Movember and a short history of facial hair

Fourteen years ago a couple of Aussies came up with ‘Movember’ – a campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues including prostate cancer and depression. There are many ways to take part in Movember (which lasts for the month of November). The most visible way is to join other men who are growing a Mo for 30 days and ask people to pledge support. No better time to introduce Grandad Wilson (;left), posing in…

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Canned muzak takes away listener choice

Today I’m keen to vent my displeasure at the seemingly inescapable intrusion of canned music – known as muzak. Background music in public places was once described by violinist Yehudi Menuhin as ‘pollution of the mind’. Menuhin, the consummate classical soloist, led a campaign in the late 1960s to have muzak banned from shopping malls and other public spaces. Muzak is a company set up in the 1950s which produced pre-recorded background music and sold…

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When a church is not a church

The motel manager in Cambridge, New Zealand, told me I could get something to eat ‘at the old church across the road’. It was 8pm on a cool November evening and I was tired and hungry after driving direct from Auckland airport. The old church across the road was hosting a lively Monday night crowd, eating and drinking indoors and outdoors in a trendy bar and restaurant. A waitress, who knew a tired, hungry tourist…

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Who the Hell Approved That?

The Cheeseparer family from Victoria, fed up with the overpopulated rat race, spent the school holidays cruising the south east Queensland coast, looking for a more ambient place to live than the far-flung commuter suburbs of greater Melbourne. Margolia and Basil Jnr are sick of Melbourne’s unpredictable weather, the traffic, the pollution, the high cost of living and the four-hour daily commutes (including dropping the kids off at school and picking them up from daycare)….

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