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

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...
Image of The Avalanches
The Avalanches’ ‘Wildflower’ isn’t the comeback we needed
Stuck in a moment
Who can but marvel at the 16 years of work that has gone into creating Wildflower, the second album by The Avalanches? Nations are built in less time. Children born at the turn of...
Max Richter brings his nocturnal odyssey ‘Sleep’ to the Sydney Opera House
Eight-hour lullaby
“I’ve always thought that one of the more interesting things about music performance is how it relates to the space,” Max Richter tells me by telephone. The German-British...
In John Carney’s ‘Sing Street’, music is a boys’ club
Band of brothers
“It’s all about the girl,” advises Brendan Lalor (Jack Reynor), lank of hair and firm of opinion, to his younger brother, Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). The two of them are in...
Briggs on hip-hop, humour and a new generation of Aboriginal leaders
Smart black man with a plan
Adam Briggs – better known simply as Briggs – is a rapper, writer, performer and record label owner. As a rapper he has released two solo albums, The Blacklist (2010)...
Remembering New York street photographer Bill Cunningham
Streets ahead
New Yorkers love nothing more than a story about themselves. When Bill Cunningham: New York – a documentary about the much-loved photographer – debuted at New York’s Film Forum...
Culture Club at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, 11 June 2016
Melancholy undercurrents
You must understand: everything begins for me with Culture Club. By everything I mean pop music: an art form loose enough to accommodate so much else – history, fashion, politics...
Beyoncé in Lemonade
Beyoncé’s powerful ‘Lemonade’
The reckoning
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman,” said Malcolm X, on 5 May 1962. It was part of a wide-ranging speech on racism that he gave at the funeral service of...