Caulfield Guineas: Paul Perry backing The Mission to double his chances

IN FRONT: The Paul Perry-trained Perast hits the lead in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude on October 1. Picture: AAPPAUL Perry long expected The Mission to be his best chance of claiming a first Caulfield Guineas, and he’s not losing faith in the group 1 winnerdespite the rise of stablemate Perast for the $2 million race on Saturday.
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The master Newcastle trainer will start The Mission from gate 11 and Perast from two in the 1600-metre feature for three-year-olds, with BeauMertens and Ben Melham taking the respective rides.

The Guineas has been the target for The Mission this preparation but the Choisir colt has failed in three runs to recapture the form that took him to victory in the group 3 TL BaillieuHandicap and group 1 Champagne Stakes in the autumn.

In that time, Perast has led the way for Perry, winning the group 3 Guineas Prelude two weeks ago at his fifth start this preparation, which included a third in the group 2 Run To The Rose.The Snitzel colt was a $10 Guineas chance with TAB Fixed Odds, while The Mission was $34.

Perry expected Perast to challenge but it was clear he had a soft spot for The Mission, which delivered him a 12thgroup 1 training success and first since 2008 this year.

“He won well the other day.It was a good win, and a similar race,” Perry saidof Perast.“But the other horse has always been set for this race and he’s improved, so I hope for a better showing from him.

“He takes a whileand he’s had a couple of runs back in big races. It’s hard kicking off in group 1s and he’d had a good spell. He always takes a few runs and I didn’t expect much of him up until now.

“He’s trained on well and he looked really good here in a jump-out last Friday and at Caulfield on Tuesday he galloped and he looked great. He’ll run a race, I reckon.”

Perry expected Perast to get a “glorious run” from gate two but he was also happy with The Mission’s wide barrier in the 16-horse field.

“I reckon he’s drawn beautifully because he’s not a great barrier horse and at least out there it gives him a chance,” he said.“If he was drawn in close and they crossed him quick, he’d been in trouble. This gives him a chance to get into a bit of motion.”

Perry was second in the Caulfield Guineaswith Excites in 2006 and third with Choisir in 2002.

“It’s a really hard race to win and it’s probably ‘the’ race for three-year-olds,” he said.

“I thought The Mission would [make it] but the other one had to step up, and he has.

“His runs have been good all the way through. He’s had a bit of a chequeredpath into it, but his runs have been good.”

The Mission and Perast set a frightening pacein the group 1 Golden Rose last month to ruin both of their chances. Many expect The Mission to lead again.

“He doesn’t have to lead but if he does, it won’t worry him,” Perry said.

“They’ve both got great jockeys on them so they should know what they are about.

“There will be a hot speed anyway, there’s a lot of speed in the race. It’s a hard race and a really well put-togetherfield.”

As for the main threats, Perry said: “I don’t know what happened to Royal Symphonythe other day.

“He was really short odds and didn’t get there,but I thought Catchy’s run the other day was real good and Kementari, it ran really well.

“It’s a really hard race with plenty of chances.”


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Minister tells ABC to reveal salaries of its top earners

The ABC has been ordered by Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to reveal what it is paying its top on-air personalities, in what amounts to a win for One Nation.
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The national broadcaster has been directed to “voluntarily” cough up the salaries of all staff being paid $200,000 or more by the end of next month. If it does not do so, Senator Fifield will push for a change to the n Broadcasting Corporation Act to force the disclosure.

The same has also been asked of SBS.

In letters to the broadcasters, Senator Fifield wrote that “taxpayers are entitled to expect a high level of transparency about how their taxes are being expended on their behalf”.

To that end, he wrote, it is “the Government’s policy” that both broadcasters undertake “regular and ongoing disclosure of individual salaries and allowances of staff and on-air talent where their total salaries and allowances are in excess of $200,000 per annum”.

The move marks a victory for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which demanded the disclosure of top salaries at the ABC in return for its support of the government’s media reform package, which was passed in August.

In a statement released in August, One Nation claimed it had “been at the forefront calling for more transparency of wages at the ABC and we have received assurances from the government that they will be asking the ABC to start providing details of the wages and conditions of all staff, who’s [sic] wages and allowances are greater than $200,000”.

