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16 Women of Influence Four women – Michelle Law, Clementine Ford, Carly Findlay and Fadak Alfayadh – write about the women in their lives who inspire them.
20 THE BIG PICTURE
Isle of Women Kihnu Island, off the coast of Estonia, is notable for one main fact – women are in charge!
24 LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF
by Katherine Smyrk
The octogenarian icon looks back on a life of protest – and looks forward to a better world.
04 Ed’s Letter & Your Say 05 Meet Your Vendor 06 Streetsheet 08 Hearsay & 20 Questions 11 My Word 26 Ricky
27 Fiona 34 Film Reviews 35 Small Screen Reviews 36 Music Reviews 37 Book Reviews 39 Public Service Announcement
40 Tastes Like Home 43 Puzzles 45 Crossword 46 Click
BEHIND THE COVER
Jane Fonda: “The plastic handcuffs hurt more than the metal ones.” photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times/Contour by Getty Image
Rose Rises Up Actor-turned-artist Rose McGowan opens up about growing up in a cult, her boyfriend being murdered – and finding peace with her parents.
by Amy Lorrae Hetherington Editor @amyhetherington
E FO RT NI GH T LE TT ER OF TH
Wouldn’t It Be Niece
’m named after my mum’s sister, my Aunty Lorrae, a warm and kind and generous woman. She is a crazy dog lady, she has a Google-like memory for trivia, and she makes the best apricot jam. Plus, she is full of courage and tenacity. After school in South Australia, she was determined to be a journalist – but she was told The Adelaide Advertiser weren’t taking on any “girl cadets” that year. After aceing a shorthand and typing course, she was back the next year knocking on their doors, threatening to make tea until they gave her a go. They created a job for her, as the first female sports cadet. She moved to London in 1973 as a “bomb reporter” covering the IRA, then to Hong Kong, New York, LA…returning home to Australia in between gigs. She paved the way for me, and others like me. I’m a journalist because of Lorrae, benefitting from her mentorship and support. Even now in retirement, she sometimes lends a hand as a proofreader here at The Big Issue. As we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, it’s important to reflect how far we’ve come, even in a single generation – and how far we still have to go. For our cover star, actor and activist Jane Fonda, her long-time campaigning for equality and social justice continues. In this edition, we’ve also asked inspirational Australian women Carly Findlay, Michelle Law, Fadak Alfayadh and Clementine Ford to write about the women who inspire them. For me, it’s Lorrae. It’s also the women who I work with at The Big Issue, women like Lou (opposite) in Melbourne and Jodi in Perth, who are among those who share their stories in this edition. “I refuse to be measured by other people’s views of success as there is no one measure,” writes Jodi (p6). “Being successful is being happy with who you are.”
The Big Issue Story The Big Issue is an independent, not-for-profit magazine sold on the streets around Australia. It was created as a social enterprise 23 years ago to provide both a voice and a work opportunity for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage. Your purchase of this magazine has directly benefited the person who sold it to you. Big Issue vendors buy each copy for $4.50 and sell it to you for $9, keeping the profits. But The Big Issue is more than a fortnightly magazine.
Thank you for the great reading in the Vendor Week edition [Ed#604] – particularly the Letter to My Younger Self series written by vendors. I always find this an intriguing concept but the honesty and grace in these letters was illuminating and moving. Such compassion for their teenage selves, and adult wisdom that can offer some guidance for us all. Lots more of these please! PENNY WRIGHT EDEN HILLS I SA
I want to express my appreciation for the lovely man selling The Big Issue at Esplanade Station. I was involved in a minor traffic accident and had pulled over. I was very shaken up and struggling to compose myself. Steve came over and asked if I was okay and if there was anything he could do for me. When I started crying, he gave me the warmest hug. As hundreds of people streamed past ignoring us, it was so nice to have a stranger care when I was so upset. I wasn’t in the right headspace to properly express my appreciation at the time; I want to put things right and hope you can let Steve know that he has my gratitude. LAUREN OSBOURNE PERTH I WA
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Both letter writers published in this edition win a double pass to new release Military Wives, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan. We review the film on p34. We’d also love to hear your thoughts, feedback and suggestions: SUBMISSIONS@BIGISSUE.ORG.AU
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Meet Your Vendor
interview by Anastasia Safioleas photo by James Braund
PROUD UNIFORM PARTNER OF THE BIG ISSUE VENDORS.
06–19 MAR 2020
WORKS IN THE BIG ISSUE WOMEN’S SUBSCRIPTION ENTERPRISE IN MELBOURNE
I was born in Melbourne, put into care when I was 18 months old and bounced from home to home until I was 17. If I had stayed with my parents, I don’t think I would have ended up being as messed up. Things happened to me while I was in care that shouldn’t have happened. I didn’t get treated very well at school. I used to be the clown, get myself in trouble. I hated it. They really should have picked up that I had dyslexia. They just thought I was a troubled kid. I didn’t finish high school – I left halfway through Year 10. I don’t know most of my family; I only know my sister. She too went into care and we got separated but we later met up in residential care. I remember the day she left again; I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to her. We’re kind of in touch, but I don’t have much to do with her. I ended up hitting the drugs. My then-partner introduced me to street work. I started when I was 18 – I did it until I was 31. I gave birth to my daughter when I was 22. She’s 17 now. I couldn’t look after her so I chose to give her up. I was part of her life until about four years ago. The only job I ever had was working at Maccas, but I hated it. They ended up sacking me because I have a disability in my arm. When I was seven, I was walking along a brick wall and fell in the gutter. I damaged my wrist and my elbow. They put the plaster on too tight and I ended up having about seven operations. About five years ago I tried to sue Human Services for my arm and for being abused while I was in care. I was going to court but ended up settling – that’s basically when I ended up getting my life together. My worker at the time told me about The Big Issue. She said there were some openings and asked if I would like to go along. I was working three days later and have been there ever since. The Women’s Subscription Enterprise has made a big difference. I’m a lot happier. Five years ago, I was just moping around. I drank every day. Now I’ve cut my drinking. I haven’t used drugs for years. I pack the magazine and at Christmas time we pack presents and process letters. It’s my favourite part because I don’t know much about computers, so it gives me a new skill. I’m telling my story for Angie – she’s like a mother I never had. When I was in care, I had nobody except for her. She used to come and see me once or twice a week, take me to Maccas and the movies. I lost contact with her for 20 years but she got in touch recently. She’s really unwell. That’s my biggest fear – losing her. I couldn’t imagine life without her. I love her.
Stories, poems and pictures by Big Issue vendors and friends
This Is Me WSE SPOTLIGHT
I have failed many times as a boyfriend, son, brother and friend. I don’t always say the right things. I’m not the most beautiful man in the world, but I’m me. I love family and friends. I have scars because I have a history. Some people love me, some like me, and some don’t. I have done good. I have done bad. I don’t do my hair. I’m random and silly. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I am who I am; you can love me or not. And if I love you, I do it with all my heart!! I make no apologies for being me! EDDIE KELVIN GROVE & CENTRAL STATION I BRISBANE
It Takes Two
’m not going to dwell on the situation that got me living in a women’s refuge four years ago, leaving everything behind (except a couple of boxes of belongings, my TV and DVD player). Instead, I am going to focus on where I am now – a single woman on the other side of the journey of healing and starting again. I am currently living in a small studio apartment, and I work for The Big Issue’s Women’s Subscription Enterprise in a safe and supportive environment with women in a similar situation. And I have another part-time job. To some people, I might not look like a “successful” woman. But my success comes from how I have overcome my trauma from two abusive relationships and learned that I am quite capable of living my life without a husband or boyfriend. I feel I need a bit more healing before getting involved with someone again. I have learned to love myself by eating a healthy diet, exercising and sleeping well. At the start I was a robot going through the motions. I would say to myself “fake it till you make it”, and it became my routine. I have let go of the hate and resentment towards my abusers. I have built friendships on respect and let go those that were toxic. There are parts of my past I don’t tell people and have learned that no-one needs to know. I refuse to be measured by other people’s views of success as there is no one measure – being successful is being happy with who you are.
WAYNE A THE BODY SHOP I PIRIE ST & HUNGRY JACK’S I ADELAIDE
Midnight Son New Year’s Eve in Sydney is always an awesome night and cool to be a part of. I always make friends. There’s easily a million-plus people in the city – it can get crowded but everyone is happy and positive. There’s lots of different languages spoken. It’s awesome when the fireworks light up the sky. Right as NYE clicks midnight, I often cry a little because I’ve come so far over failures and with triumphs. This year I cried that Peter and Sam aren’t with us in The Big Issue vendor office anymore. I cheered over my 2019 success when I ran the City2Surf, which I am proud of. I always take heaps of photos
PHOTO BY ROSS SWANBOROUGH
JODI IS EMPLOYED BY THE WOMEN’S SUBSCRIPTION ENTERPRISE IN PERTH
I have been doing The Big Issue for two years and it has been really encouraging to do. I have lots of nice customers coming up to me and buying a Big Issue. It is the best job for me. I also enjoy the stuff that I sell and stuff like that. It is good. The Street Soccer is really fun – I like playing as the goalie.
Big Achievements Since I have been selling The Big Issue I have achieved a lot. I have completed two TAFE courses. I got into volunteer work with The Salvation Army on Saturdays in Fremantle. I have gone back to church and I also volunteer with my church on Wednesdays and Fridays. And I am doing a course at my church for three weeks and will be getting baptised. Since I have been doing all this, I have not touched any alcohol for two months – and this year will be 16 years of not smoking cigarettes. I also now have good accommodation while I am waiting for my one-bedroom unit home with Home West. Plus, I have got back into making jewellery. This is all thanks to selling The Big Issue and my customers. I would like to thank all my customers for supporting me with lovely chats and buying the magazines and calendars from me – without them I wouldn’t have been able to do all this. KAIA HAY ST MALL I PERTH
Guard of Honour I’m Peter and I recently started selling in Redcliffe, Brisbane. It has been really nice as the local community have been very welcoming and nice to me. One
PETER REDCLIFFE I BRISBANE
New Dad Hi, I’m Jack. I sell The Big Issue and I enjoy it. My customers and the locals are very supportive. I appreciate their loyalty and getting to know them with a new baby. The money has helped a
lot. I really want to say how much I appreciate their support; it’s overwhelming. God bless and thank you very much. JACK L CNR MARTIN PLACE AND ELIZABETH ST I SYDNEY
Good Skills I love to work in the Women’s Subscription Enterprise because it’s a good chance to see people and to improve my English. This organisation teaches people good skills to get a job and gives them fair pay. ROSLYN WSE | SYDNEY
A Stitch in Time I wish to thank Fran and all at The Body Shop in Murray Street, Perth, for everything they do for The Big Issue. I would also like to thank everyone who has supplied me with donated wool to help me knit scarves for people experiencing homelessness. I plan on handing them out soon. Thanks to the staff in the office for being so awesome. STACEY OUTSIDE DAVID JONES I MURRAY ST I PERTH
06–19 MAR 2020
JACOB CNR BATHURST & PITT STS I SYDNEY
shop owner has given me the title of “security guard” because the other day I saw a shoplifter in their shop – I reported it and they were able to retrieve their goods back! A big thank you to all my new customers in Redcliffe.
ALL VENDOR CONTRIBUTORS TO STREETSHEET ARE PAID FOR THEIR WORK.
on NYE because Sydney looks so awesome; I have to sort through 100 to 150 photos from that one night alone! It is a full-on night. Often I get tired after NYE, and it takes me a few days to recover – but it’s all worth it. The end of 2019 was painful to go through because of the bushfires, and a lot of people lost homes and lives. My heart goes out to them. Because of this national catastrophe a lot of people were against the Sydney fireworks.
Richard Castles Writer Andrew Weldon Cartoonist
Look, I mean, it sucks. But it coulda been worse, you know? I wasn’t working in a coal mine. I wasn’t a child soldier. My father was not sexually abusing me. Certain fucked-up things happened, but fuckedup things happen to kids all the time… I’m good, man.
