All posts by gertloveday

About gertloveday

Gert Loveday is the pen name of sisters Joan Kerr and Gabrielle Daly. Gabrielle’s background is in nursing, medical research and music, while Joan is a widely-published poet. Since 2006 they have written several comic novels together. You can read more about how they came to be Gert on this interview with Guy Savage of 'His Futile Preoccupations' Gert Loveday writes with authority on peculiar diets, exercise regimes, body makeovers, extreme fashion, gurus, pigeons, religion, poetry, politics, the health bureaucracy, gourmet cooking, reality TV and literature from the Norse Sagas to Jeffrey Archer, with a sharp eye for character foibles and the pricking of pomposity. Our books are available in digital form only. 'Writing is Easy' is available from Amazon, Kobo, Bookworld and iTunes. 'Crane Mansions' and 'The Art Of The Possible' are on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords and its affiliated bookstores. 'Crane Mansions' is also available as an audiobook at Gert Loveday's Fun With Books is our playground, where we hope to find others who like the same games. We post midweek and at the weekend - stuff about books, writers, writing, words, things that amuse us, some of our own writing.

John Clarke

John Clarke made millions laugh countless times with his satirical take on politics and daily life.

How sad we are to hear of the sudden death of John Clarke. It seems impossible that this brilliant scallywag, someone who found life endlessly interesting and entertaining, just isn’t with us any more. It’s as if you woke up to hear there won’t be any more weather. There’s no public figure in Australia, none, who could be more of a loss to us. He is irreplaceable.

Continue reading John Clarke

Word of the month club: pertinacious


Pertinacious: persistent or stubborn in holding to one’s own opinion or design; resolute; obstinate. Chiefly as a bad quality (OED)

And what better example than Pertinax, the Roman general and short-lived emperor? He started life as a teacher of grammar – good training for a military career where he did sterling work beating up marauding Germans, putting down mutinies and banging heads together in the African provinces. He went into the military, it’s said, because soldiers were better-paid than teachers, and he had a reputation for being stingy.

When the emperor Commodus was assassinated, Pertinax was offered the job as a steady pair of hands after a deranged spendthrift. He set about cleaning up Roman finances and reining in corruption so forcefully that he made a lot of enemies. The plebs didn’t like the gladiatorial games being cut back; they hadn’t been all that keen on Commodus’ favourite sport of dressing up as Hercules and beating disabled people to death in the arena, but there was no need for that penny-pinching spoilsport Pertinax to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Then there were the insiders who didn’t like their perks being cut; and the Praetorian Guard were ropeable that their promised bonuses weren’t paid in full.

After only 87 days the Praetorian Guard stormed the palace. Pertinax, ever pertinacious, refused to run away. Like the teacher he’d once been, he tried to talk sense into them. Like many a teacher before him, he lost control of the room.  Before long his head was being paraded through the streets. It’s possible, but unlikely, that that would have happened if he’d stuck to teaching grammar.

Moral: be as pertinacious as you like with everyone else, but not with the Praetorian Guard.  Politicians seem to have learned this lesson by now.