Page 1

e s says • f i c t i o n • p o e t ry • a rt wo r k


ANTITHESIS School of Culture and Communication The University of Melbourne Victoria, 3010 Australia editor.antithesis@gmail.com www.antithesisjournal.com Antithesis is a literary, arts and humanities journal run and edited by graduate students and published in association with the School of Culture and Communication and the Graduate Student Association at The University of Melbourne. It is the oldest graduate run journal in Australia. The views expressed in any of the work published in Antithesis do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial committee, advisory board, the School of Culture and Communication, the Graduate Student Association or the University of Melbourne. Collection Š 2017 Antithesis Unless assigned, copyright remains with the author or artist. Apart from usage under the Copyright Act, no part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the author or artist. Antithesis would appreciate acknowledgement on subsequent publication of pieces from this volume.

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Wes Whitfield Angela Iaria Georgia Coldebella Bella Mackey Alex Longmire Chris Ebbs Sarah Layton Lina Hawi Amanda McMahon EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Aaron Mannion Beth Driscoll Elizabeth Macfarlane Jay Thompson Katherine Day Ken Gelder Matt Holden Mark Davis Radha O'Meara REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS: Asha Ross Sunniva Midtskogen

ISBN: 978-0-646-97766-9

Acknowledgement and special thanks: Antithesis would like to thank our advisory board and the School of Culture and Communication for their advice and continued support.

MANAGING EDITORS Angela Iaria Wes Whitfield

PURCHASING THE JOURNAL Print copies of Antithesis can be purchased from antithesisjournal.bigcartel. com

DESIGN & LAYOUT Angela Iaria

$20.00 General Public $16.00 Concession $36.00 Institution

FINANCES & PRODUCTION Wes Whitfield MARKETING & EVENTS Emily Marr DESIGN AND MARKETING COMMITTEE Angela Iaria Emily Marr Izy Delahunty Janelle Kelso

Digital copies are available from www.issu.com For international orders please add AU$10.00 for postage and handling. All amounts are in AUD.


• Picture us, heavy-lidded, pulling our body out of bed, our arms too heavy and our head throbbing, the last night of our twenties rippling across into the decade ahead. Thirty carries a lot of baggage with it. For all of us hitting that milestone in the 2010s and beyond, 30 is when you get it together. Our teens and twenties are for a lot of things—learning, making connections, drinking too much, not sleeping enough, forming the consumptive practices that guide us for the rest of our lives—but the general consensus is that we’re still fumbling our way through the world, still figuring things out. Thirty is where the real work starts, or at least that’s how it feels. Now, picture us pushing through that hangover, putting on our best clothes and stepping out into the world, ready to do what we do better than ever. Antithesis has published work from the best writers and the brightest minds of the last 30 years. We’re ready to do it for the next 30, and with style. Antithesis has been a lot of things over the last three decades, and has published everything from stiff academic essays to postmodern fiction in the nineties. Now that we’re 30, though, we’ve figured out what we really are: we’re a field of discourse. It’s all there in the name—the desire to explore the other thing, to say ‘what if not?’ and throw an alternative idea into the air. We live in that space of tension. This year we’ve put together a collection of new and original works from around the world. It’s the same subversive, challenging and eclectic work we’re known for, but a bit more grown up and with a bit more swish. So, we’d like to thank you, dear reader, for supporting us and helping us do our thing. With your help, we can continue to publish the best the arts and the humanities have to offer (and we’ll probably continue to not get enough sleep) for another 30 years to come.

The Editorial Committee editor.antithesis@gmail.com


TOP 30 IN 1987 words by Wes Whitfield


CULTURAL REVIVAL words by Sarah Layton, images by Angela Iaria


THE REDOING RETELLING OF STORIES words by Sunniva Midtskogen, images by Kathrin Honesta


THE WOMEN'S PROJECT words by Asha Ross, images by Kathrin Honesta

19 FIRST, WE MAKE THE BEAST MARKETABLE 44 SOBER words by Erich Fordham, images by Ana Yael and images by Emma Jensen Georgia Coldebella 50 ELSE IF 24 OVARY PICKING words by Andrew Roff, images by Sarah Layton words by JAX NTP 54 BITERS 25 WEST ELM CATALOG words by Joe Baumann, images by Sarah Layton words by Christina Kallery 57 KINDNESS AND EMPATHY 25 NORDIC POEM TAKE 2 words by Walker Zupp, images by Sarah Layton words by Erin McIntosh 61 THE SPIDERS NEEDN'T WIN 26 IT'LL BE SIX YEARS NEXT WEEK words by Lucas Grainger-Brown, images by words by Madison Griffiths Sarah Layton 27

DARE TO IMAGINE US WITHOUT YOU words by Madison Griffiths

28 AMIOUN words by Lina Hawi images by Georgia Coldebella


DISCOVERING ICELAND images by Jonathan Mendoza


MAGAZINE AS A GENDERED ARTEFACT words by Amelia Bensley-Nettheim, images Sarah Layton


UNCLE GALLIPOLI words by Amber Bock, images by Helena Perez Garcia and Seb Fowler

99 REVIVING THE MIRIWOONG LANGUAGE words by Frances Goldman, images by Kathrin Honesta

84 BODY images by Eloise Grills


WATCH OUT FOR words by Bella Mackey

87 COMMUNITIES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS words by Amanda McMahon, images by Katie Wilson


REVIEW: MORT BY TERRY PRATCHETT words by Sunniva Midtskogen

92 THE FERRY words by Kathleen O'Neill, images Georgia Coldebella 93 DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH words by Jack Bastock, images Georgia Coldebella 94 ORANGES words by Lily Mei, images Georgia Coldebella 96

ENVIRONMENTALISM VS EQUALITY words by Chris Ebbs, images by Kathrin Honesta

ONLINE www.antithesisjournal.com.au

Want to hear more from our amazing contributors? Visit www.antithesisjournal.com.au to read more thoughts and insights about ‘revive’ on our blog. Facebook | facebook.com/AntithesisJournal Instagram | antithesis_journal Twitter | @antithesis_melb

Antithesis Journal accepts submissions from students and non-students alike. If you’d like to contribute to Antithesis please email editor.antithesis@gmail.com, or follow us on social media to find out when submissions for the next edition open.

•  8

If you like Antithesis Journal and want to help support us, we'd be delighted if you spread the word about us.

OUR TOP 30 IN 1987 words by WES WHITFIELD

• In 1987, a group of enterprising graduate students from the University of Melbourne got together to create a humanities journal where new, exciting, and contrasting ideas could be showcased. Thirty years on, and Antithesis is still going strong, presenting progressive and challenging ideas to the world. To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we thought we’d take a look back at the events and people from 1987 that helped shape who we are today.

2. Trump: The Art of the Deal Donald Trump’s memoir/business book, The Art of the Deal, is published. The book helped Trump become a household name, although the level of involvement Trump had in its authorship has been greatly questioned.

3. Mort, Terry Pratchett Mort, the fourth instalment of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, is published. Pratchett would also give up his job at the Central Electricity Generating Board to become a fulltime author in 1987 and eventually would become one of the UK’s bestselling authors second only to J.K. Rowling.

4. Watchmen, Alan Moore

1. Antithesis is launched! A group of plucky University of Melbourne graduate students launch this very journal.

5. Beloved, Toni Morrison Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved is released. The book, which was inspired by the life of an African-American slave named Margaret Garner and dedicated to the people who died as a result of the Atlantic slave trade, would win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights Book Award. source: www.etsy.com/au/shop/RyanSheffield

•  10

The collected edition of Alan Moore’s Watchmen is published. The superhero graphic novel soon came to be considered one of the greatest pieces of twentieth century literature and created a new genre of comic book.

6. Margaret Thatcher re-elected The Iron Lady was re-elected for a third term as Britain’s PM. During this time, Thatcher would introduce the highly unpopular ‘poll tax’. She resigned two years later after a leadership challenge.

7. Bob Hawke re-elected

10. The Great March On 11 October, 200,000 people turned up for the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Demonstrators were advocating for the end to sexual, racial, and gender discrimination, recognition of same sex couples, and an increase in funding for AIDS research and treatment. To commemorate the landmark rally National Coming Out Day was founded a year later.

Closer to home, Bob Hawke was re-elected for a third term as Prime Minister. He would go on to win again in 1990, and thus become the longest serving Labour Prime Minister in Australia’s history.

8. 200th Anniversary of the USA Constitution The US celebrated the 200th anniversary of the creation of their constitution. The Constitution was created on 17 September 1787 and was ratified two years later.

9. The June Struggle Mass protests break out in South Korea, between 10-29 June, as part of a democratic movement. These protests, which were dubbed the June Struggle, led to constitutional reforms and the birth of the modern South Korean government.

Today, activists around the world continue to fight for LGBT rights—from the Canadian-based charity Rainbow Railroad, who have been helping LGBT people escape persecution in Africa, the Middle East, and most recently Chechnya, Russia, to The Equality Campaign (also known as the ‘Yes’ campaign) advocating for same-sex marriage here in Australia.

11. Andy Warhol dies Famed artist Andy Warhol dies from postoperative cardiac arrhythmia after gall bladder surgery at 6.32 am, 22 February. source: (image left) www.tes.com




12. Aretha Franklin and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Aretha Franklin becomes the first women to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. source: dribbble.com/shots/2835100-Aretha-Franklin

13. A star is born!

A legion of millennial celebrities and artists are born, including Hilary Duff (actress/singer), Tom Felton (actor) Zac Efron (actor), Blake Lively (actress), and Ke$ha (singer/ songwriter).

14. Terry Waite is kidnapped Terrance Hardy ‘Terry’ Waite is taken hostage by the Islamic Jihad Organization on 20 January. He had travelled to Lebanon as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s special envoy with the intention of acting as a hostage negotiator. Waite would spend 1,763 days in captivity, before being released in 1991.

17. Gryffindor wins the Quidditch Cup Gryffindor wins the Quidditch Cup with Charlie Weasley as Keeper. It will be the last time Gryffindor wins until Harry Potter arrives at Hogwarts. source: www.teepublic.com

18. The Simpsons debut 19 April, The Simpsons debut on the Tracy Ullman Show as a series of shorts. Two years later the concept is developed into a fully-fledged show that will eventually become the longest running American sitcom. source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simpsons

15. Sánchez wins the Nobel Peace Prize Óscar Arias Sánchez, former President of Costa Rica, wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts toward the signing of the Esquipulas II Accords, which aimed at ending hostilities and conflict in Central America.

16. Black Monday 19 October saw the world’s stock markets crash and the largest one-day percentage decline of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Although the effect on the world economy was minimal, at the time it was feared ‘Black Monday’ would lead to a 1930s-style recession and an overhaul of trade clearing protocols was undertaken shortly after.

•  12

19. First mobile phone call in Australia The first mobile phone call in Australia is made on 3 February. Today, there are more mobile phones in Australia than there are people, and they hold more influence over Australian consumer behaviour than television. source: www. techgeektoday.com/tech/25-iconic-nokia-phones/

20. The Hoddle Street and Queen's Street Massacres Melbourne suffered two mass shootings. On 9 August, seven people were killed by former Australian Army officer cadet Julian Knight, after he opened fire on Hoddle Street. Then, on 8 December, nine people are killed on Queen Street by Uni Melb drop out Frank Vitkovic.

21. SN 1987A

26. Prozac hits the market

The SN 1987A supernova is discovered. SN 1987A was the first supernova since 1604 that could be seen with the naked eye and seen throughout the skies of the southern hemisphere.

Prozac, the breakthrough anti-depressant, becomes commercially available in the US after getting FDA approval. Sales of Prozac would eventually reach $2.6 billion a year globally.

22. The Woodstock of physics The American Physical Society held a marathon-length meeting on 18 March, later dubbed the ‘Woodstock of physics’. 51 presentations on high-temperature superconductors took place during the session, which started at 7.30 pm and ended at 3.15 am the next morning (although many of the 2000 attendees were there for much longer).

23. Kylie Minogue releases her first studio album 1987 saw Kylie Minogue release her first studio album Kylie after she was signed to PWL. Her single ‘Locomotion’ would become the biggest hit on the Australian charts for that decade.

24. Legend of Zelda released in US and Europe The iconic video game, Legend of Zelda is released the US and Europe, inspiring a new gaming genre and countless gamers and game designers. source: www. westalbott.deviantart.com/

source: www.redbubble.com/people/caitliwinx

27. Typhoon Nina

25. Welcome Home parade On 3 October, the country held a ‘Welcome Home’ parade for Australia’s Vietnam War veterans, 15 years after they had returned home.

30. ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ Rick Astley single ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ is released. The song would go on to the win Best British Single at the Brit Awards in 1988 and become the basis for the most irritating meme anyone has ever come across ever. source: www.etsy.com/ au/shop/thefoundretail.

The Philippines are hit by the most intense typhoon to strike the country since 1981. Typhoon Nina (known as Typhoon Sisang in the Philippines) caused ~$84.5 million in damage and killed 812 people.

28. World population hits 5 billion In 1987 the world population hit five billion. Today’s global population is over seven billion.

5 billion 29. Imparja is Founded Imparja Television is established after the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association won the Remote Commercial Television Service License for Central Australia. They began broadcasting a year later and become the first indigenous member of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations. 13 


Swear Word Crochets are so Feminist Punk Rock words by SARAH LAYTON images by ANGELA IARIA In high school I was always happy in the obscurity of uniform,

good resistance deserves another, and that political messages

knitted pussy hats. It was an intense feeling of near global unity that was palpable and very, very pink. We live in an era of guys and gals wearing vintage patches and ‘I’m lonely’ lapel pins, crocheting ‘fuck you’ amid floral patterns. How better to identify yourself as a feminist cat loving coven member than a stylised badge? And amongst it all, the memory that one

they seek to tear them and other forms of oppression down. And of course, sometimes they’re just pretty. In the age of Tinder our generation may not wear our hearts on our sleeves anymore, but we’ll let you know our feelings about medicinal marijuana via an ironic phrase on our breast pocket.

so perhaps I may be a strange person to be now revelling in the re-emergence of crafty forms of personal expression. But sure enough, on the lapel of my worn denim jacket sits a ‘print forever’ pin and my leather jacket sports a bluebird patch. While cultural ephemera comes and goes with the decade, there was something incredibly heartening about watching the US election borne down amid a worldwide sea of hand-

•  14

have been intertwined with crafts about as a far back as history goes: sewing the star spangled banner, rolling out placards to fight for the right to vote and providing punks with the patches to fill up the front of their leather jackets. The old feminine crafts have come back with a vengeance as a public symbol of political self-expression and identifiable public identity, and instead of reinforcing gender norms

'She asks me why, I'm just a hairy guy' words by SARAH LAYTON images by ANGELA IARIA When I was young and laughing at Shannon Noll’s soul patch, little did I suspect that my childhood assumptions of care fully groomed hairlessness would take a turn for the beardier. Beards—especially long ones—seemed for a long time to hark back to Woodstock, communal living and ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. Before the rise of hipsterdom and the moustache uprising of 2015, the only facial hair you expected to encounter was pubescent chin fluff or ‘movie beards’, given to reclusive frontiersmen and pirates. But now, finally, the beard and the many arts of male facial grooming have been returned to the pedestal they once occupied for many years, before the electric razor came and enforced mandatory beardlessness on a generation of men. The essential tool is a straight razor, otherwise known as a cutthroat razor or strop razor. It has been reported that holding one is wont

to cause strange urges to become a demonic barber on Fleet Street but, if you can fight the urge, a world of opportunities for interestingly shaped moustaches and sculpted beards awaits. Alternately, rumour on the street is that Gillette has added another extra blade to their razor, so I assume that it now does something magical that it didn’t do before. Also available is a wide range of scented shaving creams, shaving brushes, creams, beard oils, soaps and aftershaves. These

products are widely available online, but you can also go to a barbershop to get your beard professionally taken care of. There are even some Melbourne barbershops where a cleaned up beard comes with a free pint of craft beer. A well-groomed beard is now professional, entirely respectable and a pretty nice way to top off any chin. So meditate on the idea of investing in some stubble or a permanent five-o’clock shadow. 15 


Bring back the Velocipede! Retro Bikes and Funky Bells words by SARAH LAYTON images by ANGELA IARIA While I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the popularity of bikes hasn’t gone anywhere since the invention of the penny-farthing, there is one term I’d like to see come back, and with the soaring popularity of kitsch mint green ‘ladies bikes’, retro gear and artistic reflector vests I don’t see why we can’t all be velocipeding around Melbourne’s bike paths. After all, these cool as a cucumber ladies bikes resemble the classic velocipedes for ladies from the 1860s which were seen to obviate many of the ‘difficulties, embarrassments, and objectionable features of the bicycle’ (The Velocipede, its history, varieties and practice). With Melbourne’s slowly improving bicycle infrastructure and the ability to buy cheap plastic flowers and twinkle lights to wind through your basket, this kind of transport is open to everybody, and you can kit out your bike to your heart’s content. It might, say,  

•  16

be black and sleek and scream ‘I have lots of gears and can go up steep hills’ or it could be slightly cheap and rusty and say ‘my owner didn’t put much effort into my shed and won me in a raffle’. The choice, and the freedom, is yours. Of course, according to comics from 1867, if you’re a woman you do run the risk of becoming an ‘awful velocipedestrienne’ (actual word) and face the ‘awful effects of velocipeding’ which appears to be something along the lines of knocking men off their bicycles while cruising, legs outstretched, along the street smoking a cigarette. And let’s face it, the wind probably warps your face as well. Who knows? But if you’re still not put off and think, like me, that the word and accompanying funky bike riding lady gear is worth it, then in the immortal words of Kate Beaton ‘ain’t give a damn’ and faire du vélo indeed.

Return of the Nerd: Digital Dungeons and Dragons words by SARAH LAYTON images by ANGELA IARIA ‘You find yourself watching a YouTube video… you’ve lost track of time. Has it been minutes? Hours? Weeks of your life? And you find yourself wondering, have you been watching Dungeons and Dragons… or has Dungeons and Dragons been watching you?’ For a game that first saw success in the 1970s, Dungeons and Dragons doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Over the last six years it has been featured in many storylines across popular culture, from the Netflix series Stranger Things, to the comedic TV show Community. And even more interestingly, in the last two years it has started to widen its net of possibilities beyond just a group of friends around a table. Recently, to launch their latest setting Tomb of Annihilation, D&D owners Wizards of the Coast hosted the Stream of Annihilation in Washington live on Twitch, where D&D fans could tune in to see their favourite live streamers from around the world play through the new material. It was a masterpiece in hype building and as an avid D&D

player I was rapt to see streams like Critical Role, High Rollers and Australia’s very own Dragon Friends (featuring a host of popular Aussie comedians) come together to create something unforgettable. True to the Internet age, Dungeons and Dragons and indie board games have taken on whole new possibilities by moving playthroughs, reviews and a wealth of extra content online. The overwhelming interest in this content has moved a traditionally private game into the realm of performativity and the public. Geek culture has become too enticing in 2017 to shove in a locker, and when you can join the community with the click of a mouse what’s to stop everyone from joining in one grand collective paroxysm of geek? So, with D&D and board games seeing a digital cultural revival and gaining new online identities, they certainly aren’t going anywhere. But why should they, as voice actor in Critical Role Liam O’Brien puts it ‘it’s the human experience built on a skeleton of dice’. 17 




Good Morning Me! Combating anxiety in my morning routine At 4am I feel the brisk morning air awaken my starved subconsciousness. It’s invigorating; that’s it, I feel invigorated by it. As I spring from the bed to carefully make the sheets (a small trick I learned to cool my ever present, but totally manageable anxiety) I hear my partner groan from exhaustion. Typical! Yes, it’s early and I’m strapping him into the bed, but he must know by now that as a life natural they have no idea what my mind deals with on a daily basis. I smirk as I go to pull on my activewear; it’s a good thing I’m going for a three-kilometre morning jog or he’d be in for it! But first, I go to the kitchen to decide whether to have a sugar free breakfast (did you know? I quit sugar!) or just head out. Finding it too hard to decide by myself, I flip a coin, a simple yet awesome way to activate my decision-making muscle. My jog through the forest surrounding my isolated bush bungalow begins. Breathing in the strong smell of eucalyptus, I count myself fortunate that my life has been carefully sculpted by a team of professionals to be independent from all the noise and pressure that comes with modern living. I moved out here after the stress of work overwhelmed me and I decided seclusion was more suited for my job of editing an online wellness journal,

popular within the 25–49 year old demographic. And thank GOD I did! I’ve found life to be so much easier since I’ve removed most human contact and replaced it with twice-daily meditation sessions, the practice of yoga and regular Thai massages from my visiting practitioner. A run-in with a bush turkey has me questioning how far south cassowaries can actually be found, so I pause my jog to take a casual walk or, as the French call it, a flaneur. This neat little action helps me to live entirely in the moment, away from the stresses of the past or future. As planned, my partner will have left for their job by the time I get back. I don’t need his negativity in my life at the moment, especially their constant insistence that my proactive relaxation is being driven by anxiety rather than solving the problem. Life naturals! How wonderful it must be to be genetically unable to feel anxiety! Besides, they still eat sugar. As I begin my walk back I feel a little guilty for these thoughts. To combat this, I climb a tree and watch the world go by below me for a while. Nothing is happening on the dirt track below, but I am now literally and figuratively above all my worries. This feels right to me. This works. I feel okay in this moment. I am okay. 19 



Reading this, I assume you’re already on Google searching for the perfect wilderness retreat. You’d be surprised. All of these mentioned methods of relaxation have been lifted straight from self-help books, lovingly provided to you here in the same voice they were imparted with. Reflections like these are the result of a twenty first century answer to a long-suffered condition—anxiety. The good news is that unlike many other points in history, this condition is no longer frowned upon or kept entirely to one’s private life. Today we live in a world where the public eye is wider—with more eye shadow, eyeliner and foundation than ever before. We love to look at ourselves, both collectively and individually. So much so that this introspection has become an industry in and of itself. The bookshelves, forums, channels and cinemas are now brimming with inspiration for those who require direction in this chaos, filled with advice for every hypochondriac, depressive, selfdoubter and compulsive worrier. And in this seemingly chaotic echo chamber full of unique voices clambering to give an opinion on mental health, anxiety  

•  20

remains one of the most talked about conditions of this century. According to the Australian Psychological Society, anxiety disorders are ‘the most common type of mental disorders diagnosed in Australia’. They ‘cause significant distress [and] interfere with [individuals] ability to cope with normal daily demands’ and can take many forms, from Generalised Anxiety Disorder to other disorders such as PTSD or OCD. Many experts agree that anxiety is a serious mental health issue and not something to be ashamed of, with professional help and Medicare rebates widely available for those tackling mental health issues. Anxiety can have any number of causes: genetic, traumatic, biological or even just an extended look at the global political climate. Any of the aforementioned causes are reason enough to curl into a ball in today’s high maintenance society; but it is how we cope with anxiety, how we get that human ball rolling, that is often the focus of self-help books. These books range from the boldly titled Dare and F**k Anxiety by Barry McDonagh and Robert Duff, to more spiritually derived manifestos such as

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. So, good news, you only need to pick up any popular volume by a wellknown and anxious personality and soon you’ll be on your way to effectively managing your fears towards nonexistence in this modern world that everyone else appears to occupy effortlessly. Right? Unfortunately, this is not the case and an oversaturation of advice on a singular topic, particularly one that inspires indecision and panic, can be more confusing than helpful. The medical profession is similarly divided over the issue of self-help books, with many psychologists recommending them but studies revealing their specific nature can be harmful to those who don’t experience anxiety as the author does. If you are like I am, and think that using these books could lead to some grand enlightenment, I’m afraid you’re in for a bitter shock. There is an unfortunate disconnect between the reality of managing anxiety and the image that the most popular of these books present. But first, while I have many problems with self-help books relating

to anxiety and the inevitably mercantile culture they represent, I’m not here to call them entirely worthless. Quite the opposite, they can be helpful in dealing with all sorts of anxious situations, provided you don’t get annoyed by receiving instructions like ‘try to relax’ or ‘ask yourself what the problem is’. Moreover, these books are often well researched, engagingly written and of course—made by people with anxiety, for people with anxiety. And yet, as deeply personal and earnest as any author’s story may be, it’s worth asking just how applicable that personal story may be to other people dealing with anxiety. Further problems arise still when that author’s work isn’t just trying to tell you how to manage your anxiety, but attempting to sell you a very specific lifestyle as the best or only way to manage it. To demonstrate these problems, allow me, a young man who effectively manages anxiety on a strictly no strings attached basis, to give you my perspective. I ran headfirst into this reading one such book, Sarah Wilson’s seminal first, we make the beast beautiful, her deeply personal 300 page response to her crippling anxiety and the process of living with it. While nobody could argue that Sarah Wilson hasn’t suffered and worked extremely hard to manage her anxiety, her romanticisation of the condition is deeply problematic and begins with the octopus on the cover of her book. In the preface, Wilson explains that this is an animal that has become more beautiful with our under standing of it; it is intelligent and motivated by 500 million neurons to communicate and connect with humans. Now, as poetic as this is towards

B ‘While nobody could argue that Sarah Wilson hasn’t suffered and worked extremely hard to manage her anxiety, her romanticisation of the condition is deeply problematic and begins with the octopus on the cover of her book.’

octopi and the scientific view of anxiety, I’m not as convinced a creature with the desire to connect gives an appropriate representation of the condition that sees many unable to leave their house or even get out of bed for days on end. Now, to be fair, the ocean can be a very secluded place and there are not many sea creatures that could easily represent

human mental health, so in the interests of compromise I propose a different analogous deep-sea creature— themajestic anglerfish. This particular creature I feel represents anxiety far better, in that it spends its entire life chasing an unreachable bright light that it uses only to feed itself. As an added bonus it is also a hideous creature and, appropriately, more difficult to romanticise.

