Saturday, June 16, 2012

We discover that The Mullet remains a party girl … always has been, actually – and why many people think the Minister for the Environment can’t even spell his own name.

Also, a wonderful and timely new word for our modern language - an astonishing bit of public bullying by The Townsville Bulletin – and our deputy mayor unleashed!

If any of that floats your boat, hop into the nest at
Behind every story, there is another story. So here’s a little peek behind that extraordinary attack on a public servant by those gallant guys and gals down at The Astonisher.

After a godzillion  calls down the MagpieFone, here's what the old bird has gleaned to be the grubby truth about The Bulletin’s sensationalist and - if the reports are accurate, as they're likely to be - basely dishonest story about a name change for the Perc Tucker Gallery.

It apparently went something like this. 

While waiting for a guest speaker at some official function or other, the highly respected curator of the gallery, Frances Thompson, was chatting to – ta da – The Bulletin’s GM Michael The Ogre Wilkins, relaxing after a tough day deciding who to sack next from The Astonisher. With him was the paper’s latest Fly In Fly Out editor, Lachlan ‘Harry Potter’  Heywood.

The conversation was light and polite as it usually is at this sort of knees-up, and Ms Thompson, according to her friends (she herself ain’t talking to anybody) mentioned that she needed to change the gallery name to incorporate the word ‘Townsville’.  The 'Pie understands that at no time did she suggest completely canning the Perc Tucker part of the gallery’s moniker, instead suggesting something along the lines of Townsville’s Perc Tucker Regional Gallery or some such permutation. 

Ms Thompson has always been of the opinion that the word Townsville should be in the gallery title, on the very sensible grounds that no one outside the city knows where or what the Perc Tucker gallery is. She brought this up in light of the runaway success of her curated ‘Percivals’ Portrait Prize, which attracted entries – and visitors - from around Australia.

Now The Ogre and Harry Potter, may, like Texas millionaires, know nothing about art but they know what they like …  and what they like is a good beat-up to stir the indignation of the natives and hopefully sell papers. So back in the office, engaging the time honored Murdoch axiom ‘ Don’t let facts f..k up a story', it was gleefully suggested that the gallery was going to drop the Perc Tucker name. ‘That’ll sure see the shit hit the fan,’ one of staff at the editorial meeting is said to have chortled.

So one of the paper's attack Chihuahuas, Daniel Bateman was assigned the story, and he sure lived up to his name and went about baiting everyone in sight, with loaded questions of what they thought about giving the Perc Tucker name the heave-ho. 

As expected, much harrumphing followed, including a barrage of outraged howls from hysterical and misinformed readers. And our intrepid reporter also misquoted (one would think) Ms Thompson  when he said she ‘refused to comment further other than to confirm it (a name change) was indeed on the cards.’ Smart gal she is, Ms Thompson knows that she does not have the power to make any such change, so it could hardly be ‘on the cards’- she could only argue her case with the appropriate council committee, who would then rule on the idea. 

Of course, Mr Bateman could have discovered this with a simple phone call to the relevant committee chair… but one suspects it was those damn facts again, curse ‘em.  Come to think of it, surely a reporter less intent on mischief would have made the council his first call – but that may have effectively killed the yarn.

So job done, a hard working and skilled curator who has done 10 times more good for Townsville (think Ephemera, too) than the paper ever has in the past 15 years gets pilloried by an outright Bulletin lie, delivered to the newsroom floor by the highest authority.

But it didn’t end there.

A week or so later, Ms Thompson told a small writers group that The Bulletin got it wrong, and the mightily miffed paper ripped into her again - apparently three reporters from the paper were there at the writers workshop, which heartening in a way, showing a much-needed interest in honing their writing skills. Mr Bateman suggested paint fumes were affecting her judgment to hear her ‘rant on’ that the paper was waging a vendetta against her (she never said any such thing, according to others in the gathering) And one of the authors of the original fabrication, the editor, laid in the boot, too, outraged that anyone should hold his paper to any sort of account.

As has been oft said before, it’s not called The Bully for nothing.

From dropping names to spelling them: There are quite a few fishermen and other practical people around the place who reckon the Environment Minister Tony Burke can’t spell his own name.

During the week, you’ll both have noticed that the Minister, in a state of cheery delusion, delivered what he – and only he and his cohorts – thought was the good news – the world’s biggest marine park. Which, if it ever happens – and it won’t for a variety of reasons – will have a catastrophic and unnecessary effect on the entire population.
Burke by name, berk by nature?

It was an unworkable and idiotic bit of brown-nosing of the Green vote, and it certainly has political observers scratching their heads. For Labor to have any hope at the next election, they will have make massive inroads in Queensland, and you surely couldn’t alienate the voters of this state more comprehensively than pushing this bit of quixotic claptrap.

So now, just about everybody agrees that the Environment Minister is the Hon Anthony Berk.

A digression: the Shorter Oxford coyly avoids the orgins of this rhyming slang, and simply gives the mild definition ’a foolish person’. However, other authorities, especially The ‘Pie’s indispensable and much thumbed Dictionary of Obscenity, Taboo and Euphemism by James McDonald points out that it is Cockney rhyming slang which, in full, is either the horse and hounds Berkshire Hunt, or more likely, the London department store Berkeley Hunt.

