Deja vote

Its been quite a while since I posted last. I’ve let down our loyal reader…mum? Are you still reading our blog? Anyway, here’s a bonus post to make up for it, and to ruin what was left of our posting schedule. The post is as follows;

I came to the UK recently and thought cleverly to myself: “I’ve escaped the boring as shit failure that is the impending Australian state and federal elections! Woohoo!” I will un-caps that sentence for your comfort. But I’m a little pissed, because as soon as I arrived here in “the mother cuntry” I found that they were having their own bloody election. It gets worse though, because it’s identical to Australia’s. Dun dun duuuun! Now, it will become, if it isn’t already, painfully obvious that my political views are simple, and childishly ignorant. So at best I hope this tantrum rant will have a little value as some sort of gauge of the average voter’s simple gut reaction.

Here in merry England they have a conservative government that failed to deliver anything worthwhile in their miserable term in office. This government is warning against voting for the, I think vaguely left, but mainly vague in expression, opposition party which has been so changeable that it might as well be run by a poker machine. This should already sound extremely familiar to anyone back home. The government’s done nothing except what we didn’t want them to do and the opposition might as well be a hive of backstabbing bees all wanting to be Queen and not caring what grade of honey they make in the meantime. But the similarities don’t end here.

Back home dear old Tone has been dilly-dallying with submarine tenderising or evaluating, whatever. The government here is doing the same, only with nuclear missiles, so a bit more serious than the “spaceships of the ocean” we’re so tired of worrying about. The opposition here are a rebranded rag tag group of green eyed dickheads and nobody, rightly, trusts them to replace the bombs. The government however, like back home, failed to deliver on their promises made last election, so no-one trusts them either.

Back home our successive governments weren’t happy with our platter of immigration control options, so instead, opted for variations of the toilet bowl and pig-trough methods of managing the poor humans who are unfortunate enough to be forced to come to Aus. Of course, here in the UK they have a similar situation; the conservatives are too weak to tell their racist constituents to hang themselves or stay off their side, so they umm and arr and wait for Germany to excuse whatever they do. The opposition do the same thing and the independents brandish pitch forks and say ugg! So there’s no hope of the country controlling its immigration barring some lucky reintroduction of the plague.

And the fucking posters everywhere are irritating as fuck. At least they don’t have Clive Palmer’s face on them.

-W

Advertisements

Bathurst 1000 – Or, Australia’s Most Apparent Case of Tall Poppy Syndrome

Mount Panorama! Brock! Holdens vs Fords! They went to Shanghai once! These are the things we (well a small minority actually but bear with me) think of with pride when we think of V8 Supercars. But there’s a sinister history behind all of this.

Ford GTHO Phase III. Image taken from themotorreport.com.au

Ford GT-HO Phase III. Image taken from themotorreport.com.au

See, back in the day, Australia had a real touring car championship, the original Bathurst 1000. It featured some of the coolest Australian cars of all time, the monster trifecta comprising of the one-time fastest production four door car in the world, the Ford GT-HO Phase III (random fact: ‘HO’ stands for ‘handling option’), the hero of the true-blue (or red?) Aussies, the Holden Torana, and some other car called the Chrysler Charger which didn’t even have a V8 but which had cool carburetors or something. These three managed to bring about a ‘supercar scare’ in tabloid media, scaring weaker, fun-hating individuals into successfully lobbying for their discontinuation. Stupid vocal backbenchers.

Ford Escort Cosworth. Image taken from v8supercars.com.au

Ford Sierra Cosworth. Image taken from v8supercars.com.au

Still, the race soldiered on through the seventies, with Monaros, ‘Hardbacks’, etc. battling it out amongst each other for brand pride. However, in 1985, the guys at Bathurst decided to adopt a new standard, the International Group A specification, for their race. All of a sudden, local cars weren’t big fish in a small pond any more, they were competing with the best in the world. Foreign marques started to compete, so that in addition to the famed V8 Holdens piloted by Brock, we had BMWs, Jaguars, Toyotas, among others. For the first time, turbocharged cars were in, and, boy, did they make their mark.

