Gail Bell


23 ENTRIES Gail Bell has worked as a pharmacist, educator and writer. Her books include The Poison Principle and Shot: A Personal Response to Guns and Trauma.


A sugar-cube replica of Rachel Whiteread’s Embankment (2005) © The Art Fund


Sugar town

Have we lost control of what we eat?

Shark Bay, WA, 1977: Robyn Davidon completes her nine-month trek across the desert. © Rick Smolan / Getty Images

Robyn Davidson and Mia Wasikowska make ‘Tracks’

An epic desert trek finally reaches the screen

Vincent van Gogh, The Night Cafe (1888). © Wikimedia Commons


To Holland and back with van Gogh

In search of home

A cassowary visits Jan Shang’s backyard in Innisfail, Queensland. © Eddie Safarik / Newspix

Jim Sterba’s ’Nature Wars’

Reading Jim Sterba’s Nature Wars (Random House; $49.95), I was struck by a new thought. In my own small way I have been unwittingly contributing to a developing and complex urban phenomenon, spelt out by the author in the subtitle of his …

Paseo del Prado

I was robbed in broad daylight, in a milling crowd, in Madrid. It was painless and, in accordance with the warnings of every guidebook and internet forum on the subject of visiting a European city bruised by a sovereign debt crisis, not entirely unexpected. …

Amy French, Kumpaya Girgiba and Miriam Atkins in front of French and Lily Long's 'Karlamilyi'. © Fremantle Arts Centre

The logic of water

Meeting the Martu artists of the East Pilbara

Mental illness

Reading to the dying

My friend Margaret hallucinated a wedding in the final weeks of her life. Some of her old animation briefly restored, she poured drinks for her guests, called for coffee, and asked me in a light, mocking tone what I thought of the groom. Happy to be invited, …

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Quiet, Please

CityRail’s ‘Quiet Carriages’ Trial

'As I was Saying: A Collection of Musings' by Robert Dessaix, Vintage Australia, 224pp;$27.95

As Robert Was Saying

In conversation with Robert Dessaix

People living with HIV and AIDS, Sydney Mardi Gras, 1990s. © William Yang


A quiet anniversary

AIDS 30 years on

Prescribing behaviour


Prescribing behaviour

The rush to diagnose ADHD

Caged rats awaiting their fate. © Francesca Yorke/Getty Images


In the rat room

Reflections on the breeding house

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.


Inside the pillbox

Bullying in the workplace


Taking care

My mother-in-law is bracing herself for loss. As moving day approaches, appetite and sleep have deserted her. She is shrinking in size. Her voice is going. The family, rallying to help, creep back and forth like cat burglars wrapping keep-sakes that rightfully …


Heart to heart

My sister is in town, on leave from her burn-out job and hankering for family. We both work in health provision, which is to say, we serve (in different uniforms) at the great community welfare table. She manages a team of crisis counsellors; I hand out …