we please start referring to Senator John Faulkner as “The Hipster”?

Marcus also wonders about the fate of the Rudd government’s transparency program, which Faulkner was driving in his role as Special Minister of State. “It was the most impressive thing about the Rudd government,” says Marcus. “What now?”

Marcus Westbury’s “Not Quite Art” is quite unmissable

Image of Marcus Westbury from Not Quite Art

I can’t be “objective” about Marcus Westbury and his truly awesome TV series Not Quite Art. Marcus, I am totally envious and I want to have your babies!

OK, failing that (for various biological and logistical reasons) I’ll simply demand that everyone — and I do mean everyone — watch Not Quite Art when series two is squeezed like a threatening pimple from ABC1’s transmitters across Australia tonight at 10pm. Or ABC2 at 7pm Sunday. Or streamed from ABC iView. Or downloaded illegally from the torrents.

Quite frankly, if you reckon you’re interested in “art” and “culture” and how it’s evolving, then you must consider Marcus’ worldview. If you fail to watch this program, you’re missing out on a delightful, witty and above all intelligent journey.

Now I suppose I’ll have to explain why this series is so important…

Continue reading “Marcus Westbury’s “Not Quite Art” is quite unmissable”

So, who’s for Chairman Rudd’s Australia 2020 Summit?

Chairman Rudd’s got a clever strategy going, unless it’s just a coincidence. The usually-secret Red Book warns of approaching “challenges” like climate change, an aging population and the economic growth of India and China. Then we announce the Australia 2020 Summit.

As any management consultant will tell you, develop a shared vision and folks will endure short-term pain — like interest rate rises and having to change the light bulbs.

Actually I’m not that cynical about it. I’m quietly enthused. After a decade of Howard’s backward-looking short-term thinking we seriously need to look to the future. Fast. Of course, back when Barry Jones was science minister we had a permanent organisation to keep watch, the Commission for the Future. Maybe I’ll read Lessons from the Australian Commission for the Future: 1986-1998 [PDF file] when I get the time. But I digress…

If Chairman Rudd wants 1000 of our “best and brightest” in Canberra on 19-20 April, who should they be?

It’s flattering that Nick Hodge and Peter Black nominated me, bless their sycophantic little hearts. And I’ve already gained four votes at Bloggerati. I’d love to be part of this Summit, sure, because I’d be Fighting the Hallucinating Goldfish hands on. However I have a few more modest suggestions…

Continue reading “So, who’s for Chairman Rudd’s Australia 2020 Summit?”