Editorial

Type
Editorial

Politicians invariably attribute their most reactionary idiocies to the population. They are, they say, merely reflecting the electorate’s wishes. But the most recent elections revealed little positive enthusiasm for the conservative program. A survey immediately after the poll showed that respondents expected the new government to make matters worse rather than better on job security, workers’ rights, the environment, public services and welfare.

Type
Reflection
Category
Reading
Writing

On building a dream space

For some time I’d wanted to build a new writing space that would also double as a bedroom. But to build a bedroom, one has to construct a space that is conducive to dreaming. That is, after all, what bedrooms are for, just as kitchens are primarily designed to facilitate the sharing of food. In his great book The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard says that the purpose of an entire house should be to support the dreamer.

Type
Essay
Category
Culture
Politics

John Campbell, the Anti-Kim

When the British occupying force in Kabul was wiped out at the end of the Anglo-Afghan War in 1842, a surviving infant was purportedly taken in by Afghans who called him the ‘European Child’ (‘Feringhee Bacha’ in Persian). Feringhee Bacha grew up as an Afghan, though one who was marked as an outsider by his name. Eventually, the boy was said to have become interested in his origins, and ran away to Persia, where he made contact with British officials who conveyed him to India. Lord John Elphinstone, governor of Bombay, met Feringhee Bacha and christened him ‘John Campbell’.

Type
Essay
Category
Activism

Islands adrift

On 2 February 2013, Anene Booysen, a seventeen-year-old from a small, forgotten farming community, died from injuries sustained during a brutal rape. Only a few days later, on Valentine’s Day, celebrated athlete Oscar Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The shock was complete: what was this dark heart beating at South Africa’s centre?

Type
Essay
Category
Politics
Writing

The future of swans

‘It’s important because the Waanyi language is a really threatened language. There has been a lot of work done to develop a Waanyi dictionary to teach schoolchildren in communities like Doomadgee in the Gulf of Carpentaria, but places like Doomadgee also have children who speak other threatened languages. Doomadgee was once a mission, so there are Waanyi, Gangalidda and Garawa people, and that makes it difficult.’

Type
Essay
Category
Culture
Writing

The writer as performer

By this stage in my freelance writing career, I fret that I’ve made myself unemployable in the ‘regular’ workforce because I struggle with the panoptical logic governing most jobs. By ‘panoptical’, I mean the ways in which employers require their workers to perform their work as if always observed.

Type
Essay
Category
Politics

Spectres of labourism

In March this year, prime minister Julia Gillard boasted that she led a Labor government, not a social democratic one or a progressive one. She described Labor as ‘politically, organisationally, spiritually and even literally, the party of work’. Her academic admirers were in agreement, with labour historian Nick Dyrenfurth arguing that, unlike that latter-day Trotsky, Kevin Rudd, ‘Gillard “gets” the labour movement’.

Type
Reflection
Category
Culture

The storm breaking

Three of us – producer Chris Eckman, videographer John Bosch and I – are flying back to Mali, a landlocked African country that, until recently, has rarely garnered international attention. We’re here to record a new album with Malian musicians for the Dirtmusic project. We’ve brought no songs, just a few pages of notes and fragments, and a plan to create something out of whatever comes our way.

Type
Poetry

Treausre hunt

The silver glints in the ti-tree. A clue is wrapped in foil, peeled from the lining of the cigarette pack and rolled into balls. The clue says, look behind the beach hut. The rosaries clack

Type
Poetry

Refrigerator

My meditation teacher is a pessimist and a poet. He says the mind is like a glass of orange juice, the sediment slowly settling to the bottom leaving a clear liquid.

Type
Poetry

Cloud burst

Cloud burst, and another sky falls. A blight of sun causes all feather to lose flavour in the wind. But our children will still have their mobile phones and dial the clouds