That is precisely what Senator Fifield is now calling for.

In supporting the media reform package, One Nation also demanded new legislation, or amendments to existing legislation, to ensure the ABC was “fair and balanced” in its reporting.

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie last week decried the changes One Nation was seeking. “Legislation designed to further a political vendetta by one party uncomfortable with being scrutinised by our investigative programs is not good policy-making,” she said in a speech delivered to the ABC Friends Public Conference dinner in Sydney last Friday.

Leaked internal ABC documents from 2013 showed Q&A host Tony Jones was paid an annual salary of $355,789, while 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales was paid $280,400.

Morning radio presenter Jon Faine and News 24 host Virginia Trioli are also likely to figure among the top earners.


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Newcastle Rugby League: Western Suburbs utility James Elias pushes for World Cup start with Lebanon

CEDARS: World Cup-bound James Elias scoring a try for Western Suburbs last month. Picture: Jonathan CarrollThree weeks ago James Elias was playing for Western Suburbs in the Newcastle Rugby League grand final.
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Later this month the 23-year-old from Corlettewill take tothe sport’s biggest international stage.

Elias was on Thursday officially announced inLebanon’s 24-man World Cup squad, coached by Brad Fittler and captained by Robbie Farrah, and will on Saturday play a trial game to press his case for selection in Tests against France, England and .

The Cedars tacklenon-tournament playing Niue atLeichhardt Oval ahead of their October 29 opener in Canberra.

“You can brush the cobwebs off, maybe get a chance to impress a bit and hopefully work your way into the side,” Elias said.

Elias, who played most of the year in Wests’second-row, said he expected to line up in the centres for Lebanon but would find out more detail during the team’s final training runon Friday night.

“Based on training so far that’s where I’ll probably be,” Elias said.

“I played a few games at centre for Wests this year and I’m normally on the edge somewhere so it doesn’t really make too much difference for me.I’m just looking forward to it all.”

Elias said recentthree-hour commutes from Port Stephens to Concordthree times a weekweremade worthwhile when hearing his name read outalongside NRL players such as Farrah, Mitchell Moses and Tim Mannah.

“I’m very honoured and proud,” he said.

The Nelson Bay junior said he would put aside the disappointment of the Rosellas’ 24-6 loss to Macquarie in the 2017 decider at McDonald Jones Stadium and refocus on the job at hand.

“It would have been better to end on a better note with Wests but this is obviously totally different,” Elias said.

“It means a lot playing for my grandparents’ heritage.”

His maternal grandmother lives in Lakemba.

Outgoing Lakes captain,two-time NSW Country player of the year and former Newcastle Knights hooker Chris Adams was on Friday officially announced as Toukley Hawks coach for 2018.


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China Post owner slams nbn, Telstra after nine days with no internet

THE owner of a Newcastle post office that has been without phone and internet for nine days says he is out of pocket “thousands of dollars” and is sick of waiting.
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Post Edgeworth owner Paul Roddenby said his connection was fine until a national broadband network (nbn) technician visited on October 5 for work not requested by the shop.

“He did something, then he said he’d be back in five minutes, and he never came back. It hasn’t worked since,” Mr Roddenby said.

Since then, the Post outlet has had no phone, not internet and no answers.

The Post network operated largely online, meaning much of the regular business had been lost, he said.About 80 per cent of customers used eftpos, which was also unavailable, storemanager Jacqueline Cotton said.

“Basically everybody that wants to pay with eftpos, when they can’t they leave by slamming the door,” Ms Cotton said.

She said she was working when the nbn technician arrived on October 5, saying he had to fix a fault with the line.

“At that time everything was working fine,” Ms Cotton said. “He said there was something wrong with the line. Then he did something, said he would be back and left.”

Mr Roddenby said the problem had been passed between Telstra and nbn in the days since, all the while he was losing money.

“Telstra came and said it was nbn, the nbn guy came and said it was a problem with Telstra,” he said.

“It’s costing me thousands. They’re sending me broke.

