Podcast: Tamarama drama and our new Minister

Glenview-Court.jpg

Glenview Court, Tamarama, Sydney

It was Monday morning and we had just finished editing the podcast when we got the word that NSW had a new Fair Trading minister.

Meetings are cancelled, lunch is postponed, and schedules are re-drawn  for the simple reason that this is, in our world, a big deal.

Eleni Potinos may have been a media footnote in the cabinet reshuffle instigated by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet this week, but for us she is big news.

There are four things that jump out, for those of us who have been close observers of strata politics for the past few years.

One, she is a woman; after six men in a row, the first female ever to serve as Fair Trading Minister for the Liberals.

Two, at 35, she is relatively young, confirming Fair Trading as being a training-wheels ministry.

Three, she comes from Miranda, an area with a lot of high-rises. But it’s the fourth thing that’s the clincher – she has also been given the Small Business portfolio.

At a time when there is clear evidence that strata is too big an issue to be lumped in with broken toys, faulty toasters, dodgy mechanics and sneaky real estate agents, our newly minted Fair Trading Minister gets a whole other portfolio to look after as well.

Forget sexting and Barfgate – this is the real scandal.  The government clearly thinks that with the Building Commissioner on the warpath, and 139 proposals on the table, they have fixed strata.  They clearly don’t realise they are just at the beginning, not the end.


LISTEN HERE


Meanwhile we also look at the dramas at Tamarama where a bid to rescue a huge block that really shouldn’t be where it is has hit the Building Commission buffers.

We examine the major trends in the real estate in the past year.

And we have a non-Christmas poem that might bring a smile to your face.

TRANSCRIPT IN FULL

Jimmy  00:00

Exciting times, in strata land. We’re leading up to Christmas and then all of a sudden, Santa Claus drops in our laps, a brand new Fair Trading Minister!

Sue  00:10

Wow, yet another one!

Jimmy  00:12

 This will be the Liberal Party’s 7th Fair Trading minister, since they came to power.

Sue  00:18

And how many years is that?

Jimmy  00:20

It’s like, one a year.

Sue  00:21

Oh my gosh!

Jimmy  00:23

 Yes and it’s a woman, which is their first female Fair Trading Minister.

Sue  00:28

Yes, because Labor usually has female Fair Trading Ministers, don’t they?

Jimmy  00:31

The last three were, and they seem to have changed the name of the Ministry back to Fair Trading. We’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about trends in property. We’ll talk about what’s going on in the Tamarama apartment block. And, we might even have a Christmas poem.

Sue  00:49

Oh, excellent!

Jimmy  00:50

So that’s all coming up. I’m Jimmy Thomson, I write the Flat Chat column for the Australian Financial Review.

Sue  00:56

And I’m Sue Williams and I write property for Domain.

Jimmy  00:59

And this is the Flat Chat Wrap. So, as I said at the top of the podcast, we have a new Fair Trading Minister.

Sue  01:19

Yes. Tell us about her; I don’t really know anything about her, really.

Jimmy  01:23

Her name is Eleni Patinos. She is the member for Miranda, down in the Shire. I was hoping to dig through Google and find out stuff about her political beliefs and whatever. What I hit first of all, was a couple of scandals… In 2018, Matt Kean, the former Fair Trading Minister (or Better Regulation Minister, as he was called then); his ex -girlfriend (or his soon to be ex-girlfriend), sent screenshots of fairly racy sexting texts.

Sue  02:04

Wow, so that was happening back then, too.

Jimmy  02:07

It sounded like they had something going on and it all got a bit ugly, but Gladys said “look, you know, it’s a personal matter.” As we discovered recently, she has her line in the sand on these things and it’s pretty easy to stay inside. She didn’t sack Matt, but the previous year, there had been an incident after a State of Origin game, in which John Barilaro’s ministerial car was used to transport an MP back home, who was quote ‘unwell,’ unquote. The next day, the back seat was sort of covered in vomit, so this became known as ‘barf-gate.’ I think he was the one who said “look, it wasn’t me. It was her.”

