12 March

Tips on how to not review the Jezabels’ second album

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The Jezabels: The Brink

Dear the Internet,

Hayley Mary from the Jezabels isn’t fond of critics.

“Get a real job!” she opined to Music Feeds before complaining how no-one gets her or her music, specifically with regard to the less-than-stellar critical reception afforded to the band’s second album The Brink.

As someone who has been employed for the last 20 years almost entirely as a music critic, I’d like to point out that it is, in fact, a real job. And it’s a pretty great one, especially if you plan on dying of tinnitus and liver failure.

It’s odd that she cares about critics since she also claims in the interview that she never reads reviews – although that, of course, is a lie. It’s like writers saying they never read the comments. You’re fooling nobody.

But that’s a side issue. Here’s where Mary needs a little bit of straight talk:

“I just think there is too much hatred in the world to have a job that is based on writing off what other people try and do, unless that person is in a serious position of power. I don’t mind when people criticise politicians, or like the army or something.”

Now, leaving aside her difficult-to-support position that criticism of people is justified provided that they aren’t specifically her, there’s something that she – and every other person who has ever bitched and moaned about negative reviews – should keep in mind going forward.… Read more

26 February

Melbourne or Sydney: which city will kill you first?

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Melbourne sign

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear the Internet,

The Guardian recently published an interactive map showing how one’s life expectancy changes depending on where in the world one lives. It’s a fascinating tool unambiguously showing that people in big cities tend to live significantly longer than those in rural and remote deathtraps.

However, looking at our wide brown land that’s so controversially girt by sea, it’s notable that those who live over in Sydney apparently die six weeks earlier than the national average… which got us to wondering how Melburnians fare.

To investigate this, we’ve elucidated the elements that extend and diminish life for Sydney residents, alongside those of the nation’s cultural capital, Melbourne.

SYDNEY MELBOURNE
Tantalising anticipation of eventually doing the BridgeClimb, definitely this year, definitely +4 mo Sense of unfettered awe and wonder when beholding the majestic beauty of Federation Square +3 mo
Exhaustion from life being constant whirlwind of Baz Luhrmann production numbers -4 mo Injuries sustained falling off footpath because of intrusive public art -6 mo
Bondi Beach over-flexing -8 mo The weather: oh dear god, the weather -8 mo
Relaxing snoozes in Parramatta Road traffic +1 mo Post-Jet grief -4 mo
Delight at easy access to the electrifying nightlife of Canberra +1 mo Disappointment at not being Berlin/Tokyo/New York -3 mo
Rugby -3 mo AFL +3 mo
Proximity to Kyle Sandilands -9.5 mo Knife fights over which Fitzroy café has the worst coffee -3 mo
Citywide safety, respect and happiness manifested by 1.30am pub lockouts TBC Enduring hope that Harold Holt will return any minute now +2 mo
Mysterious Shire vanishings -4 mo St Kilda foreshore despair -4 mo
Tram envy -3 mo Yarra poisoning -8 mo
Mardi Gras float collisions -2 mo Seeing that blonde one from Neighbours at the supermarket +7 mo
Sense of freedom from never having to endure the burdens of home ownership +12 mo Hearing loss from embarrassing overabundance of live venues -1 mo
Restaurant queue ennui -6 mo Comedian infestations -3 mo
Relief at not being Brisbane +3 mo Relief at not being Adelaide +3 mo
Smug sense of superiority +6 mo Sense of superior smugness +6 mo
TOTAL -1.5 mo TOTAL 0

 

So which city is better?… Read more

24 February

Quiz: which played out Australian dining trend are YOU?

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Dear the Internet,

Australians love democracy on Facebook. And it’s fair enough too, since we don’t really get any of it in our political lives. That’s the only possible explanation for the ubiquity of quizzes asking which Game of Thrones character, which Star Wars villain and/or which intestinal parasite we are (I got E. histolytica! That’s the coolest one!).

And thus, in a shameless attempt to chase that web-savvy demographic of people with too much time on their hands, I’ve constructed this questionnaire to determine which hackneyed, over-played, downright irritating food trend most represents you, the discerning quizthusiast.

Pick yer answers, calculate yer scores, and learn your special personal truth. It’s not just fun – it’s SCIENCE!

