Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Posts Tagged ‘Perth’

Statue to draw more deviants to Perth

Posted by occidentprone on June 24, 2008

Taxpayers will pay for the perverse and deviant to get their jollies when the City of Perth forks out $23,000 to display a rudie statue.

The disgraceful bronze “artwork” will make a mockery of the clean living image Perth has spent decades cultivating: Sensible drinking hours, a foreshore devoid of sinful temptations, no shopping on the Lord’s day, holding the tide against daylight saving and so much more.

News Corp’s Perth Now is outraged. You can tell because they lead with how much it costs taxpayers.

THE sculpture of a nude nine-year-old girl will be displayed on a Perth city street and ratepayers will cough up thousands of dollars to cast it.

Perth City Council had been recommended to approve casting Judith Anketell in bronze for public display at a cost of about $23,000.

Tonight, councillors voted unanimously to do so.

The sculpture will be displayed outside the building at 18 Howard Street, Perth, where it was created, provided it is approved by the Heritage Council.

And the blatantly debauched signal it sends to the world is denied by the lithesome model – now an 80-year-old.

The proposal had coincided with a controversial display of photographs of nude children at a Sydney art gallery. 

Amid the Sydney controversy, Ms Anketell denied the Perth statue of her as a child bordered on on p***nogr*phy. 

“Nobody has said anything in the 70-odd years that mine (the sculpture) has been made about it being improper or indecent,” she said 

“It was very tastefully done. 

“It was a beautiful reproduction of my body.” 

Perth Now doesn’t use the P-word, it (almost) lets the victim, Ms Anketell, do it. 

The West takes a more subdued approach on its website but there’s still time for the issue to take hold in the letters pages.


Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Here is today’s predictable column

Posted by occidentprone on June 13, 2008

Perth’s whitebread, western suburbs media is a problem. The homogenous viewpoint, particularly in the I’m-so-young-and-cool-I-don’t-need-to-think-for-myself genre. Maybe they think appealing to the masses means writing like the masses (I’m so individual, just like you.)

(NB In Perth Western Suburbs equals Eastern Suburbs in the east, if you catch my drift).

There’ll be no singling anyone out because it’s across the board in mainstream media, even in sections of the street press, but the launch of Fairfax’s WA Today underlined the problem.

Remember: There might be a boom but a lot of people are hurting now, they’re not flipping from your column to the share prices, they’re not making a killing from their investment property and they don’t give a flying whatever that airfares to Mauritius are escalating. But the great unwashed do have good stories to tell and they like to read / hear good stories told well.

Some solutions:

  1. Media owners, editors: Allow your writers some latitude. Even polarising columns / think pieces / colour stories / features are better than BLAND. Or same-same. Or deja vu. Here’s a thought: What about hiring staff who have really lived – not lived backbacking to Tierra del Fuego but lived hand-to-mouth, who had to put in an effort to pay for school or uni, who aren’t offended by Rockingham or Geraldton or Ramadan or poverty or imperfection. Get some diversity up ya.
  2. Writers: Read. Put down the moleskine you’ve taken to the wine bar, really listen and don’t try to make the scene fit the story you think you want to write. 
  3. Readers: Dump the mags / sites / papers / radio shows that offend – or don’t offend when they should be challenging us. 

Wannabe scribes, get in touch with the issues that worry the masses at Worst of Perth.


Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

7 reasons to put up a statue to Alan Bond

Posted by occidentprone on June 5, 2008

Bondy’s back.

He has worked his way back into the BRW rich list and it has people talking. But instead of hanging criticisms on the poor hard-working guy, we thought we’d celebrate all that is Alan Bond and share reasons why you should too.

1.  He is a light to show us just what we can achieve if we put our mind to it and that can-do kind of guy is just what we need in WA as all the other can-do kind of guys just shake our faith (think Brian Burke, Neale Fong, Troy Buswell). From his own website

Dedication and sound management are also a big part of Bond’s world vision and the commitment and spirit to partnering with developing nations is highlighted in the way he works and this remains as strong today as it has ever been.

