Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 - the year of the Facebook

2007 will be remembered for the wettest Summer I have ever had. This didn't stop us dancin' in the mud at Glastonbury nor will it stop us from bringing in the bells for New Year tonight in Glasgow's George's Square with 50,000 other Glasgwegians.

Even though I live on the other side of the planet from most of my friends, Facebook has managed to connect me with long lost mates.

Today I spoke with childhood mates Gina Ascott-Evans and Fryth Bouzaid via Skype and a search on Facebook. They are both amazing mums with cute husbands! I've also found Simon Conran - a random mate that I met at 555 William St in '97 - and Brian O'Connor, a fellow Organising Works trainee. I also miraculously bumped into Siobhan Shannon, also of 555 William St fame at the airport heading to Dubai. We caught up with them in Ireland over Christmas.

So ain't social networking sites amazing! The internet has truly wonderful powers when used for good rather than evil.

I wish for 2008 to find peace in Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. I wish for Pakistan to have free and fair elections. I wish for world leaders to find real and lasting solutions to climate change that engage the community. I wish for my new niece or nephew to be born into a world with a positive future. So let's celebrate the leaders of tomorrow with this little montage of oor wee niece Hayley Charlotte.

Happy New Year to all - let's hope 08 is great mate!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gold and Government Bonds are up....I can smell war in the air

I'm saddened by the news that Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. She took a risk in bringing herself out of self imposed exile to contest the long awaited democratic elections in Pakistan and she has paid the ultimate price. There were warning signs in October when she was nearly killed in the suicide attack, and in a country on the brink of civil war with that amount of political chaos, when a group of extremist say they will kill you, it's going to happen eventually. Surely there was no amount of security at a public rally that could have have saved her.

Bhutto was the first woman president of a Muslim country. She should be celebrated for being a pioneer of woman's rights, but she should also be remembered as someone whose opponents argued she came from a privileged class with questions over her previous reigns - nepotism, bribery and corruption.

Isn't it interesting that Australians still have not voted in a female prime minister? Sometimes you think a country is backward or "not civilised" * because of how they treat women but if you look in your own back yard, the two major parties have still not allowed a woman to become leader.

* I'll never forget Ross Lightfoot, Western Australian MP banging on about uncivilised nations and indiginous Australians. What does uncivilised mean anyway?? I think the captains of industry are mostly uncivilised.....that's another blog entry right there. Best shut up really....

Seriously, I do hope Pakistan doesn't degenerate into full scale civil war. That would be very very bad, especially for progress in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And the bells rang out for Christmas Day....

Happy Christmas everyone. I'm missing my family, but my family by proxy, the Honans of Carrickfergus in Norn Iron (Nothern Ireland) are putting on a great Christmas show for me and Jock, who ate his Cadbury selection before breakfast.

I couldn't do it any better than this family from Churchlands, enjoy - you'll need sound.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The election the photos processed....

1)Jock shows off his Kevin07 outside of the pub in London. What joy it was waking up early on a Saturday morning to wonder along a London road to find a sandwich board with Kevin Rudd on it. We knew it was going to be a good day.
2)Labor wins, the Libs lose the election. We drink the bar dry of cheap Australian sparkling so move on to the Veuve Clicquot.
3)Howard loses his seat.
4)Ali loses it......

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Soccer, Football, Fitba'

There are times when I will stroll down my street on a Saturday and things aren't quite right. No, it's not the fact that I may accidentally bump into life size Oompa Loompas for want of staring at these Posh-esq sunbedded, fake tanned women or because I'm marveling at the fact that in Scotland it is legal to throw Irn Bru cans on the street. It's because the Fitba' is on. Mostly it will be Rangers supporters going mad at midday, but occasionally you'll bump into a Celtic supporter or another football mad person of a different persuasion. There is an "air" about the place.

If it's before the game, there's folk drinking in the pubs, a huge line at the subway to get to Ibrox and old ladies have rightly remained inside till they can safely put their walking sticks to use and get their "messages" lout free.

If it's after, and Rangers have won, the street is a jubilant jolly carnivale, alive with grown blokes skipping around whilst they drink lager and smoke ootside.

However, a loss will prompt much gloomy standing around, with talk about sacking the manager or questions as to why some Spanish bloke didn't get imported for the match. Just this morning, I heard on the news that the Newcastle soccer team's manager has been saved from sacking because his team scored a gallant goal against Arsenal, leading to an exciting one-all draw.

This is what I don't understand about this game. Apart from the fact that it's boring and tedious and invariably a "good match" can be one where not a single spherical pig skinned straw filled object was put between two posts and a net, the chat and the money that underpins this game is as much scandalous as it is absurd. If there is chat on the radio, it's not about the skills of the players, it's about the money and the manager.

Such is the life of a fanatic, that currently, a ticket to the Rangers-Lyon match (don't ask - there is the UAFA cup, the Champion's League, the Winners of the Second Round Matches of the Nearly Champions League, the European Cup which Israel play in, the Eurovision Song Contest Soccer Cup....the list is endless and I don't understand) is selling for 200 quid on eBay. Madness.

Jock and I support Partick Thistle. It's not in actually in Partick. The team has a horrible bright yellow strip. I've never seen them play. I think they play in the first division, not the Scottish Premier League. I know nothing. But when people ask who I support out of Rangers and Celtic, I say Partick Thistle, immediately identifying myself as an atheist.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cancer 'n' Stuff


Is a turgid horrible bloody disease. My mum's had it twice and survived. Close friends have had it (and young friends - too young to get breast cancer, but both caught it early and are now in remission) and friends' parents have succumb to this disease . I was recently moved by Matt Price's death from brain tumours, so sudden and tragic. I felt like I knew him.

So, I've signed up for a long term research project in the UK where my health will be monitored over the next decade. It's called Breakthrough Generations and is going to involve more than 100,000 women in the UK.


It's been an interesting month. My ears have been glued to radio national every night at 8pm (7am Oz time) to listen to Fran and Tony Eastley discuss the election. I've been quietly confident that Labor would win the election, but now just feel a sense of relief and hope that Rudd and Julia "Super Ministry" Gillard can live up to expectations. It was excellent fun going down to London to catch up with ole comrades, but now it's time to stop gloating and get back to normal life....which is clouded in darkness now that winter is upon us and that can only mean one thing: enduring the UK's love for shit Christmas tunes over the muzac systems of shops. If you're not sure about my views on this subject, click here.

Lucky then we're going to a big concert next week - the Chemical Brothers, and the following week we're in Paris. I've never been to Paris with a lover before, so I'm looking forward to it, especially if I get to meet these folk sur la M├ętro