Macaulay Culkin, star of Home Alone, on how being a child star sucked, but it could have been worse. He could have been playing Monopoly (see below).
ESQUIRE | US
“It is a tragedy that so many children’s board game memories centred around Monopoly, which is a miserable experience. It is nostalgic to think about it, until you start playing. It is really fun for the first bit and then for the person who is winning. For everyone else, losing is inevitable.” Hazel Reynolds, founder of game making company Gamely Games, on the unfortunate popularity of Monopoly, which she says breaks many golden rules of good game design. Website boardgamegeek. com, which aggregates reviews from game players, ranks Monopoly at 18,583 out of 18,591 games. BBC | UK
“I thought what’s the Press Council doing? I actually love these magazines when I come across one because I find them really funny. But the [Council’s] finding is a
misunderstanding of the genre of the gossip magazines. I think if the headline is blatantly untrue, find me something that’s blatantly true. They don’t deal in truth. But I think the people who read it get the joke. If The [Sydney Morning] Herald had a headline like that, sure, haul them over the coals, but a magazine like this is different. I don’t think it can be assessed as journalism.” Dr Megan Le Masurier, a media academic at the University of Sydney and former magazine editor, on being stumped by a Press Council ruling that a Woman’s Day headline about Prince Harry and Meghan (‘Palace Confirms the Marriage Is Over’) was blatantly incorrect…as if all their other headlines are true. Such magazines are generally given a fair bit of latitude in the truth department, but this time the Press Council decided to call fibs. THE GUARDIAN | AUS
“Needless to say, the potential impact of locusts on a country still grappling with complex conflict, Ebola and measles outbreaks, high levels of displacement, and chronic food insecurity would be devastating.” UN and World Food Program officials, in a joint statement on the famine threat posed by swarms of desert locusts raiding the Democratic Republic of Congo and other East African countries. Some of the swarms are the size of cities, making it the worst outbreak in the area in 70 years. AFRICA NEWS | CONGO
“I agree with Peter Vickery that the national anthem doesn’t acknowledge Indigenous existence in Australia.” Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman on Victorian Supreme Court judge Peter Vickery’s Recognition in Anthem Project, which calls for new lyrics recognising Indigenous Australians. It also wants “young and free” to become “one and free”, which sounds a bit like calling out the Tattslotto numbers. Let’s face it, Australia needs a whole new branding campaign – anthem, flag and national holiday. THE AUSTRALIAN
“They’re definitely communicating. If I give my neighbour in front of me a push, it’s something I do. But we’re not talking about humans with brains, we’re talking about sand dunes that communicate – inanimate objects communicating information.” Nathalie Vriend, of Cambridge University, on research that found that sand dunes communicate with their neighbours as they move across the landscape, and even push their neighbour sand dunes further away. THE WASHINGTON POST | US
20 Questions by Big Red
01 Who are the two people known as
the Yellow Wiggle? 02 Which device did Microsoft launch
in response to Apple’s iPod, in 2006? 03 Which city held the first Australian
Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1985? 04 What word both describes an
acoustic guitar and WWI-era battleship? 05 Is US presidential hopeful Bernie
Sanders related to KFC founder Colonel Sanders? 06 Which two James Bond songs have
won an Academy Award for Best Original Song? 07 What is the only sea in the world
without a land boundary? 08 Which Australian marsupial has
09 In which year did Amazon sell its
first book: 1995, 1999, 2003? 10 Who is the captain of the Australian
Women’s Cricket team? 11 What does the acronym CSIRO
stand for? 12 Which popular toy is Ruth Handler
credited with creating in 1959? 13 What is the main ingredient in
Vegemite? 14 What is the name for the tiny hair-
like structures found in the lungs? 15 Who is the host of TV reality series
Pooch Perfect? 16 How many faces does a
“It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic. The next drink will not be different.” Actor Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting; Argo) on accepting his alcohol addiction. Affleck will no doubt bring his experience to his new film The Way Back, released this month, about a basketball coach battling alcoholism.
dodecahedron have? 17 What is a samovar traditionally used
for? 18 Who are the two miners who
survived underground for 14 days after the Beaconsfield Mine collapse? 19 Which country is the largest
producer of nuclear power? 20 Excluding 29 February, which date
is the least common birthday for those born in Australia, according to the ABS?
THE NEW YORK TIMES | US
FREQUENTLY OVERHEAR TANTALISING TIDBITS? DON’T WASTE THEM ON YOUR FRIENDS SHARE THEM WITH THE WORLD AT SUBMISSIONS@BIGISSUE.ORG.AU
ANSWERS ON PAGE 43
06–19 MAR 2020
CNN | US
“Trump’s plan for the coronavirus so far. Cut winter heating assistance for the poor. Have VP Pence, who wanted to ‘pray away’ HIV epidemic, oversee the response. Let ex-pharma lobbyist Alex Azar refuse to guarantee affordable vaccines to all. Disgusting.” US Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the response of President Trump to the coronavirus emergency. He doesn’t exactly sound impressed.
“Ms Johnson helped our Boy: I think I’ve got diabetes. nation enlarge Mum: Why? the frontiers of Boy: My poo is runny. Mum: You mean maybe space even as diarrhoea? she made huge Boy: Oh, yeah. strides that also Five-year-old overheard by opened doors Amanda of Epping, NSW. for women and people of colour in the universal human quest to explore space. At NASA we will never forget her courage and leadership and the milestones we could not have reached without her.” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine on mathematician Katherine Johnson who died on 24 February, aged 101. The inspiration for the film Hidden Figures, Johnson was one of the instrumental team of AfricanAmerican female mathematicians who helped send astronauts safely into space. Astronaut John Glenn reportedly said before his successful orbit of Earth in 1962, “If she says [the calculations are] good, then I’m ready to go.” EAR2GROUND
individual fingerprints, with ridges forming loops, whorls and arches, like humans?
by Rhianna Boyle
hile I wouldn’t swap my hippie parents for anything, the downside of being raised by former flower children is a curious sense of disconnection from your own era. During my teenage years, the outside world was enjoying the 1990s, but at home the decade was permanently a mash-up of the 1970s and some non-specific pre-industrial idyll. Our house looked like the elves of Rivendell had ransacked a pioneer museum. Ignorant of contemporary pop culture, I wore long homemade dresses and passed time walking my pet llama in the bush. I was a stranger to my own epoch, a fact not lost on the girls at my new high school. It was serendipitous, then, when I found The Girl’s Own Annual on my grandparents’ bookshelf. It was a fat, battered volume that smelled deliciously of old-fashioned ink. Covering fashion and household management, with some morality-improving fiction thrown in, the book was a guide to life for young ladies of 1881. The more I read, the more the Annual, with her stern editorial voice, began to seem like a real person – one who was just as ill at ease in the 90s as I was. While she would have thought it “vulgar” to say so, the young ladies who had been the Annual’s original readers were all dead. Living girls didn’t want recipes for calf’s foot jelly, bloaters and turtle soup, or articles like ‘Occupations for Invalids’ and ‘A Chat About British Ferns’. Most living girls, that is. I may have been 14 years old to the book’s 114 years, but at last I had found a decade to call my own. In my opinion, the lacy neck-to-ankle dresses in the fashion spreads were superior to present-day offerings. But it wasn’t just the superficial trappings of the Victorian era that appealed. My personality seemed to fit perfectly with the spirit of the age. While contemporary psychology lionised self-esteem, the Annual proclaimed that “self-love is at the root of all our trouble” and it was the preserve of “spiritual and mental dwarfs”. She also cautioned against “loud laughter and rolling about”, advising girls to instead “restrain all ebullitions of feeling”. In the wonderful world of 1881, the prized traits of the late 20th century – extroversion and an innate sense of cool – were overturned in favour of modesty,
stoicism and a talent for self-flagellation. Here was a period in which I could excel without really trying. Under the book’s influence, I took up pressing flowers as a hobby, and made use of her helpful cleaning tips. With the Annual’s hectoring tones ringing in my ears, I began rising early and keeping my bedroom spotless. She had a prodigious vocabulary with which to describe the lazy, and I would have done anything to avoid being called languid, idle, slothful or indolent. Even so, cracks began to appear – living in the past can be difficult. The Annual delighted in correcting her readers on points of etiquette. For example, she advised it was “not at all unladylike to use a tricycle”, and cautioned to “eat buttered toast with a knife and fork, if possible”. Yet despite her obsession with good breeding, she seemed blind to her own extravagant lapses in good manners. Readers’ letters were frequently answered with barbs lobbed at their handwriting. “Your writing is unsightly,” she told one girl. “It looks as if a fly had walked over the paper after a swim in the ink bottle.” To an aspiring “authoress” who had posted her essay, the Annual remarked heartlessly that “we do not rob you by consigning it to the fire”. Poor Daisy, who worried about her pimples, was told: “We feel sorry for a face which bears so unnatural a resemblance to a plum pudding.” The truth finally sank in – beneath all her frills and ladylike decorum, the Annual was a common bully. The whole era was starting to lose its charm. The Protestant work ethic had made my life joyless, and an era in which people routinely suffered from consumption and bilious derangement, and required instructions for having a bath, was beginning to hold less appeal. Then there were the horrors of a pre-feminist existence. The Annual remarked smugly that “it has yet to be proved that Cambridge examinations assist women in their household duties”. It was time to leave 1881 behind. As a teenager, I thought of myself as being out of step with the times. But when I look back at old photos, I’m struck by just how quintessentially 90s my hair and clothes look. The equalising effect of time means that even the well-dressed denizens of those photos look, to modern eyes, hilariously dated. I blend in more or less seamlessly – finally, from the vantage point of a few decades, in perfect alignment with the calendar year.
Rhianna Boyle usually writes about science and conservation for The Big Issue. She lives in Queensland.
Caught in a time warp between patchouli and grunge, a teenage Rhianna Boyle found refuge in an unlikely place.
06–19 MAR 2020
Guide to Better Living
THE ARR ARRESTING ST NG
Katherine Smyrk is a Chile-based journalist and former Deputy Editor of The Big Issue.
PHOTOS BY GETTY
ane Fonda has been in jail twice. First in 1970, when she was 32, after being arrested on suspicion of drug possession. The alleged drugs turned out to be vitamins, and the whole arrest turned out to have a lot more to do with her very vocal stance against the Vietnam War. The second time was in November last year, just before her 82nd birthday. After protesting against the US government’s inaction on climate change outside the White House, Fonda was handcuffed and escorted to prison, where she spent the night. She’s pretty blasé about the whole thing – “One night, big deal!” – pointing out that as a rich, famous, white lady she was never really at risk. “The plastic handcuffs hurt more than the metal ones and I discovered that it’s not easy for an 82-year-old to get in and out of a police paddy wagon without the use of her hands,” was all she said about it in a droll summary on her blog, which is a delightful catalogue of her recent activist endeavours. You might know Fonda best from her glittering film career, appearing in more than 40 films and winning two Academy Awards for her films Klute in 1972, and Coming Home in 1979. Accustomed to the spotlight as the daughter of revered actor Henry Fonda, she rose to prominence in the 1968 erotic cult sci-fi Barbarella, directed by her first husband, Roger Vadim. You might know Fonda best from those 80s workout videos that brought the world of boisterous exercise in high-cut leotards into people’s lounge rooms. Her Jane Fonda’s Workout series went on to sell more than 17 million copies around the world. You might even know Fonda best for her starring turn in Grace and Frankie, a current Netflix series about two women in their seventies (long-time collaborator Lily Tomlin is her co-star) who are forced into an uneasy friendship when their husbands leave the
1945 SWEET JANE WITH DAD HENRY FONDA
1960 FILM DEBUT JANE IN TALL STORY
1960s FASHION JANE
1968 BARBARELLA JANE
06–19 MAR 2020
by Katherine Smyrk
women for each other. The show has been a surprise smash-hit and is set to become the longest-running Netflix original series. But scrolling through the pages on janefonda.com, or reading any of her many interviews, it is evident that it’s activism to which Fonda is most devoted. “I became an actress because I didn’t know what else to do!” she admitted to Harvard Business Review. “I was fired as a secretary, and I had to earn a living. That was the way I thought about it. It was a job.” The activism came into her life in her early thirties: “There was a lot going on in the world and I was pregnant, which makes a woman like a sponge, very open to what’s going on around her. It was around that time that I began to realise that I wanted to change my life and participate in trying to end the war.” She formed the Free the Army Tour with actor Donald Sutherland in 1970, speaking out against the Vietnam War around the US – it was during this tour that she had her first stint behind bars. In 1972 she travelled to North Vietnam to learn more about the local people and to publicly urge troops not to bomb citizen targets. But she was photographed laughing and sitting on top of an anti-aircraft gun, creating a storm of controversy back home and earning herself the nickname Hanoi Jane. She has since apologised numerous times for causing offence to American troops, but amid the controversy continued to campaign furiously against the war. She held fundraisers for the Black Panthers around this time, and was a vocal supporter of Native Americans during the occupation of Alcatraz. Her film choices often had a foundation in activism too: Coming Home is about the Vietnam War; 1979’s China Syndrome was about nuclear disaster; 9 to 5 (with Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin) was about sexual harassment and working women reclaiming their power in 1980. Even those renowned workout videos had a political core – the money she made from Jane Fonda’s Workout went to the Campaign for Economic Democracy, a leftist political organisation founded by her then husband, Tom Hayden. In 2005, along with Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan, she founded the Women’s Media Center, an organisation that aims to ensure women are better represented in the media, and advocates and campaigns for various women’s rights issues. And then, at the end of 2019, Fonda bought a bright red wool coat, publicly vowed that it was
1970 HANOI JANE
Actor, activist and fitness guru Jane Fonda has worn many hats. But only one red coat.
