Thursday, February 25, 2016


I blame Doug Demuro.

Doug Demuro is a kind of journeyman journo for auto-blog site, He first came to my attention as the guy who bought himself an actual Ferrari and drove around in it for a year as a daily driver. And wrote about it. The articles were interesting and well-written; good fodder for slow work days. But it was the idea that you could actually buy a crazy, stupid, insane car that ended up with me tonight taking loving snaps of my very own Nissan Skyline in my very own driveway.

I also heavily blame Top Gear. Top Gear became popular in Australia around the same time the Bugatti Veyron was born. Top Gear called the Veyron, the petrol-driven car’s ‘Concorde moment’. Nothing would ever go faster or higher or better. They were right. But they also fertilised the idea of ‘car talk’ in a way that had never existed before. No one who’s heard of the Veyron, or watched a thing about it on Youtube can walk away without being able to smugly recite at least one of its delicious factoids. The Veyron made you feel smart, interested. If you had a mind to, you could find more Veyron facts. All of them amazing. And there you are, reading about cars. And here I am, carefully pulling a car-cover over my jet-black R33 Series 2, and considering whether I should just take it for a quick spin before bed.

But, back to Doug. After he sold the Ferrari, Doug asked his readers what he should buy next. The American car market is different. It’s vast, and astoundingly cheap. European exotics abound, oddities and curiosities are freely available, if you can trust your mechanic and make the odd interstate trip for something special. Weirdly, Doug didn’t go with a vintage Porsche, or a hilarious land yacht. Doug bought a boring old 1990 Nissan Skyline. The R32 GT-R. America has another weird rule where they can’t have anything newer than 25 years old imported. Last year that age-of-consent passed in a non-creepy way and thousands of Doug’s readers applauded when he imported one of America’s first crop of Skylines. In thrilling gray. Exactly like the ones I’ve watched P-platers thrash around Australia for ever. Covetously watched. Australia doesn’t have that law. Skylines are cheap. So cheap that for many years almost every news item about a horrible street-racing fatality that didn’t contain an upside-down Commodore, contained a shot of about five metres of the twisted metal vomit that Skylines inevitably turn into. 

If Mr Ferrari could buy a Skyline in America and be called the King of the Internet (Car County), maybe I’m not dreaming?

And the Gumtree searching began …

An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32