From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

When the paper doesn’t show up (cont’d). There are a lot of unhappy newspapers subscribers out there. When we reported the delivery delays of one reader in Queensland, more of you came out of the woodwork. A Crikey reader in Adelaide reports:

“The Queensland reader sure isn’t kidding about delivery (or lack) of a newspaper. My elderly mother in an aged care facility in metropolitan Adelaide has been waging a losing battle over this issue for nearly 12 months. Settling in after her breakfast to read The Australian from cover to cover is one of her modest daily pleasures but regularly it just doesn’t turn up. Gamely, she’ll ring the complaints number, get the usual run-around and promises that it won’t happen again — but it always does. To my knowledge there’s never been any sort of refund for undelivered editions.”

It’s not just newspapers. One reader is (and we’re not really sure why) upset about her missing Woman’s Day glossies:

“My daughter bought me a six-month home delivery subscription. It was reaching me a week after it went into the newsagencies, sometimes longer. At one stage, I was missed it all together. When I complained, there was very little interest shown so I cancelled the subscription and asked them to refund my daughter for any outstanding deliveries.”

At Fairfax, you get the paper whether you want it or not. Writes one Sydney eastern suburbs resident:

“We signed up to a free three-month subscription of The Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald about 18 months ago. When the three months ended they asked if we’d like to pay to continue. No thanks. The papers kept coming, for free, for a further 15 months. They have mysteriously stopped over the New Year break. I’m toying with ringing then to complain.”

Tassie’s artistic hobnob. Tasmanian ALP state minister David O’Byrne might be facing a very steep challenge in retaining government at the March election, which was called yesterday, but he isn’t showing the pressure. He was spotted enjoying himself last night at the funky MOFO music festival on Hobart’s waterfront. O’Byrne, Minister for Economic Development and Police, had a good old chat with MONA founder and gambling baron David Walsh as US hip hopper Astronautalis did his thing on stage.

O’Byrne (who makes up Tasmania’s Labor power sister-and-brother duo with sister Michelle) was accompanied by the usual gaggle of youthful Labor staffers, but funnily enough there were no Greens in his posse. The Tasmanian ALP purged the Greens yesterday — and our spy couldn’t see any senior Greens out and about in a party mood at MOFO.

Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie was mingling with the MONA crowds, as Walsh did almost all night — earning Walsh lots of handshakes from strangers. He seemed to get a little sick of that by the end, understandably … if you see a pollie out and about, be sure to tell Tips.

Many happy returns, Ita. Crikey is a big fan of media veteran and born-again TV host Ita Buttrose, so we enjoyed this pic of her from this morning, maintaining her impeccable poise as she receives a cake from a beefcake. Did she cover how to respond in such situations in her writings on etiquette? Ita turns 71 today.

ita

Wait to shower at Qantas LAX. And finally, a disturbing report from the battleground that is the Qantas lounge at Los Angeles’ LAX:

“The lounge at LAX tonight resembles a bus station: noisy, overcrowded and uncomfortable. Have just waited 50 minutes to use the shower, but at least I was able to sit down while I waited — some folks not so lucky! Is this the sign of a booming airline struggling to keep up with patronage, or one that’s pissing off its loyal customers with falling service standards?”

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

Peter Fray

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