1984 WORKOUT JANE
PHOTOS BY GETTY, NETFLIX
GRACE JANE (WITH LILY TOMLIN)
2019 CLIMATE CHANGE JANE
06–19 MAR 2020
1980 9 TO 5 JANE (WITH LILY TOMLIN AND DOLLY PARTON)
could just be who I was, and that was okay,” she said in a moving 2013 interview on the podcast Death, Sex & Money. Fonda has spoken very publicly about her personal battles, particularly as a young person. At the age of 12 her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, killed herself – a fact Fonda learned from a movie magazine. Fonda also struggled a lot with her identity and body image as a teenager. “Nothing seemed normal, I didn’t get my period until I was 17, I was at boarding school,” she wrote in Being a Teen. “I would buy [tampons] every month and pretend. I pretended a lot of things because I wanted to fit in. But I didn’t fit in. First of all, my father was famous and second of all, I actually did think that I was maybe supposed to be a boy.” She was in her fifties when she went to therapy for the first time. And after divorcing her third husband, CNN founder Ted Turner, at the age of 64, Fonda says that she finally felt free. “There was this voice that said, I’m okay. For the first time in my life I do not need a man to be whole. And that’s what life is supposed to be about,” she told Death, Sex & Money. “I have a lot more time behind me than I have ahead of me,” she added. “And living with the awareness of that helps me make decisions in life. It helps me not squander time.” And for Fonda, the most important thing for her to spend her time on is climate change. “Why spend your time on what’s not important? There’s no question that of all the things that I have ever focused on there’s nothing more existential than climate change,” she told radio station WBur FM. “And it’s a terrible thing that it’s not all anyone talks about now. I know that until I decided to move to Washington and engage in these actions, I was getting quite depressed because I knew I wasn’t doing anything.” Since then, she has not only inspired many to get involved in the cause, she has been revitalised by action. “I’m learning so much,” she wrote on her blog. “And I’m energised to a level I haven’t felt maybe ever.” She may have been campaigning for a better world for 50 years, but Fonda is resolutely showing the world that giving a shit is something that doesn’t have to stop when you hit 82. If anything, it’s only more important. As she herself wrote: “I never would have expected my life to get so much fuller and, in some ways, more meaningful as I moved into my [ninth] decade.”
1979 OSCAR JANE
the last new piece of clothing she was ever going to buy, and launched Fire Drill Fridays. A series of weekly protests – part sit-in, part rally, part large-scale education event – Fonda named the event after the much-touted warning from teen climate activist Greta Thunberg that “our house is on fire”. Fonda even temporarily moved to Washington DC to enable her to take part, and went out every Friday for four months, always wearing that bright red coat. And while these events are the work of many, including Greenpeace, Fonda has used her decades of influence in the world of Hollywood to pull her famous friends into the fray. The call-sheet of arrests from the protests includes Joaquin Phoenix, Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette, Ted Danson and Martin Sheen. As she told The New York Times: “Why be a celebrity if you can’t leverage it for something that is this important?” Fonda was arrested five times during Fire Drill Fridays. On one of those occasions she received word that she had won a Bafta – the Stanley Kubrick Award for Excellence in Film – and recorded a video acceptance message from the scene of the crime, shouting “Bafta, thank you! I’m very honoured” with her wrists tied in front of her, a police officer leading her away. “One of the reasons I’ve moved to Washington DC for four months was to get out of my comfort zone and put my body on the line, as Greta Thunberg calls us to do,” Fonda explained to Who What Wear in January. “I want to help wake people up. I want to try to role model with my own body.” While the campaigning continues, she recently had to leave Washington to film the final season of Grace and Frankie, which she was unable to delay. But this show too seems to perfectly tap into her passion for changing the world for the better. While it is a resolutely light-hearted series that includes scenes like Frankie (Tomlin) trying to teach Grace (Fonda) how to make personal lubricant out of yams, it also shows the complexities and desires and stories of women at an age we usually don’t see on our screens. “I have long wanted to give a cultural face to old age,” Fonda told Vogue. “I thought this was a show that could potentially give a lot of hope to people, especially to older people, especially to women. And I think that’s actually happened.” It’s a show about reinvention, and women coming into their own at a later part of their lives. And that’s something Fonda knows all too well. “I was in my sixties before I realised that I
Women of Influence To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked Michelle Law, Fadak Alfayadh, Carly Findlay and Clementine Ford to write about the women who inspire them.
To My Mentor Michelle Law on author Alice Pung As an Asian-Australian teenager interested in the arts, I didn’t have many industry role models growing up. When I was in my final year of school, back in the noughties, @ms_michellelaw my brother sent me a call-out for the Black Inc anthology, Growing Up Asian in Australia. A writer named Alice Pung was editing it. I didn’t know anything about Alice Michelle Law is a writer besides the fact she was a professional author – she was legit. and actor working in I was stressed about studying for my final exams and self-conscious about my print, theatre, and screen. writing but stayed up late in between study sessions to prepare a submission. I sent it Her play Miss Peony will and didn’t hear anything back for a long time; I was running out of time to preference be staged at Belvoir St university courses and still didn’t know if I wanted to study creative writing. Then one Theatre in 2020. day, I received an email from Alice saying she had accepted my submission – not only that, she wrote about why she loved the piece and how the story reminded her of her younger sisters. It was so personalised and respectful; I’d never had an adult from the real world speak to me in such a way before. Her faith in me gave me confidence. Alice is the person who started my career, so it is beyond belief to me now that I can proudly call her my friend, my colleague (I wouldn’t say I’m her peer just yet!), and my penpal. I have many handwritten letters from her that I keep in my desk and cherish. What I love most about Alice is that she is unassuming at surface Alice is the person who level while skewering people and systems with razor-sharp precision. She is intimidatingly astute, and simultaneously the most gentle and strong person. started my career, so it I admire her as a fan and look up to her as someone who regards motherhood, is beyond belief to me family and work (as a writer and lawyer) as being equally important. She’s someone I can go to for advice, and she’s someone I can have a bitch with over now that I can proudly pho. Alice is so no-frills. She has taught me to care only about the important call her my friend. things, and to stick to your own beliefs at all times. I have always remembered that first email Alice sent me more than 10 years ago – the care and generosity it contained. So every time a young artist contacts me, particularly someone with a minority background, I always try my best to give back by offering them the same care and support. You never know how it will help them.
illustrations by Michelle Pereira
by Michelle Law
To My Sister Fadak Alfayadh on her younger sister Naba.
To my sister Naba, You’re the most generous, kind, positive-thinking and resilient person I have in my life. @alfadak Growing up together, we wore the same clothes, we had similar haircuts and the same friendship groups. We were so close that no-one could tear us apart. Being older and Fadak Alfayadh is a lawyer starting school a year before you was hard for both of us. and a former refugee who From a young age, we both learned that life is hard. We both went through trauma. believes in the power of Life kept throwing challenges at us that we were too little to deal with. Together we building communities learned that life does that to you. Most of the time, you can’t stop what’s happening through conversation around you, especially when you’re young. Together we also learned that going through and storytelling. hardship with a best friend is what kept us alive. You’re my better half. I’m inspired every day by you. When the family is arguing through their differences, you manage to bring everyone together and make up. You’re calm and considered in your reactions and responses. When you see that someone is in need, you’ll head over to help without asking questions. I’m in awe of your empathy and kindness; people can feel those qualities in you instantly, and it gives you a way into their hearts and minds. Because of you, I’m inspired to do what’s right, choose what’s ethical and keep going. In the span of a year and while studying full time, you created a start-up organisation to help disadvantaged students in low socioeconomic suburbs in Melbourne. You managed to bring professionals and volunteers together to tutor students. Not only did kids get the help they needed, they also got to be part of a community. You’re now on your next mission: using technology to make Life kept throwing health care more accessible, so that anyone can get medical advice using their mobile device. I can’t wait to see what you achieve. challenges at us that we You’ve lived 26 years in the world and you’ve managed to improve an were too little to deal with. unimaginable number of lives. Keep going because you inspire me and Together we learned that others. We love and need you. life does that to you. Fadak
06–19 MAR 2020
by Fadak Alfayadh
To My Best Friend Carly Findlay on her friend Camille Dear Camille, You were my best friend for almost 10 years, but you died last year. It’s still not real. carlyfindlay.com.au The year has rushed by, and I’ve had lots of distractions to keep me busy, and friends who have checked in. I still reach for my phone to text you about something – usually Carly Findlay OAM is a meme about how essential oils don’t cure disability. a writer, speaker and We met in 2010 because we both wrote for the same disability-themed website, run appearance activist, by the Victorian Government’s Office for Disability. While we bonded over brightly living in Melbourne. coloured fashion, art and social media, I felt we had a special connection because of our experiences as independent, busy and ambitious women with rare, severe medical conditions. We talked about the importance we placed on work, and the guilt we felt for taking time away from it because of our disability. We’d often push ourselves to work when we should have been resting. You were so creative. When you were on the lung transplant waiting list, you ran your own business – making brooches, sewing cushion covers, bibs and bags, and designing your own fabric. I’d never known anyone who designed their own fabric before – this was so cool. I loved how you made so many online-turned-IRL friends through your crafting. After your double lung transplant in February 2013, you got too busy for your craft business – returning to full-time work, holidaying frequently, spending time with friends and family, walking marathons for charity, raising awareness and money for transplant patients, their families and services, and sewing clothes. You packed in 30 hours each day. I am so thankful to your generous organ donor and their family for giving you I still reach for my many extra precious years. We had so many good times together – you helped me plan events and were my bridesmaid at my wedding. You were there for the bad phone to text you times, too. There’s nothing I wouldn’t tell you. about something – You were diagnosed with a rare, aggressive liver cancer in early January last year. You texted me when I was holidaying in Hoi An – and told me not to google it. usually a meme about But I did. The survival rate was low. Mum and I sat through dinner saying shit a lot. how essential oils We hoped you could get through this. The cancer wasn’t related to your existing medical condition or transplant. It don’t cure disability. was utterly unfair. You rarely got angry, but you were this time. Camille, you left us last April, buried on your 45th birthday. Your funeral was a celebration of life – full of colour, music and laughter. The room was packed – a testament to how many people you reached. At the wake, your crafting friends sat at a big table, creating knitting and quilting projects and chatting. It’s what you would have wanted. I bought your old overlocker at a garage sale that your sister held – I will teach myself how to use it. People were so keen to buy your beautiful clothes and fabrics. I also bought your pink bridesmaid dress that you made for my wedding, and the one you made to wear to my book launch. You taught me – and all who knew you – how to truly live. Being kind, making time to be creative, connecting with others, travelling and making peace with what life gives you – no matter how hard it is. I miss you and love you forever, Carly Donatelife.gov.au
by Carly Findlay
To My Teacher Clementine Ford on her Year 12 English teacher, Ms Grace by Clementine Ford
06–19 MAR 2020
I have been blessed to live a life surrounded by incredible women, all of whom have taught me so much. So abundant has the love of women been in my life that at first I @clementine_ford wasn’t sure who to dedicate this to. There’s my sister, who has strength and kindness in equal measure. There are the women I know who work tirelessly to change the world we Clementine Ford is a writer live in, some of whom are still here and some of whom are no longer with us. I thought and public ratbag. She especially of Stella Young, who radically changed my understanding of disability and is also the creator of the pride. I miss her. There are the single mothers who support each other when the system podcast Big Sister Hotline, often won’t. All of these women are astonishing to me. an advice line for people of But I decided to write about Ms Grace, my Year 12 English teacher. She was all ages who miss the racy the first woman I’d ever met who would have explicitly called herself a feminist. days of Dolly Doctor. She saw something of the proto-feminist in me, and gently nurtured it in the best way possible – through open conversation, learning and the sharing of books my otherwise staid and conservative school may not have approved. I bonded with her over how much we loathed Tim Winton’s The Riders (“Why do the women in this book literally have NO VOICE?!” I raged at her. “Clementine,” she said, “I threw it across the room when I’d finished it!”) Ms Grace saw the things in her students that she knew they were fearful of revealing to people, and she created space for them to realise those things were beautiful. I restructured my whole senior year timetable so I could be in her class, and the wait to find out if I’d been approved or not was honestly as stressful as waiting to hear if I was going to be on Australian Survivor. (Spoiler: I was not.) A few years after I finished school, I visited Ms Grace in Ho Chi Minh I restructured my whole senior City. She had moved there with her partner to teach English, and I met them one night to share a bottle of wine. It was thrilling to see her in an year timetable so I could be in adult environment, and I tried hard to play it cool. I wanted her to be her class, and the wait to find impressed with me. I still do! out if I’d been approved or not It’s strange to think of someone you haven’t seen for almost 20 years still being the same guiding light they always were, but this is the mark of was honestly as stressful as a good teacher. There are lots of people I think of when I do the work I do, waiting to hear if I was going but the one person who always remains somewhere in the back of my mind to be on Australian Survivor… is Ms Grace. I feel grateful to have had her in my life. I hope she knows that.
