Category Archives: Have You Heard?


10 Crazy (But True) Facts About Doctor Who

We’re big Doctor Who fans at the Co-op and as the series always evolves, there’s always new and surprising facts to discover… here’s our favourites:

1. As the the Co-op’s Doctor Who range attests, the TARDIS image is a major part of the Doctor Who merchandise magic. However, the iconic blue box wasn’t always seen on Dr Who products. In fact, the BBC fought a years-long battle with with the POLICE MET just to use it. The Met argued they owned the design of the TARDIS exterior (as it’s based on a MET phone booth from the first half of the 20th Century). The BBC said  that since the MET had stopped using the design for more than 50 years ago, the boys in blue needed to get over it and realise that the blue box is nowadays much more closely linked to Doctor Who. It took several years, but in 2002 , the Patent Office agreed, meaning you can now adorn your bathroom with a TARDIS shower curtain, keep your biscuits in a TARDIS cookie jar, make your jelly into the shape of a TARDIS, dry yourself with a TARDIS, or even keep your toothbrush inside the TARDIS!


2. Benedict Cumberbatch could have been the Doctor! He reportedly turned it down because he wasn’t keen on the amount of merchandise that would be produced with his face on it… well, with the popularity of the Sherlock series, you can get your share of Benny-boy’s handsome face here.


3. The Doctor’s regeneration was based on a bad acid trip.


4. In 1988, Paramount Pictures wanted to make a Doctor Who movie starring either Michael Jackson or Bill Cosby as the Doctor.


5. The sound of the TARDIS was created with a bunch of keys. Back when Doctor Who began, the unmistakeable sound of the TARDIS materialising was created using a set of keys, which were dragged across the bass strings of a piano. The sound was then played in reverse. I wonder if there’s a secret message in there too …


6. Ridley Scott almost designed the Daleks.


7. The gas masks in “The Empty Child” were made in part from cans of baked beans after attempts to find authentic WWII gas masks failed because they contain dangerous asbestos.


8. The TARDIS looks like an old fashioned police lock-up box because its cloaking device, the chameleon circuit, malfunctioned after his first visit to 1963 London.


9. Before landing the role of the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant had roles in several Doctor Who audio dramas and also narrated a documentary about the revival of the show in 2005 (titled ‘Doctor Who’: A New Dimension).


10. A Dalek was found in a swampy pond in 2009. How it got there, no one knows …



Which Aussie PM Said That?

So, you think you know your Australian politics? Well, it’s time for you to play Which Aussie Prime Minister Said That? Good luck!

1. “I don’t die easily, do I?”

2. “The Leader of the Opposition is more to be pitied than despised, the poor old thing. The Liberal Party of Australia ought to put him down like a faithful old dog because he is of no use to it and of no use to the nation.”

3. “While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it’s inevitable and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework.”

4. “I say further that our system of education should be unsectarian.”

5. ‘I’m not having hundreds of f###ing Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their religious and political hatreds against us.”

6. “There will be some days I delight you, some days I disappoint you. On every day I will be working my absolute hardest for you.”

7. “My point was that the war was intrinsically wrong, and as a result of our participation we haven’t improved Australia’s security but created a greater danger at home and abroad.”

8. “We will decide who comes to our country.”

9. “We are lagging far behind comparable countries in overcoming the disadvantages Indigenous people face.”








1. Kevin Rudd; 2. Paul Keating; 3. Tony Abbott;

4. Edmund Barton; 5. Gough Whitlam; 6. Julia Gillard;

7. Bob Hawke; 8. John Howard;


Netflix VS. Stan VS. Presto

Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Please quieten down. The showdown you’ve all been waiting for is happening right now. That’s right, 2015 is the year of the Showdown of the Show Showers! *sound trumpets*

Not sure if you’ve heard the news or not (if you haven’t, welcome out from underneath that rock you’ve been living under), but Netflix has finally landed in Australia. But before it was able to stake its claim, fill screens around the country and steal the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Aussie streamers, a couple of quick-footed local competitors did a heap of work to appear on the scene in the months leading up to the Netflix launch. Say hello to Stan (owned by Fairfax) and Presto (owned by Foxtel). Oh, and before that there was Quickflix, Foxtel, free-to-air, illegal downloading, DVD, VHS, Betamax … But let’s not get into that.

So, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about the three streaming services that strutted on the scene in 2015.


