15 May

Play the 2014 Federal Budget home game!

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Play the 2014 Federal Budget home game

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear the Internet,

You’ve probably watched with excitement as the all-dancin’, all-smokin’ treasurer handed down his budget earlier this week and thought “heck, I like the sounds of this massively inequitable and unsubstantiated cut-fest!”

Well, we have some great news: you can bring down your own unnecessary and nationally-damaging budget in the comfort of your own home, simply by playing the Department of Treasury’s exciting new spin-off product: the 45% interactive Diamond Joe Hockey Federal Budget and Class War 2014 game!

Using the same cardboard and string technology that’s now being rolled out to replace the National Broadband Network, you can recreate all the manufactured panic and pious condescension of your federal government in the comfort of your own home! The rules are below, so don’t wait for the Senate to ratify it: start playing today!

RULES

1. The aim of the game is to fix the nation by owning as much of it as possible.… Read more

8 May

Your post-budget ABC TV programme guide

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ABC cuts

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear the Internet,

Next week your treasurer Joe Hockey will hand down the Abbott government’s first federal budget, and you can feel the excitement in the air. Will universal health care be destroyed, or merely demolished? Will higher education become the exclusive purview of the super-rich, or will the common-or-garden wealthy still get a look-in? And how generous will the tax concessions to the mining industry be – will they have to make do with free money, or will we finally introduce blood tributes from every Australian family?

One thing that’s certain is that the ABC will be seeing some serious cutbacks, despite that whole no-cuts-to-the-ABC-or-SBS thing that your PM said before the election. To be fair, what he said was deeply ambiguous and opaque:

…so you can see why he’d be annoyed at the way his promise has been misrepresented as being some sort of promise.… Read more

3 April

So, Australia, when did racism become OK again?

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Racism is not okay

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear the Internet,

So: when did we all get so cool with being racist?

Gotta say, our national hatred of brown people really sneaked up on me, not least because I’m a white middle class straight man and therefore demographically the least likely sort of person to encounter open bigotry while at the same time being the most likely sort of person to angrily demand my right to dispense it.

Now, you might think I’m overreacting, but you know what? No, I’m not.

The biggest message that our government – and, let’s be clear, federal opposition – has put forward is that we need to Stop the Boats. And we all know why that is.

It’s certainly not because of the cost of dealing with asylum seekers, since it was orders of magnitude cheaper to house people in Australia, process their application and then either deport them or release them into the community, as opposed to the millions it’s costing us every month to use our Navy to drag ships back out to sea while we imprison people indefinitely on isolated islands where all food, water and fuel needs to be expensively shipped in.… Read more

21 March

The Seven Stages of Star Wars Disappointment

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Seven Stages of Star Wars Disappointment

Written by Andrew P Street | Art by Robert Polmear

Dear the Internet,

So, it’s all confirmed: the seventh Star Wars film starts filming in May (the fourth, surely? C’mon!) and will be set thirty years after 1983’s Return of the Jedi.

It’s an all new story, not taking any cues from the wealth of books, video games, comics, toys, web content and depraved fever dreams that have sprung up in the interim to answer vital questions like “What happens to the guy who shot the tow cable at the AT-AT in The Empire Strikes Back?” and “How does Admiral Ackbar die?”* Which means that my mother may have been right: perhaps all that stuff was an embarrassing waste of money.

And part of me wants to believe that I’m over my Star Wars obsession now. I didn’t see the Clone Wars animated movie, I haven’t bought any of the newly-repackaced figures and I barely ever scour eBay for GameCubes so I can play X Wing Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader over and over again.… Read more

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.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.… 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.… 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!… 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.… Read more