The Big Picture series by Birgit Püve
Isle of Women On the tiny and colourful Estonian island of Kihnu, women rule the roost. by Mel Fulton Deputy Editor
ihnu is a pristine, picturesque and remarkably untouched island off Estonia’s Baltic coast – a fairytale sweep of grassland, pine groves and coastal sands interspersed with bright, whimsical-looking cottages in primary colours. But what really sets it apart is its inhabitants – Kihnu is known as a women’s island. When photographer Birgit Püve visited the tiny community of fewer than 600 inhabitants over its 18 square kilometres, she stayed with local dynamo Mare Mätas, one of the island’s most involved women: mother of four, president of the Kihnu Cultural Space Foundation, homestay manager, lighthouse keeper, island tour guide and passionate preserver of local customs and tradition. “My experience was really warm,” Püve says. “I was treated like [an] old friend…was asked to go to the sauna, to eat with the family and to be part of all the gatherings they had.” You don’t just come to Kihnu as a tourist, but as a guest, and are quickly absorbed into the island’s daily life. Mostly because everyone’s so busy. For many years, the men of Kihnu left for sea for long stretches at a time, fishing or hunting seals. The women ran the island. In a recent New York Times article, director of the Kihnu Museum Maie Aav mused that from fixing tractor engines to performing church services, there is nothing a Kihnu woman hasn’t done. The women are the primary custodians of Kihnu’s land, culture and traditions, which they have fiercely
defended against the encroaching modern world. Handicrafts, homemaking and song are among the women’s most immediately visible talents, and knitting is primary among them. During the long evenings of winter and spring, women of all ages gather in each other’s homes for ulaljõstmisõd – knitting and singing. The houses themselves are antidotes to Estonia’s winter gloom. “Kihnu homes are also like small wonders or masterpieces,” reflects Tallinn-based Püve, “full of colours, stripes, handicraft and colourful or flowery wallpapers.” They make everything they wear, including the kört or striped skirt, which are essentially the same as they were in the 19th century, and vary in colour based on the age and circumstance of their wearer. Children and young women wear brighter, predominantly red körts, while elderly women wear the more modest blue. Black skirts indicate mourning, and married women wear an apron over their kört. All skirts have a red ribbon around the hemline, said to protect the wearer against disease. Right now, Kihnu faces some tricky choices about how to preserve its traditional lifestyle while ensuring its ongoing viability. Jobs are scarce, tourists are coming and insensitive developments threaten the Kihnu way. But rest assured, Mätas stressed to The New York Times, the women will deal with it: “People think we are making some statement with the women being in charge, but that’s our culture. It works. We can’t imagine it any other way.”
TO SEE MORE OF BIRGIT PÜVE’S PHOTOGRAPHY: BIRGITPUVE.COM
06–19 MAR 2020
VIRVE KÖSTER IS A WELL-KNOWN SINGER IN ESTONIA, WHO LOVES HER CAT, DOG AND MOTORBIKE.
TWINS ON A VISIT TO THEIR GRANDMA
MARE MÄTAS FEEDS HER SHEEP, WHILE DAUGHTERS MANN AND ANNI TEND TO SHEEP TIMOFEI
RANNI MARI AT WORK
ROOSI KARJAM IS WELL KNOWN FOR HER WEAVING
06–19 MAR 2020
KÜLLI LAOS, HER WOOL BASKET AND COLOURFUL WALLPAPER
Letter to My Younger Self
Rose Rises Up Actor and activist Rose McGowan talks about growing up in a cult, surviving teenage homelessness and taking on toxic Hollywood. by Jane Graham The Big Issue UK @janeannie
p until I was 10 I grew up in a religious commune [in Italy] called Children of God. But I didn’t believe anything they were telling me. It’s young to be so questioning but I saw that what people were preaching was not what they were doing. And it was such an intense society I got to see that hypocrisy very clearly, whereas most people get a watered-down version of it, so it takes them longer to catch on. I saw the way the men used their power over women and it made no sense to me. It still doesn’t make sense. We escaped from the commune when I was 10 and moved to the United States. It was a rough time at home, with step-parents who weren’t very nice. I was very scared and traumatised. That’s when I invented my own planet, Planet 9, so I could escape this world and my reaction to America. I would shut my eyes and imagine my planet, and I would have melodies in my head which would soothe me. Looking back at it now I see it was a meditation, a way to astral-project out of my situation. If you could just shut your eyes and go to a better place with a beautiful energy... Why wouldn’t you go there?
PHOTO COURTESY INSP, GETTY AND MOVESTILLSDB.COM
When I was 15 I divorced my parents so I could have control of my life. I was homeless, I was on my own, and I was very lonely. I was entirely focused on just surviving. So when I started having relationships with men I wasn’t set up to understand that kind of world. A lot of older men were attracted to me, which at the time I thought was cool but now I think it’s creepy. I developed an eating disorder as a way of responding to the world being scary. So I could feel I was in control. Because the rest of the world seemed so wild and freaky. [McGowan got into a relationship with a man who put constant pressure on her to lose weight.] I’d like to go back to that young girl and put my arm around her. And punch that man on the nose. If you met the 16-year-old me you’d think I was very adult for someone so young. But I was very witty and funny and warm. I knew I was very cute. And I was very precocious. I was very scared as well, but you can hide fear behind a lot of things. And I’ve always had this inner core of strength. I’ve always resented being afraid and my response is to lean in to the fear. I became used to doing that on my own. I knew I could go under any moment and I refused to. I always knew I was destined for a big and strange life and I definitely wasn’t wrong. When I was 19 my boyfriend [music label exec Brett Cantor] had just been killed and I was standing on a street corner crying and a woman came up to me and asked me if I wanted to be an actress. It was a really brutal time. A really good person lost his life. It’s very hard to grieve someone who is murdered because it’s such a strange and big thing. I went into a deep depression. But I worked out if I did this movie [Encino Man, 1992] it would get me enough money to get an apartment, so I wouldn’t be homeless. And being homeless again was always the biggest terror for me. So I took my first acting job. If I could give the younger me advice I’d say don’t go into Hollywood. I didn’t relate to the people around me. Their concerns were not my concerns, I had much bigger concerns. I wish I had known I was an artist earlier in my life, but Hollywood is kind of a cult which makes you think their way is the only way to do things. And since I didn’t know anything about any other industry I got stuck in this dog-eat-dog world. But now I don’t care what they say and I don’t care what they think. I have shut the door on working in Hollywood. And they have shut the door on me. And that’s okay because I’m an artist and when I was
working in Hollywood I really felt that I was a commodity that wasn’t worth much. But I always thought I had something of value and I think Planet 9 – the visuals, the album and now the one-woman show – is a significant piece of work. I think my 16-year-old self would love it. This is the outlet she was looking for; it would be beautiful to let her know she would eventually find it. I think it’s clear that things have moved forwards since my book Brave [released after McGowan’s 2017 accusation of rape against former film producer and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein, which marked a pivotal #MeToo moment]. And it’s across all industries, not just Hollywood. My goal was a lot bigger than Hollywood. I called my book Brave to show people how to be brave in their own lives and how to fight the machine. Because when you do fight the machine it fights back and you have to be prepared for that. I had spies infiltrate my life, I had people paid to write nasty things about me for years. All because someone in power wanted to abuse their power. And other people were profiting from that. It was a sick, toxic system that needed to be blown apart. And for me, social media was the way to do that. If I had the chance of one last conversation with anyone I would love to talk to my father again. He died 10 years ago. When I was writing my book I was so mad at him I didn’t visit his grave for three years. But after the book came out I found my peace with him. The thing that eats away at me is that he never saw this new chapter of my life. He always hated Hollywood and he hated the men in Hollywood. He was an incredible painter and when I look at his paintings I see a really unique mind at work. I would love to be able to tell him about what I’m doing now and that I’m an artist and I can be free without the trappings of Hollywood. I think he would be really proud. When I travel I try to see the world through his eyes and I have a lot of conversations with him. When someone dies you can have these conversations that you were never able to have in real life. I’ve become quite good at knowing when I’m in a moment I should file away and keep. So that, when times are tough and trying, I can pull out that memory and know I’m going to be okay. I was in Italy [recently] – I was born there, and I feel a connection with the land. I was high on a hill by myself, looking out at the Tuscan sunset, and I felt I’d reached a moment of perfect peace. And in that moment I knew I was going to be okay.
Working in Hollywood I really felt that I was a commodity that wasn’t worth much.