And romanticisation is certainly the name of the game when it comes to the image presented by Wilson and her self-help book writing cohort: the gurus, the meditation experts and the people who tell you that you will never feel your shoulders unclench again without a monthly massage. As explained in the opening, her attitude towards anxiety is heavily rooted in remaining proactive against its advances. ‘Simply show up. Start. Things will flow,’ she tells us, right after her analogy of being anxious before appearing on morning TV. Throwing herself into The Morning Show with David Koch may be a nervewracking but ultimately uplifting experience for Ms Wilson, but people who don’t have celebrity status to look forward to may find themselves less inspired to charge into anxiety inducing situations. My anxiety often manifests as a crippling fear and acts as a type of tunnel vision dictating my behaviour, and there are many anxiety sufferers whose condition is worse than my own. If your work is less morning television and more poorly-paid retail or hospitality, showing up may not be all that simple. Wilson quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald, saying that ‘Nothing any good isn’t hard’, but to some out there—those who are too overweight to meet your jogging regime or too poor to afford a regular Thai massage— everything is hard, except perhaps reading first, we make the beast beautiful. In fact, while we’re giving quotes, David Foster Wallace once wrote that all ads seek to ‘create an anxiety relievable by purchase’. Perhaps I’m just being cynical, but Wilson’s repeated references to her previous sel-help books on quitting sugar and her presentation



of anxiety as a Type A personality condition for overachievers suggest that maybe her book is trying to exploit, or at least inspire, that same anxiety. Because, with due respect to overachievers, to some with anxiety there are scenarios where it’s too difficult to say ‘just do it’ and trust your panic to go away. And that is where Wilson’s book hits its second major snag. Because for many anxiety sufferers, relating to someone whose anxiety is consistently framed in the context of a highly successful life can be difficult. For those people, anxiety doesn’t drive, it debilitates. When I was eighteen I decided that the best use of my dinner plate sized hands would be to take Year 12 Music Performance with contemporary piano. I love piano and it’s undoubtedly the most relaxing thing I can do to annoy my neighbours. But what I didn’t realise at the time is that this relaxing passion of mine did not translate well into the type of skills required to take piano as a subject: rote learning, repetition and the careful nuance of delicate musical measures (a more productive use of my time would have been to take a chainsaw to my piano and call the resulting mess a deconstruction of classical music). While studying this subject there remained an unescapable and building pressure to achieve. I’ve always been a nervous person, but this pressure only amplified my irrational fears and suddenly, rather than having something to strive towards, I developed a serious case of anxiety with no idea how to manage it. I was constantly on edge but unable to acknowledge the problem, so my unease only grew until it began to seep into other parts of my life. I stopped trying to do well on  

•  22

assignments. I made destructive life choices in my diet, relationships and lifestyle. I did anything to avoid facing reality and those anxious thoughts. Of course, this was all particularly unconducive to playing the piano. My hands shook more than an arthritic nonagenarian who plays the tambourine at the mere thought of touching the keys, so I actively avoided practicing. To say that I choked when it finally came time to

B ‘This particular creature I feel represents anxiety far better, in that it spends its entire life chasing an unreachable bright light that it uses only to feed itself. As an added bonus it is also a hideous creature and, appropriately, more difficult to romanticise.’

present my repertoire would be an un-

derstatement; to this day they still sing songs and tell stories about the speed and inaccuracy with which I delivered slow jazz to that assessment panel. While others might have used the threat of failure as a positive reinforcement to know their performance pieces backwards, my anxiety caused me to seize up and hide from them. And, as any sufferer will tell you, once

developed these thoughts and behaviours are difficult to shake. I’ve been aware of my anxiety for six years and to this day it’s still a constant battle to face my problems instead of run from them. And those battles don’t always end in victory either, there are days where the only healthy thing I can do is concede defeat and try again later because pushing against my anxiety will only increase it. And it’s not just me; anyone with anxiety will have a story where their condition has gotten the better of them, and they certainly don’t all finish with book deals. And therein lies the rub, unfortunately. Who is going to pick up a book of deep, personal reflections on anxiety and anecdotes on the condition if the writer can’t show they’ve learned to conquer it? But at the same time, perhaps Wilson’s book would be more relatable if her fixes were achievable for more people. There are those of us who simply aren’t able to meditate twice a day, whether that's due to an inability to silence our minds, or just commitments that come with attempting to live an everyday life. Wilson herself says she enjoys closing her eyes in the back of a taxi and taking the time to meditate, but even the money required to regularly take a taxi and meditate in it places Wilson’s fix in the camp of ‘not feasible

for most people’. So while my opening anecdote of a would-be Wilson-believer may seem unrealistic and even ridiculous to some, the danger in first, we make the beast beautiful is that it presents these techniques in a way where a person with strong anxiety could easily see them as necessary to living a healthy life. The diet required to live a de-stressed life

may well be sugar free, but the lifestyle Wilson sells sometimes would make any of Hollywood’s most saccharine writers blush. You don’t need your life to reflect a Special K advertisement to be healthy. Not all of us can be the kind of people who are at any given point in time running in slow motion across a beach with digitally enhanced hair and a Border Collie. But to a person searching for ways to improve their life, Wilson’s image could be misleading, unachievable and too specific to her lifestyle to be applicable in the lives of readers. I don’t deny that a healthy diet and exercise are likely to help anyone, but everything must work in moderation if any success is to be had. Anxiety is not a moderate condition and it works by presenting extremes and building up fears around them. It follows that restructuring your life as you know it on the word of a singular writer is going to be about as effective as flash dieting. If you are an intense person, you may find catering to every single one of your extreme fears and becoming a sugar free,

meditating fun-runner to be the best possible solution, but those unable to satisfy these conditions may only find they’ve worsened their own. While there’s infinitely more benefit to the open discussion of anxiety we have today than the take-a-valiumdrink-a-whisky attitude that used to prevail behind closed doors, I think it’s still important to question the culture that is growing up around self-help books for mental illness. Even as we bring anxiety into the open, we could all do with some much-needed perspective; in a constant battle with ourselves, we don’t always get to win. Or at the very least, we don’t all have the ability to jet off on a two-week yoga retreat and then claim it as a necessity of managing our mental health. It seems contradictory to view a book that’s trying to help you with wariness, but your anxiety, what causes, motivates and quells it, is entirely unique to you. If Wilson’s book or one of the many other related self-help books on the market has helped you to cope with its day-to-day

struggles then I am glad. We all need all the help and support we can get, whether that comes from friends, family, medical professionals or the occasional self-help book. But, ultimately, while anyone can tell you the best ways to cope with anxiety, only you get to decide how to live with it.


For those who struggle with anxiety and mental health, in the event that you believe you are losing the battle professional help is widely available. Free counselling is available for those up to the age of 25 thorough headspace. org.au and the Australian Psychological Society can help you find your nearest and most affordable psychologist. Medicare rebates are available for appointments with certain psychologists if you discuss your symptoms with your GP and Beyond Blue have professionals you can talk to at any time, any day, on 1300 22 466.




the black hairs on my knuckles are yours, broad shoulders cereus centric wide calves and hunched stride are biological offshoots i have of you, how much of myself have i constructed from your absence i’m learning to use the perfect amount of tact or is it haste, hate wit words are dew vessels bergamot infusion, wicker baskets, and mornings are for jasmine picking since they open at night if this is not another letter i’m not sending to my father clichés this is a semi-truck on a wet highway tedious hours and desert mirages are junkies for night blooming flora when omissions clear space for present negation to look at gawk to chew over, when moderation is unsettling in abundance use axillary clusters to break up a wall’s monotony, a meditation apparatus and i fight against what i can’t remember ankles rolled outward fragrant harbinger muscles spasm out of control in small consistent pains they used to be because you is are what are used to be but be i is were is was what are now not now but now now here this here where out as in product of control as in total control of how can i still be searching for you in every woman? you’re not dead but these false narratives i weave as bulbous as jasmine pearls unfurl and all i really want to do is learn how to brew death


Whoever might perch on this velveteen couch never ate pizza off a grease-soaked paper plate, alone in their underwear at 1 am. Look at the fringed throw tossed just-so over one arm, how a single cup skims the coffee table’s smudge-less sea. In the Urban Collection bookshelf, several uncracked guides to Danish architecture and a stack of foreign journals keep their canny distance from framed photographs in black and white. No self-help tomes urge anyone to Lose Weight Fast, Find Happiness in 30 Days or claim It’s Not Too Late for Love. And note the smug restraint of those two shelves, empty save for a few ceramics and a thick-skinned plant. There’s no wrong note to cull from that vintage record rack, curated gravely as the Guggenheim. The balance of iconic rock to soul to classic jazz, seasoned by a few obscurities, may have been calibrated by a physicist. The same guy, perhaps, who stocked the pantry with its photogenic jars. And in the bedroom, the sheets’ light shirring hints: someone elegant has lounged here. The pillowcases free of snot and tear stains where no one grieves or fucks or dreams too long. And in the corner where the tempered morning gleams, a well-appointed desk. A few strewn pencils sketch a dream that’s polished, clean and neatly traced, the perfect showing of a life lived tastefully not at all.

NORDIC POEM TAKE 2 written by ERIN MCINTOSH When is the last time I wrote a poem Nobody knows how to drive in the rain in Los Angeles I can survive on bagels for weeks Or burritos Or spaghetti Or pb&j ‘The cheap stuff tastes better’ she told me undressing me I buy a lot of things I don’t need or use Like plane tickets to places I’ve never been Useless I could spend a whole day reading Susan Sontag and clipping my nails If I live to be one hundred will I have a better grasp on satisfaction I’ve committed W19 Crimes and I can list them here for you I treated a lot of people terribly because I wanted to feel good I lied about my sexuality I stole stuff when I was a kid from other kids I told you I wanted things I don’t My middle name isn’t my grandmother’s My ring finger isn’t naked When I tell you it’s forever I don’t actually have an understanding for what that means


at seventeen i ravelled my body in (and out of ) a panic attack i brought home my first script and feared the way my head would spin if i missed a day like any first-class romance iv’e obsessed, and obsessed before over moments, and colours, and lists, and people, like crushes— not compulsions with a deep breath, at twenty-one, i looked depression in the eye and told her (that) i don’t want to do this anymore (that) she wears me down (that) we should see other people and she pleaded, and cried, and demanded i at least keep her tagged in the photos keep her phone number in the sock drawer hum along to the songs ‘don’t wash the towels,’ she begged ‘don’t change the sheets,’ she cried ‘don’t scrub the coffee remnants from the bottom of the mug,’ she moaned

DARE TO IMAGINE US WITHOUT YOU written by MADISON GRIFFITHS drape women in light (not silk) memorise the choruses of the songs we’ve written (not just the way we moan) do not tell us that our bodies are poetry if you refuse to read aloud our words dare to imagine us without you not your muse, not your lover, not your wallpaper, not your mother

Amioun, northern Lebanon

AMIOUN words and photo by LINA HAWI images by GEORGIA COLDEBELLA

• A single traffic light serves a population of thousands. More often than not, cars fly past it, their drivers barely throwing a glance in its direction. Green? Orange? Red? No matter. Pedal to the metal, regardless. This is Amioun: a small, predominantly Greek Orthodox village located in the North Governorate of Lebanon. To my left, a car appears from nowhere and zooms dangerously close to the one I’m sitting in, disregarding the red light as if it’s custom. The driver—no older than twenty-two—has his window rolled down. He leans his entire upper body out of the car, smiling broadly at the local guard standing nearby. ‘Fine me!’ he shouts, laughing, ‘I dare you!’ And then he zooms off. I stare in shock at the local guard as he smiles back at the driver, offer 

•  28

ing some friendly words and a wave. Perturbed? Unlikely. This is definitely not Australia. I’m told that the reckless driver is a local boy currently studying abroad but who has returned home for the summer, as is the routine here. From September to May, Amioun loses a chunk of its young residents to international work or study. They venture to the US, the UK or to Europe, and then they return in June, picking up where they’d left off the year prior. This summer, I myself returned to Amioun in order to spend time with my father’s family and to learn the ways of their world. I have always been interested in my background, but it’s easy to forget these things when I’m shopping on Bourke Street or sitting in class at uni. It’s also scary how easily we think of ourselves as individuals completely

detached from everything and everyone around us. Recently though, with the passing of my grandmother, I’ve been injected with a new-found interest in my homeland. I am excited to see the streets that my parents speak so fondly of, and the people that fill their childhood stories.

At a weekend wedding held in neighbouring Chekka, the bride steps out of a 1950s Rolls Royce to a backdrop of fireworks specifically for the occasion. In the opulent reception hall, a chandelier with hundreds of glimmering pieces dangles above the dance floor. Introduced to an elderly relative, I compliment her on her dress. She laughs and leans in close. ‘The strap of this dress tore just an hour before the wedding and so I parked the car, knocked on the first house door

that I saw and went in, had some coffee and had them sew it for me.’ I stare at her in bewilderment. ‘A random house?’ I ask. Yes. A random house. This is definitely not Australia. And in this case, that sounds like a good thing. Until recently, that single traffic light served more as a marker of progress than of actual order. These days, two men are positioned on either side of the road at the intersection that it serves— local guards. They are responsible for manually noting down number plates and issuing fines of roughly 200,000 lire (AUD 166 ) to unruly drivers, those not accustomed to being held accountable to the rules of the road. These men are the human equivalent of a speed camera ... although much more lenient. A local tells me that there are two reasons why these men will deliberately look the other way. The first: everyone knows everyone. That guy who just passed the red doing 30 over the speed limit? Well, his mother cuts your hair. And the woman texting while missing the green? She lives next door. Who wants to be the guy that fines his own neighbour? The second reason: because everyone knows everyone, they also know where everyone lives. And when the average income is as low as it is here

(54 per cent of the Lebanese population earns roughly USD 750 a month), a fine like this can be disastrous. There is a popular saying in Lebanon that goes ‘ba3ed 3an l shar w ghanilo’. Translation: move away from trouble and sing to it. Basically, why risk it? If you Google ‘Amioun Lebanon’, you’re likely to reach one of two webpages. The first correctly states that

Amioun is the capital of the Koura district, which includes 52 municipalities and is located roughly 73 km from Beirut. It is a fortified town dating back to before the second millennium BC, and its highest elevation point can be reached at 330 metres. Amioun is home to two major political parties (the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party and the Lebanese Communist Party), eleven Eastern Orthodox churches (of which St George el Dahleez is the biggest), three public schools and two private schools. Its history can be traced back to the Paleolithic period, evident via the number of small caves built into the old city’s rocks. The Saint John ‘alsheer’ Church, perched atop a rocky cliff overlooking the town’s major road, provides the best example of these caves. One local rumour states that all 11 of Amioun’s churches are connected via underground tunnels, some of which can be accessed via these caves. The second webpage details the Battle of Amioun, which took place in 694 AD between Byzantine troops and Monothelite Christians. It is said that the battle was fought after Byzantine troops destroyed a monastery sheltering 350 Maronite monks, and effectively ignited war. During this battle, the town’s highest elevation point was used to strategic advantage. This is ‘Amioun Lebanon’ according to the World Wide Web. Apart from these tidbits, there’s really not much more written about it. A Google image search also returns little information. Once again, the Saint John ‘al-sheer’ Church serves as the town’s most memorable site, featured in amateur tourist images uploaded onto blogs and social media, or depicted on tourist

memorabilia. In recent summers, the cave walls below the church have served as the backdrop for the annual town concert—‘the mahrajen’— which runs for three nights and draws in crowds exceeding 1,000. This month, banners for the upcoming concert adorn the streets, billowing back and forth against sandstone buildings older than my grandparents. The locals are counting down the days, and every passing greeting is finished with a reminder that you will see one another at the event. In complete juxtaposition, the image search also returns pictures of homes that look more like they belong on the streets of Beverly Hills or Miami rather than in the small town of Amioun: triple-storey facades, infinity pools overlooking the distant Mediterranean, garages filled with luxury cars, and gardens so large that they require daily maintenance. Mansion after mansion has started to pop up over the past decade, with each new construction looking to rival the one prior. Loyalty is big in Lebanon but competition is bigger. As I drive down Amioun’s major road—a shopping street housing jewellery stores, local clothing shops, banks and, most recently, Starbucks—I glance out across the valley of olive trees to the distant hill, where a doublefronted, symmetrical structure is cur-

rently being built. None of the locals seem to know who this one belongs to. They say they’ve lost count, and interest. Mansions are the norm now, and with money pouring in from the Lebanese men and women working tax-free in places in the Gulf, like Saudi Arabia, Amioun is figuratively dripping in oil. Locals here attempt to explain to me how ridiculous the mansion rising 29 


has become. They drive me past two mansions sitting side by side. Both are made of sandstone and each rise at least 15 metres into the sky. They look more like high-rise apartment blocks than single homes. The mansions belong to two brothers. The story goes that the first brother, the richest of them, built the first mansion. Upon completion of the construction, he decided that he didn’t like the house because it wasn’t how he had envisioned it. So he simply gifted it to his brother and built another one next door. Thus, two mansions side by side. Surprisingly, not an unusual sight in Amioun anymore. Nor is it unusual for siblings to be living in such close proximity. Whether rich or poor—because there’s not much of a middle ground in Lebanon, the rich are rich but the poor are poor—living close to family is the standard. And I don’t mean ‘close’ as in a 10-minute drive. I mean close as in a 30-second walk. For example: in the early 1900s, a husband and wife lived in a one-room stone house atop a small hill in the old town centre. They had eight children: four girls and four boys. Attached to their one-room stone house was another one-room stone house, belonging to the man’s brother. That brother had his

own wife and their own children, five boys and two girls. When the children grew, one of them married and built a house 10 metres away from the original two rooms. Another of the children moved into the building across the street, no more than five metres away. Those children raised their own children and the families and houses continued to expand, five metres  

•  30

away at a time. Before long, one family was occupying an entire street. A mother could wake up in the morning, step out onto her balcony and wave to her daughter standing on the balcony across the street. Children were raised with two parents but dozens of guardians, all somehow related to them. In 2017, houses remain with the same families that built them, albeit occupied by new members. Sometimes

B ‘In 2017, houses remain with the same families that built them, albeit occupied by new members. Sometimes they’re left empty, replaced by the new mansions.’

they’re left empty, replaced by the new mansions. In 2016, that first one-bedroom stone house finally closed its doors

after the woman who birthed eight children passed away, aged 104. Her bright blue window shutters remain untouched but she lives on through her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren—me being one of them. She, like those around her, also lives on through Amioun, where she lived and died within a five km area. And the cemetery that my great-grandmother

is buried in? A hundred metres from those blue shutters that she opened every morning and shut every night. It was in this vicinity that she— and those around her—heard announcements and welcomed births, avoided accidents and mourned deaths. It was where she saw the streets being torn apart as civil war ravaged the land, and as soldiers pillaged through homeby-home stealing every last item, right down to family photographs. Without them, many of the townspeople here are unable to recollect their own faces as children. And so they rely on each other’s memories instead. At night, when the sun has long set and mosquitoes fill the air, a glance down the winding cobblestone streets of Amioun reveals the town elderly all perched on their respective verandahs and balconies. In the summer, many of their children who have moved abroad return on vacation with their own families. They nod or smile at the quiet passers-by, few and far between at night. They seem content with the simple life, where water only trickles from old showerheads and where electricity cuts like clockwork three times a day. Nowadays, many homes and venues have installed backup generators. But plenty have not. And, unlike big city dwellers who would likely resort to looting,

here the locals sit patiently and, when the lights return, resume their lives as if they were never gone. If the power outages bother them, you would never know. If the heat bothers them, you would never know. The locals are strong and resilient. They don’t complain and so I try to keep up, despite the fact that an air conditioner is my usual summer essential.

At washing time, I watch young children use organic soap made from Amioun’s olive supply to scrub stains from their clothes. When I accidentally throw my blacks in with my whites and ruin my wardrobe, a teenage family member grabs one of these homemade soap bars, sits me down and teaches me how to scrub, scrub and scrub, ‘the Lebanese way’. ‘Now do the rest’ she instructs, pointing to my pile of greys. I’m quickly realising how spoilt we are back home with our NapiSan and our Omo. Of course washing detergent is not a revolutionary item here. Like I said, Lebanon is a country of juxtapositions. In one home, the electricity will cut for hours each day, the water will trickle without pressure and the heat will be unbearable. The car parked out the front will be older than the residents, hit more times than you can count and most likely on its last bar of petrol. But 100 metres down the street, a husband and wife will sit in their mansion, dressed in Versace pyjamas as their air conditioner cools one of their ten bedrooms, and as one of their housemaids—usually, who has been flown in from Ethiopia—practically raises their children and runs the house, right down to the changing of toilet paper rolls. The car will not be parked out the front. Instead, a man also employed by the family will drive it through iron security gates and park it in one of many secured garage spaces. It will be a white Porsche or a black Range Rover and the petrol will never hover below the halfway mark. Make no mistake; Lebanon is certainly making advancements for a country that has spent decades embroiled in

war. But the process remains slow and tedious. From an outside view, one would be excused for accusing the Lebanese youth of lacking real work ethic. Usually, the teens here don't hold part-time jobs. Instead, they finish high school, then finish university, then often complete a Masters degree abroad and then they start working. Their parents fund them for this entire period, saving and saving to pay hefty upfront education and housing fees, or otherwise rely on scholarship funding. With 1-in-10 Lebanese people studying to become a doctor, you can imagine how high the competition for these scholarship places is. And so, in most cases, a Lebanese person’s first job is effectively what we in the West refer to as a ‘real job’: a nineto-five full-time gig. The verdict is still out on whether that’s a good or a bad thing. ‘Good’ in the sense that a student can dedicate all of their time and effort to their education without the worry of swapping shifts or having to ‘chuck a sickie’. ‘Bad’ in the sense that each person literally relies on their parents for financial support until they reach their mid-twenties. And that comes with a lot of pressure to make something of yourself. What if you don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a dentist, what then? The mentality is an old one and only slowly beginning to change. So what do these teenagers do with their time when they’re not studying? Well, they do what most teens do. They drink and they smoke and they party. They drive drunk, going 130km down gravel mountain roads, ignoring what are basically non-existent road rules anyway, and hurling trash out the window like it’s a profession. They spend

their days at their pick of hundreds of Lebanese beach resorts and then spend their nights at some of the world’s best nightclubs, mostly located in Beirut but also scattered throughout seaside towns like Byblos, Batroun and Jbeil. They hike up mountains to thousand-yearold monasteries and then rush down to dive into the freshwater rivers below. They hunt for birds in the winter and wild boar in the summer. They date one another, break up with one another and then date again. At Loco Beach resort where the entry fee sits at 10,000 LBP, a blonde couple with pink sunburnt skin sits by the poolside. ‘Foreigners’ a local points out, explaining that Westerners don’t usually visit the country unless they have something tying them to the land, usually family. He says he understands why, what with the predominantly negative news coverage and words like ‘bomb’ and ‘terrorism’ dominating discussion of Lebanon. I tell him that this is unfair and that Lebanon has so much to offer. He smiles at me then shrugs, ending our conversation by expertly diving into the pool. I sit and I listen as the locals around me expertly alternate between speaking Arabic, English and French to one another. Most of them are highly educated and will go on to do great things abroad, as they are forced to leave a country that—realistically—doesn’t have the resources to provide them all with professional jobs. But they’ll be back in the summers. They’ll be back to drink. And smoke. And party. They’ll be back to revive that part of them that needs home. The part of them that needs Amioun. 31 



