Phil Hughes – Forever 63 n.o.

It has been twelve months since the cricketing world tragically lost Phil Hughes.
Here is my story from last year:

Phil Hughes. What a wonderful story, other than the part after Tuesday afternoon.


The young cricket obsessed kid from northern New South Wales, moving down to the big smoke of Sydney to further his dream. And he did just that.

Phil crammed a hell of lot into his almost 26 years, living the dream of Australian kids to one day wear that baggy green cap.

I had that same dream, racing home from school, racing even faster through homework to get out to the backyard for imaginary test matches. “I’ll be Dennis Lillee!” The kids next door alternated between the Chappells. We’d play for a few hours then our mums would call us in for dinner. Stumps.

Great times. Then playing in a junior club team, getting a Stuart Surridge bat from Santa and a Kookaburra ball I would carry everywhere, polishing it to a mirror finish.

I spent many a summer as a kid watching my heroes at the SCG. I imagined walking off the ground, acknowledging the standing ovation from the crowd after a blazing century as the shadows lengthened from the Member’s Stand. Phil Hughes did that for real, five times.

Then life got in the way, for me, but not for Phil Hughes.

I obviously never had the relentless hunger, the burning desire and freakish talent that inhabited Phil Hughes. He made it.

All that work, those endless hours in the nets and countless pitches paid off. He earned the right to wear the baggy green and did it proud. The perfect fit.

This summer of cricket will sadly have a dark shadow, though Phil Hughes will forever be 63 n.o.


©Steve Williams 2014

FFS World, It’s Zoolander, Lighten Up

Sadly, I have suspected for quite a few years that the world has entirely lost its sense of humour, and it was confirmed this week.

An apparent non-non-binary Benedict Cumberbatch

I was reading one of the furious flood of online news articles screaming in outrage about a scene in the new Zoolander 2 movie.

No, correct that, a scene in the trailer of the new Zoolander 2 movie. So people are taking umbrage at a movie that hasn’t even been released yet.

FFS world, lighten up.

Apparently some (and our emphasise some) of our LGBT friends and outraged kindred spirits supposedly acting on their behalf are frothing at the mouth that the new film is sexist and transphobic. Really? The pitchforks and flaming torches are being aimed at a ten second scene involving Benedict Cumberbatch playing an apparent androgynous-looking model being asked if he has a hot dog or a bun.

That’s it. You’re losing your mind and clambering to the moral high ground over that? Seriously?

In another article, some earnest and no doubt well-meaning type was rabbiting on that a non-binary model should have been cast to play the Cumberbatch role. I have no idea what “non-binary” means. Is it algebra? (I was probably in the sick bay feigning death when they taught that bit at school)

As I said, all this is over a ten second scene in a movie nobody has seen. The Champagne corks would be popping in the Paramount Pictures marketing towers thanks to the gazillion dollars in free publicity. There are even petitions to ban the film. Now that’s hilarious.

It’s been a fairly shit year. The heartbreaking plight of refugees fleeing the Middle East and Africa resulting in dead children washing up on beaches, commercial planes being blown out of the sky, ISIS goons throwing people off buildings because of their sexual preference, a Sydney police accountant being shot in the back of the head by a fifteen year old as he left work, not to mention the recent events in Paris that killed 130 people whose only crime was going out on a Friday night.

We could do with a laugh. If Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Benedict Cumberbatch can provide a few in a light comedy, offending a few easily-offended in the process, then so be it.

As a kid, I was brought up on a healthy diet of comedy — English imports like Monty Python, Dave Allen, The Goon Show, Fawlty Towers, Derek and Clive, and brilliant Australian productions including The Naked Vicar Show, Paul Hogan, Blankety Blanks, The D-Generation, Doug Mulray, Andrew Denton etc, etc. Yes a lot of it was crass, immature, challenging, totally politically incorrect and simultaneously f*cking hilarious. Maybe they have all affected my moral compass Bermuda Triangle style, but I doubt it.

What happened? When did we lose our sense of humour? When was a jihad waged on satire and comedy?