TOP A #METOO MOMENT BOTTOM IN CHARMED (RIGHT), WITH HOLLY MARIE COMBS AND ALYSSA MILANO
I’m not sure you can die of grey hair or creeping conservatism, but I concede neither is especially attractive.
by Ricky French @frenchricky
Big Fat Zero S
ometime during the period while this magazine is on the streets, I will be hitting one of those birthdays that has a fat, round number – zero in fact – at the end of it. I was a child of the 80s, a teenager of the 90s – you can probably work it out. We tend to make a big deal of big round numbers, and I’m all for that. As we get older our memory gets worse and we forget what it’s like to be young, but birthday parties provide a beacon in that increasingly hazy gloom. Think back to a significant party and you can generally picture it pretty well: the people who were there, the venue, how much hair you had, maybe even your state of mind or your outlook on the world. Those parties tie us to a moment in time that might otherwise blend into the beige abyss of everyday existence. Bottoms up, then! We also tend to go about these things with good humour. Yes, we endure the “getting old, mate” jibes, fleeting moments of age-related terror and general impending doom, but we also take comfort in the fact there’s always someone worse off, ie, older. It’s much easier to blank out all the news reports about living in an ageing population until you realise that population is you. But, mustn’t grumble, I’m doing okay, thanks for asking. I’m probably healthier than I was 10 years ago, but god knows what’s really going on inside these bodies we inhibat. I recently read Bill Bryson’s latest book The Body: A Guide for Occupants. I’ve always loved a good guidebook, especially one that lists many of the ways I could die, all of which seem to look more likely the more big-zero birthdays you tick off. Bryson has a knack for presenting things in ways that are reassuring, depressing and droll. “There are thousands of things that can kill us,” he writes, “…and we escape every one of them but one.” He has an even better line
about how our body does everything it can to keep us alive, no matter how badly we treat it or what ailments strike. “Dying is, to coin a phrase, the last thing your body wants to do.” I think I’ll hang in there a bit longer. I’m not sure you can die of grey hair or creeping conservatism, but I concede neither is especially attractive. I can’t remember the first birthday I remember, if that makes sense. There’s a photo of my actual first birthday. I’m sitting in a highchair. There’s a fruitcake with one candle in front of my fat, red cheeks. My hair is whiter than North Fitzroy but every other tone is sepia brown. I remember my ninth birthday for some reason, and of course my 21st, diligently recorded on one of those camcorders popular in the 90s (and especially popular with my uncle, to whom it seemed to be surgically attached). I held my last big-zero party at the house in the suburbs we’d only recently moved into. Living out in the burbs was such a strange, new thing to do that I gave the party a theme: Aussie suburban bogan. I wore an Everlast singlet and trackie daks and drew a tattoo on my neck – the date of my son’s birthday, of course – plus a Southern Cross on my shoulder. A decade on and the new party will be in the same house. I still don’t feel any great connection to the suburb, but inertia proves to be a powerful force as you get older. The real connection is always through friends and family, people who emerge from their own flustered, ageing lives for one night to get together and celebrate yours. I think that’s nice. Plus, I’ve promised free booze. One thing I’ve learned is you should never take friendships for granted.
Ricky is a writer and musician who’s not getting any younger.
by Fiona Scott-Norman @fscottnorman
PHOTOS BY JAMES BRAUND
o I’m a home owner now – thanks, amazing – which means that I’m currently writing in an actual building site. Planks, piles of earth, pipes, chunks of masonry, and that’s just the bedroom. Oh, we’ve not moved in yet; I just had to be here at 7am because tradies. Actual “moving in day” is a shimmering mirage that retreats every time I look at the calendar. Current estimate: 10am, 10 April, 3004. It turns out that “can of worms” is an almost literal descriptor of what happens when you decide to fix ONE problem with your 1930s depression-build house, particularly if you take the word “worms” and replace it with “termite damage” and “dead rats”. Hey! At least they’re dead! It’s our own fault, of course. We could have gone for a brand-new town house/apartment with copper taps, industrial grey décor, open plan appliances and no garden, but my presumption is that anything constructed after 1987 is built to turn a buck with cut corners, cheap materials and inflammable cladding, and will date faster than the current fad for enormous sleeves. Also (irony alert) I have a horror of gentrification, and can’t abide how we’re knocking down anything characterful and putting up multiple concrete “lifestyle” boxes instead. Yay for investment properties and the economy, of course, but way to kill a neighbourhood. The “lifestyle” is all on the inside, in front of your flat screen, because from the outside new builds exude a distinct armoured air of “eau de fuck off”. Come on peeps, what about community? There was also the need for enough backyard for chooks. Technically rendered moot after The Fox visited on the last day of 2019 and killed our girls. But a house without chickens is not a home, so we’ll be restocking once we move in. So yeah, April 3004. If I’m honest, though, the reason I’m eyeball deep in dirt, skips and men wearing shorts and hi-vis is because I’m a bit of a wanker who would die if
someone thought for five seconds that I was conventional – and this is one quaint, unique little house with an exceptionally nice vibe. Unfortunately, it transpires that quaint, unique little houses are the way they are because a) they were built for $1.50 out of rats and chunks of brick at the height of the Great Depression, b) everyone who’s owned one has had a crack at doing something to it, and c) everyone who’s owned one has ignored the same intractable problems. Let’s put it this way: we have a couple of asbestos ceilings, and not only do they not even make the top 100 list of “things to fix”, I’ve already reframed them mentally as a “period feature”. Interestingly, I’m not regretting buying the place. For one thing, we now have, without question, the best-looking bathroom in Melbourne. It’s a green-andblack tiled art deco reconstruction with TWIN SHOWER HEADS and a deep vintage bath. It’s Gatsby, it’s lush, there is plenty of room for bottles of champagne, a photo of it has already popped up on someone else’s Pinterest, and I’m planning on recouping all of our restumping costs by renting it out for filming of the next series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. And, if we hadn’t pulled up the floor in the front room we wouldn’t have discovered the $260 in notes gathered by a particularly industrious rat for its bedding. As a friend noted, “You’ve really buggered that rat’s superannuation.” It feels – as we battle the damp in the front room, and fix the Escher’s knot of plumbing out back, and the concrete path which funnelled water into the house – that we’re doing our bit. We’re just the latest custodians, and we intend to do her proud. Even if we can’t move in until 3004.
Fiona is a writer and comedian who’s taking the long way home.
06–19 MAR 2020
If we hadn’t pulled up the floor in the front room we wouldn’t have discovered the $260 in notes gathered by a particularly industrious rat for its bedding.
Beyond Borders Fayssal Bazzi hopes the all-star ABC series will spark conversations about migrant detention in Australia. by Cher Tan @mxcreant
Cher Tan is a writer in Birraranga/Melbourne.
PHOTOS BY BEN KING AND LISA TOMASETTI
n an immigration detention centre in the South Australian desert, four strangers’ lives unexpectedly intersect. A young flight attendant is on the run from her rapidly spiralling life, away from a domineering family and a cult that abused and rejected her. A down-and-out father escapes a dead-end job, wishing to better provide for his family and to give his life more meaning. A refugee flees his wartorn homeland with a wife and two daughters in tow, in the hopes of securing a life free from persecution. Meanwhile, an ambitious bureaucrat is racing against the clock to suppress a national scandal. What could these characters possibly have in common? When Afghan refugee and loving family man Ameer (Fayssal Bazzi) finally arrives on Australian shores after a long and treacherous journey – in which he was duped by people smugglers in Indonesia and, later, separated from his wife and children – he finds himself caught up in a desperate plea for freedom alongside the many psychological ghosts that haunt the detention centre. Psyches crack open as each character is forced to face up to the ambiguities of their own situation. Stateless is a six-part drama series produced by Matchbox Pictures and Dirty Films, the latter headed by award-winning actor Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton. Featuring an all-star cast including Blanchett herself, Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale), Asher Keddie (Offspring) and Dominic West (The Affair), and co-created by Blanchett, Tony Ayres and Elise McCredie, it’s a timely and riveting look into the nature of Australian border control, as well as an insight into the global displacement crisis. Bazzi himself is no stranger to the asylum-seeker experience: he and his family immigrated to Australia in the mid-80s after a rocket hit their home in Beirut. When asked about the work he put in to portray Ameer, he notes, “There’s a lot of my dad that I saw in Ameer.” However, he’s quick to assert that one does not require a refugee background or a history of fleeing persecution to understand the show. “[Stateless] is about survival and wanting a safe life for your family. It’s about tapping into the things that everyone can relate to.” Indeed, instead of relying on one singular narrative, Stateless demonstrates a range of perspectives that each share a similar sense of emotional duress, be they from bad decisions, uncontrollable circumstances or enduring
trauma. The choices the characters make are rarely black and white: when gentle and affable Cam (Jai Courtney, Storm Boy) takes a job as a guard at Barton Detention Centre, it’s to gain more financial security for his young family. But he’s eventually forced to grapple with his moral compass as he bears witness to some of the horrific and complex issues that come with the position. The stories in Stateless are based on real events, which makes for, as Bazzi says, a “very human story”. For example, some might recognise that flight attendant Sofie Werner’s (Strahovski) experience as an Australian citizen mistakenly detained in an onshore detention centre is inspired by the 2004 case of German-Australian woman Cornelia Rau. There is immense research and thoughtfulness underpinning Stateless, and the stories are strengthened by the fact that many of the background artists and extras in the show are former refugees themselves, or have families who were affected by displacement. On set, Bazzi got to know the extras and drew a lot from their individual lived experiences and shared stories. “[One of the extras] had spent time in a detention centre and was a chef back home. He managed to get permission to be the chef for his fellow detainees, and his food was so good that the guards would sneak food from him as well,” he says. “The man now runs a restaurant, and took over the catering truck one day to cook food for everyone on set.” Certainly, for all the faceless statistics that have arisen from the refugee crisis both in Australia and globally, there still remains little in the way of contemporary popular media that seeks to humanise the many nuances and grey areas that naturally arise from such a complex political situation. Could Stateless help spark difficult conversations, particularly among those who have yet to give the issue much thought? Bazzi believes so. “It’s about putting a human face on so that the public can look at it and go, ‘Oh my god, we’re exactly the same.’ “I hope this series helps to start a conversation, that [the refugee crisis] isn’t just made up of buzzwords and figures. We’re talking about actual human beings looking for security for themselves and their families. They’re looking for the same things that the average Australian is looking for.” STATELESS IS SCREENING ON ABC TV AND ABC IVIEW.
TOP CATE BLANCHETT MIDDLE FAYSSAL BAZZI AND CLAUDE JABBOUR BOTTOM YVONNE STRAHOVSKI
Music in Exile
Exile to Main Street The music of Australia’s diverse communities has finally found a home. by Sose Fuamoli @sose_carter
Sose Fuamoli is a music writer, content producer and music programmer in Melbourne.
here’s a pure and uncontested honesty in Elsy Wameyo’s music that is instantly engaging. The Kenyan-born, Adelaidebased R’n’B artist has made significant headway since the release of her single ‘Outcast’ last year. It’s a song about navigating life as a person of colour in Australia and the very real challenges that dictate the African-Australian experience. It’s a confronting yet necessary depiction of the refugee experience. “I’m really excited to bring music that says things that are not often spoken about,” says Wameyo, who arrived in Australia with her family in 2006 at the age
ELSY WAMEYO: SHE’S GOT SOLE
The idea for the label was born when Alexander set his sights on exploring the multitude of diverse communities in Melbourne. “I come from an independent music background and have been an active part of the Australian scene for many years,” he says. “I wanted to know whether there were other musicians out there having trouble accessing the scene. Whether [it] was because of language barriers, prejudice, social structures, geography, finances, whatever. It turns out, there are. We came across so many incredible musicians, artists like Gordon Koang and Ajak Kwai, who have so much to offer but have been unable to access the resources and the networks that those more privileged can.” Music in Exile is home to some of the country’s most intriguing new talent, including Wameyo, Ausecuma Beats and Cyprien Kagorora, and provides pathways for these artists in a way that does not intrude on the creative process. Nor does the label profit: all income from Music in Exile activities goes back to their artists – according to the label they have already generated over $80,000 for their roster.
MUSIC IN EXILE PRESENTS SHOWCASES AT BRUNSWICK MUSIC FESTIVAL ON 10 AND 17 MARCH.
06–19 MAR 2020
I want to be authentic and raw, [to] tell real stories that someone can relate to and not feel alone.
