Tonight, the City of Sydney will squeeze into its glad rags and put on the pyrotechnic razzle dazzle that has become the standard way to see in the New Year.
As always, event organisers have promised this year it’ll be bigger, bolder and with added bang for our $5 million bucks.
In recent years, they city’s grandiose flair for making stuff explode and decorating the Harbour Bridge has given Sydney a cocky strut.
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The “St. Kilda schoolgirl” and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange have, surprisingly, a lot in common.
Bear with me. Just as Assange’s careful trickle of classified cables gave the broadsheets something to write about daily (The Wikileaks Saga: Day 255 -Assange grows beard), the St Kilda school girl’s systematic release of nude and suggestive photos gave her an upper hand over the mainstream news media.
While Assange comes from a journalistic and computer hacker background, and the closest Miss St Kilda has probably come is reading Dolly magazine and getting her MySpace spammed, their strategic release of classified information into the public sphere is, surprisingly, similar.
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Goodbye 2010, hello 2011.
And what better way to toast the year goodbye than flicking through a collection of some of the best Punch articles we’ve posted on the site this year.
So, in no particular order ....
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Lying about having epilepsy was when I hit rock bottom on the excuses spectrum.
But when faced with the perfectly reasonable question from a Canberra cabbie who had picked me up twice in a day, as to why a seemingly healthy 27 year old did not just drive himself, I blanked and then came up with: “well I have epilepsy you see, stops you driving.”
Firstly, apologies to any epileptics reading this for using your problem as an excuse to escape the embarrassment of not having my driver’s licence, as well as using possibly factually inaccurate information about epilepsy impeding your ability to drive (a friend with epilepsy just mentioned this once so I especially apologise to him).
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One can’t help but compare the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to that of a cat with nine lives.
They seem to die over and over again with no resolution, but how long until their luck runs out, the blood boils over and the Gaza region breaks out in all out war.
Since the establishment of the state of Israel, crisis points have come and gone and the populations of Jewish and Palestinian peoples have found no peace. Unfortunately this time will be no different.
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It’s New Year’s Eve and I have no plans. Like… none.
The prospect of ringing in the ‘biggest night of the year’ with nothing but Channel Nine’s fireworks telecast would once have caused me to sweat in fear. This year, it’s quite liberating. Because, let’s face it, everyone knows (and often says) that NYE is the most overrated night of the year after the Oscars.
Inflated prices, awkward chanting, hammered crowds. What’s not to hate?
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On the course of a trip home for Christmas from Melbourne to the Central Coast in NSW, I had ahead of me what many others can sympathise with, a long trip dragging an uncomfortable amount of luggage and a collection of presents from one state to another.
On my journey I had a bus trip (to the airport) a plane trip (to Sydney) and a train trip (to the Central Coast), so like many I decided to grit my teeth and try and make the best of it. This is where the ‘slow movement travel’ philosophy comes to play.
Much can be commended for the philosophy of slow movement in travel - the idea that part of the fun is in getting there, to take your time and enjoy the trip, rather than racing towards the destination.
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Today’s open thread is brought to you by Punch reader, “Jayda”:
“Dear Australia, I want the fun back! I want our nation to raise a giant middle finger in the face of ‘the rules’, don a sombrero and remember that we Australians, used to have a sense of humour!
Having just returned from an incredible six week Mexican holiday I’ll be the first to admit I’m suffering from the post-holiday blues. I miss the $1 beer and the happy discovery that said beer comes in a plethora of non-Carona options of exceptional quality. I miss the music that blares from every shop, restaurant and bar with scant regard for location or hour.
I miss the tequila that was poured directly into my mouth from bartenders who stood table top to administer the shots. I miss the way that the implementation of the smoking ban is interpreted simply as the need to put up “No Fumar” signs, but certainly not to enforce their meaning. I miss the crazy architecture and the rooftop bars and restaurants with dangerously crumbling balconies and scant regard for OH&S.
I miss the children who play, chat and run around until midnight despite having school the next day. I miss the fact that a zoo could have a touch pool full of friendly rays right next to an identical looking pool containing a shark - the only defining difference being the small sign on one encouraging children to pet the rays and the small sign on the other saying to keep your hands out of the water.
I miss the constant laughter, the friendliness of the people, the willingness to make friends and the love of togetherness.
My depression comes from the realisation that you can’t have experiences like this in a so-called “developed” nations like Australia. Why? Because ‘developed’ intrinsically means having ruled, legislated and surgically removed the fun out of practically everything.
Because we’ve become such a nanny-state nation of people who want no personal responsibility for anything anymore and who sue at the first sign of trouble. Who raise their arms in horror and cry “but what about the children”, complain about the loud music next door, need others to tell us when we’ve had too much to drink and look to our governments to make our world safe. Because we’ve become afraid.”
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It’s a balmy seven degrees in London today so it would be pretty chilly on the roof of St Paul’s Cathedral in Westminster. Good thing that there is a lot to think about.
A convoy of British fire trucks will take to the streets to mark the 70th anniversary of the “darkest day” of the London Blitz; when German forces dropped 10, 000 incendiary bombs on the city, starting 1500 fires and adding to the already tragic loss of thousands of lives.
Hundreds of people are expected to gather around the city to remember a very significant day in the nation’s history.
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In case you missed the news, there was a mass breakout at the Inverbrackie detention centre yesterday.
The controversial site, home to asylum seeker families, has been the source of local fears. Many are concerned about espionage, terrorism, and plummeting property prices.
The escape, however, shows that what they should really be worried about is plum pickers.
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