{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1




OCT 21 17 FEB– 01 NOV 05 MAR 2020


H.G. NELSON p26.


and p28.


HELPING PEOPLE HELP THEMSELVES HELPING PEOPLE HELP THEMSELVES the cover price goes to your vendor $4.50$4.50 of theof cover price goes to your vendor

$9 $9


Some Big Issue vendors now offer digital payments.



Chief Executive Officer Steven Persson

Advertising Simone Busija (03) 9663 4533 sbusija@bigissue.org.au

Chief Operating Officer Sally Hines Chief Financial Officer Jon Whitehead Chief Communications Officer Emma O’Halloran National Operations Manager Jeremy Urquhart EDITORIAL

Editor Amy Hetherington Deputy Editor Melissa Fulton Contributing Editor Michael Epis

Subscriptions (03) 9663 4533 subscribe@bigissue.org.au Editorial (03) 9663 4522 editorial@bigissue.org.au GPO Box 4911 Melbourne Vic 3001

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. PRINTER

Contributing Editor Anastasia Safioleas Editorial Coordinator Lorraine Pink



Big Issue In Australia Ltd (ABN 61 071 598 439) 227 Collins Street Melbourne Vic 3000


Contact the vendor support team in your state. ACT (02) 6181 2801 Supported by Woden Community Service NSW (02) 8332 7200 Chris Campbell NSW + ACT Operations Manager

thebigissue.org.au © 2020 Big Issue In Australia Ltd

Printgraphics Pty Ltd 14 Hardner Road Mount Waverley Vic 3149

Art Direction & Design GOZER (gozer.com.au)


Qld (07) 3221 3513 Susie Longman Qld Operations Manager SA (08) 8359 3450 Matthew Stedman SA + NT Operations Manager Vic (03) 9602 7600 Gemma Pidutti Vic + Tas Operations Manager WA (08) 9225 7792 Andrew Joske WA Operations Manager

Film Editor Annabel Brady-Brown


Allens Linklaters, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Clayton Utz, Fluor Australia, Government of New South Wales, Government of Western Australia, Herbert Smith Freehills, Macquarie Group, MinterEllison, NAB, Newmont Australia, PwC, Qantas, Realestate.com.au, William Buck MARKETING/MEDIA PARTNERS

C2, Carat & Aegis Media, Chocolate Studios, Macquarie Dictionary, Res Publica, Roy Morgan, Town Square

Small Screens Editor Aimee Knight Music Editor Sarah Smith


The Big Issue is grateful for all assistance received from our distribution and community partners. A full list of these partners can be found at thebigissue.org.au.

Books Editor Thuy On Cartoonist Andrew Weldon







Can’t access a vendor easily? Become a subscriber! Every Big Issue subscription helps employ women experiencing homelessness and disadvantage through our Women’s Subscription Enterprise. To subscribe THEBIGISSUE.ORG.AU or email SUBSCRIBE@BIGISSUE.ORG.AU

The Big Issue is a proud member of the INSP, which incorporates 122 street publications like The Big Issue in 41 countries.





Living the Dream Greig Pickhaver, better known as HG Nelson, opens up about his family, good luck and the Sydney Olympics.


Phryne Festival


Making It So: Patrick Stewart Is Picard Patrick Stewart tells why he has done the very thing no-one thought he would ever do: reprise the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek. PLUS Clem Bastow revisits the Star Trek enterprise (get it?) and asks what it is that keeps us coming back.

Miss Fisher has broken out of the confines of TV – it was always too small for her – to solve murder mysteries on the big screen.


Big Maq


04 Ed’s Letter & Your Say 05 Meet Your Vendor 06 Streetsheet 08 Hearsay & 20 Questions 11 My Word 18 The Big Picture

24 Ricky 25 Fiona 32 Film Reviews 33 Small Screen Reviews 34 Music Reviews 35 Book Reviews

36 Tastes Like Home 39 Public Service Announcement 40 Puzzles 41 Crossword 43 Click


Patrick Stewart returns as Captain Picard. photo courtesy Amazon Prime background illustration by Janelle Barone The Jacky Winter Group @janelle.barone

Georgia McDonald is known for her slashing guitar in Camp Cope – which makes her solo album of pop love songs a real surprise.

Ed’s Letter

by Amy Hetherington Editor @amyhetherington


Resistance Is Futile


ack in January 1968, a band of 200 or so college students took to the streets of Los Angeles, not to protest about the war in Vietnam or civil rights or women’s rights. Nope. Armed with banners and song, the throng of upset undergrads were demonstrating against NBC’s rumoured cancellation of Star Trek after its second season. The network also received more than 110,000 letters of support for the ground-breaking show. Its fans saved the day and the sci-fi series lived on – followed by 13 films and seven spinoff series, including the latest, Star Trek: Picard. And Trekkies, the original sci-fi superfans, were born – with The Washington Post estimating there are now 250 million Trekkies on this planet alone. I’m no Trekkie. Sure, I can remember mastering the Vulcan hand salute

with studied determination as a seven-year-old, thanks to a Star Trekloving babysitter. But when I sat down to watch Picard – purely for research purposes for this edition, you understand – I binged all of the available episodes in one sitting. You could say, I’m engaged. Our cover star Patrick Stewart remains as commanding and charismatic as ever in his career-making role. In this edition, he tells us why he decided to return to the Star Trek universe. And we also look at why Star Trek has lived long and prospered for more than 50 years. As culture critic Clem Bastow explores, its power comes from its utopian vision, and a hope for a peaceful world. Humour me when I draw parallels between creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision and our own mission here at Big Issue HQ – to create a space that celebrates a diversity of voices and social equity; a world that raises each other up. Welcome aboard the starship Social Enterprise!



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.

Your Say

You have such a fabulous magazine! Living in rural Queensland, we subscribe and look forward to its arrival every fortnight. I especially love Ricky, Fiona and Lorin (and the Crossword – please don’t ever get rid of it). I especially enjoyed Fiona’s ‘Good Books’ article in Ed#603 – there was so much heart in it. Keeping it real is so important. Great work guys! CANDACE DAVIS ROMA I QLD

I buy The Big Issue whenever I am in the City of Melbourne, which isn’t often. But I recently had the pleasure of getting it from George in Station Street, Fairfield, who was your featured Vendor Profile in Ed#603. How delightful he was, and he was the first person I have seen selling it in the suburbs. I love what your mag represents and how it helps, and yes, I told George to “keep the change”. ANNE GIUDICE BRUNSWICK I VIC

I’ve just finished reading my very first issue of The Big Issue. A preloved copy (Ed#602) was left on a seat for anyone interested to pick up and read. I enjoyed reading it – especially the Elton John article by Alexis Petridis. CLIVE HODGES ST LUCIA I QLD

• Our Women’s Subscription Enterprise provides employment and training for women through the sale of magazine subscriptions as well as social procurement work. • The Community Street Soccer Program promotes social inclusion and good health at weekly soccer games at 19 locations around the country. • The Big Issue Classroom educates school groups about homelessness. • And The Big Idea challenges university students to develop a new social enterprise. CHECK OUT ALL THE DETAILS AT


