Talking culture: Dior stands by Depp and hope for music festivals


In this week”s Talking Culture, our reporter Andrea Bolitho discusses some of the stories making the headlines this week.

Dior standing by Depp

Luxury goods company Christian Dior has said it will be keeping Johnny Depp as a brand ambassador, despite pressure to drop him after he lost a libel case linked to allegations he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard.

The actor has also been refused permission to appeal the ruling.

Return of music festivals?

Meanwhile the strain on music festivals might be about to ease with some news that could get them back on track amid the coronavirus restrictions.

It’s after the first rapid testing programme was officially announced by Public Health England.

The COVID-19 tests will be carried out on sites in as little as 15 minutes.

Watch Andrea Bolitho’s culture update in the video, above.



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What’s got the Coffs Coast talking?


From aged care workers to the old City Hill debate, these stories have got the Coffs Coast talking.

Should workers in aged care be paid more?

AGED care workers could be in for a significant pay boost if a union-backed case for a 25 per cent pay rise succeeds.

The Health Services Union, which represents workers in the sector, has launched a ‘work value’ case in the Fair Work Commission to lift wages in the sector by altering the award.

The award refers to a document outlining the minimum pay rates and employment conditions in a particular industry.

FULL STORY HERE

You said:

Anita Ellis – Hell yeah, what a silly question. We are the backbone we are the ones who hold their hand where no one else does in their last moments, god bless you all who work in aged care.

Our readers believe aged care workers should be paid more.

Kim Smith – That’s a question that shouldn’t even need to be asked. Their jobs are as important as other services, or even more so given that they care for our wonderful treasured seniors during their final days, months and years.

It’s not just a ‘babysitting’ job as they deal with seniors who may have dementia and/or a vast array of medical issues. The aged care staff also have to look after their resident’s emotional and mental states daily as well.

It’s a job that is unrelenting as there is no light at the end of the tunnel, as soon as one resident leaves their care, another moves in to replace them and the cycle starts again. It’s a very difficult job for the workers both physically, mentally and emotionally.

They, like their residents, deserve our utmost respect and their efforts should be acknowledged and remunerated accordingly.

Lisa Hamill – Absolutely. We are looking after people. But get paid less than shelf packers at woollies.

Carmel Robertson – Of course they do. If anyone has had an experience of visiting or having a parent in an Aged Care facility, they know how difficult the job can be, They are always welcome.

Bernadette Richardson – Yes, but it won’t happen when they are mostly privately run

John Gray and David Hargreaves have shared their thoughts on why the Gordon St project should go ahead.

John Gray and David Hargreaves have shared their thoughts on why the Gordon St project should go ahead.

City Hill constraints ‘fatal’ from planning perspective

WITH decades of experience in urban planning under his belt, Coffs Harbour man David Hargreaves is speaking out in support of the Cultural and Civic Space.

Demolition work is currently underway at the Gordon Street site.

A decision on the Development Application for the $76.5m building, which will house a new library and art gallery, was expected by the end of October or first week in November.

FULL STORY HERE

You said:

Janet Courtney – Urban Planning expert ! Give me a break – a building that size in Gordon St. Come On.

Ann Leonard – The state and federal governments have had some fantastic offerings by way of cultural infrastructure grants over the last several years and CHCC has squandered the opportunity through their desire to will the Gordon St project into being inclusive of new administration offices.

I live in hope there will be more into the future and that Coffs Harbour people will have the opportunity to take pride in a cultural precinct set into ambient space as people all over the world do. The change which grew through Brisbane following the development of the Southbank Parkland along the banks of the Brisbane River was palpable. We deserve the same. We deserve to be filled with pride too.

Cultural and Civic Space

Cultural and Civic Space

Shane Briggs – I would say the problem with City Hill is parking and access. City Hill is out of the way. Yes it’s a way better site than Gordon Street. So is Brelsford Park and the Showground – all other sites are better than Gordon Street. Coffs will go broke if Gordon Street goes ahead unless the state and federal government pays for that site

Cr Paul Amos at the announcement of the Jetty Foreshore Project Steering Advisory Committee. Photo: Tim Jarrett

Cr Paul Amos at the announcement of the Jetty Foreshore Project Steering Advisory Committee. Photo: Tim Jarrett

Councillor slams ‘culture’ of confidentiality

PAUL Amos has slammed what he described as a “culture” of confidentiality during an impassioned address to fellow councillors.