  • $8.99 per month for streaming of standard-definition content across a maximum of one screen
  • $11.99 per month for streaming of high-definition content across max. two screens
  • $14.99 per month (hey big spender!) for streaming of ultra high-definition content (that’s 4K quality) across a maximum of four screens

  • $10 a month for unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows


  • $9.99 per month for Presto Movies, giving you access to Presto’s movie catalogue
  • $9.99 per month for Presto TVs, which gives you access to Presto’s TV catalogue
  • $14.99 per month for Presto Entertainment, which allows you to watch movies and TV shows
    (all plans are for a maximum four devices, max. two streams at a time)

A Few of the Drawcards


  • House of Cards
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Bloodline
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Marco Polo


  • Better Call Saul 
  • Dig 
  • Transparent
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • Community 
  • Fargo


  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Homeland
  • Wentworth
  • Entourage
  • Girls

Watching It


You can stream your fave shows and movies on your desktop, laptop or tablet device, as well as numerous Android devices. To see if your phone’s compatible with Stan, click here. PC users can also take advantage of Google’s Chromecast, while Mac users can take advantage of Apple TV via Airplay.


This is where Netflix stands out the most. It’s readily available on more devices than any of the other streaming devices in Australia. As well as watching on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, users can watch Netflix on quite a few smart TVs (Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, LG, HiSense and Philips to be specific). Set top-box provider, FetchTV, also has a Netflix app on their device, and LG, Samsung and Sony BluRay players are also set up for it. Netflix can also be viewed on TV using Chromecast or Apple TV.

More info can be found here.


Presto is a tad more limited than Netflix and Stan. If you enjoy watching your movies or shows on the big screen you can using the Chromecast with an HDMI-enabled TV. Just know that the Chromecast counts as one streaming device and the TV counts another, meaning it uses up both your streaming availability access at once. Presto can also be streamed on selected tablets, all PC/Macs and certain phone devices.

Want more info on Presto device compatibility? Click here.


Making a Choice

Ultimately, the choice you make comes down to the content you’re after and how you prefer to watch the content. The great news is all three offer a 30-day free trial, meaning you can sign up and check out the full catalogue before deciding whether it’s what you want. If it’s not, just remember to unsubscribe at the end of 30 days so that you don’t begin paying for something you don’t want!


 FYI – Chromecast is available at the Co-op. Just $48 for Members, $61 for Non-Members.


Thiel Grant for Online Writing

Exciting news for all budding web writers! Melbourne teacher and blogger Philip Thiel has announced the inaugural $5000 Thiel Grant for Online Writing. This is a grant that’s very close to Thiel’s heart, as it is completely funded by his own salary (find out more about this here).

The brilliant initiative is designed to encourage and support creative online writing and highlight the ocean of talent out there in the world of online writine. Thiel’s passion is obvious when he speaks of the grant:

‘[Online writing] is often highly original and experimental, off-the-cuff or fragmented—and it’s nearly always written for free. The grant will give one writer the chance to have their online writing financially backed. It can be seen as a kind of commission for a series of posts exploring a single concept, and will suit writers who are already producing this kind of material online.’

The lucky grant recipient will, over one year, produce 50 posts on an agreed idea/theme and publish it on their own website. There are no restrictions on length, genre or style, just so long as the work is written for the web.

All submissions will be judged by Thiel, Writers Victoria director Kate Larsen and writer, blogger and The Five Mile Press commissioning editor Angela Meyer. The winner will be the person whose concept is deemed the most exciting and writing a standout.

Entries are open to Australian writers and close on 28 February, 2015, and the winner will announced in early March. To apply, click here.

Check out Philip Thiel’s blog at Teacher in the Rye.

Great titles for Online Writers

Blogging All-In-One for Dummies , Susan Gunelius         Blogging Revolution , Loewenstein

Blogging for Creatives , Robin Houghton          Blogging and Tweeting without Getting Sued; A Global Guide to the Law for Anyone Writing Online , Mark Pearson




All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Sometimes it’s nice to get an advanced copy of the book that you know, just know, will be HUGE in 2015. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a beautifully written, heart-wrenching book. It’s about grief, loss, mental illness, being an outsider and finding the true love that springboards you to a better place. I sincerely hope everyone who reads it will love it as much as I do.

