HOW about that Grand Prix, eh? One look at the racing fans is all it takes for me to realise that some suburbs should have fences around them. Knuckle-dragging petrol-heads, anorexic bottle blondes marinated in fake tan and middle-aged blokes with man boobs and pimples on their arses paying exorbitant money to watch cars go fast. What a disgrace. It’s no wonder I drink.
I’m sure the parents of terminally ill children suffering rare diseases that there is no funding for researching will take comfort in the fact that the State Government has probably spent $30 million on loud, polluting cars while their child dies. They’ll be at peace knowing that Bernie Ecclestone has pocketed a $20 million licensing fee. There goes my chance of ever being a grid girl.
Don’t start banging on about all the revenue that it supposedly (and I stress the word supposedly) creates. You could get a far better long-term return by putting that money into science, education or health.
Why is it that many of the flag wavers who are the keenest for these events so they can “show off” to bring tourists into our town are the ones that least want to share it. If you need to have a Grand Prix looting, marauding and corroding our town to feel “proud”, please kill yourself at your earliest possible convenience. And take your “I’m Another Australian Against Further Immigration” T-shirt with you.
It’s festival fever here in our beautiful Melbourne and I am part of the festivities in my role hosting the Sydney Road Bakery Tours as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
This is not a thinly veiled or heavy-handed plug because this alleged left-wing rag sponsors this festival of feeding. Don’t call, they’re booked out.
Last week and again this week, I’ll show folks around Sydney Road and take them into a handful of the many Middle Eastern bakeries along this lively and cosmopolitan strip of bridal boutiques, multicultural food, funky cafes, factory outlets and rampant tolerance.
It’s a gift to take the Loafers into a bakery owned by Iraqis, and after they have met the hard-working and generous couple and their sweet well-mannered children, and eaten their delicious food, tell them that these people are asylum seekers from Iraq. The same people that John Howard is leaving stranded on boats or letting rot on Pacific islands.
At our next stop, I introduce them to Houssam with the twinkling eyes, beaming smile and Osama bin Laden beard. He displays kindness, hospitality and warmth and also cooks Lebanese pastries so delicious they bring tears to your eyes. Let’s hope it dilutes the widely held belief that all Lebanese men are rapists.
Next stop is Jenny the Turkish mother of five who makes gozleme (stuffed pastries). She arrived from Turkey 37 years ago, first landing in the Northern Territory. The blackfellas told her that they ate white people (having her terrified for weeks) and then taught her English, “bad words first”.
“I feel like I am in another country,” the wide-eyed Loafers say as they openly gawk at the young girls wearing the hijab and tight jeans SMSing and drinking Coke. It should be called the Meet Your First Muslim tour. Don’t be alert, don’t be alarmed, shake their hands, eat their food and enjoy the hospitality they extend. Marvel at the warmth they radiate despite (or possibly because of) the horrors they have seen and the hours they spend building a better life in what they hope is a decent and tolerant society.
My favourite moment of each tour is as we cross Sydney Road and I hold up a stick with a loaf of bread on it and stop the traffic. Not just any traffic but; I tell them all to look out for a 4WD. As the 4WD approaches I walk onto the road and hold up my stick ushering the Loafers across with the words: “Sorry this is an emergency. These people have not eaten for three minutes. You are not a local, please take the next right, which will take you to South Yarra.”
One of the Loafers said: “I’m from Brighton, dear, and if you did that where I’m from you’d be run down.”
“Yes,” I replied, “That’s why I live here.”
Unless you need to tow a horse float or you are the Bush Tucker man, you don’t need a 4WD. When I walk along High Street, Malvern, and see rows of four-wheel-drives that have spent even less time in the bush than Telstra, I want to pull out my key and scratch into their pristine duco BUY A SMALLER CAR YOU GREEDY SELFISH —- Or ride a bike and save on the lipo.
Give me pide, gozleme and baklava, not circuses.