An ode to cant

I’m pretty sure every single blogger in Australia has had a crack at parodying the ‘Ode to can’ poem in the Commonwealth Bank TV commercial featuring Toni Collette.

In fact so many people have seen the ad, found it irksome, and decided to take the piss out of it, that there’s a very good chance the poem below has at some time been uttered, if not published, verbatim by at least four separate people in the last ten days.

But who said Haught Feelings was original?

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THE RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

Image by: Zed Fitzhume

In May I sent an email to Metro Trains. It started out as an opportunity for the Big Blue M to test their complaint response writing skills against the new public transport (and possibly the world) standard. It ended as an angry diatribe, I’ll admit. For this reason, if Metro had erred slightly on the side of conservatism in their reply, I would have given them some latitude.

They didn’t, however, err on the side of conservatism so much as put every single egg they’ve ever owned into the conservative basket:

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The #FreeAnnie campaign

As The Age reported this week Metro Trains has, over the last year, gone into a fine dispensing frenzy.

One of the people they’ve nabbed during this period of sustained blame-shifting and misdirection is a Haught reader by the name of Annie.

Last week she wrote to me about her recent experience on a Metro train and her subsequent correspondence with the Department of Transport.

Her emails were charming, vivid and compelling. (They also included brazen raunch; during one paragraph I fainted.)

It seems that some overzealous Metro Trains Authorised Officers, followed by the Department of Transport, have got the delightful Annie mixed up with a  fare-evading black squiggle non-entity, as represented in this advertising campaign.

From her emails alone I can tell that Annie is not a scribble-based
organism. And if she is, she’s probably a vibrantly coloured one. Annie, told me in her emails to me that “I never forget to buy a ticket because it matters to me to have a healthy transport system – and the only way Melbourne’s shitty system will improve is through use and investment by the people (fares).”

With this in mind, have a read of Annie’s case:

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A [FAUX] RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 0 Comments

Last week I sent an email to Metro Trains.

I haven’t yet heard anything back from an official representative, but reader Veloaficionado has had an excellent stab at responding on their behalf:

Dear Mr Haught,

As a representative of Metro, I will take the opportunity to reply to your latest letter. At Metro, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of all commentary on our performance, and although some may call this paranoid and in the vein of witch-huntery, Section G-37-B is very good at its job. The surveillance equipment they deploy is second to none, and the data encryption and database security employed is world class, deep within the reinforced concrete 3rd basement level where it is stored.

So rest assured that we are aware of your reputation and previous correspondence with other instrumentalities and businesses, and we wish to reassure you that we take your views of our performance very seriously.

However, we must take issue with absolutely everything that you say, even that we seem to employ public image management that is somewhat amateurish and implausible, or to you, it seems, laughable. We have spent a substantial amount of public money on such well-credentialed public relations advisors, who have offices in major European capitals and both the east and west coasts of the US.

Read the rest
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I owe Little Bean Blue a dollar

Dear fans of Haught Feelings,

I need a little favour. I need you to make sure I don’t forget something.

You see I owe a cafe in the Melbourne CBD a dollar.

Here’s how it happened. I went into the shop this morning and, just as I was about to approach the little take-your-order area, realised I was badly short of walletal cash.

When I’m not hiding behind my keyboard writing sarcastic (and what have been referred to as “quasi-intellectual”) complaint emails I roam the real world as a graceless buffoon. For that reason, once I discovered that I was at least a dollar short, I made the decision to crouch in the doorway and rummage for a gold coin that I have intermittently sighted, Emmaville Panther-like, at the bottom of my satchel.

My preposterous delving and scratching may well have lasted for several hours had the barista not stopped me by calling “Jonathan – strong latte!”

I only heard about Little Bean Blue a little while ago and have been in about ten times ever. In the last week I think I might have been in four times. Somehow, in that minuscule amount of time, the regular barista – with whom I’ve shared no more than three words on any given day – has not only learned my name, but also my preferred coffee AND is happy to start making it before I’ve even proved my ability to make a commercial transaction.… Read the rest

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My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 20 Comments

I wrote a letter to Metro Trains.

Exciting times.


Dear Metro Trains,

My name is Jonathan Rivett. You might know me – I’m kind of a big deal.  (I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.)

If you’e not familiar with my work, here’s a quick summary. A couple of weeks ago I became very, very famous when I posted on my blog an email exchange between me and Yarra Trams.

I sent them my account of a tram trip my wife and I had endured during which a drunk man abused passengers in a theatrical baritone. I felt that Yarra Trams had been less than truthful with their insistence that the police had been called once this man’s antics had gone from entertaining to distressing and wanted to know the real story. It was an immensely humorous and exquisitely worded piece of correspondence.

Instead of coming back with a hollow, supermarket-bought reply email, Yarra Trams responded in kind. I posted their brilliant email on my blog. The radio station 3AW found it, then The Age got wind of it and the rest is history.

Anyway, long story short: I thought I’d give you a chance to better your bitter public transport rivals.… Read the rest

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Lavatory humour with a serious edge

My alter ego wrote a short story and is trying to flog it on Amazon.

It contains the lavatory references you’ve come to love from Haught Feelings, but it’s all wrapped up in a serious story about workplace boredom and that whole “an idle mind is the devil’s playground” thing.

It’s called ‘Waiting‘ and it takes the form of a Kindle Single, which is a short piece of writing that you can download straight to your Kindle, or to any device that you can get the Kindle app on.

Here’s an excerpt:

I waited.

Waiting was becoming a bad habit for me. I’d discussed it with Penny Trentham from Social Media and she’d assured me I was “waiting for inspiration.” She was wrong for a change,  although only by six letters – I was waiting for motivation.

“What’s my motivation here, David?” If only I were an actor and could reasonably ask such a question of my ‘director’.

How I wished I could put an end to these hours of inaction by standing up, striding to my manager’s office, entering without knocking, and simply rejecting the ‘role’:

“David, I’m just not feeling it. This isn’t working for me at all.”

Sometimes it was these preposterous little fantasies that got me through the day.

Read the rest
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My email to Kyle Sandilands [VINTAGE HAUGHT]

by Haught 8 Comments
"Cane-toad". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Cane-toad“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Today the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said Kyle Sandilands’ November on-air ejaculation of bile was a little bit bad but mostly fine.

No idea which of the many many on-air Sandilands rants I’m talking about? Here’s a recap:

Last year about 1.7 million people said Kyle Sandilands’ new TV project was shit. A few of them said it publicly. One of these people was a journalist by the name of Alison Stephenson. Being a female weighing more than 50kg, Alison deeply offended Kyle. So Kyle decided to hit back.

I think ACMA took the soft option, because they knew I’d taken the hard option and Kyle had thus already served his penance. Here’s the email I sent to Kyle (via Austereo) at the end of last year:

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