Both definitions appear right in this case.

Bentley is a bit bamboozled by it all, too.

All of which makes it very timely for an accurate new word to burst on the scene. It’s been doing the internet rounds for a short while, and it is thus:

The 'Pie wants one.

On the local scene, The ‘Pie can now confirm what he prognosticated about before the election. Jenny Hill has not re-joined the Labor Party – because she never left it. 

The ‘Pie reliably hears that even before the election, The Moaning Mullet paid up her dues on time, but throughout the election campaign, sidestepped and waffled vaguely about her status in the ALP. But so what that she’s a party girl, and what’s wrong with that, the old bird hears you angrily warble?

Well, nothing really - except this. Braying and mooing on about ‘independence’ and the need to keep party politics out of local government (ha, we all believed that one, Mullet) doesn’t quite jell if you are not willing to say openly where your allegiances lie. 

So it will be interesting to see if Mayor Mullet ever has to vote in the community interest something against something that is Labor Party policy.

In the doghouse.

Still on council matters, it seems that deputy doo-dah Vern Veitch was very close to being in the poo recently. Dog poo, that is. Several people hit the MagpieFone when Vern’s pooches were seen ‘off the leash’ in a leashed area at the back of Castle Hill last week. Vern at least owned up that he’d been ‘sprung’ when The Magpie made a polite inquiry.

‘Yeah, they were briefly off the leash - it was a mistake - and look, I can be fined just like anybody else, if, mistake or otherwise, I get caught,’ he said.

But the point is, chum, you, as our deputy mayor, are held to higher standards. Accidental or otherwise, taint a good look for a bloke who is part of a council that can hit already overburdened denizens with $160 fines for this sort of breach.

At least he had the good grace to tell the nosey ‘Pie that he felt suitably admonished.

Enough, it is now away to Poseurs’ Bar, to bebubble a comely companion, whom he trusts won’t admonish him if the old bird suggests that names are not the only thing he hopes to drop ere the dawn.




  1. You are so right Magpie. What is wrong with, say, The Townsville Regional Gallery, located in the "Perc Tucker Memorial Building" ?
    At the moment visitors and prospective visitors ask, "For a city the size of Townsville, don't you have a Regional Art Gallery?" Yes, the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. Visitor "Where the hell is Perc Tucker,is it near Townsville?"

  2. Was there not a picture in the Bulletin (maybe The Sun) in the last 3 - 4 months with the current Mayor and her 2 cattel dogs off the leash on the beach at Palleranda i guess if its good for one it's good for all...

  3. Not the first time he has been "sprung" with his mutts off their leashes on Castle Hill - mind you it was a few years ago when he was just a lowly councillor under His Radiance's stewardship back then.

  4. Am I mistaken, or was the woman who made the front page of the Astonisher last week for reporting her stolen car on Facebook a Bully employee????
    If they spent as much time on investigative journalism as they do on beat-ups and promos for their mates/clients(eg Jupiters) circulation might actually go up for the first time in years.

  5. I want that t-shirt,too!! Such an apt description of these "share the wealth" red-bummed clowns down in Canberra. Sorry, Joolya - the miners DO own it. Check the law, ya goose.

  6. Pie should make a Johnny Marbles official pie shirt!
    Keep up the good work in exposing the key players within the astonisher.

  7. I watched and overheard Mrs Attila the Hun lunch at the Balcony resturant with a certain musical 'PR' company to decide how much editorial coverage they'd get in the paper.

  8. WTF as in Wendy The FunnyJune 20, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Mrs Attila the Hen has no staff and has to write and be HR?

    1. The way things are going, she'll be writing the whole damn farrago soon, but no one will notice the difference. And the image of a 16-year-old Attile the Hen seeking out quite corners in which to 'contemplate her navel' is one not inviting frequent revisiting. But, what wiith he passge of time and the undiminished force of gravity, Mrs Hen would be hard put to gaze at her own navel nowadays without the help of a mirror and two hands.

  9. Just Asking's sisterJune 20, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    What's Emily MacDonald doing in South Africa - seeking an interview with the spider that bit Richard Ferry?

    What makes anyone think it survived?

    1. Actually, she's over there to investigate claims that Richard Ferry actually bit the spider.

  10. Anyone else notice that the Bully went in hard on the job losses at Fairfax, got all coy about how many redundancies there would be at News or the Bully (buried about 14 paragraphs into the story). The current Bully bosses have more spin than Warnie.

  11. re bully journo: flattering to know your reading some quality stuff - why not try writing some yourself and see if it gets past the latest FIFO editor? Even the looming Grey Eminence in the manager's office might raise a deathly - indeed, a well practised terminal - smile, if you my drift. And Danny-boy, if they haven't tightened the screws too much, The Bully has nice red and white easy to read rulers you can use to check the next 9m brown snake you encounter, or the height of the next garden gnome restored to a tearful owner.