As winner of Letter of the Fortnight, Candace wins a copy of Wild Fearless Chests by Mandy Beaumont. We speak to her on p30. We’d also love to hear your thoughts, feedback and suggestions: SUBMISSIONS@BIGISSUE.ORG.AU



interview by Erica Rees photo by Nat Rogers



Robert B

School was hard for me. I grew up around violence and alcoholism, and was bullied at school. I also moved a lot – I went to five or six different schools so I was always the new kid. That made things hard. In Year 10 I started work picking potatoes. Real hard work, from dawn to dusk. I left school to help Mum while my three younger brothers stayed at school. I didn’t have much of a childhood. Life has always been a battle, leaving me little time to rest. In some ways this has continued, even now. My mum passed away in 1997. She was the only person I was close to, the only person I ever fully trusted, so when she died alcohol became my friend. Before long, I began blackout drinking. These blackouts resulted in two jail sentences. Jail and a criminal history brought me a sense of worthlessness. I couldn’t look people in the eye, so I’d turn back to the drinking. Now I don’t want to drink. If I’m having a bad day, I write my thoughts down. Solid people in my life are my new props – not alcohol. In January I was six months sober. I haven’t seen my brothers since Mum died. I had an older sister who was adopted out. One of my brothers tried to contact her but she didn’t want to be found, I guess. I’ve never been married – except to alcohol. I was also a bit of a workaholic – I’d even work through lunch breaks! I used to work for Ford in Tasmania – my first real full-time job. I loved this job. It had a basic number system, which I could really get my head around. I have a good head for numbers. Maths was my best subject at school. After prison, I was housed for about 18 months. But I was on heavy medications and one day I woke up and decided I couldn’t take it, so I got a flight to Melbourne. My plan was to stay on the street and drink, even if it meant drinking myself to death. I was two years on the street that time, my longest stretch. It was the worst. Dark, no light. I saw some gruesome stuff. It got pretty desperate, but I found my way back to Adelaide. I hit rock bottom after I arrived. I was only three weeks sober and just finding my strength when I met someone who helped me turn it all around. This person’s been my life support. He convinced me that my old negative ideas have to be smashed! I heard about The Big Issue from friends in Melbourne. When I moved back to Adelaide I thought I’d give it a go. I’m trying to get my driver’s licence back. I’d like to save for a car, then do some country trips to explore a bit. Hopefully I can sell enough mags to save for a campervan or station wagon so I can sleep in it. I could even do some fruit picking to earn money along the way. But no potato picking!

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

Meet Your Vendor


Stories, poems and pictures by Big Issue vendors and friends

I was able to feel proud and confident enough to look for work again. MICHAEL, MELBOURNE BIG ISSUE CLASSROOM’S


Peer Support




never expected to be where I am now. The unexpectedness is the same as when I became homeless, though the emotions are vastly different. The pathway to homelessness was gradual for me – a slip up here, a misstep there – and the pathway towards where I stand today was gradual too. I can pinpoint where it got better: it was when I was at my lowest, and I asked for help. I let someone into my world and they took me seriously. It was my job agency, my case manager, who showed me I had options, including school. At 30, the prospect sounded preposterous, but I had nothing left to lose. So I studied a Certificate in Mental Health and a Certificate in Alcohol & Other Drugs, and just like high school, I made friends. One friend worked at The Big Issue Classroom. They took me to the offices in Melbourne and I got a speaker role in the Classroom enterprise, talking to primary and high school children about the stigmas, stereotypes and realities of homelessness.

I gained confidence. I felt a part of a team. There are Christmas lunches, coworkers to chat with and other activities, such as the Street Soccer program. It gave me opportunities. I’m now 35 years old, and I still do those Classroom talks – though at a less common frequency – because I was building my resumé again. I was able to put down that I had a job; I was able to put down references; I was able to feel proud and confident enough to look for work again. For almost two years now, I have worked in a hospital as a peer-support worker. When people come to the emergency department and they’re facing difficult times that are similar to what I had experienced, I talk to them and share my past, and show them that there is still hope. The road to this moment was gradual, but I am glad I was honest with someone. Through that, I was able to achieve all that I have and rebuild my life into what it is today. MICHAEL IS EMPLOYED AS A BIG ISSUE CLASSROOM SPEAKER IN MELBOURNE.

A Pet’s Life I love to be a pet where I can stay at home. I hate to be a pet where I have no freedom. I love to be a pet that can be cuddled up to when you get home. I hate to be a pet who has to wait all day to be fed. I love to be a pet that can travel places. I hate to be a pet who has to be looked after by an unknown stranger. I love to be a pet that fits into a family. I hate to be a pet that has to be abandoned. If you have pets, no matter what size they are, give them love and support. DAVID L SUBI FARMERS MARKET I PERTH

A Hand Up To the ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, thank you for supporting a deadly magazine: The Big Issue. It has helped me get through some hard times these last four years. Mum passed away, my dog got put down, my best mate passed away and last year my stepdad passed away. Thank you for the hand up. Smile and have a great year. NATHAN C CNR ADELAIDE & CREEK STS I BRISBANE

Piano Man I’m learning piano. I have lessons every Wednesday. I used to play piano busking. When I sell The Big Issue people are always friendly and smiling. I like meeting people – now I have too many friends. It’s a good job. I played the piano at Christmas

time. My favourites are ‘The First Noel’, ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. In October I’m going to Tasmania for four days. I’m going to go for walks, take pictures and visit the chocolate factory.

homelessness and those with cystic fibrosis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other disabilities. I’d like to give everyone a house and I’d like to make people happy. What would you do with a trillion dollars?



Trillion-Dollar Question What would you do with a trillion dollars? It’s probably too much money for one person. I’d like to share it around and give money to mental health, and I hold Scott Morrison to account for his spending on mental health. If I were a trillionaire I’d spend a lot on mental health problems and the homeless. We Australians are going to have massive problems as a country. I’d spend a lot on

Ronnie’s Funnies Q: Why do the French eat snails? A: Because they don’t like fast food. BOOM TISH!!! RONNIE CNR OF CREEK & EAGLE STS I BRISBANE

Meet and Greet I sell The Big Issue because I enjoy it and it’s nice to read as well. It’s a way to meet friendly people – if they’re not too busy or in a hurry. I like to watch the football when I’m not selling the magazine. I love it. WAYNE CBD I MELBOURNE





I went to Homeless Connect with the purpose of having lunch with the girls from the Women’s Subscription Enterprise. I went for a look around, and a woman asked if I had a disability. After explaining what I’ve been labelled as having, she said that she could help. What a relief! I got help with the ombudsman for electricity bills. Met a volunteer when I went to have a photo taken. Made a new friend who stayed talking with me while the girls had a look around more. Had this photo taken – that’s me, back left, next to Carol, then Trish and Emma the volunteer. Heaps of fun! After that I met more volunteers who invited me to come to Hornsby for a Bra Gifting Pamper Day. What a great end to the day. In the next few weeks I will be organising more. I’ve got a better quality of life and am getting support for my future. Working with The Big Issue – that made big changes. They trust and believe in me. I didn’t think it could get any better. Thanks to the people who organised Homeless Connect. I’m getting support for the future. It keeps getting better. Thank you.

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

It Keeps Getting Better


Richard Castles Writer Andrew Weldon Cartoonist

Humanity needs some government, somewhere, that is...ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles, leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion of the right of populations on the Earth to buy and sell freely among each other.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on wanting his country to be the Superman of free trade following Brexit. Thus continues the comic book saga… AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW


experience as like being catapulted out into space and of not knowing where they’re going to land. They become extremely isolated and vulnerable.” Professor Monica Thielking, chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Swinburne University, on the effects of finding yourself homeless in later life. Older women are the fastest-growing group experiencing homelessness in Australia. THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

“The shock of finding oneself homeless when this hasn’t been a part of your experience before is overwhelming. A sense of disbelief and dislocation in relation to the self is experienced, as well as a profound sense of grief related to the loss of a life that had been built over time and of a future that was imagined to be ahead. Women speak about this

“I sort of accidentally discovered that I have been throwing away first-class food wrap. Lettuce leaves, primarily the outer ones that are a bit harder, make for excellent food wrap. Since they’re designed for that purpose in the first place.” A New Zealand woman who accidentally discovered that wrapping her halved avocado in a lettuce leaf kept it fresh for a week. Her clever food tip promptly attracted thousands of likes after she shared her discovery on Facebook. Smashing! NEWS.COM.AU




“It seems as though a person’s dance movements are a kind of fingerprint. Each person has a unique movement signature that stays the same no matter what kind of music is playing.” Dr Pasi Saari of Finland’s University of Jyvaskyla’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research on findings that your daggy dancing is unique, so if you commit a murder on the dancefloor you could be identified by your dance moves.