Sue  03:01

What, our new Fair Trading Minister?

Jimmy  03:03

The new Fair Trading Minister was the barfer-in-chief.

Sue  03:07

Oh, dear!

Jimmy  03:08

But look, it’s not a huge scandal; neither of them are. Well, I suppose the sexting thing is just a bit unfortunate. She’s a young woman. She joined Parliament when, I think, she was 29. She’s been there since 2015. She’s been an undersecretary in transport. Well, this is another thing that came up. One of these commuter stations that become quite notorious, was being built in her constituency in Jannnali and they were going to demolish nine houses to build it and so, there was a big outcry about this with the local residents, because they didn’t want it. They didn’t want the commuter parking garage where they were going to put it and the nine people who lived in the houses, didn’t want to be forced out of their houses. There was a bit of disgruntlement, because they were holding public meetings about it and she wasn’t turning up; that’s their local MP. In one of them, they put an empty chair with her name on it, on the stage. Yes, a lot of anger there. So she’s quite a controversial figure, in many ways, but the thing that really bugs me is (we shouldn’t prejudge; she might be brilliant… Let’s hope she is).  But, not only have they continued with the name ‘Fair Trading…’ It seems, until I’m corrected, I believe that they got rid of ‘Better Regulation and Innovation,’ and gone back to Fair Trading, but they’ve also given her Small Business…

Sue  04:43

As well as Fair Trading?

Jimmy  04:45

As well as Fair Trading.

Sue  04:46

But Fair Trading is an enormous portfolio; why on earth would they give her something else as well?

Jimmy  04:50

And somebody relatively new and inexperienced. She’s sitting in a safe seat. She’s got twice as many votes as her nearest rival in the Labor Party, so it’s an absolutely safe seat. It looks like they’re kind of fast-tracking her into the Ministry and of course, as we know, Fair Trading is the training wheels ministry. They’ve just landed this thing of 139 different proposals and things they want to do in strata, so whoever is Fair Trading Minister is going to have to wrangle that through, in the next year or so. Plus, she’s got Small Business. And small business; what we’re hearing about now is that after the pandemic (well, if the pandemic is in fact over), small businesses are going to need a lot of help, to get themselves back on their feet. It’s a big task to give a young person of any gender. Let’s just wish her luck.

Sue  05:46

Absolutely!

Jimmy  05:48

Oh, by the way, Kevin Anderson has gone off to do Lands and Water and Racing; I think he’s been given.

Sue  05:56

I guess that’s a National Party’s… They like those kind of things, don’t they?

Jimmy  06:01

Yes and horse racing provides a huge amount of money to the budget. It does feel a bit like a sideways shift. I didn’t think he’d done a bad job.

Sue  06:10

No, but maybe he’s not on Dominic Perrottet’s Christmas card list.

Jimmy  06:16

Maybe not. Okay, when we come back, we are going to be talking about what’s been going on in Tamarama; the Tamarama drama. That’s after this. Sue, you’ve been following the Tamarama story, right from the beginning, almost. Now, this is a building which is very prominent; it sits up on the cliffs above Tamarama. How high is it; about 10 storeys high?

Sue  06:49

Seven storeys. Well, it was seven stories.

Jimmy  06:51

Right. It’s a big, long, wide building. It’s the kind of building that you look up from the beach and you think “why did they let them build that there?”

Sue  06:58

Yes, it certainly wouldn’t be allowed now, which is one of the reasons that they wanted to refurbish and renovate the whole building, because they could have knocked it down, but they would never be allowed to build another building quite that big.

Jimmy  07:09

Yea, absolutely and for obvious reasons; painfully obvious reasons. So, this is a building that was originally designed by Harry Seidler?

Sue  07:20

That’s right, but his original design never really went ahead; somebody else took over and they completely rewrote it. So, it’s not really a Seidler building, but it’s a kind of 60s brutalist building.