Earlier this year, Emma Watson waltzed down a massive marble staircase and onto big screens all around the globe. Beauty and The Beast is the highest grossing film of 2017 so far, outranking Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and numerous Marvel productions, as well as becoming one of the highest grossing films in history. Yet the movie itself is very much like its predecessor—at times it follows the classic animated movie shot for shot. So why did so many people still go to see this film on the big screen? Hollywood is an industry built on retelling stories, adapting popular books into motion pictures. Disney is perhaps the biggest contributor to these retellings. They released a long list earlier this year promising more than 15 new adaptations of old, familiar stories—some as live-action retellings, while some are refocusing on other characters like Maleficent, which told Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent’s point of view. And while it’s not only Disney who have realised that there’s an audience for remakes, they’re a particularly interesting study because their classic animations are mostly based off fairy tales, making their live-action films remakes of an adaptation. Most of us first heard of Cinderella when our parents read us bedtime stories, then we saw the animation and now it’s available as a live-action film—not to mention all the

versions not made by Disney. We also see satirical mash-ups of different fairy tales like Into the Woods, which was very successful when it came out in 2014. But not all of these remakes are considered good cinema; many of these films have been criticised for their unoriginality. David Sims, reviewer for The Atlantic, condemns Disney for their recent remakes, claiming they follow a simple formula: ‘Take a beloved animated tale (say, Cinderella or The Jungle Book), cast some big-name celebrities, and then dial the opulence

factor up to 11, turning a film everyone remembers into a grand, if somewhat hollow, homage for a new generation.’ Sims also writes that the shot-for-shot remake only serves to highlight where the live-action film falls short compared to the 1991 animation, yet somehow Beauty and the Beast still out-performed all other films on the market. If originality is a synonym for quality, a sentiment that many critics and viewers seem to share, why do we go and see the same stories again and again? First, let’s consider the stories these films are telling. Disney’s famous animations drew on well-loved fairy tales; some, like The Little Mermaid, were written fairly recently, but a lot of the tales have unknown origins. In the first volume of the Brothers Grimm’s 1812 Children’s and Household Tales, the preface suggests that some of the stories were already 33 


300 years old at the time, making them now at least half a millennia old. Understanding why fairy tales are so timeless helps us understand why we keep going back to see the same stories unfold on film. The oral tradition, surely, must get a lot of the credit. Back when stories were not written down, storytelling was a very different craft—medieval bards had to learn everything by heart. Bards were highly esteemed in Ireland and Wales because of their ability to memorise information. In fact, their services progressed the act of storytelling: monasteries employed bards as genealogists and historians, bards were the only reliable sources of news, and were pretty much depended upon to store information such as stories and songs. Bards were respected, they were considered truthful and trustworthy, so they also had a fair bit of influence. But because a person can only learn so many tales, the same stories must have been repeated over and over. The younger generations would learn to tell those stories, passing them on from parent to child, until the Grimms came along with a notebook and some ink. There is also the lack of any definite character in fairy tales; they’re filled with archetypes that are easy for us to reflect onto ourselves. As Philip Pullman writes: ‘There is no psychology in a fairy tale. The characters have little interior life; their motives are clear and obvious … The tale is far more interested in what happens to them, or in what they make happen, than in their individuality.’ And the things that befall characters in fairy tales are representations of common fears: Hansel and Gretel—that our parents won’t love us, Little Red Riding Hood—the patriarchal predator, and the Little Mermaid—unrequited love. Or they’re representations of our hopes and dreams: Sleeping Beauty—that love conquers every thing, Beauty and the Beast—that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, and Jack and the Beanstalk—that we take advantage

of life’s opportunities. Alternatively, on the movie screen the bones of fairy tales are fleshed out; actors fill in the characters’ lack of identity. They now look like someone, they have distinct voices and mannerisms and it’s harder to project just ‘anyone’ into the characters the way that we normally can with fairy tales. This, I think, is one of the reasons we keep going back to see the new films—we’re curious to see who Belle will be this time, we want to see what Emma Watson can do with the character.  

•  34

We’re also seeing many of Disney’s remakes move from G-rated animations to PG-rated live-actions. Authors John Peck and Harry Heckel observe that this reversion to the darker origin of fairy tales shows ‘that adults want to reclaim these stories from children’. It is widely known that Disney softened up a lot of fairy tales before they made it onto the screen—for example Ariel marries Eric in the film, whereas the prince from the original tale ends up with another woman while the little mermaid dies. But such a story wouldn’t suit children—and The Little Mermaid is much less grotesque than most of the Grimm’s fairy tales. The suppressed darker side of fairy tales is of constant fascination to academics. In one of Angela Carter’s retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, ‘A Company of Wolves’, the suppressed sexuality is brought to the forefront, and the protagonist is able to use male desire to her advantage, seducing the wolf and thereby taming him. In Snow White and the Huntsman the Queen’s sexual jealousy is emphasised, and we see Charlize Theron bathing nude and wearing low-cut dresses instead of the turtle-neck cape of the animation. Peck and Heckel say they will ‘defy anyone to tell [them] that children were in anyone’s mind when they wrote the screenplays for Maleficient or Snow White and the Huntsman.’ Adults are re-exploring the topics they read about as children, but there’s very little that’s childish about some of these remakes. Although these films are putting emphasis on more mature topics and letting the grimness of the original fairy tales peak through, they’re not totally reverting to them. In the original story, Snow White is only seven years old when the Queen orders the huntsman to kill her, in Sleeping Beauty the prince rapes her as she sleeps and the wolf feeds Little Red Riding Hood the liver, heart or kidney of her grandmother—depending which version you read. But there’s no paedophilia, rape or cannibalism in the re-tellings; they’ve just dipped their toes into the darker side of the original fairy tales. And while the original fairy tales are fascinating, I doubt that they are something we want to return to. A mature audience is happy to see more of the nuances of fairy tales, and to have more of our real lives projected onto the fantastical stories, but they don’t want anything too dark. We want fairy tales just far enough out of reach to still be dreamlike, but just familiar enough to relate to. There may be more severe losses,

more traumatic incidents, and the villain may be someone we can understand rather than a symbol of evil—but the story always winds down to the same comfortable ending. Fairy tales have become idealistic. I don’t expect to sit down to a film where Princess Aurora wakes up after her long sleep, impregnated by someone she has never met. There are other reasons why redoing a film makes a lot of sense: films have been around for over a century, and during that time our society has changed in a number of ways. Many films are therefore being remade to fit into our modern society: Karate Kid was remade in 2010 with a cast consisting of mainly black or Asian actors; a new Ghostbusters film came out with female leads and a ditzy male secretary; and Hitchcock’s iconic Rear Window was redone into Disturbia, a modern horror with more suspense, more dark corners and more terrifying moments, to suit the modern audience. But it’s true that many remakes seem to have been produced only to bring in large sums of money. One example is the huge number of high-school-based Cinderella adaptations. On Box Office Mojo there’s a separate category for the ‘Cinderella complex,’ showing that on average these movies made USD 23 million within the first week in cinemas. A Cinderella Story starring Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, is probably the most well-known high school version, but it was followed by Another Cinderella Story with Selena Gomez only four years later. This sequel, and the many others like it, are not filling a gap in the market, but aim these films at young girls, make sure a famous actress plays the main role and throw in a cute prince, and it seems you’re guaranteed a seller. Cinderella is undoubtedly a classic—we love a rags-toriches story, a good romance, a happy ending. There’s also the bonus of the clueless-but-funny stepsisters. But it is hard to

deny that critics who claim that contemporary Hollywood is simply regurgitating films for profit are making a valid point. Many film companies seem to focus only on the commercial, and not at all on the cultural, aspect of making films. Romantic comedies are often criticised for this, as rom-com after romcom follows the very same outline, to the point where the audience can pretty much predict every move. The films then become void of new material; nothing that can shock the audience, or prompt rethinking and challenge perspectives. While there is undeniably a large audience that appreciates  

•  36

the predictability of such films, critics insist there’s nothing to gain from them. Originality can seem scarce in the midst of all this. In 2004 Christopher Booker, English journalist and author, wrote a book in which he claimed that every story can be boiled down to seven basic plots—one of which is ‘rebirth’. In a ‘rebirth’ story the protagonist is forced to change their ways due to an encounter or event, usually resulting in positive character development; the basic plot of The Beauty and the Beast. The truth is that we don’t seem to mind that the stories we love can be boiled down to one of seven basic ideas, because any good story will have a variation in setting, character and detail that makes it stand out enough to engage, if not challenge, us. We all know that the hero is going to win in the end, what we want to know is how. Going back to Philip Pullman’s statement that fairy tales are about how the characters make the stories happen rather than who the characters are, a good story is interesting not because of what the plot is, but because of how that plot unfolds. Does originality then lie in the subtle details rather than in the major elements of a story? Let’s consider for a moment other types of art that tend to return to the same product again and again. Music is definitely an art form where listeners will return to the same songs over and over. While the market is flooded with music that seems to disappear within weeks, good artists will create music that fans will listen to perhaps for the rest of their lives. A good song will be covered again and again, because a musician will not be able to resist taking on a song they love. Another art form that relies on repetition of performance is theatre, which by its nature must be rehashed again and again. Not only does the cast have to perform their show countless times, but different companies are always doing the same classic plays. There are at least fifty different films available of Hamlet, so we can only imagine how many times the play has been performed by different actors and different directors. Actors bring a certain flair to the characters, and in longrunning productions like those on Broadway, if you see the same show 12 months apart, you’re nearly guaranteed a new cast and a different experience. And directors bring their own personal interpretation to the play even more drastically than the actors do. When the new Wonder Woman movie came out midway through this year it was met with excitement—finally,

a female superhero with her own movie, not to mention one directed by a woman. The commercial and popular success of the film show that director Patty Jenkins has given Diana Prince a new life by showing her as a complex and vulnerable, but still fierce, woman. Hermione Hoby for The Guardian wrote that ‘as the first female director of a Marvel or DC film, Jenkins has gently reinterpreted the superhero genre, bringing love and compassion to the world of fights and fantasy.’ The voice of a female director, telling the story of this familiar superhero, created a vision of idealised but genuine female strength; an empowerment that other superhero franchises have lacked. Jenkins echoes this empowerment in real life, as the first woman to direct a superhero film, and the second woman to get a budget exceeding $100 million. With their importance to contemporary storytelling, directors have in many ways replaced the bard of old. If we look back to before the printing press and before bookbinding, the survival of stories was totally reliant on retellings. No one knew where the stories came from, who had made them up, or how long they had been around; there was no ownership and no copyright the way there is now. Songs and poems were handed down from bard to bard in a long oral tradition. Travelling bards spread news, going from city to city. It is easy to imagine him arriving at the inn late one night, exchanging a performance of stories for food and lodgings. Stories of myths or legends, of battles and brave feats, they grew and changed depending on who was telling them—the art that mattered back then was not the writing of the story, but the telling of it. This is exactly how movie directors work: they are visionaries, not writers. They don’t make the story, they tell it. When Avatar came out a lot of people criticised it for having a weak story—it was too easy, basically just another Pocahontas story. The unobtainable material that was so important to the humans was actually called unobtanium. I, however, loved it. I thought it was beautiful, the world created in the film was so wondrous that I was more interested in watching the ground light up as feet ran over it than in the actual story. I loved the floating mountains and how the Na’vi people connected with animals and nature by a physical bond. To me, Avatar was a film where the mastery lay in the details of the world—that was the novelty, not the plotline. Given that Avatar is the highest grossing movie in history, it seems that the world didn’t seem to mind that the story was so recognisable either.

Most of the time there is good reason to remake a film— whether it’s a political or social commentary with a more diverse cast, a gender swap, or if there’s simply a director with a passionate new vision. The possibilities for a story to be tweaked and twisted are endless, and they can be as surprising as an unknown story. And this is why I, despite having seen the animated movie and read at least five different versions of The Beauty and the Beast, eagerly awaited the release of the new film earlier this year. This is why I can’t wait to see how Disney will tackle the live-action version of Mulan in 2018. It is not about not knowing what story will be told, but rather how it will be told this time. References David Sims, "Beauty and the Beast: A Tale as Old as Time, Told Worse" The Atlantic, March 15, 2017, accessed August 28, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/03/beauty-and-the-beast-remake-review/519603/ Philip Pullman, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (Penguin, 2012) 400 Jack Heckel, "Been There, Done That: Why We Keep Retelling Fairy Tales" Tor.com, August 11, 2014, accessed August 8, 2017, http://www.tor.com/2014/08/11/been-there-done-thatwhy-we-keep-retelling-fairytales/ Jack Heckel, "Been There, Done That: Why We Keep Retelling Fairy Tales" Tor.com, August 11, 2014, accessed August 8, 2017, http://www.tor.com/2014/08/11/been-there-done-thatwhy-we-keep-retelling-fairytales/ Box Office Mojo on 'Cinderella Complex', accessed September 4, 2017, http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=cinderella.htm Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, Hamlet (Thompson Learning, 2006) 108 Hermoine Hoby, "Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins: ‘People really thought that only men loved action movies" The Guardian, May 26, 2017, accessed on September 5, 2017, https:// www.theguardian.com/f ilm/2017/may/26/wonder-womandirector-patty-jenkins-people-really-thought-that-only-menloved-action-movies.




words by ASHA ROSS images by CATHERINE WILLEMSE Asha Ross is a Kiwi-Canadian, who is interested in movement and storytelling. She is currently working towards a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Melbourne with a focus on parkour, action research, embodied cognition, and social poetics. Nicole Kleppe completed her undergraduate studies at Loyola College, Chicago and is now working towards a Masters in International Relations at the University of Melbourne with a focus on women’s issues. She is particularly interested in female empowerment and feminist punk.

•  38

Social change is most effectively achieved through active engagement. Too often attempts to change behaviours in society are derailed by ineffective dialogue. The concept of activism requires its members to be active but this aspect appears to have been lost on many claiming to want to challenge the status quo. As a PhD student interested in exploring the idea of using parkour as an agent of change I was particularly interested in sharing ideas with Nicole. Our conversation began as a discussion about The Women’s Project, which Nicole co-founded in 2014, at Loyola College. This project, in line with the college’s strong social justice focus, aims to actively engage students in fostering female empowerment. However, our discussion evolved into exploring the importance of reflexivity and how fear can be a great motivator. Other points of interest that arose included the Jesuit tradition of the Daily Reflection and how it has been incorporated into education systems, the role of sport as a way into self-reflection, and how we can bring ideas into direct problem-solving. Asha: Tell me about the Women’s Project. I was looking at the outline of the project mission, which is incredibly ambitious. Did you found the Project? Nicole: Yeah, it was me and a good friend, her name is Aubrey. In our sophomore year of college, we were feeling a little lost in the space that is Loyola College. It’s a very liberal college,

and has so many social justice movements. We knew what our passion was, which is women’s empowerment, and there were already plenty of groups. So many, I can’t even remember all their names. But each one we tried didn’t feel quite right. So it was about creating a space that would reach the goals that we saw in feminism, the ones we wanted to reach. A: Those were different from the other groups how? N: You said it yourself: our mission is ambitious. A: It’s great to have an ambitious mission. N: It was more about action, rather than discussion. That’s what I felt those other groups were doing. And granted, discussion is important. A: Only if it feeds action, really, otherwise you’re just sitting around. N: And some of them were truly like—‘let’s talk about The Bell Jar today’. That’s just discussion. It just seemed more like class than anything. A: I wonder if those things seem to be contributing to this skewed idea of what feminism is these days, instead of feminism in practice. N: Right. It’s this intellectual bubble where it turns into, I don’t want to say man-hating, but… A: But kind of ? N: Kind of. It was, you know: ‘street harassment is the worst’… ‘Men are animals for doing that’. And sure— but then the conversation would stop after that. That’s the 39 


meeting. It would end on that note. And Aubrey and I would leave, being like, what are we going to do about it? That was something that we found lacking. So, we wanted to create a space that was, okay, let’s have those discussions, let’s talk about our concerns as women, but then act on that. You can’t just sit there—it seemed a little like everyone was complaining. A: The problem is often that they end up turning on each other, one group saying you’re not doing enough, you’re doing too much of this… Everyone who wants change needs to feed into a discussion of what change actually looks like. N: Right. And that’s what the Women’s Project main goal was. How do we actually enact the change we want to see, in the things that really trouble us and other women in our world. A: And this was in 2014? N: Yes, I guess so. We started drafting everything—we say the first year of the Women’s Project was just Aubrey and myself. It took a year to write the constitution, get approved funding. We got a lot of ‘no’ at the beginning. The reason we named it the Women’s Project was there was a Men’s Project at Loyola’s campus. The Men’s Project is an amazing group. At Loyola, men are the minority, it was about 65% women. So, it was a place for men to speak with each other and question traditional masculinity. It was amazing. A: It’s important for women to discuss with each other what femininity is, what feminism is, and equally as important for men to talk about masculinity as well. N: Absolutely. And I think in all those men I had seen such growth and change in a span of a few weeks. They were talking about their behaviour, their attitude. I think for both men and women, there’s a fear of self-reflection. A: Which really is our central discussion point here—the importance of self-reflection. N: Yes. We saw it especially in the beginning, when we’d created the Women’s Project and we were advertising it at student fairs and going to classes, writing emails to people, asking women to apply and interview… They asked what it was, intrigued when we said we talk about what it means to be a woman. Questioning what it means to be a woman, our prejudices, what we believe—a lot of people don’t want to do that. Seeing the men do that as well was inspiring. A: And are you connected with the Men’s Project? Do you talk with each other?  

•  40

N: We do talk, we run events together sometimes. It’s unfortunate, the Men’s Project is falling apart a bit as people graduate. The truth is not a lot of men seem to want to do that. I think you have to be mature in your thinking to do that, and it didn’t seem to extend to freshman year men. They don’t want to delve into why they act a certain way. And I get that. Right now, I think they’re trying to revamp it. A: It sounds like something that would be useful in most universities, really. For men and women. There’s currently a lot of talk, and people are demonstrative, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of problem-solving. Do you have any idea of starting something like that here in Melbourne? N: Yeah, I want to. When I first interviewed for Queen’s College I mentioned it. I graduated in 2016, and in the past year… Just not being in an environment—not school, but the Women’s Project environment—I missed it. Having the structure, the topics to cover each week—and over time, you get comfortable with people, comfortable enough to discuss any issue, really. When it’s gone, it leaves a big hole. I’d like to have a space to do that here, to delve into the passions I have. You learn more once you interact with someone. A: Absolutely. How have you found the transition to Australia in that sense? N: Well I’ve heard there are problems with harassment here, and issues of masculinity, and—you know, in all other aspects, Australia is presented to us in the United States as very progressive. And I don’t want to say it’s disappointing… A: It is disappointing though. I think in a university setting especially, it has to be okay to talk about issues from different perspectives. N: I want to see active thought taking place, and I haven’t seen enough of it yet. And self-reflection! I mean, there are so many little things. Back home I surrounded myself with people who were very progressive, so hearing someone call someone else a pussy is just… I mean, I forgot that you can equate weakness with womanhood. I forgot that was a possibility. I would like to create a space in the larger university community where we can discuss all these things. A: Casual prejudice is really ingrained here. It’s a terrible thing when racism or sexism is wielded as a weapon, when it comes from a belief system. But it’s just as terrible when it isn’t thought about at all, when people just see it as ‘saying shit’. Like it has no impact or meaning. They haven’t thought about any of it, and they’re not asked to think about it.

N: Right. And, I mean, the United States has its problems… A: [Laughter] But at least the conversation is starting to happen there. N: Right. I know I want to do something. The same issue arises here as it did in Loyola, though. The people who are going to join in those discussions are already people who are likeminded. It’s the other people we need to reach out to. And to make things happen. A: Right. Not just sitting around confirming your beliefs, but turning that into action. N: I would love a version of the Men’s Project or the Women’s Project in this environment to be not people who already know these things. It would be sitting down with a group of men who really believe catcalling is fine, and asking them to delve into that. But you can’t force people. A: It’s difficult. In the abstract, it’s easy to agree on what is good or bad behaviour. But in the more specific sense, I think it’s harder for people to reflect on their own actions. Without it becoming a self-help group. Or a therapy session. N: Right. That vision, I don’t see it happening. The only way I think it could happen is if it is a required class for people coming through the university. A: That could work. It could be an interesting thing to start, to see where it goes. It’s about creating an environment

where people can ask questions, right? Where anyone present can explore something, without all the value judgement. N: Right. A big thing we did, we set up a table once a week and we’d sit there all day. Anyone could come up and ask about the Women’s Project. And we’d let them know what we were doing that week, and if they wanted to help out, they could come along. My favourite event we put on was about homelessness. Particularly for women of colour, the numbers are disproportionate. It’s cyclical, and a lot of those women have children, and I think the burden of being a mother and trying to find a job… So, an event we put on was raising awareness about women experiencing homelessness, and then collecting items for women in these situations. Particularly sanitary items. We collected everything—bags, clothes, tampons, whatever. And we talked about why women experience homelessness differently. We tried to approach feminist causes that people don’t necessarily see every day. It approached feminism through different causes. A: That actually sounds like a great way to move the conversation forward. It continues to be interesting and relevant. I mean, I get tired of having the same conversations over and over—not because they cease to be relevant, but because it’s exhausting. 41 


N: Right, the fact we have to keep talking about the same things … I think people perceive feminism as one track. And when you have groups that only focus on these ‘hot topics’, they’re easy to demonise. They’re also a bit more self-centred, those topics. Like, I want equal pay for all women, because it will affect me. When approaching other things, like women experiencing homelessness … I mean, it’s real social justice. I think people were able to digest some of those things better, we offered more than the hot topics. A: I wanted to ask you about how you think action can impact systems and structure. Small changes—if they’re the right changes—can have a very big impact. Homelessness in Chicago might be the thing that changes a lot of world views, because it’s a visible issue, and a big issue. Here, possibly not so much. There’s still a problem here, but I don’t think it’s quite as visible. N: Yeah, I haven’t noticed that here as much. Comparatively. A: So, maybe we need to identify practical things we can use, here? How can we identify things that will speak to larger groups of people? I’m getting the action buzz now, all I want to do is start making plans. N: Right! I think self-reflection is the number one way to bring about change. No one is perfect. I think it’s about presenting yourself as the person you want others to be. There’s this great thing that the Jesuits do, they do the Daily Reflection. Now I’m not religious, but the Women’s Project made a Feminist Reflection. Every day you reflect on something that happened today, and your response—and how you might have responded differently. A: I really like that. N: Now, action-wise… It’s hard to take action if you don’t have a group of people around you. So, I suppose it’s about finding people who have the same goals as you, and then sticking to it. What do you really believe, and what do you want to change? And have the conversation—it’s the first step towards change. A: And don’t stop the conversation there, right? N: Right! You have to be reflexive about it, and have another conversation. And make it a weekly practice of being better. A: I’m wondering if the way into inspiring self-reflexive behaviour here is through physical practice. My PhD fieldwork is centred on parkour, and that’s a very self-reflexive practice. Maybe physicality is the way in? I mean, what’s the embodiment of feminism? Is there a practice which is the  

•  42

perfect analogy for feminism? N: I wish! You know, what you’re saying … I mean, I never put a word to what my beliefs were until college. But thinking about my youth, I remember all the things I’ve done—I know that my feminism originally came from sports. I’m short, I’m small, but I felt I really needed to prove myself against girls and boys when I was a kid. I loved playing sport. I played softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer. I did them all. I really pushed myself to practice. Maybe sport is the way in. A: I love that about physical practice. Someone says you can’t do it, well, you can prove that you can. It should be a big part of our education system. Getting physical. N: So maybe we should start a team, get women happy showing off their strength. Do you read Rupi Kaur? A: I have, yes. N: There’s a poem where she says something like, ‘I apologise to all the women I called beautiful before I called them smart, intelligent, strong’ or something. A: I love that. N: I read that and I thought, you’re so right. I want to stop saying beautiful when I mean strong, you know? A: How we talk about it is how we think about it. And that determines how you interact with it. N: I wish there was a way to teach people that, an easier way. I was thinking about fear, earlier. After you’ve overcome a fear, any fear, there’s nothing to worry about! Life is a joy to live. That’s what I’ve learned. A: I’ve always loved the scary stuff. It’s so useful. There’s so much in it. Fear of action, or failing, is often just comfort in ambiguity. I mean, there’s a safety in ambiguity. Once you take action, you’re committed. N: There was this speech by Will Smith, where he was talking about this time he went sky diving, and I watched it a few weeks after I’d gone sky diving. He said for the weeks leading up to it, he was nervous, anxious, and going up in the plane, and then he did it—and all the fear went away. Half of life is just that build up. But if you can get over it, that one step, it’s all so clear. Half of the joy is all the fear. That’s like life. A: Hell of an ending, Nicole. Let’s get philosophical again soon. If you’d like to know more about The Women’s Project, they can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/thewomensprojectluc/.

