Stop all the progress it is messing with my traditions

On March 5th 1988 a ritual was started that has been upheld, defended and enshrined by the many that know its true worth. This ritual, like so many things of value was started by accident. A meeting of event, location, blind stupidity and will power. Let us go back to momentous evening and take you through the many threads that are brought together in the one great tradion and why, like so many things of value, its very existence is now challenged by the march of technology.

Earlier on that fateful night I decided, on a whim, to take my hard earned wages and throw it all at a four day, running on a shoestring, immersion in the city of lights. I was going take the ferry to France and stay in a flea ridden half star “hotel” that provided commanding views of Paris – on the horizon, if you stand on a chair, on your tippy toes. After catching a bus through a stormy night from Victoria to Priory Docks, Dover, the series of events that led to establishment of one of the staples of my existence came into play.

Firstly and importantly it was a journey to cross the English Channel. A romantic way to leave Blighty, calling to mind Victorian era journey to the continent for the “Grand Tour”. Secondly, on these ferries a unique product is sold, available only on duty free shops in the United Kingdom, the 1 metre long Toblerone. Put the two together you get a unique opportunity. “Can I eat an entire 1 metre long Toblerone before I reach France?” The answer I discovered on that night in 1988 was “Hell Yes!”. In fact the massive 4.5kg chocolate mass was gone with minutes to spare. Was I well – um no, but I had met the challenge and won. From that day on every time I crossed the English Channel one of those chocolate monsters went to God. A mountain I kept climbing for decades.

However, one journey posed a challenge that tested my commitment to “the cause”. Instead of catching that floating home of powder eggs and bacon from tin, I decided to catch the train, through the Chunnel. Rules are rules and the same “must eat a 4.5kg lump of chocolate when crossing the Channel” came into play. Instead of the normal ninety minutes to gorge myself with Switzerland’s finest chocolate and nougat treat, I had a mere thirty, the time that I was actually crossing under the channel. The time travelling from St. Pancras to the Channel and from the Channel to Gare du Nord must be excluded, just to keep things fair.

As soon as the aluminium tube crossed, as far as I could tell, the coast the wrapper was destroyed and quest began. 4.5 kilomgrams of chocolate in 30 mins. The minutes ticked by as bite by bite, triangle by triangle I devoured my albatross. As I streaked under the ocean at 300km/h my fellow passengers wondered not only was I going to eat it all, but why the hell I was doing it all, but I didn’t have time to answer because my English Channel destiny had to be met. Finally the last piece greeted me in the box, with only seconds to spare the last man standing was placed in my mouth, chewed briefly, swallowed as the Eurostar broke into daylight. I, not only my stomach, realised the enormity of what I had achieved.

I had showed the over bearing shadow of progress who was boss, it wasn’t going to mess with my traditions, no matter how sick I felt.

Thanks for all the gifts

Another gift to the New South Wales people bites the dust. In 1879 The Garden Palace was built as gift to the people of Sydney – burnt to a crisp, The Manufactures and Commemorative Pavilion Moore Park built as gift to the people of NSW to celebrate 150 years of European Settlement, now inaccessible to the public and used as Fox film studios. The Darling Harbour Exhibition and Convention Centre built as a gift to the people of Sydney to celebrate 200 years of government Indian giving – now slowly descending into a pile rubble. All paid for with public money. NSW Government thanks for all the pressies.

If you want to see more of the wonderful Modern buildings before they fell to the wreckers ball make sure you visit the galleries below


Where have all the heros gone?


Everyday I open the page of some newspaper or news website to read the words of some journalistic website technician availing the tale of some “hero” or “heroic” act. Frequently these tales involve some neckless wonder, charging through a group of equally neckless men in an attempt to place an inflated piece of pig skin over line. Words such as “beyond all odds”, ” in a great act of courgae” and “Jimmy Kafoops hero to children everywhere”. Now while the actions of the steriod fuelled, lump of protein requires strength and determination, the concept of being a hero is rolled up and cast from the stadium roof by viewing the video of the post match interview. The world didn’t change, the starving weren’t fed, the homeless weren’t given shelter and as is demonstrated command of the English language certainly hasn’t been raised. . Nope this 120kg bipedal miniature bison was merely doing his job.

Frequently those with significant mustaches and elderly Japanese saloons in their driveway, spit their earl grey in excitement when talking about the heroism of the Dragoons, Lancers and Huasars looking fantastic in their splendid uniforms, ignoring their malaria and dysentery as they rode headlong into the withering Russian canon fire at Balaclava. Armed with nothing more than enlarged kitchen implements these fantastically dressed men rode across the rocky ground not because of heroism. They rode to their Byron glorified demise because someone cocked up the orders. Yep, that famous Charge of the Little Brigade was the military equivalent of sending an email to the wrong person. The highly polished horsemen had no idea what they were racing off into and boy were they surprised. Those that didn’t promptly get blown to pieces, aired a loud explanation of the birthright of their officers and promptly turned around and left.

My heros are a different breed. My heros are those that publicly and without apology try to change the world. I am not talking about some TED aired diatribe that takes one highly questionable scientific concept, adds a equal parts of bullshit, charts and showmanship, leaveing the unthinking audience gasping in the whole world saving significance of only eating roadkill. No, my heros are flawed. My heros generally are certain and arrogant. Sure in themselves of the correctness of their opinions and are not afraid to air it. No forum can escape from their pontificating opinion. They make you feel like an idiot and that all you hold true about their particular opinion is just broken. However they are frequently correct.

These people are annoying but they have passion and conviction, free from focus group and courageous in the face of “Today Tonight”. Contentious yes, annoying yes, heroic certainly. So next someone bangs on endlessly about a their pet topic and how they can save the world, don’t write them off because they froth a little when they speak. Take the time to listen because withstanding your judgement makes them my hero.