Tuesday, 15 September 2015

*LEAKED! Prime Ministerial Diary | The Hon. Anthony John Abbott's last entry as PM, 11.41am, EST, 15th of September, 2015

Dear diary*,

This is a very difficult morning for me, following a very difficult night... I'll repeat that. This is as very difficult morning for me, following a very chastening and difficult night. This is my last entry into my diary as Prime Minister of this great nation (ah yes, if anyone reads this, I do diarise just like I talk).

Last night after the plotters were finished with the knife, I gave the boys from the security detail the slip and took a walk past Lake Burley Griffin en route to my top bunk bed at the AFP training academy (we do thank them for their service, but who will thank me?), well aware it would be the last time that I skimmed a stone over its glassy surface, or took a sneaky piss behind a pine tree, as the first amongst equals in the cabinet of this Australian Commonwealth.

I am so very tired. I barely slept last night and was up before sunrise. I didn't even go for a ride this morning, the first time in as long as I can recall. I feel hazy, dull, and I must confess, a little weak. But not so tired that I am not filled with a righteous rage against that Brasenose shirtlifter Mr Turnbull. Indeed, if the whole world weren't watching I would give him the old left right combination to the face, shatter those black rim hipster glasses of his, which sit upon his snooty nose in a mockery of this office... I even toyed with the idea of printing out a picture of Turnbull's face and taping it to my heavy punching bag, giving it a good seeing to, but I realised I couldn't figure out how to connect to the bluetooth on the printer...  Lord help me, by sheer force of habit I almost called Malcolm to ask him to pop around and help, before twigging to the lunacy of such a thought. I am so utterly drained...

It is important, it is important, to ensure I remain the bastion of Jesuit stoicism and strength my supporters, my predecessors and my God, have come to know and respect.

Still, that homo-lover will get his comeuppance, in this life and the next. Rest assured. For now, in these final hours of Prime Ministerial "me time", I gaze upon the gilt-framed photograph of a happier day in my tenure. Indeed, I can say that it the happiest day in my entire Prime Ministership, perhaps even my entire life, truth be told. Sure, the birth of my girls and the first time I got the leg over with a woman, they are up there too. My wedding day also rates a mention, but this was indeed a special day for me, for Australia.

An unseasonably warm Canberra day in late April, I woke up extra early full of the excitement of a kid on Christmas day. It was the day I would get to visit the facility at Fairbairn military airportand sit in the cockpit of a real F-35 stealth fighter jet! The cherry on top to the favourable polls which had me in the low 40s approval with a lead on Bill "Foetal Alcohol Syndrome" Shorten.

Technically the plane was a replica, but everyone in the cabinet (with the possible exception of the girl) were really jealous. Hockey even asked if he could come along and try too. I had nightmarish visions of the big guy struggling to get into the aircraft. Gastric banding is only so effective after all.

You could tell Morrison wanted to come too, but was too proud to ask. Instead he kind of sidled up to me the day before on some other pretense and said that he was looking forward to a mock reffo head-kicking op with the Sovereign Border crew on the Ocean Protector customs ship, but you could tell he was just posturing.

I should have taken him more seriously, though, in the end. Maybe the Liberal party is only big enough for one strong man. Dutton remained loyal, bless his hapless, amphibious face... I'm too hard on him though. Things have been really awkward since he tried to kiss me at the Midwinter Ball in June.

It's times like these that I think of the words of that tree hugger St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference...

I suppose I'll remain PM as long as I refuse to leave this office... Margie and the girls might miss me, but will adapt. Cabin fever might creep in, though I could still do some pushups, situps to keep fit, a little shadow boxing...

Damnation! I'll go spare without my morning rides and triathlons truth be told. Time to fire up the fax and send off the official resignation to the Gov-Gen with a heavy heart, I think. I know how to use that machine fine thank you Captain Broadband!


Prime Minister (as at time of writing) Tony Abbott.

*This is obviously political satire and should not be construed as anything more than one of the more inspired and better written parodies of a bloke who did his best only to find out it was really not that good.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


Look at this bin. Don't try to understand it, don't even think of putting any garbage in it, because it's locked up tighter than a Scotsman's wallet. If you laughed at that you're a racist.

I found out the hard way about this bin, after trying to put my empty coffee cup into it. It was having none of that, so I ended up carrying the cup for a few hundred more metres, eventually depositing it in somebody's residential bin. And in the fullness of time, I realised that despite its public location, just outside the Graceville train station, it was wrong of me to assume that the bin (pictured) was an amenity for my convenience.

