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BBC star's heartbreaking plea after wife and daughters were killed

<p>Grief-stricken BBC racing commentator John Hunt has broken his silence after his wife and two daughters were <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/man-arrested-after-bbc-presenter-s-wife-and-children-murdered" target="_blank" rel="noopener">killed</a> during a crossbow attack. </p> <p>Carol Hunt, 61, Hannah Hunt, 28, and Louise Hunt, 25, were fatally injured at their home in North London last Tuesday, with Hertfordshire Police confirming that 26-year-old Kyle Clifford had been arrested in connection to their murders. </p> <p>Speaking to the <em><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cx825zwy2r5o" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BBC</a></em> about the devastating incident, John's friend and fellow commentator, Matt Chapman, said, "Family means more to some than others and for John, his family unit was something he absolutely adored."</p> <p>"He told me: 'Matty, the message I would tell everyone is you never know when it's going to be the last day you see your family'."</p> <p>"The message was very clear: make the most of every day because you just don't know."</p> <p>Mr Chapman said proceeds from a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-family-of-john-hunt" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">fundraiser </a>set up after the horrifying attack, which has currently raised more than $53,000 AUD, will go to John's surviving daughter, Amy. </p> <p>He said John had said his "biggest desire" was to make sure Amy had "no money worries for the rest of her life".</p> <p>"There are a lot of people, including myself, who feel helpless and would like to do something," he said.</p> <p>"John would like nothing more for Amy after these horrific events than a life that is a little less stressful, because life will never be stress-free again."</p> <p>"It's not going to take their grief away - it's not going to take the pain away or change anything - but it might help them have an easier life."</p> <p>John and Amy released a joint statement on Saturday, thanking the public for their messages of support during what they described as "an extremely difficult time for us".</p> <p>"The devastation that we are experiencing cannot be put into words," they said. </p> <p>"We would like to thank people for their kind messages and for the support we have received in recent days. These have provided great comfort to us for which we are very grateful."</p> <p>"As you can imagine, this is an extremely difficult time for us, and we need time and space to come to terms with what has happened and start the grieving process."</p> <p>As the investigation continues into the brutal deaths, police shared that they have not yet been able to speak to him as he remains in a serious condition after suffering self-inflicted wounds. </p> <p><em>Image credits: GoFundMe / Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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John Farnham celebrates his 75th birthday with family

<p>John Farnham has been snapped celebrating his 75th birthday at an intimate dinner with his closest family. </p> <p>The iconic Aussie rockstar turned 75 on Monday, and marked the occasion at a dinner out with his wife Jillian Billman, his son Robert Farnham and Robert’s wife, Melissa.</p> <p>Melissa, who married Robert just months ago, took to social media to celebrate the occasion.</p> <p>“Happy birthday Papa J. Looking forward to making many more happy memories with you guys,” she shared.</p> <p>Robert also posted a sweet image of the “birthday boy” as the pair enjoyed some time relaxing with their feet up.</p> <p>Rob also shared another photo of him and his father to mark the milestone birthday, with the photo showing the father and son duo smiling at each other at Rob's wedding.</p> <p>This is the second time Farnham has been seen on social media since his extensive surgery to remove a tumour from his mouth, resulting in a reconstructing of his jaw. </p> <p>John was recently seen at Robert and Melissa's <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/john-farnham-steps-out-at-son-s-wedding-for-first-time-since-jaw-surgery" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wedding</a>, as the 74-year-old icon looked remarkably well and largely unchanged since his challenging surgery in August 2022.</p> <p>In the heartwarming photos shared on Instagram, John posed alongside his son, both beaming with happiness, as John looked dapper in a black suit with a bronze tie and matching pocket square. </p> <p>The joyous occasion was beautifully captured in a series of family photos, including John's wife, Jill, and other close family members.</p> <p>Fans flooded the comments with heartfelt messages, celebrating the happy family and John's remarkable recovery. "Such a beautiful father and son pic," one fan wrote, while another added, "Congratulations to you both. It's so nice to see your Dad, he looks fantastic! Love to you all."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Daryl Somers receives unique gift at John Blackman's emotional funeral

<p>The who's-who of Australian TV have turned out to farewell John Blackman at an emotional funeral in Melbourne. </p> <p><em>Hey Hey it's Saturday</em> host Daryl Somers led the tributes to his late friend, reflecting on their decades-long friendship and side-by-side career. </p> <p>"He was so wonderful and he was so sharp and saw humour in everything. John was an optimist and we loved him so much,” Somers said.</p> <p>During the heartfelt memorial, Somers received a precious gift from Blackman's wife of 52 years Cecile, who gifted him the famous Dickie Knee puppet to the remaining <em>Hey Hey It's Saturday</em> stars.</p> <p>John Blackman's co-stars from across three decades of Australian TV were also in attendance, with Wilbur Wilde, Red Symonds, Eddie McGuire and Nine's Livinia Nixon among mourners.</p> <p>"There was a whole lotta love in the room, for him, for everything that he's done for everybody, for the kindness he's shown everyone," Nixon said.</p> <p>Mourners reflected on his quick wit and most famous character Dickie Knee, who took the mickey out of some of the biggest stars of the time.</p> <p>"A very sad day though it's kind of a very special time, all that time in variety. And another one's gone," Entertainer Rhonda Burchmore said.</p> <p>Some of Blackman's old radio colleagues also paid tribute, with veteran 3AW presenter Philip Brady saying, "We became best buddies a long, long time ago and had so many laughs together over the years."</p> <p>"And I'll be forever grateful to John for the humour he brought into our lives. He really enriched our lives and we are poorer for his passing."</p> <p>At the time of his death, Blackman had been suffering bone and skin cancer, and had undergone major surgeries to control the disease. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

Caring

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John Farnham steps out at son's wedding for first time since jaw surgery

