Winter Olympics

We in the UK and Oz know that the Winter Olympics take place in far off lands and involve sports which are as  ridiculous and they are incomprehensible. All we know is that the Ruskies take drugs as they did this week to ensure medals in curling(!).

Although we both win odd medals our role is the Olympian ideal of taking part.Yet both countries have created some of their finest sporting legends from these games.

Eddie the eagle was blind,hopeless and useless in somany respects but he won the world’s heart as an honest trier. So much so that the worlds worst ski jumper became a successful film.We Brits know that this worship of aloser is just a symptom of our real belief that as natural winners all competition is really pointless.

For Australians their story comes from Salt Lake City in 2002. Speed skater Steve Bradbury is nearly as bad as Eddie. He fails in his heat but a disqualification means he goes through to the semi final. Three pile up he goes from last the second and into the final. There four pileup and he goes from last to a gold. Doing a Bradbury is proof of the Ozzie spirit,  that if you keep trying you dont became a glorious loser but a triumphant winner. Ruskies know that you have more chance if you take drugs. Ozzies keep trying and we give up(and make a movie).

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Refugee Swap

As part of the Barnaby Joyce soap opera, PM Turnball is visiting Trump, big boy Barnaby is on holiday,parliament isnt sitting and we had a lovely lunch overlooking Palm Beach.

One of the matters Turnball and Trump will be dicussing is the “dumb deal”hatched by Obama  for the two countries to swap illegal immigrants. The Ozzies got tough with the armadas of illegals coming from Bangladesh,Indononesia,Phillipines, Iraq etc and started stopping them on the high seas and putting them in detention camps in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere.1250 are so camped.Out of sight if not out of mind but a little bit embarrassing for a Western democracy but it did stop the illegal boat people.

Meanwhile the USA has a similar problem with those trying to get in from El Salvador, Honduras ,Hiati etc. ,these unfortunates are locked up in Costa Rica. The blessed Obama had the inspired idea of a refugee swap. Of course Trump demounced it as the “worst deal ever” and threatened top ull out.Turnball got on the phone and pointed out the special relationship and that a deal was a deal, but the numbers were up to Trump.

This week nearly 200 would be Australians are on their way to the US of A. And 30 would be Yanks are about to find out what Captain Cook was on about.

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Apple Pie

As American as apple pie and motherhood,a high school shooting. After doing a John Wayen on 17 of his fellow ex students at Florida’s Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School,the 19 year old Nicholas Cruz went onto Subway for a soft drink. He wasnt old enough for alcohol. So  it would have to be a “tasty beveridge” for he. What was it diet or real coke,sprite,fanta-the reports do not tell.

But it reminds oif one of the many great scenes in my favourite film,Pulp Fiction. Here hired killer Samuel Vengeance is Mine Jackson lectures his soon to be victims on the pleasure of a hamburger and the after drink which refreshes the mouth and cleanses the palate. Surely given this recommendation Sprite was the killer’s choice.

We move on. In Cruz’s case killing done, drink totalled its time for a McDonalds. Here of course the choice is huge, but on such a day our born again killer would have a BigMac meal. He looks like a guy who worries about his figure so small chips. A nice bun,gherkin,burger,soft drink and chips and Cruz is ready for the next part of his All American experience.

The arrest. Into the orange suit,in front of the magistrate,soon the pretrial,the endless analysis of how a fucked up orphan in a gun rich country could do such a thing. And then the trial,the 300 year plus sentance, the appeal, the TV special,the book and the born in the USA experience is complete.

You have a nice day,you hear.

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Horse and Carriage

“Love and marriage,go together like a horse and carriage,you cant have one without the other.”

So sung Doris Day in those far off pre pill,pre anything goes days. But today… The big smash reality TV show here in Oz is Marriage at First Sight. Twenty love starved singles usually in their  30s,easy on the eye,put themselves forward, are sorted by “experts” and forget about the love, have a slap up quasi marriage ceremony, a dream honey moon, settle down,meet up with the other couples. All the time the cameras are whirring and they are telling how they are getting on.mIllions dote  on whether love will blossom. Of course as in many real  marriages it doesnt,most split up. But what a ride,even the travelling toads watch.

Some  start as soon as they see each other at the “altar”, the bed clothes beckon. Others remember George IV onseeing his bride to be, demanded a brandy and  behave accordingly. Some of the men have the social skills of  dog poo and shouldnt be allowed out,let alone near ladies. Some of the women have read too many fairy stories and despite multiple car crashes in their lives still expect Prince Charming and his bag of tricks.

And dothey moan,some do and some dont.One bubbly lady is turned into a nervous wreck  by the indifference of her “hubby”, another willnever be happy, one man loves it,another cant believe his luck, some are swinging dicks,others  dont know where it is,and they all talk. Toeach other,to the camera,to the other couples,how are you getting on, does he /she get it,is it working.