In an ideal world, life should be…
a. indistinguishable from anyone else’s (4)
b. briefly pleasant, but then full of shame (10)
c. pointlessly complicated and dangerous (8)
d. socially responsible, yet disgusting (6)

When you think of the improvisational powers of MacGyver, you think…
a. “That would never actually work.” (2)
b. “Yeah! Whoo! Anything can be used for anything!” (3)
c. “What is going on with his hair?” (1)
d. “What’s a MacGuyver?” (0)

Your favourite design aesthetic could be best described as…
a.… Read more

14 February

Your ratings-smashing Australian Government blockbuster TV events of 2014!

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Oh, Tampa!

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear the Internet,

If there’s one thing that our nation learned last Sunday with success of rating smashers INXS: Never Tear Us Apart and the Schapelle Corby biopic Schapelle, it’s that we Australians love nothing more than seeing our own stories ineptly reflected back at us.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by our Federal government, who recognise that the best way to win hearts and minds in support of their political agenda is by telling our culture’s greatest stories on the small screen.

That’s why the following three blockbuster television events are currently being rushed into production – so here’s a preview of what will, unless Labor and the Greens block it in the upper house, be 2014’s federally-mandated Must-See TV!

Sophie’s WorkChoices
Australia’s sweetheart Lisa McCune is Sophie Everywoman, a single mum struggling to balance her work and personal life under the yoke of protectionist unions forcing her to accept award wages, OH&S standards in the workplace and crippling obligations like employer superannuation contributions and paid leave.

However, a chance meeting with dashing Howard-era employment minister Kevin Andrews (Julian McMahon) makes her realise that she really can have it all simply by outlawing collective bargaining and allowing her to negotiate as equals with her employers, who promptly make her position casual.… Read more

7 February

What’s the worst song ever written? The Nottest 100 winner is revealed!

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Nottest 100

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear The Internet,

Well, it’s been a big, brassy week for horrible music. Who’d have thought that being reminded of ‘Shiny Happy People’ would have blossomed into the gorgeous flower that the Nottest 100 has become? What began as a stupid joke has turned into something much more wonderful: a bigger stupid joke.

And I have been heartened and horrified and delighted and disgusted by the response.

Hundreds of songs were nominated, and hundreds of votes were cast, and hundreds of people told me that the list included songs they loved and did I want to fight. Almost as many told me that they’ve been thrashing the Spotify playlist in an orgy not not-guilty-enough pleasure. And I thank you, the weirdly passionate music lovers of Australia, for being part of the process.

And also: your taste in music is terrible.

Rather than churn through the entire list and make arbitrary distinctions between equally low-rating songs (thank you, Australia, for having no problem with ‘Love Shack’), I present to you what our proud nation has determined – through DEMOCRACY! – as being the Five Worst Songs Of All Time.

It was a hotly contested battle in the upper echelons, with some worthy contenders not quite making the cut – so commiserations to haters of such legitimately awful songs as Nickelback’s ‘Photograph’, Sandi Thom’s ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)’, Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’, Black Eyed Peas’ ‘My Humps’, Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’, the Baha Men’s ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ and – just missing the top five by the slimmest of slim margins, Joe Dolce’s immortal ‘Shaddap You Face’.… Read more

30 January

Vote for the worst song of all time in our inaugural Nottest 100!

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Nottest 100

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear the Internet,

So, the Triple J Hottest 100 was a bit of a shock, huh? That Vance Joy fellow was a surprise, am I right? Sure, ‘Riptide’ is a catchy tune, but who predicted it’d knock off ‘Royals’ or ‘Get Lucky’ for best song of the year? And hey, here’s another, better question for you: how godawful was Wil.I.Am’s ‘Feelin’ Myself?’ I know, right?

See, talking about out favourite songs might be pleasant enough, but you know what truly unites people? The songs they hate. And it’s in this spirit of mean-spirited inclusion that I am proud – well, more accurately, smug – to announce the launch of the inaugural Time Out Australia Nottest 100!

It’s inspired, as are so many moments of wanting to pierce my eardrums with a soldering iron, by REM’s ‘Shiny Happy People’. This 1991 classic came on while I was at the supermarket on the weekend and reminded me of music’s unique power to make me want to burn the entire world to the ground.

Here’s the list that the Time Out Brains Trust and The Good Citizens of Facebook has put together, with a space for you to add any song we’ve overlooked. Voting is open for a week and then we will reveal what is, according to DEMOCRACY, the worst song of all time.… Read more

24 January

Our proposed federal Anti-Dickhead legislation

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Dear The Internet,

Our Sydney neighbours are losing their shit in the wake of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell taking powerful action to stem the terrifying and growing tide of criticism from daily newspapers.