<p>Beloved Aussie rock legend John Farnham exuded pride and joy as he stepped out in style at his son Robert's wedding on the weekend. After enduring extensive surgery due to oral cancer, Farnham, now cancer-free, appeared in high spirits at the intimate wedding of his oldest son and his new wife, Melissa.</p> <p>The 74-year-old icon looked remarkably well and largely unchanged since his challenging surgery in August 2022. In the heartwarming photos shared on Instagram, John posed alongside his son, both beaming with happiness. John looked dapper in a black suit with a bronze tie and matching pocket square, while Rob opted for a stylish white tux with black accents.</p> <p>The joyous occasion was beautifully captured in a series of family photos, including John's wife, Jill, and other close family members. Fans flooded the comments with heartfelt messages, celebrating the happy family and John's remarkable recovery. "Such a beautiful father and son pic," one fan wrote, while another added, "Congratulations to you both. It's so nice to see your Dad, he looks fantastic! Love to you all."</p> <p>The bride, Melissa, looked stunning in an off-the-shoulder ivory gown, posing for romantic photos with her new husband against the lush backdrop of their wedding venue. Rob's touching caption on Instagram encapsulated the joy of the day: "Shared the happiest moment with my favourite person in the universe and she said I do. Melissa, my life is forever better that you’re apart of it. You looked radiant, beautiful and elegant. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us and I’m truly honoured to have you by my side as my wife for life❤️."</p> <p>The couple had announced their engagement in November 2022, with Rob expressing his excitement about their future together: "My best friend and love of my life said yes to marrying me. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you."</p> <p>John Farnham's presence at the wedding was particularly special, as it marked a year since his successful battle against cancer. In August 2023, Farnham revealed he was cancer-free, a triumph after numerous surgeries and a challenging recovery process. In a heartfelt statement, he shared his gratitude: "It's been a year since my first surgery and to be honest, I've lost count as to how many other procedures there have been since then. But, I'm home now and I'm a very grateful and happy man. I'm sitting here in my living room lapping up the attention from my beautiful wife, Jill, my boys Rob and James, and my mini Schnauzer, Edmund."</p> <p>Throughout his recovery, John's family provided updates on his progress. His son Robert shared that his father was "doing fantastic" after a 12-hour surgery for throat cancer and was even dancing a little and walking his dog regularly. "He's really, really happy. He's doing really good, he's super positive," Robert said in an interview.</p> <p>While it is unlikely that John will perform again after his extensive surgery, the love and joy he shared at his son's wedding are a beautiful reminder of life's precious moments.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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"No fan of mine": Kyle Sandilands shocked on air by brutal John Blackman audio

<p>Kyle Sandilands was paying tribute to his “childhood hero” <em>Hey Hey it's Saturday </em>star John Blackman on-air Thursday morning, when he was interrupted by an audio of the late star trashing him in a recent interview. </p> <p>Speaking on the Kyle and Jackie O Show, the shock jock said he was upset when he learned of <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/australia-is-a-sadder-place-shock-as-john-blackman-s-death-confirmed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Blackman's passing</a>, but before he was able to elaborate on how the radio star was his childhood hero, his manager Bruno Bouchet interjected and told him about Blackman's brutal review. </p> <p>In a May interview on the <em>You Cannot Be Serious</em> podcast, Blackman said: “Why are we giving these two publicity hungry, oxygen thieves, waste of oxygen. The man [Sandilands] is a no talent. He doesn’t have a voice for radio, by the way.”</p> <p>Footage of Sandilands listening to the audio for the first time was shared by <em>KIIS FM</em> on their Instagram stories, and both he and Henderson were shocked. </p> <p>“I’m very confused,” Sandilands said, before coming to the conclusion that  Blackman wasn’t a fan of him because he’s not as polished as “old school” media veterans.</p> <p>“What’s happened here is old school media, TV, radio, newspapers. They’re all fake,” he said.</p> <p>“They pretend everything’s wonderful. You never really know the real person." </p> <p>He then elaborated and said that he and Henderson try to keep it real with their listeners. </p> <p>“We don’t pretend it’s a wonderful day. Even though it’s p*ssing with rain and snowing or whatever. We don’t pretend. We say, ‘Oh, what a s**t day.’ We’re just a different breed.</p> <p>“Oh well, that’s one hero of mine that’s dead. No fan of mine.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Music

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Daryl Somers breaks silence after John Blackman's tragic passing

<p><em>Hey Hey it's Saturday</em> star Daryl Somers has broken his silence after the sudden death of his friend and colleague John Blackman. </p> <p>Somers and Blackman worked together on the Nine Network variety show for decades, with Blackman becoming a household name for voicing the cheeky and loveable stick puppet Dickey Knee. </p> <p>John tragically <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/australia-is-a-sadder-place-shock-as-john-blackman-s-death-confirmed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">died</a> at the age of 76 on Wednesday, after a lengthy battle with cancer and undergoing numerous operations on his face and skull to remove cancerous tumours.</p> <p>Now, Daryl Somers has paid tribute to Blackman, reflecting on the hilarious times they spent together. </p> <p>“He had a God-given talent to make people laugh, especially me,” Daryl Somers told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-05/john-blackman-hey-hey-its-saturday-star-dies/103937036" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABC</a></em>.</p> <p>The TV host said he was “devastated” by the death of such a “beloved friend”.</p> <p>“He used to say his mission on Hey Hey was to break me up, and at times I’d be crying with uncontrollable laughter,” Somers said.</p> <p>“Sadly, today, I’m just crying.”</p> <p>Channel Nine and 3AW confirmed the entertainer's death on Wednesday, describing him in a statement as "a cherished voice in Australian media".</p> <p>"John, renowned as the iconic voiceover artist for 'Hey Hey It's Saturday,' brought joy and laughter into countless homes every weekend," the statement said.</p> <p>"His distinctive voice and quick wit became a hallmark of the show, endearing him to generations of viewers."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine Network </em></p>

Caring

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“Australia is a sadder place": Shock as John Blackman's death confirmed

<p>Australian radio legend and star of <em>Hey Hey it's Saturday</em> John Blackman has passed away at the age of 76. </p> <p>Entertainment reporter Peter Ford broke the sad news on <em>The Morning Show</em> on Wednesday morning, saying, “Australia is a sadder place with this news."</p> <p>"John was an incredible man. In the past years, he has put up a huge cancer fight,” Ford said.</p> <p>Blackman had been battling cancer for many years, undergoing numerous operations on his face and skull to remove cancerous tumours.</p> <p>John’s was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018 after visiting his doctor about a seemingly minor blemish on his chin, and he was shocked to learn he had an aggressive form of skin cancer in his mouth and jaw.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C70CkAEORnX/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C70CkAEORnX/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Sunrise (@sunriseon7)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In a 12-hour operation, John’s lower jaw and teeth were removed, and his jaw was replaced with a part of his thigh bone.</p> <p>“It’s like I ploughed into a tree and my life changed forever,” he told the <em>Herald Sun</em> at the time. </p> <p>Blackman became a household name after his time on <em>Hey Hey It's Saturday</em>, and was known and loved for voicing the cheeky stick puppet Dickie Knee. </p> <p>John is survived by his wife Cecile and their adult daughter. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Seven</em></p>