‘When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.’ - MAYA ANGELOU


<?php /*This is a script to help me model your chances of dying.*/ /*Anything surrounded by slashes and stars—this, for example—is a comment. It doesn’t affect output. It’s just here to remind the programmer what she’s doing. If you saw this script in action—you never will—these comments would be hidden from you.*/ /*You rest in the next room over, quarantined by gyprock and wood. I should be working, debugging a legacy site for a client. But how am I supposed to concentrate? I need to be prepared.*/ /*Define the base chance of dying of the flu, all other things being equal:*/ $baseChance = 2.00; echo <<<EOT Your base chance of death, before relevant modifiers are applied, is $baseChance%<p> EOT; /*A two per cent probability. It’s only the flu. You’re in your prime, strong. But people do die: about 500,00 every year. I  

•  50

might be overestimating the risk, but it’s hard to get a reliable death rate for young adults in a developed country with no pre-existing conditions. I tried the CDC and the WHO and Wikipedia, but no luck.*/ $misdiagnosis = $_REQUEST[‘misDiag’]; /*This command retrieves a value from a web form that asks: was there a misdiagnosis of your condition? Maybe what’s causing your fever is not the flu at all. When we went to the clinic, your doctor seemed distracted. It was just before lunch.*/ if ($misdiagnosis == true) { /*That is, if there was a misdiagnosis...*/ /*...then:*/ $baseChance = 5.00; echo “There was a mistake. You don’t have the flu—you have something else. Chance of death now 5%<p>”; } /*This is a blunt instrument, but no time to hone it. I need to take a break and check on you.*/ /*Is it our house? It’s cold here in the winter, in the high hills, the paddocks white with frost in the mornings, the clouds

brushing us. The birds struck dumb. Twenty minutes from the city’s edge, but even so, we’re isolated. The internet cuts out when it rains.*/ /*The cold gets in no matter how many hot water bottles we hide between blankets. It rises from the slate floor. The fire, well stoked in our kitchen, hardly takes the edge off. Woodsmoke smell permeates the house. Maybe we’ll smoke out your virus, packing the rooms with carbon particulates like a priest swinging his censer.*/ /*Maybe we should call for a priest.*/ $wellCaredFor = $_REQUEST[‘wellCared’]; /*I will try my hardest to care for you, but I might neglect you. I work and I visit the shops, and I spend too long trying to cook good broth. While you are laid up, I feed the chickens and check on the sheep. I might make a mistake and keep you too cold, or too hot in your bed, stewing like a snail in an oven. I might give you water or food at the wrong times, in the wrong quantities. I might miss some important sign that marks a change.*/ /*I felt your forehead again. You stirred, told me I love you. You don’t often say it like that. You nod, or squeeze me in your arms, or mumble you too after I’ve made a declaration.*/ /*Why would you say it like that, now?*/ /*Your skin is slick. For someone who has known you in health, your face is marked with suffering. It’s there in the crease between your eyebrow and the bridge of your nose; the way your chin juts out a bit too far from your throat, your head tilted back. If you reached out your arm toward me, we could be art models for some Pre-Raphaelite deathbed scene.*/

/*The sour smell in here would make anyone think that you’ve been wrapped in our linen for twenty days straight, but it’s only been two.*/ if ($wellCaredFor == true) { $baseChance = $baseChance * 0.8; echo ‘I have done a good job caring for you, reducing your chances of dying by 20%<p>’;

/*Good on me.*/ /*You looked after me so well when I had my wisdom teeth out. You can be rough with the animals, so I was surprised. We’d only been seeing each other for a few months, but you stayed the whole weekend. You made me raspberry jelly and I ate strong painkillers and I beat you at chess, four times.*/ /*I bled from my gums and considered you. I knew you were a good one. You would stick with me. You wouldn’t leave.*/ } else { /*If I cared poorly for you...*/ $baseChance = $baseChance * 1.5; echo “I have done a bad job caring for you, increasing your chances of dying by 50%<p>”; } /*Off a low base. So if there was a 2% chance of you dying, now there is a 3% chance.*/ /*On your feet, you take up space. In our bed, too. You are tall and robust-looking. I won’t pretend that wasn’t part of your appeal. When we met, the idea that I could be with a farm boy was funny. It’s still funny.*/ /*Of course, Ollie was fit too, when I met him. I was studying, enjoying my twenties, not looking for anything permanent. But Ollie was thirty-one, and persuasive. Six good years together and though he worked too hard, he never let himself go. When he collapsed on the treadmill I buried him and wept with his family. Afterwards, a report described an atrial septal defect, a hole in the heart. Subtle and undiagnosed; Ollie had never known. Still, it caused the stroke.*/ /*A good programmer makes provision for unlikely failure; the one-in-a-million. ‘Exception handling’, it’s called. Ollie taught me to keep the edge cases in mind.*/ /*I was sure I hadn’t made another mistake. You don’t go to the gym. You lift hay bales and you walk with long strides. But now you’re properly sick. It’s the first time since I’ve known you. It’s a betrayal.*/ $newStrain = $_REQUEST[‘newStrain’]; 51 


/*The last pandemic, back in 2009, was caused by the A/ H1N1/09 strain—swine flu, jumped across to humans. Children, especially, had no cross-reactive antibody response to the new strain.*/ /*That outbreak was contained. But there are new variants all the time. Types that we’ve no resistance to. Types that kill quickly.*/ /*The night before your fever started, we had an argument. It was about everything—our house, the mortgage, my work, your work, my first husband, your mother. Children and the lack of them.*/ /*Afterwards, even though we couldn’t look at each other, you made me a toasted cheese sandwich.*/ /*It’s always a strain, of one type or another. You trod the paddocks in your gumboots, spending long days answering the demands of this place. Now your struggles are simpler: for lucidity, for healing. I shouldn’t fight with you about silly things.*/ if ($newStrain == true) { $baseChance = $baseChance * 3; echo “The strain you have contracted is new and particularly aggressive. Your chance of dying has tripled.<p>”; } /*I pay attention to the rhythms of my body, trying to establish a feedback loop. Seeking some trace—perhaps if I catch whatever you’ve got, I’ll have more data points, be able to refine this script to make it more accurate. Or would it become less accurate, more subjective? Bodies can lie, like when I think I’m pregnant, but I’m not.*/ /*Humans are too complex to be efficient. Machines are easier. In the time I’ve sat here, worrying about you, some background process left running in my mind has identified the bad code screwing up this website I’m supposed to be working on. Before you wake up, it will have been corrected.*/ $hospitalised = $_REQUEST[‘hosp’]; /*If you get worse, or if you just don’t get better, you might need to go to hospital. That would mean your condition is  

•  52

serious. The hospital may not help, though.*/ if ($hospitalised == true) { echo “You have taken a turn for the worse. You have been admitted to hospital.<p>”; $competentStaff = $_REQUEST[‘competent’]; /*I support greater funding for health care.*/ if ($competentStaff == true) { $baseChance = $baseChance * 0.8; echo “The well-trained staff are attentive to your needs, reducing your chance of death by 20%<p>”; /*This is the more likely scenario. All those horror stories must be the exception, not the rule.*/ } else { $baseChance = $baseChance * 1.5; echo “Whether through overwork, laziness or poor training, you receive substandard care in hospital. Your chance of death has increased by 50%<p>”; } /*What else might happen to you?*/ $infection = $_REQUEST[‘infect’]; /*While in hospital, with your immune system already weakened, you could develop a secondary infection, like secondary bacterial pneumonia.*/ if ($infection == true) { $baseChance = $baseChance * 2; echo “In hospital, you develop a secondary infection, doubling your chance of death.<p>”; } } /*End if ($hospitalised == true)*/ /*Time to tally everything up. If there’s a god, perhaps she performs a similar accounting.*/ echo <<<EOT All factors considered, your chance of death is $baseChance%<p> EOT; echo “Computing outcome now.<p>”;

/*Generate a random number between 1 and 100. This is the roll of the dice. If this random number exceeds the probability score we’ve calculated—the $baseChance variable—that is good news for you.*/ $randNum = rand (1, 100); if ($baseChance < $randNum){ echo “Congratulations! You survived the flu!”; /*Of course, this very simple program doesn’t address quality of life issues. What will happen if you are damaged, never strong enough to work? We couldn’t stay on the farm.*/ } else { echo “You died.”; /*...*/ } /*I know this is irrational, this fear. Losing one partner does

not affect the likelihood of losing another. So I wrote this script to remind me of that, and I’ll never tell you about it.*/ /*I’ll run this over and again. Usually, you live. Almost always. If I set this program running in a thousand-times loop, you’ll survive more than nine hundred of those tests.*/ /*When you die, I will revive you; reset you. Bring you back. And on the next try, you will make it through.*/ /*You are on the other side of this wall. And when I go in to check, when I listen to you breathe, I know how fragile you are. The unfairness of a single iteration.*/ /*Please get well. Get well soon.*/ ?> 53 



When the boy is born with nails poking from his gums, his mother blinks twice and says, ‘Oh.’ Then, when he latches to her breast, she winces, lays a hand on the robin-egg blue beanie the nurses shoved on his head, and says, ‘Ow.’ When he releases from her and burps, a tinny, metallic-smelling belch, she looks down at her blood oozing into the confetti -coloured hospital gown and says, ‘Maybe we should try formula.’ At three months old he starts swallowing solid food because he keeps ripping up the ribbed plastic nipples of bottles. Sometimes he bites his tongue and howls, blood dribbling down his chin like cherry juice; otherwise, he clamps his lips and shies away when fingers or faces come close. He grows up quiet, unlike other babies who waggle their lips and gurgle saliva down their chins like they’re eating peaches. He never spits up or goo-goo-gaa-gaas and his burps are tiny, muted, whistling through his regretfully parted lips. It seems he senses his difference from the start, keeping the metal spikes hidden behind his pinkish, thin mouth. Psychologists and pediatricians suggest he’s autistic, but his mother shakes her head and then rubs his—he’s shaggy with downy white hair like his father—and explains about his teeth. Or lack thereof. She shrugs a lot, a tic the boy mimics, adopts as his own.  

•  54

At day care—she is a lawyer, the father an architect, neither willing to abandon their career—the boy is quiet, never crying or yelling or screeching for attention. The teachers laud his stoicism, the depth of his observant stare; he’s the only infant who seems to be really and truly listening to them. Nails aside, he is cherubic, already swinging his arms with athletic grace. Mrs Schrader, the lead teacher, thick red glasses dangling from a gold chain, jokes that the boy will break hearts. Her subordinates draw straws to decide who will help him with his juice box and apple slices at snack time. No-one picks on him in third grade because they’re afraid of tetanus and the searing pain of being torn apart at the arm or rib. In science they learn about sharks and their jagged mouths and his classmates begin calling him Shark, so he takes up swimming, embracing their chanted nickname rather than fighting against it. He grins when he successfully dives for the first time, morphs into a creature of the water. His individual medley times are record-breaking for a ten year old. Dental hygienists pass him around like a hot potato, not wanting to break their instruments or smell the constructionsite odour of his breath. The nails turn rusty orange, tarnishing his gums and hard palate, leaving a runny stain that waggles behind his body. The dentists suggest implants, or dentures,

or something, some kind of surgery no-one has ever heard of, but his parents shake their heads: the insurance company won’t pay, and you’re you, they tell him. He shrugs, flashes his steely teeth. They never fall out. X-rays show that he has only toadstool-shaped nail heads embedded beneath his gum line rather than the dotting of adult molars and bicuspids waiting to shove baby teeth out of the way. ‘Well,’ says his harried dentist, who doesn’t know why the boy bothers to show up for cleanings but likes the easy money from the insurance company, ‘at least you won’t have to worry about cavities, I guess.’ ‘Should I floss? Do I have wisdom-teeth nails that need to be removed?’ ‘I don’t know.’ The dentist dismisses him and pops an Advil. The boy goes to college on a scholarship, an all-star butterflier. He wins national championships. Women flock to him, surround him at parties. They swoon over his malaise, the lift of his thick shoulders when they flirt with him. He buys them shots at bars and sleeps with them, leaving them satisfied despite the jaggedness of his incisors, the impenetrability of his kisses. The marks he leaves on necks and shoulders and

inner thighs require heavy bandages, sometimes stitches. They leave tender, remorseful bruises. Some of them press their tongues into his mouth, relishing the sharp cuts that cross their tastebuds. They demand he go down on them and they swoon at his delicacy, ask him to pinch them just-so with his teeth. They make terrible puns about being nailed. He falls into bed, once, with a boy, a tennis player, legs thick and chest gaunt, his tan lines making him look like two different people. The boy wins three Olympic gold medals and poses nude for ESPN Magazine’s ‘Body Issue,’ underwater, turned away from the camera. Women and men swoon over his buttocks, plump in the pool like baked bread. He does not smile. He receives raunchy fan mail, nude photos. His agent suggests he accept commercial deals with hardware stores, maybe mimic biting two-by-fours. ‘They’ll pay you thousands,’ the agent says. ‘Maybe millions. Sign this contract and you’ll be the first person sponsored by a nail manufacturer.’ The boy shrugs, signs, buys a house. Buys two houses. Keeps swimming. He meets her at a bar, a place where men in trucker hats drinking heavy American beers don’t follow swimming. They hate pretty, trim men like him with tapered waists and broad shoulders, bodies that have been thoughtfully developed, each muscle sculpted by work and grunting and sweating. They look away in hostile silence. Even the bartender ignores him at first until he throws a twenty on the greasy, slippery oak and lets him keep the change for a cheap longneck. The girl, the only female in the place, shines through the haze of cigar smoke, flatulence and rancid buffalo wing sauce. She wears thick leather gloves even though the weather is warm. He nods at her and when she slips onto the stool next to him she smiles, pearly white. ‘I’ve seen you on TV,’ she says. He shrugs. ‘Lots of people have.’ It is hard to talk without opening your mouth. ‘Your teeth don’t bother me.’ Again, the shrug. She gestures toward a booth in the corner and when they sit she slides in next to him. ‘I’ve never done this for anyone,’ she says, and before he can ask what, she lowers her hand beneath the tabletop and pulls off one glove revealing not fingers but syringes. 55 


‘Oh,’ he says. ‘Can we go somewhere?’ The night air is cool, the parking lot tumbled with Styrofoam containers and empty beer cans, their shadows stretched in the sepia glow of the single floodlight perched on the building’s edge. She grabs his bicep with her gloved hand and tells him she doesn’t drive. ‘I drive that van,’ he says with a nod and a shrug. ‘Why?’ ‘I like being up high.’ They idle in a park, something small and knotty with tangled grass scorched brown with thirst. Instead of swaying on the swings they sit in his old Dodge Caravan that smells like mint evergreen gum because of the overpowering air fresheners that dampen the odour of his gym bag, batting away its sweat and chlorine and protein shakes. It reminds her, she says, of her job, selling Christmas trees. ‘You can do that year-round?’ ‘We just call them pines in August.’ ‘What about March?’ ‘Kindling.’ They kiss, then. She runs her tongue around with care, a bit of fear coursing through her, fleshy tip flashing across the metal where it meets the ridge of his gums. He slips her other glove off, and she rakes the needles over his flesh, not hard enough to bite through skin, but the caress leaves him with goose pimples, a shudder. In the back seat their clothes come off and they stare at one another in the moonlight: milky and smooth. ‘We’re like something from a magazine,’ she says. Both peel strands of hair from their mouths. Her metal fingers, his iron teeth flash in the darkness. ‘I could stay like this forever,’ she says, pressing her needletips to his chest. He exhales and inhales and feels the bite of her hands against his skin, pores lanced by her touch. They do make love, finally, slow and gasping and with out hurry, and they are still slipping and sliding along one another when day begins to break, pink sunlight bleeding over treetops through the windshield. His toe slips against the side window, a cramp runs through her right calf. They both moan. She slips a phone number in his pocket when he grabs his jeans. Printed, typed on a strip of paper like you’d find in a fortune cookie.  

•  56

‘I have a typist,’ she says, clacking her syringe fingers like chopsticks. Her hair is mussed and golden like the morning light spilling over them. A blessing, a sign. She lives in a suburban apartment, all beige brick and fenced-in patios staring at storm drains and asphalt. She invites him in for coffee but he shakes his head. ‘Another time then,’ she says, slapping his cheek with her gloved hand, bouncing out of the van, blowing him a kiss from the door. They’re married nine months later. The party favours are syringes filled with vodka and sugar candies shaped like nails. Aside from his parents (hers: dead), no guests are over thirty or younger than twenty. She drinks too much and he falls asleep on the limo ride to the honeymoon suite. His mother squeals when he calls to tell her they are expecting, says she would hug both of them if she could do so through the phone, so please imagine it. Will you learn the sex of the baby? When is the shower? What is the due date? He hangs up before he feels too bludgeoned by the barrage, his mother already researching the best car seats and jumpers. The night she goes into labour, he is silent on the drive to the hospital while she heaves and groans and steadies her breathing. The van thrums over the cracked road, chugging across lane lines, darting through yellow lights blinking toward red. When she plops into a wheelchair he follows, mouth a twist-tie sized line on his face. He is thinking: what have we made? But when the baby is born, she looks like every other babe: cheesy and white, screaming her lungs into expansion, eyes cinched shut in grief over the cold world she’s been thrust into. Her arms windmill, and when she opens her mouth all he sees are pink gummy lines; her fingers are pliant, whole, tiny. The boy looks at the girl while the baby suckles. They both shrug, then laugh, then, when they turn away from one another, bite their lips and hold back their tears.


The green trees share each other’s colour in summer and a girl says she’s pregnant in her letter to Sadie: /If you get a letter in the mail addressed to me it’s about my pregnancy and important. I’ve enclosed a couple quid so you can post it to Inverness, which is where I live now. It’s a shame my lease ended and I hope you’re finding the house great, but if you could just send that letter to me it’d be appreciated. I’m about to pop/ Sadie calls her landlord and tells him about the girl. He says he’s never heard of her. She takes the letter and change and decides to mail it back to the address provided, along with a small note saying that the girl’s predicament is /none of my business/ She looks nervous in the post office as she pays the small grey man who works there. Then she walks home and notices a red motorbike parked near her flat—not outside the door, but so near that she might call it her own. A gust of wind ruffles the thin hair on her arms; she points her index finger in a random direction, trying to make sense of the motorbike. She looks up and down her street—a dog barks a few blocks over. Unemployed, she packs her suitcase and takes a small part in an Italian film being made in Sweden. It’s a Thursday.



ELISE THROWS BIBLES AT THE ZOMBIES AS THEY APPROACH HER. FOUR ZOMBIES SURROUND HER, ONE OF THEM RIPPING OFF HER TURTLENECK SWEATER. THEY GRAB HOLD OF HER SIZEABLE BREASTS. 26. INT. CHURCH. DAY EXTREME CLOSE-UP. ELISE’S BREASTS. THE ZOMBIES TEAR HER RIGHT BREAST OFF, THE FLESH SNAPPING. THEN A FEMALE ZOMBIE BITES IN TO ELISE’S LEFT BREAST, PERHAPS REMEMBERING A TIME WHEN SHE WAS A YOUNG, ABLE LESBIAN AND NOT AN ABHORRENT SERVANT OF THE UNDEAD [...] /And that’s all you gotta do/ Karl looks at Sadie. She lowers her eyebrows as Karl smiles, /Okay/ /Yeah I think so/ /Remember anything you don’t like just tell us. We’ll rethink it reshape it and if I’m honest the film will probably be better for it/ /Thanks/ /Believe me we take great pleasure in employing people with all types of disabilities—/ /I wouldn’t call a mastectomy a disability—/ /Sorry you know what I mean. People who’ve been through a lot you know/ Karl walks Sadie over to a trailer and says /This is where the magic happens inside here. We’ll be filming all your scenes on Thursday so that’ll give Bruce three days to make the prosthetics so talk to him see what you think suggest some ideas you know what you’re doing you seem smart/ Karl pats her on the shoulder and gives her the script and walks away. Sadie looks at the trailer door, which is covered in fake blood. The door opens revealing Bruce, who has bags under his eyes and a clean-shaven jaw line. /Is he gone/ /I think so, why—/ /Guy never shuts his mouth—gives me a headache— come in to the nerd kingdom/ Sadie goes in the trailer and sits among the mask army hung upon the walls. She looks in the mirror. /Should I take my shirt off/ /No no please keep it on this isn’t—I actually did a porno shoot once where they wanted a demon harem so I did up all the female performers on set. Yeah—/  

•  58

/What/ /That was weird believe me, that was—interesting— so I guess they were larger than five centimetres/ She looks at him for a moment. /Oh yeah, yeah they were/ /The cancer, I assume you had—/ /Yeah, no you’re right. How do you know that/ /My sister’s a doctor. She uh keeps me informed as you can imagine/ /Right. Good sister/ /Good sister—coffee/ /No thank you/ She changes her mind. /Actually I’ll—I’ll have one/ /Yeah/ Bruce walks in the corner and pours black coffee in a mug. /Always use real mugs—don’t like that plastic stuff—sugar milk/ /I like it black thanks—/ /Like your men huh/ Sadie smiles and puts her hand over her mouth as he gives her the coffee. /We’re all friends here. And on that awkward note/ He laughs. /Could you please take your shirt off— now, nothing’s going on you today, I’m just gonna do some measurements and get an idea of what we’re gonna end up with/ Sadie points at her trousers. /You want—/ /No uh just your top thanks/ She peels her shirt off revealing a tattoo that covers the surgery area. Her scars have become some vine-root that sprouts from breastplate to belly. The artwork is deep, as though you can reach in to the foliage. Bruce inspects the tattoo as he fumbles with measuring tape and sketch-pads. /That’s cool—let me guess, brother/ /He owns a parlour in Brixton/ /Course he does/ He smiles. /Good brother/

/Can be. You must have a tattoo/ Bruce unwinds measuring tape and moves towards her. /I’m assuming you’re a size 12/ She wipes her mouth and mumbles /Yeah, I had a double D cup/ /Okay/ He measures round her thorax. /Now what we’re gonna do—is make a strap-system so that the prosthetics hold on when they get yanked. Right that’s done thank you/ He writes the measurement on his sketch pad and puts the measuring tape away. /And of course we’ll have to cover the

tattoo up as well, touch it up round the edges/ He squints his eyes and holds up a pencil and sketches her body. He adds boobs like a kid would in a newspaper. He looks up from the pad. Then down. /Yeah that should be alright/ Then up again. /Great. And if you must know—/ He pulls his shirt up revealing a tattoo below his bellybutton that says Out of Order. She opens her mouth: /Oh my god/ /Pretty bad huh/ /When did you—were you drunk/ /Yeah I was pretty drunk. It was uh—/ He lowers his pad and folds his arms. /It was my twenty-first and we uh I’m from Vermont originally—so me and my cousins, I’m the youngest—we went down to Boston to get hammered. And we got hammered—sorry you can put your shirt on/ He puts his hands over his eyes. /I don’t wanna leave you in the cold. I’m so sorry—/ She laughs and slides her shirt on. /It’s fine/ /Me rambling on where was I—oh yeah so we got hammered in Boston and the next thing you know I’m in an Irish tattoo parlour in Southie getting that stencilled down there/ /That’s really funny/ /Yeah well we all have our tattoos to bear. More than our crosses I’d say. I don’t even own a fuckin cross/

They laugh and she has another cup of coffee. Swedish fields are stagnant during summer and underpaid zombie extras stand round each other asking what time it is. Sadie thinks about the baby. Karl scoffs a croissant. Sadie trips in to Bruce’s trailer for a make-up test. He turns around, /You all right/