Today people want to be outraged. They want to be angry and vent on Twitter and Facebook and violently hammer the keyboard creating cranky online petitions.

All of this is totally fine. You just need to make sure you’re angry and outraged over the important stuff, not a ten second bit in a movie trailer.

©Steve Williams 2015

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Random Swill Paris images

To slightly misquote the song, I love Paris anytime. Even more so following the events of last week.

If we stop travelling, those terrorist bastards win. And that can’t happen.

To celebrate one of the world’s greatest cities, time to relive a few of my Paris random images….

©Steve Williams 2015

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Howzat?! Beach Cricket for the Olympics

It has taken me a few overs to process the fact those great Australians at Cricket Australia are calling for beach cricket to be included as an official sport in the 2024 Olympics.

There have been howls of laughter and protest at this visionary proposal, but I humbly suggest
if golf, rugby, and that bit where leotard-clad gymnasts prance around lobbing a ball and twirling a ribbon on a stick are Olympic sports, then why the hell not?

The Sri Lankan Olympic team is the gold medal favourite

Before the first Olympic beach cricketers proudly stride out onto the sand, there will need to be a lot of meetings in the hallowed chesterfield-stuffed rooms of Lord’s to nut out the details, though a few of the rules of Olympic beach cricket have leaked under the door.

*Holding an alcoholic beverage while batting, bowling or fielding is compulsory.
(Imagine seeing Mitchell Johnson thundering in from the Carpark End nursing a stubbie-holder.)

*Olympic beach cricket must be played with a mangy tennis ball (one that has been half-chewed / slobbered on by a Labrador).

*The stumps will be fashioned from bits of driftwood or random stuff scrounged from the beach
or garbage bins (“garbos” to use the correct beach cricket vernacular).

*In case of bad light and for day / night matches, headlights from player’s cars can be used.

*Tip-and-run is compulsory (this is apparently also known by some ignorant cricket heathens
as “tippety-run”).

*The “You Can’t Get Out First Ball” rule will be in play at all times.

*If any obstacles are blown / deposited on the pitch, i.e. runaway beach umbrellas
or nude sunbathers, they must not be removed. They will add a bit of turn.

*Sledging is compulsory (especially among family members).

*Bonus runs will be awarded for catching a ball in your hat. Even more for catching the ball in your boardshorts. Even more for catching the ball in your budgie smugglers / bikini.

*The “You’re Out If You Slog The Ball Into The Water” rule will be enforced. (I can foresee some pushback on this. Personally I’m not a fan, if you have a player positioned at deep backward point waist deep in ocean, it can lead to Classic Catches that would give Shane Warne apoplexy.

*There will be no umpires. Every decision on the field, even if bleedingly obvious must be met with cries of “That’s bullshit!”, with bonus runs for a tearful tantrum and knocking over the “stumps”.

*When a ball is hit for six, the youngest person on the field must retrieve it, proceeded by “goandgetthatwouldyamateandgimmeanotherbeerfromtheesky.”

*Once a batsman / batswoman? reaches fifty runs, they must start hitting catches (preferably to the dehydrated, sunburnt kiddie who previously retrieved the ball and the drinks).

*The act of “taking your bat and ball and going home” must be met with the response of “Aw, ya wanker!”

I look forward to Cricket Australia vigorously lobbying those IOC types for the inclusion of beach cricket into the Olympics, and eagerly await the bowling of the first dog-slobbered ball in 2024.

©Words and image Steve Williams 2015

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Yawn…

So the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has dropped and the world has lost its collective mind.

Except me. Forgive me if I don’t get excited, I’m yet to see a Star Wars film. I’ll pass.

The first Star Wars film was released a long time ago in a year far, far away — 1977 —
the same year as Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, and the Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. No doubt hardcore Star Wars fan types have drawn some form of nerdish non-existent vortex-time-space-continuum-parallels between all three.

I was a young kid in 1977, and didn’t buckle to peer and advertising pressure to get onboard the Millennium Falcon (see, I know that much). Back then I was probably just being a smart arse, too-cool-for-school-type of kid refusing to see the film everyone was talking about, and thirty eight years later I still am.