It could well be a piece of installation art for all I know, a comment on the paradoxes encountered in everyday life. Like these open-toed galoshes – an object with many of the attributes of a useful thing, rendered impractical in the detail. Like Brisbane's public transport system in general.

Maybe the bin is ceremonial, and once a day one of the train station employees puts on a special hat, proceeds to the sacred bin fortress with a big clanking set of keys on his hip, opens the lock with much pomp and circumstance, and drops into the bin one single, perfect, hallowed piece of rubbish. And all of the people cheer, and then the integrity of the bin's borders is restored.

We will choose the rubbish that comes into this bin and the manner by which it comes, that kind of thing.

I don't really know why the memory of the bin has stayed with me. My friend Robo says "memory is a recidivist criminal", and if so, this one is guilty of loitering. For most people it probably wouldn't warrant a mention, a piece of minutia in their day, flotsam and jetsam, indeed, garbage. Perhaps it's because at the time I was a bit hungover, but the buoyant kind of hungover, where you still feel a bit drunk, and you are prepared to accept the insanities of reality with little more than a hazy shrug. Barista says "$5 dollars" upon handing you a coffee "Fuuu..." Bus driver says "Don't touch off your GoCard here, go to the train station for some reason" "...uuuuuuccc..." even the constant reminder of that guy who owes you that large sum of money, you're willing to laugh it off, with a smile. He can go "...ccckkk" himself.

Maybe it's not even about the money any more, about respect, the tricky end of Maslow's hierarchy. It's about the right, nae the duty, to speak out about this kind of bullshit. Why the fuck are you teasing me with this theoretical bin? Locking it up like an unaccompanied minor? Where's my money?

Why would you spend all that money on the iPhone 6? You never answer your phone anyway, you may as well have spent $1000 on a paperweight...

Because all it takes for evil to triumph is someone chaining up a wheelie bin while good people stand by and say nothing.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Gamble Responsibly

I have a confession to make. Last night I went to the Dicky Beach Surf Club by myself. I also gambled responsibly, losing $15 on the pokies, before winning it back with an each way bet on a horse called "Nights of Thunder", then got cocky and bombed out on a trifecta and a greyhound that came dead last. Overall I came through negative $13, which is good/bad luck depending how you look at it.

After losing on the pokies I penned this poem on a Keno ticket (text below).

How readily I fed $15 into that cold, uncaring poker machine.
Watched my sum total teeter totter in a choreographed display, 
designed to make me think that I had a hope (while oh so quietly tying the rope).

Now I take this Keno pencil and try to write - to find meaning in the spaces between the numbered boxes.
While in the lounge adjacent carnival music fanfare heralds the smallest of victories. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Avian attractions turn heads at Tokyo owl cafe

Tokyo is a city with a reputation for the weird and wonderful: Harajuku girls, capsule hotels and the fabled school girl underwear vending machines to name a few. Allow me to add another to the list for the uninitiated - the fukurō (owl) cafe, the latest trend in the category of animal cafes.

To be clear, these aren't establishments where you actually eat the namesake animal, rather eat alongside them. It sounds unhygienic and it probably is, but it's arguably also a lot of fun, which is why Japanese and gaijin alike flock to the city's plethora of pet cafes, offering co-dining with a respectable ecosystem of animal buddies; neko (cat), inu (dog), yagi (goat) and even hachūrui (reptile) variants of the business model grace the capital city and environs.

In my own experience, my introduction to the pet cafe was a completely organic experience. While exploring the inner-city neighbourhood of Koenji where I was staying with my Japanese-literate girlfriend, we chanced upon Cafe Baron, which advertised itself as a fukurou cafe. "What's fukurō?" I asked my translator (it sounded quite similar to the word for bag, but without the long O sound, which I learned so I could tell convenience store clerks that I didn't need another plastic bag to hold my pack of gum - "fukuro idimasen…") and she replied - "Owl."

And then we noticed through the glass what may have been a taxidermied grey owl sitting on a perch. But then it blinked. So of course, like any good pair of tourists we immediately went in and secured one of only a couple of vacant tables in the small establishment.

The next few hours flew by (excuse the pun), as we enjoyed a reasonably priced meal alongside a large great grey owl named 'John' and a smaller, slightly more skittish, barn owl - the eponymous 'Baron'.

'Baron' and some admirers.

'Baron' stretching while big 'John' gives his trademark quizzical look.