/Yeah it’s just—that step—/ The air conditioning is welcomed, but not needed. He stands at a workbench trimming excess bits of silicone flesh from the breast apparatus. /With you in a sec/ /That was quick/ /I uh—I don’t sleep too well—made these babies last night/ /I’m sure you’re just professional/ /Jesus you’re the first person to call me that—shit/ /What—/ /I cut too deep gotta make another one anyway fuck it—fuck it/ He lifts the apparatus up and shakes it. / It’s got little blood bags so when you tear it blood comes out—/ /God that’s disgusting/ She pulls out a cigarette and goes to light it. /DO NOT—LIGHT THAT/ She looks at him as he stares at the lighter. /Put—the lighter—away/ The cigarette and lighter get tucked away and she says /What’s wrong/ /You see that bucket in front of you/ /Yeah/ /See the stuff in it/ /Yeah—/ /That’s cellulose nitrate—you might call it guncotton—combine that with the toxic fumes coming from the silicone I used to make these boobs and you got the potency of a small hand grenade/ /As opposed to a large one/ Bruce looks at her. He smiles. /Sit down shut up and put this on. I smoke too how do you think I feel/ She takes her shirt off and sits on a stool. The breastplate apparatus is like a bra, but flesh-like silicone strips stand in for straps. She pulls it over herself: /This is weird/ /Anytime you want to stop just say—/ /No it’s good weird it’s funny/ /Bruce-is-keeping-his-job—excellent, now just relax your arms, don’t lift them, just hang them by your sides. Right—just like that/ /And keep this position for the next three hours/ /Basically yeah/ He laughs. /More like nine—no, more like an hour and a half, two tops. Anytime you want a stretch or a drink, give us—/ /I know thanks/ He leans back. /Well someone wants to get right



down to it/ He sets out make-up on his workbench and proceeds to glue down straps to her body. /It’s smooth sailing after we do this bit—anything hurt/ /No I’m all healed up so it feels fine, happened years ago—/ /No I mean the straps/ /It’s uh, snug—/ /Too snug/ /No just really well fitting/ She sniggers. All the straps clamp down, as do the breasts themselves. Bruce splashes broad strokes of make-up across her thorax. The tattoo disappears. /I wish I could do this to mine/ /I don’t think you’d look too good with boobs on your crotch/ /I mean—yeah thanks minus the boobs/ Glue dries. Bruce brushes final touches on nipples and areolae; the latter dusted in a delicate, rosy hue. He wipes his forehead. /You want a look/ Standing, she turns towards the mirror. Her face moves, accommodating the situation. A breeze presses against the trailer walls, as if the room itself is in a vacuum of time— Bruce clicks his tongue. /Shit/ Sadie clears her throat. /What’s wrong/ /They look fake/ She looks back at her breasts in the mirror. /No they don’t/ He shuts his eyes and ups his brows, rubbing his head. /I’m sure it’s just the lighting. If I could just—maybe—more chestnut, or a different texture or—something/ /Yeah/ She looks at her breasts. /Before I flew over here I had a dream where a friend of mine showed up with breast implants, you know, she was just standing topless in my doorway and she just went off on me. She was like this is all your fault and I’m single because of you and things like that—but I was going to say that these look exactly like hers/ /So they look like implants—/ /They don’t look like implants, they just remind me of hers. They’re quite—blobby, I mean—/ She jumps up and down. /See that looks real/ Bruce laughs. /Don’t do that around Walter/ /Who/ /The guy who wrote the script—he’s done so many zombie movies he’s got a thing for prosthetic limbs and stuff—/ /Jesus—/  

•  60

/Yeah/ /I didn’t even know that was a thing—has that even been invented yet/ /I think Walter invented it on a dark, dark night—/ /Really dark—/ /An unusually dark night/ They laugh and Bruce pours a cup of coffee. /Some people you meet man—/ /Does it do anything for you/ /Me no it’s—it’s just artwork. That’s all. You can try pulling them if you want/ She looks at her reflection and lifts her right breast with her hand. /Artwork/ She grabs it, tearing with her nails. The nipple and areola come off with a portion of silicone standing in for fatty tissue. A red fluid flows out from the wound as it would if internal mammary veins had been ruptured—blood pouring from the intercostal arteries over what remained of the fibrous surface of the mamma. She looks down at her torn breast, the unreal interior, the


The bus is sick with the stench of unaired bodies. Thicksoled, black work shoes lumping fungus on fetid feet. Sweaty darkness lined heel to toe. Front to back. We boom past decrepit spray-painted suburbs. Tired heads rock in silhouette. Depressing skyline smearing to an unfocused nothing. The bus: to the city it daily casts me. Hauls me up nightly, spent. The door crushes open. The driver grunts. I walk the route I’ve walked a thousand times before. The house. I hear Sam and a woman in the kitchen of our house. Their voices funnel out of a broken window. Strange. Sam didn’t tell me we had a visitor. We haven’t had a girl over in a long time. Not in the longest time. ‘Water’s not free,’ Sam says as I push through the front door. ‘It’s one of two things. Twisted by a gorge or riverbanks, forced this way, that way. Otherwise it’s trapped. Then it might as well be dead, pinned down between mountains.’ I hang my jacket beside the hanging ivy, take my cap off and throw it away into the leaf-whispering lounge room. ‘But, eventually,’ says the strange woman, ‘it all escapes. Out to sea.’ Her voice is low, uninterrupted.

‘No. Not really escape to the sea. Seas are just a store of rivers.’ I pause at the fern fringe of the kitchen door. Peering in. They’re sitting in near dark. Two pale faces barely rescued by the lamp flickering, no more powerful than a candle under its spider’s web shade. On the table between them lies an overturned glass. Ocean spreads out from its mouth, out over the mouldering wood. Sam uses his hands to block the advance. Left. Right. Top. Bottom. Cautiously I enter the room. ‘Hi.’ The woman stares, expressionless. ‘Paul! You have returned! Welcome Paul.’ Sam doesn’t look up from his tabletop game. ‘Sally and I. We were just discussing water problems.’ He waves a wet hand towards the sink. ‘Plumbing shit itself again.’ His dark glasses ripple the light into golden bands. Sally nods at me. I imagine her working at the office next to my kitchen. Quietly working. At work I bet she supresses that shiny black-brown mane. Hides it in a ponytail or some sort. ‘I just moved in,’ Sally says. ‘For a few days.’ 61 


Sam nods agreement. The silence is cosy between them. So we have a visitor for a few days. ‘Well. I’m off to the drum,’ I say. I need to bathe away the bus. And think of other good things to say in company. Sally’s eyebrows lift. ‘We use the drum when the plumbing goes.’ ‘How often does it go?’ ‘Whene’er the Plumbing God sayeth,’ Sam mutters. I switch on the porch light. No porch light; force of habit. Step into the backyard. The drum is just visible through the moonlit, swaying green. An old tin circle haloed in the night, heavy-set and wide, a stone Aztec altar. Red rust sculpted on the rim. We stole the drum from the tip about three days into our first stand-off with the schizophrenic water pipes. I sort of like it when the plumbing dies. The tree tangle eats the overpass noise. Only the silent stars left, and me. I strip off my shirt and pants, hurl my socks into the nearest sinkhole. Naked. Feels like I’m the only person left in the world. A nimbus cloud glides over the moon’s face. She winks at me in slow motion. I pull myself up on the edge of the drum and test the ripples. Cold. Not unbearably so. I slide into the echoing water. It shifts, then embraces me. *** Friday morning. At least, I think. Sam and I take our breakfast onto the backyard porch. Paul’s gone in to work at his vague job in the city. I breathe in and listen to the distant growl of the motorway. Copper-black clouds frame its concrete spine as it looms over house roofs.

The atmosphere hangs on my face like damp, heavy paper. ‘I like this old house,’ I say to Sam. He looks at me, I think. He’s yet to take those stupid glasses off. ‘Me too.’ He flicks specks of egg at the ant columns marching relentlessly along the weatherboard. Reinforcements headed for the clay citadel in the study. Sam showed me where they wage war against the wasps that live in the rafters. Their little deaths are imperceptible to the human ear. Every morning, I find mixed insect husks piled five deep on  

•  62

the attic stairs. From such total slaughter only the spiders win. Bulldozing away empty shells, making obsessive piles, feasting on remains. ‘It’s uninhabitable,’ he says. ‘That’s the attraction.’ I bite down on a crust slapped raw with vegemite. ‘Was that what drew you?’ he asks, swallowing. ‘The desolation?’ ‘Yeah. I guess it was.’ Maybe that’s what it was. ‘Echoes of primitive? Unruly nature? The great unknown?’ ‘All those; close enough to freedom without getting hurt.’ ‘What do you want that for?’ The flyscreen screeches unexpectedly, its ragged claw holes winking in an impulsive breeze. I try to remember how I felt when I saw this place from out in the street. ‘Well I want to—hope to—write a book.’ ‘About?’ ‘It doesn’t really matter. A good book.’ He nods, turns to me and smiles. He lifts his Ray-Bans and looks at me for the first time with mismatched eyes—one grey, one blue. I imagined he had nicer eyes. ‘I get it. We’re similar. And Paul, too, of course.’ ‘How similar?’ ‘Not many people want this.’ He waves his hand, encompassing it all. ‘It’s a bad way of living, out here.’ He covers his eyes again, studies my expression, and then looks away. ‘Yeah. But it’s right if you’re near underneath. Looking for a new floor.’ He nods and puts his plate on the bottom porch step as if to demonstrate. Ants crest over it and wash it clean. ‘Close enough to freedom without getting hurt,’ he echoes me. The sky continues to gather. I watch from the porch, under incandescent light that seems to emanate from the entire sky all at once. Later, the power goes out. There’s still no rain to break the building heat. Then Sam leaves. Somehow I assumed he never left the house. ‘I need freedom—liberty—for a day or two. Maybe three,’ he says, as if that explains it. He sounds tired. I don’t ask where he’s going. His broken, faded car chugs down the street. Who knew he had a car? Who knew this place had a garage, in the mangrove round the side?

I’m left alone. Proper alone. In the darkening house I shuffle some scrawled notes on a sheaf of pages that I’m going to, somehow, alchemise into a book. Shouldn’t be too hard. I find a beer in the bathroom. Here goes. I try for a while then put down the pencil. Can’t write this. Somewhere upstairs a clock is ticking. I can’t write them, my new companions. I don’t have a story to write and these two are ready-made characters. If I were tough enough I would write this all up as a tragedy, or a comedy. But the house is too close even though they aren’t. In an uncharacteristic fit of guilt, I attack some of the dishes on the counter. One slips through my sodden fingers and smashes. An ant column bears the fragments away. Battlements. The idea seizes me; I grab more plates and break

them. More battlements. The spiders needn’t win. Build the walls high, little soldiers. Feet shaking a little, ears fluttering, I retreat to the table, elated and edgy. Proper alone. I hide my scribbled pages. The sky glares, orange, through the empty windowpane. Tomorrow maybe I’ll just leave. Find another story to write. Or go back to my old life; admit this is just one of those things, an avoidance tactic for avoiding the need to start again. I wish Paul would come back.

*** Sam’s gone. Now the bareness of the way Sally and I talk is obvious. All the spaces he would’ve filled gape empty. The kitchen doesn’t help. Along with the thunderheads outside it’s a dour, terse colour. Sweat slides vertebrae to vertebrae. Sally rolls her spoon round inside her can of baked beans. We’re eating one each, cold, at the kitchen table. Expecting lightening. ‘I was a lawyer,’ she says. ‘Okay, paralegal. But I was studying for the bar.’ She puts the spoon in her mouth. Pulls it out slow. ‘All the lawyers and the folders full of papers. No one ever reads all those papers. Stupid clock on your desk while you collate folders. You punch on your hours? Yeah, they actually have those little clocks.’

The heat is becoming a hostage situation. Plumbing’s gone again. Thinking ‘bout the cool embrace of the drum. Her t-shirt is gone. Replaced with a singlet top. ‘Why move in here?’ I ask. ‘I’m not sure, really. Really don’t like my apartment. So much effort keeping it—presentable—you know? And no-one ever comes over.’ Sounds reasonable. Bean juice isn’t water. I suck it and try pretending it is. ‘Why’d you move in, then?’ she asks me. 63 


I think back. ‘Found this place, must’ve been, the last little part of uni.’ Uni feels like years ago. ‘Can’t let it go?’ ‘I did like uni.’ There’s more of the red stuff left but I throw the sloppy can in the overflowing bin. Remembering good times has eaten what appetite I managed to scrape together. I look at my hands on the table. Well, there’s not much else to do. ‘Come on,’ I say, ‘I’ll show you something.’ ‘Show me what?’ ‘Something about living here.’ I catch her quick expression. ‘Nothing weird.’ I take her out back. Unlock the door with a key on my keychain. Sam has one too. This is the only door we bother to lock. I pull the lichen apart. Her breathing stops then resumes, a little faster than before. This is our room. Sam’s painting room. He likes red and black, orange and yellow. He calls them his visual voice. My breaking room. Everything broken: all the windows, the wallpaper, overrun furniture. Everything except canvas, paint, brushes. My old high school baseball bat is propped neatly by the door. I pick it up and give it to her. This is why it’s our house. I came here once, for this type of fun, and stayed. ‘Break whatever you want. Any thing. It’ll all be gone, soon, anyway.’ Someone wedged a demolition notice under the door. We aren’t renters. No one’s rented here in years. Sally has a few swings at the wall. I take the bat out of her uneven hands. ‘It’s okay. Gets easier.’ She wants to. This place attracts the particular types of people we are. This house that everyone else has forgotten, out here on the fringes where they stopped building. So deep in the mire that only the type of squatter that wants to metamorphose comes here. The ones that need filth and space to prepare for second chances, second lives. This is the compass centre for space needers, a gift for people like us. The amenities are still hooked up somehow.  

•  64

We weeded the bills out of the midden and we paid them. Everything else, we take and break and use, as we will. To give her a rhythm, I shatter the light hanging over the volcanic debris of the coffee table. Nourishing crunch. Eggshells breaking. Then I smash the old trophies on the shelf. The finch brood wakes and they screech joyfully in the hidey-holes in the sofa. I hand her the bat again. After a few minutes she gets a rhythm. I leave her and climb to my room. Lie on my bed and try reading a book. My adrenaline’s gone feral. The room spins. The words heave. The sounds stop. Maybe she feels remorse. This was once a beautiful house; you can see its silhouette sometimes. Sometimes I feel that remorse. That what if ? Deep, creaking silence. Ragged breathing trickles up the stairs. Feet pad on carpet. My hairs stiffen. She opens the door. Bat still in hand, singlet torn and stuck to her skin with sap and sweat. My, my, Sally. You’re home here, even more than I could’ve guessed. *** Night time. Still, like the day bustle will never resume. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a painter. I kept wishing for that until high school, right up till first art class. Then I sat next to someone who could really paint. I snapped my brushes when I got home that night. And it went from there. Can’t sleep. I find a torch and exhume the garage where Sam’s car lives. Stumble on a trove of painting gear. Hidden away for the next person to find, a gift from some anonymous former resident. I smear the house gold. The coarse stone softens. The sun is still beneath this bit of the earth. But the bright yellow paint makes its own light. ‘The storm never came.’ His hoarse, deep voice is behind me. He’s wearing shorts and thongs, a jumper from a different millennium. Holding a pile of old kindling in his arms with a box of matches balanced on top. Can’t think

what to say. The toads answer for me in moist and rippling harmony. I grab another handful of gold and add it to the first. Last night, I went through the room with the bat until I couldn’t keep going. It was exhausting, the act of the breaking: contrary to everything I’ve ever been taught. But it was amazing too. Reclamation. I walked through the destruction, amazed, stepping on glass and fragments, looking at patterns in the damage I caused. I caused this. This is I. I start using orange. Watching him from the edge of my eye. He is so young. In his own space, he had looked it. Lying on his bed reading Catcher in the Rye surrounded by the reclaimed shell of the life of an undergraduate, still in its packing boxes. What I could see of it was posters and unused textbooks and strange utensils and rumpled clothes: grimy and deliberately threadbare like him. He looks at my mural and wades through the weeds over to the fire pit, sits down in one of a pair of broken folding chairs facing the mountain of ash. He slings the dead wood onto the slopes of the pyre and sets a fire in its black and white centre. Then he leans back and stares at me. ‘This place’ll be a hole in the ground soon.’ ‘I know.’ I saw the demolition notices under the wild shoots in the decaying compost of letters beside the letterbox. I walked past it anyway, toting my knapsack. Knocked on the door. I trace my finger in red. This will be the sunrise. This house needs one. The crown of the real sun is now peaking over the rooftipped skyline. That belongs to other people, though.

Smoke spirals out of the pyre. The flames catch an acid taint in the air. Sparks free themselves; metastasise in the understorey of wild plants. Cartwheel into oblivion. Paul puts the matches away and pulls out a book. He leans back in his chair. A stinging nettle tall as a person obscures his body. I try balancing gold, orange, red. ‘What’ll happen to you two, after this place is gone?’ ‘Maybe his work’s good enough. Maybe he doesn’t need places like this.’ Paul’s answer comes from somewhere in the jungle. ‘And I can’t live in places like this much longer. They’re all going down, sooner or later, for new apartments. Maybe I’ll find something I like before they’re all gone.’ ‘All hoping for maybe, then.’ A sun rises. For a moment, this is ours.

‘We’ll be gone,’ says Paul. ‘Floated away. Other places. On to new spaces and new lives. New beginnings.’ He sounds deflated. The demolition will probably be good for him. Push him into whatever he’s afraid of. I dab some mauve at the extremities. Us; this is us. ‘Where’s Sam?’ I ask. ‘He’ll come back when he feels worse.’ ‘Worse?’ ‘He lives with his parents. This place is his refresher, his home away.’





How did you get started into photo graphy and why travel photography in particular? I embarked on my first overseas trip in 2011 and started documenting my travels on an iPhone 3 and old DSLR my brother found abandoned in a nightclub. I didn’t know a thing about photography but what I did know was how to use a smartphone. This was around the early stages of Instagram, Vine & Snapchat so I was always looking for dynamic ways (sadly, slapping on the X-pro II IG filter) to showcase my travels. Combined with being a travel agent at the time, travel

•  68

photography was the perfect fit. It's a niche that anyone can get into these days. If you're a tourist and have a camera phone—instant amateur travel photographer. Whether born out of a necessity to document travels, posterity or the more commonplace social media update, it's inspiring, relatable, accessible and connects cultures. What was the inspiration behind your Iceland series and how was the project conceived? I was on a year and a half around the world trip when I flew to Iceland for the Winter's Night Workshop hosted

by notable Aussie photographers Jarrad Seng (@jarradseng), Benjamin Hardman (@benjaminhardman) and Amy Haslehurst (@brokensundowns) which aimed to capture the epic landscapes of this tiny country. How would you describe your style? Do you consider yourself more of a commercial photographer or an artist (or a mix of the two)? I adapt my artistic style to suit a particular environment or evoke a feeling. Because I'm usually never in a city for longer than a month it's always changing but if I had to describe my style it

would have a “moody-muted-vibrance” that emulates a more film-ic, lowcontrast style of photography. I consider myself a commercial photographer but an artist when I shoot abstract patterns with my drone. What do you think is the most important asset a photographer can have these days? Be true to your own style. In an age where it's so easy to apply one-click presets, the art of actually learning the elements of design, light, composition— not to mention hours spent on editing programs—can be lost. Analyse your

favourite artists, discover what you like about their style—and then build upon it. Given the nature of travel photography, it must be pretty challenging at times to get the shot you want. What are some of the most difficult challenges you've faced so far and how did you work around them? Over the past seven months, I've teamed up with my partner Aubrey (@theloveassembly) who is a phenomenal and successful photographer in her own right. I wouldn't say it was a difficult challenge but more so a great period

of creative growth for both of us. You get two creatives with differing views both trying to give (and take) direction on a shoot, throw in a foreign country, some client deadlines and you've got yourself one of hell of a travel vlog! I learned to know when to give up creative control and take the lead. Also, that all issues can be solved with food—no one likes a hangry photographer or model on shoot day. On the flip side, its must also be very rewarding doing what you do. Could you tell us about some of your favourite or most memorable shoots?



•  70

One of my most memorable shoots was for Metro Weddings Magazine. I was flown in a private charter to the members only Balesin Island Philippines. The creative team organised a huge private yacht for one of my shoot locations. Another memorable moment was shooting @theloveassembly dancing under an amazing magenta-hued sunset on the sandbank of Sumilon Island.

Has your work changed your worldview? Most definitely. I believe you learn a little more about yourself and your role in the world every time you travel. Having my work mainly displayed on social media, I've really understood how closely I can be connected to people on the other side of the world and just how impactful my work can be.

What's next in your career for you? My plate is full with freelancing jobs and marketing campaigns popping up when I least expect them. I'm focusing more on video content now and organising my first photography workshop, aside from packing up life in Sydney and trying my luck overseas.





• ‘Objects embody social relations, thereby representing a sort of materialization and calcification of such relations, especially relations of power.’—Akrich (1992, 207)


The ‘media’ has long acted as a locus of feminist outrage; its content conceptualised as the manufacturer of patriarchal culture and perpetuator of hegemonic gender systems. Yet, what has been overlooked in this bulged body of scholarship is that those mediums that fall under the category of media are gendered themselves, and that this personification of form functions as premise for their dangerous portrayals of gender and women. Well established in media and communications literature is a dichotomisation submitted by Gaye Tuchman (1972) that schisms the industry into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ news. The effect of this tautology is a gendering of magazines as feminine and an investing of the forum with the stereotypical trappings and debilitations of such a classification. This gendering of the publication has tangible implications. The dichotomy’s elevation to the status of common sense has seen it become woven into the fabric of communications pedagogics, resulting in a de-legitimisation of the magazine in the tertiary classroom. This essay will attempt to dismantle this steady typology by analysing the magazine through the lens provided by John Hartley’s (2000) concept of the  

•  72

‘redational society’ and Madeleine Akrich’s (1992) theory of the ‘gendered artefact’. When contextualised in this manner and in this milieu, the anachronisms of Tuchman’s division are elucidated, wherein the difference between news and entertainment has blurred, the stark division between reader and writer is marred, and masculine and feminine essentialism is destabilised. Section one will review the existing literature’s conceptualisations of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ news and expand on the repercussions of this dissection in the era of ‘redactional journalism’ (Hartley 2000). Section two will examine how this binary empowers a classed media through a discussion of the denigration of the popular and pleasurable within the academe. Using both of these schematics as background, section three will examine the feminine gendering of the magazine vis-à-vis the theories of gender binarism and the gendered artefact. Section four will discuss the implications of this gendering of the publication on communications teachings; utilising the University of Melbourne’s Master of Publishing and Communications as empirical rigour to this paper’s assertions.

‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ news and the ‘redactional society’ Tuchman (1972) splintered and classed the media industry when she described an ‘antithetical’ relationship between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ news. The utterance proved performative, and scholars and journalists have utilised the polarity as a mechanism of ‘othering’, elevating their work above the supposedly ‘soft’. ‘Hard’ news has been variously defined as: ‘public interest matters that require immediate publication’ (Deuze 2005, 872); ‘factual presentations of newsworthy events’ (Bender et al. 2009, 17) and ‘serious stories’ (van Zoonen 1998, 41), including, ‘politics, economics, and major crimes/accidents’ (Baum 2003, 175) that are reported in newspapers and non-commercial television (Deuze 2005). This ‘hard’ characterisation feeds imaginings of the heroic journalist, the combative reporter, the fearless war recorder, the adversarial investigator. These are prized tropes that function to hierarchize the industry. News’s ‘soft’ antithesis does not possess any sense of urgency for it lacks ‘informational value’ (van Zoonen 1998, 37), instead focusing on ‘human interest stories, lifestyle trends and personalities’ (Lehman-Wilzig & Seletzky 2010, 40). Interestingly, Bender et al. (2009, 35) describe ‘soft’ news as functioning in a manner akin to a body genre, in that these stories seem to have a throughline to emotions, and can make readers, ‘laugh or cry, love or hate, envy or pity’. Hartley (1996, 24) terms these ‘soft’ media industries the ‘smiling professions’; the television presenters, lifestyle and consumer journalists, public relations and advertising agents whose work involves, ‘interface with public in the name of pleasure, entertainment, attractiveness and appeal’. Where issue is taken is not itself with the binary, though it lacks validity in this epoch, it is that the binary’s terminology carries an implicit judgement of value; the best journalist is in combat, the best stories expose concealed corruption and violence, the best publications are the hardened newspaper, the best journalist is undoubtedly male (Ross and Carter 2011). However, given that the public—elusive at the best of times—has a historic tendency not to stand still and take impressions that are deemed good for it, but simply to walk away, the seemingly ‘soft’ media’s efforts at popular instruction are strikingly successful. With drama, entertainment, pictures and pleasure, the ‘smiling professions’ create a public that is responsive rather than merely receptive. Through this frame, insider and intellectual critiques of what constitutes the ‘best’

media form appear egoist and inward looking with little regard for audience impact. Hartley (2000, 42) describes this particular media milieu as a ‘redactional journalistic’ society, in that the rise of technology as a new means of interchange, and the idea that the ‘public now comprises more writers than readers’ has destabilised the hegemonies of the industry. This migration from a media that created the public to one that ‘reports to’ a virtualised, privatised public has altered journalism’s agenda to align with that desired by the ‘sensation-seeking public’; from journalism as ‘a profession of violence towards the smiling profession’ (Hartley 2000, 40). Thus, the hard/soft binary and the placement of a corresponding value on each type of publication lacks validity in this milieu, yet remains clung to by the journalism community and educational institutes because the democratisation of the media has made it its only route to elitism and elevation.

