WE WALKED ALONG THE DUST ROAD as twilight hung in the air. The walk felt like a procession; as John and I passed the tin and weatherboard shopfronts where brightly dressed women sold betel nut, acquaintances stopped us to chat. We saw almost everyone we knew along the road that evening, which was strange, because we had only just decided to leave Bougainville. My two-month visa was set to expire in a week, and I had failed to acquire a new one. The courier company had simply forgotten to send my passport to Moresby the previous week. A sweet-looking man […]
Mark Dapin reveals that life as a columnist isn’t always a bed of roses.
Gillian Terzis takes a trip to the Pilbara to see what a mining boom looks like up close
Ronnie Scott visits Croatia in search of a chiropractic of the psyche and a good spray tan
Barry Pearce shares excerpts from his diary written on his journey of homage to the master of urban vision, Jeffrey Smart
Elmo Keep on what it’s like to really lose it
In the summer of 1991 I was ten, and my father had bought a copy of American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. He sat one Saturday afternoon in the living room in his armchair, reading it. I remember this vividly for two reasons: one was that I was both fascinated and terrified by the cover art, which depicted what looked like a man wearing a mask made of flesh; and the second was a typically understated warning from my father, who looked dourly at me over his glasses and the top of the book at once, saying, ‘You can never, […]
‘Here I am, your Honour,’ I’d plead. ‘I’ve read everything from Ernest Hemingway and Ralph Ellison to Bret Easton Ellis—and not only do I lead a fictional existence which would do justice to the above authors, I still can’t get courteous counter service at the Niagara Cafe in downtown Bega!’
Barry Cooper in Meanjin 2006.
When I was thirteen years old I wanted to be Warwick Capper. You see, Warwick Capper had long blond hair, white boots, and took spectacular marks. He played like a bird, fragile on the ground but always dexterous in flight. When I was eleven, even twelve, I didn’t really know who Warwick Capper was, in fact I didn’t know what a mark was nor did I understand Aussie Rules, which at the time made little sense to me or my parents, as we had just emigrated to Australia. But I learnt quickly. ‘Dad, what are the sticks?’ ‘Son, goals.’ ‘Dad, […]
‘Ah BuKien wants to discuss Aghere for her son,’ my mother announced to my father over breakfast one morning. They spoke as if I wasn’t there, but they expected me to eavesdrop. This woman, a family friend of my parents, had been intent on seeing me marry her son ever since she had lain eyes on me as a shapeless pre-pubescent in my mother’s hand-me-downs. My father laughed. Ha, the absurdity of it. He thought I was too good for Ah BuKien’s son. ‘That crazy antiquated relic thinks she’s still living in Confucian times,’ my father sneered. ‘She doesn’t realise […]
It’s extraordinary to look back, over all those years. I remember, as a child, looking forward to a stretch of time that seemed endless, a point that, as I gazed at the nearest elderly relative, was beyond her comprehension, or possibility of attainment. Well, I’m there now, or almost, and this exercise in recollection, albeit purely in the professional areas, will be interesting and, given my current feelings (disappointments, still lingering hopes?), quite salutary. I remember, vividly, the first moment, entering what was then the St James Hall. Later it became the Mercury Theatre and, finally, its greatest glory, the […]