“I’ve got to pay rent, I’ve got to pay wages, I’ve got to pay insurances, everything, and I’m not making any money.

“This is bureaucracy gone mad. They can’t just walk into the post office and shut it down with no explanation.”

An nbn spokesperson said a technician visited the property yesterday and found the matter had been resolved and no further faults were found.

“We are however aware that there are multiple lines into the property to service the specific requirements of a post office and on this basis, we have escalated this matter,” the spokesperson said.

“nbn will continue to investigate and work with the proprietor to confirm the problem is resolved in full.”

Telstra area general manager Tricia Wilson said the telco had apologised to the customer.

“This is not the experience we want for our customers,” she said. “Our technicians were unable to complete the work required to get the customer’s service back online until nbn co had fixed a fault in the network. nbn completed the work yesterday and we’ve arranged an appointment to get a technician onsite to complete the installation on Monday.”


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Newcastle District Cricket Association: University hope to keep Tom Locker Cup title defence alive against Charlestown

CLASH: University’s Colby Gallagher (left) will play his former Charlestown teammates. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers More disciplined bowling will be the catchcry from University skipper Matt Gawthrop as the Sea Dragons attempt to keep their Tom Locker Cup defence alive.
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University delivered 22 wides in last weekend’s nine-wicket loss to Hamwicks and Gawthrop knows they can’t afford to do the same if they want another shot at the silverware.

The Sea Dragons (nine points)share third spot in Pool B and on Saturday host second-placed Charlestown (14) in the third-round Newcastle District Cricket Association fixture.

It’ll be themidway point of the five-week, 40-over, one-day competition and another defeat could put University out of contention to make the November 12 final.

“We need to win tomorrow and Charlestown, who have a good young team, are off to a good start,” Gawthrop said.

“I’m really confident of us with the bat, but I just hope we can build pressure with the ball. That’s my only concern because we bowled 22 wides last week.

“We’ve worked really hard this week on our bowling and a few plans to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

University off-season recruit Colby Gallagher prepares to play against his former Charlestown teammates for the first time since changing clubs.

Another former Magpie in James Rushford misses the match with Newcastle Blasters commitments at the Regional Bash in Maitland this weekend while formCharlestown batsman Jed Dickson is also away on representative duties.

The Magpies welcome back Glenn Winsor, who was last week selected in the n under-17 squad, and gain Sri Lankan first-class all-rounderSaliya Saman.

Elsewhere in Pool B and top-of-the-table Wests (16) are at home to Hamwicks (9) at Harker Oval with Joe Price, Tom Allen, Josh Trappel and Ben Balcomb all out while Stockton-Raymond Terrace and Cardiff-Boolaroo will look to open their 2017-2018 accounts at Lynn Oval.

In Pool Aunbeaten Belmont tackle Merewether, Wallsend are minus captain Joe Price and Jacob Montgomery when they meet Newcastle City whileboth Waratah-Mayfield and Toronto are yet to register a win.


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Farmer discovered it’s a snake eat snake world at Bethanga

Farmer discovered it’s a snake eat snake world LUNCHTIME: A brown snake eating a black snake on a Bethanga farm. Pictures: John Northey
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LUNCHTIME: A brown snake eating a black snake on a Bethanga farm. Pictures: John Northey

LUNCHTIME: A brown snake eating a black snake on a Bethanga farm. Pictures: John Northey

TweetFacebookAfter years on the farm it takes a bit for nature to impress John Northey but on Thursdayhe witnessed a sight that stopped him in his tracks –a brown snake munching ona black snake.

John Northey said he doesn’t think he’ll ever seen anything like it again and was inspired to snap some photos of the encounter to ensure his mates didn’t think he was telling tall tales.

“I was walking along on foot with my two dogs when we came across him,” the farmer from north-east Victoria said.

“He was halfway through it by the look of it.But I couldn’t tell you how long the other half was.”

Snakes are common on his property outside Bethanga, mostly getting along with his dogs, sheep and cattle, Mr Northey said.

While snakes might be a familiar sight, he said he never thought he’d see them consuming each other.

“I’ve heard of it before,” he said.

“My father used to say if you have a black snake in your hay shed it’d eat a brown snake –but this was the other way round.

