The 1570 people who haven't had enough of Barnaby Joyce
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The 1570 people who haven't had enough of Barnaby Joyce

Back in the day, estimates of book sales were just that – estimates. These days, courtesy of the Bookscan system, which measures sales from nearly every book store across our brown and pleasant land, you can be very accurate – at least if you have a 'Deepthroat' high up in the publishing world like I do. I can report thus, that after being on sale for four weeks, Barnaby Joyce’s memoir, Weatherboard and Iron, has sold 1570 copies.

Not setting the world on fire: Barnaby Joyce.

Not setting the world on fire: Barnaby Joyce.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Yes, notwithstanding the general publishing rule that – with the notable exception of John Howard’s Lazarus Rising – right-wing memoirs don’t sell well, those numbers are proof positive that whatever hunger there has been for details of Joyce’s personal life has been sated. And yet compared to the sales for the Mark Latham/Alan Jones cookbook – I am not making that up, it exists – Joyce’s memoirs are a publishing juggernaut. The cookbook has done just 754 copies since April.

Silence is golden

You know what? I think we might be coming good. Three weeks ago I had a rant about how ludicrous it is that in Australia we seem to be constantly importing hard-right political nutters – Milos Yiannopoulos, Lauren Southern, Nigel Farage et al – when we already have so many of our own. And this week, the great news. The Nigel Farage show on Thursday was moved from the vast International Conference Centre to the much more intimate Doltone House because ticket sales were so poor. Let me hear you say RAH!

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A week ago, Politico reports, “emails from a ticket discount site were dispatched offering 40 per cent off. A couple of hours before the event, 11 of the 20 seats for a private dinner (gourmet meal, champagne, wine and "a free-flowing intimate conversation with Nigel", all for $1000) were still up for grabs.”

Nigel Farage and Tony Abbott at a conference in Sydney on Friday.

Nigel Farage and Tony Abbott at a conference in Sydney on Friday.Credit:Aaron Patrick

Fancy that. Who would think people wouldn’t be tripping over themselves to hear from someone who rose to fame for helping push Brexit over the top, before abruptly resigning and letting others deal with the fallout.
Most wonderfully, on Thursday, even the protesters were bored by the whole thing. Just one protester - and later his girlfriend - could be bothered to turn up.

“Where’s everyone else,” Politico asked the protester, Shaun Stevenson.

Stevenson shrugged: “It’s a piddling protest for a piddling event."

All aboard for Wentworth

Mary-Lou Jarvis.

Mary-Lou Jarvis.Credit:

Meanwhile, at the end of a fortnight where the Liberal Party’s women problem has been apparent for all to see – serious bullying allegations, humiliating rejection of their most popular female MP as leader – we’ll know on Tuesday if they are serious about changing things. That’s when the preselection for the Wentworth byelection is held. One of the candidates is the highly accomplished businesswoman and president of the NSW Liberal Women’s Council, Mary-Lou Jarvis, a steam train that’s been coming into this station for years. And there’ll never be a better moment for the Libs to pick her.

Stars in his eyes

Vale Burt Reynolds, once the most famous movie star in the world, who died on Thursday aged 82. In his autobiography, But Enough About Me, Reynolds recounted an episode from early in his career, when he worked with Marlon Brando – to whom he bore such a strong resemblance, he grew his famous moustache to differentiate himself.

Burt Reynolds in the 1980 film "Smokey and the Bandit II".

Burt Reynolds in the 1980 film "Smokey and the Bandit II".Credit:Cover Images

Their first meeting did not go well. “He was rude,” Reynolds recounted. “After about two minutes of small talk, he accused me of trying to capitalise on my resemblance to him.”

Oh, really? “I’ll tell you right now,” Reynolds told him. “I’m not having surgery because you don’t like the way I look ... But I promise not to get fat.”

Joke of the week

A bloke who’s just blown into Sydney from up Gunnedah way, goes into the lounge of the Rocks’ Orient Hotel and says to the barman: “What’s your wi-fi password?”

“You have to buy a drink.”

“OK, I’ll have a schooner of New. Now what’s the password?”

“youhavetobuyadrink, all lower case no spaces.”

Quotes of the week

“We’re only here for a little while, and you’ve got to have some fun, right? I don’t take myself seriously, and I think the ones that do, there’s some sickness with people like that.” - Burt Reynolds, who died on Thursday, to The New York Times earlier this year. In 2017, Reynolds received critical acclaim for his final performance in the indie movie The Last Movie Star.

“Sometimes I just wish he was a plumber." - Scott Morrison’s wife, Jenny.

“Julia Banks is no petal. She’s no snowflake. And no princess.” - Kelly O’Dwyer, in support of MP Julia Banks, who has said she is not standing again for election because of the bullying in the Liberal Party.

“Nobody uses the expression ‘final solution’ except in sorrow, anger and shame.” - Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, announcing she will strip Bob Katter's Australian Party of five extra staff positions it was granted last term, after it refused to denounce federal senator Fraser Anning's maiden speech.

“I'm a person of high integrity. I pride myself on that.” - Peter Dutton refusing to believe he did anything wrong in granting visas to two au pairs.

“And I'd encourage others who believe in the power of prayer to pray for that rain and to pray for our farmers.” - Scott Morrison to the Liberal faithful in Albury.

Tweets of the week

"Who are these people who can change kids gender just by whispering because I can’t even get mine to clean their teeth in the morning." - Russell Mahoney‏ @russellmahoney

"BOLT: I want to reassure you. None of us on Sky are far Right. The only party I've worked for is the Labor party. Twice. The truth is that the ABC is so far Left that almost anything now is far right." - @TheBoltReport

Peter FitzSimons is a Herald journalist, columnist and author, based in Sydney. He is also a former Wallabies player.