Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The decline of children

When I was a kid there was a magical place you could go and get presents even when it wasn’t your birthday or Christmas. This magical place was called the tip.

I once got an awesome scooter from the tip. When I say awesome it was old, rusty and fairly beaten up but it had all its wheels and it went completely fine. Why would anyone throw away such as an amazing object?

While I dreamed of one day getting taken to Uncle Pete’s Toys, the tip had that added element of excitement and danger. There was the rank smell, the risk of tetanus and the very slight chance you might come across a severed body part like in the start of a Law & Order episode.

I did eventually get to go to Uncle Pete’s Toys one day, but as much as I nagged I don’t think I actually got anything. At the tip you could take home whatever you wanted (provided it wasn’t a manky severed arm or something).

The tip was a breeding ground for more than just germs. It also bred ingenuity and creativity. Old prams were in high demand because you could take off their wheels and make billy carts. You could then race these billy carts down very steep hills, dramatically crash and then spend weeks picking at all those lovely scabs.

At some point all the tips got closed down and from then on you never saw billy carts. Gradually kids become softer and more annoying and then Justin Bieber appeared and it all went to hell. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why it is time to panic and lose your shit

At the beginning of 1637 Dutch investors were paying many times a typical annual salary for a single tulip bulb. In February of that year, the boom came to a sudden spectacular crash and tulip-mania became a famous cautionary tale about the perils of paying stupid amounts for things.

It’s now 2015 and someone who clearly never learnt about tulip-mania has just paid more than six million dollars for an ugly house in Chatswood. This big brick box of a house was built at the very dullest point of the 90’s and stands in a bog standard suburban street. The backyard has a large lawn and a Hills Hoist but appears not to include a pool, a tennis court or a magic tree which money grows on.

Clearly this price makes no sense and when prices start making no sense it is time to worry.

I have spent many years living in Chatswood and it never struck me as the kind of super special suburb where six million dollar homes would ever exist. Chatswood has gargantuan shopping malls, great yum cha and a Korean hairdresser who will give you a decent hairdo for just eighteen bucks. You will however struggle to get harbour views or a deep water frontage, which are usually part of the package for a six million dollar joint.

Logically this buyer would have been far better off purchasing their own tropical island. This secluded piece of paradise would not be as close to all the fancy clothes shops, but when you own your own tropical it’s fairly simple to adopt a nudist lifestyle. With the money left over it would also be easy to employ a Korean hairdresser, a personal chef and some surly Shirley to wheel trays of chicken feet and steamed buns around on a Sunday morning.

While I can’t fathom the buyer’s reasoning for spending such a stupendous amount of money for a big box in Chatswood I do hope they enjoy it. Perhaps they will decide to pretty up the garden by planting a few tulips.This house at 6 Chatswood Avenue sold for $6 million under the hammer on Saturday, smashing the previous suburb record.