All The Bright Places will be The Fault in Our Stars of 2015 – an epic love story between two doomed teenagers… But it’s something about the writing – pretentious and goofy and heartwrenching and poetic all at once – that elevates it from a YA novel into a truly resonating reading experience. Jennifer Niven writes in a style and class that could rival the great writers. The characters are all richly detailed, so vivid and complicated and human – every page makes you love them a little more. Be prepared to cry your heart out in this romantic, poetic novel about living life to the full even when it seems impossible to move on.

Theodore Finch has always been an outsider. Bullied at school, dealing with depression, he has just come out of a coma-like sleep and is determined to stay awake. Up on the school bell tower, with thoughts of throwing himself off, he meets Violet Markey. After losing her sister in a car accident, Violet has been shrinking into herself, withdrawing from the world to try and survive her grief. They both need the other to survive – Finch can be himself around Violet rather than the myriad of personas he uses to survive the school day, and Violet finds the colour coming back into her world with Finch’s zest for life and possibility.  Working together on a school project, Finch and Violet road trip around Indiana… slowly healing, slowly falling in love, all the while leaving their mark on the world.

But while Violet’s world takes shape again, Finch’s starts to shrink. Despite his attempts at living life to the full, and encouraging Violet to reclaim all the things she was passionate about before the accident, something inside him is holding back.

I give this book all the stars in the sky for the complete and utter perfection it is. The writing is breathtaking, the characters are vivid, complex, the plot is perfection. I am blown away from reading All The Bright Places and feel like this is the kind of book that will stay with me forever. It is a sad, powerful, poignant novel.

This book is an absolute must read for 2015 and I won’t be surprised if a film will be announced soon too. I actually feel privileged to have been able to read this book and will be recommending it to everyone next year.


*I will advise however that this book can be quite triggering to some, it deals with difficult topics of mental illness, self-harm and suicide so please be aware of the content, and know that support is available.*

 Lifeline Australia

Ph: 13 11 14

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English





Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

So, I’ll start by saying that I definitely love this book. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is great. It’s got everything a good YA novel needs – a dystopic world, a heroine, superpowers, romance… it’s witty, sharp and clever. When it hits the shelves in 2015 Red Queen is a must read for fans of YA novels!

Mare Barrow is 17, living in the slums and scraping by as a petty thief and pickpocket. The world she lives in is divided by Red and Silver. Reds are powerless, doomed to a life of oppression and service for the mighty, powerful Silvers who have mutant powers over the mind and elements and live in luxury. For generations, the Reds have been sent to the frontlines of an unwinnable war while Silvers remain elite and rule with an iron fist.

While desperately searching for a way to escape conscription for her best friend Kilorn and herself, Mare finds herself in a deadly web – caught up in a trial where she is forced to reveal that (despite the impossibility) she has mutant powers herself – controlling and creating lightning. Since the King and Queen can’t silence Mare easily, they hide her in plain sight, passing her off as a long lost member of the royal family. Now in the public eye and betrothed to Maven, the prince – while finding her feelings are developing for his older brother, Cal –  Mare has no way out.

But she will turn her power into rebellion, fighting to change the society that keeps Reds oppressed from inside the elite Silver circles by working as an insider and figurehead for The Red Guard… but in a world where anyone can betray anyone, Mare must keep her feet in a dangerous game or risk losing her life and the people she loves…

I love the writing style, it’s witty and definitely keeps you reading. It does rely on the romance and the action a lot though, I would have liked to see more history and world building. And while this is a fantastic début novel, Red Queen is a pastiche of the best YA novels of the past year… there are complete sentences and the entire plot that is basically a rip of The Hunger GamesThe Selection and X-Men: First Class. Even the heroine, Mare, is nicknamed The Little Lightning Girl, which is not at all dissimilar to The Girl on Fire.

But here’s the thing, Red Queen is basically a really awesome fanfic of all my favourite books, and this meant I absolutely loved reading it!

At the end of the day, the most important thing is this – I couldn’t put the book down and I’m truly looking forward to getting the second book in this fantastic new series.

I think Red Queen stands a fighting chance at being a favourite in 2015’s round up of YA Novels. Give it a shot (of lightning).



Bill Gates’ Best Books of 2014

Bill Gates this week revealed the five favourite books he’s read this year, and you may be surprised by what he’s revealed! The list, which appeared on the Microsoft co-founder’s blog , is not full of computer and technology titles. Rather, it’s one featuring a broader selection of titles on current world issues and business as well as a brilliant fiction title written by Aussie Graeme Simsion.