…He has always been very strong on all levels of communication 

2. For ADHD kids and elderly dementia patients the world over, Bondy shows that mental illness is not a life sentence. Bond-chaser Paul Barry says on news.com.au:

Fourteen years ago, Alan Bond was brain damaged and a broken man. The poor guy could barely remember his name, let alone whether he had $50 million in bank accounts in Switzerland.

He sat in the Federal Court in Sydney, staring into space for minutes on end, then turning to his interrogator to claim he had forgotten the question.

Whether Bondy just cut out the food colourings or scoffs the ritalin, he proves the disabled are able. His success says: You might call me crooked, just don’t call me crook.

3. The country is going through a skills crisis, a shortage of labour, so anyone who can get the retired back into the workforce needs our thanks. If Bondy’s rorting of people’s life savings doesn’t get them back in the job queue, nothing will. 

4. Jail, illness and social ostracism characterised the convicts sent to Australia to build it into the great nation you see before you. Bondy is both a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we can go with a little grit and larrikinism. He is our collective unconscious on display before us. If there’s something wrong with him, there’s something wrong with us so best look the other way if you don’t like it.

5. He has more front than Madonna when it comes to reinvention and rewriting his own history. How’s this pitch to overseas investors: 

Following huge TV successes in Australia, including the acquisition and expansion of Channel Nine …

Yes, there is only one Alan Bond in a lifetime … get in while you can.

6. We get Nigerian scammers from Africa, Africa gets Alan Bond. Again, from his website to lure investors in his African mines: 

Named as Australian of the year (1978), which recognises and rewards those Australians who have a consistent record of excellence and made outstanding achievement in their field, Alan remains a family man with his family always taking an active part in his successes.

7. He’s a giver not a taker. In the Bond family’s own words from www.alanbond.net:

 As Lesotho Diamond Corporation will be providing greatly needed new jobs this particular charity activity will give extra security and structure where the business cannot. It will particularly help children and families with education and health. It is envisaged that each year the charity will make a big impact and a significant difference in the lives of people in Lesotho.


Posted in Perth | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Lobbyist is a dirty word

Posted by occidentprone on June 4, 2008

Alan Carpenter’s decision to cut John Halden off from handling Karen Brown’s election campaign is all about perception.

Halden used to be an MP and now he is a lobbyist. Brown used to be a journalist, then a lobbyist and is now a would-be MP. Carpenter used to be a journalist, then an MP, then Premier facing the unloseable election and now it’s all falling apart at the seams.

Lobbyist is a dirty word around here. The job has long been seen as a mix of politics, commerce, spin and the occult conducted in the netherworld ‘twixt dark and light, public and private, parliament and Perugino’s. It is done most effectively when lobbyists move as shadows but as soon as daylight is shone on their manoeuvres they lose a little of their power.

For Brown, who is an intelligent, honourable and ethical woman who has happened to dabble in all the dark arts – newspapers, lobbying and now politics – it’s not enough to do the right thing. She has to be perceived to be doing the right thing and keep well clear of Halden. He has admitted to receiving leaks from Cabinet – well who hasn’t these days – and he could well taint Brown’s campaign, which would be a shame because she is a quality candidate.

Perception makes all the difference. It’s like the nuance between sexually harassing staff and just making an off-colour joke. But that’s another story.


Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Now that’s just a blog-o-lies

Posted by occidentprone on May 15, 2008

The blogosphere has intruded rudely on to Troy Buswell’s reality.  Blognik Matt Hayden posted a joke in January that Busty Buswell had once played quokka soccer.  

Then joke blog post became blog post became rumour became a fact in the making and before you could say PETA activist, reporters were mentioning the Q-word and intimating there had been something rotten in the state of Rotto.

So Hayden had to publish a retraction and Buswell put the rumour to rest.

