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  Issue No 42 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 December 1999  





Cultural Wasteland

Workers Online resident door-bitches Zanga and Paul pass judgement on the year that finished the millennium.


The Year 1999 may be remembered as Industrially active but somewhat Musically challenged. Looking at the ARIA charts at the end of December 1999 we can see a trend that has stayed the same throughout the year. The TOP 5 selling albums as at the week commencing 13 December 1999 included four American artists and only one Australian artist (whose album incidentally was recorded and produced in America). At the end of a century we are a nation that voted down the opportunity to become a Republic and the same time have Shania Twain and Celine Dion as the highest selling artists. To add insult to injury, the TOP 20 albums also include albums from Ricky Martin, Britney Spears and the The Greatest Hits package from Cher.

Album of the year: Fat Boy Slim - You've Come a Long Way Baby

I know many of you may not agree with me on this one (Ed included) but Fat Boy Slim aka Norman Cook knows how to put his 'musical shit' together. The album is full of sampled beats borrowed from many familiar tracks but in a style completely unparalleled.

Here's some other outstanding releases of 1999.

Best Rock Album: Live- The Distance to Here

Best Australian Album: Alex Lloyd - Black the Sun

Best Electronic/ Dance Album: Cafe Del Mar- Volume 6

Best Pop Album: Red Hot Chilli Peppers- Californication

Best Club Compilation: Gatecrasher- Disco Tech (Double Album)

Best Movie Soundtrack: Music from the movie- GO

Best live Act: Frenzal Rhomb

The year also saw the drinking patterns of the labour movement change forever. With the renovation of the Star Hotel into a sanitary fishbowl with too many poker machines, the trip over the road to the Trades Hall Inn inevitably became closer than originally thought. We are living in the age of defactionalisation at all levels, so why stop with the greatest love of all in this movement; beer. Trades Hall on a Thursday night after the weekly Labor Council meeting is the place to be, irrespective of what factional teat you suckled as a youngster.

Throughout the week, the Trades Hall Inn is an interesting environment, with a number of renovated back bars and rooms. Just in case you need to hold an extraordinary caucus of the Honorary Society of Part-time Basket Weavers, I'm pretty sure there's room for you! The increasing number of poker machines in local wateringholes is a concern for the average drinker and music lover and you'll find that large portions of pubs are now sealed off for those addicted to the bass of five pharoahs across a video screen.

Other Bars worthwhile drinking at this year included the newly refurbished Pumphouse Brewery which is adjacent to the Sydney Entertainment Centre; the Slipp Inn down the other end of Sussex Street; and Blackbird on Level 1 at Cockle Bay Wharf where you could sit back on those comfy lounges.

So where did we go for a good feed once we moved on from all that drinking. You couldn't go past BBQ King in Goulburn Street without having an urge for Roast Duck, nor could you walk past Ippon Sushi for their great Bento Box. Good seafood could always be found at Bluefish in Castlereagh Street while if you were after quality pizza Stanley Street, East Sydney is where you would find Alife.

In terms of variety and quality, Sydney has it all. Despite the prices some Bars and Restaurants charged in 1999, you'll probably see a huge influx of new eateries, food courts, and bars in the next 12 months.

Wishing everyone a great festive season, see you in 2000.



This year saw the release of many good labor oriented publications such as Labor without Class, Civilising Global Capital, The Man Time Forgot and the list goes on but one publication in particular stands out above the rest that being Lindsay Tanner's Open Australia.

Tanner argues that Australia (as the title suggests) must continue to open it's self to the world and accept globalisation but not on an unqualified basis. His ideas and arguments (whilst not always correct in this writers view) are confronting and forthright. Tanner has clearly made a break from Labor's traditional views and indeed his faction's views on a lot of the issues he deals with. For instance Telstra, Tanner advocates that if the second half of Telstra is not privatised that the company needs to be massively restructured to the extend of fully privatising Big Pond (Telstra's Internet service provider).

I recommend that readers look at Mark Lennon's review in Workers Online issue 2 for a more detailed analysis of Open Australia.

Unfortunately not too much decent fiction was released this year however this years most trashy yet entertaining book award goes to John Grisham for his new work The Testament.


1999 wasn't a bad year for movies. Some of the worth while ones included The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project, The Matrix, Toy Story 2 and Ten things I hate about you. As for the best well you certainly can't miss Go. Go was a movie obviously influenced by Pulp Fiction but none the less was very cleaver and funny in its own right. However the film is very much one for the GenXers.

As for political films the Channel 4 tele-movie Dockers screened recently on the ABC traced the inspirational story of the Liverpool Dockers and their three year strike, it is also worth noting that the film was written by the Dockers themselves.


All I can say is what future does Australian Television have after Breakers was cancelled!


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 42 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Costa Bravo
Labor Council�s chief trouble maker chronicles the battles of the past year and ponders those still to come.
*  Unions: More Wins Than Losses
Workers Online ranks the Top Ten industrial relations stories from a year of frenetic activity.
*  International: Eric Lee's Year in Review
The editor of Labourstart looks back over his favourite stories of 1999.
*  Politics: So Many Questions
It was a year in politics that threw up more questions than answers. We look at some of the sticky ones.
*  Republic: Referendum With Class
Labor heretic Michael Thomspson analyses the failure of the Republican proposition.
*  Environment: Seattle Kills Greens V Jobs Bogey
The sight of US unionists, environmentalists and human rights activists being attacked by police in Seattle shows how far the progressive movement has come.
*  Deface a Face: Give Him a Hairdo
What better present could Michael Costa offer Workers Online readers than the chance to give him a Deface a Face style make over?
*  Labour Review: What's New at the Information Centre
See the latest issue of Labour Review, our resource for officials, activists and students.
*  Review: Cultural Wasteland
Workers Online resident door-bitches Zanga and Paul pass judgement on the year that finished the millennium.

»  What Price Aussie Jobs as Olympics Loom
»  TWU Activist Named Organiser of the Year
»  Unions Lock in New Years Eve Deals
»  'Scrooge' Destroys Staff Christmas
»  Rule Changes to Restructure Council
»  The Great Salary Rip-Off
»  George to Kick Start NSW IR Reforms?
»  Shaw Loses Key Advisers
»  More New Faces at the New ACTU
»  Reith Second Wave Not Beached Yet
»  Peace in the Gong
»  Workers Support Register Gathers Steam
»  Pay Equity Enters Campaign Mode
»  Union Aid Agency to Establish Dili Office
»  Job Vacancies at the LHMU

»  Guest Report
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Piers Watch

Letters to the editor
»  Aquilina's Insult
»  Well Done 1999
»  US Union Site Worth a Look

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