For the viewer its like having five lumps of sugar in your tea and then sitting behind a couple of the bus who are discussing last night’s shag. Naughty but nice.

This year’s fifth series has hit pay dirt at two of the twenty have decided they have the wrong partners. They flirt over drinks,of which there are many, slip out during dinner and all the while the cameras are whirring. The bitch,the bastard. The ratings. All the while the po faced “experts” discuss what is going on between the couples asif its the cure for cancer. Wake up, its reality TV,the whole point is to watch them crack, see the girls blub and watch the boys crack open another bottle as even they in this modern age wipe away a tear.


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Sweet and Sour

Tomorrow(16/2) Chinese New Year begins. Downtown Sydney is awash with banners celebrating the year of the dog. All over iconic circular quays massive replicas of all the auspicious Chinese animal years are being erected. What fun.

Because I am taking warfarin  I go to tyhe doctor on the corner regularly. Tiong Jin Su isbrilliant,to the manor born. His family comes from Malayasia where years ago the Chinese formed the Communist backbone to the insurrection against  the British. We have become friends.

His assisatnt who takes my blood Trevor Lo came from Bejing after Tianneman Square is not brilliant and difficult to understand. Two of the 1.2m(2016) Chinese who live in Australia, upfrom 600,000 ten years ago, 500,000 of which were born abroad. Like all immigrants they concentrate in the big cities,10% of Sydney and 9% of Melbourne are of Chinese descent. All part of the great migration which has taken Oz population from 18m in1997 to 26m today.

But China is more  than new year,convenience stores and health workers. It is a super economic power. One third of Oz exports,the fuel of this lucky country’s wealth go to China. China supplies a third of Oz universities foreign students,its Oz’s most valuable tourist market, its major source of foreign investment. All this comes at  cost.

Where governments end and businessmen start is tricky in Commie countries. You dont get rich unless  you are in with the Party, and few in the Party starve. So when a Chinese property giant gives $2om to a uni and buys a $70m mansion and gives $4m to the Labor Party  who do we thank.

Chinese student groups are funded by the Party,their media is controlled by same. Millions of Chinese  cash slosh into Oz political parties, ocassionally a politico is found with chop suey allover his shirt. In December Senator Sam Dastyari stood down. He had been advocating go slow on Hong Kong democracy,let China be inthe China Sea and tipping off Chinese crooks that they were being watched. It had made hime rich. He spluttered  for a year but eventually the Persian born Senator fellon his sword. His family had emigrated in 1988.

Between 2013-15 $5.5m Chinese funds flowed into Oz political parties and a considerable amount of Oz assets were bought up.Its called globlisation. But its not just fire crackers and dancing dragons.

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Valentines Day

Love is like a stove it burns you when its hot. Love hurts. For love he left his wife and four daughters, he got hispress aide pregnant, she got better paid government jobs to hide her from the press, it has been dug up that he pinched a bottom four years ago, after a shaky start the Aussie press is in full cry. Meanwhile deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce hangs on,but for how long? Here he answers some of  your questions.

1 It was worth it

2 I dont know who sent me the Valentine’s card

3 I havent met her parents

4 When my wife and mistress met she said,you win some,you lose some

5Well at least its not a same sex  marriage

6I did for the First Nation

7 No we havent chosen any names for the baby

8 My daughters will not be bridesmaids at the wedding

9 Prince Harry says he is too busy to be best man

10 And he willnot be saying I am stepping down so I can spend more time with my  family.

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The Rocks

Sydney has many headland walks, wharf to wharf,beach to beach. None more popular than the two hours from Coogee to Bondi. Here I did most of my 2.5 hours slow walking the other day. Half an hour from Coogee,past the clear Gordons Bay is Clovelly with its rock pool and headlands.

It was here that Adelaide and Alex married inNovember 2016. Soit was here, cooledby the sea breeze, blessed by the sun,with the endless Pacific to the fore we tarried that day.

We had wanted a church, we like the drama,the tradition,the continuity. The millennial couple were having none of that,their marriage.their way. So it  was a joyous scene on Clovelly Rocks that early morning. Typically Leo was there,we joined in by skype and it worked wonderfully. And like in most marriages its all in the photo, and what a handsome,lovely, happy couple they are. Forever on our mantlepiece. What do we know?

So now we are sitting, overlooking where that ceremony happened.It is early afternoon,time for the Chinese tour groups to giggle their way into view. They stop and take their team photos,they do not know that 16 months ago history was made,but they take another picture anyway.

Elswwhere the light footed lads are doing somesaults into Clovelly’s pool, the rose lipped maidens pull their bum strings tighter and we enjoy the sun. Later  we told Addy of our reverie, she shook her head, we were are at the wrong rocks,there are two headlands at Clovelly.


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