We’re no experts but the question is this: If there is a clause within defamation laws to excuse clear satire, why is the onus on the blogger to clear it up if reporters can’t tell their ludicrous internet japes from plausible stories?

Ok, given that Buswell’s past carrying on has more ridiculous episodes than a Carry On film he does make it tricky, but still bloggers shouldn’t be held responsible for gullible journos.


Posted in Media, Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Get amongst it: Northbridge

Posted by occidentprone on May 10, 2008

OP is not in the business of tourism, or even travel writing (we wish). But the blog is an (overwritten) microscope-telescope to encourage jaded West Australians to look at their home anew. Maybe it will bring a fresh view of the landscape, and possibly even new ideas about how to live in the country, urban and suburban landscape. In that vein, here is the first in a sometimes series on places in the heart.

Northbridge  and its precursor North Perth have been through the ups and downs of inner city areas everywhere. Its ethnic background of many hues and nightclub-crime profile has seen it labelled fashionable, dangerous, dirty, edgy, family friendly, back to trendy and back to bleak. 

Step outside the clubby-pubby scene, blink into the daylight, and make an excursion.

It’s no secret that the northern end of William Street, from Bulwer down, is brimming with cheaper restaurants and food stores. Take away roast duck – whole, violin, chopped or boned – or stop in a yum cha house. Take the kids on a free Cat bus tour or seek out op shop gems. 


Posted in Diversions, Get amongst it, Perth | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Building a western bohemia

Posted by occidentprone on May 7, 2008

Here at Occident Prone we’ve become mired in party politics. It was never our intention and we’d hate to end up with an American-style political arena where affairs and other hanky-panky overshadow the nitty gritty of policy and substance. So let’s take a breather from the hot and heavy and talk arts.

Alan Carpenter’s government seems well aware of its awesome responsibility of state building. All those mining royalties rolling in – let’s do something big, they’re saying, let’s do something grand. And for that they should be commended. Alannah McTiernan is at the forefront, pick in hand turning the sods to give us the Mandurah railway. Next stop Perth city waterfront, a grand plan for a world famous deadspot.

Perthwaterfront.com.au   Perthwaterfront.com.au

While the designer’s mental picture of what should happen on the foreshore is up for debate – and let’s have lots of it – at least someone somewhere is saying this is something worth fixing up. 

Let’s stop loving the big country town image and embrace all the sophistication and cosmopolitanism that comes with wealth and migrants. From these things grow ideas, culture, a collective self-confidence and an inner wealth as well as outer gads of cash.

The so-called creative underclass might not be the ones swanning about the restaurants and fancy bits on the foreshore but they will be tapping into any pathology that lurks beneath. And any city worth its salty air needs writers, painters, songwriters winding stories and fables and images from its streets and sordid past. (Not to mention our sordid present – there’s fodder enough for a three-book deal right there.)

The state government is also to be lauded loudly for its commitment to an international literary award.

Mr Carpenter said the inaugural Western Australian Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award, worth $110,000, had the power to excite and expand the State’s cultural horizons.

Culture and Arts Minister Sheila McHale said the award was part of the Carpenter Government’s exciting $73million ‘Ignite!’ package, the biggest single State Government arts funding injection designed to transform literature, dance, theatre, music and visual arts.

The award is open to any book-length work of literary fiction published in print or electronically – something recognising the increasing predominance of electronic media, such as online and mobile phone formats.

The judging panel will consist of three renowned authors and literary experts drawn from some of the nominating countries. They include Pakistani born and multi-award winning author, Kamila Shamsie, author of ‘Kartography’ and ‘Broken Verses’ and Sri Lankan born, Hong Kong based columnist and founder of the ‘Asia Literary Review’, Nury Vittachi.

“This award is a fabulous vote of confidence which I know will kick-start a writing revolution,” Mr Vittachi said.

The $110,000 prize makes the award the richest in the nation. Where the winning entry has been translated into English, the author will receive $88,000 and the translator $22,000.

