Saturday, 11 June 2016 - 6:44pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sat, 11/06/2016 - 6:44pm in

"Once you get to beach if you have any doubt about your abilities in the conditions it is best not to go out."

Are you mad? Is there any statement that could possibly do more to persuade the country's idiots that they must flock to the beach in order to demonstrate that they have absolutely NO doubt about their ability to handle ANY conditions.

"I know you weren't intending to go to the beach, and it is winter, so there's no reason for anybody to think any less of you, or call you a wuss, if you opt not to take on these challenging conditions. Not everybody is made for challenging conditions. Don't shoot the messenger; I'm just alerting you to the fact that the challenging conditions are there, and you're not. I'm not insinuating anything. In fact I stood up for you when the other guys were having a go at you. I said you were more sensitive, and that we should respect and cherish that. So, please, you do what makes you special tomorrow, while we're out there, in challenging conditions."

Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 3:37am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 21/04/2016 - 3:37am in

I'm no medical expert, although I do have an advanced diploma in homeopathy from the time I went for a swim with somebody who had that qualification and accidentally swallowed some water. I honestly can't see why it's not possible to put St. Peter on the boom gates to only let in people with nice ailments. I don't like to be judgmental, but it's lowlife scum who ruin sickness for the rest of us. Ambulances are a waste of taxpayers' money and an outrageous rort by the suddenly-gravely-ill lobby. Personally, I schedule my extreme medical distress in installments across the calendar year, then take my treatment out at tax time as a lump sum. If you can't be bothered to plan ahead, I don't see why the rest of us should foot the bill.

Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 3:35am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 21/04/2016 - 3:35am in

It's hard to pinpoint when a revolutionary idea comes to you. I think I had the first inkling while on the way from my business networking breakfast to my business networking brunch. Later, at business networking lunch, I started to look at the people around me, sensing something… Something tantalising, yet frustratingly intangible, like the distant promise of an unexploited tax exemption. By business networking afternoon coffee, the idea was still yet not fully formed. The dynamic, entrepreneurial buzz washed over me as my gaze settled on the centre of the table. Raw, white, and artificial. These sweetener sachets crammed together in a whisky tumbler—each satisfying different needs, yet also the same need—were calling to me.

As the afternoon wore on, it became a drumbeat: raw, white, and artificial; raw, white, and artificial…

Over dinner, as the rhythm of "raw, white, and artificial…" rose to an intolerable crescendo in my mind, the flash of blinding insight finally hit me. I stood bolt upright and, as if possessed by the spirit of an old testament prophet, I proclaimed to the assembled business networking group: "Hear me! Something is missing from Coffs Harbour! Something disruptive, something game-changing, something that will engage our key stakeholders and enrich our brand! I have a vision of a great coming-together at signature events of well-mannered middle-class people of very marginal talent and even less intelligence, with very mediocre food, and very, very minor celebrities. I say unto you, raise an army of multimedia account managers! Let them go forth and multiply brand awareness! Let them vanquish the unbelievers in bloody and brutal information sessions! Only then—only then, my people—shall we have a new… business… networking… group!"

I fell exhausted to my seat, to rapturous applause. I sank my spork into a dry, tasteless slab of chocolate cake. One thing was clear: Coffs Harbour would never be the same again.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 - 8:45pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 13/04/2016 - 8:45pm in

Tough luck Arrawarra. It's the dream of every community on the mid-north coast to host a motorway exit with clear blue skies above, chewing-gum-speckled asphalt below, and a corporate-branded awning in between. Do not give up on that dream! Through earnest devotion to Roads and Maritime Services, and their partners in the multinational oil and fast food cartels, you will one day, like Nambucca Heads, attract a steady stream of low-paying employment and sawn-off shotguns.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 - 12:11pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 13/04/2016 - 12:11pm in

This isn't quite a case of "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes!" but it's jolly close. There are (if I've counted right), 22 institutions in Australia awarded university status since 1966, and 19 made it onto this list, including—with a score of 36.7 out of 100—Southern Cross University. If a remedial high school, rubber-stamping worthless qualifications for the next generation of hotel managers, bartenders and baristas, counts among the world's 150 least worst, how bad could the other three possibly be?

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 - 11:46am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 13/04/2016 - 11:46am in

Superb bait and switch there from Gowings, again showing their level of selfless commitment to Coffs, as so frequently lauded in these pages. "We've decided now that this is what we want. Or we could leave you with a big hole in the ground smack in the middle of the CBD. Your choice, suckers."