Caring

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Yoko Ono selling John Lennon's New York home for first time in 50 years

<p>For the first time in 50 years, the house where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived in New York City has hit the market.</p> <p>The brick, bluestone and terra cotta structure at 496 Broome St. was the first home the pair bought together in New York City before they moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. </p> <p>Yoko Ono has held onto the property since she first bought it with the late Beatles member, and has now listed it with her son with JLL Real Estate, for an asking price of $US5.5 million ($8.23m AUD).</p> <p>“The building on Broome St. was sort of like a base for their artistic ventures,” Philip Norman, author of “John Lennon: The Life,” told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/21/real-estate/yoko-ono-lists-former-nyc-home-for-5-5m/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>. “Bank Street was their salon, where people could just walk in.”</p> <p>First built in 1885, the two-storey building has an open-plan format, with a gallery-like ground floor space with 14.4-foot-high ceilings, an open kitchen and a lofted bedroom.</p> <p>On the second floor, there’s a live-work space and a recording studio.</p> <p>“496 Broome St. is both a unique piece of New York history and popular culture and a prime investment opportunity for the right buyer,” said Paul Smadbeck, who holds the listing.</p> <p>“Versatile zoning and its location in one of the city’s most desirable and trendsetting neighbourhoods offers an exciting opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind property.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Mediapunch / JLL Real Estate </em></p>

Real Estate

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John Travolta's heartbreaking tribute years after losing wife and son

<p>John Travolta has shared a heartbreaking post commemorating his late wife, Kelly Preston, and son, Jett Travolta. </p> <p>Jett was only 16 when he passed away while on vacation with his family in the Bahamas in 2009. He had a seizure at the time and hit his head on a bathtub at their vacation home. </p> <p>His wife Kelly died in July 2020 aged 57, two years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. </p> <p>John took to Instagram to share a throwback photo of their family, on what would've been Jett's 32nd birthday over the weekend. </p> <p>“Happy birthday my Jetty — not a day goes by where you’re not with me,” he wrote.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5sBcYKN9ub/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5sBcYKN9ub/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by John Travolta (@johntravolta)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The post gained 400,000 likes with fans and fellow celebrities rushing to the comments to share their support. </p> <p>“Will never forget him, or Kelly,” wrote actress and good friend Rita Wilson.</p> <p>“Always in your heart forever and ever,” added actress Kristin Chenoweth.</p> <p>“And you will see him and her again.”</p> <p>“They are together and some day you’ll all be together again. Happy heavenly birthday Jett,” wrote one follower.</p> <p>"Happy Birthday to Jett and beautiful Kelly...two angels watching over you and family," added another. </p> <p>The couple had two other children together — daughter Ella, 24, and son Benjamin, 13.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram/ Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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"Finally felt like the right time": John Farnham's huge announcement

<p>John Farnham has announced his triumphant return one year on from his cancer surgery, sharing the news of a highly anticipated project. </p> <p>The 74-year-old Aussie music icon is set to tell his story in his own words with the release of his own candid memoir titled <em>The Voice Inside</em>. </p> <p>The autobiography, which will be released on October 30th, is co-written by Poppy Stockwell, who is the award-winning writer and director of the critically acclaimed biopic Finding the Voice.</p> <p>The book documents Farnham's early life and stardom growing up in Melbourne in the 1960s, to his comeback 1986 album <em>Whispering Jack</em>.</p> <p>It will recall the highs and lows of fame, including when his stellar career stalled, record companies turned their backs and he faced financial ruin.</p> <p><em>The Voice Inside</em> will also detail his shocking diagnosis of mouth cancer in 2022 which turned his life upside down. </p> <p>The book was announced on Farnham's Facebook page, with a statement sharing how he felt it was "the right time" to tell his story. </p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjohnfarnham%2Fposts%2Fpfbid02tZwog7QbEW6AxDUxNMp3Kn5msAghjd9yUQe56optBdyX8ZL1DQFm4qvpUYsSjo2Rl&show_text=true&width=500" width="500" height="728" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>"Having been asked many times, it finally felt like the right time to sit down and tell my story," he said.</p> <p>"It is a very strange feeling looking back on my life, on the good and the bad, and now that I have started, it is all rushing back. I hope the book engages and entertains, because that’s what so much of my life has been about."</p> <p>The book will "chart John Farnham’s very personal and public journey, told in his own words and with his inimitable humour, insight, and humility."</p> <p>The post was quickly flooded with comments from fans eager to get their hands on the memoir, while many shared their well wishes as he continues his lengthy recovery from cancer. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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John Farnham’s son reveals secret health battle

