A few months ago, I had to rip my zucchini plants out of their pots from the roots and chuck them in the bin. They had been fighting a fungus for months, wilting and turning white, the fruits’ growth stilted at half-mast, drooping. When the frost came, I knew it was over for them; the fertiliser wasn’t bringing them back to life, and neither was I. I wasn’t ready for the cold either, but unfortunately no one will rip me from my roots and put me out of my misery. When I first moved to Victoria, people kept telling me… [Read more]
When I was in grade one, Mum decided it was time for me to get musical. So, despite having no natural inclination, she packed me off to Mrs Gregovich’s (AKA Mrs G, to those of us who had trouble grasping her exotic name) piano class. The weekly lessons were conducted in a far-flung corner of my country primary school in a small stuffy room I suspect was actually the broom closet. In this room, I learnt to play classic numbers such as C,D,E and C,B,A, moving slowly on to more sophisticated pieces like one-handed ‘Chopsticks’. After an initial burst of… [Read more]
The post-colonial statue has long been a vexed component of Australian civic iconography. Depictions of Lachlan Macquarie and James Cook have been angrily daubed in recent days, but this sort of graffiti has a longer, wider history. In this extract, Matt Chun looks for the reasons why, and discovers a new view of Macquarie, as a frontier-war fighter. From the coming September edition of Meanjin: Macquarie has long been celebrated as a renaissance man and humanitarian. But, despite the assertions of police, Macquarie’s enduring historical status is questionable. On 8 May 1816, for example, Macquarie ordered that Aboriginal inhabitants: ‘…… [Read more]
I’ve rarely met an Australian who doesn’t feel given a happy licence, as soon as I say where I’m from, to tear into my hometown, or offer condolences. For many of them, their only experience of Canberra is as a metonym in the news for the government, Labor or Coalition, alongside some dubious decision of policy. Or, if they were unlucky, their experience might extend to the infamous, bleak ‘Year 6 trip to Canberra’, where students are dragged through the miserable, lightless warrens of Parliament House. That trip seems to have been created to disaffect the Australian population from the… [Read more]
It’s been weeks and, still, I’ve yet to excise Luca Guadagnino’s sumptuous Call Me by Your Name from my mind.
A tribute to John Clarke, by Damien Williams.
My tastes are eclectic; they must move with my short attention span. Reading encounters are brief bursts—if I’m not satisfied I will drop a book in the middle of my lounge room and there it will stay, long enough to attract hair-weeds and dust. Books must move me, keep me moving. I am currently writing a poetic biography of George Balanchine. For that, I have been reading a lot of material on Balanchine (no surprises there), including books about the ballet master, memoirs and autobiographies by dancers, manuals on dance technique and more, all as a supplement to archival research… [Read more]
In defence of my father, Donald Horne.
It’s ridiculous, but I get a bit anxious when people ask me what I’m reading. It feels like a test that I am destined to fail. I marvel at friends and acquaintances who seem to consume fat, serious books almost as often as I eat breakfast. When do they find the time, I wonder? I obviously waste my life watching too much TV and walking the dog. It leaves me feeling morally inadequate. I feel like I should have more structure and system to my reading; that I should be across recent releases by big name novelists, engaged with important… [Read more]
Last week, Indigenous hip hop group A.B. Original–made of award-winning artists Briggs and Trials–performed one of the largest sets at Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass Festival. The two artists have been making waves with their debut album ‘Reclaim Australia’ (2016), which epitomises their critically-acclaimed reputation for speaking out about issues that affect Australia’s Indigenous community. Their style of music, which has attracted collaborations with Australian music veterans such as Paul Kelly, doesn’t hold back in criticising the nation’s current political and social practices. The group often raise complex current affairs within and outside of their music; their Splendour in… [Read more]