How Journalism Works

As a subscriber to the UK satirical rag, Private Eye (thanks, Dad) I often think it’s a shame Australia doesn’t have a similar publication. Hell, if there’s a country that needs a magazine dedicated to highlighting the corrupting influence of the media, it’s The World’s First Murdochracy (© John Pilger).

Case in point is boorish LNP adviser, and former News Ltd executive, Max Tomlinson.

If you haven’t read the misogynist rant he sent to Dr Carole Ford in response to a piece she wrote for the Curious Fail, do. I happened across it last night and decided to see if there was any more of interest, perhaps regarding the family he’s so vehemently proud of.

A few Google searches later and I’d figured out his two sons both write for the Townsville Bulletin, of which Max Tomlinson was once the managing director. (Never mind testosterone – there’s nothing quite as effective as nepotism for getting on in the world, is there?) Clearly a chip of the old block, one of them used to write “The Bloke” column for the Gold Coast Bulletin. The other, obviously aware of the oncoming shitstorm, wisely switched his Twitter page to private moments after I first viewed it.

So far, so boring.

I next discovered that one of Max’s daughters is called Amy and this is where things get interesting. Google “Amy Tomlinson” and “Townsville” and the first two links are pieces from, you’ve guessed it, The Townsville Bulletin.

However, unlike her brothers, Amy is not the writer of these pieces but the subject matter.

The earlier of the two stories is a bog-standard News Ltd budget response piece from May last year. Amy and fiance Gavin Thomson, echoing the tired cliché of whingeing Aussies everywhere, agonise about the cost of living.

The more recent story, published a mere 7 months later details how Amy’s fortunes have changed and she (and not her fiance, he protests) has purchased a $1.5 million mansion.

Yes, that's the same photo.

Those cost of living pressures have clearly hit the poor old Tomlinson clan hard.



I should probably delete this entry at some point before Casper learns to read and discovers I have a blog. But until then, enjoy!

The conversation between him and Deb went something like this:

“Mum, I want a vagina.”

“But you’re a boy, you have a penis.”

“Well we have to get one from the shop so we can pull my penis out.”

“But if you had a vagina then you would be a girl and you wouldn’t be my best boy.”

“Hmmm….but I want a vagina”

Jazz Dad Digest

A few things I’ve been reading:

  • Here in Queensland, newly elected Premier, Campbell “Can Do” Newman wasted no time reinforcing peoples prejudices towards both Queenslanders and Liberals by abolishing the Premier’s Literary Awards. Tanya at TLC books has crafted a beautifully considered response to this sad turn of events.
  • Nicole Cliffe at The Hairpin has written a delightful article On The Hapiness Of Reproduction that, like my sweary rant the other day, also mentions the possibility of Stockholme syndrome as contributing factor in parental love.
  • If you haven’t seen it already, Hadley Freeman’s elegant take down of the misogynist Mail is well worth a read. While you’re there, check out Charlie Brooker’s uncharacteristically positive piece on becoming a parent.

Six Steps

I’m not sure if it’s a universal truth or not but here’s something I’ve come to believe: As a parent, you eventually learn to accept that you are not just one elusive turned corner away from mastering your offspring and getting your life back.

For me it wasn’t long after Casper turned three, which I imagine is fairly typical. It came after progressing through what, for the purposes of this blog, we will call “Jazz Dad’s Six Steps to Accepting Your Life Is Effectively Over”. Ages given are approximate. Your mileage may vary.

  1. Birth to 6 weeks – everything is a complete blur. The notion that your life is over may briefly surface but the near-constant terror of responsibility is pretty much all your concious mind can cope with.
  2. 6 to 12 weeks – life becomes a little easier but only because you become more accustomed to not being accustomed to stuff and just go with the flow. Oh yeah, you’ve probably seen your baby smile for the first time by now too. You may decide to start a vaguely amusing blog about being a dad.
  3. 13 – 52 weeks – a period of milestones, false dawns and desparate clamour to regain some sense of normality.
  4. 12 – 23 months – around their first birthday they begin to properly interact with the world around them, learning at such an incredible rate you convince yourself they’ll be looking after not only themselves but you too within a few years.
  5. 24 months – 35 months – the fabled ‘terrible twos’. They start arguing back, throwing tantrums and generally behaving like total arseholes. But you, an informed adult. say to yourself “this is as hard as parenting gets – once we’ve turned this corner we’ll have our lives back in no time at all!”
  6. 36 months+ Around the time they turn three, you wait for your tiny monster to morph into the little angel you hoped you’d really been raising and…well….nothing much changes. Except if anything, their capacity for being a total arsehole seems to have increased. It’s at this juncture that the penny drops: This. Is. It. That old life you had? It’s pretty much gone FOREVER – deal with it.

The good news is that by the time you’ve had a kid for three years, the mental anguish, sleepless nights and untold strain on your relationship have taken such a toll, you barely remember what life was like before you became a parent. And like some Stockholm-syndrome suffering sucker, you start to see every vile deed committed by your progeny as a dedication of their love for you.

Of course by then there’s a good chance you’ve already given in and decided to have another one, telling yourselves unquestionably stupid things like “hey, two can’t be much harder than one” and “they’ll pretty much look after each other.”

Jazz Dad Dinners – Roast Pumpkin and Rosemary Soup

I threw this autumnal soup together in the week. It’s not particularly big or clever but it was a great way to use half the pumpkin I picked up for a $2 at Rocklea market last weekend. Plus it made plenty to freeze for later. I served it with HFW’s soda bread which I made with half wholemeal flour and, in a continuing spirit of thriftiness, the toasted seeds from the pumpkin.

It was pretty fucking lush and the leftover bread made superb breakfast toast.

I’ve included the recipe after the jump.

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Deliberate Parenthood

I’ve been thinking about writing again for a while now.

My initial inclination (driven by a combination of Casper’s increasing participation in family dinner time and my newly discovered man-crush on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) was to start a new blog with which to share my recent kitchen exploits. But although I’ve made some yummy food lately it’s not like there’s  a shortage of dedicated food blogs.

Anyway, I’m not sure I’d want to write about just food. Three and a bit years into my sporadically documented Journey Through Accidental Parenthood, I find myself involved in an altogether more  intentional procreative endeavour: Deb and I are expecting a daughter in July. I like to think I’m proof that any idiot can make a good go of having a kid. By deliberately doubling the number of people who call me Dad and giving Casper a co-conspirator I may prove to be a bigger idiot yet.

Plus I’ve now settled in Brisbane, and though in many ways still an outsider, I feel like I know it well enough to pass comment on some of the shit that goes down downunder. The sterile media, lame politics, casual racism, blokey sexism, and anything else that pisses me off.

So if you like amusing family anecdotes, rants about stuff and the occasional bangin’ recipe then you’ll love the newly rebooted Jazz Dad Chronicles. Now with a fresh theme and and an so-clever-it-hurts new strapline – One man’s journey through accidental parenthood (and out the other side.)

Fully Sick

Preparations for the second test against the West Indies at Adelaide were thrown into disarray when a member of my team projectile vomited over my left shoulder. Having endured 24 hours in transit and the subsequent jet lag , it was clear that Casper was not match fit.

An anxious few days followed, during which he managed to keep almost nothing down. Our first journey out as a family turned out to be to the Mater children’s hospital, where the doctors diagnosed ‘Gastro’ (a word more commonly superseded by ‘pub’ in my experience) and reassured us Casper was dealing with as well as could be hoped, no biggy.

A week since the hospital outing and Casper has fully recovered and is enjoying life down under nearly as much as I am. Which is more than can be said for some of the unfortunates he passed the bug onto.