Ford’s Sierra Cosworth, their turbocharged pocket-rocket made specifically to win Group A races, were the first to dominate. With its comically huge rear wing that would embarrass even modern-day Excel tuners and a powerful turbocharged engine, it showed the world what a large car company could do if they wanted to win a damn race. At Bathurst, fans accepted this as simply a Ford-dominated phase of the Ford vs Holden rivalry (conveniently forgetting that the Escort Cosworth is European through and through; why not – Commodores were basically bigger Opel Omegas with American V8s at the time). However, fatefully, Nissan wanted in on the action too, and 1989 saw the now-infamous Skyline GT-R.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32. Image taken from autoguide.com

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32. Image taken from autoguide.com

Now, Nissan is a completely Japanese car company. It had little racing presence in Australia. It certainly wasn’t synonymous with meat pies. But upon launch, the Skyline GT-R was, sadly for local fans, better than any Australian racing car in every way. It was not nicknamed (ironically by an Australian magazine) ‘Godzilla’ for no reason. With four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, plus a demon-level turbocharged engine that put atmo V8s to shame, it unsurprisingly dominated the competition, both here and in overseas touring car races. Around the world, weight penalties were added specifically for them, and towards the end of their Australian racing days, GT-Rs was running with an extra 100kg compared with local cars. And yet they still won. Fans were not happy. Attendants that drove home in Japanese cars were booed if their cars weren’t already egged.

We did it! The Skyline GT-R's total race time was finally beaten in 2010. image taken from speedcafe.com

We did it! The Skyline GT-R’s total race time record in 1991 was finally beaten in 2010. Image taken from speedcafe.com

What happened next is an amazing show of foreigner hatred. After 1992, they changed the rules so that only  V8 Falcons or V8 Commodores were in any practical sense eligible for the fastest class. A lower class, guaranteed to be slower than the local heroes, only allowed cars with 2.0L atmo engines. In short, we stuck a big middle finger at the evil foreign Nissans, and other foreign marques, taking all the wins from our hard working local cars. Six years later, they realised that fans only wanted to see the V8s, so they cut away the 2.0L class, and with it, any pretense that the race wasn’t an exercise in Closed-Eyed Aussie Pride and nothing else. Did this cutting of the competition slow progress of our racing falcodores? Well, the Skyline GT-R’s fastest overall race time at Mount Panorama was beaten … in 2010, almost two decades later. Judge for yourself.

It was just three years ago that different marques were allowed back in, despite protestations and a warning that other car makers “won’t gain anything” from Holden’s racing boss. As a precaution, only four-door sedans were allowed (read: current generation Nissan GT-R still can’t join). This time, none of them won, so it’s okay.

-Z

Those Tall Bar Stools

I’ll get straight to the point. Those stools are annoying and I don’t know why they exist.

stool 1

In what world does this look like a comfortable seat? Image taken from panik-design.com

You’re going to the bar and want to have a drink. You’re either tired from a long day and want to forget all about it, or you’re excited at the start of your night out. Why does a stool that you have to effectively climb onto need to be a part of this? Why can’t people just have normal chairs?

For one thing, some high-set round tables and their accompanying stools are places for trendy bar-restaurants to cram lower-class no-reservation scum into, serving a similar function to the economy vs first class check-in queues at airports or The Daily Telegraph vs Freaking Anything Else for reading. Annoyingly, it’s actually worked on me; after repeatedly having to eat at high tables, I grudgingly made a reservation at a fairly popular and trendy restaurant and got the coveted Actual Seats With Seatbacks. Goddamn restaurant impeding on my right to be unprepared.

But this doesn’t explain all of them. Some bars only have high-set stools and tables. Short of some weird masochistic appeal for hipsters, they can’t be punishing everyone, can they?

See, I think they only exist because people are used to seeing them from before. We’re stool 2conditioned to think that this is the norm, much like how we’re conditioned to think that Kyle & Jackie O are funny, or that they deserve their radio timeslot, or that they have a right to be on radio at all, or that they shouldn’t be brutalised and sent to a Texan prison for the rest of their lives, contemplating how we’re all dumber for having listened to them. We somehow think that when drinking at a bar, we need to be high off the ground, in perpetual fear of falling off to a bloody, King Kong-esque death. Well, I am.

We must challenge this acceptance. We need our shit-stirrers, our modern-day Susan Sontags, to change the way we think. These stools are the cancer of human history. We need to start boycotting these bars until they give us normal goddamn chairs! We need to act now.

I have to go now because I’m late to a meet-up at the pub.

-Z