Self
Rolf
Rolf

It will be tempting now to reappraise Rolf Harris’s putative virtues. To recast his famous conviviality as manipulation; his impish grin as a mask.

How Not to Write a Column
How Not to Write a Column

I’d always wanted to write in a way that excited the same raw euphoria as music. But I didn’t and I can’t.

Swanston Street
Swanston Street

My father prepared for death like he prepared for most things: with effortless practicality. A melanoma had insinuated itself in his subcutaneous fat, and the prognosis was poor.

Oasis v Fleur
Oasis v Fleur

It happened again in university. It was only natural. As we were allowed in high school, for first year poetry class we were permitted to bring in song lyrics when we read aloud our favourite poems. And as it was in high school, most brought songs.

Panic!
Panic!

Like many of you, my real education at high-school occurred outside the classroom. I learnt about suicide when a girl threw herself off an overpass, and learnt about the ineffectual oddities of local politics when that overpass was caged, and the one 200 metres…

Dispatch from Perth
Dispatch from Perth

I’m in Perth researching a book about murder, meaning and the colourful constellation system of justice. The institutions that formally comprise it, and the variety of individuals involuntarily thrown into it. What are their roles? How do they each make sense…

Disturbance
Disturbance

Yesterday I spoke at the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) inaugural national forum. The theme was “What Makes Us Human?” The following is the speech I delivered.

Press Gang
Press Gang

Last week I recalled my artless days of student journalism in a piece on #interngate. It was far from complete, but the shock of recognition amongst readers was so great that I’ve decided to provide a more comprehensive list

The Invisible Hand
The Invisible Hand

I moved to Korea because I could think of nothing better to do. I was 22 and Kim Jung-Il was indulging some half-mad petulance while my father calculated the distance warheads had to travel between Pyongyang and Seoul.

Some Thoughts on Blogging
Some Thoughts on Blogging

I was absolutely thrilled yesterday to have won the Commentary section for this year’s Best Blog Awards run by the Sydney Writers’ Centre. I was especially thrilled given the quality of competition and the fact that the category was judged by Greg Jericho…

Fear & Loathing in the Public Service
Fear & Loathing in the Public Service

Troy Buswell changed my life. Seriously. If he had never sniffed that damn chair, I’d never have moved to Canberra. It’s a hilarious exercise, and I encourage you all to do it: toss away any sense of agency and speculatively map the influence of external events

The Black Dog
The Black Dog

Two days before Barack Obama’s inauguration, I visited the Lincoln Memorial. It was busy, of course—people from all over the U.S. had come to visit their secular saint, a man their soon-to-be President had so insistently evoked during the campaign.

Magic & Me
Magic & Me

Many things changed for me on November 7, 1991. I was ten and watching Magic Johnson speak at his most famous press conference. ‘Because of the HIV virus I have obtained, I will have to announce my retirement from the Lakers today,’ he said.

9/11/11
9/11/11

I was deputy editor of my university’s magazine when the towers came down. It was my final year as an English major. In the preceding three years I’d guilelessly shifted from apolitical jock to pretentious boob, radicalised by Chomsky, an ideological English department and a plush naivete.

An Open Letter to the Poet Alan Wearne
An Open Letter to the Poet Alan Wearne

How did this happen, Alan? Why do I keep writing to you? And so publicly? Does it make you nervous? Do you want to call the police? A priest? It’s okay. I’d be nervous too. You’ve unwittingly become patron saint of my youth. A kooky totem.

Death & Reggie Lewis
Death & Reggie Lewis

I was 12 when I heard the news: Reggie Lewis, captain of the Boston Celtics, was dead. I didn’t know it at the time, but as Lewis was collapsing from a massive heart attack, my father was being told he probably didn’t have long himself.

I Am Not Sam Seaborn
I Am Not Sam Seaborn

I have a confession to make: I’m a serial abuser. Of language. I’m a government speechwriter. I perform the linguistic equivalent of filling a brown paper bag with dog scat, lighting it, dumping it on a doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running.

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