Cr Amos’ strong words came after his second attempt for more transparency on the Coffs Harbour Airport lease was knocked back during last night’s Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

“I’m very disappointed. This is not about whether we sign up to an airport lease or not – it’s about the culture of how we do things around here,” he said.

FULL STORY HERE

You said:

Mark McDonough – Keep them honest and accountable Paul. Thank you for representing the best interests of the rate payer.

Graham Cowling – Wow, there’s some disharmony in the present councillors ? This whole airport leasing situation shows me that we have the WRONG people on our elected council ! Not a business brain among them & they’re trying to hide their lack of expertise by covering up their incompetence.

Rodger Pryce – Keep at it, Paul Amos, you are so, so right in what you are asking. Do not give up.

Bruce Thomas – This current Council is easily the worst ever.





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Cricket Australia vs India, ODI and T20 series, squads, teams, Cameron Green: Talking points after selection


And while it’s 21-year-old Cameron Green’s inclusion in the 18-man group that has set tongues wagging, there were many selection calls that are sure to raise eyebrows.

Here are the main talking points from Australia’s ODI and T20 squad announcement.

GREEN LIGHT: ‘Best youngster since Ponting’ wins Aussie call-up to face India



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Finns spent more time talking on the phone during the first half of the year than in years


The 4G mobile network’s 100 Mbps service coverage extended to 18% of Finland’s land area by the end of June 2020. As such, coverage had increased by two percentage points in the last six months. In ideal conditions, download speeds of 100 Mbps were available to slightly over 93% of all households. In contrast, no significant changes occurred in 30 Mbps and 300 Mbps service coverage during the first six months of the year.* 

100 Mbps mobile service coverage extended to 57% of Finnish main roads and highways, with the total coverage of all road classes being 41%. Rail network coverage was 58%. 

The speed-category-specific coverages of the mobile network represent availability in ideal conditions. They do not account for network congestion or structural and geographical obstacles.



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the styling cues that have the world talking


What’s with all the chatter about the new photo of Meghan and Harry? Well, it’s their first portrait since quitting full-time royal duties in April. It was taken to promote a Time100 talk that occurred early on Wednesday, Australian time, about “Engineering a better world”, discussing social media and misinformation – subjects the pair has been speaking a lot about since their move to the United States.

There’s something oddly familiar about the photo. Taken by black photographer Matt Sayles for Time, the portrait mimics the pose the couple took in their 2017 official engagement portrait, which was taken by Alexi Lubomirski.

They both look a little… different than we’re used to. Since moving to California, there has definitely been a “softening” of the couple’s appearance. Harry’s face seems to have relaxed, and if I’m not mistaken, I do believe there’s a bit of West Coast swagger in his posture.

But we’re really here to talk about Meghan, right? Where to start!



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Talking Heads 2020: Harriet Walter on how the pandemic series was made


If you’ve ever turned on your TV – or pressed play on your streaming device – then you know Harriet Walter’s face.

The British thespian has been prolific these past few years, popping up in everything from Killing Eve and Succession to The Crown and Patrick Melrose – in the latter she had an unforgettable albeit fleeting role as a snarling 80s-era Princess Margaret which was pure joy to witness.

A mainstay of British TV, film and theatre, the highly regarded Walter (she’s a Dame, you know) has been so busy that when COVID-19 rolled around and shut productions down across the entertainment industry, she found herself breakfasting with her husband, Guy Schuessler – but every day.

It’s an upside to this tumultuous year in which everyone has been trying to find the silver lining at an otherwise emotionally bruising time.

“Mostly what I find really pleasant was being at home with my husband for months because we’ve been travelling around – he’s an actor as well,” Walter told news.com.au.