“When my dad died a year ago, I mainlined Mills & Boon. It’s the absolute escape from my sorrow. I know nothing’s going to jump out and scare me. And this has been very good for me – I have no right to judge what anyone reads or watches on telly. You know, we’re all doing our best. We’re all trying to get through.” Irish author Marian Keyes (Watermelon; Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married) on binge-reading romance novels to manage grief.


advantage at the group level when kindness, collaboration and selfsacrifice are fostered, contrary to the dominant survival-of-the-fittest Darwinian model of evolution. The group selection theory is not without its critics, who argue it is still the benefits to the individual that matter.

“Imagine a soccer team full of team players versus one full of ball hogs. The team players will win every time, and they will advance in the league. There is an evolutionary advantage in favour of prosocial behaviours, but it exists on the scale of group interaction.” Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, of Binghamton University in the US, on studies that show an

“Need some space? We’ve got the job for you! We’re accepting applications 2-31 March for the next class of #Artemis Generation astronauts. Find out if you have what it takes to #BeAnAstronaut: go.nasa.gov/2ShuPCA.” A job advertisement placed on Twitter by NASA for the next team of astronauts to fly to the moon. After

20 Questions by Big Red

01 Actor Hank Azaria has refused to

continue voicing which regular character in The Simpsons? 02 What is the tenpin bowling term for

scoring three strikes in a row? 03 Who holds the office of the Speaker

of the House of Representatives? 04 What is the official name of

New Zealand’s national day on 6 February? 05 Who is the Greek goddess of victory? 06 What was the first foreign language

film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards? 07 Isador Magid is famous for creating

which popular Australian snack food, with a little help from the CSIRO? 08 Do killer whales go through


“Universal claimed 17,000 artists were affected by the fire when they were suing for damages. Now that they face a lawsuit by their artists, they claim a mere 19 artists were affected. This discrepancy is inexplicable.” Howard King, one of the lawyers suing Universal Music Group over a fire that destroyed original tapes by artists including Elton


“Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is. Done that, been there.” Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who has not had a cigarette since October. NME.COM

Australian state? 10 Which fashion company is

designing the opening ceremony uniforms for the 2020 Australian Olympic Team? 11 In Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr

Hyde, which one is evil? 12 How many members of the Bali

Nine have been released from prison in Indonesia? 13 What does a vexillologist study? 14 In which country is the University

“It felt apocalyptic coming to Australia. Arriving here, being sick in a world where [your air quality app] says ‘Do not breathe this air’. That, and the smell of the smoke… and every second person has a loved one or family member who’s lost a house, lost a farm, lost the animals in an animal shelter and you’re going, ‘This is awful’. We’re in a really weird place right now with the world… [and Australia] does feel a little bit like the canary in the coal mine.” Writer Neil Gaiman (American Gods) on his summer visit to Australia.

of al-Qarawiyyin, the world’s oldest existing and continually operating university, founded in 859? 15 Australian footballer Mitch

Wishnowsky represented which NFL team in this year’s Superbowl? 16 Bok choy, choy sum and savoy are

all varieties of which vegetable? 17 What element did Marie Curie name

after her homeland? 18 In which Victorian town was Ned

Kelly’s last stand? 19 How many movies are in the Toy

Story franchise? 20 Which Italian artist sold Comedian,

a banana duct-taped to a wall, for US$120,000 last year?




21 FEB–05 MAR 2020


John, Nirvana and Beck – and either 16 or 16,997 others.

09 The River Derwent is in which


a break of nearly half a century, “I don’t care what NASA plan to land I pay, as long as the first woman it’s on special.” and the next man Overheard at an on the moon by eyewear store by Dianne 2024. To apply of Kingaroy, Qld. you’ll need to be a citizen or dual citizen of the US and have a solid science or medical background. A thousand hours flying time as the lead pilot of a jet aircraft will also be looked on favourably. If you’ve got the right stuff, it could be one giant step for your career. EAR2GROUND

My Word

by Eliza Henry-Jones @ehenryjones

Tea of Life There is something magically soothing about a cup of tea. It connects us to our past and to each other.


always offer visitors a cup of tea. If it’s cold, we drink together in the kitchen, over the dark wood of the kitchen bench. If it’s warm, we drink on the verandah, near where the lavender and grapevines grow. The flavour of tea does not change. There is something other-worldly about tea. During a talk she gave at the 2011 Melbourne Writers Festival, the late author Gillian Mears spoke of her yearning to once more be astride a horse. Mears, who could no longer ride due to multiple sclerosis, said this yearning was so strong that she could detect the scent of horses in a cup of strong black tea. Tea gives us back pieces of ourselves – the most exquisitely painful and wonderful moments. How often they amount to the same thing.

soothing. It occurs to me that my entire life can be mapped out by cups of tea. The way a river, stained dark with leaves, flows out into salt water. Two hands trembling around a mug of milky English breakfast in the boardroom at my first real job. Peppermint tea drunk sleepily after Christmas lunch. Birthdays. Ginger and lemon when I was pregnant. Staring out at snow in Scotland with a mug of chamomile. Early morning horse events and strong Earl Grey, black and scalding from a thermos. Cold dregs of rooibos slugged down in between writing a story, or reading one. Weak, tepid tea from paper cups in hospital rooms. Sweet, bitter, scalding, rich. So many of the most important moments of my life have happened over a cup of tea. Tea is a strange and wonderful gift. It soothes, nourishes and connects us to each other. It is ceremonial. It is a comfort. It gives us strength, story, solace and can vividly evoke the memories of the people we love who are no longer with us. The Bushells tea I sometimes drink is the exact same as the tea I remember my grandmother drinking – hot, milky and sweet. I can evoke my grandmother with tea when her absence

is most palpable: birthdays and holidays, the weeks after my first child is born. In this way, tea is magic. Each cup of tea from the advent calendar, the Christmas after my son is born, reminds me of the person I am. Visceral and consuming, tea gives me back the scattered pieces of myself. It soothes me, even as my baby continues to scream. Even as I continue to pace. I am reminded that this too shall pass. That I will eventually reconfigure all the scattered pieces of my story. The newborn days, so overwhelming, will very soon become another memory evoked by a cup of a tea. The flavour of tea does not change.

Eliza Henry-Jones’ new book How to Grow a Family Tree will be released in March. She can be found at elizahenryjones.com.


After I have my baby, I shatter into tiny pieces that I don’t have the energy to collect. I don’t have the energy to reconfigure them into the shape of this person I now am – a person who is grown-up enough to have been allowed to take a baby home from the hospital. When my son is two weeks old, my mother-in-law gifts me a tea advent calendar. Bleary with sleep (I have never learned to drink coffee), I guzzle cups of tea in between feeding my baby and cuddling him and pacing around with him as he screams (and screams and screams). Each day, I drink a new type of tea. Each day, there is the ritual of preparing it. The sound of the kettle boiling and the clink of a teaspoon against china. The comforting feel of a mug between the hands. White, black and green. Rooibos and oolong. Cinnamon and berry and a tart squeeze of lemon. Each cup reminds me of something fleeting and

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

It occurs to me that my entire life can be mapped out by cups of tea. The way a river, stained dark with leaves, flows out into salt water.




