Sydneysider Tip #2: watch out for swooping birds (and bats)

TIP FROM: Kathy Sinclair of the NSW Department of Environment & Heritage

Magpies often see Sydneysiders as potential predators with designs on their chicks, so maybe it really is time to watch – ya back. Following in the footsteps of the Victorian Government, the NSW Department of Environment & Heritage is considering investing two million dollars in an anti-swooping campaign, a move which would result in the abandonment of the North West Rail Link.

‘I know that the suspension of the North West Rail Link project would disappoint many. But we cannot be there rinsing the cash on glitzy trains when residents across Sydney are under threat from these gangs of hostile magpies,’ assured Kathy in a press conference yesterday.

‘Most of the time, I’m quite a busy person who rarely complains, least of all about our feathered friends,’ says Kathy Sinclair of the government department. ‘Indeed, we all have a little warble to ourselves sometimes, don’t we? But I know how malicious some magpies, and other birds of a pied appearance, can be. Some maggies have recently installed themselves outside my residence and the swooping has been relentless, day and night. It’s terrifying and Sydney’s residents are sick of it.’

So what evasive action can you take, if you are under threat of being swooped? Kathy’s tips:

> Know your local swooping hotspots (check out the ‘Magpie Map’ that will soon be available in NSW);

> Wear eyes on the back of your head;

> Travel in a group – safety in numbers;

> Put up a sign, warn others;

> Create a ‘hedgehog helmet’ to ensure maximum safety;

‘Some of these strategies may not work against some birds. But above all, don’t get in a flap. No, literally, flapping hand-actions are extremely provocative for the birds and situations have been known to quickly deteriorate,’ advises Kathy. ‘Note also that we have received reports that fruit bats have been mimicking this deviant swooping behaviour and evidence suggests that this is due to the bad influence of the magpies. Other birds have assimilated into suburban life with no problem, however, these birds believe that they are the exception to the rule. It’s just not on.’

Kathy has also ensured that, through slight increases in GST, funds have been channelled into the creation of ‘swoop-off’ kits, available for just $69.95. These kits contain all the basics you need for minimising swooping risk.

The “Swoop-Off” Kit [shoes, sunglasses, helmet, bag, spray gun & cable ties not included]

Kathy urges you to report swooping incidents to the customer service line, or tweet the location of any swooping incidents using the hashtags #swoopNSW #enough #bestpieisadeadpie

‘Yes, there was some robust debate within the parliament about this new government agenda. But I will not be silenced while Sydneysiders suffer. I will not stand idly by while magpies sharpen their beaks and wreak havoc. Who do these magpies think they are, terrorising our communities? Besides, I’m sick of spending all my time on bush regeneration projects, only to have it all burnt down by some loony pyromaniac. No, it’s all eyes on the pies.’


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Sydneysider Tip #1: wear Indian clothes

TIP FROM: Harry Renwick

3pm Oxford Street

Wear Indian clothes - stop fantasising, just do it. Very suitable for our climate. And if people give you weird stares, would it be the first time? Clearly, it was a first for Nichole and I. We didn’t appreciate the weird looks, really disrupted our Cuba Libres.

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Sydney Designers and Humidity

How do Sydney designers cope with Sydney’s humidity?



Suck it up. Yes, Sydney is humid, but at the end of the day, you just have to get over it. I like to make people look expensive. Thinspiration, not perspiration. I make luxury dresses for luxury people. I am king of the corset. I am sultan of the sequin and the boss of ball gown. If you can’t afford air conditioning, you probably can’t afford my dress or botox. Get over yourself.



I dunno darl. I guess just wear whatever you feel comfortable in and you’ll be confident and look good at the same time. But for me – really high heels and super-tight dresses. It’s all about the total look – I wake up early and have my hair done at the hairdressers. I have my make-up done. I couldn’t possibly step out the door without some major preparation. It’s all about finesse, attention to detail. Don’t put a heel in the wrong place, out of line. Don’t let one bead of sweat ruin your make-up or a hair go out of place or you’ll lose control & everything you’ve worked for will be ruined.



Humidity? Are you giving us a context? Context is for the weak. Look out of this world. No, we mean it – otherworldly prints and costumes. Elements of prehistoric creatures with hints of Australiana kitsch usually underpin our humidity-appropriate looks.  Try to incorporate clouds into your look. Nebulous space prints make it look like your referencing the atmosphere and the celestial paradigm, if that’s the answer your looking for.




