Paul Young sings Love Of The Common People, 2017-style

Embed from Getty Images
Ah, nostalgia. Paul Young looks and sounds a bit different in 2017 than he did in 1983, when I first heard this magnificent song. To be fair, so do I. The fact that Paul Young’s range has shrunk isn’t news to me, since I learned that when I obsessively stalked the Here & Now Australia tour back in 2003.

Anyway, make of it what you will. This was filmed at Butlin’s Minehead in June this year, detail freaks.

Full List Of 2016 IT Journalism Awards Winners #Lizzies

Yay, the Lizzies are here! I’ll be updating this from around 7pm this evening to note the winners and highly commended for the 15th Annual ACS IT Journalism Awards as they’re announced. As is often the case, many people have multiple nominations, so it will be a tight contest. Good luck everyone!

BEST DRESSED:
WINNER: Hayley Williams, Krishan Sharma
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Corrine Reichert, Rae Johnston, Seamus Byrne, Angus Kidman

BEST NEW JOURNALIST
WINNER: Larissa Bricis
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Elizabeth Barry, Hayley Williams

Finalists
Alex Choros
Amanda Yeo
Julian Rizzo-Smith
Kenneth Tsang
Luke Lancaster
Tegan Jones

BEST GAMING JOURNALIST
WINNER: Lucy O’Brien
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Mark Serrels, Richard Moss

Finalists
Alex Walker
Amanda Yeo
Chris Stead
David Milner
Hayley Williams
Jeremy Ray
Luke Reilly
Seamus Byrne

BEST TELECOMMUNICATIONS JOURNALIST
WINNER: Max Mason
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Petroc Wilton, Claire Reilly

Finalists
Allie Coyne
Campbell Simpson
Corinne Reichert
James Pinnell
Leon Spencer
Rohan Pearce
Ry Crozier
Supratim Adhikari

BEST SECURITY JOURNALIST
WINNER: Patrick Gray
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Darren Pauli, Claire Reilly

Finalists
Allie Coyne
Asha McLean
Chris Duckett
David Braue
Jeremy Kirk
Juha Saarinen
Yolanda Redrup

BEST TECHNICAL JOURNALIST
WINNER: Nick Ross
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Petroc Wilton, Kenneth Tsang

Finalists
Alex Choros
David Braue
Jeremy Kirk
Leigh Stark
Peter Zaluzny
Rae Johnston
Simon Sharwood

BEST TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY JOURNALIST
WINNER: David Swan
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Paul Smith

Finalists
Brendon Foye
David Braue
Hafizah Osman
Harry Tucker
Holly Morgan
Leon Spencer
Samira Sarraf
Simon Sharwood
Yolanda Redrup

BEST COLUMNIST
WINNER: Mark Serrels
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Claire Reilly, Chris Jager

Finalists
Adam Turner
Chris Griffith
Jessica Sier
Malcolm Adler
Mark Pesce
Matthew Sainsbury
Paul Smith
Peter Wells

BEST TECHNOLOGY ISSUES JOURNALIST
WINNER: Claire Reilly, Marc Fennell
HIGHLY COMMENDED:

Finalists
Adam Turner
Angus Kidman
Ariel Bogle
Chris Griffith
Claire Connelly
James Riley
Matthew Sainsbury
Paul Smith

BEST BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY COVERAGE
WINNER: CRN
HIGHLY COMMENDED: iTnews, Australian Financial Review

Nomineees
ARN, Business Insider Australia, CIO Australia, Communications Day, , Lifehacker, PC World, The Australian, ZDNet

BEST BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY JOURNALIST
WINNER: Paul Smith
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Brad Howarth, Ry Crozier

Finalists
Allie Coyne
Ariel Bogle
George Nott
Jennifer O’Brien
Paris Cowan
Paul Wallbank
Tess Bennett

BEST NEWS COVERAGE
WINNER: iTnews
HIGHLY COMMENDED: CNET

Nomineees
ARN, Australian Financial Review, Business Insider Australia, Communications Day, CRN, EFTM, finder.com.au, Gizmodo Australia, Kotaku Australia, Lifehacker, The Australian, Which-50 Media, ZDNet

BEST NEWS JOURNALIST
WINNER: Claire Reilly
HIGHLY COMMENDED:

Finalists
Allie Coyne
Chris Pash
Corinne Reichert
David Swan
Max Mason
Paul Smith
Petroc Wilton
Rohan Pearce
Ry Crozier

BEST CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY JOURNALIST
WINNER: Simon Sharwood
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Claire Reilly

Finalists
Alex Kidman
Angus Kidman
Campbell Simpson
Geoff Quattromani
Hayley Williams
Krishan Sharma
Luke Lancaster
Rae Johnston
Ros Page
Seamus Byrne

