Friday, June 27, 2008

Aren't they nice, but will a person with clout make a difference and a stand?

Dear Mr. Jon Doust,

Thank you for contacting the Woolworths Website. Feedback such as yours plays a major role in the improvements we provide to our customers.

Please be assured that your concern has been acknowledged and referred to the respective Business Team for their attention and response to you.

Your custom and feedback is both greatly appreciated.


Bev Wright

Website Feedback Co-ordinator

Woolworths Limited

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tales of Boarding, Life and Love

Ken SpillmanKen Spillman

The Christ Church Residential Community has been abuzz with visits from two well-known authors in recent weeks.

Year 7 to 9 boarding students, who have been engrossed in Ken Spillman’s latest book Love is a UFO, took part in a workshop hosted by the award-winning author. In Love is a UFO, Dr Spillman delves into the mind of a young boy dealing with life and love in today’s online world. The story is written and presented to engage young readers and make reading a positive experience to come back to.

Dr Spillman discussed his novel and encouraged the boys to read for recreation, rather than just for school. He believes authors need to embrace the relationships between books and other media and that the key to engaging young readers is to recognise patterns of reading that are emerging in digital societies.

This week, boarders found something in common with author and comedian Jon Doust. Mr Doust, a former student and boarder at Christ Church, shared excerpts from Boy on a Wire, due to be released mid-2009. The crossover book, described as “a sort of fiction based on a kind of life Jon once knew in a private boarding school in the early 1960s”, has a resonance with boys.

Boy on a Wire is fast-paced, action-packed and full of laughs gleaned from his and others’ experiences. However, there is also a psychological side to the book, which explores bullying, father and son relationships and depression. Mr Doust’s comedy background had the students riveted as he shared stories about sleeping in dorms, communal showering and encounters with the cane.

Both authors have been regular visitors to Christ Church providing the boys with some comic relief as well as something to think about.

For more news from Jon's old school:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A reply. And so quick.

Dear Jon,

Thank you for your email. It has been forwarded to the Wesfarmers and Coles Management teams. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us. We are working hard to fix the business but it will take time. I trust however that you will start to notice a positive difference in the not too distant future.


Jane Macneall.


This email is confidential and may contain legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you must not disclose or use the information contained in it. If you have received this email in error, please notify us immediately by return email and delete the document.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Recycled stuff - where to now?

Not sure about you, but I refuse to wipe my face, blow my nose, or wipe other dirty bits using paper that has not been used before. In other, more direct words, I insist on recycled paper for cleaning crap off bodies or objects.

But, can you get it?

Well, once upon a time, long long ago, Coles sold two recycled brands: Elite and Safe. Safe was sponsored by Planet Ark. I bought them, often four to five boxes in a shopping. They were removed from the shelves. Why? Slow movers. Coles has no corporate responsibility when it comes to recycled paper products.

I then discovered Woolworths sold Naturale, made by ABC Tissue Products. I bought them, often four to five boxes in a shop. They were removed from the shelves. Why? Slow movers. Woolworths has no corporate responsibility when it comes to recycled paper products.

Please allow me to rephrase.

Coles and Woolworths have little corporate responsibility when it comes to recycled paper products. They both still sell recycled paper toilet rolls and, if you look real hard, you can sometimes find the paper towels.

Will they continue to sell the recycled rolls? Who knows. I have emailed both corporations and received replies unrelated to my complaints. Clever.

My next step is to work on Wesfarmers. Here’s an email I sent recently.

I know you are not Coles, you are Wesfarmers, but I get no satisfaction at Coles. Time for a new tack.

Thing is, Coles seems to be reneging on corporate responsibility for sustainable practises.

In short, the chain no longer sells recycled facial tissues and they way things are looking on the shelves I think it will not be long before it moves out of recycled paper towels and recycled toilet tissues.

This is shameful.

The products were removed because they were labelled: Slow Movers.

Give me half a day and I will knock up a list of 1000 other items that remain on Coles’ shelves that move slower than recycled facial tissues ever did.

Wesfarmers, we know you have a conscience, we think you do, it’s time you changed the Coles culture.

(If I have no success here, I’m getting on to the big man, the Goyder. He’ll see what I mean, as soon as he walks into his local.)


Jon Doust

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Two Great events to put in your diary for next year!

I'm a very lucky man.
Over the last two months I have had the pleasure of MCing bits and pieces of two great music festivals: Harboursound in Albany; Festival of Voice in Denmark.
First, there was Albany's Harboursound.
The chap above is Andrew Winton, the younger brother of the other Winton and one mean slide guitar player. His mob of muscos, Five Point Turn, played a soul-filled storm and then joined forces with local hero Zave Brown to make music to live longer with.

Above is Andy Rigby of Kwela fame. Andy worked a mob of kids and old folk with tin whistles and then marched into the famous Saturday morning Farmer's Markets.
They were not alone. Mel Robertson sat elegant with her cello and worked songs that made this grown man cry and weep and long for more.
Then there were the fabulous Stiff Ginns, Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs, who made us laugh, cry, laugh again, keep on laughing, a bit more crying, and then clapp wildly.

One man who attended both festivals was the irresistible Mal Webb of Mal The World Wide Webb and Totally Goudeous and almost any group of people to be found anywhere with a musical instrument or even just pursed lips.
I will write no more about this festival other than to say than Denmark knows how to do a festival. It just knows. So, get there.
Here are some pics.

Zave Brown and Sue Cunningham.

Kavisha Mazzella and daughter Kiki.

The writer of this blog, with Kiki.

The World Wide Webb with Totally Gourdeous.

Valanga Khoas, singer, writer, storyteller, from South Africa.

Two great festivals.
Makes it hard to leave town when you have such a fine time, but I did, because the big smoky place called.
On the way I stopped to pay an exhorbitant petrol price, through no fault of the owners of the service station.
Once inside to complete the transaction, I spotted a stack of foam boxes.
"What's in there?"
"You don't want to know."
"Yes I do."
"Shall we tell him?"
"I dare you."
She told me.
"Pig sperm."
She laughed. The darer laughed. I laughed. The weekend was complete.

The photos from Festival of Voice were taken by Nic Duncan, who knows how to take photos.
You can find her at
The Harboursound pics were taken by Sally Malone.