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Canberra Today 19°/30° | Friday, December 3, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Don’t have a cow, man, especially if it’s lying…

Here’s Vincent van Gogh’s interpretation of a “Lying Cow”.

A week of lying cows, the defence Minister on the defence and a fond memory of ozrock’s biggest impresario… all in “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE

AS embattled Defence Minister Linda Reynolds spun nuance around the accusation she called former staffer Brittany Higgins a “lying cow”, the expression got me thinking. 

Ian Meikle.

Minister Reynolds says she was expressing frustration at the media coverage of Ms Higgins’ revelation of alleged rape two years before on the minister’s couch in Parliament House, not the veracity of her former staffer’s claims. 

Meantime, her former staffer, reported to be “incredibly hurt”, threatened to sue for defamation, which if it progresses will usefully give us all a legal definition of a lying cow. 

Despite a scolding from PM Scott Morrison and a grovel-grovel apology from Ms Reynolds, the minister seems never to have actually admitted to using the phrase. Unlike Vincent van Gogh, who did… in naming two of his oil paintings “Lying Cow”.

There’s a view that they’re associated with his 1883 painting “Cows in the Meadow”, finished shortly before the artist broke with his mistress Sien Hoornik. One presumes Vincent wasn’t trying to make a point. 

But what is it about insults and cows? Some readers will recall the TV bigot Alf Garnett’s characterisation of his long-suffering wife as a “silly moo” in the BBC’s ’60s series “Till Death Us Do Part”. 

Then there’s cartoon character Bart Simpson’s reprise of a 1950s saying: “Don’t have a cow, man”, which means don’t overreact to something relatively minor. That’s my kinda cow.

Refurbished footpaths between the Belgian embassy and the US. Photo: Rosemary Harrison

NEWS from the front on the cracked-footpath campaign: reader Rosemary Harrison, of Yarralumla, reports a positive sighting of the footpath repair crew. 

In news that will warm the cockles of ACT ratepayers awaiting remedial attention to their crumbling suburban pavements, Rosemary says: “They have been paving flat out at embassy row in Yarralumla.

“Two weeks ago, they paved a long stretch from the Belgian embassy to the United States. Last week they went from Sweden, through Poland, down to Greece. This week, it’s Spain’s turn”. 

And when will it be your turn? As if by magic, City Services Minister Chris Steel has popped up like a spinning top extolling the virtues of lots and lots of (overdue and neglected) urban maintenance programs that include $2.6 million of $16.5 million in funding for replacing and repairing shared community paths in the next 12 months. 

Then we’ll have footpaths just like the chauffeured embassy belt. 

THE career of musical impresario Michael Gudinski, who died of a heart attack in Melbourne this past week, sparks memories for Greenway local Roger Smeed. 

Smeedie, an established and respected company director these days, has had more jobs than 2CC’s breakfast man and foodie Stephen Cenatiempo’s had hot dinners. 

In his early 20s in Melbourne, Roger was an ad man for the pop music weekly tabloid “Go-Set” (1966-74) with the heady responsibility for the disco and dance advertising columns.

“Into the office come a couple of 16-year-olds, one in school uniform, wanting to place an ad for a Sunday afternoon dance they’d organised at St Kilda Town Hall (entry $1.50, bands included the Valentines and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs),” he says.

One of them was young Michael, organising his first gig.

“They took a quarter page that cost, oh, $250, that’s about $3000 these days and paid for it in cash,” he says.

“It wasn’t the last time; they would pop in an ad every few weeks.”

The rest is history, with Mr Gudinski AM being feted by rock’s royalty (including Bruce Springsteen) as a man people could rely on. 

THE run is over for Canberra gardens with the Bureau of Meteorology reporting that the bursts of rain over summer are at an end and that the 2020–21 La Niña has passed its peak and is now weakening. “Climate model outlooks indicate the El Niño–Southern Oscillation will return to neutral (neither La Niña nor El Niño) during autumn,” BOM solemnly intones.

“CITYNEWS” advertising exec Damien Klemke is a wag. Passing a reporter’s desk he spotted a bottle of tomato ketchup and urged the scribbler to hide it away, immediately! “Why, Damo?”

“Because journalists shouldn’t reveal their sauces”. Boom, boom. 

Ian Meikle is the editor of “CityNews” and can be heard in the “CityNews Sunday Roast” every week on 2CC, 9am-noon.

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Ian Meikle

Ian Meikle

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