character. It’s a clear sign of just how large Picard looms over the Star Trek universe – and how beloved the character is by fans, who went crazy over teaser trailers that largely showed a retired Picard pottering around his French vineyard (making wine the old-fashioned way is clearly still a thing in the 24th century). So what was it that convinced Stewart to reprise his most iconic role? “When I found myself sitting in front of Akiva, and Alex, and Kirsten, and James [Goldsman, Kurtzman, Beyer and Duff, the producers behind Star Trek: Picard] they at once began to talk about the new series in a way that was unexpected. All I did was listen – and then I made them a long speech as to why I was going to turn [it] down. “That was all, which I think took them a little by surprise. But then they talked some more, and they went into more detail about the storyline. When it was over, I asked my agent to contact them and have them put in writing all the things they’d said. Two days later I got 35 pages of pitch. It was undeniably interesting, and it was not going to be what either of us had experienced previously. A different world, which appealed to me, because the world is different in the last 19 years.” Born in the north of England, the 79-year-old actor –




t’s the return nobody thought would happen. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thoughtful, reserved, not afraid to think before acting and unashamedly bald, for seven years Federation Captain Jean-Luc Picard helmed the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Easily the most successful of the Star Trek series, it made Shakespearian actor Patrick Stewart a star around the globe. But Picard was last seen on our television screens over 25 years ago, and after his final big-screen outing in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, any further talk of a revival held no interest for Stewart. “For many years, any suggestion that I might revive Picard, I passed on immediately, straight away, without hesitation,” Stewart says. “Not because I wasn’t proud of what we did on Next Generation. I was, and I loved all the people that I worked with very, very much. But I thought I had said and done everything that could be said and done about Jean-Luc and the Enterprise and his relationship with the crew and so forth.” Now Picard is back, in the aptly named Star Trek: Picard. It’s the first time in the franchise’s 50-year-plus history that a Star Trek series has been named after a

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

e, screen and ag st e th of an em tl en G lks Picard, pit bulls ta t ar w te  S ck ri at  P d, beyon Moreland. and politics with Alex



I thought that [the scripts] were addressing not only a sciencefiction story, b u t t h ey w e r e addressing the world and the condition that we’re in at the moment.

who is Sir Patrick Stewart OBE if we’re being formal; he was knighted in 2010 – had a working-class upbringing, finishing school at 15 and working as a reporter at the local paper. His home life was rough; he told The Guardian in 2009 that his father, a decorated WWII serviceman, was an “angry, unhappy and frustrated man who was not able to control his emotions or his hands. As a child I witnessed his repeated violence against my mother… If I felt I could have succeeded, I would have killed him.” Acting became his refuge. “The stage was a far safer place for me than anything I had to live through at home – it offered escape. I could be someone else, in another place, in another time.” After receiving a grant to attend the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Stewart committed himself to the stage, becoming a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 and staying with them until 1982. His film and TV appearances were often small but memorable; he played the spymaster Karla in the BBC’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the follow up Smiley’s People, and he appeared in David Lynch’s flawed science-fiction epic Dune. His career-defining role as Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) was something of a fluke. Spotted by a producer while giving a literary reading at the University of Los Angeles, Stewart knew next to nothing about the original series, or American television in general. He signed the required six-year contract after his agent assured him the show would only last a year or two and he could go back to the stage after a quick payday. “It’s a novel experience for an actor,” Stewart told the BBC years later. “Very few of us get the opportunity to develop someone over many, many years.” After a slightly bumpy start (there were rumours that the cliffhanger ending to season two, in which Picard was assimilated by the evil Borg, was put in place in case Stewart didn’t return), he became the stand-out star during TNG’s increasingly popular run from 1987 to 1994. Stewart’s intelligent, tea-drinking Picard was the perfect hero for TNG, a series set in a utopian future where today’s human problems like racism and poverty had been conquered, and the human-led Federation was more interested in exploration and gaining knowledge than conflict. A handful of movies followed, but increasingly Stewart had moved on to new challenges. So what changed? The new series Picard definitely depicts a darker future

than previous Star Trek instalments. “The Federation is not the Federation that it was in our day,” says Stewart. “Starfleet is certainly not the Starfleet of old. Things have changed, and it’s not good, either.” It chimes with the real world, too, and that’s exactly what Stewart finds so compelling about Star Trek: Picard. “I thought that [the scripts] were addressing not only a science-fiction story, but they were addressing the world and the condition that we’re in at the moment, because it’s bad. It’s really bad, and I’m all for [addressing that]. I’ve always been very active.” That’s something of an understatement. A once-vocal member of the UK’s Labour Party, Stewart severed his decades-long relationship with it in 2018, in the wake of the party’s stance on Brexit. Stewart has worked with Amnesty International to fight domestic violence against women. He’s also worked with Combat Stress, a UK veterans’ mental health organisation. His latest passion project is adopting pit bulls, and it’s no accident that Picard now has a new best friend in Number One, his trusty pit bull sidekick. “I am obsessed with pit bulls,” he said during a Star Trek press junket. “In England they’re a banned breed… I’m now part of a campaign working in the UK to get this legislation changed because they are the most sensitive, the most loving, the most giving, the most affectionate creatures you could ever hope to meet.” Stewart has shown a lighter side too, both in front of and away from the cameras. A guest appearance (as a sleazy version of himself) on Ricky Gervais’ Extras was a comedy sensation; for over a decade he provided various voices for Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy, and is still a series regular voice on American Dad! MacFarlane also produced Stewart’s most recent TV foray Blunt Talk, where Stewart played a UK newscaster trying to make a go of it on American cable television. “Playing an obnoxious, loud, opinionated, vulgar-minded, self-obsessed character was just fantastic. And fun!” Stewart told Time magazine. But it’s been his very public friendship with fellow Shakespearian actor Sir Ian McKellen that’s cemented his light-hearted persona in recent years. The pair first met in the 70s on the theatre circuit, and became firm friends on the set of the first of four X-Men movies together, where their characters were adversaries. “We are the same actor, really,” McKellen told CBS to promote their 2013 appearance on Broadway. “We’ve had the same career. So we’re peers. We’re equals. We’re not rivals.” Offscreen, McKellen officiated at Stewart’s




interview by Alex Moreland with additional reporting by Anthony Morris PICARD IS CURRENTLY SCREENING ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020




wedding to singer Sunny Ozell in 2013, and the pair appeared in a double feature of the Beckett plays No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot throughout much of the mid-10s. There’s hardly a red carpet for one of the pair’s projects where the other doesn’t turn up to plant a kiss; even the red-carpet launch of Picard saw McKellen get down on one knee to mock-propose before the pair kissed. So how does the Picard we know and love – a character clearly close to Stewart’s heart – cope with a future where his high standards have fallen from favour? “When we first meet him, he is in poor shape. But even over the space of the first episode that undergoes a change, because of his encounter with Isa Briones who plays Dahj,” explains Stewart. “As the story goes on, and he is impacted by the story, we see more of the spirited believer in the benefits that can come from being socially conscious and aware of other people and other situations and so forth.” It’s a process Stewart has been quite involved in – more than he was on TNG, because he’s now serving as executive producer. “To be sitting in the writer’s room with Akiva Goldsman and Michael Chabon” – he pauses for emphasis, still slightly awed – “is an extraordinary experience. Brilliant people. Hearing the ideas flash backwards and forwards and then be abandoned, and then another one take its place, was thrilling.” He’s aware, too, of the meaning Picard holds for so many. “The most affecting communication I ever had was from a police sergeant in the Las Vegas police force, who wrote me a quite long letter about his life as a policeman, how much he loved the job, and how he had always wanted to be in the police. But he said, ‘There are days when I come home, when what I’ve seen and heard and witnessed is so unpleasant, I feel at times close to despair. When I feel that, I go to my shelf and I take down – it was a VCR in those days – a tape of Next Generation, and my hope returns.’ It was lovely.” You can tell, quite clearly, how emotional this return is for Stewart. “Picard and Patrick became very close friends,” says Stewart. “I think by halfway through the second season of Next Generation, I began to realise that I didn’t quite know where Patrick left off and Jean-Luc began – that we had merged.”


by Clem Bastow @clembastow



Clem Bastow is a screenwriter and awardwinning cultural critic based in Melbourne. She is currently undertaking a PhD in action movie screenwriting.


tar Trek’s greatest contribution to the cultural conversation was never the phasers nor the uniforms (though those were certainly appealing), but rather the show’s daring to imagine a future where we really did live together in harmony. And while we are capable of making phone calls via our wristwatches in 2020, the future is still unknowable, so perhaps it’s poetic that in a new decade, a new Star Trek series has materialised. Star Trek: Picard may well begin in the 24th century, but for many – TV critics and Trek fans alike – this is a Star Trek for our time. Picard may be suffused with plenty of Trekisms – the existential question of artificial intelligence and Romulan self-actualisation here, the occasional throwaway Shakespeare line there – but the tone is less “boldly going” than intergalactic mystery, with a sprinkling of Extinction Rebellion-era political frisson. To paraphrase Mr Spock, Star Trek: Picard is Star Trek, but not quite as we know it.