Jimmy  07:32

I think the Seidler family are very anxious to…

Sue  07:35

Distance themselves.

Jimmy  07:37

So, it’s a 60s brutalist building. It sits on top of a cliff. It’s seven storeys high; how many apartments?

Sue  07:43

78 apartments. It was seven storeys high, but the building has added two penthouses on the roof, so it’s now eight storeys high, and it’s now 80 apartments.

Jimmy  07:53

So, it’s 80 apartments. To us, it looked like council flats, in totally the wrong place. The stories coming out of there were about defects and the fire safety orders and all that sort of stuff. It was a very troubled building. They came up with this idea, which is based on the replacement or renewal; what we call the ‘75% Forced Sales’  law. That law that allows 75% of owners in a building to decide to sell the whole building to a developer or knock it down, or do stuff with it. Under those laws, they decided to build the penthouses on the roof, to pay for all the many repairs that the building needed.

Sue  08:40

And also, create car parking underneath, as well, so they sort of dug down, as well. They did an awful lot of work to the building.

Jimmy  08:48

And what happened this week?

Sue  08:50

Well, the other work that they did was put on balconies and putting on walkways and putting on courtyards and changing the internals of the apartments, so they did lots of things. In lots of ways, it’s kind of like a completely new building and everything was going really well; the roof was going to go on next week. It’s kind of like a wavy roof and it has a bit of a dome on it, which is a nudge to the the original design that Harry Seidler did. But then this week, as you so rightly say, I was just getting on a plane to go to the Outback for a day (well, a couple of days), and I got a call from David Chandler’s office that they were putting orders on the building.

Jimmy  09:30

That means what?

Sue  09:32

Well, they’re putting a stop-work order on the building… That they had to stop work with effect from 5pm on Thursday, because (and this is kind of part of an ongoing argument I think)… We heard about it first at the OCN strata seminar. David Chandler has said that he’d had problems with a certain building and we kind of thought “oh, I wonder if that’s Tamarama?” I asked him if it was and he said he couldn’t possibly comment. His office phoned and basically, it turns out that there are only fire sprinklers being installed in the new building, on the lower levels, according to what the 2016 regulations (fire regulations), recommended. But, since the building was being done, there have been a new set of regulations that came in, in 2009.

Jimmy  10:25

In the intervening five years.

Sue  10:27

That’s right. 2019 regulations that say there has to be fire sprinklers on every level. So, the owners of the building, basically, were saying “well, our consultants, our legal advisors, the certifier, the builders, were all designing it according to the 2016 regulations, which were the ones in place when it was all being redesigned and rebuilt.” But, the Building Commissioner feels that it should be rebuilt according to the 2019 regulations and that is the problem.

Jimmy  10:57

Right. Now, this sounds expensive.

Sue  11:01

Yes, it is expensive. But, you kind of think from the outside well, they might have a case to say “well, no, look, the 2016 regulations were the one in place when we started, so they should be the ones that we’re abiding by, when we finish.” But you know, David Chandler has huge powers and you could actually mount, perhaps, a legal challenge, but that would probably end up being as expensive as putting fire sprinklers in the building, anyway. So I think there’s lots of negotiations going on now, to find out what they should do next, because it was originally the poster child for all the crumbling buildings; crumbling old strata buildings, around Sydney, who have to do some work.

Jimmy  11:44

And it’s either a case of sell the whole building, or sell parts of the building; to build new apartments, to pay for the work that needs to be done.

Sue  11:53

Yes and there are a lot of buildings around Bondi mostly, because you know, those buildings, they become victims of the sea.

Jimmy  12:01

Yes and they’re older buildings, anyway.

Sue  12:03

With concrete cancer, yes.

Jimmy  12:04

They’re some of the oldest apartment blocks in Sydney.

Sue  12:07

Yes. There’s a number of those that are currently undergoing renewal and they’re selling off different spaces; they’ve found different spaces in the building, where they can build on top. Obviously, that’s a fantastic…

Jimmy  12:20

Because that’s prime real estate; a penthouse.

