Interview: Minority Report
Industrial: Girl Power
Unions: Made in NZ
History: Spirit for a Fair Go
Economics: Fool's Gold
Politics: Worth Fighting For
Health: The Force Behind Medibank
Legal: Robust Justice
International: After the Revolution
Poetry: The Sound of Unions
Review: Bad Santa
The Locker Room
Not A Casey Fan
The Locker Room
Sons Of Beaches
Hitchhiking was once the preferred mode of transport for this columnist.
It was a variable way of moving between point a and point b, allowing one to sample a diverse and candid range of philosophies and opinions. Some mad, some crazy and others just plain ridiculous.
The brief things people spoke often said a lot.
"I'm like most people, I surf," said one panelvan wielding long hair as we rattled along between Cobargo and Narooma one pleasant sunny afternoon.
Surfing wanders into the realm of sport like someone in shorts and thongs wanders into a wedding.
It has a culture that would test many an anthropologist. It is a world, as my kind lift so many years ago inadvertently pointed out, all on its own.
The ocean is an amazing thing.
The moon and wind dragging the ocean tides and throwing up a great green heaving angry beast one day and a sheet of tranquil glass another.
It is a personality; a character.
It is the home of dolphins and dead sailors.
It is the altar of the surf gods.
Needless to say the modern equivalent of that character from Hemingway�s The Old Man And The Sea, the surfer, is not allowed to merely engage in the reflective pursuit of nirvana on a six foot piece of fibreglass, no.
In these great times it is necessary to reduce all the majesty of riding the ocean rampant to the evil banality of competition.
I have tried to understand surfing as a sport, but its sheer subjectivity escapes me.
It would be like trying to award points to a beautiful day, or a bushfire. Nature itself comes to the crease and marks its guard - for without the ocean, and a halfway decent swell, the whole affair is pointless.
After all, you can't surf in Katoomba.
But a sport it is, replete with competition and a pro-circuit, big business sponsorship, fashion labels and expensive car parking.
It's like golf, only not as many nerds.
Summer is here. The high season of surfing, and all things oceanic. Maybe some things should be just left as fun and not dropped into the brown bureaucracy of sport as a business.
Summer is also the season of cricket on the radio.
This is a fine institution, even if sometimes they forget to tell you the score for overs on end.
Kerry O�Keefe may or may not be funny in your eyes, but his laugh is certainly unique.
The GPS tones of Jim Maxwell lend a certain authority to the event, capturing something of the atmosphere of how a test match is as much the crowd as it is what's going on at the wicket.
For pure atmosphere there is no substitute for being at the game, preferably with a few friends, dressed in something ridiculous and perhaps not as sober as you once were.
"Give us a wave," you cry to the bloke fielding at long leg, or third man. And there's a roar as the bloke waves back, contributing to the general sense of anarchy and winning the hearts of thousands of half-cut yobbos for a day.
Every now and then there�s even some wit but not as often as there used to be it seems. These days there's mainly some form of vilification or another and the presence of the ubiquitous security guards.
The beer's too expensive and the food is atrocious. By half past five everyone is either sunstruck, drunk or fed up. No one has any idea of the score. Australian culture at its finest.
Unfortunately you can't surf at the cricket, but you can listen to the cricket at the beach.
And drifting in and out of sleep on day three of the Sydney test while flat out on the sand during the tea session is not the worst old way to pass ones time on this mortal coil.
After stumps, like most people, you can go for a surf.
Phil Doyle - going three wide as they come into the straight
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