[UPDATE: A perceptive commentor spotted an estate agent in the comments ("Whilst I do not want to see Coffs Harbour become Surfers Paradise with skyscrapers I do want it to develop to its appropriate potential with tasteful investment such as this.") I decided to save him some work:]

Oh, well spotted! I can see the copy already: "Whether it's sun-drenched beaches just minutes away, or urine-drenched multi-story carparks at your back door, Potted Plant Promontory is truly the investment jewel-in-the-crown for the discerning tax evader and/or money launderer. While in town to sign the paperwork, why don't you or the legal representative of your Panamanian shell company kick back at the club with a lazy afternoon in the company of The Australian Monkees Experience, and the region's most versatile roster of Vegas-era Elvis impersonators - deep-fried marshmallow peanut-butter cheeseburger anyone? Then hit the town before the town hits you, and find out why we're the state's number one Saturday night random cranial injury hotspot."

Wednesday, 9 March 2016 - 10:42pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 09/03/2016 - 10:42pm in

Lord knows I don't like to upset anybody, but I have to say that, going by the artist's impression (they always seem to highlight the presence of women in jeans, have you noticed that?), I can't really see any difference.

Granted, there is a green band-aid plastered over the grotty laneway and multi-story carpark at the far end of the square, but if the Advocate and its key stakeholders are to be believed, our carparks are particularly dazzling jewels in Coffs Harbour's exceptionally jewel-heavy crown, so shouldn't we be making these a feature? At least give the car park equal weight to the women in jeans. This is all at ratepayers' expense, so those women in jeans will be coming out of our pockets. They should at the very least be polishing our jewels.

Also, I've been in a number of city squares, but I'm not sure whether I could say how "active and alive", or at which "level of occupation", they were. Will the committee be issuing portable meters, so that the key stakeholder or ratepayer can independently verify that the committee has delivered on its deliverables?

Saturday, 23 January 2016 - 8:37pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sat, 23/01/2016 - 8:37pm in

Until Hawke first exploited the Australian flag a-flutter in government propaganda, leading to its logical, and ridiculous, extreme in Tony Abbott refusing to appear in public with fewer than eight flags, the flag's use was largely restricted to identifying government buildings and military installations. Schoolchildren risked, and often succumbed to, heat-stroke as it was raised and lowered at morning assembly, and Boy Scouts learned the finer points of folding it in an appropriately reverent manner, but for Australia, that was pretty much it, flag-wise.

Having a flagpole in the front yard, or little flags fluttering from one's car, as if one was the self-appointed ambassador from bogan-ville would until recently have been considered deeply weird. Having it painted onto the face of one's children as some sort of stamp of ownership, or tattooed onto an intimate part of a partner's anatomy for — one presumes — nocturnal appreciation, would be regarded as a symptom of psychological pathology, and possibly criminal abuse.

If flying the flag, as an individual citizen, isn't racist, what is it? I can't think of any reason that isn't just as irrational. If, according to Hartsukyer, it's the litmus test of whether one deserves "the rights and privileges that come with living in Australia", it's a very odd one. If you're going to withhold citizenship on that basis, you may not actually be a racist, but you might as well be.

Friday, 25 December 2015 - 10:50pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Fri, 25/12/2015 - 10:50pm in

"ALL the best Boxing day bargains aren’t necessarily in the shops with Australian consumers tipped to spend up to $2.26 billion over the post-Christmas period."

Ouch. Here, let me sub-edit for you:

"Australian consumers are tipped to spend up to $2.26 billion over the post-Christmas period, but the best Boxing Day bargains are not necessarily to be found in the shops."

That's if you hold your nose and allow the verb "tipped", which is somewhere near "top cop" in the league table of most tiresome media clichés.

"Bessie Hassan, Consumer Advocate at, forecasts NSW shoppers will spend the most online out of all Australian states and territories with the state to spend $104, 989,000 on Boxing Day alone and a total of $744,940,000 over the post-Christmas period."

Nope. Sorry. Can't do anything with that. You're on your own.

I have in the past complained about the Advocate's habit of publishing press releases verbatim, but this dog's breakfast suggests I didn't know when I was well off. A faithful reproduction would also reveal that Ms Hassan's real job title isn't "Consumer Advocate", but "PR Manager".

Sunday, 13 December 2015 - 5:44pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 13/12/2015 - 5:44pm in

I've long felt that what the field of quantum physics has been waiting for is a new slant from a business perspective. I'm sure that the folk at CERN will be grateful for these insights; they'll probably be able to sell the particle accelerators and replace them with a few life coaches.

I can also attest to the power of leadership. At the last gluten-free Coffs business networking meeting I attended, it occurred to me that the assortment of complete and utter "vibrating energies" in the room was many orders of magnitude more powerful than was justified by any expertise or intelligence.

These leaders are indeed not afraid to challenge established belief systems, whether it be the perceived need to pay wages, or the wisdom of the fluoridation of toothpaste. We are truly blessed in this region to have such an abundance of leaders who refuse to be hamstrung by reality.