“And here we are, every single morning he was going to be at breakfast. That was great.”

Still, Walter was grateful to have one gig pop up during the pandemic lockdown because, as she puts it, “it’s not good to have so much time to think about how we don’t know what is going to happen with the world, work is a helpful distraction”.

media_cameraHarriet Walter’s episode of Talking Heads was filmed in one day

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That project is a revival of iconic 1980s series Talking Heads, a series of monologues written by playwright Alan Bennett and performed then by the likes of Eileen Aitkens, Maggie Smith and Patricia Routledge.

Walter is among a class of top British actors to take part in the 2020 series starting tonight on BBC First on Foxtel* and Fetch, which also included Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Jodie Comer, Imelda Staunton and Kristin Scott Thomas.

The series consists of 12 episodes, each fronted by one actor who tells the audience a story in character. Walter takes on a story previously portrayed by Stephanie Cole in 1988 about a recently widowed woman, Muriel, who finds her fortunes gradually diminished.

Over 36 minutes, it’s just Walter talking to the camera, a stripped-down performance that relies entirely on one person convey the emotional heart of the story.

It also depends on Walter memorising long stretches of monologue. She confessed that she did flub a line right at the end of a long take – “I think that did happen once and it went right at the end as well” – but she just got on with the job and did it again.

“Maybe the director would remember it differently, but I don’t think I ever did more than three takes,” she said. “I’ve been flashing lines in my head for three weeks, it was a good challenge for the first three weeks of COVID lockdown to have a monologue.”

Settle in with the world’s best shows on Foxtel. New customers get a 10-day free trial

Walter said her husband gave her the haircut required for Talking Heads
media_cameraWalter said her husband gave her the haircut required for Talking Heads

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Her episode was filmed in one day with the crew having rehearsed the blocking and other technical aspects the day before. Because of the pandemic, the rehearsal and pre-production process was completely different, and she had more input than usual.

“We rehearsed on Skype and Zoom, then I had conversations with the designer about costumes and we were to bring any costumes we had because the BBC was trying to keep the cost down so that the profits would be higher that we could give away to [COVID] charities, and also eliminate the need for going for fittings and being in too close quarters with other people during lockdown.

“We had one rather great time when on a Zoom call and the hair and make-up designer was talking my husband through cutting my hair,” Walter mused. “It was actually very successful. I had a rather good haircut!”

For her character Muriel’s look, Walter took inspiration from her mother. “I sent photographs of my mother because there were many aspects of Muriel that are quite like my mother. For instance, my mother always dressed in bright colours and I don’t tend to.”

Walter said she resisted watching Cole’s original performance in Talking Heads but then relented.

“I’m afraid I kept saying ‘don’t watch, don’t watch, don’t watch’ and then I did,” she admitted. “The thing is that I’ve done a lot of classical roles in my life that I knew other people had done before me. And you get used to the idea that you can’t compare one performance with another.”

Walter has starred in many productions in recent years, including Succession
media_cameraWalter has starred in many productions in recent years, including Succession

One of her recent roles that is definitely incomparable is in runaway hit and Emmy winner Succession. Walter has only appeared in three episodes across the first two seasons but as Lady Caroline Collingwood, the mother of the three Roy children, she’s a scene stealer.

Walter had actually worked with one of the “Roy kids” previously almost 20 years earlier – Kieran Culkin in 1999 TV miniseries, The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns. Culkin was a teenager at the time although Walter remembers him being “a little boy” and even showed him a photo of him as a rosy-cheeked sprite.

With her TV kids Kieran Culkin and Sarah Snook in Succession
media_cameraWith her TV kids Kieran Culkin and Sarah Snook in Succession

Walter, who was nominated for a Guest Actress Emmy this year for her role, said she’s still not sure how she was cast in the series created by writer Jesse Armstrong, a man she called a “genius”.

“I don’t know how anyone gets cast. It’s always one of these mysteries that makes you feel a little bit vulnerable – what they think of me that they think I can play this awful person.”

