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Archive for October, 2014

Avoid Renting in a Tasmanian Backpackers Hostel

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

At the end of 2013 I split with my partner and had four days to find accommodation. That was a challenge. At a pinch, I approached one of the local hotels for a room and stayed there for two months (before I practically escaped with my sanity). I handed over $150 bond and four weeks rent to get the room key. There was no lease.

This room was above a music venue so my wooden floor would shake until 1.30-2.00 am on most nights. The party in the backpackers hostel would be rowdy until around 3am. My room was next to the shared shower/laundry; one morning at around 4am a Chinese guy ran past my room and locked himself in a shower stall. Two giggling screaming girls followed – knock, knock, giggle, come out… repeat that for five minutes before I went around and pleaded for mercy.

Yes, it was a total shithole of a place to stay. Beautiful kitchen and bathroom facilities, but the noise within and below the accommodation were appalling. People would wander the halls at 2am and think nothing of yelling down their mobile phone to relatives in the Middle East about something I’ll never comprehend as a single language Australian. And to top that bullshit, the owner would enter the room when I was gone and move things (or take things like my wooden spoon).

Eventually I’d had enough. He didn’t like my girlfriend sneaking in. Naughty me. And as I left with bad feelings it seemed appropriate to approach the Tasmanian Tenants Union for advice. After all, this was a rented room with shared cooking and showering facilities. Given that I’d have defined this as a boarding premises under my naive expectation of Tasmania’s new-fangled and widely lauded Residential Tenancy Act 1997 I’d have expected at least some protections.

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Skinheads 1979-1984 (Book Review)

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Skinheads 1979-1984

The Cracked & Spineless bookshop in Collins Street, Hobart mentioned they had copies of Skinheads 1979-1984 by Derek Ridgers. Without question, I had them put a copy away for me. Not only am I a man of that era, but I have fond memories of the Perth skinheads back in the early 1980s. The Perth skinheads were often at full war with the rocker gangs and had pitched battles at one point with the police. One small group of skinheads would enter Hungry Jacks in the Perth CBD every other Sunday; they’d take over a table and start chanting “We shall not be moved” until the police came to deal with the problem. I remember, for some reason, one particular (and large) skinhead. He wore a white tshirt with a British flag and red and blue braces.

Derek Ridgers’ perspective of the London skinheads runs pretty close to my own. I could have fallen in with them in my early years quite easily; although I certainly don’t lay claim to sharing their right wing politics. But young men are attracted to the party and that was certainly true of my younger self. And in Perth, although I was serving in the Navy at the time, the skinheads did look like The Party.

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In Defence of Hearing “It’s NOT a Word!”

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

I like the order of dictionaries. Rules. The glue that holds civilization together. But the thing that I really do love about words within the context of language is our ability to create rules that allow us to throw away the rules as we evolve through centuries of common usage. Dictionaries evolve. Language doesn’t languish. I’ll try to explain to you why “It’s NOT a word!” is a ridiculous pedantic statement (unless we are playing Scrabble).

Have you ever heard of words called nonce words? In the Middle Ages nonce was a term for a special occasion, a particular purpose, or for the one. Claudius used the term “for the nonce” in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s an old word that evolved through the early 14th Century as an empty filler in metrical composition and in 1884, at the hands of James Murray, editor of what would become the Oxford English Dictionary, nonce became an adjective. Words used only for the nonce, for the occasion.

The English prison term nonce means child molester. This usage appeared in the 1970s from unknown origins. It has nothing to do with the term nonce used throughout history. Don’t be confused.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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