Each to their own. Though I have to say my all-time favourite Star Wars scene is set in the Death Star canteen featuring the immortal line from that asthmatic bloke in black, “It’s not a game of who the f*ck are you”. The wickedly ingenious concept of killing people with trays and / or thoughts and a penne arrabiata shoutout is brilliant.

If all the dialogue in the Star Wars films was as good, Eddie Izzard played every character and they were created in stop-motion Lego, I’d be a lightsaber wielding fan-boi.

Another issue I have with the whole Star Wars palaver is the concept of the money-grubbing prequel. Not a fan. They squeeze all the narrative and cash and out of the several thousand sequels, and then Trevor pipes up with “I know! How about a prequel or twelve?”
Sequels / prequels should be banned by the UN.

Let’s just hope reality TV shows don’t catch on.
Imagine a Kardashian prequel — the pre-school years. It probably wouldn’t work because it would be pre-selfies and lip fillers, but if you steal my idea Momager Kris Jenner I want a cut.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens? zzzzzzzzz…..

©Steve Williams 2015

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When you lose something you can’t replace – Oscar the cat, Coldplay and James Blunt

F*** you Coldplay and James Blunt. You and your bloody emotional lyrics.

Last week we said goodbye to Oscar who was part of our family for just shy
of fifteen years. Three quarter Persian, one-quarter ratbag. Named after Wilde, O.

Oscar was a wonderful cat — suitably mischievous, perplexing and delightfully odd.
*non-cat people click away now.

All my wife wanted was a little bundle of fur that would sit on her lap. No chance.
Oscar would get tantalisingly close, but always ensured he was at least a cushion-length away.
That was possible revenge for us moving him around the world from Asia to Europe.

He was more dog than cat, he would follow you around, then steal my wife’s office chair next to me while I was writing. A pointy-eared, furry muse.

Oscar had already traded in about twelve of his nine lives, and then a few months ago
we discovered lumps on his front left leg. Vet. Tumours.
They were aggressive, with amputation the only option.

So Oscar became a “tri-pawed”, up and about two hours after surgery, home in a few days, hopping up and down the stairs with ridiculous ease a day or two later. Remarkable.

Tumours being the bastards they are, returned. X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, “successful” surgery, but temporary. Enough now. Sans one leg and pre-surgery full-body Brazilians,
Oscar was literally half the cat he used to be. We decided no more. We would let it play out.

The final act. Oscar hadn’t been eating properly, not himself, slight cough, but no pain,
so to the vet. The bastards had come back big time. X-rays gave him a maximum of two weeks.
He had been through enough, why put him through more?

So it was a heartbreaking, yet simple decision.
I was with him, then carried his empty cat box home.

Attempting to work that night, the stairs quiet, the office chair next to me strangely empty,
then hearing Coldplay: “And the tears come streaming down your face / when you lose something you can’t replace… and I will try to fix you.”

Thanks Chris Martin. If that wasn’t enough, then James bloody Blunt…
“As strong as you were / tender as you go, I’m watching you breathing for the last time…
l’ll carry you home…”

Visions of an exceedingly cute, tiny kitten in my hand all those years ago, carrying a very sick,
yet purring Oscar onto “that” table in the vet’s surgery, then walking home with his empty box.
I was a mess.

Oscar, thank you for almost fifteen years of unconditional* love, light and rampant ratbaggery. Vale. X

*conditions apply

©Steve Williams 2015

(The Huffington Post Australia asked to run this:

Spa Anxiety – When Sandalwood Attacks

My spa anxiety kicked in while filling in the form — I was handed a cup of hibiscus unicorn tears tea or something. I shouldn’t drink it because I’ll have to sprint to the toilet halfway through.

I felt nothing like this after my spa treatment

Then the change room. What do I need to take off? Everything? Just for a back massage?
So why are those useless disposable undies there? Am I supposed to wear them?
If yes, which way do they go? And why are they so see-through?