But as audiences saw in the second season, perhaps Lady Caroline has a more complicated side which leads her to that fractured and contentious relationship with her kids.

“I’ve just written that up. I showed Jesse Armstrong [Lady Caroline’s] backstory the day because I thought I’ve had two years to think about what’s happened to her and who she is.

“I thought we’d better be on the same page about this and if he doesn’t agree with me, let him say now or forever hold his peace. We need to be on the same page for that bit.”

Walter confirmed that she’ll return to Succession’s third season for “probably only in one episode”. We can’t wait.

Talking Heads starts on BBC First on Foxtel and Fetch on Sunday, October 18 at 8.30pm

Share your TV and movies obsessions | @wenleima

*Foxtel is majority owned by News Corp, publisher of news.com.au

Originally published as Dramatic series filmed completely in lockdown





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ABC’s Coodabeen Champions clock up 40 years talking, joking and singing about footy on Melbourne radio


They were supposed to spark laughter, not outrage. But the Coodabeen Champions ABC debut in 1988 didn’t quite follow the script.

After seven years on community radio, Triple R, in Melbourne, building a loyal audience, the Coodabeens secured a coveted slot for their Saturday morning footy show on the national broadcaster.

When their first program went to air, the switchboard lit up.

“We didn’t realise this at the time — Clarke Hansen (ABC executive producer of sport and broadcaster) who got us across protected us from it — but there were 300 complaints,” recalls Coodabeens co-founder Jeff Richardson.

“And there were complaints coming internally as well, one member of the sport team went into Clarke’s office and said, ‘Get these blokes off air’!

“But Clarke, to our eternal gratitude, stuck by his guns — he liked what we did and wanted us on air.”

The Coodabeens and their regular 1988 season guests. Back row: Greg Champion, Julian Ross, Peter Keenan. Centre Row: George Stone, Simon Whelan, Chris McConville. Front row: Bobby Skilton, Helen Molnar, Tony Leonard, Phil Cleary.(ABC Archives)

But what could possibly have been so offensive about a radio show that consists of a bunch of mates talking, joking and singing about footy?

“I think it was because our show was just so different,” says Richardson.

“Nowadays, it probably doesn’t seem very different because we’ve had decades now of people being “funny” about the football, but back then no-one was.

“What we did was obviously unstructured, obviously unscripted, and totally not in the mould of the way football pre-game coverage usually sounded so, for people who weren’t used to it, it must have sounded quite shocking and amateurish.”

But the Coodabeens had the last laugh, broadcasting on the ABC for seven years, then moving to commercial station 3AW for a decade and returning to the ABC in 2003, where they remain popular.

Give men behind microphones in ABC radio studio.
Still talking about footy after four decades. Greg Champion, Simon Whelan, Ian Cover, Jeff Richardson and Billy Baxter.(ABC News: Andy Bellairs)

Over the years, on the ABC, they also hosted a national Sunday night radio show, a travel-based program, The Idlers, and for a decade presented the national broadcast of the New Year’s Eve countdown to midnight from Hobart.

They’ve twice featured in the on-ground entertainment at the AFL grand final (more on that later), are revered in the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) Media Hall of Fame and have travelled the country, staging countless outside broadcasts, including a popular OB from the MCG on grand final morning, and sell-out community shows.

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2020 marks a remarkable 40 years on air, during which they’ve become an integral part of Victoria’s football culture.

“I still sort of pinch myself when I go into the Media Hall of Fame at the MCG and we’re up there.

“I look at it and think, ‘That’s not real, is it?’

“Given some of the other names that are up on that board, I just feel very humbled.

“Shows come and go, and the fact that we’ve been able to keep doing it as long as we have — it’s sort of a little miracle, and really pleasing.”

The conversation that launched the Coodabeens

They weren’t chasing a media career — the Coodabeens was born out of their frustration as passionate footy fans.

It was Anzac Day 1981 and 20-something mates Jeff Richardson, a teacher, and Simon Whelan, a lawyer, were driving to the MCG listening to the pre-match programs on the radio and finding it all a bit dull and cliched.

