TOP STORIES I'll give you a couple of damned dolls and...

I’ll give you a couple of damned dolls and metal frogs for a useless banana statue.


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Over the past few months, British-American comedian John Oliver has been involved in talks with Melbourne’s Yarra City Council that have turned into tangled talks involving public art, vandalism, koala chlamydia, a polystyrene recycling machine, three troubling giants. metal frogs and a bucket full of cursed pupae. Last week, negotiations reached what would (hopefully) be a watershed, because I really want these frogs to be a part of my daily life.

The situation is not easy to generalize, but let’s check: at the end of 2021, the council presented a sculpture called “Fallen Fruit” by artist Adam Stone on a street corner in Fitzroy. The Melbourne area, and Fitzroy in particular, has long supported public art, but this statue had another purpose: to help slow down traffic.

Alas, many local residents did not appreciate the work of Mr. Stone. A sort of mix of Skeletor from Man and the Masters of the Universe, the Martians from 1996’s Mars Attacks and, frankly, the worst fruit, the sculpture was later vandalized when someone tried to decapitate it.
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It. The city removed the sculpture to – well, actually, we have no idea. They don’t say what they’re doing to it, whether it’s been refurbished or if it’ll ever see the streets of Melbourne again.

When Mr. Oliver heard about the situation, he suggested a solution: he would buy the sculpture for A$10; make a $10,000 donation to the Melbourne Food Bank and donate $5,000 to the John Oliver Koala Chlamydia Ward at the Australian Zoo Queensland Wildlife Hospital (another story you can read about here); and send a statue of a giant alligator making an impolite hand gesture to Melbourne instead.

Mr. Oliver had similar negotiations with Texas, albeit with a much simpler outcome. A strange phenomenon is observed on the beaches of southern Texas: a lot of dolls are washed ashore. These scribbled dolls can be called nightmarish stuff, partly because they spent time in the ocean. Judge for yourself. Mr. Oliver offered $10,000 to a local sea turtle rescue if the dolls were given to him.

Now he has dolls.

Which brings us to this week. Mr. Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight” (which can be viewed in Australia on the Binge online platform) usually focuses on one episode per episode, and This week It was about inflation. To explain inflation, Mr. Oliver bought three giant bronze frog statues. The frogs were doing something with their feet, not exactly obscene, but also not normal. While they may be less disturbing than bananas or pupae, there is something both joyful and unnerving about these frogs. In other words, they are perfect.

Yarra Mayor Sophie Black turned down Mr. Oliver’s offer to buy a banana, but offered an alternative: he would send an alligator statue and the city would name its polystyrene recycling machine after Mr. Oliver.

Mr Oliver made another counteroffer. Although he is no longer willing to part with his alligator statue, he will toss three giant frogs, as well as initial donations to a food bank and koala chlamydia unit. The only thing Yarra has to do in return is name the polystyrene recycling machine after himself and then take a bucket of cursed dolls and run them through the machine to “destroy them forever”.

Seems like a good deal, right? The only problem: the dolls are not made of polystyrene. They can damage the car.

I contacted the Yarra City Council and Mayor Black to see if my assumptions were correct and to ask her what the negotiations were like. Unfortunately, she’s on vacation, and her office hasn’t dared to say anything at all – not even whether it’s okay to run the damned dolls through a polystyrene recycling machine. “I don’t know what the dolls are made of, so I can’t officially comment on the situation,” council spokeswoman Imogen Baratta said in an email.

But I hope a deal can be struck, not least because the corner where it all started is three blocks from my house. I pass by it almost every day. I’d love to see these frogs decorate the area, in no small part because they’re so silly and Fitzroy is so trendy (for those unfamiliar, this is an area I once described as where Williamsburg and Silver Lake, California . , embarrassingly by hipster standards), and no one will ever be able to look at these frogs and see anything but ridiculousness.

Crossed fingers.

And now this (stories of the week):

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