Australian politics, society & culture


Art and artifice in John Michael McDonagh’s ‘Calvary’
By Luke Davies
Fretilin supporters protest in Dili following the resignation of then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, 30 June 2006. © Candido Alves / Newspix / News Limited
East Timor’s Lost Generation
By Jill Jolliffe
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin aims high in California, 2009. © Tim Mosenfelder / Corbis
The New Castrati
By Paul Kelly
PL Travers and Mary Poppins
By Alan Saunders
“I’ll stay till the wind changes,” says Mary Poppins to the Banks children after she swept in on the east wind and, overwhelming Mrs Banks, became their nanny. Well, clearly the wind has not yet changed, because Mary Poppins is everywhere these days. She’s a book, she’s a movie and, now, she’s a hugely successful
Jonathan auf der Heide's 'Van Diemen's Land'
By Luke Davies
The discovery of Vashti Bunyan, Sibylle Baier and ‘Connie’ Converse
By Robert Forster
"When did you write that? How did you happen ... to ... uh ..." The nervous and incredulous male voice stops there on the tape. It's 1954, and Connie Converse, the singer and songwriter who has elicited this response, has just recorded one of her songs onto the reel-to-reel. Fifty-five years later the quality of the
Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz
By Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz
Frank Hurley: Journeys into Papua
By Anna Cater
The renowned Australian photographer Frank Hurley made two expeditions to Papua: the first time under the aegis of the Anglican Board of Missions, in 1920 and 1921, and the second as the leader of his own more ambitious expedition, in 1922 and 1923. Now, many of Hurley's stunning black-and-white photographs - which
Oliver Sacks’s ‘Musicophilia’
By Anna Goldsworthy
Some years ago, on a break from an extended piano tour, I spent a weekend on the Aran Islands, off the coast of Ireland. After weeks of practice and performance I found the silence overwhelming, and my ear created sounds of its own to fill it: whistles, percussion, the occasional trombone. As I lay in bed I thought I
David Silverman’s ‘The Simpsons Movie’
By Luke Davies
The 2007 Venice Biennale
By Juliana Engberg
You either love or loathe Venice. Some find its crumbling patina and limpid light romantic and restorative. Others feel only pneumonia waiting to happen in its water-logged streets, blustery winds and leaking rooms. It is claustrophobic and culturally conservative. Men in corduroys sit in cafés; women in pinafores do
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Kate Holden
MJ Hyland’s 'Carry Me Down'
By Peter Craven
Maria Hyland came to prominence a couple of years ago with How the Light Gets In, the mesmerising story of a Bad Girl who is always proving herself more right than her betters. And if there’s any kind of Achilles heel in this bright and blistering talent it is along the lines of the fact that the narrator is always
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