A Starguide for Skeptics and Cynics


Sometimes when you listen to an old, familiar record on a different stereo you discover sounds you’ve never heard before. These unexpected bleeps and growls are so charming they renew your original crush on the album. This week, you are an LP on the neighbours’ turntable of life.

You should be getting lots of attention this week, and not in the usual way. No, instead of creepy men in your backyard and visits from debt collectors, you’ll get enthusiastic phone calls from rich people who want to buy your art. You should probably go and make some.

This week you will change how you take your tea. Other people will continue to make it in the way you liked before, and eventually you will revert to previous habit. But you’ll always remember the cornflake-golden feeling of freedom you had when you thought you could secretly transform.

You are about to be taught a big, important and possibly nasty lesson. It’s the kind of learning experience that will make you wish you’d spent your life in the library gleaning valuable warnings from wise tomes. Oh well, at least the hard way is quicker.

It’s counter-intuitive, but this week you will make the most impact by approaching people you don’t trust and asking them for favours. This theory works for absolutely everyone except the guy in the park with the overcoat who keeps offering you candy.

The French describe the orgasm as a little death. Fortunately, multiple orgasms are proof that there is reincarnation. This week you will develop a similarly ludicrous theology based on your sex life. With any luck there’ll be some absolution in there somewhere.

Cancer Those weird dancing lights in your peripheral vision are not a side-effect of the pills you took on New Year’s. They’re a side effect of the tiny circus lurking outside your office window, waving signal lanterns that dare you to come and join them. Are you a man or a flea, Cancer?

Now that the cricket is over for another year, the thought of returning to work is making you feel strangely daunted. It’s probably because Warnie has given you ideas. Why not retire? Then you can set up a fake charity and fail to build playing fields in Sri Lanka.

This week you stop pretending to have big-picture ideals about changing the world and start admitting that you prefer small-scale interpersonal interventions of the Machiavellian kind. I see a bright future for you at Centrelink.

Courage is not necessarily seasonal, but it does become more valuable at certain times of year. Even if you’re not a volunteer firefighter, you will find yourself pitted against some pretty hefty forces this week and wish you’d done some controlled backburning. Ironically, a few carefully-aimed Molotovs will make you feel better.

The phrase ‘disruptive influence’ has probably been dogging you since you got your first school report. I’ll put it a better way: you are far more capable of harnessing the power of chaos than your peers. This week, it will seem more like a skill than a liability.

You know the cliché that you can’t change anyone but yourself? Well, this week you’ll disprove it. You will get charity collectors to give you a donation, tease a hissy fit out of the nicest person you know, and generally manipulate innocent people into behaving out of character.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.