Is there anything worse than tossing and turning all night because of a hot brick for a pillow? C’mon – have some fun telling us about all those annoying things that drive you bonkers. Like…..

Sticky tape without a beginning. It always happens when you are in a hurry. Running late for the wedding, trying to wrap the present and somehow the sticky tape has no beginning. Rubbing your fingernail round and round in both directions without a hint of that tell-tale micro millimetre thin ridge you HAVE to find to get the blasted thing started. Eventually you get your specs, but the rubbing round and round must have squashed it down even thinner than usual because there’s no beginning (or end) in sight. Doesn’t matter if it’s Scotch, Sellotape, 3M or Woolies own brand – they all do the same. Eventually your wife takes over and her far superior, longer, more sensitive nails locate the beginning of the end. Yippee! But glee as it starts, quickly turns ugly when it splits and a tiny sliver of tape sticks to her finger. Then she can’t find the beginning. There is no end. ‘Let’s use string’.

 

The out of reach itch. I often get it on the golf course just up from the shoulder blade, presumably as a reaction between my skin warming up due to exertion and the texture of my piquet knit shirt. You swing your arm round your back and reach upwards, but can’t quite get to that itchy spot. Same with arm over shoulder reaching down. But the golf course is a great place for the out of reach itch because your upside down putter comes into play, the rubberised handle slipping down your shirt collar and scratching away beautifully. If you are on your own, there is no place worse for an itch out of reach than the beach. Lying with your back on the sand wriggling makes it worse. It is probably best not to go to the beach by yourself, unless of course you are somewhere tropical where there are coconut trees you can rub against. If you happen to be alone with your partner, an out of reach itch can be a very good thing in that you ask for a bit of help and the feel of hand on flesh can stir things up a bit. My wife used to ask me to scratch her back all the time, because she loved it. But my hand used to wander and she doesn’t like it any more. She bought a plastic rod and on the end of it there is a small clawed hand.

 

Gone missing. How annoying is it when things simply go missing? You are running late for the wedding and go to slip on your colour co-ordinated socks, but there is only one. What the? The rummage through the laundry basket only reveals other, lone socks. No time for mucking about, you settle for an inferiorly matching pair, then make for the hall table to grab your specs. Not there.

 

‘Have you seen my glasses, hun’?

‘No – where were you when you had them last’?

‘I don’t know, I’ve looked everywhere, I can’t read my speech without them. We’re late – can you please help me look’? ‘Silly sausage, they are on top of your head’.

‘You are kidding me – must have put them on when I was looking for my sock. Best hurry, we are so late’………. ….‘Hun, have you seen the car keys………..

 

Hot August Night. It must be an age thing. When the album came out in 1972, I was 23 years old. Neil Diamond was an old man of 32. In 1969, 3 years earlier he had a hit with that ghastly sugary ‘Sweet Caroline’. I was in England then, seeing live acts like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, The Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Spencer Davis, Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After, Free, Status Quo – even saw Oz bands like The Easybeats and Max Merritt and The Meteors. And I loved the US West Coast sound – The Doors, Love, Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, Steve Miller, Janis Joplin.

 

Then in 1972 Neil Diamond from New York trots out ‘Hot August Night’ and the world goes nuts. I hated every song on that double album. I hated dancing to any of them. I hated his aged, open neck shirt and poncy jewellery. His suddenly much longer hair. I even hated ‘Red, Red Wine’, only because it was Neil Diamond (when UB 40’s version came out 10 years later it became one of my all-time fave songs). I hated that the ghastly ‘Sweet Caroline’ was getting air time all over the place all over again along with equally cheesy offerings like ‘Cherry Cherrie’ and ‘Holly Holy’. Even the titles make me want to throw up. But what I have always hated most about ‘Hot August Night’ is that EVER SINCE 1972 every crummy DJ and every crummy singer at every crummy dinner dance venue, all over the world, INSISTS on playing every crummy Hot August Night song, every single night! And people still seem to lap it all up.

