Unless You’ve Seen it Twice, You May Have Misread Todd Field’s Film, Tár

Like a Rubin’s vase, it might be a completely different movie the second time

SPOILER ALERT: The first time I saw it, I read it like most people. A much-lauded predator is unravelled and cancelled. 

But there was more to it I couldn’t work out. There were cracks in the marble. I knew it needed another viewing. Some of the edits were too quick for me. The kids were interrupting. Snatches of dialogue were too soft. Was that shot meaningful?

A long time ago, I studied film at uni. A long-buried name, Tarkovsky, kept coming to mind but I didn’t know why. 

Everything is meaningful. Continue reading

The Extraordinary Ritual I do Every New Year’s Eve


It doesn’t matter when you do it. Life Imagineering works on any date

In 2006, I moved into an old apartment above a French furniture store. 

Smoking was not permitted and there was no letterbox. I also couldn’t hang any artwork because there were no picture rails. My paintings and photography were too heavy for plastic hooks.

All my student pictures, photos I had blown up and printed, and Chinese propaganda art sat on the floor and leaned against the walls instead. 

I was happy. And not happy. I turned thirty. And was single again. I asked questions like, ‘Is that all there is’? 

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For some people, getting vaccinated is scarier than getting COVID

Jill* (not her real name) is a caring and fit early childhood teacher who has had to leave the career she loves and quit her job at the age of 60 because she refuses the vaccine. In my State, it is mandatory that early childhood and other workers have been vaccinated against COVID.

Jill is adamant. She will not be vaccinated. Why? She is a Christian and believes we are now at the end of our civilisation. The vaccine, as she sees it, is the mark of the beast.

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The Choke by Sofie Laguna: Review

The title of this book is apt. The choke is something I felt from the first moment. It’s also the main thing you worry about when you have small children.

While the book is not about strangulation, it is about children and adults who have not progressed much beyond the infantile. The vulnerability is palpable.

It starts with a frantic kids’ fight. Justine (Jussy) has teeth that are struggling through the gums. She is about six years old. It’s so vivid you can feel the power in her little legs.

We don’t know much about her yet, except that she is playing with big boys and one of them has access to a rifle. Continue reading

Simple life advice for my children

I write these basic life rules with my children in mind.  These are the philosophical breadcrumbs I’ve used throughout my life. Wherever the destination, this is the course.

They are not unique but they are deeply cogitated, not imported without critical reflection. They include learning, money, kindness, spirit, God, and daily life.

One or two I was raised to believe. One or two are the opposite. So you will need to make up your own mind.

For what it’s worth, this is what I think.

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Walks with Margaret and Jonty

Twelve years ago I bought a little cottage in a village far away from everyone. Margaret was a near neighbor. She was the first person to knock on the door and welcome me.

Margaret walked her dog—Katie at the time, later Jonty—past the house every morning at eight and every afternoon at four.

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Military Blunders in the War Against Terror

Archival:

LANDMINES

I recently saw a Super 8 video filmed by an acquaintance at a Cambodian hospital. The subject was a young man who had to have three men hold him down so that gangrene could be scraped from the inside of his amputated thigh.

It is easy to be caught in a western fog that amputations, which result from landmines are clinical, that anaesthetic is administered and that recovery is sound. In reality, the victim’s limb may be hacked off in order to get out of the minefield. Victims commonly lose both, not just one of their legs, as well as their penis and testicles. Some victims ask to be murdered as they lay in blood and shock, unable to move. Later, artificial limbs are usually rudimentary and awkward. Continue reading

You probably know someone with MS who is keeping it secret

This World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day, you may spare a thought for those affected by this chronic, debilitating disease. You may not realise, however, that there are people you meet every day with MS who are keeping it secret from you.

Early this year, Jamie-Lynn Sigler – who played the daughter of Tony Soprano in the TV show The Sopranos – revealed that she has the disease. The announcement came 15 years after her diagnosis. Like me, she’s been in the closet with MS.

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The Fracture & Other Shorts

The Fracture and other short stories: seven original pieces of short fiction including:

• Dystopian sci-fi goes freerolling in The Fracture

• The meditative Zen & The Art of Washing Dishes

• Taste some irreverent Australian humour in The 45-Minute Chair and The Benley Acquisition

and other short pieces.

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ebook cover

Reckoning by Magda Szubanski

I love Magda Szubanski. I’ve loved her since I was a kid. She’s a true comic. Her humour is borne out of acerbic intelligence and astute observation. She can pull a fully formed character out of the collective unconscious and breathe them into being.

Reckoning is expansive and it covers all of her life from early childhood to today. Instead of being delivered through a ‘story of my success’ type framework, Magda is ensconced in her heritage and history. Continue reading

Panic Hour

 

It’s eight in the morning. An escalator pulls me down from the street into the intestinal darkness. Streaks of lightning blue rush past my left shoulder, Photoshop motion-blur. Same in orange on the opposite wall, like this is an immersive internet advertisement. This tunnel is the cable. We are the particles. A unitary quantum system with a single wave function. I adjust the weight of my satchel and start plodding into the dim crowd. Continue reading

The Man Who Loves Music

With a name as unpretentious as Les Hodge, it’s hard to imagine the impact he’s had on the music industry. From marketing huge acts like Kate Bush, The Rolling Stones and Queen, to coming up with the name Ticketek, Les has left fingerprints everywhere. Now he is responsible for bringing some of the world’s most beautiful classical music into Australia, and the Southern Highlands is its first port. Continue reading

The Benley Acquisition

I’m at the bar, chugging orange juice with my mates, and we’re laughing at each other’s pov jokes. Nuns Frightened by Change. That’s the name of Friday night’s band at the Landula Criterion. Our band, as it happens. It’s our first gig. ‘The Nuns’ are two mates in my year and me. I’m called the percussionist. That means I play drums and, occasionally, I whack a thong on a bongo. Continue reading

From the Village to the Brothel

After nearly 30 hours of flights, the city of Kathmandu was awash with blood and there were headless carcases of horse-sized beasts on every corner. In my shock, I sent a sarcastic email to family saying that the entrails lining the streets to herald my arrival was an absolutely lovely gesture.

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Mining Industry Propaganda

The recent Australian mining industry campaign (not shown above) certainly looks impressive. The soulful, worried faces of mums and dads, average looking, average people. It seems so believable and important.  Even if the statistics are the result of heavy-handed play with definitions as basic as “tax”. Continue reading

Bundanoon Says NO to Bottled Water

evian label as naive

July 9th, 2009

“Australians spend half a billion dollars every year on bottled water that we could get for free from a tap, but we complain when petrol goes up a few cents a litre,” said Jon Dee, Founder of Planet Ark and Do Something at a public meeting held in Bundanoon Memorial Hall on July 8th.

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