Picard is enjoying, to a certain extent, his retirement on a vineyard, where he lives with friends and his pit bull, Number One. Yet he’s troubled by anxiety dreams – often featuring his late friend and second officer, Data (Brent Spiner) – and has switched his regular order to “tea, Earl Grey, decaf”. After a TV interview commemorating the anniversary of the Romulan supernova goes awry, Picard is visited by Dahj (Isa Briones), a distraught young woman on the run from Romulan assassins, who believes she has a connection to Picard. Vanity Fair critic Joanna Robertson describes the show as a balm for viewers alarmed by the state of geopolitics – itself a Star Trek hallmark – in the 21st century: “For those of us feeling rudderless in the era of Trump, here is the calm, soothing return of Picard, navigating the corrupt and bigoted waters of a universe that has lost its way.” It’s all well and good from a purely narrative, dramatic point of view, but what of the essence of Star Trek itself? Trek in all


Clem Bastow takes us on a journey through the annals of one of television’s most enterprising shows, and asks why we need it more than ever.

19 87–1 99 4


19 93 –1 99 9


19 95 –2 00 1


20 01 -2 00 5


20 17


“I don’t believe the 24th century is going to be like Gene Roddenberry believed it to be, that people will be free from poverty and greed. But if you’re going to write and produce for Star Trek, you’ve got to buy into that.” With the state of the world as it is, there is surely an argument to be made for shifting science fiction away from the determined focus on dystopia and totalitarianism that has typified much mainstream screen media the past decade or so, and towards the image of a brighter future. It’s possible Picard will take a sudden turn towards classic Trek themes, but for now a more sombre tone remains – catnip, it seems, to many critics who are already dubbing this series “the Star Trek we need right now”. My own vision for the Star Trek we need right now, however, comes not from official Trek lore but from an affectionate tribute: Dean Parisot’s unparalleled 1999 film, Galaxy Quest. In that film, the former stars of the very Trek-esque eponymous series are kidnapped by aliens who have mistaken the TV broadcasts as “historical documents” and believe the “crew” can help save their species. The stars rediscover the old show’s values – collectivism, optimism, the fact all countdowns end with a second to go – and return to Earth with a renewed sense of purpose, and survive to inspire a new generation with their return to screens. Imagine if where Picard boldly goes is not, as it turns out, ever deeper into a dour reflection of our times, but instead to show us just how wonderful a future we could ensure for the next generations if we all band together. At the beginning of a new decade, maybe we need “old” Star Trek more than ever? In the midst of this summer’s climate catastrophe, I returned to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, in which the crew travel back in time to 1986 to rescue (well, steal) a pair of humpback whales; in 2286, an alien probe is trying to communicate with whales, unaware that they have gone extinct on Earth. That film, directed by Leonard “Spock” Nimoy, blends urgent environmental messages with whipsmart fish-out-of-water comedy, and I found myself longing for a contemporary Star Trek to do something similar. Rather than offering downbeat commentary on the “new normal” of climate catastrophe, late capitalism and rampant nationalism, what if Star Trek switched a younger generation on to a vision of a future they could strive for? Now that’s a modern Star Trek I could drink (“tea, Earl Grey, hot”) to.

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

19 66 –1 96 9


its incarnations has occasionally leaned too heavily into “teachable moments” – be they related to issues of racism, classism, labour rights or otherwise – but is a show that hits warp speed on its journey away from making the world a better place really Star Trek? It’s hard to imagine what utopian-minded creator Gene Roddenberry would think. Roddenberry’s vision was heralded in September 1966 by the voiceover of Captain Kirk (William Shatner): “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Star Trek was a seafaring adventure in space – Roddenberry was inspired by CS Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels – and a vehicle to explore contemporary issues. At its heart, Star Trek remains a remarkable example of the good that science fiction can do in the real world. The show was one of the first to feature a multiracial cast, and its storylines’ frequent civil rights allegories won it many fans – including one Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who told Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura) that his whole family were huge fans of the show: “This is the only show that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little children to watch…” Plenty of people credit Star Trek with turning them onto a variety of political and social causes. Nichols herself worked with NASA to recruit female and minority personnel; those she helped usher into the space program include Dr Sally Ride and Guion Bluford, the first American female and AfricanAmerican astronauts in space, respectively. For me, as an autistic woman, one of Star Trek’s biggest gifts is its humanistic treatment of both Vulcans and androids. It taught me that those of us who struggle to comprehend human emotions, or who feel hopelessly “other”, can offer other valued gifts to society. In the case of The Next Generation and, it seems, Picard, the deep friendship between the admiral and his “synthetic” offsider Data is particularly moving. In classic Trek, the tension Spock feels between his human emotions and his Vulcan nature speak eloquently (if inadvertently) to the difficulty many autistic people feel when navigating the neurotypical world. Of course, the utopian visions of the “property” had already begun to clash with the contemporaneous reality in the late 90s, when Deep Space Nine entered development (with Roddenberry’s blessing) after his death. Even then, producer Rick Berman had said,


Star Trek’s captains in their Prime

The Big Picture Series by Gregg Segal



Long Journey to Hope


In collaboration with the UNHCR, photographer Gregg Segal records the long and difficult journey faced by Venezuelan refugee families who have fled to Bogotá. by Mel Fulton Deputy Editor


t was important to underscore how little refugees are able to keep from their lives in Venezuela,” says Gregg Segal of his latest photography project, a collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which depicts Venezuelan refugee children, their mothers and their few remaining possessions. “It’s as if your house were on fire and you only had time to grab a few cherished keepsakes and the barest of necessities.” Take Yudith and her seven-year-old son Williams, who fled Venezuela and walked more than 1000km to reach the Colombian capital, with nothing but the few belongings they could carry. Yudith’s adult sons were left behind; she felt it was the only way to give her youngest a chance in life. On the long

(about $740!). Or Michell, the 19-year-old single mother who took 16 days to reach Bogotá after having an epileptic attack and losing consciousness midway through her journey, her second attempt to cross into Colombia. Or heavily pregnant Yosiahanny, who left Venezuela with her two young daughters, and enough homemade arepas and baby formula to reach Bogotá, where her husband was waiting. Though life there is a struggle, she is able to eat more than once a day and access the medicine she needs. She told Segal that what makes the crisis tolerable is love. This series, titled Undaily Bread, sits alongside Segal’s previous photo essay, Daily Bread (published in The Big Issue Ed#574) – and both series explore the ways that globalisation alters our relationship to

food. For Daily Bread, Segal photographed children from all around the world surrounded by the foods they’d eaten that week – no child photographed in that series was going hungry. “Hunger was an aspect of the larger story I felt I needed to tell,” he says. “My first thought was that if I made pictures showing the refugees with the food they ate on their journey from Venezuela, the images would be very stark because there likely wouldn’t be much food to show. And I felt this absence of food could make for powerful pictures; it would be hard not to feel the children’s deprivation.” So what does he hope to achieve with this new work? “I would hope that the simple, direct presentation of refugees opens this well of empathy in viewers and prompts them to ask, ‘What if it were me?’”



walk, they ate only bread and a few pieces of fruit. “When I met Williams, he showed me his tattered backpack,” says Segal. “In it, he carried the last homework assignment from his old school: something he was proud of.” Yudith and Williams are among 1.5 million refugees who have fled Venezuela for Colombia in recent years, citing violence, insecurity, rolling blackouts, hyperinflation and a severe lack of basic food and medicine in the wake of catastrophic economic collapse – the largest economic collapse outside of war in 45 years, as declared by IMF economists. It’s a humanitarian crisis on a mass scale, but it’s the individual stories of hope and endurance that Segal spotlights in this project: such as Nathalia, the nine-year-old girl who hadn’t eaten an apple in more than three years because a single apple cost 5000 bolívares

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

It’s as if your house were on fire and you only had time to grab a few cherished keepsakes and the barest of necessities.