<p dir="ltr">John Farnham’s youngest son has shared the details of a private health battle that he was navigating while his famous father was recovering from throat cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">James Farnham revealed that he underwent “major surgery” that “saved my life” in 2023 to deal with diverticular disease.</p> <p dir="ltr">Taking to Instagram on Tuesday night, Farnham shared a post-surgery photo and some symptoms of diverticulitis to raise awareness of the condition. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Last year, just as Dad was recovering from his cancer surgeries, I also had major surgery to deal with diverticular disease that had caused perforations in my bowel,” he began.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The surgery saved my life but it has left me with a stoma — a surgically created opening in the abdomen that allows me to poo... into a temporary colostomy bag.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“With any luck, I will be receiving my reversal surgery in the next couple (of) months.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He said with hindsight he was ready to share his story, being able to see that the “whole thing may have been preventable”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was totally shocked to learn how many people (including young people, I can’t stress that enough) receive this diagnosis,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Coming off the back of what felt like a torturous period that left us emotionally exhausted.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was one thing after another, and when I noticed something felt wrong I kept ignoring it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“While I felt unwell for a while the whole thing happened very quickly in the end and I didn’t have much time to comprehend what was happening.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“After the surgery, I dealt with fear, isolation, disgust, paranoia and something I’ve never had before — body image issues.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve had to go through a huge psychosocial adjustment.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Farnham said that his main symptom was abdominal pain that he experienced for months and “kept ignoring”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“After a few days of complaining ... arguing with my partner Tessa, she finally said, ‘enough is enough!’”</p> <p dir="ltr">Upon more checks, Farnham was diagnosed with diverticulitis that had perforated in his bowel.</p> <p dir="ltr">His situation soon became “an emergency situation” and was “absolutely terrified” when it came time to have his surgery.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I had a rough recovery period and it took three weeks before I was able to go home.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Farnham said that the “reality was now setting in ... this was my life now.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was almost too much for me to comprehend. Thankfully I had support.”</p> <p dir="ltr">James credited his partner Tessa who comforted him through his health journey, and helped him come to terms with his new reality. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Flash forward to now, I’ve figured out my ways and how to deal with everything and I now feel more comfortable.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m telling people and making jokes about it. Maybe this is because I know it’s temporary, but it’s really changed the way I deal with things, especially the way I view my health.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Listening to my body and respecting it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">For his birthday,  Farnham requested donations to <a href="https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/online-donation">Bowel Cancer Australia</a>, <a href="https://crohnsandcolitis.org.au/how-to-help/donate/">Crohn’s &amp; Colitis Australia</a> and <a href="https://cabrinifoundation.com.au/donate/lets-beat-bowel-cancer/">Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer</a> to help raise awareness for bowel disease.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 36-year-old’s health battle took place as his father, singer John Farnham was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/john-farnham-s-sons-share-latest-health-update">recovering</a> from throat cancer, undergoing a 12-hour surgery where doctors removed a tumour from his mouth before reconstructing his jaw in a second major operation.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

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Vale ‘sister suffragette’: how Glynis Johns became a pop-culture icon in the story of votes for women

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ana-stevenson-196768">Ana Stevenson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lindsay-helwig-1500979">Lindsay Helwig</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Glynis Johns, most famous for her role as the suffragette mother Mrs Winifred Banks in Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964), passed away last week at the age of 100.</p> <p>A fourth-generation performer who made her <a href="https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-04-17-ca-126-story.html">stage debut</a> in London when she was only three weeks old, Johns inherited her Welsh father’s love of acting. She appeared with him in The Halfway House (1944) and The Sundowners (1960) and argued for the establishment of a Welsh National Theatre <a href="https://twitter.com/huwthomas/status/791367871242862592">as early as 1971</a>.</p> <p>Johns’s career spanned eight decades in Hollywood, Broadway and the British stage and screen. As Palm Springs’s Desert Sun <a href="https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&amp;d=DS19630426.2.50">reported</a> in 1962, her “husky voice and big blue eyes” were her hallmarks. But it was her portrayal of Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins which would make her a pop culture icon.</p> <h2>A childhood inspiration</h2> <p>Feminist activists and scholars often describe the Mrs Banks character as a childhood inspiration.</p> <p>As feminist communications scholar Amanda Firestone <a href="https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/Resist_and_Persist/s5HiDwAAQBAJ">reflects</a> on the film: "I especially loved […] Mrs Banks (Glynis Johns), who marches around the family home, putting Votes for Women sashes onto the housekeeper, cook, and the (departing) nanny. Of course, as a kid, I had no idea that the people and events embedded in the song’s lyrics were actual parts of history, but I did find a kind of joy in a vague notion of women’s empowerment."</p> <p>Set in 1910, the symbolism associated with Mrs Banks references the history of the British suffragettes. Johns’ musical showstopper, Sister Suffragette, directly refers to <a href="https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/the-pankhursts-politics-protest-and-passion/">Emmeline Pankhurst</a>, who founded the militant Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903. In 1906 British newspapers <a href="https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020859007003239">coined</a> the moniker “suffragette” to mock the union.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K0SDECwO54E?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>This ambivalence continued into the 1960s. Historian Laura E. Nym Mayhall <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/4316653">argues</a> that American concern over the impact of women’s public roles on their domestic responsibilities influenced the film’s depiction of Mrs Banks, especially her movement from a public suffragette back into an involved mother at the film’s end.</p> <p>For Mayhall, the figure of the suffragette emerges in popular culture as “a symbol of modernity”: a harbinger of democracy and political progress whose characterisation would elide ongoing struggles such as the civil rights movement.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=949&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=949&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=949&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1193&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1193&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/568335/original/file-20240108-23-tf6kwm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1193&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">This 1909 Dunston Weiler Lithograph Co. anti-suffrage postcard offers resonances of Mrs Banks and her household staff in Mary Poppins.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://thesuffragepostcardproject.omeka.net/items/show/44">Catherine H. Palczewski Postcard Archive/The Suffrage Postcard Project</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>While some see the character of the suffragette mother as <a href="https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/Mary_Poppins/BLujEAAAQBAJ">supporting</a> women’s votes during the 1910s and women’s liberation during the 1960s, other readings of the film suggest a more satirical representation of the suffrage movement. Some historians even find <a href="https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-6923118">resonances</a> of anti-suffrage propaganda in Mrs Banks, including in her usage of her Votes for Women sash as the tail of a kite in the film’s final scene.</p> <p>Looking back at film reviews offers insight into how audiences received this character – and, by extension, Johns as an actor. American studies scholar Lori Kenschaft <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Girls_Boys_Books_Toys.html?id=Or13vhnA_W4C">suggests</a> that film critics who saw Mrs Banks as a “nutty suffragette mother” reiterated popular stereotypes about suffragettes and feminists being “mentally unbalanced”.</p> <p>Such stereotypes may have been reinforced by the film’s depiction of motherhood and the nuclear family. Involved parenting emerged as the bedrock of the 1960s nuclear family, an idea both supported and actively promoted by Walt Disney in both his films and his theme parks, as <a href="https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/Children_Childhood_and_Musical_Theater/XHrRDwAAQBAJ">argued</a> by American musicologist William A. Everett.</p> <p>As Mrs Banks, Johns embodied the transition from the distant, uninvolved parenting of the British middle-class in the earlier 20th century to the involved mother who facilitated the stable nuclear family. As women’s studies scholar Anne McLeer <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/4316893">argues</a>, Mary Poppins, through Johns’ portrayal of Mrs Banks, demonstrated the liberated woman of the 1960s could be contained within the nuclear family: the bedrock for a Western capitalist economy.</p> <h2>A long career</h2> <p>Beyond Mary Poppins, her most prominent role was in Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical A Little Night Music (1973).</p> <p>Johns originated the character of ageing actress Desiree Armfeldt, becoming the first to sing Send in the Clowns. As she <a href="https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-04-17-ca-126-story.html">reflected</a> of the classic in 1991: "It’s still part of me. And when you’ve got a song like Send in the Clowns, it’s timeless."</p> <p>Sondheim composed this song with Johns’s famously husky voice in mind. Yet some were less enamoured with her performance. One 1973 theatre critic <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/3850619">described</a> Johns as “a now somewhat overage tomboy, kittenish and raspy-voiced, precise and amusing in her delivery of lines but utterly, utterly unseductive.”</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OAl-EawVobY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>A veteran of stage and screen, Johns appeared in more than 60 films and 30 plays. In 1998, she was honoured with a Disney Legends Award for her role as Mrs Banks. Johns also received critical acclaim throughout her career, including a Laurel Award for Mary Poppins and a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for A Little Night Music.</p> <p>Regardless of how incongruous her status as a “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-05/glynis-johns-mary-poppins-send-in-the-clowns/103287036">Disney feminist icon</a>” may be, Johns’s extraordinary influence upon the 20th century’s cultural memory is a remarkable legacy. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220766/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ana-stevenson-196768"><em>Ana Stevenson</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lindsay-helwig-1500979">Lindsay Helwig</a>, Lecturer in Pathways, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Disney</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/vale-sister-suffragette-how-glynis-johns-became-a-pop-culture-icon-in-the-story-of-votes-for-women-220766">original article</a>.</em></p>