“As we walked into the MCG we were saying, we’re going into the standing room [area] and we’re going to hear people in the crowd with as much, or more, insight into what’s going on as we just heard on the radio — and delivering it with much more wit, entertainment and intelligence — and we thought that there’s got to be some way to capture that and get that on to the airwaves,” says Richardson.

So, they rang up a contact at Triple R and were on air the following Saturday.

There was barely any planning, it was to be (and still is) as spontaneous as possible, and they did the show around their ‘real’ jobs.

Whelan standing in radio studio with Cover at typewriter on desk with phone nestled on shoulder.
Simon Whelan and Ian Cover in the early days.(Supplied: Coodabeens)

There was no formal auditioning of new members. Over the course of those first few footy seasons, a casual parade of friends and friends-of-friends simply wandered in and out of the studio.

Among the core group that formed in the early days was Billy Baxter, who came up with their name based on a line from one of his favourite films, On The Waterfront, in which Marlon Brando says: ‘I coulda been something, I could’ve a contender’, and his mate from high school, Ian Cover.

“Some people came and went, and I had no idea who they were,” recalls Cover, who was then a football journalist with the Geelong Advertiser and went on to become a member of the Victorian Parliament.

“It was a bit chaotic in the studio, there were only two microphones and there’d be sometimes six or eight people squashed around the desk.

“There wasn’t much room to move and you had to sort of elbow someone out the way to lean in to get onto the microphone to say something.”

ABC Radio caravan with Coodabeen Champions sign surrounded by large crowd.
The team enjoys taking the show to the listeners and has staged countless outside broadcasts around the country over the years.(Supplied: Coodabeens)

Forty years, thousands of songs

A couple of years after the Coodabeens started, Adelaide-born musician and songwriter Greg Champion joined the crew, and his talent for writing parodies was a hit with the audience and the rest of the team.

His first musical segment began with ‘The answer my friend is like kicking into the wind’, to the tune of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind and, over almost four decades, Champion estimates he’s performed about 3,500 songs — written by himself and enthusiastic listeners — and released at least a dozen football CDs.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Greg Champion’s musical tribute to legendary Collingwood player Peter Daicos

He wrote an original song, That’s The Thing About Football, that became a much-loved footy anthem when Channel 7 used it as the opening theme for its Friday night footy coverage in the mid-90s and continues to inspire a crowd singalong at the end of their grand final shows.

Other hits included the catchy I’m DiPierdomenico (to the old English music hall song I’m Henry the Eighth I Am) about the likeable Hawthorn champion, Robert DiPierdomenico, and an original song about the team’s hard man Dermott Brereton, titled Dermott Brereton is a Hood.

“Dermott’s got a very good sense of humour and he said to me that it doesn’t matter what they’re singing as long as they’re singing about you.”

Black and white photo of Champion holding guitar and standing in front of microphone in studio.
Greg Champion’s footy songs are one of the most popular elements of the show.(Supplied: Coodabeens)

While both players got a laugh out of it, some of the Hawthorn bosses didn’t find the Dermie song so amusing, particularly when the Coodabeens were scheduled to perform at the 1987 grand final in which Hawthorn was playing.

“I very naively thought I would ring the Hawthorn Footy Club to get Dermie’s permission to play Dermott Brereton is a Hood at half-time,” recalls Champion.

“And Alan Joyce, the football manager, comes on and says, ‘You’re not doing that at the Grand Final’.

“I rang the boss of the league, Ross Oakley — in those days you could ring the boss and get straight through — and he said to leave it with him.

“Two weeks later, I rang him back and he said, ‘You’re not doing it, if Dermie knocks someone out in the first five minutes and you play that at half-time there’ll be a riot,’ and it was hard to argue with that.”

For knockabout blokes who worshipped footy and did a show on community radio in their spare time, performing at the grand final before 100,000 people at the MCG was a massive thrill.

Black and white photo of six men on stage singing into microphones on MCG with crowd in background.
From broadcasting on community radio to performing on footy’s biggest stage at the 1987 grand final.(Supplied: Coodabeens)

When league boss Ross Oakley said he couldn’t pay them, they cheekily asked for a limo to get them to the game and expected a couple of taxi dockets.

