Sshhh! Would you mind keeping it down that infernal tappity-tap on your keyboards, please? As for the noisesome flapping of your eyelids - think I wouldn’t notice - be so kind as to observe that this is a Quiet Website and you will answer to us…
Never mind the screaming kids in your nearest McMall and all the sundry squawking they have inspired among; it’s time to bid a (very tight-lipped) welcome to ... the Quiet Carriage Nazi.
CityRail recently created the Quiet Carriage for those who like to travel on Sydney trains with a little less wear on the eardrums. It’s a simple and pleasant idea – in the rear carriage, talking on a mobile phone, playing music and conducting loud conversations are frowned upon and the concept has been popular, CityRail says.
Latest 2 of 61 commentsView all comments
A Sydney shopping centre has “banned” screaming children from its food court, which makes me want to go to its food court.
The people who run DeeWhy Grand have had enough of kids running amok, ruining everyone’s lunch, and judging by the response to the story they’re not the only ones.
Everyone knows sometimes there’s not much you can do when a toddler drops their bundle and their bottom lip. But most parents make an effort to keep their kids under control in public.
Latest 2 of 143 commentsView all comments
“It must be hard being a tall woman”. That’s the pearl of wisdom passed on to my six foot four female friend by some idiot in a café. It was closely followed by “But you’ve got a good physique for a tall woman” and, at the mention of me, a fellow ‘doing-it-tough tall woman’ at six foot three, the man nodded sympathetically and said “Yeah, I bet you flock to your own kind”.
Hmm. She laughed and politely exited. I probably would have punched him in frustration.
Our own kind? We’re not martians. Women over six foot are not freaks. Yes, it’s hard to find pants long enough to fit sometimes, but that’s about the only handicap. Chances are I can see if the tosser who just made some stupid remark about my height is balding/has dandruff. I can reach things on top shelves. I can paint ceilings with just a long-handled roller and don’t need a ladder. It’s not like I do that often, but hey, the option is there if I want it.
Latest 2 of 83 commentsView all comments
Any serious historian will tell you that the pinnacle of Australia’s cultural achievement was when Liz Hurley agreed to marry Shane Warne. Finally we had something we could genuinely be proud of.
There are countless reasons why their love has captivated and inspired a nation, ranging from the superficial to the deeply spiritual. Firstly, obviously, it’s a matter of aesthetics. You only have to take in the bee-stung lips, accentuated cheekbones and thick luscious hair to know that you are looking at one of the world’s great beauties, and it’s fair to say that Liz is pretty good looking too.
Secondly, it is a deep emotional connection. Nothing whispers true love like sending sweet messages of longing to your betrothed for their precious eyes alone, assuming one’s other one million followers are all doing something else at the time.
Latest 2 of 29 commentsView all comments
By now there would hardly be a person in Australia who has not seen the video of that shocking pair of morons on a bus in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston haranguing a young French woman who had committed the unforgivable sin of singing quietly to herself in her native tongue.
To call these blokes bogans is an insult to bogans. It’s hard to find the words to convey the depth of their stupidity.
The aggression they displayed was repulsive, telling the woman they were going to “fillet” her with a fishing knife, and their racism was truly repellent, with the usual suggestions that she should eff off back to her own country.
Latest 2 of 127 commentsView all comments
Seriously guys, just be COOL.
Not ‘cool’ in the private-school-jock-sense of being cool - teasing you for your rust-red hair, exceptional clarinet skills and impressive inability to speak to women without your voice cracking - but cool in the nice-person-sense of being cool.
Apparently, despite the fact that it doesn’t cost you anything, nor does it require intelligence or skill, many people find it difficult to simply be nice to others.
Latest 2 of 102 commentsView all comments
There’s something far worse than a hung Parliament. It’s an election decided by a public so disappointed, disillusioned and turned off by politicians that record numbers stay away from polling booths or cast an informal or protest vote.
This week’s ugly behaviour in federal Parliament will increase contempt for the way politics is played.
Instead of great vision for the nation we have been treated to farce and hypocrisy, gender wars and petty point-scoring. Some MPs have tried to talk about issues such as jobs, climate change and the cost of living but have been drowned out by what Trade Minister Craig Emerson admits has been an “all-in brawl”.
Latest 2 of 191 commentsView all comments
Dear Mr. Branson, What have you done? Seriously, what the hell have you done?
I admire your stunning business acumen, your ballooning skills, your outrageous PR stunts, I’ve bought many Virgin records over the years – in fact I still have an original vinyl copy of Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Love your work.
However, what’s this about allowing mobile phone calls on Virgin Atlantic flights? Tell me you’re taking the piss.
Latest 2 of 28 commentsView all comments
THE other day a stranger came up to me in the street and spat in my face. While this still put it in the top 20 days of my life so far, it was nonetheless an unpleasant experience overall.
As I pushed the strange man away from me and called him various names, it occurred to me that this is something they never taught me how to deal with in journalism school. Possibly because I never went to journalism school but I still blame the system.