The award is open to works written by an author resident in Australia or Asia, or which are primarily set in Australia or an Asian country. Works must have been either written in, or translated into English and published in the preceding year.

Entries for the award are now open and will close on May 31, 2008. Forms can be downloaded from the Department of Culture and the Arts website: http://www.dca.wa.gov.au

The award follows a government unveiling in December of a $73 million package of arts and culture “initiatives to transform dance, theatre, music and visual arts, as well as change the shape of WA’s cultural landscape”.

Perth is literally on the path to nowhere. It’s an endpoint, a terminal. This, along with its isolation, has forged a visage, complete with shimmering haze, of a mythic land across the Nullarbor full of cowboys and gold-diggers. But for some of us Bohemia is more alluring than El Dorado and that kind of spontaneity needs a little planning.


Posted in Diversions, Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Kiss of death for Buswell

Posted by occidentprone on April 30, 2008

Good grief. As if Buswell’s week hasn’t been dire enough. Federal Liberal leader Brendan Nelson has said today Troy has his full support. At least at party functions Buswell has someone to stand next who makes him look popular.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Nose to the grindstone, I swear

Posted by occidentprone on April 30, 2008

This is as good as it gets for the Libs in WA. This is the cream of the crop.
I’ve heard Troy Buswell is an intelligent, articulate, analytical political animal – but all I can see is the animal. Loutish, sexist, bullying and immature – but still leader of the opposition.
Yesterday, Boy Troy admitted to ‘chair sniffing’, with tears and heavy emotion to show he’s sorry. Sorry for the distress caused to the staff member and sorry for his family. But probably not as sorry as the Liberal colleagues who have apparently been undermining him.
Yes, we feel for the Way-Too-Liberal Party where an embarrassing boofhead is their best chance in the next election. But what is the alternative? Matt Birney? At least Buswell is a boofhead with brains. Birney gives the impression he hasn’t read anything outside car manuals and Ralph magazine since school. Paul Omodei? He’s had his shot and failed – miserably.
What’s truly sad is that this is the level of politics in WA. And not just politics but also political commentary, for the most part – and Occident is now implicated. Maybe we’ve spent too much time being wowed by The West Wing but still, where is the intelligent argy-bargy over outcomes, the forensic scrutiny of policy? It’s all either your side vs my side bias or gutter dwelling.
The Australian quotes Liberal Party president Barry Court, son of premier Sir Charles, brother of premier Richard and husband of preacher Margaret, as saying busted Buswell can be mended.

“Myself and my wife (Victory Life Church pastor and former tennis great Margaret Court) deal with issues like this on a daily basis,” he said.

“It’s not unusual for me to see people change overnight and stay that way.”

Buswell says he has mended his ways – no more pinging girls’ bras in social studies, no more beer helmets behind the bike shed, no more mimicking classmates on all fours and from now on his nose just goes to the grindstone, not the seat.

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Who is that man in the panama hat?

Posted by occidentprone on April 29, 2008

Beady eyes, bloated features and tentacles that extend everywhere. How the blazes did Brian Burke get so powerful? And even more intriguing is this: How is it that politicians and bureaucrats cannot stay away from him?
Of course the two are linked – he has sway because the pollies don’t mind being used as pawns and they fall for his charms (apparently he has some) because they feel he can deliver what they want.
The media talks about his Svengali features but he’s more a Faustian devil.
As reported in The Australian today, WA Education Minister Mark McGowan is one in a long line to talk soul with the man in the panama hat.
McGowan claims to have been exempt from wise Dr Geoff Gallop’s ban on any contact with dodgy brothers lobbyists Brian Burke and Julian Grill. Bad move, Minister. You’re talking semantics when you should be thinking ethics.
Will McGowan be another notch on Burke’s enormous belt, a tally of tainted bureaucrats and disgraced pollies … and that’s just since he’s been released from jail.
Ah, the State of Excitement – why would you be anywhere else?

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