“I just thought it was something different, something you don’t see everyday.”

Mr Northey said he was careful to keep his dogs at bay, but the snake had no interest in anything but his meal.

Six minutes after coming across the scene, the snake finished his meal and slithered off.

Mr Northey said coming into snake season it’s important people were aware of their presence.

“Don’t worry about them and they won’t worry about you, I don’t worry as long as I see them before they see me,” he said.

“We’ve got 600 sheep up the hill and hundreds of cows and we don’t lose anything to snakes, it’s rare.

“Some people stress but I believe if you leave them alone they won’t hurt, just don’t try to tackle them.”

Senior Scientist from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Nick Clemann said snakes were out of winter hibernation and people should exercise caution.

“It is rare for these snakes to bite people, however they are all dangerously venomous,” he said.

“Be aware that snakes may be around, and be informed on how to react to them.”

DEWLP recommends:

If you see a snake – keep calm and try to move yourself, anyone with you and your pets away from the snakeNever touch or attempt to capture or hurt snakes – instead call DELWPon 136 186 for further advice, or call a licensed snake catcher if the snake cannot remain where it has been foundHave a spring clean – clean up around the house and cut lawns regularly – snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, or building materialsUndertake first aid training, ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten, call 000 immediatelySnakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, kill or harm them. Bites can occur when people try to kill snakes.Sourced from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and PlanningThe Border Mail


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The gas bill that went from $1500 to $4.30

A small business charged more than $1500 for what turned out to be just over $4 in usage.
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A hearing-impaired pensioner in shock at receiving a $2224 bill, more than five times her previous year’s winter gas costs.

An intellectually disabled man and his guardian hounded for payment of over-estimated bills, then unwittingly moved onto an unaffordable repayment plan.

These are just a sample of the dozens of complaints submitted to Fairfax Media by readers in response to a story on a Brisbane couple who received a gas bill of more almost $5000 for their Melbourne investment property.

The most common gripes are often inextricably linked: unexpectedly large bills calculated using an estimate, and a failure to document the customer’s actual usage by reading the meter.

While bills are issued by gas suppliers – such as AGL, Alinta or Origin Energy, for example – they are calculated using information collected by meter readers on behalf of energy distributors – companies such as Jemena, n Gas Networks, Multinet or SP AusNet Gas. ‘This can send you bust’

Sam Borazio recently opened a coin laundry in the south-east Melbourne suburb of Bentleigh.

Sam Borazio at his coin laundry. Photo: Paul Jeffers

He received two gas bills while he was still setting up the business, before he had even hooked up the appliances and started using the fuel.

“My last two gas bills have been estimated,” Mr Borazio said.

“They were ridiculously high. When I enquired with my gas company, Origin, I was told that the meter reader could not access the gas meter because the gate was locked.”

Yet he does not have a gate at the premises. Instead, the “very large” gas meter sits next to the front door of the business, which is open from 6am to 10pm, seven days a week.

The gas meter in Mr Borazio’s laundrette. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Origin then asked him to take a photograph of the gas meter to show the reading and send it to them, he says.

“I told them to send out a meter reader. I believe, to cut costs, they use ‘the gate was locked’ excuse to justify sending a ridiculously high, estimated bill.

“In turn, this tactic will force you to contact them in the hope you could send a photograph of your meter. This way they don’t have to send out a meter reader.

“Utility companies [are] using their customers as cheap labour to provide a service we already pay for in our bills.”

On Tuesday night, after months of back and forth, he received a message from Origin: “They adjusted the gas bill to $4.30,” he said.

“They would have expected the payment upfront if I hadn’t queried it. For a small business, something like this can send you bust.”

Asked about Mr Borazio’s case, an Origin spokesman said: “As a retailer, Origin does not read gas meters, but we do work with customers and network businesses to help resolve issues when they occur.

“Wherever … possible, we expect to receive timely and accurate meter reads from network businesses from which to bill our customers.” ‘I had to scream at them to stop’

Penelope McEncroe is the legal guardian of Paul Krieger, 38, from Forest Hill in Melbourne’s east.