The success stories have quickly begun to flourish. Artist Gordon Koang was a critical highlight of the 2019 BIGSOUND industry showcase in Brisbane, winning the International Levi’s Music Prize (worth more than $25,000). Koang, who is currently seeking asylum in Australia, is a household name in his native South Sudan, with nine albums under his belt. He has gone on to become a favourite on Melbourne’s wider touring circuit. Also from South Sudan, Kwai’s stories of home, hope and freedom – delivered beautifully across her three languages of English, Arabic and Sudanese – have resonated widely. Similarly, Wameyo’s music has garnered the attention of fans and industry folk alike, far beyond her base in Adelaide. She was awarded Young Kenyan of the Year in 2018, then went on to win the people’s choice award for Best Hip Hop at the 2019 South Australian Music Awards, and has perform alongside Maségo, Lady Léshurr and the Hilltop Hoods. She has also performed at Laneway Festival and Groovin’ the Moo. “Creating in Adelaide has given me room to be who I am,” Wameyo explains. “The music scene here is definitely smaller compared to cities like Melbourne and Sydney. I’m grateful for this because it left room for us as artists to shape and form how we wanted the scene to look. It gave me the opportunity to add my flavour and colours. We’re definitely still growing and evolving – very far from where we need to be but we’re moving in the right direction.” As 2020 opens up more opportunities for Music in Exile’s artists, for Alexander, the new year and new decade poses many possibilities for the label itself. “I’ve learned that the range of artists Music in Exile can represent is far more diverse than I initially imagined,” he says. “When the label started, we expressly wanted to help artists who have recently settled in Australia, artists like Gordon Koang. I’ve since found that it can be really powerful to add a range of different voices to this conversation. “There are so many different lived experiences of ‘place’ and of alienation, of struggling to find your place and struggling to be accepted for who you are. I think the term ‘Music in Exile’ has really struck a chord with a range of different artists, and I’m so glad we are able to enter into this conversation with them. I feel very lucky to be doing this work.”
PHOTO BY JAMES HARTLEY
of seven. “I think as humans we go through a lot but get so uncomfortable and too scared to talk about it. I want to be authentic and raw, [to] tell real stories that someone can relate to and not feel alone.” It’s been made possible thanks to Music in Exile, a Melbourne-based label that is providing a platform for culturally and linguistically diverse artists. Established by Joe Alexander of Bedroom Suck Records, Music in Exile provides opportunities for artists from migrant and refugee backgrounds who now call Australia home to share their unique experiences.
Maybe I don’t love him [Cormac Reilly] as deeply as I do some of my other characters, because he’s been more fortunate than most.
by Craig Buchanan @craigbuchananwa
Craig Buchanan is a freelance researcher and reviewer, based in Perth.
PHOTO BY JULIA DUNIN PHOTOGRAPHY
ith two bestsellers to her name, you’d think that Irish-born, WA-based Dervla McTiernan would have no concerns about the release of her third novel, The Good Turn, but she still worries. “It’s scary going out with the third one, you know? I feel it’s better than the others, and yet I don’t know if others will agree. It’ll be interesting to see how people respond,” she says. “I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that people like my books.” People certainly responded well to her awardwinning 2017 debut, The Rúin, when she introduced readers to Galway detective Cormac Reilly – who is being brought to the small screen by Irish actor Colin Farrell’s production company. And again, to its successor, The Scholar, in 2018, which shot straight into the top-10 listings around the globe. “To be honest with you, when I wrote The Rúin, it wasn’t intended to be the first book in a series. It just developed that way. And I do feel that, for me, The Good Turn completes those three books in a way.” Likeable and loyal to a fault – often to his own detriment both personally and professionally – Reilly will have an enforced hiatus in his immediate future. “For me, from the start, Cormac was this nice guy who had been very lucky. He was a good-looking guy. He was good at sport at school, so he was well liked. He chose a job that suited him very well, so he did well at it. And he’s always been decent. But he’s never been really, truly challenged until The Rúin,” McTiernan says. “What I suppose is interesting to me is what happens when you take a genuinely decent person and truly test them, push them in the areas where they’re sensitive. I think Cormac’s responded well. I’ve always liked him, and I always will. But maybe I don’t love him as deeply as I do some of my other characters, because he’s been more fortunate than most.”
THE GOOD TURN IS OUT NOW.
06–19 MAR 2020
Novelist Dervla McTiernan has more twists and turns in store for her detective Cormac Reilly – and an eye on her next work.
A Good Page Turner
A Galway native herself, Dervla has always been an avid reader. “One of things I’m grateful for is that, as a child, nobody cared what I was reading. It’s not like today, where parents are really trying to support their children’s reading journey – nobody cared! I had two older brothers who were readers. They read lots of science fiction and fantasy, and I picked up whatever they read. Then I found I was bringing home crime novels all of the time. It was Ian Rankin; it was Michael Connelly – it’s not the older writers that I hear other writers talking about. They talk about Raymond Chandler, and people like that. I just didn’t read those stories; they never crossed my path. I was reading the writers who were inspired by those writers.” Dervla has been based in Australia for the better part of a decade now, swapping her career as a corporate lawyer to concentrate on writing at the time of the move. “We bought our ‘forever home’ at the peak of the market in Ireland, and we were just settled when the GFC hit, and we just lost everything. We had to start again, and now we’re here in Western Australia. We couldn’t be further away from our family, and yet this has become home.” The Good Turn remains in Ireland – in the small village of Roundstone, on the wild west coast, where Cormac answers a call telling him that a young girl has been put in a car boot. But might we see characters like Cormac, or young policeman Peter Fisher, who plays a large part in The Good Turn, follow their creator to Australia at some point? “Part of me likes the idea of someone like Peter coming over, because I understand what it’s like to start again as an outsider. And I like the idea of this young person being out in rural Australia – which would be a complete shock to the system, because culturally and physically it’s so different. But all that is plot-level stuff. For me, I need to have the emotion. And it was only recently with the bushfires that I started to feel really strong, kind of visceral, emotion. “It was interesting, because it was anger and frustration I was feeling, and that was where the story was coming from, and I started to think: was that where a lot of my stories come from? Do I have to find that anger, that feeling of protectiveness about something, before the stories start to come? I don’t know. For the first time, I have the beginnings of Australian stories in my head, but they’re not the next cabs off the rank.” Instead she is already deep into writing her fourth novel, a stand-alone mystery. “It’s early to talk about it,” is all she will reveal. “After that, I haven’t decided. I don’t feel like I’m done with Peter. I think I need a bit of time to let Cormac develop again in my head, before I go back to him. But in the meantime, I’ve this other story that I feel like I really have to write.”
Annabel Brady-Brown Film Editor @annnabelbb
few days before I saw the new The Call of the Wild – Jack London’s 1903 novel, which has been adapted almost as many times as Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – my family dog Gus passed away. He was 18 – a centurion in dog years! – and his sad, steady decline will be familiar to anyone who’s loved an old pooch. I mention this because my experience of the film was so coloured by farewelling him that, to the bewilderment of my date, I basically bawled from the moment the movie’s dog-hero Buck appeared on screen. A hulking, doe-eyed Saint Bernard-Scotch shepherd cross, Buck passes through a series of owners, eventually finding himself in Alaska and the Yukon in the days of the gold rush. He is rendered through CGI modelling and “played” by Terry Notary – a superstar movement actor, Notary is the ape-ish performance artist from The Square (2017) and the coach who led the actors in Planet of the Apes to find their inner chimp. Turns out he’s just as good at being a dog. Buck’s final owner is a gloriously grizzly and recently bereaved Harrison Ford. His delightful rapport with Buck reminds of another iconic friendship between Ford and a furry creature, though his time with Buck is spent gazing up at the stars rather than travelling through them. Stripped of the novel’s savagery, this Disney go is mushy and sentimental, but it’s also darn sweet. Take the family, and remember all the dogs you’ve loved and the journeys they’ve taken. ABB
HARRISON FORD (LEFT) AND BUCK
Nominated for Best Documentary and Best International Feature at this year’s Academy Awards, Honeyland has been garnering praise since its international release late last year. And for good reason. Whittled down from a staggering 400 hours of footage, the film centres on the daily life of Hatidze, a Turkish beekeeper in her mid-fifties who lives with her ailing mother in an abandoned village nestled in the mountains of northern Macedonia. The filmmakers, who remain invisible throughout, manage to capture both the breathtaking, sweeping beauty of the landscape and Hatidze’s relative isolation within it, though trips to the capital Skopje to sell her muchrevered honey reveal her connection to a larger community. Hatidze’s way of life – particularly her beekeeping – is suddenly threatened by the arrival of a large, unruly family. What follows is a tale of struggle and tenacity, one that extends far beyond the confines of the story, transforming the film into an environmental fable about the destructive nature of greed. CLARA SANKEY MILITARY WIVES
With their partners freshly shipped off to Afghanistan, the wives at a UK military base have little to do but wait for news they hope will never arrive. In the wake of her son’s death serving his country, Colonel’s wife Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) knows this too well. With her husband away, she decides to help out with the social committee run by laid-back Lisa (Sharon Horgan). Do their differing styles clash? Does the idle suggestion that the women form a choir turn into something bigger than both of them? Are there more than a few setbacks along the way before a final triumph? With The Full Monty director Peter Cattaneo on board and a script “inspired by a true story”, this warmly professional effort hits all the right notes without ever breaking out into something original. The formula is predictable and apolitical but rock-solid, so bring tissues. Fortunately, performances by both Thomas and Horgan are lively enough to make this feel like more than a box-ticking exercise. ANTHONY MORRIS
In a change of pace from his luscious, retro-facing filmography (notably 2015’s Carol), Todd Haynes takes a nightmare ripped from today’s headlines and plays it straight. Dark Waters is a claustrophobic whistleblower drama that wants to be All the President’s Men (1976) for the present day – and to an extent succeeds. The film is based on a New York Times article about Rob Bilott, the Cincinnati lawyer who began investigating chemical company DuPont. Mark Ruffalo plays Bilott as a sort of scowling, saddad spin on Erin Brockovich; his quiet fury quickly becomes our own. While his stay-at-home wife (Anne Hathaway) holds the family together, Bilott spends decades in the office, doggedly fighting the Goliath-like power of a corporation that has been knowingly poisoning a community of West Virginia, and – as the end titles make clear – far, far beyond. Dark Waters is a cautionary tale, speaking to the environmental abusers and science-deniers who still today pick profits over people. It goes down like a stiff drink. ANNABEL BRADY-BROWN
Small Screen Reviews
Aimee Knight Small Screens Editor @siraimeeknight
THE PALE HORSE | AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Agatha Christie is thriving on television right now. While adaptations of her novels have been a constant on our screens for decades, they’ve recently got a major upgrade – nothing but respect to David Suchet. Here, writer Sarah Phelps (And Then There Were None) is back in whodunnit territory with The Pale Horse. A woman is found dead with a list of names in her shoe, and a recently remarried widower (Rufus Sewell, The Man in the High Castle) is listed. When the note is revealed as a murderous to-do list, paranoia kicks in – yet each person appears to die of natural causes. What’s striking about The Pale Horse is the supernatural influences – director Leonora Lonsdale layers on Wicker Man vibes – which couple well with the widower’s backstory. The horror is lightweight, though, and never gets under the skin like it should. But guilt lingers in this adaptation and it delights in punishing its leads in true Christie style. She never gets old. CAMERON WILLIAMS
LET’S GET PHYSICAL CULTURE
| SBS ON DEMAND
It’s not a good sign when, 50 seconds into a series, you want the main characters to stop talking. But it’s hard to have any other reaction to the cringey dialogue of Cloudy River, in which the leads tell each other things like “You’re the sky and I’m the sea” with straight faces. The Australian series explores the open relationship of Cloudy (Rebecca Robertson) and River (Rowan Davie), which is tested after they move in together. It’s a refreshing premise. Based on the real-life experiences of co-writers and co-directors Sophie Hardcastle and Charlie Ford, the story is likely close to its creators’ hearts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to its promise. The cinematography and editing lack any sense of personality; the screenplay, as mentioned, is rough; and Cloudy and River’s non-monogamy is treated as their only trait – the focus of almost every interaction they have. Commendably, Cloudy River wants to challenge traditional narratives through its alternative love story. But with its unadventurous style and tired dialogue, it does little to challenge the status quo.
Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s famous put-down of Governor-General Sir John Kerr is one of the greatest in Australian political history. You probably know the quote (“Well may we say God save the Queen for nothing will save the Governor-General”) even if you’re not familiar with the machinations that provoked such a salty barb. Almost 45 years on, investigative journalist Alex Mann revisits how and why Parliament descended into constitutional crisis on 11 November 1975 – “the day that broke Australian democracy.” Led by Mann, plus a small army of researchers and fact-checkers in the ABC’s podcast hothouse, The Eleventh is a factual thriller, methodically lining up the diplomatic dominoes that fell in the lead-up to Whitlam’s dismissal. Despite the decades elapsed since, interviewees speak with compelling emotional intensity, drumming home the incident’s lingering injustice. Eerie archival audio from a B-52 cockpit, Nixon’s White House, and a 1972 terrorist attack make for a disturbing yet addictive listen. The ghosts of #AusPol past have something to say. It’s (about) time.
06–19 MAR 2020
hen I first heard Jane Russell sing the phrase, “I’m no physical culture fan” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), I thought she was just speaking in general terms – albeit ones I agreed with. This week I learned that physical culture is, in fact, an organised sport. (We can blame this aerobic blind spot on my being an eternal indoor kid). Melding gymnastics, dance, marching and moralising, “physie”, as it’s known on our shores, is the subject of an effervescent new documentary called Champion Girls. It unpacks the history, if not the future, of this anachronistic pastime. Produced by a team of women in key creative roles, the colourful half-hour kickstarts this year’s Compass lineup on ABC TV when it premieres, befittingly, on International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March. It’s available thereafter on ABC iview. The IWD theme continues all week on SBS World Movies. From 9 March, the channel hosts a seven-day celebration of women directors. The mini festival features titles like Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang from Turkey, and Firecrackers by Canada’s Jasmin Mozaffari, which both explore the power dynamics affecting young women caught in small towns. Later, pagan horror aesthetics collide with criminal thrills in Agnieszka Holland’s eerie eco-drama Spoor. And I’m keen to finally tick off 2015’s The Meddler – a family dramedy starring Susan Sarandon and directed by Lorene Scafaria, whose tender Hustlers (now available on VOD and DVD) was my favourite film of 2019. AK
Sarah Smith Music Editor @sarah_smithie
iven that almost every pop song in history is about love, it takes a certain kind of chutzpah to release a record on Valentine’s Day – particularly if you’re a generational heart-throb. But it’s just the kind of swagger we’ve come to expect of Justin Bieber. Changes arrives five years after Purpose, and – as the title indicates – a lot has happened in that time. In September last year, Bieber detailed this experience – including his breakdown, drug addiction and depression – in a number of candid social media posts. His consequent recovery has coincided with his marriage to Hailey Baldwin and reconnection with his faith. It’s no surprise, then, that Hailey and God are the album’s primary subjects – the song ‘Habitual’ a kind of literal nod to the singer’s new addiction: his wife. While the idea of a pop record about marriage and monogamy seems radical, Changes is anything but. Bieber is, objectively, one of the best singers of his generation, and while he makes more of this gift here than he has for some time, the musical palette over which he chooses to do so feels pale. There are trappy twills and clouds of softlysoftly poptronics, but after 17 tracks it’s hard to tell one from the other. At his best, Bieber is winking at us, and his wife: ‘Come Around Me’ and ‘Take It Out on Me’ are unabashed, squishy sex jams. Changes isn’t as loved-up or as horny as it could have been, but it does have just enough heart to make it a cuddly second honeymoon. SS
HEAVY LIGHT U.S. GIRLS
Dan Snaith’s seventh album as Caribou took time. Since Caribou’s acclaimed album Our Love (2014), Snaith has mostly worked under his Daphni moniker, producing sample-based dance music built for DJ sets. The pillaging approach also shapes Suddenly. Across its 12 tracks, the record switches between trap bridges and 70s sci-fi synths, lounge jazz and R’n’B, grime and house. Often crossing eons in 32 bars, the album isn’t smooth. But it is electric and distinctly Caribou, flecked with the melancholic falsetto and glittering arpeggios that gave his last album such warmth. Snaith wrote these songs to feel out the unpredictability of life, explaining the album’s jumps. The theme is most clear on lead single ‘You and I’, a message to a passed loved one. Shifting back and forth from a disco procession to a euphoric, chopped-up chorus, the track carries the happy/sad mess of missing someone, while making you want to dance. Almost two decades into his career, Snaith remains obsessed with new tones and textures. Suddenly captures that curiosity, and passes it on. JARED RICHARDS
When Meg Remy first recorded ‘Red Ford Radio’, it was 2010, and her U.S. Girls project was strictly solo, very noisy and largely experimental. A decade on and six albums in, it’s grown to include a host of collaborators, parading a polished sound synthesising stray strands from pop’s past. On Heavy Light, Remy revisits a trio of early tracks – ‘Red Ford Radio’, ‘Overtime’, ‘State House (It’s a Man’s World)’ – to show how far she’s come. It's a grand production, drawing from gospel, soul, chamber pop and disco. Opener ‘4 American Dollars’ hits a glorious disco shuffle – replete with sinuous string stabs, wah guitars and bellbottomed bassline – but, rather than build a shrine to mindless hedonism, its lyrics rebuke economic inequality (“You were living in a cashless dream/Acting like it ain’t obscene”), acknowledging certain death as our ultimate shared humanity. So Heavy Light proceeds: its buoyant songs are cathartic pieces in which the pain of the past, and the existential darkness of the future, recede in the face of tunes worth dancing to. ANTHONY CAREW
UNLOCKED DENZEL CURRY/KENNY BEATS
Unlocked is the latest showing of Miami rapper Denzel Curry’s chameleon nature, a cut of eight raw tracks as much at home on mixtape website DatPiff as his previous release ZUU was on Jimmy Fallon. The impact here is lessened by what came before: the culturally critical cinematics of 2019’s ZUU give way to Unlocked’s pop culture-inflected machismo. “Diamonds on me no Thanos/Too, too smooth like Lando,” spits Curry on ‘Lay_Up.m4a’, over Kenny Beats’ Wu-Tanginspired production. At 17 minutes, Unlocked is a gut punch of a thing, every track vying to steal the crown from the last: ‘DIET_’ sees Curry roaring his way through the chorus, and ‘Cosmic.m4a’ is a return to his ultraviolence inflected cloud rap. Linking up with Kenny Beats here has a flattening effect, though, so where ZUU and 2018’s TA13OO were stuffed with ideas, Unlocked bounces by. There are moments where Curry’s love of 90s rap shines, but what’s here is narrowed in focus compared thematically and sonically to his prior efforts. NICHOLAS KENNEDY
Thuy On Books Editor @thuy_on
THE GIRL WITH THE GOLD BIKINI LISA WALKER
AMNESTY ARAVIND ADIGA
Olivia Grace, sassy, whip-smart, and unfazed by her non-bikini body, takes a gap-year job helping her childhood friend Rosco, now a Gold Coast private investigator. What follows is an action-packed joyride through the “cultural desert” of Surfers Paradise souvenir shops, speed-dating, and the ugliness beneath the Insta-veneer #livingmybestlife of beautiful Byron Bay. Olivia’s acerbic and hilarious commentary – on the antics of sleazy Ajay, his hempclothed rivals, an Ocean World Travolta impersonator, some feuding has-been surfers, and a whale activist group opposing a new McSushi franchise – creates intriguing shenanigans where everyone is after something. Yet the novel remains grounded by Olivia’s endearing relationships with strong, authentic female characters, like Lego-obsessed sister Jacq and foxy-dressing Nan, as well as by deeper themes of vulnerability around her relationship with Rosco, and an unresolved #MeToo moment that she’s prone to dealing with in Yoda-speak. Targeting Young Adult readers, The Girl With the Gold Bikini is a ripper read ultimately about backing yourself. JANE LEONARD
Amnesty, the new novel from Man Booker prize-winner Aravind Adiga, is a powerful exploration of the ways that state-sanctioned racism dehumanises migrants. It follows a day in the life of Dhananjaya Rajaratnam (who goes by the anglicised Danny), an immigrant who arrived in Sydney from Sri Lanka and has been living there illegally for years. He makes a pittance cleaning apartments, and sleeps in the storeroom of a Glebe convenience store. One morning he discovers that one of his clients, Rhada, has been found murdered, and he has reason to believe her lover Prakash committed the crime. As Danny’s day unfolds, he becomes more caught up in the murder’s aftermath and struggles to figure out how to take action and avoid the attention of the state. All throughout, Adiga skilfully uses Sydney’s claustrophobic cityscape as a destabilising force, one that is all the time encroaching on Danny. Amnesty’s main issue, however, is the repetition throughout, which while illustrating Danny’s indecisiveness, can weigh the novel down. JACK
100 LUNCHES WITH STRANGERS KALEY CHU
If you like inspirational, self-help stories, this little collection may spark you along. It’s the story of young Kaley Chu, who decides to combat her shyness in a surprising way: over the course of a year, she invites a hundred complete strangers to lunch, and the book brings together various lessons Chu learned from those who accepted her offer. Many of the chapter headings provide a pithy lesson on their own, for instance: “Open up to diversity to enrich your life”; “Feel the fear but do it anyway”; “Meaning of Life: Fulfilment will come from helping others”. You may already know such corny platitudes, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded all the same. The whole point of the book is to get you out of your comfort zone and try to engage with people you normally wouldn’t ever even talk to, let alone break bread with. Chu also offers practical tips for those who’d like to know how to make friends and connections as an adult. THUY ON
07–20 FEB 2020
THE NEW EMMA: NEVER GROWS OLD
Emma Woodhouse’s haughtiness and misplaced confidence …are still interesting.
’ve written about film adaptations of novels before; the trend does not seem to be abating. It’s a sure-fire way for Hollywood to cash in because many cinemagoers already know and love the work in its original form. We’ve already had Little Women this year and now here’s a new version of Jane Austen’s Emma. The author did not expect readers to warm to her wealthy, deluded and meddling protagonist. About Emma, Austen famously said, “I’m going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like.” She’s fallible certainly and nowhere near as morally righteous as good old Elizabeth Bennett, but Emma Woodhouse’s haughtiness and misplaced confidence in her own matchmaking abilities are still interesting in what they say about class and prejudice in today’s world. That’s the reason why Austen’s novels still remain relevant, regardless of the fact that they were written centuries ago. Although I did enjoy Clueless, that 1995 rom-com set in a modern-day high school that so cleverly riffed on Emma, I have a weakness for period costume bonnet dramas, and this new iteration is by all accounts, a faithful one. TO
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Public Service Announcement
by Lorin Clarke @lorinimus
Another day, another park, another weekend, I saw two blokes throwing a frisbee. They looked like nice guys. Not chatting much. Just hurling the disc through the air, judging the weight of it, positioning themselves for the perfect catch, watching it glide. Shouting “nice one” occasionally. I stopped on the edge of the oval, leaning over the fence, watching. I had no appointments to go to. I had nothing else I should be doing. And here’s a thing you should know about me: my favourite leisure activity on planet Earth is playing frisbee. Another thing: I’m not usually a shy person. But I didn’t go up to them. I didn’t say mind if I join in? They looked at me a couple of times, probably wondering why is that strange lady staring at us? Maybe even wondering I wonder if she’d like to join in? But instead of saying anything, I watched for a few minutes, admired the majesty of the frisbee, felt agitated at not being part of the game, and walked home. To do otherwise would have been uncool. But cool has always
been beyond me anyway (my choice of leisure activity is the frisbee). I should have joined in. Always join in. You know that question people sometimes ask couples – how did you meet? One of my favourite answers comes from a friend of a friend who was at a raucous hen’s night at a pub when she met her husband. “He was the one,” she explained, “reading a book by himself at the bar.” Be the one reading a book by yourself somewhere. Doesn’t matter who you know. What matters is, is it a good book? Only one way to find out. Be the person in the queue at the post office who is making huge big bug eyes at the baby whose mother is frantically trying to send something before 5pm. Win that baby over. Poke out that tongue, gasp like a pantomime clown, wiggle that head like there’s no tomorrow. If you can make that baby smile by the time the mother gets called to the counter, who cares about the frowny bloke who’s picking up a parcel? You win. Sing along. Singing along to something never makes you feel worse. When the new person turns up and does it wrong – doesn’t know the right thing to say, speaks too loudly or too quickly, makes stupid mistakes, says ever-so-slightly the wrong thing so that everybody looks instantly at the ground – be the brave person who meets that person’s eyes. You might get a friend out of it. You might just make somebody’s day a tiny bit better. Hardly anybody can dance. Nobody is confident at karaoke. People try new things, badly, all the time. Learning is so daggy. Liking people is so risky. Asking permission is embarrassing. The penalties for these things are social ones. Cool is a form of cultural oppression. Set yourself free. Be a big old dork. Sing the song, admit to liking the daggy band, wear the ludicrous shirt you feel good in, touch the peppercorn tree you’re cycling under. Public Service Announcement: resist the cool.
