TOPICS: Dennis Malone back on air 

RADIO REHAB: Reporter Dennis Malone has returned to the studio after a near-fatal accident on his bike. Picture: Simone De PeakNEARLY five months after a bike crash almost killed him, 1233 ABC Newcastle reporter Dennis Malone came back to work yesterday.

It was a quiet return. He’ll work two days a week, for a while. But he’s glad to be working at all.

‘‘I was on life support being taken to John Hunter,’’ the 58-year-old told Topics.

‘‘They gathered my family and told them I probably wasn’t going to make it, and if I did, I’d be a vegetable.’’

A motorist found Malone, a keen cyclist, lying unconscious next to his bike at the Jesmond roundabout in January. It was 4pm. He can’t remember the fall, or being taken to hospital, but paramedics told him later that only one witness had called triple-0.

‘‘I think I’d be quite scared to get back on a bike,’’ Malone said.

‘‘It made me realise how flipping dangerous Newcastle is for cyclists.’’

Ever the news junkie, one of his first questions was ‘‘Did my phone survive?’’

The father of four suffered a brain injury as well as damage to his back.

He knows there’s plenty of rehab ahead, and is grateful for the love and support of his wife Heather and his 1233 colleagues. While in hospital, he was buoyed by the arrival of his first grandchild, Macy.

‘‘Dulcet tones’’ is a hackneyed phrase, but we suspect the return of Malone’s soothing baritone will be music to listeners’ ears.

Goulden voice

YOU can download an iPhone app that gives directions in Ray Warren’s voice as you drive.

Now, there isn’t a Phil Gould one, but if there was …

‘‘I love Sunday afternoon. There’s something about [Honeysuckle/Nobbys/West Wallsend]. On a Sunday afternoon.’’

‘‘[When someone beats you to a parking spot] You can’t take this off him. You just can’t.’’

‘‘[When you go the wrong way] No. No. No. No. No.’’

Life and art, and Kim

TOPICS has its doubts about North Korea’s threats to the US, and not just because Kim Jong-un is a basketball fan.

A Hollywood blockbuster called Olympus Has Fallen premieres next week. And in a sign we’ve moved on from Russians and Arabs, the villains are North Korean.

Gerard Butler stars as a Secret Service agent trying to wrest back the controls of America from a band of North Koreans, who’ve seized the White House and want to nuke everyone. Or something.

It all seems an amazing parallel with real-life events. Is this a marketing campaign that Kim has been in on the whole time? Pyongyang could certainly use the cash.

Travellers’ tales

SPEAKING of which, with Topics readers being a worldly lot, has anyone been to North Korea? It won’t have been a stop-off to Dubai. They only admit 2000 Westerners a year, and they give you a chaperone.

‘‘A trip to North Korea is strictly on its government’s terms, and it’s essential to accept that you’ll have no independence during your trip,’’ says Lonely Planet.

‘‘You’ll be accompanied by two government-approved local guides at all times and only hear a very one-sided view of history throughout the trip.’’

Apparently food is so scarce, they keep your lunch leftovers.