advocate

Friday, 20 October 2017 - 12:42pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Fri, 20/10/2017 - 12:42pm in

When you don't have a job, it's particularly annoying to see so many people who can't do theirs:

"The memorable songs kept on coming with the group delving back to its earliest days then playing the songs that made the Oils one of the biggest acts in the world.
"The end of each number leaving the crowd calling out for more.
"All except one that was.
"After half a dozen songs one crowd member was escorted out for drunken behaviour which led Garrett to make a speech about how they expect their fans to be courteous and have consideration for all.
"A message reiterated with a section of the UN convention in big letters draped above the stage reminding all that every human being is worthy of the same respect and rights.

[…]

"If the open air venue had a roof, when The Power And The Passion was performed it would've well and truly been blown off.

"The die-hard fans who raced to the front row when the gates opened four hours before the headline act hit the stage weren't disappointed when the memorable show came to an end."

As it turns out, I am practically eating from the palm of the reviewer's hand. The one sentence per-paragraph rule is, frankly, a relief when so often these days one has to deal with multiple ideas without a whitespace breather.

A string of random words also counts as a sentence.

A sentence of Hemingway-esque minimalist brilliance that is.

If this review had a roof, or an editor, it would have been well and truly blown off. I'm now going to delay reading the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights to read instead "the UN convention in big letters". I'm getting on a bit, so I can't ignore the fact that my eyes are the same age as the rest of me. I don't know why it's not common practice to publish large print editions of international agreements.

There is a lot to think about here. It's been memorable, but I wasn't disappointed to get to the end of it.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 - 7:58pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 10/10/2017 - 7:58pm in

Coffs Harbour is defined by the NSW Government's 2036 North Coast Regional Plan as a regional city and it does home a Southern Cross University campus.

But would you consider Coffs a university city?

I would love Coffs Harbour to become a university city. The trouble is that SCU is a vocational college that happens to have the word "university" in it's brand name. Last year the incoming Vice Chancellor, who in a stunning departure from the norm for bottom-tier uni VCs is not an out-and-proud philistine, nonetheless wrote to students "I want to assure you that your employability and your future career success are top priorities for all of us."

Obviously somebody who has the ability and inclination to pursue an academic education will inevitably also be employable, but SCU does not offer an academic education. All the work a student does is assessed against predetermined "marking criteria", which refer to desired "learning outcomes", which are in turn linked to "graduate attributes", which ultimately answer to the needs of employers. It's a TAFE with airs and graces. It's three additional years of high school with a much narrower range of subjects and virtually no permanent full-time teaching staff. And under the "demand driven system" it has a commercial imperative to take all comers, and ensure as many as possible complete courses which are consequently so dumbed-down as to be meaningless.

The post-1988 expansion of alleged higher education is a scam built on the hoax of "human capital". By flogging a false promise of employability instead of contributing to the intellectual life of its host community, SCU Coffs is merely the largest leech in the swamp in which it sits.

Monday, 2 October 2017 - 7:55pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Mon, 02/10/2017 - 7:55pm in

THE Coffs Coast already boasts quality fishing but this could be improved.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser is encouraging application for the next round of the NSW Government's Recreational Fishing Trust Grants.

Popular projects funded by this grant include fish aggregating devices and artificial reefs.

I had no idea that there were such things as "fish aggregating devices". What an age we live in!

What worries me is the potential for such a device to run amok and go critical. Are there proper procedures in place to keep our community safe in the event of a catastrophic fish meltdown? I expect the half-life of fish is rather short, but that will be of little comfort to those living within the radius of contamination in the immediate aftermath, as they go through the painstaking and rather smelly recovery process of picking tiny bones out of everything.

I suggest that it's only sensible to have emergency response crews stationed by each and every fish aggregation site, equipped with enough lemon juice and tartare sauce to tamp down any impending piscatorial blowout.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 - 9:41pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 26/09/2017 - 9:41pm in

"This begs the question - is the Coffs Coast ready for more decorating/furnishing stores? And if so, which ones?

It seems every time a warehouse or industrial space becomes vacant there are whispers around town of either Myer or Ikea setting up shop.

Matt Blatt, Pottery Barn, Oz Design or King Living? David Jones or Myer? Which business would you welcome on the Coffs Coast"

By Jove, I'm glad there's one media outlet willing to tackle controversial topics like this. I've seen careers ruined and families broken up over less. You, my friend, have opened up a huge can of worms, and absolutely nobody likes worms. Except some fish. And birds. And other worms, I suppose.

The one thing I really miss since moving to Reejnall Australia - apart from civilisation, of course - is Big Jim McSplinter's Family Lifestyle Outlet. We used to love that place, when we were kids. As Pete Smith used to say on the TV ads "If it's made from old fence palings and rusty nails, you'll find it at McSplinter's".