The man’s grievance with me was unclear, as despite my best efforts I could not understand what he was talking about. The only intelligible sentence I could make out was: ``You made it sound like I made a sex video.’’
Latest 2 of 109 commentsView all comments
If you want to gain an insight into the often distressingly abusive world of online political discussion, type the name Sophie Mirabella into Twitter or Google, and sit back and marvel at the stuff that has been written in the past 48 hours.
Mirabella is the Liberal member for the federal seat of Indi. The archly conservative Mirabella is one of those commendable politicians who leads with her chin. She has been a regular contributor to the The Punch, since its launch just over two years ago, and has never once complained about any of the often violently critical reader comments we publish under her pieces. She will go on programs such as Q and A knowing that the left-leaning Twitterati will be salivating in their share houses as they log in and saddle up to smash her to pieces, before she even opens her mouth.
Mirabella has been in the press this past two days over the revelation of a brewing court battle involving the death of a man forty years her senior with whom she had a relationship.
Latest 2 of 168 commentsView all comments
Giving to help others is a beautiful thing. But is anyone finding the increased aggression of “chuggers” is destroying a lot of that goodwill?
There are a lot of Australians doing it tough through no fault of their own and it’s our duty to help as a payback for the privilege of being part of the community.
Welfare groups are also suffering from the big squeeze. Donations are drying up because of the tough economic times and the demand for their services is increasing for the same reason.
Latest 2 of 392 commentsView all comments
BBQs are an excuse to feast on too much flesh. But sometimes, the carnivorous offerings at said gatherings are less than they might be.
There really is nothing worse than turning up at a barbie to find cardboard sausages from Woolies, boring old chops and no condiment other than tomato sauce.
This is not to subscribe to the growing cult of food wankerism. It’s just to say that a BBQ should be an excuse to blacken some quality meat cuts, rather than an event where the worst meat imaginable is cooked outdoors. There’s more to it than that.
Latest 2 of 97 commentsView all comments
A friend recently told me of his horror when a colleague asked a co-worker why she only had one child.
It was a dangerous question to ask a mere acquaintance in front of the rest of the office. What if the answer had been a heart-breaking miscarriage? Marital disharmony? A crippling amount of debt? Infertility?
No doubt the 21-year-old woman’s thoughtless question left her older workmates clucking their tongues at Gen Y’s arrogance and lack of manners.
Latest 2 of 181 commentsView all comments
George Orwell’s 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty Four, foretold of a futuristic world where technology was used by an oppressive state to enforce order. The book is a giant of social science fiction providing an invaluable cautionary tale against the creeping control tendencies of the state.
The term “big brother” is among the many ideas from the book that have seeped into the public mind.
But in the real year 1984, another fictional work of let’s say, marginally less literary note, achieved its own worthy feat of prediction, albeit metaphorically: Ghostbusters.
Latest 2 of 106 commentsView all comments
People are sometimes very strange. Yes, I know this sounds a bit rich coming from someone who peddles her own strangeness in her writings week after week, but I’m sure you’d agree that other people - ie not you or me - can be very odd at times.
So what’s brought me to this not-so-earth-shattering conclusion? I preface my answer by saying it’s hardly the first time this has happened to me, but it always gets up my nose when it does.
You see, I was out walking my dogs very early the other morning. It was actually almost still dark, with an eerie fog settling in the bush around my local walking track. The dogs and I were ambling along the track with the place to ourselves, when along came a young guy, jogging.
Latest 2 of 62 commentsView all comments
Oscar Wilde, the famous 19th century Irish poet once said: “The expletive is the refuge of the semi-literate”. In other words; swearing is for dumb heads.
Well, all I can say is, if the ‘refuge’ was an actual place, it would be packed to the rafters—considering the number of foul-mouthed ‘dumb heads’ around these days. And yes, okay, I might be among their number too at times, I admit. (Before anyone starts calling me a hypocrite because they’ve heard me say naughty words). Yes, we 21st century folk certainly say lots of words that would’ve made our Victorian ancestors’ hair curl.
As a kid, while I soon became aware of most swear words (mainly thanks to the neighbourhood kids who were clearly more world-wise than me) I would never dare use them. And, even though my Dad, an ex-army pugilist and a Scotsman to boot (apparently a very bad combo for swear-ability) was always pretty careful not to swear around us kids or in public, I still, in fact, heard my first F Bomb from his own lips.
Latest 2 of 63 commentsView all comments
Some people dismiss political correctness too easily.
Political correctness, when we are protesting a person being demeaned publicly, is simply about insisting that people pay due respect to others. At one level, it is about insisting on civility. At a deeper level, it is about upholding fundamental values about what it means to be human and to have dignity.
I know that many Australians, and especially in my experience of sports clubs, many Australian men, think that racist comments aren’t racist – they’re just funny.
Latest 2 of 39 commentsView all comments
It’s important to stand up for the oppressed. Many think of me as a girlish Che Guevara. An example? On the weekend I was waiting for my order in a coffee shop when the barista started berating the teenaged girl serving for mixing up an order.