Mr Krieger, who has cerebral palsy, was living with his mother Beverley Krieger until her death in February 2016.

Ms McEncroe is a long-time friend of the family – “His mother was like a mother to me,” she says.

She has been Mr Krieger’s advocate for the past 15 years and was also executor of his mother’s estate.

She began calling companies to notify them of Mrs Krieger’s death, close her accounts, and arrange for any outstanding payments to be made from her estate once probate was settled.

Most companies agreed to do so, she says, and referred her to an in-house bereavement department to make such an arrangement.

“All of the other services I called said I can wait for probate, park her bill, and then set it up in [Paul’s] name.”

Her experience with AGL was different. “They ignored that and said [Paul] was responsible for the bill. But I said the person responsible for the bill is dead.”

AGL then repeatedly called Mr Krieger, who is unable to speak on the phone but has a mobile for security reasons.

They also phoned Ms McEncroe, both in person and with “robo calls”, she says. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},”#pez_iframe_tipstar_602″);

“They made a stressful period even more stressful,” Ms McEncroe says, the anger and frustration rising in her voice as she speaks.

“The constant robocalls and [requests] for money that you don’t even owe – I can’t tell you the stress that it causes.

“Originally they were ringing his phone. I had to scream at them, basically, to stop calling his phone because he can’t talk to you.

“They hassled the crap out of me and him. He had no comprehension. Then we started to get massive bills.”

Ms McEncroe says AGL closed Mrs Krieger’s mother’s account and opened one in Mr Krieger’s name. He was issued bills based on an estimate calculated on past usage – which was significantly higher when his mother was living there with him – rather than a meter reading of actual usage.

“I can’t even see on the bill where it says it’s an estimate,” she says. (Companies are required by law to state on a bill if it is based on an estimate rather than a meter reading).

She says Mr Krieger, who is on a disability pension, was put on a repayment plan of more than $700 a quarter without his or her knowledge, until a letter arrived detailing the dates on which payments were to be made.

An AGL spokeswoman said there was no outstanding amount on the account of Mr Krieger’s deceased mother. She said the calls AGL had made previously were in relation to Mr Krieger’s own account.

AGL has since determined that the estimates on his account were above his actual usage.

“AGL has processes in place when we are notified an account holder has died and we understand that the passing of a family member is very upsetting and finalising an estate can be stressful, so we have a simple system to help customers sort out their energy account as quickly as possible either by phone or online.

“Our customer representatives work with the customer to close the account or transfer it to another account holder if energy supply is still required. Our review indicates that in this example, this process was followed successfully.

“AGL takes an inclusive approach in working with customers who have a disability to ensure our resolutions and payment plans are appropriate to their individual circumstances.” ‘It’s distressing’

The 72-year-old female pensioner, who lives in the NSW Southern Highlands and asked not to be named, said she complained to AGL after receiving a bill in the post last Friday for $2224.

Before this, her highest bill had been for $590, the previous winter.

The woman said she had complained a number of times in recent years after meter readers refused to record the actual usage at her semi-rural property, as she had a dog, even though it was kept securely in the back yard, away from the gas meter at the side of her property.

“I’m deaf, so I wear hearing aids and I lipread,” she said. “When I call the call centre I have trouble hearing.

“It’s distressing and I can see how many people say ‘Look, I’ll just pay it’.”

The woman said her daughter had complained to AGL on her behalf, who had offered an extension in payment until the matter could be investigated.

She has since decided to switch energy suppliers after experiencing what she describes as years of frustration.

An AGL spokeswoman said the company had contacted the customer’s daughter to apologise for the experience she described.

She said the distributor had not read the meter since March 2015 due to the presence of a dog at the property. Once the meter was read last month, it showed that the true usage was significantly higher than the estimates issued over the past two years. ???

Complaints about estimated gas bills rose by 11 per cent in the 2015-16 financial year, according to the Victorian Energy Ombudsman’s latest annual report.

Billing cases made up 41 per cent of the ombudsman’s work that year, compared with 45 per cent in 2014-15.

The overall number of complaints to the ombudsman about gas cases dropped 18 per cent in 2015-16 to 10,715.

