Monday, March 29, 2010

Doust at the Sydney Writers' Festival

When I’m Not Writing, I ...
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Start: 13:00
End: 14:00
Venue: Sydney Dance Company, Studio 4
Pier 4/5, Hickson Road
Walsh Bay
Event Type: Panel
Jon Doust, Joe Meno, Lone Frank and Ali Cobby Eckermann talk about the
other passions and interests in their lives.

Reading Muster 4
Date: 20/05/2010
Start: 16:00
End: 17:00
Venue: Sydney Philharmonia Choir Studio
Pier 4/5, Hickson Road
Walsh Bay
Facilitator: Jill Rawnsley
Event Type: Reading
Australian writers pass the word around, reading their own work.
Emily Maguire, Steven Amsterdam, Fiona McGregor and Jon Doust are rounded up by our Drover, Jill Rawnsley.

On Masculinity
Saturday, 22 May 2010
Start: 10:00
End: 11:00
Venue: Wharf 2, Sydney Theatre Company
Pier 4/5, Hickson Road
Walsh Bay
Facilitator: Susan Maushart
Event Type: Panel
What’s entailed in being a bloke in Australia today? Richard Glover (The Mud
House), Jon Doust (Boy on a Wire) and John Dale (Leaving Suzie Pye) tell chair
Susan Maushart.

This year's Miles Franklin Long List

Lovesong Alex Miller Allen & Unwin
The Bath Fugues Brian Castro Giramondo Publishing
Jasper Jones Craig Silvey Allen & Unwin
Sons of the Rumour David Foster Pan Macmillan
The Book of Emmett Deborah Forster Random House
Siddon Rock Glenda Guest Random House
Boy on a Wire Jon Doust Fremantle Press
Figurehead Patrick Allington Black Inc. Publishing
Parrot and Olivier in America Peter Carey Penguin Group (Australia)
Truth Peter Temple Text Publishing
Butterfly Sonya Hartnett Penguin Group (Australia)
The People's Train Tom Keneally Random House

The Miles Franklin Award

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Something Afoot in Albany

The following piece was received by his blogger from an anonymous source well known to him. This piece, let the blogger make it quite clear, was not written by him, but by the anonymous contributor, henceforth to be known as "Sock Man".

It’s common knowledge that our dear council (Albany City, WA) can’t afford to fund a tea-party, let alone the shortfall of a fully operational, publicly subsidised, modern, on-a-plate-gifted, entertainment centre.

Why is this? Because on top of some serious long term, systemic financial mismanagement, their investment policy allowed them to put all our eggs in one basket. Sadly, they picked the wrong basket.

They were sucked in by the promise of better than market returns. About half a per cent better that is. Or would have been if they hadn’t had to factor in the capital loss, which turned the return somewhat negative.

And now they’re sitting on a fence waiting, having knocked back offers for the ‘investment’ at a discount of seventy per cent, in the hope that some bumbling, idiot solicitors can negotiate a better settlement with the liquidator of a fallen Wall Street icon.

(Is it strange that only Lehman Brothers was allowed to fall over? I wonder if LB was the only bank that had the majority of its exposed investors sitting away from American soil.)

Have they any idea how fat the liquidators are? Have they any idea how fat the solicitors aim to become? What should we do in such a situation, apart from re-inventing our investment policy – assuming we ever have anything to invest again?

We’d look at who got us into this mess and see that they still have some cash in the bank and sue their arses off or, in this case, their asses: Standard & Poors, Moody’s Investor Services and any other incompetent ratings agency that gave the sewer-scented, over-leveraged mortgage-backed securities a triple-A rating.

They’re the guys who weren’t doing their jobs. They were the guys that allowed the mushroom growth of these smouldering incendiaries. So, it stands to reason, they’re the guys to sue.

The facts:

- they’re still in business

- they make millions of dollars extorting companies and governments to dole out cost-effective credit ratings

- they’re more than likely liability-insured, albeit by American Insurance Group.

Conclusion: they’re the people to sue. If only for the joy of seeing the sanctimonious bastards squirm.

All in all, I find the council’s inability to invest our reserves and subsequent fence-sitting a little bit on the nose. Just like the socks surrounding that iconic Albany site, the Esplanade sand patch.

Have you seen them there? Socks, socks and more socks, dancing in the breeze, like Tibetan prayer flags on a high plateau in the Himalayas. Spooky it is, wandering at night around the cyclone-meshed compound, watching them stream out. Little hands imploring your help.

I even wonder what the fence is there for. To stop us stealing the sand, perhaps? Or is it merely a “Keep Off, It’s Ours” gesture.

Whatever, it’s obvious they’re not going to rush into replacing our lost pub and equally obvious the combined might of City of Albany and Department of Racing, Gaming & Liquor can effect no leverage to change that.

Perhaps we need more than socks. Perhaps we, the people, should take it, the fence, down as the Berliners did back in the 80’s, and establish our own freedom over this most splendid of sites and indulge in that noble Australian tradition of squatting. I believe our uninterrupted use for ten years would see them lose possession.

Ownership would then cede to the USB (Urban Sock Bomber). And the sockless of Albany can boldly step forward to claim their share.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010