Australian politics, society & culture

Arts & Letters

A Te Aroha cowboy and his secret part in training the 1985 Melbourne Cup winner
By Craig Sherborne
A sweetheart should have made him stay in England, where he came from, should have said to him: “My darling, New Zealand is the other side of the world. I love you. Don’t break my heart and your heart too by going there and dying a failure.” You can...
By Janette Turner Hospital
On one night, the worst one, and the last one before Katie ran away, there were eighteen of those calls. They were not all the same. If our mother answered, there would be heavy breathing and silence. “Why are you doing this?” our mother would ask...
By Robert Forster
When mention is made of a new Rolling Stones album the mind immediately races back to their golden period, that evocatively named series of records from Beggar’s Banquet in 1968 to Exile on Main St. in 1972. Before that were the singles: “...
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
“Why are you wasting your time watching that appalling trash?” asked the music critic I recently got into a conversation with about Australian Idol. When I say “music critic” I mean someone who goes regularly to the high-end stuff, to recitals and...
‘Shalimar the Clown’ by Salman Rushdie
By Delia Falconer
Toward the beginning of A Satanic Affair, his analysis of the furore caused by The Satanic Verses, Malise Ruthven tells the following story. A month or so into the publicity for the novel, Rushdie was invited onto BBC radio’s Desert Island Discs. He...
'Paradise Now'
By Helen Garner
Hip politics at the Sydney Museum of Contempory Art
By Justin Clemens
Recent laboratory work on locusts has shown that they can be turned from their harmless “solidarious” phase to a predatory “gregarious” one simply by tickling their hind legs with a paintbrush. Something similar happens with invitations to big art...
By Zora Simic
In his latest novel Bret Easton Ellis introduces a narrator, also called Bret Easton Ellis, whom we are encouraged not to trust for any number of reasons. He’s a writer, he cheats on his wife, he’s estranged from his son, he drinks too much, he...
By James Ley
Vikram Seth’s great-uncle and aunt were a mismatched couple. Shanti Seth was a short Hindu dentist with one arm; Hennerle Caro, tall and slender, was a German Jew. This alone suggests the story of how they came to be happily married is likely to be...
Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz
By Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz
By Catherine Ford
Martha Solburn, an American woman, plump and unaccustomed to vacations, eased herself out of a taxi into the late-August morning. Her companion, Stewart Winter, adjusted the seat of his jeans and followed, wheeling a new Samsonite suitcase. “I’d...
The thin veneer of his characters’ self-command makes him exciting to watch. Russell Crowe and the art of violence.
By Helen Garner
One morning I walked into the kitchen and found my son-in-law standing frozen in front of the TV. On the screen a bloke in a blue singlet was manhandling an electric guitar. I had never before witnessed such a noxious exhalation of inauthenticity. “...
Tim Flannery's wake-up call to the planet
By E.M. Holdsworth
I love going down the freeway in Shanghai and looking up at the apartment buildings … There’s an airconditioner in every residential window, which is fantastic.—Chip Goodyear, August 2005We create CO2 every time we drive a car, cook a meal or turn...
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...
The radiance before the disaster. The indomitable St Petersburgers.
By Justin Clemens
Founded by Peter the Great in 1703 as a “window to the West”, St Petersburg quickly became, according to Alexander Pushkin, “the jewel of the North”. Fyodor Dostoyevsky would later call it “that most abstract and intentional of cities”. By the early...
By Zora Simic
Howard and Kiki Besley are the fraught couple at the centre of Zadie Smith’s new novel. Claire Malcolm, poet and interloper in their 30-year marriage, tries to make sense of them: “He was bookish, she was not; he was theoretical, she political. She...
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
Among people who get their current affairs from the ABC or SBS, the consensus is that A Current Affair and Today Tonight rate their socks off by relying on stories about neighbourhood feuds, sex scandals, dodgy salesmen, weight loss, welfare cheats...
Falling for Nana Mouskouri
By Robert Forster
In a far corner of my mind there has always been a place for Nana Mouskouri. She resides there with a few others: Marcel Marceau, Charles Aznavour, Juliette Greco. Postwar bohemians. Cafe performers who got onto TV or into the concert halls early,...

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