Sue  12:23

Or, they might be able to put balconies on and then resell a couple of the apartments. But some of them have found little areas, like; when old buildings were built, they sometimes had communal laundries. They’ve got these little spaces, which aren’t really being used for much anymore, so they’re turning them into maybe, a studio apartment, and the building is selling that off. So they’re kind of working out really interesting ways of raising money, to do these kinds of things. As well, with the Tamarama block, they they took out a strata loan to help finance it in the interim, and then they kind of felt that when they sell off the penthouses (which were due to go on the market this week for $20 million, or over $20 million each)… But obviously, you kind of think, well, that’s going to be a bit delayed now.

Jimmy  13:10

I think that once that building is fixed, that’s a prime piece of real estate. It’s empty at the moment, isn’t it? Are there people living in it?

Sue  13:21

I think there might be maybe, a couple, but most people moved out, during the renovation, and were preparing to move back in, very soon. Well, unless

Jimmy  13:29

Well, unless they’ve got very deep pockets, they may not be able to afford to move back in…  I mean, they might have to sell, which I’m sure they’d be able to do, in it’s location and get a really good price for it, but from what I hear, the bills are just going up and up and up.

Sue  13:51

What, for the renovation?

Jimmy  13:52

Yes.

Sue  13:53

But then their apartments will be worth so much more now, than they would have been from the very beginning, so you kind of have to weigh it up. There have been some people during the process, because it has taken a long time and people lived there while some of the work was being done, but had to move out while other parts of the work was being done. Some people sold out and some people bought in there, while the work was going on, because they could see the potential. Among them, I think, there’s an architect, who saw the potential and has bought an apartment. So, there is demand for them.

Jimmy  14:28

You’re not going to get an apartment with that view, in that location, ever again.

Sue  14:34

 No, that’s right.

Jimmy  14:35

It’s a one-off.

Sue  14:38

For all intents and purposes (if they get the fire sprinklers sorted out), it is pretty much a brand new building. It looks fantastic. It looks so much better than it did before. They’ve had designers in, to do the interiors. The lobby is looking great. You know, they’ve got a lot more space there now; a lot more access to the open air and a lot more access to the views, as well. The penthouses look as if they’re going to be quite amazing. I’ve seen some renders of them; they look quite extraordinary, really.

Jimmy  15:12

I mean, looking at some of the prices that places have gone for in the past year or so… I mean, $20 million in that location, for that floor space that they’re being offered sounds modest, I would say.

Sue  15:24

A bargain, Jimmy!

Jimmy  15:26

For someone else; not for me.

Sue  15:29

Well, no, because there’s lots of demand for the beachside areas now after… WelI, I can’t say after COVID, but as a result of the pandemic, a lot of people want to live by the beach now.

Jimmy  15:39

Although, I don’t think it has beach access, does it?

Sue  15:43

Well, it’s only a short walk down to the beach.

Jimmy  15:45

A short abseil.

Sue  15:47

Well, you could abseil, Jimmy!

Jimmy  15:51

It’s been a while since I’ve been down there, but I seem to recall that it’s…

Sue  15:56

You just walk down the pathway down to the beach and Tamarama is a pretty nice beach. I’ve never been swimming there really, because there’s quite a lot of rips in there. I don’t think that would be a great place for you to swim, especially as you can’t swim.

Jimmy  16:12

Well, no, especially since I can’t swim. But they have a rip there. They have a name for it; the Tamarama Express, or something like that. Surfers use it, they find the rip and it takes them out and then they jump on their surfboards and get eaten by sharks. Look, it’s a shame that all that work has gone into it and it’s been stymied at the last minute, for very good reasons, I’m sure. I did notice that the orders were attributed to Matt Whitton, not David Chandler. David Chandler is the Building Commissioner; Matt Whitton is his assistant.

Sue  16:50

One of his inspectors, isn’t he?