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John Laws hangs up in disgust on Kyle and Jackie O

<p>The radio waves became a battlefield this morning as the titans of Australian talkback clashed in a dramatic showdown involving corset dresses, colon procedures – and a surprise departure for medical attention.</p> <p>The day kicked off with Jackie O making a grand entrance, albeit a slightly woozy one, having undergone surgery to bid farewell to a cervical polyp. Kyle, ever the supportive co-host, explained to listeners that Jackie was feeling under the weather and experiencing some tingling in her arm. (Because, as you know, corset dresses and surgery recovery are a match made in radio heaven.)</p> <p>"She just stepped out for a lay down. She’s got like a corset dress on and she had an operation yesterday," Kyle explained, giving us all a mental image of a radio host napping in style.</p> <p>But that was just the appetiser. The main course featured none other than radio legend John Laws, who decided to play hardball with the hosts in a dramatic fashion. Scheduled for an interview to celebrate an impressive 70 years on-air, Laws decided he'd had enough after catching wind of Jackie O's surgical  – and, let's face it, highly graphic – revelations.</p> <p>Jackie O explained to a bemused Kyle that her surgeon had operated on her “via the colon or the vagina, I’m not sure which... What must I have looked like on the operating table? Nude, shower cap...” </p> <p>Now, let's take a moment to appreciate the delicacy of the situation. Laws, a seasoned broadcaster, chose that exact moment to hang up on the dynamic duo faster than you can say "corset controversy". Apparently, the mere thought of following that "real" a discussion about medical procedures, particularly those involving the nether regions, was way too much for his delicate radio palate.</p> <p>In an unexpected turn of events, Laws' assistant then became the unwilling messenger between the offended radio icon and and the KIISFM hosts. “Is it true he got angry about Jackie’s disgusting story?” Kyle asked. The assistant revealed that Laws "just doesn’t like it, Jackie. He doesn’t like following all that talk about vaginas." A sentiment we're sure many have echoed when trying to enjoy their morning coffee.</p> <p>But the cherry on top was Laws hanging up not once, but twice! Cementing forever his stance on steering clear of on-air discussions involving surgical escapades.</p> <p>Jackie O valiantly defended herself, insisting it wasn't gratuitous and was, in fact, a perfectly normal chat about a medical procedure. Laws, unmoved, made it clear he had no interest in such shenanigans.</p> <p>As if that weren't enough drama for one day, Jackie O had to bow out early due to feeling unwell, prompting Kyle to make a mercy call to Laws on-air to explain the situation. Laws, ever the gentleman, softened his stance, admitting he was just surprised at the talk and muttering a nonchalant "never mind".</p> <p>After that morning of medical misadventures, corset calamities and a radio veteran hanging up, who would have guessed that a discussion about surgery could cause such a ruckus?</p> <p><em>Images: KIISFM / X </em></p>

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"Kevin Kline and I killed a man in Denmark": John Cleese's startling admission

<p>John Cleese has made a startling admission on his new video series, <em>The Dinosaur Hour</em>, where he hosts intimate chats from a twelfth-century castle.</p> <p>The <em>Monty Python</em> actor claimed that he inadvertently killed someone at a screening of his 1988 comedy film <em>A Fish Called Wanda, </em>which co-starred Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis. </p> <p>“We killed a man … Kevin Kline and I killed a man in Denmark,” Cleese said, according to the <em>Daily Mail</em>. </p> <p>“He was a dentist, he had a huge laugh. A famous laugh. Very popular. It was in Aarhus, not a big town, but everybody knew him," he added. </p> <p>“And he went to see Wanda and he started laughing about two minutes in and never stopped.</p> <p>“They carried him out dead, he’d had a heart attack.”</p> <p>Cleese is known for his shock factor during TV appearances and interviews. </p> <p>In July, the <em>The Fawlty Towers </em>actor <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/i-don-t-want-to-talk-about-it-john-cleese-shuts-down-waleed-aly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shut down </a>Waleed Aly's question about the iconic sitcom before poking fun at the <em>The Project</em> star's name. </p> <p>“We can’t let you go without talking about Fawlty Towers – at least I can’t, because I think it’s one of the greatest shows …” the broadcaster began, before Cleese shut him down. </p> <p>“I don’t want to talk about Fawlty Towers,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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This bathroom item is dirtier than your toilet seat, according to a microbiologist