The customers, he told her, would not come back. I felt the hot flush of injustice rise to my cheeks. “You know what else will make us not come back?” I retorted, the defiant strains of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” pounding through my righteous mind. “You, being so rude.” He was properly shamed as I swiped my coffee and stalked triumphantly from the store.
Only thing is, ten minutes later I walked past the same coffee shop and the girl was leaning over the counter chatting idly with her yappy friends and being all feckless and self-absorbed and Gen Y as the orders piled up for the harried barista. I realised I’d backed the wrong horse. The point is, most strangers - strangely - don’t want our help.
Latest 2 of 131 commentsView all comments
THE past week has been filled with some serious news from serious places. Luckily none of this need concern us here, as Suburban Tales presents you with men bearing flowers, cars bearing children’s play equipment, and tow trucks bearing your automobile.
Sleazy or Cheesy: Where is the line between sleaze and old-fashioned courtesy?
Everybody has a pervy uncle. They’re part of the wider family ecology, along with the smarter, more popular alpha-cousin and the preternaturally athletically gifted niece who’s destined to represent her state in a sport no one cares about. We all know the tricks in the pervy uncle’s sleazy arsenal:
Our website The Punch is banning reader comments which contain words typed in all capitals. Why? Because they’re REALLY ANNOYING.
They not only LOOK HORRIBLE but they’re often a substitute for REASONED ARGUMENT. This is because they are generally employed by people who, rather than fleshing out their point, resort to SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER.
The rise of the internet and the explosion in online discussion on social media and on news and opinion sites has, by and large, been a terrific thing for democracy. For far too long journalists were allowed to fancy their output as being as sacred and unchallengeable as the tablet brought down from upon high.
Latest 2 of 192 commentsView all comments
I recently let the world know that I am expecting twins.
I had read the chapter on pregnancy and other people in my new bible, ‘What to expect when expecting,’ by Sharon Mazel and Heidi Murkoff so had braced myself for some inappropriate tummy touching and some well-meaning pregnancy advice.
I thought I was prepared. How wrong can you be?
Latest 2 of 68 commentsView all comments
In “Network”, Sidney Lumet’s groundbreaking 1976 media satire, disgruntled TV anchor Howard Beale successfully urged his viewers to lean out of their windows and scream, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.
In the film, it caused a paradigm shift and Beale’s instant transition to overnight celebrity, a modern day shaman clown, a television messiah. Today, however, everyone is leaning out their windows, screeching to the heavens and the streets below.
But the verbal diarrhoea spewing forth from their many belching mouths isn’t anywhere near as poignant as Beale’s infamous phrase. It’s happening right here. It’s happening right now. It’s happening at the bottom of this very page.
Latest 2 of 50 commentsView all comments
So Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig are on stage performing A Steady Rain and an audience member’s mobile rings. You can read the story here.
After seeing The Boy From Oz I think Jackman is far more suited to the live environment of the theatre than the silver screen, and this shows his gift for handling the things that happen in live performances.
But the real question is: how does someone still forget to turn off their mobile in a theatre?
Latest 2 of 5 commentsView all comments
Is the GFC turning out to be as good for you as it is for me?
Save for any poor souls who invested with a bloke named Bernie or used to turn up for work at Macquarie every day, the GFC is a gift horse we are looking plum in the mouth.
For one thing, the GFC, with one elegant swoop, does away with the pretense of sociability or politeness or even basic hygiene.
The GFC has undone years, decades, of social mores and replaced it with a brave new world, one where we now have the perfect cover to embrace that indolent, indulgent, trackpants-clad life we have always yearned for.
Sara Polk was desperately concerned that her husband lacked presence. This may not have mattered for most people but it represented a fatal flaw if your husband happened to be the President of the United States.
Measuring 5 feet 8 inches and ranking in the 10 shortest presidents of all time evidently Sara was concerned that her husband James – the 11th American President – lacked stature and accordingly was not receiving the respect that was his due.
How could the masses bow down before her man when they had no idea which man he was?
Latest 2 of 7 commentsView all comments
I wasn’t upset when Princess Diana died. I didn’t know her, never met her, thought she seemed like a bit of a dill.
Sad for her family but that’s life isn’t it. One day it’s all going to end. Hopefully not naked in a cupboard in Bangkok like David Carradine but you just don’t know.
Latest 2 of 27 commentsView all comments
At last, a breath of fresh air from a footballer - and Ben Cousins, of all people.
He flashed his middle finger to a dressing-room camera before the Richmond-Fremantle game in Perth at the weekend (video below). The Tigers won by three points. Cousins went on to issue a pro-forma apology at the urging of his club, saying he didn’t “mean to offend anyone and I apologise if my actions have caused offence”.
The tone in there is like a po-faced seven-year-old apologising under pain of not getting any more lollies at a party. Today, in this piece, we meet the man:
Latest 2 of 52 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…