21 FEB–05 MAR 2020


Letter to My Younger Self

Living the Dream Greig Pickhaver, otherwise known as HG Nelson, talks about family, luck and the Sydney Olympics. by Anastasia Safioleas Contributing Editor @anast




y 16-year-old self was a very difficult customer, an appalling student. I sat in the classroom under sufferance, even though I quite liked going to school – it was a more engaging place than staying at home. But I was a terrible student and it was only years later that I realised I was what they now call ADHD-affected – someone with learning difficulties. I remember getting to about 16 and thinking, Well, I haven’t got very far, I’ve got no idea of what the future holds for me… It was very difficult. Poor grades, must try harder, if only I stopped talking to other school chums, etcetera. All those things were writ large in every report. And I’ve got to be honest here, I think they were accurate! [Laughs] I got through to the second year of uni without actually reading a book. I’m not sure exactly how I managed to do that, but I went to the lectures and I was very good at remembering what was in the lectures. In the end it caught up with me. What’s common these days for people with ADHD – I might be wrong about this – is the use of Ritalin. And that’s what was given to me to try and get me over this hump. The medication worked – it had a startling effect – but I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody because you can’t live your life on it.



21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

The Sydney Olympics were without a doubt the greatest moment of my working life.

it’s critically important to include them in the adult things of life. I’ve got a daughter and I can remember thinking, Okay Lucille, you want to behave like that then you can pull your own weight: you make the decisions, you decide this, you go and get that. It’s not possible with every child, but I found it easier to deal with my daughter as an adult from a very early age. She was ready for it… Now she’s an intellectual property rights lawyer in London. She has always been a bit of a ratbag. [Laughs] I can’t recall ever really feeling a period where I’m happy. I’m not saying that I’m sad all the time, I’m just not happy. Life goes on. I’m not thinking, Whoa, isn’t this incredible?! It doesn’t work like that. It’s got to do with more mundane sorts of things that come along with that. I’m proudest of the people immediately in my family who have all achieved terrific things in their own right. Lots of really good positive things and great challenges and dramas that I love observing. When I work in Roy & HG, people watch it and listen to it and they are entertained by it, but they don’t know if we think we’ve done a good job. When we’re working hard and we’re doing a lot of it, John [Doyle] and I are the only two who know we’ve done a good job – that’s incredibly satisfying. It doesn’t make me happy. It’s the right thing. That’s when you feel most bulletproof. If I could go back to any particular time in my life it would be the Sydney Olympics. It was such a tumultuous attempt to make two hours of television [The Dream alongside John Doyle aka “Rampaging Roy Slaven”] every day about the Olympics. To do that was just fantastic. The day started at about nine o’clock in the morning and finished at three the following morning and we’d get five hours’ sleep and then back to doing it again. But the enormous fun that we had doing that… The Sydney Olympics were without a doubt the greatest moment of my working life. Then there’s the period where I learned the most as a person and that was between about 1975 and 80. I just loved it. I thought it was fantastic and coincides with the first years of romance with my current partner. We made a lot of television before we got to [The Dream] but luck plays an enormous part. As a 16-year-old looking at their life ahead, you have no idea just how much luck is going to play a part in your life.



From a very early age I was interested in performing. My obsessions tended to revolve around performing and things to do with performing – trying to understand what made it work, trying to understand the rules of it, trying to understand the barriers that prevent me from doing it. So I became an avid watcher of television, an avid movie goer, a great consumer of Top 40 music. Family life around this time was extremely problematic. The great love of my mum’s life was killed in the Second World War. Mum’s father died when she was very young, and her mother abandoned her and her brother. But she was lucky enough to be fostered by a family who had money and they sent her to a very good girls’ school. But then she became romantically involved with a RAAF pilot who was killed over in Germany and she [was] down in the dumps. And as for Mitch, my dad, they had a triangular sort of relationship – the chap who was killed in the war, my dad and my mum. The family never talked about this – it’s only recently that I learned all these things. So as a child, family didn’t exist really. There was a mum and dad and kids, but there was very limited family life. I can’t ever remember going out as a family. Once, towards the end of my dad’s life, I went out with my brother and Dad and remember thinking Look at this: we’ve lived a long time and this is the first time the three boys in the family have ever been out together. My mum had this really interesting thing where she lived her life outside the house. She ended up doing research in the politics department of Flinders University and that was really what she wanted to do. She wanted to be a mover and shaker, but the five kids destroyed all that. My mum was an excellent piano player and had a high understanding of music theory, and when it came to fundraising events for the school, she was front and centre. But where was this person when I was growing up? I inherited a lot from her but at the time I didn’t see it because she was so caught up in denying that part of herself. When I became a dad, I didn’t want to necessarily repeat that example, but it took me a long while to work out how to negotiate around that. Be careful of what battles you fight with your kids because there’s lots of battles coming up. If the children show any interest at all in wanting to set the agenda




It took me around 20 years to go from being an underachieving jackass to an overachieving jackass.

by Ricky French @frenchricky

Too Cool for School W

hile clearing out her house in preparation for moving, my mum recently handed over to me a large folder containing some very worrying news. According to my Year 11 and 12 school reports I am unlikely to succeed unless I do some serious straightening up and flying right. With the Australian school year well under way, thousands of Year 7s are beginning that strange journey through our secondary education system – my son included. I have no doubt he’ll do better than me. If my reports are anything to go by, education really was secondary for me. It’s fair to say I wasn’t engaged. I didn’t really like any of my subjects except for history – which I despised. I considered teachers tyrannical. I was a clown, disrespectful, lazy and disruptive. Like most teenagers I was completely lacking in self-awareness and believed the problem was always someone else. Still, the reports do sound a bit harsh. My Year 11 home-group teacher noted: Frequently arrives late. Uniform seldom correct. Resents being disciplined. A poor effort. Not reaching potential. The grading system at my school awarded students on a sliding scale, with marks ranging from an aspirational 5 (high) down to an unfortunate 1 (likely at home getting high). My geography marks show I was less of a savant than I considered myself: Recall of knowledge: 2. Effort and behaviour: 1. Social skills: 1. (It actually says “socail skills” so let’s not get too judgey hey Mr Reynolds?) My humourless maths teacher blathered: Ricky is not doing anything like sufficient work to keep up with this course. This certainly sounded like a problem, but maybe I could nut out a solution? Unlikely. Problem solving: 1. It got worse. Chemistry: Effort and behaviour: 2. Overall achievement: 1. Ah, but maybe it was part of a plan to drive the dreaded Mr Spence out of the school? I doubt he was worried. For “Carrying out a plan” he gave me zero, a mark that wasn’t even on the scale. My favourite comment belongs to my

physics teacher. Ricky seems to rely on osmosis for learning. Hey, I still rely on it. But it wasn’t all bad news. My literature mark was a blazing 5. Take that, editors! My English teacher commented: Ricky produces great work in all areas of English. He is talented and motivated. This was pretty good considering I was barely in class. My report shows 23 absences in one term. My final year began with predictable moaning. Ricky does minimal work…needs to develop a serious commitment to focusing… needs to pay greater attention to what he is supposed to be doing. I’m sorry, did you say something? Of course, I then did the thing all teachers hate smart-arse students doing. I put in five minutes of effort at the end of the year and blitzed the exams. I have proof. First in the school in Year 12 history. Merit in economics – I don’t even remember taking economics. It took me around 20 years to go from being an underachieving jackass to an overachieving jackass, which goes to show you can’t put too much value on school academic achievement. Despite my better instincts I do still worry about my son’s journey through school. All parents do. I worry that sending him to a state school is consigning him to a lowly life. In straightening up and flying right I’ve turned into a snob. We have friends with kids in private schools and according to them the benefits are that you make connections. The focus on jobs and academic achievement no doubt compounds the pressure on kids. In a moment of madness, last year the Victorian Government proposed linking Year 9 NAPLAN results to students’ future job applications – a nifty way of rating kids as either “smart” or “dumb” – a label that can last a lifetime. Our politicians could try living in the real world a bit. Policy-making through osmosis – now there’s an idea I could support.

