The roses floated slowly down the Yarra in Hawthorn, the kookaburras sang a goodbye. I remembered the day in October 2003 when the phone rang and this story began. Bob called. ‘Can you go to Cairns on Sunday? We’ve got a guy who made a threat on a Virgin flight to Melbourne. He told the flight attendant he had a glock in his pocket. Make a threat to an aircraft is the charge. It’s jail if he goes down. In the District Court. Good fee.’ ‘Sure sounds good.’ Just the sort of brief I liked. Private fees, travel and federal […]
Archives for February 2018
Policies are commonly crafted to remedy something: plugging a shortcoming or loophole perhaps, or mitigating an existing or looming catastrophe. Recently the policy problem has been Barnaby Joyce. Or #Barnababy as it’s known in the Twittersphere. The country’s second highest ranked politician spent a good chunk of 2017 telling Australians about what constitutes a good and proper marriage. All the while Mr Joyce was busy impregnating his work wife. Barnababy is bad PR, particularly so for a conservative party whose branding relies on heavy doses of Mayberry and wishful thinking. The PM had to do something. So Barnababy is the […]
In 2003 I found myself trying to wrap up a fifteen month breakup that had lasted almost as long as the relationship. The previous year I’d gone to South Korea ostensibly to follow the World Cup. For a complicated set of reasons and a series of miscalculations, I went alone while my girlfriend also swapped the southern hemisphere for a northern summer, pulling pints in a Cornish pub in England. We broke up through an extended cycle of expensive long distance phone calls between a pay phone in her village and my dingy dormitory town flat half-an-hour away from the […]
It’s the end, as they say, of an era. Or at least it was meant to be. On Saturday last week, the RMS St Helena departed the South Atlantic island that gives it its name for what was supposed to be the final time. But it was forced to turn back due to a medical emergency and returned to the island—almost 1800km from the African coast and another 3200km from South America—early Monday morning. One of only four Royal Mail Ships still in service, the RMS, as it is affectionately known, will be decommissioned upon its arrival in Cape Town […]
There’s a horrifying story I was once told about a man who gave seven women herpes in the space of a month. It was one of those classic urban legends designed to scare teenagers into using protection—at least I thought it was, until I met one of the women involved. The woman was in her late twenties, and I’d been thrown into a group chat with her at the behest of a mutual friend who wanted to prove she didn’t ‘make this shit up’. I asked the woman how it happened, which seemed a redundant question; I knew how it […]
The ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope refers to the long history of media (books, film, television/all art ever) killing off queer characters. Often, this trope is used to further a straight, cisgender character’s plotline and/or to demonstrate that queerness—if seen at all—must be viewed as harmful. ‘The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing. […] Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.’ (The Motion Picture Production Code 1930) The history of this trope is largely rooted in American […]
The public space we call ‘the media’ has changed drastically over the last 20 years. I have been arguing for most of that time—to a mixed reception—that journalists need to take their audiences much more into their confidence, not just once the stories are written, but about the way in which journalistic decisions are made in the first place. The current Barnaby Joyce saga has brought to the fore just how uncomfortable many journalists are with that idea and how we haven’t really worked out what the new rules are. Joyce, the leader of the National Party and the Deputy […]
For much of my childhood, I had one clear goal: I would leave home the moment I was legally permitted to do so. When I finally achieved that goal—a few months late—I was both hopeful and bereft. My great, defining trial was now behind me. What next? I had to deal with pragmatic concerns above all (work, food, and shelter) but my first major independent choice now seems significant: I decided to become vegetarian. I didn’t know any vegetarians at the time—it was, and still is, an uncommon decision in the working-class world. Most of my friends, girlfriends and workmates […]
Magic was important to me for a while. I was strangely tethered to an idol. But it wasn’t a sophisticated connection, nor constant. In contemplating my imagined virus, I was variously confused, frightened, forgetful, fine.
In this separation ceremony
we are not separating
the Sabbath from the rest
of the week.
We are separating my self
As he put more and more distance between himself and the mangroves, his fear lessened. Finally he forced himself to attempt to sleep the night through, after fortifying himself in a high, shallow cave with only one entrance.
Giving up is such a long, slow slide,
something Icarus knew nothing about,
he fell so fast there was barely time
to lose faith in youth or flight.