High bills were still the most common source of complaints (3663), followed by error (2326), back billing (2144), tariffs (1593) and estimation (1106).

In NSW there were 5379 gas cases in 2016-17, a decrease of 4 per cent on the previous year.

with Gina Cerasiotis


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13 flicks for a Friday night frightfest

Friday the 13th fiends for a movie-fest … yes, indeed!Superstitions … whatever! To the horror fan, Friday the 13th is a great excuse to blow the dust of a few classics, crack open a cold oneor two and celebrate all things macabre.
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It could be argued the date is synonymous with the film genre, thanks to Sean Cunningham’s 1980 classic which claimed the date as its title.

It may not have been the first of the slasher flicks, but Friday the 13th set the platform for one of the genres most revered creations, Jason Voorhees, and offered a blueprint for a slew of immitators. (Note – Jason steps up to the killer plate in the sequel. Mrs Voorhees is the maniac in the franchise debut).

Needless to say, the inclusion of at least one Voorhees flick show be mandatory if you are planning a Friday the 13th movie marathon.

While considering the marathon concept, here’s 13 flicks I’m considering for tonight.

1. Freddy Vs Jason (2003) Jason and Freddy cross paths.

What’s not to love about a flick that brings together two of modern horror’s greatest villains – the above-mentioned Jason Voorhees and the razor-fingered dream terrorist Freddy Krueger.

There’s plenty of thrills along the way to an epic showdown which is worth the price of admission on its own. The only problem with this one is picking a side!

2. The Evil Dead (1981) When the Evil Dead come to play it’s not pretty.

“We’re gonna get ya, we’re gonna get ya” – does it get any better than possessed twenty-somethings trying to take a bite out of each other? No! The Evil Dead may not have the greatest CG effects, but what it boasts in atmosphere, scares and innovative camera work, more than makes amends.

This is the film that gave birth to a genuine legend of the B-movie, Bruce Campbell, in the lead role of Ash – the one handed king of deadite slayers and all things groovy.

3. Halloween (1978) There’s only one Michael Myers … thank God!

Without doubt my favourite horror film of all time, and yes, I shall be watching it again on halloween itself.

Michael Myers is, in my humble opinion, the perfect screen evil – silent, expressionless, merciless and absofrickenlutely scary.

John Carpenter truly produced a gem in this beast, which features steller performances from the great Donald Pleasance and a credible debut from Jame Lee Curtis.

4. Hellraiser (1987) Pinhead may just be the ultimate punk, replacing safety pins with nine inch nails.

Clive Barker’s trippy journey into the outer realms where flesh is but a plaything.

Doug Bradley is sensational as “Pinhead” the leader of the Cenobites – a group of ghoulish beings summoned via a puzzle box.

Complete with some truly memorable scenes, this is simply a must … and closely followed by its sequel, Hellbound: Hellraiser II.

5. Dawn of the Dead (1978) Not necessarily what you want to see as your lift doors open.

The sequel to George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead, this is the definitive zombie flick.

A mammoth production, clocking in at over the two hour mark, this flick poses some serious questions about humanity and also paints a terrifying possibility for a nightmarish end of days.

The effects in this one are gut-churning, thanks to some fine latex and gut work from the legendary Tom Savini.

6. The Exorcist (1973) The ultimate battle between good and evil.

It may have been spawned more than 40 years ago but this gem from William Friedkin, based on William Peter Blatty’s novel, is ageless when it comes to scares.

The first half of the film may roll on a little slowly for some horrorheads, but the gradual turn of young Linda Blair more than makes up for it.

Few films focused on demonic possession have come close to the sheer horror depicted in The Exorcist. As the demon Pazuzu shows its real face and battles to retain control of young Regan (Blair) the true vulgarity of the crime against the soul is mortifying.

Jason Miller as Father Damien Karras is sensational – “the power of Christ compels you”.

7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II (1986) Dennis Hopper meets Leatherface with a rather familiar weapon.

While most opt for the first in the series, this follow-up from original director Tobe Hooper, is more than worth a watch or two.