BEST CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY COVERAGE
WINNER: The Australian
HIGHLY COMMENDED: CNET, Download This Show (ABC RADIO)

Nomineees
Business Insider Australia, Channel 7, Djuro Sen, CHOICE, , EFTM, finder.com.au, Game Informer, Gizmodo Australia, Lifehacker, PC World/Good Gear Guide, Pickr, The Gadget Grill, WhistleOut Australia, Women Love Tech

BEST REVIEWER
WINNER: Alex Kidman
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Leigh Stark, Trevor Long

Finalists
Chris Griffith
Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
Nic Healey
Nick Broughall
Nick Ross
Simon Sharwood
Stephen Fenech

BEST GAMING COVERAGE
WINNER: IGN
HIGHLY COMMENDED: CNET

Nomineees
Rocket Chainsaw, CNET, FenixBazaar.com, finder.com.au, Game Informer, Good Game (ABC TV), Hyper Magazine, IGN, Kotaku Australia, Lifehacker, PC World & Good Gear Guide, Point & Clickbait, Press Start Australia, Stevivor, The Australian, Vooks, Digitally Downloaded

MEDIA RELATIONS AWARD
WINNER: Bec Waddy, Bethesda / Sony

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Everyone else!

Finalists
Angela Coombes, NEC
David Wolf, Closer Communications
Jenna Woods, Weber Shandwick
Matthew Wu, Media & Capital Partners
Rebecca Blasina, Closer Communications

BEST INDEPENDENT COVERAGE
WINNER: EFTM
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Progress Bar, Gloss

Nomineees
Ausdroid Media, Dominic Sharoo / NitroWare.net, Frederique Bros, Gloss, Progress Bar, Rocket Chainsaw, Stevivor, Tech Guide

BEST JOURNALIST: Claire Reilly

BEST TITLE: iTnews

All the 2017 Lizzies nominees with more than one nomination

Woo-hoo, it’s almost time for the 15th Annual ACS IT Journalism awards, also known as the Lizzies, recognising the best tech journos in Australia. You can check out the full list of finalists here. I’m thrilled to have made the cut for two of them: Best Consumer Technology Journalist and Best Technology Issues Journalist. Tech is only a small part of my writing life these days, so it’s nice to have some skin in the game.

As in previous years (2016, 2015), I’ve summarised who has received the most finalist slots. (And no, this isn’t self-serving – I only just made the list!) Here’s everyone who is a finalist in more than one category:

  • 6 finalist berths: Claire Reilly
  • 5 finalist berths: Paul Smith
  • 4 finalist berths: Allie Coyne, Simon Sharwood
  • 3 finalist berths: Chris Griffith, David Braue, Hayley Williams, Petroc Wilton, Ry Crozier
  • 2 finalist berths: Adam Turner, Alex Choros, Alex Kidman, Amanda Yeo, Angus Kidman, Ariel Bogle, Campbell Simpson, Corinne Reichert, David Swan, Jeremy Kirk, Kenneth Tsang, Leigh Stark, Leon Spencer, Luke Lancaster, Mark Serrels, Matthew Sainsbury, Max Mason, Nick Ross, Rae Johnston, Rohan Pearce, Seamus Byrne, Yolanda Redrup

The amazing Claire Reilly is clearly the one to beat (and she’s competing in both the categories I’m in, dammit). In total, 31 people are finalists in more than one category, up from 24 last year. I didn’t do an analysis for the coverage awards which are given to individual titles, as there’s only a longlist for each category.

I will be live-blogging the results from the Lizzies ceremony, which kicks off at 1830 on Friday 12 May. I’ll tweet out a link with the hashtag #lizzies on the day. I can also confidently predict: I won’t win anything this year. The competition is really tight in my categories, and no-one’s allowed to win Best Dressed two years in a row. Despite that, I promise my outfit will indeed be disruptive.

United Airlines’ use of language demonstrates what a deadshit company it is

Everyone is horrified by how United Airlines has treated a paying passenger it decided to kick off a plane after he had boarded. One minor but chilling aspect of the horror? How United’s own comments abuse what language actually means to try and justify its shitty behaviour.

The two standout examples of United spin:

  • The tweet from United suggests that it had to “re-accommodate” customers. That is not what the phrase means.
  • The letter sent to staff talks about how United “denied boarding” for the passenger. As the video makes clear, he had already boarded and been assigned a seat, before some late-running crew were given priority. To suggest this equals “denying boarding” is Orwellian in its warping of reality.

No, this doesn’t suck as much as an already crappy US airline deciding to use government-funded forces to make a passenger bleed as it drags him off the plane because it’s too cheap to organise proper staff rosters. But it underscores why no sane person would ever fly with United again. Your ticket literally isn’t worth the paper it’s (possibly) printed on.