<p><strong>Bathrooms and germs </strong></p> <p>Bathrooms are filthy – there’s just no way around it. They’re home to toilets, sinks and showers and tend to be one of the dirtiest places in the home, no matter how often they’re on your cleaning schedule. And because the toilet seat plays host to your derrière, it’s easy to label this as the germiest spot in the bathroom. But research is disproving that notion.</p> <p>Overall, the hard surfaces – such as the toilet seat and floor – are scrubbed down often because they’re the first lines on your bathroom cleaning checklist. And many people focus on cleaning the toilet because nothing screams dirty like a line of biofilm in the toilet bowl. But what about other bathroom-specific items? Dr Charles Gerba, a microbiology professor at the University of Arizona, says that it’s the fabrics in our bathroom that deserve the most attention. Yes, your bathmat is actually dirtier than your toilet seat, followed by towels, including those facecloths (which is why you need to wash your towels often). Here’s what you need to know.</p> <p><strong>Are bathmats really that dirty?</strong></p> <p>“We’ve done a lot of research on the microbiology of homes and, more recently, the bathroom,” says Gerba. The bathmat is problematic for two reasons, he says. First, it gets wet when you’re getting out of the shower, and it stays wet and moist, often in a dark and damp room.</p> <p>The second issue is that many people wear shoes in the bathroom, a huge contributing factor to the dirt, grime and bacteria found on bathmats. “Almost 90% of all shoes have faecal bacteria on them,” Gerba says. “You’re walking in dog poop all the time, and you don’t know it.”</p> <p>Beyond tracking shoes throughout the house and across bathmats, Gerba also pointed out the potential of spray from the toilet to land on bathmats. The Ecological Fluid Dynamics Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder experimented to see how far water droplets were ejected into the air when flushing public restroom toilets. The airborne particles shoot out quickly, reaching as much as 1.5 metres above the toilet within 8 seconds. The droplets were unpredictable and landed on the walls around the toilet, including behind it, and also on the ceiling. Which means that depending on the proximity, spray from a toilet can easily touch down on a plush bathmat.</p> <p>But while some research might suggest closing the toilet seat cover at home before flushing, not everyone agrees with that solution. “When you close the lid, the spray then goes over the top of the toilet seat and hits the walls on the side because you’ve narrowed the opening, which makes the water shoot out at a higher speed,” Gerba says, adding that closing the lid also leads to the toilet seat and underside of the lid getting more contaminated.</p> <p><strong>How to prevent dirty bathmats</strong></p> <p>Whether or not you close the toilet seat, one thing is certain: Keeping your bathmat as dry as possible is important. One of the factors that make bathmats the dirtiest spot in the bathroom is that they sometimes stay damp for hours, depending on how humid your environment is, how many people are showering and how much water splashes on them. Drying off in the shower will keep your bathmat from getting soggy. You can also hang it to dry instead of leaving it on the floor, where it will stay wet longer.</p> <p>Another tip: If you don’t remove your shoes when entering your house, at least take them off before going into the bathroom (and clean your floors often). That way, you’re not tracking outside germs onto a bathmat where they can quickly and easily multiply. “When you get out of the shower, it’s moist,” Gerba says. “Any time we have a fabric, it absorbs water, and things like faecal bacteria will survive longer there than on hard surfaces.”</p> <p><strong>How to wash your bathmat</strong></p> <p>The hard surfaces in bathrooms are satisfying to spray and wipe down, which Gerba recommends doing every few days. But what about bathmats? You should wash your bathmat at least once a week, and not just to keep it fresh and fluffy, but importantly, to remove bacteria.</p> <p>The first step to washing bathmats is to check the care label and follow the instructions on the tag, including which temperature is best for the fabric. Most bathmats can be machine-washed, but be careful with rubber-backed bathmats, which shouldn’t be dried on high heat. In general, quick-drying fabrics, such as microfibre and chenille, can be good options because they dry fast and are easy to launder. Something you can easily wash twice per week is the healthiest option.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/this-bathroom-item-is-dirtier-than-your-toilet-seat-according-to-a-microbiologist" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Happy ending after company's awful retirement send-off

<p>An elderly gentleman in the United States, who had faithfully served as an "extremely dependable" employee for 42 years, recently experienced a remarkable change in his fortunes, thanks in large part to the generosity of individuals from Australia.</p> <p>John Bartlett, the dedicated worker in question, had received <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/retirement-life/you-deserve-more-company-slammed-over-measly-send-off-party" target="_blank" rel="noopener">underwhelming recognition from an unnamed company</a> for his decades of commitment. His daily 40-minute commute on public transportation to a job paying only the minimum wage went largely unnoticed until recently, causing widespread consternation.</p> <p>Sonia, one of his colleagues, was deeply moved by the perceived injustice and decided to share a video clip of Bartlett's story online. In her post, she expressed her wish that his hard work had been better acknowledged and thanked him for his unwavering loyalty. She noted that Bartlett loved his job so much that he was reluctant to retire, receiving nothing more than a barbecue and a certificate as a token of appreciation.</p> <p>After sharing Bartlett's story on social media, Sonia was inundated with messages from people eager to contribute to his well-deserved retirement. Responding to this outpouring of support, she set up a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/happy-retirement-john#xd_co_f=YjM1NWNiYzAtN2QwYS00MDc2LTgzZWEtNzRiYzE2ZjczZDU2~" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> campaign, inviting the public to contribute "a little something for a better retirement" for him.</p> <p>Within a matter of days, the fundraiser received an overwhelming response, with donations and messages pouring in from around the world, including numerous contributions from Australians. The campaign was eventually closed after more than 1,900 individuals contributed, resulting in a total of A$57,454 for Bartlett's retirement fund.</p> <p>In his 70s, Bartlett was left speechless when Sonia shared this incredible news with him. She conveyed the global impact of his story and the messages of support he had received from people across the globe. Overwhelmed by the gesture, Bartlett could only smile and nod in response.</p> <p>“They left messages for you," said Sonia in the video. "So I’m going to print it out and go ahead and make something nice for you so you can read it on your own time. We started the GoFundMe because they wanted to give you something for your retirement on their part and it just blew up overnight. You deserve it, OK? I’m going to make sure everything goes to your account, just for you.”</p> <p>Supporters encouraged Bartlett to use the funds for special treats, like a grand holiday or for spending time with loved ones. Messages from donors expressed their heartfelt wishes for his retirement and new beginnings.</p> <p>Sonia expressed her gratitude to the donors, assuring them that every cent raised would be placed directly into Bartlett's account. In her final update to the GoFundMe account, she thanked donors for their kindness and reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring Bartlett received every penny, attributing the success of the campaign to their collective efforts.</p> <p>In the end, the power of community and compassion won out, as people from all walks of life came together to make a meaningful difference in the life of an individual who had dedicated so much to his job.</p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Retirement Life