Jimmy  16:52

His second-in-command, really. It’s what I was saying last week, that David Chandler is becoming increasingly anxious (maybe), to not be seen as the Messiah; that he wants to share the glory, a little bit. Because you know, there are powerful people who really don’t like what he’s doing. Not for any other reason than it stops them doing what they want to do.

Sue  17:22

Sure, absolutely and, makes them a lot more accountable for their work.

Jimmy  17:30

Just before we leave this topic, tell us about this aeroplane that you got on when you got the news?

Sue  17:38

It was unfortunate timing, really. I was just going to the Outback to do a story on a station, which has become… It’s a working farm, its a big property. It’s wheat and sheep and they’re also now taking tourists. It’s kind of nice, bespoke luxury, but it’s out in the Outback and I’m just covered with mosquito bites. It’s a great place; Callubri Station, but to get there, Destination New South Wales chartered a plane for us five journalists to go there together. The plane was just wonderful. I’ve never been on a plane like it.

Jimmy  18:16

So this was a propeller-driven plane?

Sue  18:19

I got on this plane, and it has big armchairs and a sofa and a big table, that can fold down, so you can actually eat a full meal. It was incredible and I felt so much like I was in Succession, the TV show. A little group of people on the plane said… I said first of all  “I want to be Logan,” and other people all wanted to be Greg, because he’s (maybe), a nice guy, but if you’ve seen the end of season three, maybe not! It was quite amazing; a fantastic way to get there.

Jimmy  18:59

It looked very luxurious, from your pictures.

Sue  19:01

Yes, and it flies quite low, so you could even get internet and phone coverage and make phone calls and send emails while you’re on the plane, which was a luxury, as well.

Jimmy  19:11

It was just as well, because when you got there, there was no coverage.

Sue  19:16

If you’re with Telstra, you can get coverage, but I was with Optus, unfortunately and I was completely out of contact for the whole time.

Jimmy  19:25

When we used to travel to the Outback, we always took a little Telstra Mobile phone, but it’s been so long since we’ve travelled.

Sue  19:36

It didn’t occur to me, that the whole of the Outback is not covered by Optus. How ridiculous!

Jimmy  19:44

Okay, when we come back, we are going to talk about what has happened in the past year, in property. That’s after this. Your feature in Domain starts with the phrase ‘Space, the Final Frontier,’ which always used to start the old Star Trek TV show. Then it goes on to say that space is the financial frontier, when it comes to apartments. So, please explain.

Sue  20:19

Well, over 2021, we spent a fair bit of time in lockup, in both Sydney and Melbourne, and a few other places, as well. People were really looking for more space in their apartments. They were really looking for particularly, space so they could work at home in their apartments, as well and also, looking for a bit of space outside, maybe a balcony or a courtyard too, because, you know, it’s hard being stuck inside, when you don’t have any access to the outside. That became the huge thing in 2021 and people were really prepared to pay a premium for that, too. So yeah, it’s been an amazing year; I mean, we’ve had enormous growth in property prices as you know, and Sydney apartments, the median price is now over $800,000, which is quite incredible. You know, that’s the median. It’s not like a really fabulous apartment.

Jimmy  21:10

Some of the fabulous apartments are going for ridiculous amounts. I see Jamie Packer paid $60 million. That’s the budget of a small country.

Sue  21:20

I guess Barangaroo really came into its own this year, as well and the apartments there. Some of the most expensive apartments went from around the Harbour side, because the first record was set when the Opera Residences…You know, that new building at Circular Quay, just down from the toaster building? A new aparment there went for $26 million.

Jimmy  21:44

That was quite a lot.

Sue  21:45

Absolutely. And then, at Barrangaroo, we had a penthouse; the top three levels of LendLease’s new tower, which hasn’t been finished yet, Tower 1… That apartment sold off-the-plan for $140 million.

Jimmy  22:00

Oh, my God!