To their surprise, a limo was dispatched, hovercrafts ferried them onto the ground and they sang three songs — none of which triggered a riot.

“It was a really special thing,” says Cover.

“We’d invented this radio show six years earlier and here we were now out in the middle of the MCG.

Tony’s Talkback and how we fooled Harry Beitzel

In the 1980s, Harry Beitzel was a giant of football commentary on 3AW.

His Saturday afternoon game coverage concluded with a talkback segment called Slather and Whack in which the Coodabeens, who then had another show that followed Beitzel’s, saw plenty of comic potential.

“We heard these people talking to Harry and were thinking you can’t write this stuff, it was really funny,” says Cover.

“There was a Collingwood supporter who came on and said, ‘Look, Harry, I never complain about the umpires but in the third quarter Ricky Barham had the ball and he got penalised and it cost us the game …..’ and someone said why don’t we come on and say exactly what these people are saying, we get a phone and put on a funny voice.

“Tony Leonard said he’d take the calls, so we immediately called it ‘Tony’s Talkback’ [now Footy Talkback with Jeff ‘Torch’ McGee after Leonard, now a respected football commentator, left in 2003].

Black and white photo of Leonard holding clipboard with rest of team sitting in football ground dug out.
The ‘callers’ to the talkback segment hosted by Tony Leonard (far right) often made such hilarious comments he’d struggle to hold it together on air.(Supplied: Coodabeens)

“The show begins, Richo says there’s some calls left over from Slather and Whack, and Tony says ‘Go ahead, you’re talking to Tony’.

“A voice says: ‘Hello, Tony, It’s Digger here’ and Tony says, ‘Who do you barrack for?’

“‘Collingwood,’ says the voice.

“‘How long have you barracked for Collingwood, Digger?’ ‘137 years!’ says the voice.

“‘Have you got a football question?’ Tony asks.

“And ‘Digger’ says: ‘I never complain about the umpires but in the third quarter….’ and it went from there with all these characters getting lives of their own.”

Digger, Pearl from the Peninsula, Stan the Statistician, Ivan from Ivanhoe, Massive from Moorabbin, Peter from Peterborough, Helen from Healesville … the list goes on.

Despite the hilarious and outrageous things the ‘callers’ say, there’ve been plenty of listeners — and the odd broadcaster — over the years who think they’re real people.

“Harry Beitzel said to me one day, ‘I’ve been listening to your show, it’s sounding good.’

“And I knew it was working because we’d fooled Harry,” laughs Cover.

“Another day, I was in the outer at Geelong around the late 80s and a bloke I’d been to school with, who I thought had a modicum of intelligence, said to me, ‘Hey Cove, that talkback segment on your show, I’ve been ringing up and I can’t get on, the same people get on all the time, what’s going on?’

“And I said, ‘They probably all have the talkback number on speed dial and as soon as they hear it’s coming up they hit the speed dial’ and he said, ‘Oh yeah, that bloody speed dial.'”

Cover holding microphone interviewing Schwerdt.
Cover with loyal listener Mark ‘Swish’ Schwerdt, who has been a song and social media question contributor.(ABC Radio Melbourne)

The fans they haven’t fooled always want to know who plays who, but the Coodabeens like to keep them guessing.

Coincidentally, this year’s return of Simon Whelan after a 16-year absence while serving as a Supreme Court judge seems to have inspired the long-silenced Digger to pick up the phone again.

And while the Coodabeens have been amazed at how listeners have been taken in by the talkback segment, Ian Cover admits the characters have become so familiar that, at times, even he feels like they actually exist.

“It’s a funny thing, you know, we’ve done the talkback for more than 30 years, our characters are still the same and, to me, they are all real,” he says.

“When it’s your turn I feel like I just become that person for two minutes of the phone call and when it’s all over, I imagine that person still being out there somewhere. It’s weird.”

