Up Front by Emma Hart


Because You Are Wonderful, and I Am Lazy

So I don’t want to freak anyone out or anything, but I thought I should warn you of something I noticed just recently: it’s nearly Christmas.

In the spirit of high-fat desserts and conspicuous (alcohol) consumption which permeates this time of year, I’d like to say thank you to System. To every one of you lovely little furry possums ring-barking the columns of Public Address’s writers, thank you. We couldn’t do this without our readers and commenters – particularly those of us paying for Christmas this year by selling you books.

Ironic under-cutting aside (yes, that is causing me physical pain, thank you for asking) you guys are choice. Throughout the year I have been collecting my favourite System comments and tucking them away for now, just to show you (as if you could possibly not have known) just how wonderful you are. I’ve had to do some whittling, because there were a dozen pages of them. For many, you just had to be there. Some of my very favourites (the textes conversation, or the ‘comma man’ jokes) are unreproduceable because of their sheer scope – not so much a tennis match as a room packed full of drunk people and a beach ball.

The comment that still makes me snigger the most is “That c**t Bollard better stay off my turf”, but for the sake of more general LOLs, my official comment of the year has to be this one. It’s just kept on giving throughout the year, quite selflessly.

Just goes to show you who the perverts are. Normal people don't do that kind of crap and so don't know of the other meanings.

There we go. Don’t say James Bremner never does anything for you.

I’d also like to prostrate myself before the fabulous Amy Gale, whose imitation of popcorn popping only loses out to her contribution to the Great Food Controversy:

The people's pizza base ain't bread
It's more a scone-type dough instead
Inside your Sunday roasting pan
With pineapple out of a can

So bake that pizza, bake it good
The people's pizza, like you should
And though a kilo's far too dear
Some cheddar cheese is great on here

We do not want bourgeois legumes
Nor basil pesto's garlic fumes
We do not trust your foreign cheese
Just honest kiwi tucker, please

So bake that pizza, bake it good
The people's pizza, like you should
Through Gio's flinch and Danielle's tear
We'll keep the red spag flowing here

Ian Dalziel, too, found himself (or at least the bits of him on my hard-drive) only in competition with himself. Filtering through the Binge-Thinking, I’ve chosen this contribution, but pretty much anything he typed all year could have made it here:

Unfortunately my 'Blasted Heath Cliff Notes' doesn't have a handy 'Bronté-saurus' at the end (moor's the pity), so much of Ellis Bell's gothic prose is a mystery to me - (though obviously "Thrushcross Grange" is a Yeats inflection)... Still it could have all ended much 'moor' happily if poor Heathcliff had been able to dry off by a Cath-heater!*

*(Tubular bowels anyone? he said,
taking the pith yet again...)

There have been times when members of the community have had to quietly reprimand others for the good of all of us. Thank you, Joanna:

Dear Craig: please don't ever mention Paul Holmes in a thread about kinky sex ever again.


The entire world.

We reminisced about ‘the old days’, when everything was better, dodgier, or just whiter and straighter.

Giovanni: Remember when turning to page 94 of The Listener used to give you smallpox? *Sigh*... those were the days.


Russell: Although [Chris Trotter] certainly has the answers, assuming the question is "How can the Labour Party be made unappealing to members and voters alike?"


rodgered:Modesty forbids me from saying anything other than to ask Nat Torkington about the time he walked into my house, demanded to know "How many goats did you have to sacrifice to make this happen?", and then wrote the evening up for Usenet consumption.

We speculated. We speculated really a lot.

Lucy: I'm semi-tempted to go over to the marine biology labs and break in, as I will no doubt find cackling PhD students force-feeding puffer fish to sea slugs, then mailing them to Auckland in a calculated campaign of eco-terrorism.


Mark: We could always license drinkers instead of outlets...and have automated doors that only let micro-chipped, licensed drinkers in.

You'd report to the testing station when you turn 18, knock back a dozen RTDs, then they'd monitor your behaviour and interview you on a range of topics.

If you didn't come across as too much of a dick, you'd pass. If you wet your pants, punched someone, fell asleep, or voiced your support for ACT, you'd be stood down for a year before you could try again


Robyn: I'm not sure why, but this makes me think Hadyn wants to use the Henry clip like this:

Person A: Hey, shall we see if Hadyn wants to join us for a curry?
Person B: Good idea! I'll give him a call. [phones Hadyn]
Hadyn's phone: I'LL DEMAND ANSWERS.
Person B: WTF? Hello?
Hadyn's phone: I'LL DEMAND ANSWERS.
Person B: Hadyn? Dude, are you there?
Person A: What's going on?
Person B: It's weird - it sounds like someone's there, but I keep hearing this Paul Henry clip.
Person B: Hadyn, if you are there, do you want to join us for a curry or not?
Hadyn's phone: Oh, yeah. OK.
Person B: Cool. See you later.
Hadyn's phone: Hey, you know earlier - did you think it was Paul Henry on my phone?
Person B: What? No.
Hadyn's phone: I'LL DEMAND ANSWERS.

As David Slack said at the time, That’s a funny. On a lady.

And you guys, including the guys who are also women, were just pretty damn funny.

Paul: I would have made a similar point, but I have been busy in the Public Library re-titling the books in the Crime section: Unlawful Killing on the Orient Express; Murder, She Alleged; and so on.


Craig: I just threw myself on the first vagina I came across. Right as rain in two minutes flat.
Russell: Heterosexuality: you're doin' it wrong. It's meant to last twice that long.



Wait, he did what to the Pope? Does god know about this?


TracyMac: I'm so glad I came out in the mid-80s though - my toaster oven is great, and I don't really like the sound quality of an iPod. What's pissing me off is that my cupboards are starting to fill up with waffle irons from all the recruits proteges I've enlisted. I like waffles, but not that much.

Obviously, there are hundreds of brilliant moments I’ve omitted, and these are biased towards comments on my own threads. Do please share your own favourites in the comment thread below. And in a touching sort of Thought For The Day way, I’d like to leave you with the words of Rich Lock, on being reminded that “life is 3D”:

Yeah, but the graphics aren't much good. And I only get one playable character. And he's a bit of a dick.

Emma Hart is the author of the book 'Not Safe For Work'.

(Click here to find out more)

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