Publishing’s ‘other’ and the denigration of the popular

The ideological chasm between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ journalism and medium is maintained and empowered by the industry’s ancestry of denigrating the popular. Within the academe, popular media—television, cinema and the press—seem to be symbols of the twentieth century but also are used as the yardstick that marks off that century decisively from previous times. However, this media is not best understood by being treated as endlessly present tense, self-generating and unconnected with previous social realities. Such a treatment is ubiquitous in the literature, always linked with a nostalgia for a supposedly more organic news, an authentic ‘golden age’ of social harmony, seemingly always located in a period prior to the scholar’s birth (Lehman-Wilzig and Seletzky 2010; Tuchman 1972; Brooks et al. 1985). Alongside the twentieth century’s expansion of popular media, and buttressed internally by the division between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ news is an uncomprehending moral outrage based on this golden age nostalgia; the kind that regrets the existence of the ‘soft’ and supposedly sensationalist (Hartley 1992; Hartley 1996). This discourse is circulated publicly as an obvious kind of common sense that serves to sever popular media from history. The result is recurrent cultural commentaries, published as reputable studies under the banner of academic neutrality, which are, in effect, exercises in the social diffusion of fear: fear of popular politics, fear of cultural debasement, moral



decline, political manipulation, aesthetic banality and social disintegration (Hartley 1992; Hartley 1996; Hartley 2000). These polemics are a reaction to the public slipping from the disciplinary, ‘hard’ grasp of the educational, intellectual elite and into the responsive and welcoming hands of the ‘smiling professions’ (Hartley 2000). Moreover, these institutionally bolstered assumptions infantilise or paedocratise popular media readerships, rarely crediting them with critical distance, scepticism or reason, or with being able to actively integrate, compare or triangulate media discourses. In short, popular readerships are imagined as the straightforward binary opposite of intellectual readership and their supposed critical practice. However, in two seminal analyses of soft news consumption and political participation, Matthew Baum (2002; 2006) critiques this classing of the media, contending that, ‘if substantive political information is presented in an entertaining context, it can be piggybacked and consumed initially incidentally and then intentionally’. Likewise, Feldman’s (2005, 17) analysis of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart exposed the blurring of the comfortable division between news and entertainment,: ‘it poses a challenge to the historical conventions used to enforce such a distinction’. Thus, it is this paper’s contention, in response to these studies, that the intellectual publishing discourse has created an entirely imaginary ‘other’ out of the popular media a udience—an invisible friction whose presumed characteristics can be explained by reference to the purposes, politics and prejudices of intellectual culture at large, rather than looking at these audiences as they exist and consume in reality.

Gender binarism and the feminine artefact

The definitions presented here, of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ news, lend themselves easily to associations with the feminine and the masculine. Thus, the gendered binary logic, prominent in critical feminist literature, that serves to differentiate masculinity from femininity and men from women, functions as the underlying configuration for the publishing industry’s dichotomy of form. Judith Butler (2004) explains that ‘the substantive grammar of gender, which assumes men and women as well as their attributes of masculine and feminine … imposes artificial binary relations between the sexes, as well as an artificial internal coherence within each term of that binary’. Kay Mills (1988), Catherine Lumby (1994) and Gay Alcorn (2010) are the only scholars that have explicitly  

•  74

identified the gendered imprinting on the publishing industry’s foundational binary. Lumby’s (1994) analysis of journalism’s vernacular exposed a lexicon awash with phallic imagery, in which important stories are called ‘hard’ and writers talk about ‘getting a good story up’. Former Sunday Age editor Gay Alcorn (2010) described story classifications as overtly sexual; ‘hard cock’ pieces were good stories and ‘soft cock’ stories weren’t taken seriously for being a ‘bit girly’. Bender et al. (2009) submit that it may be ‘soft’ news’s appeal to primary emotions that colours the articles and publications with the pink hue of femininity. Mills (1988) expands that even with the rise of men’s magazines there is a residue of femininity attached to the magazine and their high gloss bears this shame and frivolity. Madeleine Akrich’s (1992) theory of the gendered artefact enables a deeper understanding of this phenomenon, contributing to the burgeoning feminist field of research into how objects are designed with gender in mind and embody the accompanying traits. The theory advances that producers anticipate the interests, motives, characteristics and skills of future users and this profile is materialised in the design of the technology (Akrich 1992). Akrich (1992, 216) refers to this product/ user coalesce as a ‘script’ that ‘attributes and delegates specific competencies, actions and responsibility to users and artefacts’. In regard to the magazine, ‘these geographies of responsibility’ are weighted with this notion of ‘softness’ and the accompaniments of stereotypical femininity (Akrich 1992, 216). ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ classifications and journalism’s classism amalgamates with systematic gender binarism to feminise the magazine and thus hegemonise and belittle the form. Were femininity not viewed through the prism of patriarchy and the gender binary—whereby it is burdened with the traits of ‘private’ rather than ‘public’, ‘weak’ rather than ‘strong’, ‘emotional’ rather than ‘intelligent’, ‘soft rather than ‘hard’—the magazine’s gendering would be inconsequential. Yet, as it is, this gendering fundamentally alters the manner in which magazines are regarded and studied in the institutions of power.

Feminine magazine and the university classroom

The media and educational institutes are the ‘gate keepers’ in an information culture and function to enable and restrict access to the ‘knowledge economy’. Unfortunately, the university has echoed journalism’s elite and bought into

the distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ news and the delegitimisation of the latter. In general, the teaching of communicative democracy is treated with a degree of disdain, and there is an open pejoration of ‘media studies’, which is often delegated to the polytechnic tertiary sector, while education in journalism’s ‘profession of violence’ continues to carry cachet in the prestigious university (Hartley 1996). As case-in-point, in the University of Melbourne’s Master of Publishing and Communications course, magazines and media beyond the book and the newspaper are seemingly ostracised and scaled to one subject (Graduate.arts.unimelb.edu.au 2017). The course’s compulsory subjects are solely focused on editing skills for books and ‘The Contemporary Publishing Industry’, a self-described, ‘comprehensive examination of modern day publishing’, devotes only one week of twelve to the magazine industry (Graduate.arts.unimelb.edu.au 2017). This treatment as niche, and the institutionally supported trivialising as ‘other’, must be examined through the prism of this gendering and ‘softness’ just discussed. Publishing must be studied in relation to, and in truth with, the rise of the communicative democracy and the re-distribution of writing and reading responsibilities. Moreover, publishing should be studied comprehensively across its range—from the smiling to the violent—in whatever genre and medium it is practised; sans the smirk when the described ‘soft’ is the focus.


All too frequently within journalistic and pedagogic circles there is an uncritical acceptance of high/low type distinctions. These distinctions may well have a long history of common sense in the media industry, but they remain prejudicial as a mental map of modern media. Not only do such binaries reinforce a systematic bias against popular, screen and commercial media, but they also tend to reinforce other prejudices, principally the one which considers ‘soft news’ as women’s domain, with the silent but inescapable implication that serious politics and the public sphere is men’s domain. While it is important to be aware of the binary tendencies both in journalistic discourses and in critical accounts of the media, and to notice how they may underlie the very real institutional structures within which media organisations operate, it is equally important to remember that such binaries belong to the tertiary institutions that analysis is trying to explain and not to the framework of explanation. But while

intellectual culture continues to pathologise and belittle the practices of popular readerships, the democratisation of the sphere of media citizenship continues. References

Akrich, M. (1992). The de-Scription of technical objects. In: W. Bijker and J. Law, ed., Studies in sociotechnical change, 1st ed. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp.205-224. Alcorn, Gay. (2010). “Feminism has Failed.” Debate (Video Recording), The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, September 22. Baum, M. (2002). Sex, Lies, and War: How Soft News Brings Foreign Policy to the Inattentive Public. American Political Science Review, 96(01), pp.91-109. Baum, M. (2003). Soft News and Political Knowledge: Evidence of Absence or Absence of Evidence?. Political Communication, 20(2), pp.173190. Baum, M. (2006). TheOprahEffect: How Soft News Helps Inattentive Citizens Vote Consistently. The Journal of Politics, 68(4), pp.946-959. Bender, J., Drager, M., Davenport, L. and Fedler, F. (2009). Reporting for the media. 9th ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Brooks, Brian S., George Kennedy, Daryl R. Moen, and Don Ranly. (1985). News Reporting and Writing. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Butler, J. (2004). Undoing gender. 1st ed. Boca Raton, Fla.: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Deuze, M. (2005). Popular journalism and professional ideology: tabloid reporters and editors speak out. Media, Culture & Society, 27(6), pp.861-882. Feldman L (2005) The news about comedy: Young audiences, The Daily Show, and evolving notions of journalism. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Communication Association, pp. 1–29. Graduate.arts.unimelb.edu.au. (2017). Degree structure - Master of Publishing and Communications — Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences. [online] Available at: http://graduate.arts.unimelb. edu.au/study/degrees/master-of-publishing-and-communications/degreestructure#degree-structure [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Hartley, J. (1992). The Politics of Pictures. 1st ed. London: Routledge. Hartley, J. (1996). Popular Reality: Journalism, Modernity, Popular Culture. 1st ed. London: Oxford University Press. Hartley, J. (2000). Communicative democracy in a redactional society: the future of journalism studies. Journalism, 1(1), pp.39-48. Holmes, T. (2013). Mapping the Magazine. 1st ed. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. Lehman-Wilzig, S. and Seletzky, M. (2010). Hard news, soft news, ‘general’ news: The necessity and utility of an intermediate classification. Journalism, 11(1), pp.37-56. Lumby, Catharine. (1994). “Feminism and the Media: The Biggest Fantasy of All.” Media Information Australia 72 (2): 49–54. Mills, Kay. (1988). A Place in the News: From the Women’s Pages to the Front Page. New York: Dodd Mead. Ross, K. and Carter, C. (2011). Women and news: A long and winding road. Media, Culture & Society, 33(8), pp.1148-1165. Tuchman, G. (1972). Objectivity as Strategic Ritual: An Examination of Newsmen’s Notions of Objectivity. American Journal of Sociology, 77(4), pp.660-679.





A Backstory

During the centenary of World War One, I visited Gallipoli and the Western Front as part of a Monash University study tour. My prior knowledge of World War One was based on one semester of Australian history in year eight, so along with many other misconceptions, I arrived at the study tour thinking that the Anzacs had only fought at Gallipoli. It was at the many graveyards and old battlefields where I relearned most of Australia’s history from Bruce Scates and Rae Francis, who are—in my opinion—two of the best historians in Australia. I returned home excited, buzzing with newfound knowledge, when my mother informed me that I had unknowingly passed by the grave of my great-great uncle, Hector McGarvie, in Ypres, Belgium. Hearing this made me angry. I felt like my family had failed to teach me my ancestry. Despite my new education, I was still ignorant. The missed opportunity drove me to learn the true story of who this mythical ancestor was. The process took me to The McGarvie Family History, a book that compiles 150 years of McGarvie ancestry. While stories of Hector’s older brothers’ survival at Gallipoli fill an entire chapter, Hector’s

own life and death is covered in a single page. This page left more questions than answers. If all the McGarvie brothers went to Gallipoli, why was Hector buried in Belgium? Why did he enlist with the British Field Artillery rather than as an Anzac? Why was it that Hector enlisted in 1916, so late in the war, when his brothers both enlisted in 1914? For me, the archive became a physical reminder of the cracks left in history. As Australians, the Anzacs are glorified. The thousands of men like Hector, who don’t fit that story, are left forgotten. The lack of information was evidence that there needed to be a new enquiry, a new document created that did Hector justice. As Hector’s great-great niece, I believed the responsibility came down to me to shine a light on Hector and write his true legacy into public record. This led me to create a performance titled Uncle Gallipoli as part of my Performing Arts honours thesis. Performed almost exactly one hundred years after his death, Uncle Gallipoli is a reconstruction of Hector’s life framed through my own intermingling autobiographical accounts. Instead of an acted recreation, Uncle Gallipoli is a oneperson performance, combining the forms of documentary 77 


and autobiographical theatre. I tell the story of my missed opportunity to visit the grave of my great-great uncle, and my journey to discover who he was. The story of Hector’s life is then told through a collection of documents: original letters, telegraphs, postcards, War Graves Commission reports, maps, photos, and the audio from interviews I conducted with my extended family. Everything is projected onto a framed screen so the audience can witness the research I have conducted to support stories of Hector’s life. When I have no documents and only oral stories, hand-drawn animations tell the story. Melbourne-based illustrator Seb Fowler brought Hector McGarvie and his family to life.In creating the performance, I aimed to combine the emotional weight of storytelling with truth in a way that does not prioritise sentimentality over Hector’s story. More broadly, the creation of Uncle Gallipoli allowed me to unpack the complex relationship between theatre makers and history; in particular, how documentary and autobiographical theatre stays faithful to true stories. As a maker of documentary theatre, I take the role of both artist and historian, mediating different versions of truth to present an authentic representation of actual people and events. In addition to this responsibility, as a McGarvie descendant I am the bridge between not only my family and the public, but also the past, present and the future.

What is documentary theatre?

Documentary and autobiographical theatre are two separate genres of performance but they share similar challenges. Both concern the journey of  

•  78

the primary mode of communication is

B ‘Documentary and autobiographical theatre are two separate genres of performance, but they share similar challenges. Both concern the journey of real stories from private domain to the public.’

real stories from private domain to the public. Many times, these stories are of forgotten or marginalised people and communities. Documentary theatre can exist in many forms, such as verbatim theatre, tribunal plays or reminiscent theatre. It represents people and events from history ‘through various means, including film clips, photographs, and other “documents” that attest to the veracity of both the story and the people being enacted’. The performance aesthetics lie somewhere between performance lecture and live documentary. While documents form the core of the performance,

through the performer. Govan, Nicholson and Normington describe the method of acting used in documentary theatre

as ‘non-acting’. Instead of acting a char-

acter, the artists announce themselves as storytellers, and identify themselves as

real people, using pronouns like ‘I’ or ‘we’. These techniques ‘invite the audience into an active relationship’.

Autobiographical theatre is complementary to documentary theatre. Where documentary theatre provides the ridged structure of documents, autobiographical theatre’s fluidity allows oral stories and memory to fill the gaps. Govan, Nicholson and Normington posit that autobiographical theatre is when ‘an individual’s private stories are offered up for public consumption’. By bringing in personal experiences, memories and anecdotes, the audience can locate the story within the context of the performer, helping them to find a relatable experience. Authenticity and vulnerability opens ‘personal memories for audience members’ in a manner that fictional stories or characters cannot.

Seeking truth

Before attempting the script for Uncle Gallipoli, I first had to establish Hector’s story. This was a long and repetitive process: gathering documents, writing

the narrative so far, discovering new documents and returning to the narrative, then translating the narrative into the script, adding my own commentary, and repeating with every new piece of information I found. I spent much of 2016 and 2017 sourcing documents that could provide me with insight into Hector’s childhood, school, military accomplishments and character.


When primary documents failed, I turned to memory. Memory can be useful in the framing of historical events; however, it must be cautioned as it can neglect truth in favour of embellishment. Memory is filtered by personalities, political ideologies and the passage of time. It can be rewritten, even accidentally. Nicholson warns that ‘memory is often associated with the imagination rather than fact, with seduction rather than virtue’. I had to accept that memory brings emotion and cannot be trusted, while simultaneously asking the audience to accept my memory as truth. This meant asking the audience to trust in my integrity as a theatre maker that I would not allow personal biases to invade an authentic narrative. The amount of memory I injected into the performance was influenced by the sparsity of documents. However, I could not simply use memory as a placeholder for fact. I needed to be sure that my speculations remained logical. Memory in performance is not restricted to my personal memory. Barring military records, all the documents, interviews and accounts curated for this performance have personal memories attached to them. I had to be aware that ‘all stories are read and created through the lens of personal, social

and cultural experiences’. It became clear early on that my research would not present me with a single, neat story. I turned to Wesley Enoch and Tom Wright in navigating various perceptions of the truth. This was esp­­­­­ ecially important for Uncle Gallipoli as a story of war. The depiction of war within performance and history is important to understand; otherwise, I could contribute to an already problematic culture of war commemoration in Australia. In addition to researching historical events, I need to ensure that I am inclusive to all versions of history. In approaching the true story of Hector McGarvie, I applied a methodology that was used by Wesley Enoch and Tom Wright in the development of Black Diggers. This method is drawn from the 1994 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Post-Apartheid South Africa, which acknowledges that an understanding of the past must come before reconciliation. From the Commission, Enoch and Wright take the four-part definition of truth: personal truth, or what the individual believes is true; forensic truth, or the truth that science can prove; public truth, or the legal truth; and social truth, or the healing truth, which is what we agree on in order to move forward. Each

truth has equal weight in the legal trails that followed the Apartheid regime. In the research for Black Diggers, Enoch and Wright discovered that telling a single Indigenous story was impossible because there ‘is no one central black experience of WW1’. Instead they tell a collective story, based on the fourpart definition of truth. For example, relying on service dossiers would negate the purpose of the performance, as they were written from the perspective of white military officials and do not represent the voices of Aboriginals. Such records were too restrictive, so Enoch and Wright broadened their stories to folklore, community retellings and searched for reflections and commentary from the time soon after the war. They found themselves with the question of what was true—‘the military records or the family stories?’—but instead of making the decision, Enoch applied the methodology for a wider acceptance of truth: ‘the truth lies somewhere in the middle’. The aim of Black Diggers was not to tell one definitive story, but ‘to tell the story of the everyman… to strike a chord that could ring true.’ Enoch explains that this approach allowed audience members to find their own story within the collective story, in the collective truth. 79 


Allowing myself to be guided by this four-part definition of truth was my greatest asset in the initial research phase of Uncle Gallipoli, as I did not want to accept or reject various perspectives. Similar to the research of Black Diggers, there are no first-hand accounts from Hector McGarvie from the time of the war. I had to reconstruct the character of Hector through what was left behind, the public and social truths. Everything that I learned about Hector was through war grave records, service dossiers and second-hand stories gained from interviews. This allowed me to develop personal truth which contributed to the autobiographical elements of the performance. Acknowledging that documents, memories, oral stories and published family history have equal value was the first step in assembling truth of Hector’s life. Enoch and Wright’s methodology added great value in building the repertoire, until I faced conflicts within stories. Unlike Black Diggers, the story I told was anchored on one person, so accepting each version of truth as equal presented challenges when writing the script. Black Diggers was a fictional play based on truth, which allowed Enoch and Wright to fully explore the ‘fruitful incompatibilities’ that arise when memory and history overlap. I could not be so accepting. Uncle Gallipoli is grounded in documentary and autobiographical theatre, which means I have a stronger connection with the documents and memory. I wanted Uncle Gallipoli to have more direction than simply creating what Wright refers to as ‘a patchwork of the past’. In advancing my methodology I took one step away from the four-part definition of truth, developing my own interrogation when faced with conflicting truths. One example of these conflicts was the reasoning behind Hector’s schooling at Geelong College in 1910. Oral stories told that Hector went to college because he was from a family of three sons and he got a scholarship that covered tuition and board. However, published on the Geelong College online archive it said that Hector approached the principal and said ‘my father said I must go here. So here I am.’ In alignment with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission I first accepted that both versions of truth gave value to the narrative, but instead of arriving at a truth that was somewhere in between, as Enoch and Wright did, I speak honestly to audience members. I explain each source and tell the audience that I do not know which version was true. Thus, the audience  

•  80

members make their own decision drawn from the evidence provided. In this sense, the performance itself becomes a new version of truth. The multiple truths are combined into the performance that is witnessed by the audience. In staying faithful to the audience’s expectation that they are not lied to, there was no point throughout Uncle Gallipoli when I created fiction. Conflicts in narrative—such as wrong birth dates, various reasons for why Hector went to Geelong College, dates on official war documents that clashed with those published in other sources—gave me more insight into the interviewee or document than simply discounting their stories as fal­se. Despite my research, I discovered that there was little documentation directly involving Hector, which meant I had t­­­o construct his narrative from the negative space left around him, relying on the second-hand accounts I was told. Conflicts were key in revealing the drama of the McGarvie family. Stories of Hector varied like a game of Chinese whispers. At times, I was able to follow a story through the family tree and notice the family alliances based on which version of the story they told. In my mission to stay faithful to the story, I decided not to incorporate conflicting or inconsistent stories without justifying why it added value to Hector’s narrative. I developed a system where if conflicts or inconsistencies arose, I would openly interrogate the narrative or allow animation visuals to tell the story. Combining ethics and aesthetics, I used a symbolic vocabulary of animation versus document to establish when the facts were supported by primary sources, and when gaps in the facts are filled with oral stories and memory. The animations woven throughout the performance are a symbol of the relationship between history and oral stories. The animations give a fluidity and life that is not found in the documents. The animator, Seb Fowler, was on the same page. His hand-drawn animations have a sketchy and almost unfinished look about them which provides contrast to the archival images, which were, at times, quite stark and unmediated truth.

The question of authority

Telling true stories carries particular ethical responsibilities. Audiences watching documentary or autobiographical theatre ‘enter the theatre with the expectation that they are not going to be lied to’. As a theatre maker, I have an ethical responsibility to maintain that trust; not only for the audience,

but for my sources and the subject of the performance. As Uncle Gallipoli reintroduces a section of family history, it is personally important that I stay faithful to Hector’s story, not for myself but for all McGarvie descendants who will watch or read about Uncle Gallipoli. Linked to trust is the concern of the storyteller’s authority. This was a key factor in deciding to incorporate autobiographical elements in Uncle Gallipoli. It would be difficult to claim to tell Hector’s story with full authority; by framing it through my own story with full transparency, it highlights and acknowledges the difficulties in retelling history. Having Uncle Gallipoli relate directly to my family, life and identity, it is as much my story as it is Hector’s. Gibson stresses that participation and collaboration is paramount in documentary theatre as ‘single authorship would be inherently unethical’. There is an ethical responsibility to negotiate with the subjects who provide the source material. This is of course problematic in my situation, as it is in many, when subjects are no longer able to provide input. I overcome this challenge through two decisions. Firstly, my interviewees are consulted, as I constantly ask for feedback and further explanations in the research and interviewing phases. Understanding of Hector’s life is built both independently and in collaboration with my interviewees. Secondly, I allow my interviewees to speak for themselves. By using their audio (with very minimal editing) I allow their voices to be directly heard and interpreted by the audience. Their voices are included in negotiation of the narrative rather than appropriated for the performance. The fact that the stories are from real people’s lives should never be far from the theatre maker’s mind. As I work with audio from those who are living, I am constantly aware of the impact my performance might have on their image in the community and my family. Throughout Uncle Gallipoli, I aimed to portray Hector’s story, and my process of reconstructing it, with transparency. I was influenced by UK theatre maker Nicholas Kent who creates what are known as tribunal plays, which aim to provide true insight into legal trails that are not covered accurately by journalists and historians. Transparency is paramount for Kent; he is clear when marketing tribunal plays that the scripts are built only using the words as recorded in the legal trials. Kent justifies this, saying ‘if you suddenly chuck in something that you make up because it’s easier you distort the truth . . . it isn’t the absolute truth of what happened  

•  82

and what people said’. Both Kent and Gibson believe that marketing and framing of the production forms part of the overall ethical integrity. The marketing ‘functions as a signifier that the product is closer to “the truth”’, and establishes and maintains the audience’s expectations that they will see a true story. Kent suggests that ‘the hyper-naturalism of everything being very low-key means it’s nearer to the truth’, aligning again with Govan, Normington, and Nicholson’s description of documentary theatre as an attempt to depict the real on stage. I followed this ideology in the set of Uncle Gallipoli. The oral landscape is a combination of the audio collected from spontaneous interviews and moments of my own storytelling. The stripped-back state of the stage parallels the stripping back of stories to reveal truth; the only props in the production are the projection screen, a table, and copy of the text The McGarvie Family History.


The primary purpose of Uncle Gallipoli lies in the personal rather than the political. I believe my personal goal to bring Hector’s story into the public domain was achieved. The Hector that I came to know through letters, stories, photographs and service dossiers was a man who sought adventure in war. What I did not anticipate was the opportunities this research provided me to connect with family members and communities on a more personal level than I thought possible. Although Hector is the focus of the narrative, firsthand accounts, letters and service dossiers are sparse, and the recreation of his character instead relies on rebuilding what was left behind. This could not be done without the help of his family: Granny Greenwood, his brothers, my sister, mother and grandmother. By filling in every detail around Hector, what was left was his silhouette. I went out searching for a man and found a family—perhaps a far greater reward than a single story. Hector’s life and his forgotten history can be seen as a metaphor for Australia’s treatment of non-Anzac soldiers in Australia. I believe that 2018, the final year of the centenary, is the ideal time to celebrate those who have not been celebrated; Australians like Hector who will never be on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australians who still died on the Western Front, fighting for the Allied Forces.