Sue  22:00

It’s astonishing, isn’t it? We’ve also got the Crown Residences, just next to those LendLease Towersn and that’s where Jamie Packer has got a $60 million apartment, although I don’t think he’s settled on it yet. He said he’s willing to buy it, but it actually hasn’t gone through yet, so we don’t quite know whether he’s going to settle, but there’s been lots of purchases there, of more than $40 million.

Jimmy  22:23

Wow. I mean, it’s just seems unbelievable. I honestly wonder where people get the money?

Sue  22:29

Sure. I mean, this year has been quite interesting, because we’ve got record low interest rates, and we haven’t been able to travel, so we’ve got a very high level of savings. Really, when you buy a $40 million apartment, I don’t suppose anyone ever turns up with a case of $40 million worth of $50 notes. Really, it’s just whether you can actually borrow that much from a bank and then it’s all just a kind of a paper transaction. You might sell the place in a year or so for $45 million and you’ve never actually paid out very much, at all. But you know, for the rest of us, for us mere mortals, one of the most stunning things of this year was the news that it would take most people 16-and-a-half years, to save up the 20% deposit on a home. 16 and a half years!

Jimmy  23:23

Where are they going to live in the meantime?

Sue  23:25

Well, that’s right.

Jimmy  23:26

Well, they’re renting, presumably, or they’re living with their parents, or something else.

Sue  23:31

Well, that’s another thing that really went up; the parental contribution to their kids homes. Parents now on average, lend their children $89,000 and that’s up 20% from the year before. So, you know, if you’ve got a child who’s desperately wanting their own home, then you’re going to have to fork out quite a bit of money, to help them.

Jimmy  23:54

That’s another callback to Succession, isn’t it? Where Logan says to his kids “make your own pile.”

Sue  24:03

Yes, he doesn’t have very much sympathy for that kind of stuff, does he really?

Jimmy  24:06

Not really. Well, he’s a bit Scottish, isn’t he? So prices have been going up. I mean, it’s funny, because we were hearing on the radio this morning… They were saying “oh, the stock market’s gonna go down, because of the Coronavirus; because of Omnicron and house prices are going to be affected, because interest rates are going to go up, because of inflation.” It’s basically like they’re saying “it doesn’t matter what you try, you’re gonna be screwed.”  I don’t believe it! I know people who put a deposit down on an off-the-plan purchase of just over a million dollars and when they checked to see how the progress was going in the sales of the other apartments (because that’s quite important; it’s an important part of your off-the-plan gamble, that other people are also buying in the same project), and they were told that the equivalent apartment to the one that they had bought, was now costing $140,000 more. That’s 14% more.

Sue  25:11

That’s amazing, isn’t it?

Jimmy  25:13

And that’s in less than a year.

Sue  25:15

And is that a place on the coast, maybe?

Jimmy  25:18

Yes.

Sue  25:20

I mean, there has been such a huge demand for places on the coast.

Jimmy  25:23

That was another big trend from last year.

Sue  25:25

Exactly. People buying holiday homes or maybe, they’re going to rent them out.

Jimmy  25:29

Or they’re going to go live there, because you can work remotely these days, apart from Nyngan, where you can’t…

Sue  25:37

Get coverage! It’s interesting to see what’s going to happen next year. I mean, there’s still strong demand for places on the coast; places by the beach, anywhere that’s kind of really nice to live. A lot of companies have been saying “no, no; we want people back into our offices,” you know, in the CBD offices. They don’t want all that really expensive space, standing there empty and idle. But then with the latest Omicron wave, a lot of them are saying “well, no, let’s delay that.” Atlassian has said that their people only need to come in once a year, or something. They just want to see them occasionally.

Jimmy  26:15

Just to make sure they actually exist.