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“You deserve more”: Company slammed over measly send-off party

<p dir="ltr">A company has been slammed online for their measly attempt to farewell a hard-working employee of 42 years. </p> <p dir="ltr">John Barlett was a dedicated worker for four decades, commuting long distances to work at minimum wage and give his all to his colleagues. </p> <p dir="ltr">After 42 years of hard work, John announced his retirement from the company, prompting a measly farewell party from his place of work. </p> <p dir="ltr">One of John’s longtime co-worker, Sonia, was devastated over the injustice, sharing a short clip to social media of John – now in his 70s – and what she felt was his hard work going unappreciated.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Today is my co-worker’s last day. He worked for this company for 42 years making minimum wage,” Sonia wrote with the video. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The company only threw him a barbecue and gave him a certificate. He takes the bus and Bart (train) to get here every day on time. He’s 70+.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“He loves working here so much he didn’t want to retire. [He got] No bonus, just a barbecue and a certificate. Don’t be a slave to your job. Thank you John for your loyalty.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The video quickly went viral and was flooded with comments of support for John, with one person even suggesting that John start a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/happy-retirement-john" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> for people to contribute to his retirement. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the fundraiser, she revealed John could not drive because of a disability, but “rain or shine” would always make it to work.</p> <p dir="ltr">He was “extremely dependable”, Sonia added, revealing it had been difficult to convince him to take a break because he always wanted to work. </p> <p dir="ltr">He was “one of the most talented and hard working” employees at the company and his energy was “unmatched”, she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“He has no wife or kids, however he does have a nephew whom he loves dearly,” she wrote in the fundraiser.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It would be nice to give him some kind of company or something to do so he knows that he’s special and loved.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In the few days since the GoFundMe was created, it has raised almost $45,000, as many shared their comments of support.</p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “Happy retirement, John. You deserve more than what this company has offered you. Wish you all the best in your life and your future.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: GoFundMe</em></p>

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It was written for nuclear disarmament – but today You’re The Voice is the perfect song for the ‘yes’ campaign

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-tregear-825">Peter Tregear</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>The serendipity of the pairing between John Farnham’s 1986 hit single You’re the Voice and the Voice to Parliament referendum is obvious, but it goes well beyond the fact the two share the key word “voice”.</p> <p>The original was composed by a team of British songwriters in response to an anti-nuclear demonstration in London’s Hyde Park in 1985. Chris Thompson, Andy Qunta and Maggie Ryder had planned a song-writing session on the day an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/27/world/100000-in-london-protest-arms-race.html">estimated 100,000 marched through central London</a> in support the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.</p> <p>Thompson, however, overslept. As an act of self-admonishment he decided to express his remorse by conceiving a song that emphasised the importance of personal agency in achieving political change.</p> <p>This is the kernel of meaning in You’re the Voice. It is also what makes it so especially well suited to support a campaign about a referendum to give Indigenous Australians a constitutionally recognised Voice to Parliament nearly 40 years later.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">OUR NEW AD IS LIVE!</p> <p>You’re the Voice that will make history.</p> <p>On 14 October, we know we all can stand together with the power to be powerful.<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HistoryIsCalling?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HistoryIsCalling</a>, so <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VoteYes?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VoteYes</a>. Are you in? John Farnham is.<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UluruStatement?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UluruStatement</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StayTrue2Uluru?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StayTrue2Uluru</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/YoureTheVoice?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#YoureTheVoice</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VoteYes?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VoteYes</a> <a href="https://t.co/4ujYd9gk0M">pic.twitter.com/4ujYd9gk0M</a></p> <p>— ulurustatement (@ulurustatement) <a href="https://twitter.com/ulurustatement/status/1698260272165875951?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 3, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <h2>The grain of Farnham’s voice</h2> <p>Thompson was not at all convinced at the time Farnham <a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/why-john-farnham-was-nearly-rockblocked-from-youre-the-voice/news-story/9e048f2d4550a8b4c1a28e2eba4909f6">could do the song justice</a> when he requested it for inclusion in his album Whispering Jack.</p> <p>And yet the particular qualities of Farnham’s singing is also arguably crucial to the song’s success, then and now.</p> <p>The music’s combination of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentimental_ballad#Power_ballads">power ballad</a> tempo with <a href="https://music.amazon.com.au/playlists/B078H6J6BF">pub anthem</a> singability calls for a kind of full-throated vocal performance that takes more than a little inspiration from African American gospel traditions.</p> <p>Singers drawn from these traditions include giants of popular musical culture like James Brown, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin. It is not exaggerated praise to suggest Farnham here delivers a performance that stands with their best.</p> <p>And it was career changing for him, helping Farnham to put to rest his earlier image as a clean-cut purveyor of sentimental pop songs like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0c55lXRAeg">Sadie the Cleaning Lady</a> and relaunch his career.</p> <p>Farnham’s singing here exemplifies what Roland Barthes famously described in <a href="https://courses.lsa.umich.edu/jptw/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2017/08/Barthes-ImageMusicText.pdf">an essay from 1972</a> as the “grain of the voice”: the element of a singer’s individuality which helps convey the sincerity and authenticity of what is being sung.</p> <p>You’re the Voice further highlights the grain of Farnham’s singing via the exclamation “oh, whoa!” regularly punctuating the song’s chorus. In a powerful moment of sonic symbolism, the exclamation is eventually taken up in the advertisement (like the sentiment of the song itself, it is no doubt hoped) by a chorus of supporters.</p> <h2><em>You</em> are the voice</h2> <p>Indeed, if it is to succeed, the referendum will need to convince an especially broad coalition of Australians to vote for “yes”.</p> <p>The song supports this goal from its very title: <em>you</em> are the voice. It asks each of us, individually, to consider how we can act for the common good.</p> <blockquote> <p>We have the chance to turn the pages over <br />We can write what we want to write <br />We gotta make ends meet, before we get much older.</p> </blockquote> <p>The song’s explicit call to action has now been connected to the forthcoming referendum: now is the moment to use your voice at the ballot box to give, in turn, a constitutionally enshrined voice to indigenous Australians.</p> <p>The “yes” campaign’s appeal to collective responsibility is one aspect of the referendum process that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/16/lidia-thorpe-calls-for-referendum-called-off-indigenous-voice-to-parliament-no-campaign">concerns some Indigenous critics</a>. The very enterprise of constitutional reform, after all, presumes the legitimacy of the Australian constitution which in turn presumes the legitimacy of the original act of colonial dispossession.</p> <p>But the bigger threat to the “yes” campaign arguably comes from those who see the idea of an <a href="https://ipa.org.au/ipa-today/the-indigenous-voice-to-parliament-has-the-potential-to-be-divisive">Indigenous voice to parliament itself as divisive</a>.</p> <p>Yet, as the song goes:</p> <blockquote> <p>This time, we know we all can stand together <br />With the power to be powerful <br />Believing we can make it better.</p> </blockquote> <p>The use of You’re the Voice here reinforces the view that supporting the Voice to Parliament is a positive act of national reconciliation that we, as a nation, can take together.</p> <p>It is an injunction to take personal and collective responsibility for the history and character of the country we all share.</p> <h2>Politically inclusive</h2> <p>The advertisement is the work of Mark Green of <a href="https://themonkeys.com.au/">The Monkeys advertising agency</a> and historian <a href="https://www.clarewright.com.au/">Clare Wright</a>.</p> <p>It focuses on a family as they watch key moments which shaped Australia’s collective identity. It looks at key moments of reconciliation, Indigenous achievement and Indigenous protest; but also broader moments in collective action.</p> <p>In a particularly astute move, the advertisement overlays images of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/01/john-howard-port-arthur-gun-control-1996-cabinet-papers">John Howard’s 1996 gun reforms</a> in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre as Farnham delivers the lines:</p> <blockquote> <p>We’re all someone’s daughter<br />We’re all someone’s son<br />How long can we look at each other<br />Down the barrel of a gun?</p> </blockquote> <p>Implicit in this conjunction is a reminder to us that support for the “yes” vote, like any nation-changing political act, can come from any side of politics.</p> <h2>Democratising the message</h2> <p>There are many more layers we could tease apart in You’re The Voice. Its extended bagpipes solo originated as an homage to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, connecting it to the egalitarian, <a href="https://www.popmatters.com/141796-let-there-be-rock-2496022409.html">working class culture</a> Scott’s music addresses.</p> <p>Then there is the way the bagpipes, combined with the song’s use of side-drum rhythmic patterns, evoke the sound world of a military tattoo or march. This simultaneously elevates the register of its message. The song – and now the ad – is an implicit call to arms.</p> <p>The inclusion of You’re the Voice in the “yes” campaign thus provides powerful support for its central message.</p> <p>Farnham himself recognises this. Upon release of the advertisement, Farnham <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/john-farnham-backs-voice-permits-his-anthem-to-front-yes-campaign-ad-20230901-p5e18t.html">spoke about</a> how, when it was first released in 1986, the song “changed his life”.</p> <p>Generously, he concluded: "I can only hope that now it might help in some small way, to change the lives of our First Nations Peoples for the better."</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-tregear-825">Peter Tregear</a>, Principal Fellow and Professor of Music, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/it-was-written-for-nuclear-disarmament-but-today-youre-the-voice-is-the-perfect-song-for-the-yes-campaign-212769">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Backlash for John Farnham over use of iconic song in Voice campaign