This time around Leatherface and his family of cannibal nutjobs have their sights set on a radio host. After she is captured its up to a former Texas Marshall, played by Dennis Hopper, to hunt down the family and save the day.

Unlike the gritty original, this is where the franchise really got gory, with plenty of scenes to test the guts of the most seasoned gorehound.

8. The Re-Animator (1985) Dr Herbert West is not the kinda fella you’d want as your GP.

Over the top and completely sensational. Dr Herbert West, one of H.P. Lovecraft’s finest creations, is brilliantly portrayed here by Jeffrey Combs, who is bent on finding the right serem to bring the dead back to life.

The tongue-in-cheek splatterfest includes all manner of sickness, including the re-animation of the disconnected head of West’s lead adversary.

What’s not to love about a film that had the release tag line: “Herbert West has a good head on his shoulders … and another one on his desk.”

9. The Strangers (2008) Enough of the creepy sack already!!!!

Written and directed by Bryan Bertino, this flick is incredibly creepy, especially when watched in the dead of night – when you’re the only creature stirring in the house.

It’s a classic and well-used premise – a couple in an isolated house get terrorised by a group of freaks, giving way to a cat and mouse game of survival.

The difference between this and many pretenders is the fact that this genuinely freaks and leaves an incredibly unsettling feeling. Still can’t cop the bloke in the sack mask!

10. American Psycho (2000) In the game of murders and executions few are as proficient as Patrick Bateman.

Must be seen for Christian Bale’s sensational portrayal of wealthy New York investment banker and axe-wielding psychopath Patrick Bateman.

Like the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the film is much more than mere horror. It’s true horror is its jabs at the self-obssessed high-flying executive class of the American 80s.

11. Trick Or Treat (1986) Sammi’s send off is oh so fitting for a heavy metal nutjob.

Combining two of my loves – horror and heavy metal. This one focuses on loner Eddie Weinbauer who inadvertantly brings back the soul of his demonic metal idol Sammi Curr, via the playing of an unreleased album recorded before the singers ritualistic death.

With cameos by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne, this is classic 80s pulp horror with a bitching soundtrack complements of Fastway.

12. Gothic (1986) Gothic is a trippy adventure for the senses that may just leave you feeling a little seasick.

A surreal experience to say the least, Ken Russell’s take on the drug-infused happenings at Lord Byron’s lakeside chateau is a masterclass in macabre story-telling. Joining Byron is one Percy Shelley and his fiance Mary Wollstoncraft.

The film presents the notion that the weekend was the inspiration for Shelley’s classic Frankenstein.

While I love the feature in its entirity, I would watch it for the inspired performance of Timothy Spall as Dr John Polidori alone.

13. There’s Something In The Pilliga (2014) This friendly chap may in fact be the least of your worries when it comes to the Pilliga.

A local entry and a worthy watch … so much so that my words of praise can be found on the DVD box!

From the mind and directorial vision of Dane Millerd, Pilliga is a creepy first-person journey into the woods, where “not all that wanders is lost”. As far as independent releases are concerned, it’s a cracker.

Oh yeah, and it may even include a song from a certain punk band close to this editor on the soundtrack – what’s not to love.?

Hawkesbury Gazette


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Blue Love, starring Shaun Parker and Jo Stone, coming to Newcastle’s Civic Theatre October 21, 22.

LOVE OF DANCE: Shaun Parker and Jo Stone in Blue Love.
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THE idea for Blue Love, a show which looks amusingly at romantic relationships, came to Shaun Parker when he and fellow n dancer, Jo Stone, were singing along with the performers in a karaoke bar in Vienna.

“I loved the fact that so many pop songs were about love, and that some of the lyrics were so bad they were good,” Parker said.

“Everybody can relate to these lyrics. Everyone’s heart has been broken at some stage in their lives.”

So when he and Stone returned to they put together a short dance film showing a couple’s reactions to each other.

The film was shown around the world, and its popularity led to two more films.

And those, in turn, were followed by Blue Love, an hour-long stage work that shows the changing relationships between a couple, from the time of their first romantic encounter to the problems they face together in their 40s.

The show, first staged in Adelaide in 2005, has won acclaim on global tours, and is now touring n regional areas, with performances at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on October 21 and 22.