Find the beauty around you. Draw inspiration from other cultures. I travel a lot and I’ve seen firsthand – whether I’m in Turkey, Bali or Saint Tropez – the power of the kaftan. The kaftan has brought me to great power – it fits all shapes and sizes, from skinny to big and beautiful. From toddlers to eighty-year-olds. The power of the kaftan is all-enveloping … one kaftan to rule them all, one kaftan to find them, one kaftan to bring them all and in the darkness bind them!




We’ve always believed in matching things together that aren’t traditionally cohesive; something sleek with something edgy. Bric-a-brac from the markets with killer modern jeans. Chinese-made garments with Australian-made prices. Forget about humidity. Forget about everything really. Just show your individuality through our unique, mass-produced pieces, now available in Myer.



Deal with humidity like a princess would. But listen to me, princess – shove yourself into that little beaded cocktail dress and shut up. Don’t cross me.

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Woolworths – get trolleyed


‘We’re sooo fresh!’

Do you perceive yourself as ‘innovative’? We do too, high-five! Because we are the Fresh Food People. Fresh People, with food.

At Woolworths, we’ve always been about innovation; we were the first variety store in the world to use cash registers to print receipts for customers.

Customers are now firmly in the driving seat of our business and their decisions & shopping behaviour are changing the way we operate. We are a huge, multi-billion dollar but caring company that is ready to listen to the community’s suggestions and needs. And this year, as the kids are saying, ‘shit get real’. Check out our exciting store innovations:

The new breed of Woolworths customer (pictured rolling in the Benjamins)


Woolworths is now bringing all the theatre of a sushi restaurant to a supermarket near you. We have decided to do this for a few sound reasons:

  • Obesity is a big problem – we’ve seen it (i.e. you). Your body adores sushi; it is healthy and fun. We don’t want you to become an aisle-blocker, and if you already are, well that’s great!
  • Sushi is glamorous, and you’re a glamour puss with expensive taste. Along with Coles, we are giving Australia the fastest-growing grocery prices in the developed world. But who needs cheap stuff anyway, when you can have sushi? Might as well. Kitty kitty!
  • Wasabi works wonders on warts and blisters. Apply generously using chopsticks

“Oh, the pokies? Yeah they’re over in aisle four”


Because our groceries are getting more and more expensive (don’t worry, “the best things in life are for free”), doesn’t mean you have to be poor and dream small. Have you ever been in a snarky mood, walking down our aisles feelin’ lucky? Have you ever pushed your trolley thinking ‘gee, someone’s gotta win, might as well be me’? Now, you have the chance to hit the jackpot. We want you to win. You can’t win if you don’t play, and if you can’t play, you can’t win! So this year, we have ventured to install an ‘aisle of chance’: twenty pokies in one aisle of every supermarket (right next to the milk). As the biggest owner of pokies in Australia, were not going be selfish. Gambling is about sharing! And sharing is caring.

You never know, within a day, you might make a seamless transition from riches to rags:

‘No, I don’t buy Cadbury any more … I buy Lindt. I’m worth Lindt.’

Place your bets now!


Palm oil is a serious issue. Over three hundred football fields of rainforest are destroyed every hour in South East Asia, and clearing forest for palm oil is the leading cause of deforestation. That is why we pledge to use certified sustainable palm oil in all our Woolworths private-label products by 2015. We also pledge that by that time, we’ll get rid of 50% of the other brands we stock, just in case.

However, we are a gambling company. Around 1 in every 10 of our products contains palm oil – how long will the Orang Utans survive? Place your bets now!

“What have you done with all the grocery money?”


Shopping can get stressful. So get trolleyed! In our in-store bar. Because if you need to test your luck on the pokies because of our rising prices – chances are you need a drink and a fag too! From our hotel experience, that’s what we reckon. And as the largest retailer of alcohol and tobacco in the country, we know how to get you slizzard and shopping like a G6. Did you know that sushi goes excellently with shiraz and Marlborough lights? Just say ‘Hi!’ ‘はい’

So don’t go stale! Stay innovative! Be fresh ta death.

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Coles: A History

[please note: erm, fine line between fact and fiction]

Notice the globe in the old logo?

Josef, when he was young and hip

Coles, like most evil things, began in Tasmania in 1910. Josef Coles was the son of a poor shopkeeper. As there was only one runt school in Tasmania at the time, Josef was thrust into dynamic Tasmanian society at a young age. With his sallow complexion, greasy hair and lowly credentials, Josef was often bullied along with other poor farmers and villagers by the children of richer farmers. Generally, the richer farmers were those that produced cheese, and children such as Joshua Greville, heir to the King Island Dairy Company, would spend their leisure time hiding odorous camembert in Josef’s room. But shoving blue vein in Josef’s hair was an all-round favourite.