Ricky is a writer, editor and student of life.

by Fiona Scott-Norman @fscottnorman

eing a bit wishy-washy at core, I’m currently considering getting a tattoo for about the 17th time. No, I’m not considering my 17th tattoo – my skin is still a vast expanse of virgin arctic tundra. I am considering it for the umpteenth time. It’s a come-hither/go-away dance that I’ve done over decades, sometimes getting achingly close, yet never to the point where I’m sitting in an actual tattoo parlour screaming with pain. I presume I’d be screaming. I am a total wuss if I’m hormonal or hangry. When I’m cranky all it takes is bad electronic music to make me weep angry tears. I can be a barrel of laughs in hipster cafes that plug “shit repetitive electronica” into Spotify. Pain, however, is not the deal-breaker. Back in the day I had electrolysis on my “koala ears” bikini line for actual “I swim a lot” reasons, and because early experimentation with a razor and waxing led me to realise that regrowth is the devil. My delicate (virgin arctic tundra) skin erupts enthusiastically to regrowth with boils, which is, you can imagine, highly attractive in the downstairs department. My point being that electrolysis, although as unpleasant as you’d expect it to be – it’s electricity zapped directly into the base of each hair follicle – is, look, fine. Pain can be got through. Particularly with a little screaming. I also understand it gives you a mad rush of endorphins, which sounds excellent and would save me running a marathon. I’m up for a little skin-art somethingsomething for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve just read the results of a 2019 study done on South African college students and their attitude to tattoos. Those who judged them negatively said tattoos made people look, among other things, “non-Christian”, “weird” and “defiant of society”, so tick tick tick. One participant said, “For young people, it is stylish and cool, but when they grow old and they have tattoos it looks disgusting and inappropriate”, which for

some psychopathological reason makes me want to rush out and get one. I also had a melanoma cut out of my upper left arm about a year ago. It’s always, peculiarly, felt like my “tattoo” arm and now that the scar has settled I’ve been thinking, well, if not now, when? You could argue, of course, that I may have missed my tattoo window. Not only am I now old and hideous – thanks, unknown South African student, I’m sure you’re a) perfection, and b) completely right, nothing should be in the world unless you, personally, find it sexually attractive, good grief, you utter ning-nong – but it’s apparently not world’s best practice to tattoo over a melanoma scar. Because skin checks. Fine. I don’t have to tattoo over the scar. I’m not trying to hide it anyway, the scar is bad-arse. I tell you what, when a skin specialist sees a melanoma, they do not frig around. Two minutes after “hello” a biopsy from my arm the size of a main meal at a French fusion restaurant was lying in a kidney tray. I swear it was still twitching. I was lucky in that my melanoma took after the human who grew it (shallow and slow moving), but I’ll take a moment here for a public service announcement to say GET YOUR SKIN CHECKED. If you’re of Anglo descent, and particularly of the virgin arctic tundra persuasion, mate, we are not evolved for this climate, just saying. So I’m looking for inspo. I used to want a sailing ship on that arm, because “a ship in harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for”. It felt brave. Now I’m thinking, I don’t know, a chicken? Gum leaves? A fox in crosshairs?* I suspect it doesn’t matter what I get. What matters, is that I get. *Thanks Tony Wilson.

Fiona Scott-Norman is a writer, comedian and cleanskin ( for now).

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020


Tatts All She Wrote B

Those who judged them negatively said tattoos made people look, among other things, “non-Christian”, “weird” and “defiant of society”, so tick tick tick.






Essie Davis

Phryne Festival Essie Davis is bringing her beloved, bejewelled and bedecked detective Phryne Fisher to the big screen, in a romp reminiscent of Indiana Jones. by Eliza Janssen @eliza_ janssen

Eliza Janssen is a Melbourne-based writer, editor at roughcutfilm.com and host of the podcast Twin Picks with her irritating siblings.


iss Phryne Fisher doesn’t just make mortal danger seem easy – she makes it look fabulous. “She’s just really good at everything, isn’t she?” laughs Essie Davis, who plays the 1920s proto-feminist sleuth. After a bestselling book series and three seasons of the ABC’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the supernaturally capable detective has become a global phenomenon, with loyal fans in 179 countries worldwide, including the US and at home in Australia. Naturally, she now has her own spin-off movie, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears – an Indiana Jonesstyle adventure, replete with all the bullet dodging and quicksand pits of one’s dreams. Despite making it all look effortless, Davis admits playing Miss Fisher for the big screen involved a little more preparation than usual: “I did a bit of fencing training. But mostly it’s ‘jump on a camel and look like you can ride’. Everything is very fast and furious when you have a tiny budget.” That “tiny budget” ($8 million) might surprise audiences. The film sees the globe-trotting Miss Fisher stand up for a lost Bedouin tribe in 1929 Jerusalem

I feel privileged to be telling both of these stories that look at history from a new angle.” Miss Fisher’s life is a James Bond-style, retro power fantasy, with the arch dialogue and costuming to match. In Crypt of Tears, she recalls “dancing with a group of undesirables…and I found some of them quite desirable”. But her character has always been, in Davis’ words, “an advocate for the underdog; she doesn’t stand for the oppression of others or any burying of the truth”. The movie’s central mystery – forgotten ancient history versus colonial plundering – is distinctly 2020 in its sense of social justice. When asked what Miss Fisher would be doing if she had been born into the 21st century, Davis answers, “Pretty much what she’s doing in 1929. Enjoying life, travelling the world, meeting people, solving problems and fighting for the underdog. And wearing beautiful clothes.” That’s right – Crypt of Tears’ Middle-Eastern location merits a complete new wardrobe for Davis, impeccably put together by designer Margot Wilson. The opening scene sees Miss Fisher emerge butterfly-like from a chador wearing a gold-sequinned number. But Davis’

favourite ensemble is more practical: “I loved my little black and white safari outfit with canvas lace-up boots, for desert-sand walking.” Beyond the thrill of having her own personal designer – “It’s weird buying anything that’s not made personally for you; it never fits quite as well” – Davis says the movie was as fun to make as it is to watch. Playing “a perfect person who never loses her temper”, Davis was helpless to resist the Unbearable Lightness of Being Phryne Fisher: “I’m not quite as upbeat as she is. But when I’m being her, I get a lot of her upbeat joy.” Davis hopes Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears will satisfy fans and Phryne newcomers alike, saying that “the film will stand alone”. This is despite a little will-they-or-won’t-they mystery surrounding the relationship between Miss Fisher and dreamy Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (played by Nathan Page). For Davis, their courtship refreshingly speaks to the experience of being a feminist in Australia this side of the millennium: of craving both “total independence” and real romantic connection. “It’s kind of a wonderful dilemma, to not lose yourself in love.” Losing oneself in Miss Fisher’s world of intrigue and glamour, however, is strongly recommended.  MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS IS IN CINEMAS 27 FEBRUARY.