 

Ooooh. On reflection, it’s not just an age thing. Back then I used to love lying in the dark at 1.00am listening to ‘The Songs of Leonard Cohen’ (released in 1967 when he was 33). And I still do. And Bob Dylan and Neil Young are no spring chickens either. In fairness, it wasn’t only Neil Diamond - there are lots of others I could never abide – The Carpenters, Manfred Mann and Van Morrison to name a few. But never has an album tortured me to the same degree and at the same time been such a gigantic success as ‘Hot August Night’.

 

Hot February night. Sleeping and hot are mutually exclusive. It is simply impossible to do sleep if hot. If you don’t have aircon or a fan on a hot February night there is nothing for it but to lie there sweating and awake all night thinking about those poor pioneers in your grandfathers day that never had aircon or a fan. Or anybody else before that in the whole of history. Cleopatra for example, though I guess she would have had people fanning her by hand. Not sleeping is the most exasperatingly awful thing that can happen to a person and that’s what a very hot February night can do to you.

 

I prefer cold winter nights with a nice warm quilt and comfy pillow, especially if it’s raining. I like to lie there snug as a bug, thinking about the poor fishermen bobbing about on their small boats in the Tasman wearing their yellow sou’westers against the lashing rain and howling gale.

 

Andrew Bolt. I can’t watch him, I can’t listen to him and I can’t read anything he writes without getting extremely niggled. He annoys me more than a dud pillow. What’s with his views? For someone who claims to be ‘not right wing, I’d say so if I was’, what’s with his uncritical and illogical love for Tony Abbott (Bolt worked for one RJ Hawke on 2 election campaigns so maybe that explains it). He writes lies and untruths and has been convicted in a court of law for so doing TWICE. He is a racist, a climate change denier and an anti-Islam propagandist. According to Bolt, there was no ‘stolen generation’. He out-trumps Trump for daftness.

 

He hates Waleed Aly for goodness sake. How can anybody dislike Waleed? What’s not to like – intellectual, musician, broadcaster, massive knowledgeable sports fan, personable – and everything he says and writes seems to makes perfect sense. Not to Bolt, but.

 

No duck pie. It was about 5 in the arvo at the Flinders Hotel and I was having a few beers with the missus after a game of golf. We were waiting for the rest of our party to join us for dinner in the hotel restaurant. We got talking to a young couple who were eating early. The bloke had ordered a duck pie, which looked magnifico. We left them to their meal. ‘Mate’, he said as they left, ‘you gotta go the duck pie, it’s blimin bonza. Best pie I ever ate’. I assured him that is exactly what I would do. I was salivating already.

 

Lagered-up but still salivating, come 7.30 everyone has finally arrived and we are ready to order.

‘No need to look at the menu. I’ll have the duck pie’, says I.

‘Sorry sir, duck pie is only available in the bistro, this is the restaurant’, says the waitress.

‘Well can I still have the duck pie and pay the restaurant price’?

‘No sir, if you want duck pie you have to go to our Bistro in the next room’, she says.

‘This is worse than a dud pillow’, I thought. I chucked a wobbly. I got thrown out of the Hotel. No duck pie.

 

The dud pillow. Nothing drives me more bonkers than a dud pillow. Dud pillows are a pain in the neck. Talalay latex are pillows for neck pain. I went through the whole pillow menu at the HK Langham once, and they were all dud. Turn ‘em, squish ‘em, arm under, fold corner, too low, turn again, too soft, upside down, two pillows in a V, too high, not comfy – ‘can’t sleep, can’t sleep, can’t sleep’. That awful mantra going through your head. ‘Got to work tomorrow, gee it can’t possibly be only 3.45’. Till you get one, you can’t appreciate what a difference a really good pillow makes. Then you take it with you wherever you go. Including Hong Kong. The Langham didn’t offer Talalay latex pillows. TLC does.