<p>John Farnham, the celebrated Australian music legend, has allowed his timeless classic, "You're the Voice", to serve as the official soundtrack for the Yes campaign in the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum of 2023. This decision, however, has sparked mixed reactions from the public.</p> <p>Farnham's decision to lend his 1980s hit to the campaign holds particular significance as Australia gears up for the pivotal referendum on October 14.</p> <p>In a heartfelt statement, Farnham expressed his motivation for this gesture, saying, "This song changed my life. I can only hope that it now might help, in some small way, to change the lives of our First Nations people for the better."</p> <p>Tim Wheatley, the son of Farnham's late longtime manager Glenn Wheatley, added, "Win or lose this referendum, this song will forever remain on the right side of history."</p> <p>The campaign video featuring the song will be widely disseminated, appearing on television, social media and various digital platforms.</p> <p>However, the decision to use Farnham's iconic track has not been without controversy. Some critics argue that the campaign missed an opportunity to promote the event using an Indigenous artist, thereby highlighting the importance of Indigenous voices in this critical moment.</p> <p> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">A very sad day today to hear John Farnham allowing his song to be used for the YES Campaign.<br />Selling yourself out to a divisive political stance.<br />Have been a fan of yours for decades. You have just sold your soul to half of Australia.<br />Shame on you.<br />Vote No to the Voice</p> <p>— Bobby Abruzzo (@wbfc1954) <a href="https://twitter.com/wbfc1954/status/1698126419912745206?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 3, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also expressed his reservations about the choice of song. He remarked, "In a sense, it's the appropriate theme song for the Yes campaign because remember that the key line in the lyrics there is, you know, 'you're the Voice, try to understand it.' I honestly don't think most Australians understand it. And they want to be informed."</p> <p>The two-minute campaign ad is a poignant montage that showcases significant moments in Australian history, all experienced through the lens of television. As Farnham's hit plays in the background, viewers witness iconic events such as Cathy Freeman's historic victory at the 2000 Olympics, former Prime Minister John Howard's landmark gun reform in 1996, and Kevin Rudd's heartfelt apology to the stolen generations in 2008.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I used to think the song "You're The Voice" was for all Australians.<br />Disappointed that John Farnham has decided to make it divisive and political.<br />Have your say privately by voting John but not like this.<br />Still wish you well in recovery.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VoteNO23Australia?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VoteNO23Australia</a> <a href="https://t.co/29lxkmCFWG">pic.twitter.com/29lxkmCFWG</a></p> <p>— Jenny (@JennyandFreedom) <a href="https://twitter.com/JennyandFreedom/status/1698123945176891520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 3, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p><em>Image: Supplied</em> </p>

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