Do you ever just take up exercise because your bored? Will training for a marathon and joining a gym cure my depression and give me a reason to live? Pain is just weakness leaving your body. Sorry that was a bit bleak wasn’t it. Gemini full moon baby. Running on a muddy track along the town belt I see a ponga tree slipping off the banks. I almost stand on a baby Tui. Honestly can nature get the hell out of my way I’m trying to cure my depression.
This podcast documents important moments from the 2018 Art & Industry Festival that relate to the history and significance of the West Gate Bridge. It will take you to symposiums; intimate accounts from workers who survived the collapse; scenes from the recent production of The Bridge, a play written by the late Vicki Reynolds in 1990; and, finally, to a special performance of ‘Throw your arms around me’ by Mark Seymour, James Henry and local community singers (led by Jennifer Lund), largely sung in the Yuwaalaraay language.
Consult any vox pop and you will find that the most enthusiastic celebrants of Australia Day rarely know what happened on 26 January 1788. Some think the holiday has to do with Captain Cook, though it was actually eighteen years earlier, in 1770, that Cook made landfall at Botany Bay. A few associate the holiday with Federation, something that happened over a century later, on 1 January 1901, while others still wrap their flag patriotism around references to Gallipoli, assuming that any patriotic celebration must be connected to the ANZACs.
Some of these letters were written by parents pleading for the return of their children. These assertions of humanity, made more than a century ago, echo our current demands, as we continue to contend with contemporary practices of child removal. More than 36 per cent of children in care in Australia are Aboriginal; as the Uluru Statement declares, ‘this cannot be because we have no love for them’.
Australia’s worst modern industrial accident occurred on 15 October 1970, when a 2000-ton span of the West Gate Bridge fell during construction. Thirty-five bridge workers died and a further eighteen were injured. The play The Bridge, written by Vicki Reynolds in 1990, tells the stories of these workers using verbatim techniques and a contemporary narrative in which a family touched by the disaster prepares for a barbeque to mark the anniversary of the collapse. An excerpt of the play is republished here, alongside a discussion between community theatre maker Donna Jackson and artist Bindi Cole Chocka (daughter of Vicki Reynolds), who remounted the play recently for the 2018 Arts & Industry Festival.
Nagle claims that the liberal-left position on immigration reflects its elite detachment from the concerns of ordinary people: the American workers whose livelihoods are threatened by an influx of cheap labour.
Ota Yoko (1903-1963) was the only prominent novelist to survive the bombing of Hiroshima. After it, she wrote only essays and fictional stories, which documented the experiences of victims, carving out the field of atomic literature in which she is renowned. Her obsessive dedication to realistically relating what happened was driven by her conviction that she was the only one left to do so. Burdened by survivor responsibility, she wrote on tranquilisers to dull the visceral trauma triggered by remembering, and struggled to find the right words, saying new vocabulary was needed to render ‘the reality of Hiroshima’.
We asked Overland contributors, volunteers, staff and editors to share their highs and lows of 2018.
We came from Melbourne up over the Great Dividing Range to be atop the Barrier Range. Then onward to a river camp in the corner country of northwest New South Wales. The idea was to travel once more to the desert, starting at Broken Hill, then camp, explore, immerse ourselves and stay awhile, not just hop from roadside postcard photoshoot to national pretty park, not to blithely pass through.
Message Received 21/06/2051:
MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY. Immediate evacuation requested, sanctuary and aid requested. MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY.
Reply Sent 30/06/2051:
Attn: Noplace, mayday received. Parliament is discussing your situation, expect decision within six months. Please tender more information on your situation to assist with Parliament’s decision. Please state the nature of the emergency.
A few weeks ago I was on the invite list, along with my colleague Professor Gary Foley, to the opening of a major Indigenous art exhibition at the University of Melbourne. The reasoning for the invitations was threefold: we had both, at one time, been senior curators at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum (the museum is involved in the exhibition); we had both been recipients of the Chancellor’s Prize for the best PhD in the arts faculty; we are both, obviously, alumni of the university.
Nora loosened her undies past her calves until they slipped to her ankles. She kicked them to the side of the ceramic pot. She placed one foot either side of the sempervivum arachnoideum and hitched up her skirt. It took some adjusting to get the pressure just right so that the pee didn’t list sideways and splash her thighs. Droplets clung to the cobweb filaments of the succulent. The nested leaves of the rosette guided the flow inexorably centreward. Nora watched the clouds in the sky.
Dystopia ‘cannot imagine a better future, and it doesn’t ask anyone to bother to make one. It nurses grievances and indulges resentments; it doesn’t call for courage; it finds that cowardice suffices. Its only admonition is: Despair more.’ So wrote Jill Lepore in the New Yorker last year. The piece was at least partly an expression of impatience, perhaps even boredom, with the imaginative reach of recent novels and with genre fiction in general (she calls it ‘pulp literature’). Lepore names this trend ‘radical pessimism’, but omits any exploration of what that ‘radical’ might mean.