Lorin Clarke is a Melbourne-based writer. The second season of her radio series, The Fitzroy Diaries, is on ABC Radio National and the ABC Listen app now.
was standing in a park the other day and I saw a grown man riding a bicycle, back straight, hands-free, arms crossed in front of him. As he came towards us, he reached his arms up joyously to the sky, running his fingers through the leaves of the overhanging trees. He was wearing sunglasses. “Oh man,” said the person I was with, “what a tool.” We giggled. But as I watched him go – was he singing, too? – I realised that what we were finding surprising was an outward expression of joy from a human adult. That to express delight and self-confidence in public is such a breach of the social contract as to create a ripple of disapproval. Remember being a kid? Remember riding a bike and passing a branch that dangles down and resisting the urge to reach up and touch it? Me neither! Why do we teach each other that an expression of joy is a transgression? Why do we resist rising up out of our seats and feeling the leaves of the peppercorn tree against our fingertips while riding our adult bikes to our adult jobs? Public Service Announcement: it’s okay to be daggy. In fact, it’s an act of rebellion. Be yourself.
06–19 MAR 2020
Embrace Your Inner Dork
Tastes Like Home edited by Anastasia Safioleas
FOOD PHOTO BY ELLA RUBELI, PORTRAIT BY SALLY INGLETON
Tastes Like Home Jimmy Shu
Barramundi Meen Moilee
600g barramundi fillets, skin removed, cut into cubes 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 180g sliced red onion 2 sticks lemongrass, bruised 3 red birdseye chillies, bruised 25 fresh curry leaves, plus more to garnish (optional) 15g sliced ginger 200g fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges 600ml coconut cream 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar Steamed basmati rice, for serving
Method Season the fish with a little salt and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan and stir-fry the onion, lemongrass, chillies, curry leaves and ginger over a medium flame, until the onions are soft. Add the tomato and cook for about 5 minutes. Next, add the coconut cream and turmeric, bring to the boil and lower the flame. If the mixture is too thick, thin with a little water. Add salt and sugar, then taste to check the seasoning. Gently add the fish pieces and poach in the coconut broth for just 6 minutes, until cooked through. Garnish with fresh curry leaves and serve immediately with basmati rice.
erhaps you could call me a mongrel. My parents are from China but I was born in Sri Lanka. They escaped during the Cultural Revolution and set up a restaurant in Sri Lanka before I was born. My father had that restaurant for 38 years. I virtually grew up in the kitchen. I peeled prawns for him, tonnes and tonnes of prawns. The prawn season would last for six months, so for six months of the year my fingers would smell of prawn. I can clean a prawn with my eyes closed! Before school and on weekends, my father used to take me to the fish market at five in the morning. I was a 15-year-old with zero incentive and motivation, but I found my little niche. There was this beautiful little cafe attached to the fish market and every morning, as soon as the mackerel arrived, they would cook it into this meen moilee curry. It was cooked over an open fire using firewood and I would just sit there in the morning, sleepy-eyed and staring at the embers and the glowing firewood. Then this beautiful smell would waft over. We would eat it with string hoppers [rice noddles]. Later on, we had it on our menu at my father’s restaurant. I’m a proud Australian citizen for the last 49 years. I’ve been in the Northern Territory for 29 years and have my own restaurant in Darwin called Hanuman. We have this dish on the menu. It’s an excellent curry for someone to break into the curry scene, even kids can handle it. You can use any firm white fish but our barramundi here is perfect. Of course, it’s got to be wild caught. But the most important component in this dish is the lemongrass from Humpty Doo, about an hour out of Darwin. And another important ingredient is the amazing curry leaves that grow everywhere because of the weather here. Food doesn’t require a visa; it jumps over borders very easily. I’m now 70 and still exploring. JIMMY SHU’S TASTE OF THE TERRITORY SCREENS ON SBS FOOD FROM 23 APRIL.
06–19 MAR 2020
ANSWERS PAGE 45
By Lingo! by Lauren Gawne lingthusiasm.com SIC
CLUES 5 letters Curry flavouring Fatty part of milk Online message Ring‑tailed primate Royal domain 6 letters
E M C I
Each column, row and 3 x 3 box must contain all numbers 1 to 9.
5 7 9
6 5 6 5 3 9 7 8 3 1 2 6 4 9 9 8 4 2 3
Business ability Film theatre Legendary magician Servile Stay
CROSSWORD PAGE 45
ACROSS 1 Standing ovation 9 Flats 10 Checklist 11
Earth substance Incredible happening Skull
Puzzle by websudoku.com
Solutions Tete-a-tete 12 Otter 13 Genius 14 Tallies 17 Pitiful 19 Audits 21 Isaac 23 Mannerism 24 Two-timers 25 Ensue 26 Definite article
DOWN 1 Safety 2 Apartment 3 Dissatisfaction 4 Nucleus 5 Overeat 6 Acknowledgement 7 Idiot 8 Notarise 15 Intrinsic 16 Sprinted 18 Limpest 19 Amnesia 20 Impede 22 Aloof
20 QUESTIONS PAGE 9
Flee in fright (3 words) Nail treatment
1 Greg Page and Emma Watkins 2 The Zune 3 Adelaide 4 Dreadnought 5 No 6 ‘Skyfall’ by Adele and ‘Writing’s on the Wall’ by Sam Smith 7 Sargasso Sea (located within the Atlantic Ocean) 8 Koalas 9 1995 10 Meg Lanning 11 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 12 Barbie 13 Yeast extract 14 Cilia 15 Rebel Wilson 16 12 17 Heating water for tea 18 Todd Russell and Brant Webb 19 USA 20 25 December
06–19 MAR 2020
Using all nine letters provided, can you answer these clues? Every answer must include the central letter. Plus, which word uses all nine letters?
The innocuous (sic) calls attention to the fact that a quote has an error that was in the original, faithfully included in the replicatttion (sic). While useful, it is also a snarky action. Henry Watson Fowler, who wrote a major style guide, called it “a neat and compendious form of sneer”. We begin to see sic in printed English around the 1870s, probably under the influence of French use at the time. Sic is from Latin sīc for “so” or “thus”. While it only has a small role in English, it has a much fuller life in many of the languages descended from Latin – you may be more familiar with it as the modern Italian and Spanish si.
by Chris Black
THE ANSWERS FOR THE CRYPTIC AND QUICK CLUES ARE THE SAME. ANSWERS PAGE 43.
Quick Clues ACROSS
1 Eminem fan not avoiding wild applause (8,7)
1 Security scrapped feast over unknown figure (6)
9 Digs shoes (5)
2 A standard model: workers’ time unit (9)
10 “Things to be done,” says Czech composer (9)
3 Unhappiness if a station’s disc skipped (15)
11 The taskforce against employment sides with
4 Uncle transplanted American heart (7)
chief executive in private conversation (4-1-4) 12 China taking sides for swimmer (5) 13 Wish fulfilment mechanism detailed by American intellectual (6) 14 This American Life starts stories with records (7) 17 Sad if tulip withers (7) 19 Inspects local currency; opens international transaction services (6) 21 The father of Jacob and Lisa acted a bit (5) 23 Characteristic of miser: running after German author (9) 24 Cheaters watch sundial? (3-6) 25 Follow directions without second guessing? (5) 26 The assaults incite Delta fire (8,7)
1 Welfare (6) 2 Type of residence (9) 3 Unhappiness (15) 4 Central part (7) 5 Have too much (7) 6 Appreciation (15) 7 Dunce (5) 8 Officially verify (8) 15 Essential (9) 16 Dashed (8) 18 Least firm (7) 19 Form of memory loss (7) 20 Hold back (6) 22 Cool (5)
5 Binge deliveries and spill tea (7) 6 Cogent men walked around for recognition (15) 7 Air Djibouti regularly carrying simpleton (5) 8 Verify senorita’s movements (8) 15 Natural batting: openers try really intently,
negating seamers’ incisive cutters (9)
16 Charged journalist after small copy (8) 18 Most relaxed, casually simple time (7) 19 Name and test bias stripped of memory loss (7) 20 Hinder one politician, meddle regularly (6) 22 First-grade moron upended remote (5)
SUDOKU PAGE 43
2 8 4 1 5 6 7 3 9
7 1 3 9 2 4 6 8 5
5 9 6 8 3 7 4 1 2
8 6 5 2 9 3 1 4 7
9 7 2 6 4 1 3 5 8
3 4 1 5 7 8 9 2 6
1 2 7 3 8 9 5 6 4
6 5 9 4 1 2 8 7 3
4 3 8 7 6 5 2 9 1
Puzzle by websudoku.com
WORD BUILDER PAGE 43 5 Cumin Cream Email Lemur Realm 6 Acumen Cinema Merlin Menial Remain 7 Mineral Miracle Cranium 8 Run a mile Manicure 9 Numerical
06–19 MAR 2020
1 High praise (8,7) 9 Type of shoe (5) 10 To-dos (9) 11 Heart-to-heart (4-1-4) 12 Aquatic mammal (5) 13 Brilliance (6) 14 Counts (7) 17 Sorry (7) 19 Examines (6) 21 Newton, for one (5) 23 Idiosyncrasy (9) 24 They can’t be trusted (3-6) 25 Arise (5) 26 Grammatical element (8,7)
Click words by Michael Epis photo by Getty
eeds, not words” was the motto of Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union – and she was as good as her word, as this photo demonstrates. Here, she is shown being arrested by police outside Buckingham Palace in May 1914 while attempting to petition the King in order to win women the vote. This was the eighth arrest of
Pankhurst, who was among those to go on hunger strike while in Holloway Prison. During her trial that October she told the court: “We are here not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become lawmakers.” Her party, for women only, was radical from the start, born out of her impatience with parliament, which had failed to pass bills
granting women the right to vote as far back as 1870. In the meantime such rights had been conferred in New Zealand (1893), Australia (1902, excluding Indigenous, African, Asian and Pacific Islander women) and Finland (1906). Demonstrations were common; more shocking was the tactic of smashing windows (an established political practice in England), and arson, which had the suffragettes labelled “terrorists”. Interestingly, the term suffragette was originally a slur coined by a journalist, adding a feminine suffix to the term suffragist, which comes from the Latin suffragium, originally denoting a voting tablet, and is also the word for “vote” and the right to vote. Just months after this photo was taken WWI broke out, and Pankhurst suspended action in favour of supporting the war effort. It was one of many things that split the movement; one victim of these splits was her pacifist daughter Adela, whom Emmeline dispatched, never to be seen by her again, to Australia (where she co-founded the Communist Party of Australia). As WWI was approaching its end in 1918, British suffragettes won their battle. But only for women over 30. The war had claimed the lives of so many men that women formed much more than half of the adult population. Equal voting rights would have given women a majority, hence the age restriction. Another 10 years would pass before all women 21 and over could vote. Pankhurst did not live to see that final victory; she died in June 1928, aged 69. A statue of her stands to this day in the gardens next to London’s Houses of Parliament. Her other motto was “Trust in God – She will provide.”
“The plastic handcuffs hurt more than the metal ones and I discovered that it’s not easy for an 82-year-old to get in and out of a police pa...
Published on Mar 6, 2020
“The plastic handcuffs hurt more than the metal ones and I discovered that it’s not easy for an 82-year-old to get in and out of a police pa...