Australian politics, society & culture


Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford is the Monthly’s music critic and the author of Live Through This.

Articles by this author

Image of Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert reviewing sound-effect tapes produced by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
The Radiophonic Workshop, creator of those ‘Doctor Who’ sound effects, is back
Time Lords
For 40 years, inside a building on a modest side street in Maida Vale, west London, on the site of a former rollerskating rink, there existed a doorway to another world. Had...
The crisis in Australian arts coverage
When no one is left
Many years ago I happened upon a discussion of the word critique, in a book by the American philosopher and political scientist Wendy Brown, that has stuck with me ever since. “...
Kelly Reichardt’s latest film is another quiet triumph
The particular lives of ‘Certain Women’
Kelly Reichardt makes films – six features so far – that are scrupulous, concise, and very, very quiet. She concentrates on the lives of ordinary Americans, mostly women, who come...
A new compilation celebrates the devotional music of jazz legend Alice Coltrane
Feel the divine
Between 1982 and 1995, one of America’s foremost jazz musicians recorded a series of albums that were only ever made available on cassette tape. To obtain one you had to send away...
With his new album, ‘Damn’, Kendrick Lamar cements his status as the world’s reigning hip-hop artist
Kendrick rising
On Good Friday, rapper Kendrick Lamar released his fourth album, Damn. On the night of Easter Sunday, he was the closing headliner at the massive, three-day Coachella music...
The documentary is a powerful examination of the OJ Simpson trial within the context of race relations in the US
Race, celebrity and power in ‘OJ: Made in America’
OJ Simpson became famous because he could get away. As a child he suffered from rickets and wore braces on his legs; as a young man he set a National Football League record by...
Image of George Michael
On George Michael, race and pop
Crossing over
After the death of the singer and songwriter George Michael, at the end of last year, I found myself watching one clip on YouTube repeatedly. It wasn’t a George Michael...
Still from Moonlight
Barry Jenkins’ film turns the universal coming-of-age story into something very specific and intimate
The surprising ‘Moonlight’
During the first act of the tripartite Moonlight, an adult man, Juan (Mahershala Ali), shows a young boy, nicknamed Little (Alex Hibbert), how to sit at his table. “You can’t sit...
Image of Helen Tufts and Helena Born
Emily Witt’s ‘Future Sex’ and Sheila Rowbotham’s ‘Rebel Crossings’ approach the concept of free love from different perspectives
Climax isn’t the point
In the middle of a one-day workshop run by OneTaste, a San Francisco company dedicated to the practice and promotion of orgasmic meditation, participants are required to face each...
Image of Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is the consummate live performer
Who’s the boss now?
When Bruce Springsteen arrived in Australia late in January for a month-long tour, his third such in four years, Donald Trump had just become president of the United States. Both...
Image of Prince
Pop music is more than lyrics on a page
Towards joy
I once heard a distinguished American poet quote a Lady Gaga lyric as an example of perfect iambic pentameter. “I want your psycho, your vertigo schtick” – ten syllables,...
Ken Loach’s ‘I, Daniel Blake’ shows the heartless, punitive nature of the modern welfare system
Sanctions and allowances
As the title credits of I, Daniel Blake go by – sober white lettering over a black screen – we listen to a conversation between a man and a woman. No, not a conversation: that...
Australian hip-hop artist Tkay Maidza brings a lifetime on the move to her debut album, ‘Tkay’
A survival guide for outsiders
Tkay, the debut album by Australian rapper and singer Tkay Maidza, has a bold disposition. Maidza pulls together elements of hip-hop, pop and contemporary dance music to create a...
Cover of Born To Run
Simon & Schuster; $49.99
‘Born To Run’ by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen could sell water to a well. He’s a huckster, a hustler, a showman, and the self-appointed heir to a lineage of working-class boys who’ve made rock ’n’ roll their...
Image of Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ bemuses but rewards
The party goes on
What makes an album? With every passing month this year, the answer has grown more intricate. Outstanding albums of 2016 have encompassed final statements (Blackstar, David Bowie...
Ron Howard’s ‘Eight Days a Week’ catches The Beatles and their fans in a dazzling, imperishable youth
A four-headed monster
Between 1964 and 1966, the most documented people on earth were surely The Beatles. During those years the group toured the world, visiting Europe, Asia, Australia – a quarter of...
Image of Roald Dahl in his writing hut
The life and legacy of Roald Dahl
The man who never grew up
The late Roald Dahl, who was born 100 years ago this month, had many qualities that made him an outstanding children’s writer, including an eccentric sort of humour, an acute...
Image of Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen’s ‘My Woman’ and Sarah Mary Chadwick’s ‘Roses Always Die’
Someone, anyone
“Doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done,” sings Angel Olsen on the opening track to her third full-length release, My Woman, “still gotta wake up and be someone.” The song...