Three generations of fans

Laraine Rodriquez is a huge footy fan and passionate Melbourne supporter who has been listening to the Coodabeens since the late 80s.

Woman wearing Melbourne Football Club clothing standing in crowd while interviewed by Cover holding ABC microphone.
Longstanding fan Laraine Rodriquez interviewed by Ian Cover at the 2019 grand final day outside broadcast.(ABC Radio Melbourne)

“Once I started listening, I was hooked,” recalls Laraine.

“If I couldn’t listen ‘live’ on Saturday morning I would record it on my radio/cassette player and listen later — either at home or on my cassette player in the car.

“I do remember buying The Coodabeens Big Bumper Footy Book (published in 1990) and laughing throughout most of it.

“I still pick it up at times and continue to laugh, even though some of the information is dated.”

Front cover of book featuring photo of Coodabeens super-imposed into old black and white footy team photo.
Many Coodabeens fans treasure the 1990 Big Bumper Footy Book.(ABC Archives)

Laraine has been a regular at the outside broadcasts at AFL finals and on grand final morning since the mid-90s, and been interviewed on the show several times.

“In 1994, [with Melbourne in the finals], I was wearing all my Demon gear and I copped some good-natured ribbing about having a red and blue crocheted rug, thus fitting their (and others’) stereotypical image of a Melbourne supporter.

“We had quite a conversation and I received a prize for being a good sport,” she says.

Laraine Rodriquez says the “magic” of the Coodabeens is their interest in the “whole” of football — footballers who played a handful of games, not just the big names, as well as those from country, suburban and women’s leagues.

In fact, the show featured female footballers decades before the AFLW was established.

“I think the Coodabeens appeal to all listeners because they are so inclusive, their style of humour never alienates anyone because it is such good, clean, clever fun.

“As a Melbourne supporter (who has never seen snow anywhere in Australia!), I fume when I hear constant references to Melbourne supporters going to the snow instead of the football.

“Yet when the Coodabeens put Demon fans and snow in the same sentence, the way they do it makes me laugh and I am not one bit offended.

“Long may the Coodabeens continue!”

Black and white photo of five men lined up in front of microphones.
On the road somewhere in 1991.(Supplied: Coodabeens)

That they tapped into something that has resonated with footy fans for so long is both surprising and hugely rewarding for the team.

“Not only do we have first-generation listeners, there are also third-generation listeners,” says Cover.

“A lot of people have said to us along the way, ‘Dad used to make us listen to you in the car, and we had no idea what you were going on about, then we got into it and now I’ve got my kids listening.’

“When you reflect on that, there’s a sense of accomplishment that you’ve created something that as well as having longevity has been enjoyed by so many people.”

“Some people have used the term the ‘Rolling Stones of radio’ [to describe us] and I see the parallels,” quips Champion.

“Not that I’m equating us with the Rolling Stones, but there’s the 40 years thing and the longer it goes the harder it is to consider leaving.

They’ve particularly loved taking the show on the road.

“The Coodabeens have done hundreds and hundreds of regional gigs, in Victoria and across the borders, and it’s been a wonderful, wonderful journey playing in the bush and connecting with the people,” says Champion.

“That’s where people tell you what their ABC and their Coodabeens mean to them, how important the Coodabeens and the ABC are to them, and that drives home what a privileged and special position we’re in.”

Still kicking goals

For their 40th year, they’ve published a book, 40 Footy Seasons, that features tales from the core group and many other contributors who’ve come and gone over the years.

While much has remained the same and nostalgia is a big part of their appeal, they’ve also moved with the times, recruiting producer ‘Young Andy’ Bellairs, one of those ‘kids’ who grew up listening to the show in the car, introducing new segments and embracing social media.

Group of men crowded around a football as if jumping for a mark with MCG in distance.
Young Andy with the Coodabeens veterans he listened to growing up.(ABC Radio Melbourne)

COVID-19 has torpedoed their outside broadcasts, community shows and a proposal to appear in this year’s grand final entertainment, but they’re live-streaming part of their GF show and feel lucky to have been able to remain on air.

