Merry Christmas, Canberra! Our gift to you today is a selection of holiday reads as selected by our Twitter audience. These ten articles were our most liked, clicked on and shared on Twitter in 2016. Among them you’ll find ideas for Christmas music to listen to and films to watch as you celebrate today, some inspiration for how to make the most of good fortune in 2017, tips on where to pick up a Halal Snack Pack during the holidays and reminders of some of the year’s most frustrating, joyous and surprising moments …
10. Best of Canberra – Halal Snack Packs (HSPs)
Elias Hallaj brings an energy and outlook to food writing that knows no equal in this town, so we were not surprised to find that readers embraced his commentary on the produce of our fine eateries. We loved his take on the politically hot halal snack pack (HSP), and his recommendations for where to indulge in this very 2016 dish inspired plenty of discussion among readers. FYI, we checked, and the Yarralumla Turkish Halal Pide House is open as usual this week aside from Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so it’s not too late to try an HSP there before the end of the year.
9. The power of language
Our weekly columnist Kim Fischer lived and breathed politics this year as a candidate in the hotly contested seat of Ginninderra at the ACT election, but managed to write some thoughtful articles for us in between all that door-knocking. The linguistics nerds among us enjoyed this February 15 piece on how language impacts on our cultural heritage, identity, and place in society.
8. My Christmas: Tim White
Both of our co-owners feature in the Twitter top ten, with former Allhomes CEO Tim White coming in at number 8 with his My Christmas column on December 9. Our favourite line among his answers is this one: “The gift I’d most like to give this Christmas is common sense to our world leaders (one in particular). 2017 is an unwritten book so people should choose their actions and words wisely and fill it up with pages that are worth reading by the end of the year. I’d also love to see the Rabbitohs win the 2017 premiership – but surely that is already a given.” You might enjoy reading over all of the team’s My Christmas columns today for ideas on films to watch (or avoid), music to listen to and new traditions to try.
7. Fans celebrate Sloan’s ‘happiest voice on radio anywhere’
You loved our November 9 article about the way Canberrans took to social media to celebrate and acknowledge the career of longtime ABC local radio presenter Alex Sloan, who retired earlier this month. Tributes and comments remarked on Ms Sloan’s “delicious personality, wit and gentle loveliness”, infectious laugh, wit, wisdom, humour, generosity, spirit, kindness, support for women, integrity, gift for storytelling, “laughing voice”, community leadership, empathy, intellect and graciousness.
6. Barista champ film wins Best Australian doco
Like us, you were excited to learn on July 12 that two former Canberrans who made a documentary about the capital’s world champion barista had picked up an award of their own after their film, The Coffee Man, won Best Australian Documentary film at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. The doco started out chronicling barista Sasa Sestic’s global hunt for the perfect coffee bean as part of a study of specialty coffee. Director Jeff Hann and producer Roland Fraval followed Sestic as he hunted beans in Ethiopia, Honduras and Columbia, then joined him as he became the first Canberran to win the Australian Barista Championships before heading to the World Championships in Seattle to share in the moment as the ONA Coffee barista (and owner) went on to collect the world title.
5. Tune into @666canberra now to hear RiotACT co-owner @mmcgoogan talking about his life and career with @LouiseVMaher on Canberra Close-up – shout out
This November 2 tweet was to alert our audience to the fact that ABC radio journalist Louise Maher was interviewing Canberra tech entrepreneur Michael McGoogan, who bought into the RiotACT along with former Allhomes chief Tim White earlier this year, for the local radio station’s Canberra Close-up segment. You can catch up on the interview here.
4. C’est magnifique! We preview the NGA’s Versailles blockbuster
Earlier this month, we put together a Facebook Live package previewing the National Gallery of Australia’s summer blockbuster, Versailles: Treasures from the palace, covering the official launch speeches and taking a video tour of the exhibition and its gorgeous store. Go and visit, and make sure you take any children you need to entertain this summer to the NGA Play zone while you’re there, too.
3. Census debacle – drastic consequence
On August 15, a few days after #CensusFail, John Hargreaves penned this opinion piece looking at the broader impact of the tech disaster. “The reputation of the ABS may never be the same. Who can trust it to function properly ever again? We forget that the Australian Government and people of Australia are not the only customers of the ABS. Business relies on the accuracy and integrity of the data. Well perhaps not now,” he wrote. The article examined implications for Centrelink customers and for the potential for online voting in elections, too. This was a huge story for Canberra given how many of us work in the public sector or in service provision for government.
2. Family find nest of fledgling finches in Christmas tree
Forget partridges in pear trees, the Christmas season began with the discovery of a nest filled with baby European goldfinches in their Christmas tree for one Canberra household. The family heard soft squeaking coming from their brand new fresh cut Christmas tree on December 11, and were shocked to find that it was emanating from the newly orphaned fledglings. Wildlife carers took over soon after, but it was a Christmas surprise these Canberrans will always remember.
1. If you won $500, what would you spend it on?
Published on October 10, this was one of those quirky stories that made us all think about our priorities. It was one of Rachel Moore’s first stories on the RiotACT, and introduced us to Ralph Nelson, a Canberra writer, artist, gardener and poet who upon winning the ACT Mental Health Week Award in 2013 for Consumer Contribution to Sector Development decided to spread the good fortune as far as he could. He purchased his first digital camera, joined Facebook and started the Noslenrat YouTube channel, which has published over 850 videos with views exceeding 416,000 in 210 countries.
Our top ten article series continues tomorrow, with our top ten most-read Facebook posts of 2016. Keep an eye out for a new top ten each day over the holiday period.