Australian politics, society & culture


The politics of Clive Palmer
By Guy Rundle
Black Inc.; $32.99
By Geordie Williamson
JB East's 1834 portrait of Billy Blue. Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW.
The Story of Billy Blue
By Cassandra Pybus
Frieda Keysser and Carl Strehlow, May 1986. Courtesy of John Strehlow
John Strehlow’s 'The Tale of Frieda Keysser'
By Peter Sutton
Pauline Kael: a life of film © Associated Press
Brian Kellow’s 'Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark'
By Christos Tsiolkas
Frank Moorhouse, the nation's Edith Wharton. © Steve Baccon/Fairfax Syndication
Frank Moorhouse’s ‘Cold Light’
By David Marr
Mary Finister at work. © Michael Amendolia
Meeting Mary Finsterer
By Andrew Ford
Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz
By Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz
By Justin Clemens
Coffee-table books about artists – especially when the artist is still alive – are an odd genre. Caught between biography and criticism, scholarship and accessibility, they too often try to resolve these tensions by recourse to adjective-laden hagiography. Patrick McCaughey, the high-profile former director of the
Carolyn Burke's 'Lee Miller'
By Drusilla Modjeska
Vogue model turned photographer, bobbed muse of Man Ray and ‘unofficial’ surrealist, Lee Miller makes a challenge to her biographer that is not dissimilar to the challenge she made to those who knew her. Who was this woman of “multiple lives” who played the moderne and out-played her men? Who was behind the images she
Eavesdropping on Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
By Maria Tumarkin
A friend of mine was once married to a Russian musician, the lead singer of a band who subsequently became widely known in Russia, you could even say famous. To this day the band’s songs are listened to by millions, stadiums get filled and critics offer their gentle blessings. My friend, unsurprisingly, remembers the
Directors, producers and the importance of unsubtlety
By Clive James
There are more bad director’s movies than bad producer’s movies.–ANON A standard piece of Hollywood wisdom would have us believe there are more bad director’s movies than bad producer’s movies. I first heard this maxim from Marty Elfand, the producer of King David, directed by my friend Bruce Beresford. Later on,
Keith Miller, and the struggle to capture him on paper
By Ramachandra Guha
One of the first books I owned was Keith Miller’s Cricket Crossfire. My father found it in a shop in Delhi and brought it home to the small sub-Himalayan town where we lived. I read the book, then read it again. What charmed me most was its conspicuous internationalism. Where the memoirs of English cricketers tended
By Gideon Haigh
In the Australian team of which he is the oldest, most experienced and comfortably most famous member, Shane Warne is the great decomplicator. People tangle themselves in theories, he complains, when cricket is a simple game. Batsmen should block the good ones and belt the loose ones. Bowlers are there to get them out
By Adrian McGregor
Standing on a property my daughter bought recently in Samford, half an hour’s drive north-west of Brisbane, I pointed across the valley to an impressive home. “That’s Steve Renouf’s house.” Said she: “Who’s Steve Renouf?” Had I read John Harms’s book then I would have quoted Roy Masters: Renouf was a rugby league
Graham Kennedy was an eyes-popping perfectionist, a subversive pre-feminist, a rebel without any trousers on.
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
Among the many thousands of words written in the days after Graham Kennedy died, one memory recurred like a refrain: Kennedy’s uncanny gift for TV. “Because it was a new medium,” said Stuart Wagstaff, “very few people knew how to handle it; for some inexplicable reason, Graham did.” John Mangos, the last person to
By Paul Daffey
As footy-mad youngsters, the Krakouer brothers’ inventive quest to improve their Aussie Rules skills included practising over the kitchen table in the family home at Mount Barker, WA. While their father Eric, one of several quiet heroes in this sad and stirring story, sips his tea after a hard day’s shearing, the two