Update: the sequel apology was equally crap, including the phrase “No-one should ever be mistreated this way.” Mistreated in any other way would be OK then, right?

Update: I ended up writing a longer version of this for Lifehacker.

Cootamundra West Railway Station: how did that happen?


Another addition to the list of regional towns in NSW that once had more than one station: Cootamundra. With two hours to kill between trains in Cootamundra yesterday, I decided to check out Cootamundra West.

Cootamundra West was the first station on the branch line from Cootamundra to Lake Cargelligo, which opened in stages from 1893 to 1917. While the line had been built as far as Temora in 1893, Cootamundra West itself didn’t open until 22 March 1911, according to NSWrail.net. Given that Cootamundra’s main station is just 20 minutes walk away, it’s not entirely surprising that building a second station in town wasn’t the top priority.

The initial station must have been little more than a halt. The current building was announced in 1916 and opened in 1918. Here’s the announcement of the plans:

The double-story building (apparently now used by local community groups) is very substantial, and there’s still a signalling cabin on the platform as well.

At the time the station was constructed, trains from the branch line were not going to intersect with the main line at all. If you wanted to travel to Temora or Lake Cargelligo, Cootamundra West would be your only choice. The daily mail train usually only went as far as Temora, while services for West Wyalong and Griffith would use the line from Cootamundra West to Stockinbingal. Lake Cargelligo services always seem to have been less frequent.

The original services carried both freight and passengers in what must have been very basic trains. In 1938, diesel began replacing steam on the line and passenger-only services began. However, even before that station usage appears to have been dropping.

On 25 May 1930, the refreshment rooms were closed, with contemporary newspaper reports noting that the Temora mail train would now stop at Cootamundra West if required, but would otherwise continue on to Cootamundra’s main station.

1938 also saw a widely reported accident for the station’s gatekeeper, Mrs Williams:

One imagines Mrs Williams lived in the house that’s still adjacent to the level crossing (on the left in this picture):

In 1949, there was a proposal to convert the station building into accommodation for railway workers (reportedly, eight railway families were forced to live in tents because of a lack of housing in Cootamundra). While that didn’t happen, this suggests that even at that point the station itself was not being heavily used.

The Secretary for Railways apparently was concerned about the viability of these services by 1950, threatening to withdraw modern trains from country services if patrongage didn’t increase. Those threats don’t seem to have inspired more custom. In 1951, in a further mark of how usage of the line had deteroriated, some diesel passenger services were indeed removed, with those services reverting to steam.

In 1952, the assistant stationmaster at Cootamundra West retired after 42 years working for the railways. It’s tempting to assume that the role wasn’t replaced.

While this was once a busy double-tracked junction, it’s now just a single line. The rails for the second line have long since been removed, but some sleepers remain.

Passenger services on the line were withdrawn in 1983, and these days the main use for the line is for freight which is routed through Stockinbingal to the cross-country line to Parkes and beyond, thus keeping the main southern and western lines less congested. At Cootamundra West, congestion isn’t going to be a problem.

Orange East Fork: The most basic railway station in NSW


Declining railway usage means that very few towns in NSW outside Sydney now have more than one operating railway station. This wasn’t always the case: Tamworth, Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Casino all once had multiple stations (Tamworth/West Tamworth, Grafton/South Grafton, Coffs Harbour/North Coffs Harbour and Casino/South Casino respectively).

Until recently, the only current example that readily sprung into my mind was Maitland, which has four: Maitland, High Street, Victoria Street and East Maitland. You might sensibly argue, though, that the Hunter Line which serves these stations is really part of the Sydney metropolitan network.

However, there is still one prominent regional town which has two stations: Orange. The main station is a heritage-listed Victorian building constructed in 1877 when the newly-extended Main Western Railway reached the city. Eventually that line was extended all the way to Bourke, though passenger services are now restricted to a single daily service between Sydney and Dubbo.

In 1885 construction began on the Broken Hill line, which branched from Orange. To enable that, a triangular junction was created south of the existing station. That meant that while trains heading west to Parkes and Broken Hill pass through Orange, they don’t actually go through Orange station.

In 2017 there are only two passenger trains which use the Broken Hill line. The first is the once-a-week Outback Xplorer (introduced in 1996), which runs from Sydney to Broken Hill on Mondays and then returns on Tuesdays. These days, the Outback Xplorer does stop at Orange station proper, reversing out of the platform and then passing through the junction on the westbound journey, and reversing into the platform on the return.

The second is the rather more glamorous (and expensive) Indian Pacific, which currently runs once a week between Sydney and Perth. While you wouldn’t know it from looking at the official web site, you can book to join or leave the Indian Pacific in Orange. However, the Indian Pacific doesn’t reverse in and out of Orange Station. Instead, any intending passengers use Orange East Fork, an utterly bare-bones single platform located on the south-eastern side of the junction.

