Coffs Harbour

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If, after this process, you are still convinced that your child has become feckless, withdrawn, dysfunctional, and completely detached from the real world, I will give you - at no extra cost - a mirror.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

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 - 9:34pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 28/06/2016 - 9:34pm in

The jewel in Coffs Harbour's cliche crown is still putting out the red light for any real estate agents in need of discreet, high-class services, after rejecting suggestions that a news story requires more than one source before it can be considered journalism.

The Advocate's advertorial editor-in-chief, Mr. Earnest Hardwicke-Goodge said he was disappointed by so many readers mystified as to why the unchanged ownership of prime CBD graffiti canvas was considered newsworthy.

"The continued presence of readers is a regrettable distraction from our core business of connecting advertisers with other sophisticated, consensual, like-minded advertisers," Mr. Hardwicke-Goodge said. "Unfortunately, despite filling any unsold advertorial space with the most unreadable tripe imaginable, we've been unable to shake them off."

Mr. Hardwicke-Goodge said that while an upcoming series of particularly nauseating stories of wholly uninspiring local people doing utterly unremarkable things had the potential to turn the situation around for the paper and it's key stakeholders, he urged any remaining would-be readers to remember one simple rule: "If you're not looking to scam or be scammed, just put the paper down and walk away; it's not for you."

Friday, 17 June 2016 - 6:09pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Fri, 17/06/2016 - 6:09pm in

Ha! We stride boldly into a vision of the future from the 1970s. More roads! More cars! More shopping malls! More dormitory suburbs! Knock it all down, and if you can't knock it down, knock something else down to bypass it!

Soon the current plague of property investors will pass, leaving ghost malls sitting alongside the ghost arcades of a previous plague. A home for tattoo parlours, the ever-expanding offices of the privatised dole police, and placards proclaiming "This space for rent" and "Vote Hartsuyker".

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 - 12:24pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 14/06/2016 - 12:24pm in

If there's one thing you can say about Coffs, it's that it's never afraid to build on its weaknesses. Our local university campus dropped it's Bachelor of Arts course three years ago to make room for an expanded range of business studies courses (on this at least I'm not kidding). We're celebrated as the region with the highest per capita concentration of Elvis impersonators, and the home of "Ain'tmusic: the Original Australian Adam and the Ants (and Tears for Fears) Tribute Show". And the local thigh slappers and scenery chewers collective is currently rehearsing "Rocky Horror Get Your Gun!" The combination of suburban sprawl and inadequate public transport means that for most of the population an evening out involves sitting on an upturned milk crate in the garage listening to Cold Chisel records, gulping rum and coke from a can, and wondering where it all started going so wrong.

I can save us some consultancy money and and deliver a report on the viability of a new performing arts centre right now: There is  none. Anybody in Coffs interested in seriously pursuing the arts has already left. A performing arts centre will, in approximately three years, be hollowed out and refitted as the new expanded headquarters for one of our flourishing Job Services providers. We might as well consider the viability of establishing a space exploration program.

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, 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?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 - 10:07pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 02/03/2016 - 10:07pm in

I don't know. I've been in cities before, and I think I'd know one if I saw one.

A core of vacant shops with "Vote Rhodes/Fraser/Hartsuyker" posters in the window, in the middle of a network of carparks separated by Colorbond open air prisons, does not constitute a city. But we don't need to be formally recognised as a city, because we have, as Andrew Fraser says, the Coffs Harbour Unique Character (TM).

We don't need greater housing choice. Who on earth would want anything other than a concrete slab prefab brick veneer on a subdivided half-a-quarter-acre? Nor do we need new jobs; we are happy with the two we've already got. For men, it's wearing steel toe boots and a high viz shirt and doing what you're told. For women it's wearing high heel shoes and padded bras, and doing what you're told. And access to open spaces? There are plenty of carparks close enough to the shoreline for you to open the doors and windows of your ute and, along with everyone around you, appreciate both the timeless beauty of nature and the timeless beauty of your extensive collection of Cold Chisel and Meatloaf CDs.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 - 8:33pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 02/03/2016 - 8:33pm in

I'm assuming the new sign says "Pioneer Park" because there wasn't room for one that says "Pioneer Roadside Verge". I can't say I know what steel history pods are, but I'm glad they're "vandal proof". The last thing you want when you've taken the trouble — through the sheer goodness of your heart, not because there's any demonstrable need for it — to plough a bloody great road through a very small park, is for vandals to come in and wreck it all.

I fondly remember shopping at Gowings when I used to live in Sydney, so I'm very pleased that Gowings Bros. Investments has chipped in to partially fund this expensive elective park-ectomy operation. It appears the brothers Gowing consider the welfare of the Coffs Harbour community a vital part of their business. And they would never let a vital part of their business go bust, would they?

What? Have I missed something?

Excellent he-said-she-said reporting, by the way. A master class in the art of non-investigative journalism. It's like I was there in the room, yet curiously unable to ask a question, or subsequently fact-check or seek expert opinion. I take my hat off to you! Or at least I say I do. You don't need to confirm this.