The owner, a kind middle aged Japanese man with quite good English (he'd lived in California for a period, we learned) was evidently thrilled at all the attention he and his birds were getting, happily inviting us to take copious photos, get up close for portraits alongside 'John', and nuzzling his beloved pets dotingly, who'd nibble at his goatee with equal affection.

A couple of wise birds.
The only rule of this avian love-in was that customers couldn't touch the owls, something you could do at other owl cafes, but against the owner's personal philosophy on the grounds that it could cause the birds to start to dislike humans. Over the course of our meal the cafe filled to capacity, which is in total about five tables. The guy even had to turn away one would-be customer, but you don't really get the feeling that he's raking it in, rather that this is a labour of love; that he really does give a hoot about owls (sorry). By eavesdropping on an interview he was giving to a Japanese blogger/journalist, we gleaned he'd been raising fukurō friends since he was a boy.

His fondness for all things owl-like is evidenced by copious owl ornaments, art and other paraphernalia all about the cafe. There are even albums of 'baby photos' of his pets placed on the tables for customers to browse through. Adorable.

"They grow up so fast..." Captive Great Grey Owls have been recorded to live for nearly 30 years.

Oh, and I should mention the food is pretty good too and not at all overpriced. Owl be back the next time I visit The Land of the Rising Pun.

You can follow Cafe Baron's blog here plus find links to more info.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Ode to Salt and Vinegar

My world is filled with pleasure when I, at my leisure,

Crunch on you like late autumn leaves, stepped on, in gutters.

For you I forsake all others: Original, French Onion or BBQ; whether smooth or crinkled in persuasion, 

I'd make love to my hand to quell the bland air, that finds its way in between crammed 

consignments -- a dichotomy of sodium and zest --

of all the chips I love you the best. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Let Cynicism be thy Shield in the Battle between Good & Evil

It's been some time since I've blogged. On occasion, I'm struck by inspiration to write something for what some might call "the digital space" (before mounting their Vespa scooter and scooting off to the latest hole in the wall for a single origin piccolo and a pow wow about social media strategy) but then the idea grows to unwieldy proportions, and I realise it's probably a lot easier to faff about in the Facebook feed and follow the unfolding of people whose lives are as uneventful as my own. Perhaps even more uneventful (I average 3.14 likes per post, which as you know is Pi to two decimal places).

That is terribly cynical I know. I saw this inspirational image on the internet (or as it's now known - 'Facebook') recently:

Thanks for your insights George S. Patton, and your efforts against the Kaiser. But correct me if Wikipedia has got it wrong, but in your youth you had "difficulty learning to read and write" and you also fenced, which means you weren't just a nerd, you were a stupid one at that.

The famous General experimented with blunt swords before he realised guns were much better instruments with which to KILL.

I display my cynicism as proudly as my hairdresser Adrian does his midriff at a well-known parade through Sydney's Oxford St. I once held a job for the grand total of one day in which said trait was key to my self-dismissal. They advertised themselves as a 'marketing firm' but essentially it was one of those charity mugger schemes.

After a solid two hours training we were sent out to some God-awful shopping mall on the arsehole of the earth where we sat behind a card table and tried to guilt people into signing up to a monthly direct debit payment that got them multiple entries in a raffle. The proceeds went to charity, and to making sure that the guy who owned said 'marketing firm' had enough money to support his appetite for performance vehicles and blackmarket infant livers. I didn't ask what he liked to do with them, that's between him and Satan.

Given my noob status I was put under the supervision of some bubbly young lady (Kristy, Kirsty?). Her main tactic was to whisper with fierce amiability at passersby, who would cock their ears confused and wander in. "Dont! It's a trap!" I would whisper at them as best I could, but alas, it was too late...

I think the worst part of the job was the morning 'pump up', in which the owner and his 2IC - a man more neck than head, with one of those stupid haircuts (short all over with one little tuft sticking up, he looked like a sucked mango pip) - would harp on about what a "yooooj" day it was going to be for the business. They even ceremoniously presented a little trophy to the most successful scammer from the previous day. Oh, and to make things just that much more cringeworthy, they scored this sinister scene with a stereo playing the "ince ince" backing track you get on the Kyle & Jackie O Hour of Power. Appropriately motivated, the boss, that modern day Fagan, sent out his legitimised pickpocket minions to rob the masses.

In closing a quote from Oscar Wilde: "I have never met any really wicked person before. I feel rather frightened. I am so afraid he will look just like every one else."

I'll tell you what he looks like Oscar. Your friendly local real estate agent. Or this guy on the left...