Sue  26:16

So companies that work in the technology field, they have workforces who are very agile. They’re young people, who will quit and move on and find another job quite easily elsewhere. They’re finding a lot of those companies can’t actually say to their staff “no, you’ve got to be in the office two days a week or three days a week,” because those people will quit and they’ll go to another company like Atlassian, that doesn’t necessarily demand that they be in the office much at all. They’re finding they’re not using their offices as much, only just for a bit of collaboration and creativity and meetings every now and again. People maybe will continue their drift out to places beyond the cities. We’re seeing prices of both houses and apartments rising in those places, whether they’re on the coast or whether they’re in nice places inland, like Berrima or Orange; those nice places to live.

Jimmy  27:11

So it’s actually office space that’s a financial frontier?

Sue  27:17

Maybe so. I think a lot of the commercial real estate people are trying to talk up office space and saying “well, it’s coming back.”

Jimmy  27:26

Because that’s their job, apart from anything else.

Sue  27:28

That’s right and I mean, maybe it is, because there still will need to be collaboration spaces, meeting spaces and some companies are more dependent on that, than others.

Jimmy  27:39

When we come back, a Christmas poem. That’s after this.

Christmas at Hyperbole Towers

Hyperbole Towers is the fictional strata block featured in out PodCom created earlier this year.

The original version of this was written several tears ago under the title of Christmas at Dardanelle Towers. But then I heard there is a unit block called Dardanelle Tower so I changed it

But not only has the name changed, the focus in this rewrite has switched from strata committees being just a tad too politically correct, to maybe using Covid as an excuse for a screw-up.

The charming version of Jingle Bells accompanying the podcast version is by a Russian musician called Eugeniusz Betliński (it says here).

Please enjoy.

They’ve cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers

The committee discussed it for hours and hours

Until the chair, surprisingly snarky, decreed there’d be no Christmas party

Bluster and fluster could not mask it, a party was in the too-hard basket.

The chair compiled a list of reasons for finishing off the festive season

Handshakes and hugs would have to be banned, mistletoe kisses in no-man’s land

Are you vaxxed? You daren’t ask. Sucking wine through straws beneath your mask.

So, issuing orders with a glower, she cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers

They cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers under the chair’s emergency powers

With no concern for democracy, she demanded utmost secrecy.

Property values would surely spiral, she said, if the news was leaked and then went viral

In any case, it would be a fizzer with everyone in an omicron tizzer

There’d be no sitting on Santa’s knee, due to covid-over proximity

And anyway hadn’t some holy roller said Santa was invented by CocaCola?

And she was sure that Baby Jesus would be concerned if we shared sneezes

With the risk of hay fever from festive flowers

They’ve cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers

They’ve cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers

We thought because the building’s ours, we could celebrate it if we liked

But even the idea of a tree was spiked

A twinkling fir in our foyer is definitely not okay

But citing the need for sensitivity when addressing issues like the nativity

The chair said we required mitigation against potentially costly litigation

By unnamed residents who’d be offended if the festivities were not suspended

So in our homes we’re forced to cower

Cos they’ve cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers

They cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers and when the mood began to sour

There are by-laws, the chair said in the face of profanity

Protecting our safety, privacy and sanity.

A by-law on sanity? That gives me pause …everyone knows there’s no sanity clause.

Finally the chair grudgingly admitted the reason she was so committed

To keeping us celebration-free … she’d forgotten to order the bloody tree.

So a PC, tree-free holiday is ours

Cos they’ve cancelled Christmas at Hyperbole Towers

Sue  27:49

That’s funny, Jimmy.

Jimmy  27:53

We’ve had our Christmas party cancelled for the last two years, but for other reasons, obviously.

Sue  27:59

So, cancel culture. It’s a bit hard to say; I haven’t even had a drink! But on that note, maybe just wish all our listeners a very happy and safe Christmas.

Jimmy  28:14

Yes and it’ll probably be a shorter form of the podcast next week, because I think we’ll dig out Hyperbole Towers, the sitcom.

Sue  28:23

 That will be fun!

Jimmy  28:24

The pod-com. That’s all going to happen next week, but this week, thank you all for listening. Have a great Christmas and we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

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