It may seem quaint now, but that was really the dawn of aspirational Australia. To be greeted at the door by a man dressed up in a giant Big Jim costume (usually Big Jim himself in those days), then to stroll through the store, first left, then right, then left, then right, and so on, running a hand over ever more fashionably rustic home furnishings…

Then, while waiting for the staff to securely strap our purchases to the roof of the Toyota Tarago, we'd enjoy an ice cold milkshake in the Antiseptic Lounge, and set to work with our complimentary tweezers. "A McSplinter's family is a family that's up to date on their tetanus jabs," as they used to say, and although it's become much more gentrified and sophisticated in recent years, I still think that this is the sort of business that would attract much-needed multi-story car parks to the region.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 - 11:50pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 14/09/2017 - 11:50pm in

More silliness:

FEDERAL Member for Page Kevin Hogan took to social media to explain why he voted in favour of banning full facial coverings at the Nationals conference in Canberra last Sunday.

"It was to ban full facial coverings in certain public places. Many countries have already done this, including Germany, France and Belgium, to name a few,” Mr Hogan wrote on Facebook.

He wrote the ban would have included full face helmets, bandanas and burkas in certain public spaces.

"Given the importance of facial recognition technology in criminal investigations, this is a public safety issue. For banks, service stations and other such places, it is an important safety issue,” he wrote.

This is a tremendously brave stance from a forward-thinking public servant. Given also the extraordinary advances in genital recognition technology, it follows that nothing less than mandatory full public nudity is required for the purposes of potential criminal investigations.

A cynic may say that such a policy is only designed to increase the standing of northern MPs relative to those in colder climes, but who can honestly say they don't want to see their elected members fully exposed in certain public places?

Sunday, 16 July 2017 - 8:00pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 16/07/2017 - 8:00pm in

Can I propose that we resolve not to use the word "grow" as a dynamic verb? I don't see how our community will grow if we keep repelling potential new members with the vulgar demand that they grow our community.

It's really just a special case of the general injunction to urgently action the ensmallment of our businesspeak going forward, with a view to maximising the impactfulness capacity of our solution initiatives. I really can't put it any more plainly than that.

Thursday, 8 June 2017 - 9:04pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 08/06/2017 - 9:07pm in

ALMOST 2000 children on the NSW north coast have not been fully immunised, with the district's vaccination rate trailing every other part of the nation.

It's easy to dismiss this as natural selection at work, weeding out the inbred progeny of the small-town airheaded bourgeoisie. Unfortunately immunisation works at the population level, rather than the individual level. Your little Typhoid Myron is both your personal choice and our collective problem.

I therefore propose a compromise. If you cretins agree to immunise your child like a sane person, I will personally arrange - for free - an exhaustive spiritual cleansing process involving auras, crystals, chakras, and mantras; the whole kit and caboodle. All chemicals and toxins will thus be purged, and it will be as though your child has never been exposed to anything unnatural and artificial, and can go back to playing Minecraft without a care in the world.

If, after this process, you are still convinced that your child has become feckless, withdrawn, dysfunctional, and completely detached from the real world, I will give you - at no extra cost - a mirror.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 - 8:32pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 19/04/2017 - 8:37pm in

I'm prepared to suspend judgment over this bit of landscape gardening until it's done, but calling it "momentous" and a "corner of paradise" does seem to be overstating the scope of the project. Granted, the Key Stakeholders who say "Ni!" did threaten to say "Ni!" to us again unless we brought them a shrubbery, but I'm sure that once it's done we'll resume going about our business as though it never happened.

Unless they decide they want another shrubbery…

Friday, 7 April 2017 - 6:18pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Fri, 07/04/2017 - 6:19pm in

What the…? I'm sorry, I didn't realise that we adjusted the clock by an hour and a century when daylight saving ended.

Roll up ladies! It's not a beauty contest, and certainly not an intelligence test! If you think for a moment that we would besmirch and demean the venerable title of "showgirl" in such a way, you are sorely mistaken. Rather if you can, in an emancipated and empowered way, sport a lovely frock, and giggle and simper with poise, a bright future awaits you.

Imagine spending years hanging onto the arm of some bloke in a sharp suit, childbearing, and finally a lucrative divorce settlement; all this can be yours! But hurry, because frankly you're not getting any younger and - this being Coffs Harbour - do you really want to be serving coffee or scanning barcodes for the rest of your life?

Thursday, 2 March 2017 - 11:57pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Fri, 03/03/2017 - 12:01am in

A PROFESSOR stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he picked up a large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

Really bad analogy for Coffs Harbour. The local university campus doesn't do courses in philosophy, or history, or even arts. You can do a degree in hotel management, but you won't see any professors. All the academic staff are casuals.

We are well off as far as golf courses, pebbles, and sand are concerned, so keep working on it. If you can come up with some other scenario where people in Coffs Harbour regularly engage in abstract thought, I think you'll be onto a winner.

Think Vladimir and Estragon sitting in the gutter in a shopping mall carpark:

"Sand, eh?"

"Sand? F* off! Pebbles, eh?"

"F*ing pebbles! Golf balls, eh? Eh, golf balls, eh?"

"Yeah bro. Golf balls, eh."

See? Tailor the message to the audience and you increase the impact while losing nothing of the nuance. Hope that's been helpful.

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