Australian politics, society & culture

Arts & Letters

Slick meets ick in ‘House’
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
British actor Hugh Laurie, a gifted amateur athlete whose natural speaking voice recalls his old school Eton, has been nominated in this year’s Emmy Awards for his role as a snaky New Jersey doctor with a half-destroyed leg. Many will remember...
By Inga Clendinnen
Alison is a professional psychic working a cluster of grim towns on the fringe of London. She is a woman of “unfeasible size” but onstage, in her draperies, sporting her lucky opals, she transforms into a woman of confidence, presence and charm....
By Adrian McGregor
Standing on a property my daughter bought recently in Samford, half an hour’s drive north-west of Brisbane, I pointed across the valley to an impressive home. “That’s Steve Renouf’s house.” Said she: “Who’s Steve Renouf?” Had I read John Harms’s...
‘Loner: Inside a Labor Tragedy’ by Bernard Lagan
By Mungo MacCallum
For a movement founded on the principle of democratic socialism, the Australian Labor Party has thrown up a surprising number of leaders dedicated to the führerprinzip. Inevitably this has been a cause of tension, usually escalating into conflict....
Graham Kennedy was an eyes-popping perfectionist, a subversive pre-feminist, a rebel without any trousers on.
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
Among the many thousands of words written in the days after Graham Kennedy died, one memory recurred like a refrain: Kennedy’s uncanny gift for TV. “Because it was a new medium,” said Stuart Wagstaff, “very few people knew how to handle it; for some...
‘The Grave at Thu Le’ by Catherine Cole
By Drusilla Modjeska
Considering the significance of Vietnam in Australia’s post-colonial sense of itself, it is curious that it hasn’t made its way to prominence in our literary culture. There is writing by Vietnamese Australians, though it’s little known beyond their...
Australia’s national philosopher: John Anderson
By Clive James
There is a tone of voice you can hear in the way a sentence is balanced, even if you are not equipped to understand its content. “What the idealist has, in fact, to show is that there is no real distinction, and the answer is that in that case there...
Jonathan Caouette’s ‘Tarnation’
By Helen Garner
The first person to appear on screen in Jonathan Caouette’s documentary, Tarnation, is a mad-looking middle-aged woman with thick dark hair and a frighteningly handsome face. She grins, bobs up and down like a toddler, and warbles, in a pretend-...
Perth shyboy Richard Nicoll has come a long way from green polyester flares
By Katie Cohen
The first time I met Richard Nicoll he was in a Sydney cocktail lounge, looking rather hangdog about a recently broken love affair. The source of his malaise was Jonathan Saunders, then the It-boy of the East London fashion set, who for a moment in...
By Gideon Haigh
In a 1970 interview with a favoured apologist, Mao Tse-Tung described himself in Chinese as literally “a man without law or limit”. This self-assessment was rendered in English as “a lone monk”. Similarly sympathetic mistranslation of his motives...
By Tony Wilson
“Diana Kooper is running.” This is the first sentence of Julienne Van Loon’s evocative debut novel, and it takes only a page or two of sodden Sydney streets to discover why. She is the driver in a car accident that has left her best friend, Nicole...
By Justin Clemens
If the gap between PR claim and reality is notoriously vast, this is one promo that tells it like it is: the National Gallery of Victoria really does have a stunning collection of Dürer’s work. A smirking maiden is embraced from behind by a wild man...
Ballads, blues, babes and a man still expressing himself: ‘B-sides and Rarities’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
By Robert Forster
Nick Cave is the greatest rock artist Australia has produced. No contest. Somewhere in history there may have been a contender who never got his or her chance. But with Cave, album after album, shots go off, every couple of years bringing a new bolt...
‘Kayang & Me’ by Kim Scott and Hazel Brown; ‘Balanda’ by Mary Ellen Jordan
By Inga Clendinnen
A few years back Kim Scott wrote a novel about being of mixed descent in a racially divided society.Benang: From the Heart was a stunning exercise in actuality transfigured by imagination. In Kayang & Me (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 270pp; $29....
Ricky Swallow goes to Venice
By Justin Clemens
An overturned bucket of fish, their jaws gaping with a death-rictus, pours out onto the tabletop. A crustacean on a plate is contorted, all hooks and limbs and tail. Opened mussels rest on heavy folds of cloth. A crab clasps its claws, almost...
Kore-eda Hirokazu’s ‘Nobody Knows’
By Helen Garner
One fine day a young woman, Keiko, presents herself plausibly to the landlord of a Tokyo apartment as the mother of a studious-looking 12-year-old boy, Akira. Thus established as acceptable tenants (though we wonder about Keiko’s skimpy, armpit-...
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
Tragically, Big Brother is back. As with Australian Idol, this show’s soundtrack of non-stop hysteria is provided by a mob of nine-year-olds leaping about and screeching as though their complimentary jumbo drink-bottles of red cordial have all been...
By Gail Bell
Ray Moynihan has been pursuing the pharmaceutical giants for more than a decade, first with his TV series and book Too Much Medicine? and now – in collaboration with Canadian researcher Alan Cassels – in a new assault that might just draw blood. In...

Pages

×
×