KEVIN the clairvoyant cockatoo from Kotara returns with his unique predictions for the second half of the exciting year ahead in Newcastle. It's an election year.
Council elections! Exciting.
Newcastle gets a new 'beach' by default, following a City of Newcastle (CoN) announcement that they have now "given up" clearing large mounds of sand that have accumulated at the promenade around Merewether ocean baths.
Old timer and cage fighter/lawn bowler Percy Reckons is given naming rights. The 86-year-old, who constantly reminds passers-by of how the ocean baths and surrounds were spotless back in his day when there was a Town Clerk with a clipboard and long socks instead of a CEO in a shiny suit, christens the massive sand build-up on the promenade south of the pavilion as "She'll Be" (as in she'll be right, it's only sand, no one gives a rat's ya whinger, it's not the eastern suburbs of Sydney, mate). Mr Reckons says if CoN workers are one day compelled to retrieve wheelbarrows and shovels from peaceful retirement at the depot, the sand should be bagged up and transported to Stockton beach by those annoying hang gliders whose shadows constantly scare stoned dog walkers.
"Sure, She'll Be sand is not as white as a large majority of residents found in Merewether Heights, but it's not as dirty as the stuff they've dumped in front of the surf club at Stocko," Mr Reckons says.
In the lead up to local elections, a group of candidates seek to exploit the insightful catchphrase coined by Dr Jon Kochanski, who was a popular GP, the Wanderers rugby club doctor and the city's most venerated venereal disease authority at his practice in Watt Street before retirement on the last day of 2019.
On January 1, Dr Kochanski candidly revealed to the Herald that he was closing his practice because there's too much disruption in the city and "the town's f..ked". Dr Kochanski rejects a call from the group of former-Liberal now-independent candidates who want Dr Kochanski to appear in a social media campaign advertisement screaming his popular catchphrase "the town's f..ked" over a Hammond organ version of the Screaming Jets' Better as he walks around the city pointing at things many Novocastrians agree are f..ked. Dr Kochanski, who ran his practice for 44 years, tells the Herald that he'd rather see lobsters on a piano than crabs on an organ.
Labor again secures control of CoN by boring the citizenry into electoral submission, which it achieves by having candidates relentlessly repeat the phrase "ongoing commitment to open and transparent decision-making" in response to any question from anyone anywhere anytime. Attempts by a secret cabal of business interests - including a former lord mayor, the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation, the Hunter Business Chamber and Sky News - to get a high-profile ex-Marching Koalas trumpet player to lead a team to undo Labor's grip on city hall are aborted when the cabal realise it will be impossible to find a more anything-goes pro-development mob than those that have been ruling the roost in the city for the past few years.
After a decade of inaction about the multitudes who take off-leash dogs around the back of the Merewether Ocean Baths Pavilion, down the unswept stairs, along She'll Be beach on the promenade, past the No Dogs signage and onto Burwood Beach, CoN bureaucrats confess it's long been a lawless space "too scary" for compliance officers and therefore "anything goes at Burwood, except folk dancing".
Re-elected lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes seizes this declaration to dust off her "skate-bowl on a beach" plan, but this time includes a ramp from Robinson Street to ensure Destination NSW funding and finally - no really, finally - correct the cartographer's constant omission of Newcastle on the map. Yeah, the map. That one. That map.
A customer at Marketown doing early Easter shopping runs the Woolworths-to-Coles "can-I-get-$5-to-catch-the-bus?" gauntlet and is stopped by a bloke in an AC/DC shirt, shiny track pants, white ankle-high joggers and fetching ankle bracelet.
The shopper responds that $5 is a lot for a bus fare, and the bloke counters with "morning price, what about $5?" When the shopper says she only carries a credit card, the bloke whips out a mobile machine that accepts all cards - except American Express, of course. After hearing of the man's inspiring entrepreneurial efforts, one of the city's entrepreneurial spivs starts a crowdfunding campaign to provide every Marketown ambusher with a solar-powered mobile card reader.
The bushfire smoke almost dissipates for two consecutive days.