I think this can fairly lay claim to being the most basic operating station in NSW. It’s not unusual for stations to be reduced in size to reduce maintenance costs (Sawtell on the North Coast Line being one obvious example). Some of the Hunter Line stations are literally only wide enough for a single pair of doors. I visited and videoed one of them, Mindaribba, back in 2014:

While Mindaribba is smaller than Orange East Fork, it does have a loudspeaker for announcements, a help point and (these days) an Opal card reader. Orange East Fork boasts no such luxuries. There’s a basic shelter, and a lamp, and that is it.

It may not have always been like this, however. According to NSWrail.net, the station in its current form opened on 1 May 1970, which makes sense, since the Indian Pacific begun running in February of that year.

However, Orange East Fork was a stopping point long before the Indian Pacific launched. Below, for instance, is part of the timetable for the Sydney-Broken Hill train back in 1927, when the service was first introduced, complete with a stop at Orange East Fork:

Even in 1927, locals were already campaigning for the Broken Hill service to stop at Orange station, a complaint which appears to have recurred over the years.

I haven’t yet been able to discover whether Orange East Fork once had a more prominent platform. Prior to 1970, it may well have been nothing more than a platform-free halt where passengers could board or disembark if required, something that modern safety practices frown upon but which was much more common in earlier eras.

However, the area was quite busy. A rail depot was constructed near the junction in the 1930s, at a cost of £42,970. In the 1940s, Orange East Fork was big enough to have a station master and an assistant, but as the main focus was freight, this wouldn’t necessarily mean the provision of a platform. In 1952, it was the site of a particularly grim incident:

Further digging reveals that as late as 2002, the Outback Xplorer train was still using Orange East Fork, rather than Orange, as its local stop. A local campaign to have the train stop at Orange was rejected, with the argument that it would add 30 minutes to the journey time. That same argument had been used back in 1927, but clearly at some point between 2002 and now, the approach changed, and Orange East Fork became even less prominent.

With only the Indian Pacific now using it (Google Maps even lists the location as Indian Pacific-Orange), I can’t imagine Orange East Fork sees much action. The Indian Pacific no longer offers economy seating, so it wouldn’t be a practical budget alternative for anyone looking to travel by train to (for instance) Broken Hill on a day other than a Monday. So only the very occasional wealthy tourist is likely to take advantage.

It would seem the most active day for the station is when the once-a-year Elvis Express special service to Parkes for its renowned Elvis Festival passes through. In 2014, the mayor of Parkes Shire even boarded the service at the station.

Local paper the Central Western Daily tweeted me to say that this is a regular occurrence, though a cursory search suggests that the stop isn’t always part of the official Elvis Express timetable.

Online searches also suggest that the nearby depot, abandoned for railway use once all steam services were stopped, has been proposed as a hub for running heritage stream services, though nothing seems to have come of these ideas and a major fire at the depot earlier this year would seem to put a damper on any future plans. Under the circumstances, it seems unlikely Orange East Fork is ever going to get fancier.

Tziporah Malkah: Some useful #ImACelebrityAU #CelebTziporah background

With Tziporah Malkah bat Isarel instantly the most impressive contestant on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here (runner-up points to Kris Smith and Nazeem Hussain), I want to note this passage from Peter Fitzsimons’ biography of Nene King, Nene, which highlights how Tziporah has always had her feet on the ground:

Kate Fischer was one of the most beautiful women Nene had ever seen. A card-carrying, certified stunner. In person, she was elegantly dressed, as sexy as they come, but warm and wonderful as well. Just a fortnight after James Packer had become engaged to Kate, Nene had gone to morning tea with her, at James’s behest at the swish hotel around the corner from 54 Park Street, the Sheraton on the Park. Kate was an understanding sort of girl, James said, who was really good with advice, and maybe she could offer Nene some wise counsel.
And so it proved, because as the waiters brought coffee and Tim Tams for Nene, and some carrot-sticks and herbal tea for Kate, the two talked until midway through the afternoon. They talked a very little about Kate and her forthcoming married life with James, and a a great deal about Nene’s misery and just where she should go from there. At 24, and less than half of Nene’s age, Kate indeed gave out wise counsel. She was very firmly of the view that the only way for Nene was to go to Narcotics Anonymous, to wean herself off the drugs so she could begin to think straight and see things clearly. At NA, Kate said, Nene could meet a lot of people who had battled against exactly what she was battling, and listen to their experience of how they had beaten it.
And nor did Kate leave it there. Just a couple of hours after Nene returned to her desk, James Packer called and offered to go to Narcotics Anonymous with her.

A telling story. But a note for PF’s editors: no, carrot sticks should not have a hyphen here.