“Just because of the amount of correspondence we’ve had from people making the comment that in these difficult, unprecedented times, the fact that we’ve been on has provided a bit of normality amongst all the craziness.

“Greg’s had double the song contributions this year and the social media question has had more responses every week than it’s had in the past.

“Driving up from Barwon Heads [when the first lockdown began] I really felt that I wasn’t just going in to do the show as normal, I felt, without sounding too over the top, a sense of responsibility that we had a job to do to entertain people, to cheer them up, to be there.”

Backs of six men sitting at radio desk in front of microphones looking out at large crowd watching.
The grand final morning broadcast from the MCG regularly draws a large crowd, and people who don’t even have a ticket for the match turn up to watch the Coodabeens show.(Supplied: Coodabeens)

With all but Young Andy now aged in their 60s and 70s, the question is how much longer will the Coodabeen Champions be there?

To quote one of those footy cliches they love to make fun of, they’re taking it one week at a time.

“I’ll be happy to get to next Saturday, I don’t think any further ahead than that,” laughs Jeff Richardson.

Listen to the Coodabeen Champions grand final day broadcast from 10:00am on October 24 on ABC Radio Melbourne and around Victoria, ABC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts



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Government accidentally leaks its own talking points


The Morrison government accidentally says the quiet part very, very loud when it emails out 10,000 words of in-house talking points to journalists. Plus other tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

(IMAGE: AAP/MICK TSIKAS)

Look who’s talking Not for the first time in the Morrison government, some poor schmo has this morning accidentally emailed out the day’s talking points to Australia’s journalists. Ten thousand words of dot points ensuring the party of individual liberty is all on the same page while creating the simulacra of being interviewed. (Tipsters, if you hear a pollie employ the phrase “getting Australians out from under to doona”, please let us know.)

As ever, the most interesting sections are the “IF ASKED” notes, a sign to what’s worrying the government at the moment. So following Senator Gerard Rennick’s seeming assertion on Sky News that the Coalition doesn’t support any federal integrity commission — even the relatively supine one that it is actually proposing — MPs are directed to say Rennick has since “clarified” his comments.

That was then Another talking point MPs have been asked to hammer home is the party’s “deep concern” about “the mental health impacts of a prolonged lockdown on Melbourne residents”. Indeed, they’ve already been mining this, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday tweeting that his “message to the premier of Victoria today and every day, is please understand the significant impact the harsh lockdown is having on the mental health of Victorians”. Meanwhile, acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge tweeted out stats about the devastating impacts of lockdown on mental health.

Read the latest tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

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AFL finals 2020: Semi finals analysis, Talking Points, reaction, top stories, Richmond being hated, Bradley Hill, trade news, Brad Crouch


Another week, another Richmond controversy. But the Tigers’ new-found status seems to be helping them.

Plus the reason behind a finals trade flop and the potential for a historic draft haul.

Catch up on the big storylines out of semi-final weekend in Foxfooty.com.au’s Talking Points.

Watch the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series on Kayo with every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Preliminary Final

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NFL to penalize talking to refs without a mask


October 10, 2020

Any coach who approaches a referee without wearing a proper face covering now can be slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

A memo sent to teams Friday from Perry Fewell, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating administration, authorizes officials to throw the flags. It is a response to complaints from the NFL Referees Association about coaches and other sideline personnel pulling down their masks to yell at officials from close range.

“We have seen multiple occasions where head coaches have removed their masks to communicate with game officials during games,” Fewell wrote in the memo. “Doing so creates unnecessary, increased risk for the game official, the head coach, and others, and is inconsistent with the requirement that face coverings be worn at all times. …

“Consistent with all other individuals on the sideline, game officials are entitled to your respect as they perform their job duties during the pandemic.”

The league’s COVID-19 protocols require everyone on the sideline to wear a face covering except for players who are actively involved in the game. The referees only remove their masks to announce penalties.

The NFL fined five coaches $100,000 each — and their teams $250,000 — for failing to wear masks properly in the early weeks of the season.

–Field Level Media





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