Since 1994 and the publication of The McGarvie Family History, there has not been another McGarvie family reunion, and no more archives have been written or printed. There have been no opportunities to gather with the generations before me and exchange stories about Hector or other lesser known McGarvies. I hope someday I will be part of a future McGarvie committee of a revised McGarvie Family History, hopefully one in which I have shared Hector’s true legacy. For how else will future McGarvies know that he was not Uncle Gallipoli, but great-great uncle Hector. References Gibson, Janet. “Saying It Right: Creating Ethical Verbatim Theatre.” NEO Journal for High Degree Research Students in the Social Sciences and Humanities 4 (2011): 1-18. Govan, Emma, Helen Nicholson, and Katie Normington. Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices. Oxon: Routledge, 2007.

Kent, Nicolas, in Hammond, Will and Dan Steward, ed. Verbatim Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre. London: Oberon, 2008. Martin, Carol. "Bodies of Evidence." The Drama Review 50, no. 3 (2006): 8-15. Nicholson, Helen. "The Performance of Memory: Drama, Reminiscence and Autobiography." NJ: Drama Australia Journal 36 (2012): 62-74. Soans, Robin. Talking to Terrorists. United Kingdom: Oberon Books, 2006. Winter, Jay. Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006. Wright, Tom. Black Diggers. South Brisbane: Playlab, 2014.

‘Telling true stories carries particular ethical responsibilites. Audiences watching documentary or autobiographical theatre “enter the theatre with the expectations that they are not going to be lied to”.’





A japara? She said to bring a japara. What's a japara*? My fourteen-year-old self was too embarrassed to ask. I was so grateful one of my new classmates had asked me to spend the weekend away with her family I didn’t want to look like an idiot. I was beginning to learn coming from another state in Australia was almost as alien as coming from another country. I was still grappling with the fact my new school uniform needed to be knee-length for me to fit in. At my ultra conservative all-girls school in Tasmania we had all tried to keep our school dresses as short as we could get away with. The desire to belong to a group is a strong social driver for most of us and the type of community we want to belong to can be as diverse as we are as individuals. However, with the advent of social media and the ability to create a virtual community the ability to connect with a real community has become more complicated. Once it was simple. Community was either defined by your location, family and/or religion. In Africa it may be the tribe you were born into, in India the caste or in Europe the church you attended. They were generally small and members * I was to discover a japara is known in Hobart as a slicker (a lightweight zip up raincoat, which I usually wore when sailing)

fiercely loyal to the group. Disagreement between individuals engaged the groups they belonged to into conflict over issues today we may consider to be minor offenses. This is the time where the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ was accurate as villages consisted of extended families and intermarriage happened within a smaller number of families. With the industrial revolution and the displacement of families through the world wars of last century we have seen a mass migration away from long established communities. In Europe the mechanisation of labour intensive activities, especially in agriculture, saw villages lose large numbers of their members as they moved to towns and cities for work. The two European world wars decimated large swaths of land, civilians fleeing from the oncoming onslaught of devastation and destruction. As society has evolved the family and location based community has fractured. The small closeness of a village has morphed into the expansive disconnected metropolis where family members can live at inconvenient distances apart. ‘Grandma is that you?’ I said. This weird distant voice echoed across the trunk line from the UK in an incoherent Yorkshire accent. In the 1960s telephone conversations between countries were expensive and rarely used. My connection to my paternal grandmother 87 


came in the form of flimsy Aeroposte letters written on a single sheet and sealed with a lick of adhesive on the edge. Half my family community was a total mystery to me. Like so many other first generation Australians post the 1950s. The disconnection from family and community was a matter of economic necessity for many. You couldn’t hide behind your social media profile to meet new people. My parents were part of the active community around my father’s work. His employer provided a social connection for its workforce through housing, a tennis and golf club and an annual Christmas party for us kids. Our family community was replaced by our friend/colleague community. However, it was easy to find and you were expected to join in. ‘Your last name isn’t Crock is it?’ I questioned my new neighbour. She had arrived on the doorstep with a tin of biscuits and a warm smile. Weirdly she looked very familiar. I had got to a point where I struggled to place where I knew people from. I had lived in Hobart, Melbourne, Hobart, then Melbourne again, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne (again), London and now was back in Melbourne again. If there was one thing I had learned it was always embrace a warm welcome as you never knew where it would lead. But I really knew that face from somewhere and Marnie was a really unusual first name. Yes; Marnie Crock and I had been students together 25 years ago but had no means of maintaining contact when my parents abruptly decided to move from Melbourne back to Hobart—where were you Facebook when I needed you! University was a very different place then and had a much stronger sense of community. The lack of choice in subjects and courses threw us all together on a way too regular basis. First year commerce consisted of three compulsory subjects and one option so you saw the same students every week. If you didn’t turn up to lectures there was no other way of knowing the content. University was free so few of us worked and if we did it was only for a few hours a week. So that left lots of time to socialise! While it was predominantly populated by the priveledged from Melbourne's eastern suburbs no one had much money. A night out in Lygon Street at Café Paradiso would consist of a bowl of lasagne and a glass of red wine for five dollars. We didn’t have phones and laptops and the associated expenses; we didn’t go out much at night because pubs closed early and there was nowhere else to  

•  88

go. Socialising generally happened on campus or in the pubs surrounding the University. Naughtons was the economics pub, PA’s the science students’, The Clyde the arts students’, we all had our places where you could go and catch up with fellow students knowing you would meet someone you had something in common with. There was a huge engagement of the whole student body and vocal activism. This is the time of the beginning of the Conservation movement and the protests against the damming of wild rivers in Tasmania's West. It was the activism on campus that raised community awareness and lead to the creation of the protected wilderness area around the Gordon river. No ineffective Facebook campaigns. I noticed on my return to University 30 years later a huge shift in the way students interacted, particularly those in undergraduate subjects. A class would end and the students, avoiding eye contact, would close their laptops after finishing an online conversation and scuttle out of the classroom. There was so much choice it was unlikely you would cross paths with anyone once the course had finished. The Union building which once housed a cafeteria and banks of tables and benches in the North Court where you could always run into someone was gone. The community heart of the University seemed to have gone too. But that longing for community remains. What about social media? Does that really replace community? It gives us an illusion of community. It is easy to belong online and create an avatar of who you want to be. A true community knows you well enough to notice a change in your demeanour—enough to ask—Are you ok? Can you really do that online? I find I can only ask a person I have a face to face connection with for a favour. I can read their expression to see if the request is welcome or not. It is allowing a conversation I am fully focussed on to wander into a place where I can see my friend look sad and a tear in her eye—I couldn’t do that online. It takes a couple of semesters into a course before I work out who is on the same wavelength as me and whose guidance I would seek. I can't ask the online Student Services for that help. Change is good, it mixes things up and gradually moves us forward (usually) so a longing for community doesn’t mean a longing to return to the way things were.

We need new and innovative ways of connecting. So in this changing world where the disconnected want to find solace and support where do they go? The growth in apartment buildings in Melbourne has meant more people are moving back into inner city areas that were dying and the re-invigoration of the businesses in these areas has re-awakened these suburbs. There are drawbacks to apartment living. You are less likely to see your neighbours— there is no backyard fence for conversations about the weather or the state of the garden. It is easy to become cut off and isolated. The social impact of this isolation has begun to be recognised and acted upon. Apartment buildings in Melbourne are being built with communal spaces, not just a swimming pool and a garden but rooms for groups to gather. They may have a blackboard for people to write messages or a Facebook Page where people can connect. Melbourne is a big city but it has the potential to consist of a number of smaller villages. Drinks in Apartment 5 Friday night—bring a bottle. When communities consisted of stay at home mothers who connected with their neighbours and their children roamed across the neighbourhood unchecked life seemed slower and simpler than now. That community doesn’t exist anymore—it has evolved into something new, as it should have. However, the ways to connect this new multi-

layered, diverse community are still evolving. A community in Northcote share their home grown produce, ask for dog sitters and communicate with their neighbours via a Facebook group. You need to live in specific area to belong. Sofa—looking for a new home—knock on number 45 In Hawthorn a street of neighbours meet for drinks on a regular basis, they look out for each other, collect the mail for those travelling and provide support if someone is sick or in need of support. When someone new moves in they are welcomed by the neighbours and invited to join in. Did you hear Sam's back in hospital? Can you drop in a casserole for Mike? My own family are now spread across four states of Australia but we stay connected via WhatsApp. My brother and his family are travelling in Europe and through WhatsApp we can see the view from their Airbnb in Sicily, watch as my nephew dives into the warm Mediterranean Sea and salivate over the pastries they eat for breakfast. We can actively engage in their experiences—a huge positive change from those Aeroposte letters my grandmother used to send. Connecting to a new community can be hard work, even if you like meeting new people. It is so worth it you just need to persist. You can share ideas, ask and give support, share the burden of our busy lives. Social media is maturing into a vehicle to enable ‘old fashion’ communities to find each other and connect in new ways. 89 



Students were asked to submit a short story of less than 1000 words on any topic for the chance to be featured in this years edition of Antithesis Journal. First prize winner also received a $50 Readings gift card that was generously supplied by the Publishing Students’ Society.

The runners up were: Jack Bastock for ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ and Lily Mei for her piece ‘Orange’. And Kathleen O’Neill won first prize with her story ‘The Ferry’.

The winners were chosen by the Publishing Students’ Society committee and Antithesis’ editorial committee. The competition was stiff, but eventually it was decided that three stories stood above the rest.






ou lie down on the white concrete and put your watch inside your pocket. It feels heavy where it sits, face twisted to sit against your bone. How long have you waited in this spot with the sun baking your silhouette to the ground? You try to picture the watch’s face, the hands counting in fives the way your mother taught you in this same

place—waiting for the ferry to take you up river. Only now your mother isn’t here. It’s just you and the watch that your father took out of the drawer and wrapped around your wrist—secured with the last notch. You remember how his tongue clucked when he held your wrist between his forefinger and thumb, bony wrists, bony body, bony soul. He sent you to the dock to catch the ferry— to catch the boat that sinks into the water, with wooden benches and car seats stapled down to the wood. You’ll wait all day if you have to. There’s no  

•  92

saying when the boat will come, no saying that it will take you if you are the only one. Leaning your head to the side, you can see brushstrokes in the concrete grain. You point your toes to it—file your toenails against it until they turn powdery. Beside you, the river is flowing brown and fast, pulling with it

branches fallen from the night before. From where you lie you can see where the sun hits the top of the water. In the sun you can see each piece of silt churning through the current. The water is thin and dull in the light, and you know how easy it would be to break the surface. But you can’t do that, not with the watch on your wrist. You keep your hand in your pocket, don’t dare to look at it in case it falls from your hand—leather expanding, buckles unclenching. You thought you saw her once, not long after she caught the ferry upriver

and left the watch—and you—behind. You thought you saw your mother ducking through the lights and people in the crowd. You saw the corner of her mouth from where you trailed. You saw her hands sticky from fruit juice, dipping pieces of apple and papaya into raw brown sugar inside a square plastic bag.

You stretch your legs further in front of you. You know that if you stop moving, your body might stop altogether. You know that if you close your eyes, you won’t know how to wake up. But the sun feels warm, and the river is quiet, so quiet you can barely hear it slap against the concrete pillars that hold you up while you wait. You always wear the watch, your father tells you, you always wear your watch so you remember to come back home. You would swim back downstream if you have to, so long as you came home.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH words by JACK BASTOCK images by GEORGIA COLDEBELLA DIAMONDS He hadn’t noticed when he tried it on, or at the checkout, but the jacket from the vintage market was a Valentino. –– Home. Hastily he searches the pockets. But for what? He asks himself. And: is it real? IN THE A card arrives in the mail. His name is listed 10 times, with accompanying titles of rank or formality. Dr Jack, Sir Jack, The Honourable Jack, etc. He turns the card over. There is a local phone number. What happens when I call? He wonders. Does a genie answer? And will they grant me one of these lives? ROUGH For his online dating profile, he lists all the brands to which he is loyal. There’s nothing at all about his character, his interests, or his idiosyncrasies. He makes no attempt at humour. There aren’t even any puns. Just the brands. ‘These describe my current look,’ he explains. ‘That’s what you wanted to know, isn’t it?’ 93 




n hour ago, when The Woman was unlocking her front door, the girl in the apartment next door greeted her with a couple of oranges slung in a plastic bag. She had been sitting on a little stool in the hallway, fanning herself with an old flyer, waiting for The Woman to come home. When asked about the sudden hospitality, the girl eagerly relayed news of her engagement to a good man. You see, her family sold reproductions of designer watches in the marketplace. He had been looking for an imitation Rolex as an amusing souvenir, and happened to find a girl with a pretty smile and an exciting personality. She learned that he had been studying Chinese for over a decade; had been married for eight years, but was now divorced with one teenaged son. That morning, before his flight, he had dropped by with a diamond ring and a bag of oranges. He had taken her hands in his and promised to return in a month to take her to America. They would live together in his beautiful house by the beach. She couldn’t stop crying. And now, The Woman sits on the edge of her bed combing her hair and thinking about how pretty the girl’s pedicure was. She frees her knots from the teeth of the plastic tortoiseshell comb, tearing them loose into the wastebasket, on top of a picture of a doe-eyed  

•  94

celebrity smiling up at her husband. He’s looking away from the camera, but his broad back and tall stature are enough to insinuate his good looks. They both have shiny, shiny brown hair. Her own once-soft ebony waves have shrivelled and snarled over the course of fifteen years of careless heat and colour damage. If she could do it all over again, she would have never messed with any of it. She gathers her hair at the nape of her neck and twists the whole thing into a bun. It pulls

painfully on her forehead and the sides of her face; but, this is the desired look. She had seen her cousin in Australia doing so in a video call three weeks ago. And, if her middle-aged cousin, married with two children, could pull off this look, she was sure she could do it too. And better. Maternity had filled out her cousin’s figure and the Australian sun had warmed her complexion. The Woman

powders her nose in front of the mirror. She, however, is pale and slim. It’s the only redeeming feature of her person. ‘You look so good for thirty-six!’ She would always deny it with feigned modesty before simpering and taking the compliment. Afterwards, her brow would always furrow, and a hollow emptiness would begin to churn in her core. She raises her palm to her forehead, sighs and stands up from her bedside table. Out of her tiny window, she watches a group of school kids, curiously unfatigued by the humidity, chat with unrestrained enthusiasm. There are two boys and two girls. They are all smoking. One of the boys holds her attention. His eyes are big and bright and he stands a little straighter, a little taller, than the rest of the gang. He’s laughing and teasing his girlfriend. And suddenly The Woman is reminded of another girl. Just seventeen. One wearing a borrowed blue and orange tracksuit, sour and limp from hours of track practice. And the boy to whom it belonged, gently intertwining himself with her as she lay underneath the mosquito net canopy. The other boy leads everyone up a flight of narrow concrete stairs, into an apartment complex marked by haphazardly overhanging laundry. A faint trail of lingering smoke is the only indication they were ever there. Just like the chill that hung between them once the

red bead was forced out. A small world sacrificed for theirs. The Woman dreads what they could be doing up there. The Woman arrives late to her aunt’s birthday dinner, sidetracked by a stubborn white hair. The dinner table conversation is already in full swing. They’re all sitting shoulder to shoulder, encircling a carnivorous feast. Her neighbours fill her in. He’s an older man. Malaysian but can speak Chinese. Single. He runs a good American business. You could be a rich American housewife. Your children might not be very good-looking though. But, surely that’s nothing money can’t fix. The Woman sneaks a look at him. He’s squeezed himself into a pale blue

button-up. He has a full head of black hair, which manages to look greasy and crusty at the same time. Teeth are straight, lips glossed in oily sauce. Two black pupils hold her gaze for a split second before flitting away. Whatever meagre appetite she had mustered prior to coming was now gone. Her aunt leans across the table to arrange a few cuts of chicken in her bowl. ‘Don’t starve yourself on my birthday. Eat!’ The Woman lies in bed with her hands over her swollen stomach. She pinches at it, tugging gently before letting go and relaxing her hands back over her core. It will be gone by morning. She opens her eyes. The only light comes from a tiny orange switch on a

nearby extension board. The longer she stares at it, the more she sees its glow oscillating in the darkness; beating too fast for her eyes to register. She imagines this is what limbo is like. Little red orb suspended in a lonely saline sea. Contorted and blurred by the surging waters. She brushes her wet cheek on the pillow. He had suggested it when she finally told him after training. What else could she have done? The orange light burns her eyes and still she won’t look away.





‘Ultimately, buying “green” products is still buying more products. We need radical change’.  

•  96

Since the Environmentalist movement as we know it took off in the 1960s, it has become extremely popular to live one’s life ‘green’. By now, caring about the environment has well and truly entered the mainstream. The ABC's War on Waste and the vast amount of environmentally friendly products now available to consumers are just some examples of the widespread interest Australians are showing in living a more sustainable life. Even large companies whose mission has nothing to do with helping the environment (and perhaps everything to do with hurting it) must now demonstrate that they are making some effort to care about the environment in order to keep certain customers and shareholders on side.

For other companies an increasingly environmentally sustainable outlook is a goal to actively strive towards. But does our world really contain more people who have now realised they cannot keep living the way we’ve all been living or is it just the latest fad? In the day-to-day, if I want to live a more environmentally friendly life, I can buy replacements for most of the products in my house. I can buy toilet paper that is recycled and that donates to sanitation charities. I can buy clothes made from hemp and bamboo and homewares made from linen and organic cotton. If I want to find an environmentally friendly solution to everything already in my house, I can, but I’m also going to have to spend a lot of

money for the privilege of doing so. Sure, I might save money in the long run if these products last for longer than a less sustainable product or use less energy over their lifetime, but spending more money in the first place is not a viable option for everyone in our society. The 13.3% of Australians who live below the poverty line probably can’t consider the environment in their consumer choices. On a worldwide scale, this is especially true. In order to spend the green dollar, globally speaking, you need to first be in possession of a fuck-load of dollars. Environmental solutions in the form of consumer products are only a way to make those with everything feel better about their over-consumptive lives. If I have supermarket brand dishwashing liquid and can't afford to

buy the earth friendly brand, is this just another chance for someone to stick up their nose at how much money I have and criticise how I choose to spend it? I also can't live the same lifestyle I currently have if I want the environment to be saved. I especially can’t do this if I believe in equality. It’s difficult to believe we should stop consuming the earth’s resources and simultaneously believe that everyone in the world deserves to experience the same good fortune as me—a person living a comfortable middle-class life in Australia. The earth just doesn’t have the resources to make these two things happen. Ultimately, buying ‘green’ products is still buying more products. We need radical change. However, saying ‘we need radical change’ has also been said before. The

kinds of radical change that might help (for example, stopping the use of all petrol-consuming machinery) aren’t going to happen. We aren’t going to allow technology to go backwards. So we need to use the technology and the people we have to create radical change together. Can one person change the world? Not by buying a KeepCup. So buy the KeepCup—or the organic cotton t-shirt, or the bamboo toothbrush—but remember that we need to do something more if we want humans to be able to keep living in the world as we know it.





The Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre (MDWg) has been in operation since the 1970s. Based in the East Kimberley town of Kununurra, MDWg is working to preserve and revive the Miriwoong language, the language of the traditional inhabitants of this area. Miriwoong country extends east past the Northern Territory border and into the Keep River National Park. It follows the Ord River and encompasses Lake Argyle, which buried much of Miriwoong country after its damming in the early 1970s. For nearly 50 years, MDWg has been working to preserve the Miriwoong language and to save it from extinction. With only a handful of fluent speakers remaining, Miriwoong is currently classified as ‘critically endangered’. It is estimated that at least 274 Aboriginal languages were spoken at the time of first contact. Other estimates

say that the number is likely to be up to 500. Each of these languages has its own way of seeing the world, whether it be through seasonal terms, specific plants and animals, lore and other traditional concepts. The loss of many of these languages has meant a loss of important and irreplaceable knowledge. The trend of minority languages ceasing to be spoken is consistent globally. One factor is increased urbanisation. Another is the demand for dominant languages to be learnt in order to participate in and receive formal education, health services and day-to-day activities. In the context of the East Kimberley, from the late 1800s, Miriwoong people and members of many other surrounding language groups worked on pastoral stations as stockmen and in domestic roles. These jobs were undertaken in exchange for tea, flour, sugar and tobacco. Many stations prohibited Indigenous languages 99 


being spoken entirely, while some were more sympathetic. However, in either context it quickly became necessary and expected for English to be learnt. Additionally, the Stolen Generations are an example of people who grew up with no opportunity to learn their language or culture. When equal pay laws came in after the 1967 referendum, opportunities for work on cattle stations ceased, and Miriwoong people, with members of many other different language groups, were resettled into Kununurra, where there was little opportunity for employment. Miriwoong Elders say that movement into Kununurra was when ‘trouble began’. In Miriwoong, there are no words for ‘drugs’, ‘alcohol’ or ‘crime’, but these are some of the pervasive problems that the Miriwoong people and wider Indigenous community are dealing with in Kununurra today, often as a result of intergenerational trauma. Miriwoong Elders strongly believe that language, identity and culture are inextricably linked. Jimmy Paddy has been involved with MDWg as a Language Worker for over 10 years, and believes that language is crucial to understanding one’s identity and culture, stating that: ‘the language is a part of the land, and it’s a part of you’. When young people grow up learning and speaking their heritage language, they know who they are, where they come from, and can be proud of their Miriwoong language, which has been spoken for many thousands of years. Research affirms this, with the Our Land Our Languages report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs indicating that Aboriginal people who speak an Indigenous language have markedly better physical and mental health, are more likely to attend school and tertiary education, have higher rates of employment, are less likely to abuse alcohol or illicit substances and are less likely to be incarcerated. MDWg’s team of Language Workers and Language Engagement Officers are taking huge steps to give the Miriwoong community and wider Kununurra community the opportunity to learn the Miriwoong language. A number of programs are currently being implemented and delivered by MDWg to increase the number of Miriwoong speakers and to improve outcomes in Kununurra, whether in school attendance, increasing self-esteem and pride for Miriwoong people, or instilling cultural awareness within the nonIndigenous population.  

•  100

The Miriwoong Language Nest

The Miriwoong Language Nest is an immersive language-learning program that is currently being delivered in Kununurra’s two primary schools, as well as in childcare and early learning centres throughout the community. The program is based on New Zealand’s Language Nest model, which has had enormous success in teaching and reviving the Maori language. The Language Nest model targets young learners, who are best able to absorb a new language through an immersion based approach. Currently in its fourth year of operation, the Miriwoong Language Nest is reaching 400 Indigenous and non-Indigenous children per week from preschool to year three. The program is led by a facilitator and five Miriwoong Language Engagement Officers, who teach Miriwoong through songs, games and other engaging language-learning activities. Children learn a variety of topics, from concepts about family to units about bush tucker that can be found on Miriwoong dawang (Miriwoong country). A unit about how to express feelings in Miriwoong was recently made into a book, Gooloo-gooloob Yarrondayan! (We are all Happy), by the Language Nest team, with the help of linguists and Miriwoong Elders. The book was illustrated by year one Language Nest participants, and their words about what makes them happy were translated into Miriwoong by the MDWg team, demonstrating the way in which revival involves (and requires) everyone from the youngest speakers to senior Miriwoong community members. The Miriwoong Language Nest has been an overwhelming success, and has many extra-linguistic benefits for participants, positively impacting on school attendance and general behaviour. As the program is delivered to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, cross-cultural awareness and appreciation is also taking place, with children growing up seeing strong Miriwoong leaders playing an important role in their education. The program has been expanding into a higher year level every year, essentially growing with its participants. The goal of the Miriwoong Language Nest is ultimately for it to be delivered all the way up to year 12. However, this ambition is dependent on funding to pay for additional team members and extensive curriculum development. Four members of the Language Nest team are also taking steps to further their education, with one currently undertaking a preparation for tertiary study course and three others working towards

receiving their limited authority to teach qualifications. The team sees the value of education firsthand in supporting and enabling them to continue efforts to revive the Miriwoong language.

The importance of Elders

Miriwoong Elders play an essential role in all of the programs delivered by MDWg. Their advice and consultation is needed in developing curriculum for the Language Nest, in the wording and content of new publications and in the production of Miriwoong radio programs, which are broadcast weekly throughout the East Kimberley. The Elders’ advice means that MDWg can be confident that not only accurate Miriwoong language content is being accessed by the community, but also that this information is culturally appropriate and sensitive. It is in this way that the revival of the Miriwoong language is dependent on people with the long-term knowledge of the language and culture, as well as those who are eager to learn and deliver this knowledge to students and children throughout Kununurra. All steps of this process play an important role in ensuring that the Miriwoong language continues to be spoken and heard, both now and in the future.