Which way does the robe go on?
Remember that time it had to go on backwards Hannibal Lecter style?

Do I have to wear these thongs? (Australian footwear usage)
Who wore them before? What if they had tinea / leprosy / the Black Death?

Ok, so far so good, I’m face down with my head poking through that furry toilet seat thing.

I’m only having a back massage, so why have my undies been simultaneously rolled down and aside to give me a pseudo Sumo / Bondi lifesaver style wedgie?

What if the therapist cracks something and I now have the communication skills of an artichoke?

Shit! I need to go to the toilet again. Bloody hibiscus unicorn tears tea.

Why are they pressing so hard on my kidneys?
Feels like they’re going to burst through my scrotum.

Why am I oiled up like the last meal Elvis Presley ate?

What are you doing near my arse?

“How is the pressure?” I want to scream “You’re f*cking killing me!”, but don’t want to sound weak.

It’s over. “Yes that was wonderful, thanks.” I lied.

A massage in a spa is like a physiotherapy session at a demented dentist — accompanied by mystical rainforest music.

Great. Now I have post spa anxiety stress disorder.

Think I need a massage…

©Steve Williams 2015

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Bastard Backpacks

Dear the bastard backpack wearing fraternity of the world.

I’m sure some of you are very nice people who like tickling kittens under their chin, but some of you are absolute bastards. Seriously.

Seat 12A on your next flight
















I’m not talking about the noble types who trudge around Kathmandu et al taking-an-undisclosed-period-of-time-off-to-travel-the-world type of backpacker, more the commuting corporate warrior.

No, I’m taking aim at the women, but mainly men (who most likely work in the financial industry and wear pseudo-Batman utility belts for their various appliances) who infect trains, buses, ferries and planes with their massive growths on their backs, taking out innocent and unsuspecting citizens with every swivel of their shoulders.

So when you put your backpacks on, does your spatial awareness suddenly evaporate along with what was remaining of your fashion sense?

Don’t you realise that when you have your Dell laptop and other geeky apparatus strapped to your back like a dork baby koala, you may, just may, be slightly inconveniencing the rest of the world? No? Didn’t think so.

The next one of your kind who almost dislocates my shoulder as you bump your way down the aisle of a plane…

Words ©Steve Williams 2015

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Bullfighting and the running of the morons

“Good.” That was my first reaction when I heard of the latest horrific injuries suffered during the “Running of the Bulls” in Spain.

A crushed thorax, gored armpits, heart, groins, knees and thighs, even a rectal perforation.
Just part of the injury roll call from previous versions held in Pamplona. Enjoy.

However, that is small change compared to the 250,000 bulls maimed and killed each year in bullfights across the planet.

Harsh? Possibly. I hope these people recover, and then get some sense (try a 7-Eleven, it’s on special).

Seriously, how much of a moron would you need to be, what copious amount of alcohol or drugs would you need to have consumed to think that running 850 metres through narrow, cobbled streets in front of very big, very pissed off (and terrified) bulls, before they are corralled into the bullfighting arena is even remotely a good idea?

Bullfighting is cruel and barbaric and needs to be stopped, as does the running of the bulls. Thankfully there is an ever-increasing groundswell of support to do just that. ¡Felicitaciones!

If you want to get badly injured without inflicting cruelty on an animal who has no choice in the matter, may I suggest the time-honoured “sticking your hand in a blender”.

You can hear the purists cry “the running of the bulls is an intrinsic part of Pamplona’s San Fermín festival dating back to medieval times.” Bullshit. Don’t care.

Hopefully the running of the bulls and bullfighting will one day die a death — and you can add other barbaric practices to that list — such as fox hunting by people with double-barrelled surnames wearing stupid hats, animals in circuses, restaurants serving sharkfin soup and exponents of Traditional Chinese Medicine using basically every body part of endangered tigers in the vein attempt of getting a bigger dick.

One can only hope.

For more information on the (blood) sport of bullfighting, visit the World Society for the Protection of Animals, and PETA, (warning: the websites contain disturbing, but necessary facts and images).

©Steve Williams 2015

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