Fairfax: Independent. Sometimes.

veremaAs usual, it was the race that stopped the nation. It was also the race that ended a horse’s life; though you’d be forgiven if you missed it.

The coverage of the Melbourne Cup was once again filled with festivities, but when five-year-old mare “Verema” snapped her right leg and had to be put down, cameras and commentary were directed elsewhere. Channel 7 conducted a horseback interview of a triumphant Damien Oliver, who awkwardly trotted past the green tarps obscuring the unfortunate events unfolding behind. Still no mention of the situation – but that’s no surprise.

Shortly after, Racing Victoria confirmed Verema had to be put down.

2 hours later, and 10 minutes after the last race of the day, Flemington Racecourse also shared the news.

Meanwhile, Fairfax’s The Age was silent. By 6:30 pm, The Age was running seven Melbourne Cup stories on their front page, but couldn’t find room for the horse that didn’t make it.

The Age

Even the Herald Sun, one of Rupert Murdoch’s babies, was sharing the news on their front page before 4:15 pm, albeit surrounded by a myriad of Cup propaganda.

Herald Sun

At 5:50 pm, The Age had finally confirmed the news, but only briefly in their “live blog” – well and truly by the time racegoers were removing their heels and urinating behind the fences while waiting for their train home.

liveblog

Just to be clear, I have no doubts that euthanasia was the right choice for the horse, and I’m not interested in the debate about whether horse racing is a humane or legitimate sport. My beef here is with Fairfax. There seems to be no problem breaking news regularly, but how can this delay be explained?

Perhaps The Age has some corporate interests it needs to protect.

Conspiracy theories aside, if a jockey had fallen and died during Australia’s great race, it would overshadow everything else, even the wildest of fascinators. Why is it that we choose to turn a blind eye to the animals who are the engine of this whole industry?

Oops, I believe I just answered my own question.

UPDATE @ 8:15 pm: we now have an article proper from The Age. My concern is that it still took 5 hours to create a headline for the newspaper. To my eye, it looks as though they delayed the news until well after the festivities of Cup Day concluded. If this story was withheld to protect advertising interests, it surely sends a grave message to those who rely on the paper because it prides itself on being “Independent. Always.” For this reason, I hope I’m wrong.

Winds of Change

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted on here. That’s for a number of reasons.

As expected, things got pretty crazy in South America. I will endeavour to get all of my words, photos and videos on here soon, but in the meantime here’s a quick recap.

  • After Buenos Aires, Jess and I marvelled at a bit of water cascading off 2.7 kilometres of ridge on the triple-border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The Argentines call it Cataratas del Iguazú.
  • Uruguay was briefly explored, followed by a flight up to Lima, Peru, where we made our way through that beautiful country – stopping to enjoy a breathtaking (see: 10,982 ancient stone steps) hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
  • We trudged across the border into Bolivia, where we floated on the highest lake in the world, Titicaca – just as the world was ending.
  • A very intoxicated Bolivian man drove us around Salar de Uyuni – the Bolivian Salt Flats – for three days.
  • After being abandoned for about six hours in the desert, someone picked us up and drove us to another desert (the driest on Earth) called Valle de la Luna – Valley of the Moon – where we spent our Christmas.
  • We basked in the relative luxury of Santiago, Valparaiso and Mendoza for a couple of weeks before coming back to Australia.
Riding into the sunset, and all that.

Riding into the sunset, and all that romantic stuff.

Back in Australia, I returned to work, doing about 70 hours a week to save some cash because *drumroll* I’ve finally returned to University! What’s more, I’ve moved to Newcastle, where Jess and I share a lovely house by the water.

So here I am – studying hard at the University of Newcastle. There’s a heap of news in the pipeline, but that’s all to be revealed in a post in the coming days!

The Superclásico, River Plate vs. Boca Juniors

A note to readers: I forgot to bring two memory cards, so I had to share one card between my camera and my video camera. Once the match started, I used only the video camera, and the footage is too large to upload on the internet here. I will update this with the footage once I get home.

I had always intended on making it to a Boca Juniors game, given their status as one of the biggest/most successful football clubs in the world, but when I found out that Buenos Aires’ biggest derby – the Superclásico – was being played, I had to be there. It was completely sold-out, but a guy at our hostel had 10 tickets for sale, each costing 750 pesos ($150).

Not cheap, but this was the first Superclásico Buenos Aires had witnessed in 17 months, after River were relegated to the “B” competition. By all reports, this was the game that stops the nation. We had to do it.

In the end, we had a group of about 10. The game was up in the affluent North, at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, the homeground of River Plate, the Millionarios. We caught the Subte to Belgrano, and followed the flow of fans from there to the stadium. Continue reading

Chernobyl and Pripyat

The day started with an alarm, this one at 7am. John and I were straight up and into the shower; both absolutely electric (no pun intended) with anticipation for the the day’s activities. We opened the curtains of our hotel room’s window to a stunningly clear day. Perfect for shooting photos.

We checked the clothing guidelines for the tour: no shorts, no open shoes. Damn, one place I can’t wear my thongs.

It was about 28 degrees outside, so jeans weren’t the most comfortable option but we had no other appropriate option. We walked out of the hotel and soaked in a beautiful Kiev morning. Continue reading

My Take on the LOST Series Finale

I want to preface this post by pointing out that I am a huge LOST fan. I discovered the show midway through its second season, and from there on, eagerly waited for every episode to come out so that I could download it, watch it, theorise about it, discuss it with people online (lostpedia, darkUFO), then mourn the lack of LOST for another week. What I am trying to say, is that LOST is a big deal to me.

I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone, so please, if you haven’t seen it, don’t read on. You might want to watch it one day, and this will ruin it for you.

THE REST OF THIS IS FULL OF SPOILERS Continue reading