GFC Cancelled – Happiness and Optimism returns to the world

BRITISH 1980s band Spandau Ballet are to become the latest ageing stars to hit the comeback circuit, two decades after their bitter split.

I would say that if the Communication is True, then it is just Gold news. I will be Muscle Bound and will fight Round and Round Through The Barrciades to get a Lifeline ticket to a concert. To Cut A Long Story Short, I have been Highly Strung and Confused since the Age of Blows lead to the bands breakup. It was Always In The Back Of My Mind, call it an Instinction, that there would be a Reformation.So Be Free With Your Love, and release that Big Feeling, get Swept Away and join the Parade!

(And yes – I realise that this will go down as my worst thread ever! But I do not care – you all know my love for Neil – now I can come out of the 80’s closet and rejoice!)

Flick Crit: Easy Virtue – more nasty than naughty

Latest film review at Cinema Takes is Easy Virtue: more nasty than naughty :

Jessica Biel is the best thing about this film. She plays Larita, the unwelcome addition to the English upper crust Whittaker family. Jessica hits just the right note in a version of Noel Coward’s 1925 play that seems off key in many ways. She has the look required of a rally-driving femme fatale, with strong features and typically American teeth. As well she shows the talent to make a bigger splash in the Hollywood star pool in the near future.


Monday by The Magazine Rack.


Hello, and welcome to March Monday’s Magazine rack chit chat thread.

With so much doom n’ gloom around, it’s occasionally refreshing and relaxing to just pick up a magazine and escape for a while.

When I’m traveling overseas, my favourite magazine to take on board used to be The Bulletin. It was a really good read, and it gave me an air of sophistication and intellect that was sadly lacking in those touting a copy of Who Weekly or New Idea.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course.

My hairdresser always has the most recent up-to-date issues of all the “womens’ mags,” and I must admit it’s great to flick through the covers to discover how our glorified superstars are falling to shreds due to the ravages of drugs, relentless partying and other excecces that remain beyond the grasp of us mere mortals.

Take Mickey Rourke for instance. He was once an 80’s pin-up boy actor with a great future ahead of him, only to succumb to the excesses of his generation only to reappear recently completely unrecognisable due to overdoing it just a bit with the botox.

And then there’s Michael Jackson, set to take to the stage once again to already sold out shows in London in order to salvage himself from financial ruin. To this day he maintains that he hasn’t had any plastic surgery. Fair enough. Who am I to argue? Looks completely natural to me.

Anyway, I suppose I’d better do something productive like clip my nails or somethin’..

Economic Outlook


And welcome to our beginning of the week Economic Outlook discussion forum.

This is the place where we can all discuss issues related to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the Australian economy, housing, finance and so on.

In brief, in recent news, both Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd are preparing us for the news that many of us have already concluded. Australia cannot avoid a recession. While the “stats” are yet to “officially” confirm this (they are due out at the end of this month), the signals are clear.

While there has been “modest” rallies on the Australian and US markets, these rallies have subsequently been deflated and offer little hope of a significant recovery any time soon. In addition, some economists are suggesting that we may be facing another wave of downturn. They base this premise on the fact that the economic crisis has largely, to date, affected developed nations. Once the economic crisis hits under-developed nations, then this in turn will have another negative impact on the developed nations.

Whichever way you look at it, there remains a great deal to be done to restore confidence in the world’s financial systems (particularly in the US and Europe) before any significant recovery in markets can be expected. All eyes will be on the forthcoming G20 summit and Obama’s imminent banking recovery package announcement.

Steve Keens, the Professor with a penchant for hogging the media spotlight with his constant pessimistic outlooks regarding the Australian housing market has stated that housing prices could fall as by much as 20%.

I find this kind of speculation particularly irrelevant given that prices in NSW have been stagnant or slipping since the bubble burst in 2003 (following two consecutive rate increases under the Howard Government).

We have had a 5 year period of prices deteriorating in Sydney, or at best, being maintained in some suburbs, however generally the pattern has been of decline. So why should Steve Keens view come as any sort of “revelation?”

Some commentators insist the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) is artifically maintaining a property bubble, however I would argue that the bubble burst 5 years ago.

House prices have been hit dramatically at the top end of the market in Sydney, yet remain boyuant at the low to mid range, largely due, some would suggest, to the FHOG.

Other commentators argue that NSW is still in the midst of a “housing shortage” therefore prices and property remain a sound investment, and will not suffer the negative price impacts experienced in the US. I find this view of a housing shortage to be completely unfounded, given that property prices are facing downward pressure and there is a high volume of unsold properties “on the market”.

There might be a “shortage” of “affordable” properties, however the context of record low interest rates and the FHOG are making the entry level opportunities to property ownership available to those that may have previously condsidered owning a property out of reach.

Certainly, if the figures in building approvals are to be believed, it would suggest that the FHOG is having a positive effect on the building industry and accordingly all the related industries and this is a good thing, given that the housing industry is one of our key indicators of economic performance.

However, it remains to be seen whether the FHOG will be extended after it’s July timeframe expiry date and this raises two very important issues:

1. If the FHOG continues, is it artificially encouraging first home buyers (presumably young people) into signficant debt, in an environment of unstable employment prospects and low interest rates?

2. If the FHOG ceases, will it see an immediate decline in the building industry and what will this mean for the economy and home owners?