Don't Like The Tone Of Politics? Try Another
Sydney Morning Herald
Monday December 12, 2005
THE House of Reps' speaker David Hawker is a nice bloke, but hardly a livewire. That's probably why he jazzes himself up from time to time with a mobile ringtone from the land of salsa and margaritas.When it rang during the Prime Minister's parly valedictory last week (the Nationals' Peter McGauran: "The Speaker is going to have to throw himself out"), we were reminded of our Theory of Ringtones: the more vanilla the owner, the more tutti-frutti the chosen tune. The Mexican Hat Dance, Hawker says his is called. "I chose it so I'd know when it was my phone ringing."We searched for more evidence of our theory among Canberra's greatest, via their spokespeople, so you can judge for yourself.John Howard: "He's just got a normal ringtone. Thank you."Kim Beazley: "He's just got a normal Nokia tune, the one that comes programmed."Barnaby Joyce: On a Mission, a spy-style tune. "He changes it but at the moment it's this one."Natasha Stott Despoja: "It's either on meeting or silent. I haven't ever heard it ring."Julia Gillard: her spokeswoman played us Songette down the phone. A Gothic-sounding classical piece, we thought.Amanda Vanstone: "She'll be hard to grab today."Jenny Macklin: "I don't have anything very exciting for you. It's a straight ringtone called Bee."Philip Ruddock: his translator didn't respond, but perhaps The Long and Winding Road?Peter Costello: "A normal tone. There's no jingle or anything."We were hoping for Richard Marx's classic Right Here Waiting.Kevin Rudd: another "standard ring tone".We would still like to know more (Hello, Mark Latham?), so we're giving you two ways to win a T-shirt this week. Send usthe best ringtone tip-off, or propose one for a politician of your choosing, by email (above) or post a comment at www.smh.com.au.GRASSROOTEDLast week's item about the profusion of no signs at Bondi Beach sparked this response from a Waverley councillor, Ingrid Strewe, who said you wouldn't be able to see the water if signs listed all the yes things. Here's what she says you can do at Bondi: picnic, swim between the flags, take the kids, go alone, walk, talk, park all day (if you pay), kiss, sunbathe, snorkel, ride a board, swim out the back, fish, get a coffee, go topless, laugh, eat fish and chips on the grass, and use your good sense and consider others. "I'm running out of steam but there must be more," she said. After a weekend that saw utterly disgraceful scenes at another Sydney beach, we're happy to endorse the list.FOREIGN DESKAs the late Tasmanian premier, Jim Bacon, was dying, he was sent 157 letters suggesting cancer cures, which he passed on to Royal Hobart Hospital's oncology chief, Ray Lowenthal. In the Medical Journal of Australia are some of the kooky remedies he dismissed:* oxygen;* magneto-therapy;* Laetrile (containing a wonderful combination of apricot pips and cyanide);* shark cartilage; and* our favourite: coffee enemas.VERBATIM"Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife! To all the sensual world proclaim, One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name." While we're banging on about phones, the above is what our correspondent swears is what Ian Hanke, the Liberal Party headkicker, has on his answerphone.FIELDS OF CLOVERThe city centre will soon have more pools than Africa - okay, four - but it seems there's no place for nudity. The City of Sydney is being lobbied by one terribly European chap who wants to get his gear off in public pools.Gerald Ganglbauer, an Austrian-born "lifelong naturist", thinks the rising Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre in Ultimo should have nudie nights for the sauna, the steam room and the pool.In a submission to the council, Ganglbauer wants separate saunas for men and women, and different nights for mixed use and family nights. "It would be desirable to also allow one day of the week for nude sauna and swimming, say, schedule a weekly nude swim night every Saturday (Nothing beats an icy cold shower and a few laps after a hot session in the sauna cabin. Good for health and fitness)," he argues.We would only support the plan if we got to choose who went nude, but we hear Clover doesn't think it's a good idea.THE YARTSSpotted in the city on Friday was this bloke (pictured) busking on Pitt Street, balancing an umbrella on his forehead, blowing a recorder and playing his guitar. We can't do any of the three, and are just glad for his neck that busking rules limit performances to a maximum of two hours.ALL YOURSSince moving the furniture on this page, we've had a variety of responses. We won't bore you with the nice stuff, but here are some of the brickbats.One of us looks like the Brit soccer has-been Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne, said Nigel Witting, a point we've conceded by amending the mugshots (above)."It looks like an assignment that I'd do for my kids," reckoned Stephanie. "The list is in point form. How slack is that?" Ahh, that's why we do it.Our favourite sledging, though, came from a designer at another newspaper, who asked if the page was meant to look like "a news version of a tampon advert". "Not only have you lost quality content but it looks like very flawed in terms of design, and common sense," he said. Which would carry some weight if we had ever claimed to be sensible. For the record, we don't.Of rings and things our Downer's not impressedBy far the best tip-off we had after our hard-hitting investigation into pollies' mobile phone ringtones was this: the minister of all things foreign, a fellow named Alexander Downer, picks up to the theme song of Team America: World Police.The 2004 tune, much of which we can't print here, was penned by the creators of SBS's animated South Park series and - give or take a couple of vowels - its chorus goes a little something like this:"America, fork yeah! Coming again to save the motherforking day, yeah!"America, fork yeah! Freedom is the only way, yeah."Thinking it couldn't possibly be true, we called Downer's media man, Chris Kenny. But at the mention of Stay in Touch and mobile ringtones, he stopped us. "I don't have time for these sorts of calls, I'm afraid. I have important foreign affairs matters to deal with."We suggested it might demonstrate that his boss has a sense of humour. He replied, "I'm not interested in that."But we certainly are. If you've heard Mr Downer's phone ring, give us a call to confirm, or deny. Meanwhile, among the suggestions so far for pollies' ringtones: Ave Maria for Tony Abbott, Tunnel of Love for Bob Carr and another for Abbott: the Rocky theme (except we're going to allocate that one instead to the Minister for Tolls and Holes, Joe Tripodi, and his boxing opponent, Andrew Fraser). You've still plenty of time to improve and win a rare-as-a-peaceful beach Spike T-shirt. FOREIGN DESK Meanwhile, the Telegraph in London reports that one of Iraq's most popular polyphonic ringtones is Fut Beha (Come On!), a song penned in homage to Saddam Hussein before he was deposed. Its refrain - "help our leader wipe America off the map".BARNEY (1)How dare they! The Pong Su, the Korean ship seized amid drug-running allegations three years ago, has been plonked right next to the pricy Finger Wharf , home to John Laws, Russell Crowe and a bunch of other people with incomes to rival the smaller states.The nice, clean grey lines of navy frigates are all fine and good - as are the uniforms - but the rusting ship now at Garden Island in Woolloomooloo isn't pleasing the locals. Or so says the City of Sydney style-meister, Liberal Shayne Mallard, who's only just recovered from dumping on Waverley Council for the list of things you can't do at Bondi."The sight of this rusting hulk parked along our line of gleaming navy ships is a bit disturbing," he said, pondering whether naval cost-cutting was to blame and the possible effect on nearby property prices. "And Russell - who is known to have strong views about the navy presence - would not be impressed," he said. It will, however, probably please those in Birchgrove, whence it was moved.THE YARTSNumber of singles sold by this year's Australian Idol, Kate De Araugos, in her first fortnight: 31,000 (according to music site Undercover.com.au). Number sold by last year's Idol, Casey Donovan, in the same period: 59,400.BARNEY (II)We weren't going to mention The Disgrace at Cronulla; then we discovered that tomorrow is the last day for nominations for the "Faces of the Shire", run by the local council, which has its centenary next year."Sutherland Shire Council invites you to nominate a person who you feel embodies the 'Spirit of the Shire' over the past 100 years," the nomination form reads.It's looking for 100 faces, but after the events of Sunday, we reckon there's the best part of 5000 people to nominate. We'll start with the brain-dead moron who would only tell our correspondent, Justin Norrie, her first name, Bec. She said: "This shit's even better than Australia Day, mate."We hope she helped pick up the rubbish and clean off graffiti left by protesters demanding others respect their beach. The council says its teams of cleaners were up late on Sunday and back at 5am yesterday trying to cope with the extra work.THE LISTIs Woman's Day contemplating a name change to Mothers' Digest? Here's a list of yarns in this week's edition:P Bec and Lleyton Hewitt come good on their part of a rumoured $1 million exclusivity deal by showing off the fruit of their loins.P Bilynda Williams, mother of murdered boy Jaidyn Leskie, is expecting twins.P New pics of Mary's progeny.P Katie Holmes: "I Love My Baby Curves." (But not as much as Woman's Day does. More baby detail in our Gossip Mags column tomorrow.)BiG BUCKSThe Day wasn't always that way, as we discovered when we popped into Cromwell's auction house in Pyrmont to inspect some of the gumph that's up for grabs tonight at a sport, pop culture, records and film auction.Alongside the signed Beatles, Elvis and Stones LPs, formerly the property of an English Test cricketer, there's a Bradman bat, a Phar Lap saddle and a racebook from the horse's final winning race.But there's also box upon box of old magazines. We found some Days from 1973 and '74 and went in search of baby stories."The Queen ... and the royal slimming diet" was the first cover. No luck there. "Gerri Willessee in Arnhem Land" was the second. There were knitting and crochet patterns and children's party specials galore, but not until the 10th issue in the pile did we get "How I knew my baby's sex before birth - Lady Tavistock.""Lady Tavistock, the new mistress of Woburn Abbey, knew the sex of her third child in the 14th week of pregnancy," it reported, gobsmacked. "She is one of an increasing number of mothers-to-be using the amniocentesis test as a positive means of establishing if the foetus is healthy in the early stages. 'The idea may sound horrid,' she agreed, 'but there is really nothing to it.' "CORRECTIONYou're an observant lot, aren't you? Next to yesterday's picture of a multi-tasking, brolly-balancing busker, we claimed he was playing a recorder. As a number of you have since pointed out, it was far more likely to be a kazoo.Another email claimed he'd recently arrived in Sydney and was searching for a wife, but we've not been able to track him down. As Stay in Touch is all about increasing the sum total of love in the world, we'd be happy to help. VERBATIM"The best way to respond to this violence is with love. We should as surfers spread our love into their community. One way to do this is to date their sisters."A posting on a Realsurf.com forum discussing the continuing troubles in Cronulla.