“Oh Graham, let them eat brie”

Josef, embittered after years of cheese-related assault and intimidation, dreamt of the day that the oppressed Taswegians could revolt against these cheese makers, a day where he could have revenge on these kulaks ‘who fatten off famine and brie’.

He left school and found employment on the estates of rich families in Hobart as a releaser of the hounds, a role which he secretly relished. It was during this time that he established “Brie-Watch”, an underground journal inciting hatred for the higher cheeses and championing more proletarian cheeses, such as Coon. However, he was soon apprehended and banished from the realm of Tasmania.

Josef’s confidante cat, Rinky

Exiled and spirit-crushed, Josef wandered the streets of Melbourne, thirsting for the total liquidation of Tasmania’s brie elite. He decided that he needed to create some mechanism by which to gain control of the cheese industry and then slowly but surely bring them to their knees by reducing their prices and brand reputations. This would be achieved by ruthless efficiency, collectivisation of products, the destruction of a free market economy, by … a supermarket.

One by one, the great cheese families of Tasmania began to fall (except for the King Island Dairy family, whose reputation survived through sheer isolation on the notoriously inaccessible King Island).

“Coles, ‘something better every day!’”

From his lair in Hawthorn (unaffectionately known by farmers and suppliers to this day as ‘battlestar galactica’), Josef concocted evil things like locating daily needs (e.g. milk and eggs) as far apart as possible within a supermarket and instead of buying local produce, buying it from the furthest corners of the globe. Josef rarely went out into society, fearing an assassination attempt by the King Island Dairy family, and consequently grew very lonesome amongst his conquests. He was further troubled by acute deafness, owing to a ginormous bell he had commissioned to ring at the headquarters every time a supplier or farmer had to prostrate themselves before the Coles globe logo. As prosperous farmers and independent grocers (‘hoarders’) were crushed under his heel like bugs, an empire was born.

Proof of Coles New World

Josef’s lack of consumption of high-fat cheeses afforded him unnaturally long life. By the 1980s, Josef started to look beyond the confines of his small island home – he saw the opportunity to annihilate the ‘cream of the crop’ of Australia in a vision of the New World, which he then decided to incorporate into the Coles manifesto and brand.

One evening, Josef encountered Suzie, a spunky check-out chick, on one of his store visits. She had a randy smile and an allure that was rare among the snaggle-toothed Coles staff. In the throes of his solitude, he met Suzie in the drinks aisle after hours. She said something stupid like I love you and before anyone knew it, a fully fledged Italian-inspired bunga bunga party was held at the Coles headquarters and Suzie and Josef did the rumpy pumpy.

Suzie, letting her hair out at the Coles Bunga Bunga party

As care-free as their sexual encounter had been, Josef at the time had not considered the seriousness of playing the Vatican roulette: Suzie had fallen pregnant. For a brief moment, they were simultaneously overjoyed. But as the expectant mother of the heir to the Coles empire, she had gotten herself into a position of privilege, a position of command.

What he had not anticipated was that Suzie had a political agenda of her own: independence for Western Australia – power to Perth. A spy sent from Westfarmers, Suzie had been smuggled in from Perth with the uncompromisable goal of the secession of Western Australia from ‘those other parasite states’ and ‘the wise men from the east’. With Bunnings already in their grasp (‘lowest prices are just the beginning’), all they needed was Coles in order to relinquish supreme chaos when the time was ripe. The sacking of Canberra would be on the horizon, the flames of Parliament House visible from Cottesloe.

Suzie demanded the transfer of Coles to Westfarmers on pain of the destruction of the Coles empire.  Josef had to capitulate to her wishes, and helpless to prevent it, Coles began stocking very minimal portions of soft cheeses.

[moral of story: buy local, or at least go IGA!]

P.S. For more, erm, ‘exact’ information on Australian supermarkets and positive purchasing choices …

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Underground Cinema

[Photos courtesy of Vladimir Kravchenko]


An evening event always gets me feeling a bit rambunctious. But let’s face scientific facts – cinema just doesn’t have the dressing up or excitement that it did back in the old days (old days being when the Harry Potter series finished). Frankly, Hoyts and Westfield, YAWN. And my friend who used to work at Hoyts told me horror stories about those choc tops that you don’t even want to know about. Or do you? Email me personally for choc top ‘fantasies’.

So I want to tell you that I had an amazing experience the other night (NB not involving choc tops). I hope this is not flagrant promotion, but please bite me. There is a new cinema movement in town, and thankfully, it is not painting the town red (such a sinister expression) but has snuck in from Melbourne *look what the cat dragged in* from a group called Secret Squirrel Productions (love a secret squirrel).