Education is key to language revival, whether it is through giving opportunities to those teaching an endangered language, or making Miriwoong language learning a focal part of the education delivered to students in Kununurra. The concept of revival is at the heart of MDWg’s mission. The Miriwoong language is being spoken by more young learners every year, and at MDWg we are confident that this will translate to better outcomes for the community and encompass a renewed appreciation of the importance of Australia’s incredible Indigenous languages. Language Worker Sylvia Simon echoes the sentiments of the entire MDWg team when she says that ‘it’s a good feeling hearing all children speaking Miriwoong. On Miriwoong dawang, we’ve got to keep the language going for the next generation’. To find out more about Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre, visit: www.mirima.org.au. To support, visit: www.givenow.com.au/mirima. References: House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. “Our Land Our Languages.” Language Learning in Indigenous Communities. 2012.




‘Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.’ - Chief Hopper, Stranger Things  

•  102

Stories and True Stories Helen Garner

La Belle Sauvage Philip Pullman

You’d be hard-pressed to find a Melburnian reader who hasn’t at least heard of Helen Garner. From her controversial nonfiction to her cult-classic novel Monkey Grip, Garner is a huge part of Australian literary culture, so much so that Text Publishing is celebrating her 75th birthday by releasing two new Helen Garner collections. Stories and True Stories are anthologies of her fiction and nonfiction works respectively, combining pieces previously published in other collections with brand new works. Coming out in October—just in time for a summer read, or an easy Christmas gift—you’re probably going to hear a lot about these books, so why not look them up now and get ahead of the curve. https://www.textpublishing. com.au/authors/helengarner

Seventeen years ago Philip Pullman published The Amber Spyglass, the final book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, which became an international sensation and was made into a film starring Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman and Eva Green. This October, Pullman will return to that world with a new trilogy called The Book of Dust. The first in this series, La Belle Sauvage, is being described not as a sequel or prequel but an ‘equal’—jumping between a time when Pullman’s original heroine Lyra was just a baby, to ten years after the conclusion of The Amber Spyglass. The plot is still underwraps, but with an international reputation and a magical world most kids and young adults already know, the return to Lyra’s Oxford is likely going to make La Belle Sauvage a must-have title for any fantasy sy-lover this year.


Blade Runner 2049 Denis Villeneuve

Victoria and Abdul Stephen Frears

Stranger Things the Duffer Brothers

For fans of the original 1982 movie, the Blade Runner sequel has been a long time coming. After several failed attempts to return to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi dystopia, Blade Runner 2049 is finally reviving the cult classic, with Ryan Gosling in the starring role, and Harrison Ford returning to play Rick Deckard. The new film follows in the aesthetic footsteps of the original, with a deeper exploration of the experience and exploitation of replicants. With much of the promotion of the movie focusing on the reappearance of Harrison Ford, it’s hard to say how different this new iteration will be to its predecessor, but the visuals are incredible and the cast impressive, making it a mustsee for any self-respecting sci-fi fan. Blade Runner 2049 hits cinemas early October, http://bladerunnermovie.com

Victoria and Abdul is a little-known story of the friendship between Queen Victoria—played by the irrepressible Judi Dench—and Abdul Karim, an Indian footman who came to England as a servant in the last decades of her reign. The film looks to examine not only the relationship between the titular characters, but also the effect their unlikely alliance had on the rest of the royal household. It will be interesting to see whether Victoria and Abdul, with its endearing young Indian lead played by Ali Fazal, takes a hard line on the colonisation that led him to serve the aged queen, or whether it’ll be a heartwarming tale of friendship that neatly skirts around such unpleasant topics. Only time will tell, but the cast is stellar and the production design beautiful, so why not check it out and see for yourself.

Netflix’s original series Stranger Things took the internet by storm last year through its impeccable combination of Spielberg-esque nostalgia, horror and honest, raw characters—whether they’re a struggling single mum or a young girl who happens to have superpowers. Set in the 80s, in a small American town where a boy named Will has mysteriously disappeared, the series explored the struggles of Will’s friends and family to work out what happened to him, with the help of a strange girl called Eleven. The sensation is back for round two, coming out this Halloween, and will continue to follow the fallout of Will’s disappearance, with even more 80s throwbacks, young adult drama and super creepy monsters than ever before. Make sure to watch the first season, then check out the new trailer before 31 October. 103 


The Testament of Mary Anne-Louise Sarks

Pop-Up Globe

All The Sex I’ve Ever Had Darren O’Donnell

Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre is known for its original and often radical productions and The Testament of Mary is no exception. Challenging the traditional image of the virgin mother,

If you’ve ever been jealous of that time Doctor Who went back to Elizabethan London to visit Shakespeare, never fear, your time has come, and you don’t even need a Tardis. The Pop-

The Melbourne Festival is full of awe-inspiring, jaw dropping performances of every kind, but here’s one of the shows on offer that we just couldn’t not talk about. All The Sex I’ve Ever Had is an in-

Spunky Bruise and Soto Smith

Prince of Bel-Air proud. Plus, not only do they make everything specifically to your measurements, but Spunky Bruiser and Soto Smith want you to have your piece for a lifetime, and offer a Wear Tear Repair service! With so many reasons to check them out right now, what are you still doing here? http://spunkybruiser.com/

Colm Tóibín’s Mary is bitter over her son’s death and angry at those glorifying his supposed resurrection. Providing her version of events, and taking on the fanatics that lead her son to crucifixion, this Mary is smart, fierce and unpredictable. If you want to see this quintessential part of Western canon re-imagined, look no further than the Malthouse Theatre this November. http://malthousetheatre.com.au/whatson/the-testament-of-mary

Is there a hole in your life that can only be filled by some ethically made 80s kitsch? Good thing there’s an easy solution with Spunky Bruiser and Soto Smith. This Aussie partnership uses repurposed fabric to make bold, individual pieces that would make the Fresh  

•  104

up Globe is coming to Melbourne! A full scale working replica of the second Globe Theatre, this special venue gives Melburnians the chance to see Shakespeare’s plays the way the man himself would have staged them—without time travel, or even the expense of flying to London. There are four shows playing over the three months that the Globe is in Melbourne and with tickets starting at just $20 for the groundlings—there’s no reason to wait. https://popupglobe. com.au/

timate, honest and surprising look at … well, at how your grandparents had sex. With real-life over 65s from Melbourne sharing their stories of a lifetime of sex, this original show might make you cringe, but it will probably make you rethink how society treats sex, and how it treats the elderly. Go beyond the expected, ignore the taboo and check out this special theatre experience. https:// www.festival.melbourne/2017/events/ all-the-sex-ive-ever-had

The Paper Saver


Rosery Apparel

If you’ve ever felt a pang of conscience throwing an old essay into the recycle bin, you’re not alone. Melbourne architect Jon Yong had the same experience—and he decided to do something about it. Rather than throwing out pages with one perfectly good blank side and then buying a notebook made from recycled paper, he cut out the middleman (and the expensive processing) and made the Paper Saver. It may look like a leather-bound notebook to rival moleskin, but it’s actually just a faux leather cover, with a strap to hold all those discarded printouts. Ethical and affordable: http://www.papersaver.com.au/

You might not think you want to have a vintage Nokia phone hanging from your earlobes, but take one look at Yippywippy’s colourful acrylic creations and you’ll realise just how wrong you are. Yippywippy is the jewellery and fashion label from Brisbane-based designer Nicole Casella, and basically your one-stop-shop for quirky, nostalgic accessories. Whether you just want something dangly and sparkly, or you have a sudden desire to have tamogotchis on your ears, Yippywippy has you covered. Check out the full range of colourful, iconic creations at: https://www.yippywhippy.com/

Taking a stance against fast fashion, and reviving vintage prints and silhouettes in the process, there’s a lot to love about Tasmanian clothing brand Rosery Apparel. All their beautiful dresses are made by hand, from recycled curtains, tablecloths and bedsheets, giving a soft vintage aesthetic that your consicence can feel good about too. Janelle Duff is the mastermind behind this pastel floral dream, and to make it all the more impressive, she’s a self-taught sewer who now sells her dresses at markets around Australia! Make sure to show some love and check out her range. http://www. roseryapparel.com/shop/

Stuff Mom Never Told You

The Classic Tales Podcast

Stuff Mom Never Told You is an American podcast from journalists and activists Emilie Aries and Bridget Todd, which delves into the issues and challenges women have faced throughout history. Covering everything from women’s role in the American whiskey trade, to whether Ivanka Trump can really be considered a feminist figure—Stuff Mom Never Told You delves into cultural history and current affairs in order to discuss issues facing women and to explore how we can overcome whatever’s thrown our way. So, why not give it a listen and learn something new. http://www.stuffmomnevertoldyou.com/

If you’ve always wanted to read classics but just haven’t had time, then we’ve got the podcast for you. The Classic Tales Podcast from B.J. Harrison provides readings of works from Edgar Allen Poe, PG Wodehouse and every classical author in-between. Whether it’s a short story or a full novel covered in several instalments, The Classic Tales Podcast does the reading for you, so all you have to do is put in earphones and press play. It might mean you don’t get to be seen reading Arthur Conon Doyle on the tram, but you also won’t get the accompanying travel sickness. Revisit a favourites like The Wind in the Willows or explore the frightening world of HP Lovecraft. 105 



Plot: Death hires an apprentice. If I wasn’t already a major fan of anything, really, written by Sir Terry Pratchett, I would have been hooked. Warning: of all the incredible writers out there in the multiverse, there are few who delight me so thoroughly and so consistently as Sir Terry Pratchett, and I pretty much always recommend him to everyone. I repeatedly say that someone, whoever is in charge of the marketing budget for his novels probably, should start paying me commission – so if you know that someone? Mort came out thirty years ago, as the first book written in Pratvhett's series about Death and the fourth book set in Pratchett’s spectacular world: on the back of the great A’tuin, the large turtle that floats through space, stands the four elephants that hold up the Discworld. The Discworld is flat and shaped like, you guessed it, a disc, along about a third of its edge runs a circumfence which collects flotsam, and on occasion also some of the more hopeless protagonists of some of the  

•  106

books. It is a world with sassy witches who know that real magic doesn’t include any special magical powers; with whimsical wizards (read: the more hopeless protagonists of some of the books) who are more concerned with when the next meal is than furthering the university they run; with the Nac Mac Feegles, a very small (six inches) and very blue (tattooed) people with incredible strength and speed, as well as an almost incomprehensible accent; and where Death is kind of sick of all the responsibility from being in his line of work, and is therefore in search of an apprentice. So Death finds Mort, short for Mortimer, a gangly boy seemed to be made up of mostly knees. Mort thusly embarks on an adventure that brings him out of reality, history and time, namely Death’s house, which has a wonderful little garden of different shades of black. Enter: Albert, the butler that is so much more than a butler, and Death’s adopted daughter Ysabell, who has, due to the

weird flow of time at Death’s lodgings, been a sixteen year old girl for thirty five years. These two will be important later (it’s all connected!). Death takes Mort along to collect a king as he dies, and during a brief moment Mort, who as Death’s apprentice is supposed to be invisible to humans, locks eyes with the beautiful Princess Keli. Unfortunately for Mort it turns out the king was killed by a power hungry Duke, so when Mort is sent on his first solo mission one of the souls he is supposed to collect is the new queen and his beloved Keli. This is the moment where it all goes wrong, as Mort lets Keli live despite the fact that all deaths are predetermined, so the universe acts as if Keli is dead while she isn’t, and history is a bit mixed up as it tries to rectify this mistake. So this is what Mort must deal with, while Death takes a small vacation to have human experiences—drinking, dancing, gambling, you know the sorts I’m talking about. Also, Death speaks in all caps. Genius!

I? KILL? said Death, obviously





The thing about our knight without (probably) a shining armour, Sir Terry, is that he really is the whole package. He is very imaginative, as reflected by this strange world he has invented, he is hilarious, and he is highly intelligent. He may appear a little silly on the surface, as reflected by this strange world he has created, but embarking on a Pratchett novel usually means embarking on a thought experiment or two as well. The ideas of science, magic, religion, the power of stories and the meaning of the universe are only a few of the big

topics that get tackled at some point in the Discworld series. In Mort we get to think about how time interacts with the world, and where humans fit into this both while they’re alive and after they die. There’s also usually a metaphysical level, which often does involve Death. “He was determined to discover the underlying logic behind the universe. Which was going to be hard, because there wasn’t one.” Now my favourite thing about Terry Pratchett is not his incredibly clever plots, although they are usually incredibly clever, my favourite thing about Terry Pratchett is his one-liners that somehow manage to be really funny and at the same time piercingly observant of human nature. These oneliners basically queue up in any Pratchett novel; whenever I find myself recalling to a friend some of the great lines I just read, at times it feels like it would have been easier to simply hand them the book so they can read the pages themselves.

Terry also has the best metaphors/ similes: History unravels gently, like an old sweater. It has been

patched and darned many times,

reknitted to suit different people, shoved in a box under the sink of censorship to be cut up for

the dusters of propaganda, yet it always—eventually—manages to

spring back into its old familiar shape. History has a habit of changing the people who think

they are changing it. History always has a few tricks up its frayed sleeve. It’s been around a long time.

Are you still not convinced that you should read Mort (or all of Terry Pratchett’s books really)? Just let me know, I’ve got plenty more to say. PS. I can recommend this as audiobooks, it is expertly read by Nigel Planer featuring fun British accents.




Alessandra Genualdo

Amelia Bensley-Nittheim

Angela Iaria

Alessandra is an Italian illustrator and painter. She lives and works in East London with her dog, Kira. Her work has been featured in frankie magazine, Flow magazine and Lenny Letter. https://cargocollective.com/agenualdo

Amelia is currently completing the Master of Publishing and Communications, after a politics bachelor’s degree left her nothing but disillusioned. Her dad is very excited that he may soon be able to cash in on the story of a psychic at Glastonbury Festival telling her, at age 7, that she would be a writer, ‘…of short pieces’. She's looking forward to finishing her studies at the University of Copenhagen.

Angela Iaria is a designer and photo grapher. She's currently completing the Master of Publishing and Communications and working in the Communications team at The University of Melbourne. She hopes to combine her skillset in order to create her own magazine one day. In the meantime, she will continue doing those things that she loves—that is drinking tea with friends and going to brunch as often as she can.

Amanda McMahon

Ana Yael

Asha Ross

Amanda enjoys being flexible—not only did she teach yoga, but she has a BA in Psychology and International Politics and a Grad Dip in Human Resources Management. Recently she was Chair of the Board of Management at Fintona Girls' School. She is now balancing her Master of Publishing and Communications with helping on the family farm. She (only occasionally) annoys her sons by asking too many questions.

From Ana Yael we know a lot of things. We know she lives in Barcelona, and we know she has lived in any place of the world. We know she can say the words elephant, hearth, reality, nothing in a lot of languages, and in fact, she says. The things we don’t know, what we miss our view is its size, is to calculate how tall, know how far she gets, cause Ana Yael resized at every turn. Gulliver. As Gulages. www.anayael.net

Asha Ross is a Kiwi-Canadian, first year PhD in Anthropology. Writer, reader, wanderer. She is always planning an adventure, and is interested in anything with a story. Asha has also been a regular contributor to the Antithesis Journal blog. To her, writing is movement. A warning: Asha is more interested in questions than she is in answers.

Amber Bock'

Andrew Roff

Bella Mackey

Amber is an avid theatre maker. In 2017, she graduated from Monash with Honours in Performing Arts. With previous experience in stage and production management, Amber is now moving towards immersive theatre, taking her obsession with nonfiction stories into installations built from the things people collect. Recently she co-curated an immersive theatre experience with Monash student theatre.

Andrew Roff ’s first novel-length manuscript, Infringement, was shortlisted for the Wakefield Press Unpublished Manuscript Award at the 2016 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. His short fiction has appeared in Antipodean SF. Andrew's interests in crime, politics and economics inform his writing. He tweets at @roffwrites and you can read more of his work at www.roffwrites.com.

Bella Mackey is an editor and writer and is based in Melbourne. She writes fantasy and gothic fiction, mostly for adults but sometimes for really brave children, and she hates it when people ask if she’ll be the next JK Rowling. Bella is also a reviewer and a popculture nerd, with a passion for murder mysteries set in small towns.

•  108

Catherine Willemse

Eloise Grills

Erin McIntosh

Catherine Willemse is an illustrator and animator. She sells jewelery and postard which are available to purchase online. You can find that and more of her work by visiting her website: gemaaktdoorcatherine.nl.

Eloise Grills is a Melbourne-based writer, comics artist, photographer and memoir editor for Scum Magazine. In 2016 she wrote a comics column, Diary of a Post-Teenage Girl, for Scum Magazine, and received a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Illustrator’s Fellowship. Places you can find her work include Scum Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Overland, The Suburban Review and The Age. https://eloisegrills.wordpress.com/

Erin was born in Colorado before moving to Los Angeles, where she currently resides. Her short fiction has been published in various journals including Two Serious Ladies, Hobart, and Noble / Gas Qtrly, and more than thirty of her poems have been published in journals such as Bone Bouquet, Lavender Review, Vending Machine Press and Two Hawks Quarterly. Visit her at www.erinmcintoshofficial.com.

Chris Ebbs

Emma Jensen

Frances Goldman

Chris Ebbs is an editor based in Melbourne. She is about to finish her Master of Publishing and Communications at The University of Melbourne. Chris also writes and edits for the Antithesis Journal blog and was a Publishing Students’ Society committee member. In her spare time she enjoys reading books, listening to podcasts and eating brunch.

Emma reads, writes and draws things for fun and sometimes for work while living and working on Wurundjeri country. When she was three she won the ‘Miss Personality’ prize at a beauty pageant. You can follow her instagram account at @emmaleejensen.

Frances Goldman has been living and working in Kununurra for the past year. She studied Communications and International Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. As the Marketing and Communications Coordinator and Management Support Officer at Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre (MDWg), she has the privilege of working with the incredible Miriwoong community.

Christina Kallery

Erich Fordham

Georgia Coldebella

Christina Kallery’s poetry has appeared in The Collagist, Gargoyle, Failbetter, Rattle, and Mudlark, among other publications. She has served as submissions editor for Absinthe: A Journal of World Literature in Translation, poetry editor for Failbetter and have been nominated for a Pushcart prize. She was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, recently spent seven years in New York City and currently resides in Detroit.

Erich Fordham is a 24 year old writer and law student, in that order, much to the suffering of his studies. He has written plays for Heidelberg Theatre Company Youth including The Adventures of King Arthur and administrates the Facebook page FilmCircle, discussing the latest and best in cinema. He enjoys long walks on the beach, but not so long that he might have to listen to his own critical introspection.

Georgia Coldebella is part of the 2017 editorial team for Antithesis Journal. She is currently completing her Master of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing at the University of Melbourne, for which she has written a collection of queer fairy tale retellings. Her short comic, ‘Waiting’, was previously published in Antithesis. She dabbles as a writer, editor, artist, and miscellaneous person. 109 



Helena Perez Garcia

Jessica Vorheis

Kathleen O'Neill

Helena is a Spanish illustrator and graphic designer based in London. Her mysterious and conceptual illustrations, often depicting characters in surreal situations, are rich in detail and colour. Her work is inspired by art, literature, and cinema. She creates illustrations for children’s and young adult books, magazines and exhibitions. Some of her clients are Penguin Random House, Anaya, BuzzFeed and Santillana.

Jessica is an acrylic painter working in Tri-Cities, WA where she graduated in 2011 with an Associates Degree in Fine Art from Columbia Basin College. Through dreamlike imagery she tells stories of her faith and life experiences. Jessica’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States at galleries such as Standard Goods in Seattle, Marmot Art Space in Spokane and Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek.

Kathleen O'Neill is a writer from Brisbane about to complete a Master of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing at the University of Melbourne. She is particulary interested in editing and writing for children and hopes to work in this area once she graduates. She enjoys knitting jumpers during heatwaves and eating sour cream. You can find her musings on Instagram @kattyoneill

Jack Bastock

Joe Baumann

Kathrin Honesta

Jack Bastock is queer and does not eat animals. He studies Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne and he also teaches English as an additional language. Jack lives in Carlton with friends, and on the internet with you.

Joe Baumann’s fiction and essays have appeared in Zone 3, Hawai’i Review, Eleven Eleven, and many others. He is the author of Ivory Children, published in 2013 by Red Bird Chapbooks. He possesses a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and was recently nominated for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 2016.

Kathrin is a freelance illustrator based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her work includes book covers, spot illustrations, album art, illustration for branding and advertising, editorial, etc. She is also involved in a collaborative picture book project, aiming to publish them one day. Her illustrations are stories about faith, people and the idea that artwork is not just about being pretty aesthetically, but it’s about the message it is saying.


Jonathan Mendoza

Katie Wilson

Jax NTP holds an MFA in Poetry from California State University, Long Beach. They teach critical thinking, literature, and composition at Golden West College, Irvine Valley College, and Cypress College. They edit and read for The Offing Magazine, By&By Poetry, and Indicia Lit. Jax's words have been featured in various publications including 3:AM Magazine, Apogee Journal, and The Cordite Review.

Jonathan is a travel photographer and film maker from Sydney. With his work spanning fifty-eight countries, he currently spends the majority of his year abroad, creating engaging travel and lifestyle content for brands, airlines, hotels, apps, magazines and most recently an art gallery. Inspired by the natural world, he aims to capture epic human experiences and share them all around the world.

Katie Wilson is a designer and illustrator based in beautiful New Zealand. Her illustrations are peaceful, but with a sense of whimsy. She loves grey days, gardening and spending hours painting in her studio. Her work has appeared in magazines, greeting cards and books. You can find her work at https://www.inmybackyard.co.nz/

•  110

Lily Mei

Madison Griffiths

Walker Zupp

Lily is student at the University of Melbourne and is a project officer for an outreach program for underrepresented schools. She has also worked at the annual Fed Square Multicultural Festival, and hopes one day to work in the publishing industry.

Madison is a freelance writer, artist and poet. She has published essays, articles and opinion-pieces in the likes of VICE, SBS Sexuality, Daily Life and Overland. She started writing a collection of poems and performing spoken-word poetry in Melbourne at the start of 2016, and her poetry revolves predominantly around global issues pertaining to women, sexuality and race—as well as her own experiences.

Walker Zupp is a Bermudian poet and writer who currently resides in the UK. He graduated from Lancaster University this year with an upper secondclass joint degree in English Language and Creative Writing. He starts his Creative Writing MA in October. Having almost dealt exclusively with poetry in the past, he hopes to focus on prose in the future.

Lina Hawi

Sarah Layton

Wes Whitfield

Lina Hawi is a Melbourne based writer and graduate from the Master of Publishing and Communications program at The University of Melbourne. She has written for online magazines, interned at publishing companies, and dabbled in the world of media trading. In her spare time, Lina enjoys to read and to travel.

Sarah is a Melbourne based editor, writer, illustrator and tea enthusiast with a deep love of books. She is currently studying an MA in Publishing and Communications at the University of Melbourne where she edits Antithesis Journal and contributes to publications for emerging writers including Voiceworks Magazine. Her most recent writing can be found at http:// bravenewbibliophile.wordpress.com

Wes Whitfield is a soon-to-be Masters of Publishing and Communication graduate from The University of Melbourne. She is a chronic workaholic who lives off caffeine and will-power alone. When she’s not working, Wes enjoys baking, collecting books that she has no time to read and making obscene cross-stitches (such as the one featured in this issue of Antithesis Journal).

Lucas Grainger-Brown

Sunniva Midtskogen

Lucas is a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne, in the areas of politics and philosophy. In his spare time he reads and writes outside those confines as much as possible. Previously, Lucas was a lifeguard, management consultant and barista. His other interests include travel, cats, walking, sci-fi, and coffee.

Sunniva Midtskogen comes from Norway, but hasn’t really lived there for four years now. She has studied abroad and travelled. Sunniva always loved to read, and this love of stories is what led her to write. So this is what she does now: studies, travels, reads and writes. Or at least it’s what she does when she’s not watching TV and eating chocolate. Sunni also write for the Antithesis blog.



Antithesis is a literary, arts and humanities journal created and edited by graduate students and published in association with the School of Culture and Communications at the University of Melbourne. This issue of Antithesis explores the notion of revive in essays, fiction, poetry and artwork.

$20.00 AUD | #27 October 2017 www.antithesisjournal.com.au

Profile for Antithesis Journal

Antithesis Journal Vol. 27: Revive  

Antithesis is a refereed arts and humanities journal edited by graduate students and published annually in association with the School of Cu...

Antithesis Journal Vol. 27: Revive  

Antithesis is a refereed arts and humanities journal edited by graduate students and published annually in association with the School of Cu...


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded