An unreliable history of Australia

blog-ausdayIf my memory serves me correctly Australia Day commemorates Arthur Phillip breaking the record for most beers drunk on a long distance voyage from London to Sydney. This record was to stand until 1914 when it was broken by Private John Simpson, who received the Victoria Cross for his efforts.

At least I think that’s what happened. History was never my strong suit at high school. I sat behind a girl who took up a lot of my attention. I was also behind in her in chemistry, another subject I didn’t excel in. Continue reading

Gateway books to reading addiction

Copyright: Jon Kudelka. First published in The Australian, July 21, 2012

People talk of “gateway drugs”, substances like tobacco and marijuana that act as supposed precursors the more dangerous heroin.

It’s a contentious theory – I sporadically smoked dope at university without becoming an extra from Trainspotting – but the amount of people who go straight from clean living citizen to shooting up in a filthy alley is smaller than those who admit to liking James Blunt.

Acquiring a serious reading habit has a similar pathway, though it is more benign and less likely to cause you to steal someone’s VCR to pay for a copy of The Casual Vacancy. Continue reading