Underground Cinema [NB not the Underground Film Festival, chalk and cheese, sweetie pie] is a film screening event that takes place in a random location. But the random location isn’t necessarily the shiz. The fun is that prior to the screening, there are performances and situations that recreate elements of the movie you’re about to see. You don’t actually know what movie you’re seeing so it’s a fun guessing game, and you don’t find out where it is until the day of. And there’s a dress code (aka OPERATION razzle dazzle).

A warm welcome to the Factory Theatre in Marrickville


Was invited to a screening of Children of Men. I don’t know if you’ve seen Children of Men but it is a dystopian horrendous look at a future world of anarchy/far-right wing government in Britain.

Dress code: ‘foreign’ ie something a little bit SBS, shall we say

So as invitees that night we were lined up by soldiers with Alsatians (borrowed from the NSW police) and ‘processed’ like refugees, because we can’t always be in Gold Class. Actors impersonating characters from the film were also around and references to the film abounded.

At certain moments, I even felt that the lines between performance and reality blurred, such as when a refugee woman told me not to go into the cinema: ‘No! Don’t go, they will hurt you!’ Fabulous!

In the film …

… and the Sydney version

Now, I know it all looks a bit ‘sheddy’, in some great little warehouse, but it was suitable to the film and besides, everything cultural these days happens in a shed one way or another. Sheds are very exciting.

Underground Cinema’s first event in Sydney

Gosford Park in Melbourne

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‘I’m sorry …’

Has anyone heard that song by Paris Hilton ‘Sorry, it was just a drunk text’ ? Well look, there is a reason why I haven’t made many posts recently on … but it is not because I’ve been busy drunk texting (although maybe I should … should I? Am biting my lip as I write this). But I would like to write a song ‘sorry, I was in Russia’. Because I was. Lots of stuff coming up though!

Here’s a hot Russian outfit I saw recently (‘it was just a drunk text?’):


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Wynyard, Town Hall & Central bringing sexy back?

~ St. Pancras Station, London

~ Wuhan Railway Station, China

Train stations around the world are getting made over and are looking stunning. So why is CityRail being such a fat slob? Gladys, is there a schedule for Wynyard, Town Hall and/or Central to bring sexy back?


‘Sydney’s Cinderella’. I feel sorry for Wynyard. Wynyard is in rags, in the basement and very busy (but certainly not scrubbing). And I have no doubt that she is accompanied by many furry friends. Well, all I can say is that it’s time Cinderella came to the ball. Cinderella needs to have a wash, put on some bling and get her hair did. And she better get her shit together real quick because Barangaroo is coming, & it ain’t no pumpkin coach (truly, I wish it were, would frankly be better for everyone).

Thank goodness that Wynyard has her asian friend, Hunter Connection. Hunter Connection might not have the prospects of Cinders, but the support is there in the form of cheap asian food and good feng shui, letting the chi in.


Forty degrees, steamy, standing (because you can’t ever sit), crouching, stretching. Now, I’m pretty sure that Town Hall in summer sounds like prime conditions for Bikram Yoga. Why doesn’t Gladys Berejiklian do something useful for once and pay for an instructor on each platform? That, or like in Frankfurt Airport, just send in the clowns? Would go down a treat. Barry O’Farrell claims in media reports to have lost a few kilos in the summer heat of Town Hall. But then I guess he stopped catching the train …

Hot trains and sticky stations seem to have resulted in a global movement to wear fewer clothes when commuting. I urge anyone out there to ‘sympathise’ with the Sydney No Pants Subway Ride as soon as the carriages become a bit sultry (for whatever reason):

There are only two billion tunnels in and out of Town Hall and some of them may lead to an ambush of Town Hall steps ‘folk’ – goths, freaks in general or people on blind dates (and love, like violence, is blind). Follow someone normal like me and you should be fine. Trust me.

“Define ‘rapid’, sweetie-pie” ~ Gladys Berejiklian


Central, the station that connects to the light rail that no one wants to use … I’m guessing that Central was called so as a part of a tourism conspiracy to attract backpackers to the nether regions of the city. That or people from the country named it.

But I do appreciate that Central has staged a flash mob of Irish river dancers for Tourism Ireland (and probably because there were so many Irish backpackers available in the immediate vicinity). I can’t think of anything better than a flash mob of river dancers at peak hour in one of Sydney’s busiest stations (not that busy in the scheme of things). Why not? Why not airports too, on tarmacs, nation-wide? Let’s plan a bright future for our children.