Bill Gates’ Favourite Books of 2014
Business Adventures
by John BrooksBusiness Adventures , Brooks, John
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas PikettyCapital in the Twenty-First Century , Thomas Piketty
How Asia Works
by Joe StudwellHow Asia Works , Studwell, Joe
The Rosie Effect
by Graeme SimsionThe Rosie Effect , Graeme Simsion





Making the Modern World
by Vaclav Smil (US-only) 

This is the second reading list Gates’  has released this year. In July he released (northern) summer reading list. These titles are below:


Business Adventures
by John BrooksBusiness Adventures , Brooks, John
The Rosie Project
by Graeme SimsionThe Rosie Project , Graeme Simsion
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt
and the Golden Age of Journalism
by Doris Kearns GoodwinBully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age , Goodwin Doris Kearns
Stress Test
by Timothy F GeithnerStress Test , Geithner, Timothy





Reinventing American
Health Care
by Ezekiel J Emanuel
The Sixth Extinction:
An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert
The Sixth Extinction : An Unnatural History , Elizabeth Kolbert








The Co-op at VU MetroWest Is Opening!

When the season ticks over from Spring to Summer on December 1, the Co-op will be opening the doors at its new and improved VU Nicholson store, which has relocated to the exciting new VU at MetroWest facility. Not only will the the Co-op at VU MetroWest store have more floor space for you to wander around in, it’ll be jam-packed with an even greater range of awesome books and cool general merchandise, as well as all the textbooks uni students need.

This is set to be a store that not only VU students and staff will enjoy, but also the broader Footscray community. Head in-store and check out the variety of bestselling fiction, pop culture collectables, cookbooks, VU-branded apparel, games and other items of awesomeness. It will even be opening it’s very own café in the near future, Co-Café, the perfect place to sit down and catch up with friends between classes (or shopping trips)!  As always, all Co-op Members receive discounts on everything in-store! So, if you’re not yet a Member, get on it now. Click here to join now and start scoring sweet discounts and benefits for life!

The existing VU Nicholson store’s final day of trading was yesterday. If you have any urgent enquiries for the store prior to Monday, December 1, please contact the Co-op Footscray Park on (03) 9919 4610 or email

The new Co-op at VU MetroWest is located at street address:  138 Nicholson Street, Footscray 3011



Movember 2014

It’s that time of year again; a time when facial shavers are set aside and men’s upper lips sprout creations that resemble hairy slugs. Yep, it’s Movember!

Organised by the Movember Foundation, the event challenges men to grow moustaches for the entire month of November, as well as spark conversations and raise awareness and much-needed funds for men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems. $580 million has been raised to date, and all of it has gone towards improving and saving the lives of unwell men around the world. Don’t worry, even though November/Movember has already commenced, there are still plenty of ways for you (guys and gals) to get involved, show your support and really make a difference to this worthy cause. Find out how to get involved here!

Need a few tips on creating facial follicular fabulousness? Check out Rufus Cavendish’s The Little Book of Moustaches. Otherwise, get into the Movember spirit by heading to the Co-op Shop for a heap of Marvellous Moustache goodies, including Stick On Moustaches, Moustache Pint Glass, Moustache Mug and more! Check them all out here!


Now let us celebrate Movember by admiring some of history’s most glorious mos …

Tom Selleck


Burt Reynolds








Off To The Races…

In a perfect world, Melbourne Cup day looks like this:

Not this:

Racegoers leave Flemington a huge mess, leaving the last to go to wade through an ocean of rubbish.

Photo: Luis Ascui, via Sydney Morning Herald ‘The Cup – That’ll do me’

Ah well… The race that stops the nation was a 153 years young this Tuesday, and is to be followed by the rest of the Spring racing festival – Oaks Cup and Ladies Day (although guys can go to that race too). Regardless if you’re a high roller or just there for the fashionable wildlife, Melbourne Cup is a significant racing event and a time for high stakes and tall hats.

Relive the excitement and read about the people and horses who rule the most important 3 minutes of the sporting world!


Roy Higgins – Australia’s Greatest Jockey by Patrick Hartley











Bart: My Life by J.B. Cummings










High Stakes: The Rise of the Waterhouse Dynasty by Paul Kennedy











Black Caviar: The Authorised Story by Gerard Whateley










My Grandad Knew Phar Lap by Errol Broome