Parker and Stone are back together on stage in this production, which offers a lively mix of dance, song, music, comedy and film.

The work shows the couple, Glenn and Rhonda Flune, meeting and falling in love, going through marriage, careers, children and affairs with others, the breakdown of their relationship, and the way they handle all that.

And, given what inspired the show, the many popular songs, including Stop in the Name of Love, I Will Survive, You Sexy Thing, and Love is a Battlefield, are often used amusingly.

The show ends with a witty spoken medley of snatches of pop songs that were hits for artists including Kiss, Lennon and McCartney, and Carly Simon, and which sum up the couple’s feelings.

Projected film clips show incidents from the pair’s relationship, among them a synchronised swimming sequence in which the person in the pool is nonchalantly smoking a cigarette.

And there is a nudity scene which has audience members gasping before laughing.

Parker established his own company in 2010, and now concentrates on choreography and direction.

But he has enjoyed Blue Love so much that he keeps appearing in it.

Audience members likewise find it fun.

A young man so enjoyed the show in Brisbane that he brought his girlfriend to the season’s last night and proposed to her onstage after the show, with his proposal accepted.


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Aussie money boosting Bitcoin’s $7000 surge

n money is pouring into Bitcoin, which hit another record high on Friday, swelling the market capitalisation to $US160 billion.
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The cryptocurrency was fetching $7044 ($US5452) on Friday afternoon, up 75 per cent in under 30 days.

The extreme price recovery has emerged in the face of powerful headwinds; China recently banned Initial Coin Offerings [ICO] – a type of internet crowdfunding, Russia pledged to ban Bitcoin exchanges and there is another impending Bitcoin fork.

But a key theme underpinning the extreme price action is the widespread adoption by mainstream investors, curious at the blockchain innovation and seduced by the recent price surge.

Local exchanges are finding new customers are signing up each day, keen to turn their n dollars into cryptocurrency.

“We are getting between 100 and 200 new users every day,” says Adrian Przelozny, chief executive of Independent Reserve, a Bitcoin exchange based in Sydney.

“The amount of regulatory work in has people feeling much more confident in Bitcoin so we’re seeing all different kinds of people investing. This is a global trend too.”

He said the typical account was opened with between $20,000 and $50,000 and the company was handling up to $4 million a day.

Austrac recently amended the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terror Financing Act and outlined fines for operating unregistered Bitcoin exchanges.

And the n Securities and Investments Commission has provided guidance around ICOs, defining when cryptocurrency tokens might be considered a managed investment scheme, a derivative or even classified as shares.

“These kinds of regulations give new investors confidence,” says Mr Przelozny. “It’s slowly legitimising Bitcoin which gives the price support.”

n authorities aren’t the only ones cautiously folding Bitcoin into existing financial architecture – Japan recently issued 11 licences to Bitcoin exchanges, allowing authorities to verify accounts and enforce security mechanisms.

Bitcoin trading volumes in Japan and South Korea have surged in recent weeks, following the closure of Chinese exchanges last month and the banning of ICO activity.

Bitcoin slumped below $US3,000 at the Chinese news, prompting speculation the “bubble had burst”, but the smooth pick-up of transaction activity in Tokyo and Seoul saw the price run up to this week’s record high.

Trading in Japanese yen is now the largest Bitcoin currency pair by volume, representing 58 per cent of the market, according to Crypto Compare, a data provider.

The US dollar trade claims 27 per cent of the market by volume, followed by the Korean Won, which represents 7 per cent.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrency, the impending creation of Bitcoin Gold by the core developers of Bitcoin has investors watching carefully.

The developers are aiming to rebalance the playing field for Bitcoin mining and reduce the speed advantage enjoyed by enormous Bitcoin miners. They are changing the proof-of-work function from one that allows specialised miners to operate 1 million times more efficiently, to only 100 times, making it easier for more computers to participate.

Bitcoin Gold is the name for the duplicate blockchain that will exist once the changes are added on October 25.

Bitcoin withstood another fork in its technology back in July, when Bitcoin cash was created to spread the transaction power, enabling faster transactions.


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