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Lara Bingle: an untapped resource

Lara Bingers must be a national treasure: Tourism Australia chose her to be the face of our bloody nation, surely that has to count for something? (?) But like many of our national goodies, Bingle is being managed ineffectively. Compared with some of the celebrities around the world, Bingle is actually pretty good (everything’s relative!) – she is a more or less normal Sydney girl and as we have seen from her show (it was only your duty to our glorious nation to watch), she is harmless.

So what are the managers of Lara Bingle (and Tourism Australia) getting wrong? Let’s see:


I’m not trying to  be a bully. I don’t hate Lara Bingle. But scientific research shows that sex tapes stop recessions. All the American celebs are doing it, and it WORKS. The ol’ razzle dazzle in the trazzle tape. Lara has no sex tape yet (yawn) and it is high time for the Bingle jingle. When will we all learn that sex tapes work wonders between but also beyond the sheets?

The multi-million dollar ‘where the bloody hell are ya’ campaign was a flop. Oprah Winfrey was a flop (and has been rather floppy for the last few years). “Wake up and smell the coffee; Tourism Australia has a problem with its floppy.”

If Tourism Australia cut the crap about our stunning crags and stopped trying to polish our hideous history, and got raunchy in the sack with Bingle, the benefits would literally roll in to bed, into every nook and cranny. Don’t deny yourself, Australia, that perkiness that you so badly need.

“We need to be moving forward. We had the stimulus package, now we need something more naughty” ~ J.Gills


Lara would be in need of some video equiptment for the Reality TV show … has no one noticed that ‘Bingle’ is only one letter away from ‘Bing Lee’? Just putting it out there.

Otherwise, I’m sure Dick Smith could somehow be tied into the wondrous national excitement. Yes, let your imagination run wild like a bush pig.

No fragrance has been launched yet. But ‘Tingle’, by Bingle, could be launched in conjunction with the Tourism Australia sex tape. (i’m on such a roll tonight, and you should be too)


‘Being Lara Bingle’. Wouldn’t you rather watch ‘Lara Bingle: Rich and Swedish’?

You see, Kim Kardashian has the Armenian background raking in the dosh; Paris has the money and the hotels. Bingle’s background, while perfectly acceptable, lacks that certain je ne sais quoi, that excess or struggle that interests viewers. White lies never do any harm, do they? Maybe another alternative show would be some sort of Lara Bingle survival game where she is placed a la Bear Grylls in the middle of nowhere and has to show us how she survived off bush lemons. Could be a good way of showing the world the beauty and terror of the Australian countryside.

We as Australians have been on struggle street since day one of this country; we’re all struggling, Bingle is struggling and Tourism Australia is struggling. More and more, we need to see what things could be & not just what they are.

Hope I have got your (creative) juices going.

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Sydneysider Vladimir in many ways reminds me of my asian dad – needless to say, he is a photographer. He has a keen eye (keen as a blackbird among twenty snowy mountains) for any photo opportunity. The good news is that, where my dad was looking for the ‘kodak moment’ i.e. ‘Smile! Smile for China!’, Vladimir often takes one by surprise, wanting photos in the most obscure moments. Like when peeking a lens into the private kitchen/bathroom of a womens’ house in Marrakesh, which involved much shouting and running away. After all, what is creativity, if not involving the sensual Moroccan touch? It’s like the chicken or the egg … which came first?

Then again, I’m not so sure if it is so much about obscure moments or obscure places. I guess you know your friend is crackers about photography when they start saying things like ‘now we need to go to those sand dunes out the back of Newcastle,’ or ’No, I must find the last puddles before they vanish,’ or even ‘go in the park, get your shirt off and just push through the leaves’.

I won’t try and explain what Vladimir likes to photograph or his style. Nor shall I try to explain ‘creative juices’ – you’re either juicy, or dry (and we all know what that means). But I shall say that he is a very worthwhile photographer and I hope he pursues his work. You may have heard me sing Vladimir’s praises for saving from Google Images (mind, it’s difficult to resist that sultry search engine). I thank him greatly for his contributions to this site too.

But the real point/nipple of this article, like most creative things, is to tell you/sell you something/SEX:

Vladimir is exhibiting at Mils Gallery a photo-novel, Anti-Terra, from this Fri. 27th of April – the 27th of May. Please helicopter yourself in (NB: users of other transport, don’t even think about it, you will be denied entry) on Friday from 6pm, or visit any time.

Gallery Website

15 Randle St, Surry Hills, Sydney

Gallery Hours
The gallery will be wide open from 12pm -4pm Wednesday to Sunday or by a randy appointment.

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