WordOnTheStreet-Dickheadact

You’re welcome, justice!

Lockouts may be old news here – we tried ‘em ages back, and they failed – but Baz has fallen upon the solution like a ten year old thinking “why should I cook toast and eggs separately when I could just put them both together in the toaster at once? Why has no-one ever tried that before? I’m some sort of genius!”

His proposed legislation, including 1.30am lockouts, 3am cutoffs for alcohol service in an expanded CBD licensing zone, will help this immeasurably – although it’s unlikely to do anything to solve, say, the legitimate problem of violence in Kings Cross.

What would be loads more effective, obviously, would be more public transport to get people home quickly and visible police on the streets – but that’s expensive, annoying and unsexy. On the other hand, big new laws look like Strong Action Is Being Taken And A Message Is Being Sent, and make politicians look more like the influential shapers of society they aspire to be and less like the administrators they actually are.… Read more

9 January

Your 2014 By The Stars, by Madame Andrew P Street

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Dear the Internet,

Astrology

If there’s one thing that we all know in these technology-rich times is that there’s only one way to truly understand the universe: astrology. And it is because of these two perfectly reasonable premises:

1. The alignment of stars as seen from the northern hemisphere of Earth at the time you were born directly affects your personality and future, and

2. The only people wise enough to interpret such subtle-yet-powerful influences are running eighth-page advertisements for their services in the back of That’s Life.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that might suggest. That’s why I’ve spent my entire adulthood carefully studying the zodiac and learning about the delicate interplay of disparate forces, including fate, destiny, kismet, confirmation bias and gullibility.

I’ve also taken into account the direction, velocity, temperature and mass of every single star in the entire cosmos, with a complex rating system that gives extra influence to the very hottest stars, such as the nearby white dwarf Sirius B and Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara.

In my new horoscope there are only seven star signs, and for the uninitiated there might be a few surprises. The biggest one is that most of them overlap, since the sky is quite big and I was using one of those paper tape measures you get at Ikea.… Read more

19 December

How to protect yourself against the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse, again

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Dear the Internet,

Can't say fairer than that

As the year comes to a close it’s very natural to get nostalgic for the things we’ve lost over the last 12 months, and that’s even more acute in 2013. This Saturday it’ll be exactly a year since the end of the world – and you know what? I still miss the old girl.

As everyone recalls, there was incontrovertible evidence of an approaching global cataclysm in the lead up to 21st December, 2012 as people unconvinced by copious data about myths like “global warming” or “rising sea levels” locked on to the absolutely undeniable evidence that the world was going to end, since a disputed ancient Mayan calendar stopped.

There is much I miss about the world. The laughter of children, the beauty of a sunset, Tetris, numbers, Adelaide, the work of Men Without Hats, democracy, The Empire Strikes Back, the scientific legacy of Johannes Kepler, alt.country, that episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia where they do the musical, almonds, pornography: there are literally dozens of things.

Yet whenever I talk to people about how sad it is that we’re all dead, they shrug like it ain’t no thang. And that shocking indifference is why I think it’s important to reflect on what happened so that we can ensure that the world doesn’t end again, going forward.… Read more

12 December

New schoolyard rivalries for a post-Ford-vs-Holden Australia

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Dear the Internet,

The now-inevitable closure of Holden has raised the spectre of a national recession as rolling layoffs by the car maker affect the automotive industry as a whole. But on a deeper level, it also affects something tied in closely with our national identity: pointless schoolyard rivalries.

 New schoolyard rivalries for a post-Ford-vs-Holden Australia

Like religious faith, the Holden-vs-Ford debates that characterised my childhood were a bitter competition regarding essentially identical products determined entirely by the choices of one’s parents. Fortunately there are plenty of other ways to foster division between our nation’s children, thereby preparing them for the hard-fought centre-conservative-vs-conservative-centrist politics that are currently tearing our nation asunder.

In order to foster further division, here are my picks for the next big rivalry:

Fishes vs Fish
The octopus/octopi debates have been thankfully settled (it’s the latter, obviously), but it’s not the only aquatic plural to turn brother against brother. Do you endorse the clarity of “school of fishes” or the understated elegance of “school of fish”? And then there’s the whole school/shoal thing. Man, these fish are a real can of worms (worm).

Justin vs Bieber
Which is hotter: the Canadian teen hearthrob’s first or second name? Or are you one of those Drewconoclasts in the “middle name” camp?… Read more