– arguably indulging a white saviour narrative – and aesthetically, it feels every bit as lush as the orientalist escapades it knowingly apes. Directed by Tony Tilse, the partially Kickstarterfunded film is definitely on a larger scale than the intimate, noir-esque TV show – but Davis feels cinema is where her character has always belonged. “I think Phryne’s always been bigger than the show. She started out in Kerry Greenwood’s novels as an international woman of great wit, a fighter for social justice, and a lover of men. I mean, what a pleasure to be able to take that to the big screen, and to take Phryne back around the world,” she says. It was important to Davis, though, that her character retain her Aussie roots. Despite her wealthy lifestyle, Miss Fisher was “born in poverty in the streets of Collingwood”. And, like Davis, she “hasn’t forgotten where she comes from”. Davis has spent the past decade racking up acclaim for her performances as the grieving mother in Jennifer Kent’s break-out The Babadook (2014) and as the cosmopolitan Anouk in the ABC-TV series adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap (2011). Earlier this year, Davis appeared in her husband Justin Kurzel’s retelling of True Story of the Kelly Gang, another highly stylised take on Australia’s colonial history. Davis says she only seeks roles that are “unexpected, and both educational as well as escapist.

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

I did a bit of fencing training. But mostly it’s ‘jump on a camel and look like you can ride’.

Big Maq




Georgia Maq

Georgia Maq has put aside the guitar, the anger and her Camp Cope bandmates to make a pop album all about love. by Izzy Tolhurst @izzytolhurst

Izzy Tolhurst is a freelance writer and editor from Melbourne.


eorgia McDonald is fired up when she answers the phone. She’s been in Adelaide playing a Girls Rock! fundraiser, and while there, marched in a climate rally through the city’s Rundle Mall. As our country continues to burn, so the protests go on, calling for urgent action on climate change. “It was beautiful,” says McDonald. “It shows that people can come together. It’s all about people and the environment. We all need to take care of each other.” Recognition of care, and more specifically self-care, are themes for McDonald at the moment, and form the centrepiece of her debut solo album Pleaser, an eightsong record released quietly in December last year. It was released under her well-known moniker, Georgia Maq. “People were taken aback or a bit surprised because it wasn’t a rock album,” she says. “But I think the release has been pretty good; I’ve had lots of positive feedback. And I felt good about it, and that’s what’s most important.” Such introspection hasn’t always been McDonald’s modus operandi. She’s best known for leading Camp Cope, the Melbourne punk-rock trio that spit condemnation in the face of conformity and social inequality. Their self-titled debut and follow-up How to Socialise & Make Friends fought against music industry sexism and male-dominated festival line-ups. Offenders were routinely named and shamed. Being called out was a part of the deal and, indeed, the movement. But Pleaser is different, and not just sonically. Only one song on the debut features guitar, where previously McDonald wielded hers through the Camp Cope catalogue. In Pleaser’s opener ‘Away from Love’, a sweet, simple riff quickly slips under electronic beats and synth to become part of the swelling melody. No doubt about it: Pleaser is a pop album. “I wanted my Lady Gaga moment. I love women making pop music. It’s so powerful and so vulnerable

and so important. It’s our realm in music. People think it’s weak because pop talks about heartbreak and dancing, but I wanted to be a part of that. I feel it so deeply in my soul,” she says. It doesn’t take long to work out Pleaser’s subject matter is different too. “It’s a love album,” she says. “Love that you walked away from so you could love yourself. Unrequited love, forgiving love, love with no point to it,” she explains. In the title track, McDonald is vulnerable and raw: “I am doomed to be in love with you/ I am doomed to be a pleaser for you/ All I can offer you is love/ I know it’s not what you want”. In ‘Easy to Love’ she surrenders herself to the emotion: “Loving’s easy but profound/ I dream of you and drown.” She bathes the listener in glittery refrains akin to Robyn’s pop mastery. For those drag-you-to-the-dancefloor melodies, you can thank Katie Dey and Darcy Baylis, electronic artists and close friends of McDonald’s, who helped produce and record Pleaser. By the end of the album, Maq’s willingness to expose herself has peaked – she closes with the track ‘Big Embarrassing Heart’. But after creating an album entirely devoted to the act of self-love, respect and care, has McDonald mastered it? Does she love herself? “It’s a difficult question. I think I do. You know what, yeah, I really do. I can’t change that I’m Georgia Maq. I can change my behaviour, and reflect on things I’ve done. And that makes me love myself, because I can acknowledge my faults and my growth. A theme of the album is me always having myself; having my own back. People come and go, and feelings come and go, but in the end I always just have me,” she says. While Pleaser reveals a truer self to McDonald, it also shows listeners a side they haven’t seen. In Camp Cope there’s fire and fighting spirit, a lyrical and vocal intensity pushed to the limit. This solo project is softer, its ferocity contained and its tenderness laid bare. Which begs the question: Where does the real Georgia McDonald reside? “You get tiny pieces of the quote-unquote, ‘real me’ in all the work I choose to put out. Humans are so multifaceted; we’re such complex creatures. I feel like I’m a different person every day. I’m not the same person I was last week. I feel like it’s part of my evolution. Every album is a snapshot of how far I’ve come,” she says. As for what comes next for either Camp Cope or this new solo undertaking, McDonald is unsure but relaxed. “We’ll just see what happens. It’s definitely not the end. I want to make a country album. I want to make every kind of music that I like. I do it for the love of it.” At a time when Australia needs love and honesty more than ever, McDonald’s debut presents a space in which to speak and be heard. And though it’s often looking inwards, Pleaser shows that self-reflection can be a force for change.  PLEASER IS OUT NOW.

I wanted my Lady Gaga moment. I love women making pop music. It’s so powerful and so vulnerable and so important.




Mandy Beaumont

Hear Me Raw Mandy Beaumont writes poetic short stories about misplaced women – and she wants men to listen up. by Thuy On Books Editor @thuy_on

They are trying to escape their warring parents by reading and making themselves small and inconspicuous. They are preyed upon, have bruises under their skin and bottles piled on their tables. They are pear-shaped, with “breasts starting to fall with weight”, and are coping with mental health problems. They are the products of parental negligence and partner abuse and don’t so much live as survive. They are wild and strong and fearless. “I wanted to explore the unheard stories of women – that you and I both know about but don’t necessarily air in public – issues that women are talking [about] among ourselves,” says Beaumont. “Post the #metoo movement…I figure it’s time for these stories to be heard. There is a rise in our collective voices with regards to the experiences of women, and social media has a lot to do with that. We are connecting in all sorts of ways. There is a big fight to have, and patriarchal structures to destroy. There’s a long way to go, yes, but some powerful men who’ve benefited from patriarchy are falling. I’d love for men to read Wild Fearless Chests and for women to feel as though they are being heard.” A quote from Simone de Beauvoir opens the book


21 FEB–05 MAR 2020


I’d love for men to read Wild Fearless Chests and for women to feel as though they are being heard.

and encapsulates Beaumont’s desire to agitate for change: “What destiny awaits our younger sisters, and in which direction should we point them?” Beaumont is in the throes of a creative writing PhD – she’s producing a work of de Beauvoir-inspired feminist philosophical fiction – and her research has informed Wild Fearless Chests. Beaumont acknowledges that she’s white and educated and therefore operating from a privileged platform, but hopes the everyday stories in her book will inspire others to speak out. “I want it to help elevate voices of more marginalised people: our trans sisters, women of colour…to help open up the gates for women to have more conversations in spaces that are safe.” The stories she offers traverse the line between fact and fiction, with poignant tales about her aunt – New Zealand author Janet Frame – in the mix. “There are composites of events about what happened to me and to other people; it’s a real mash-up,” she says. Now based in Melbourne, Beaumont grew up on the outskirts of Brisbane. “I have had a life that I assume a lot of women can relate to; I come from a working-class background. I did a lot of drugs when I was younger, have been in abusive relationships. I left home at 13 because I was wild and loud. I’m educated now but that’s because I moved out when I did and worked my arse off. That’s why there are so many stories about misplaced women in here – because I was one of them.” Beaumont is unblinking in her rendering of violence, suffering and death, yet at the same time there are moments of exquisite tenderness and restraint in her prose. She’s also a poet and has taught poetry for years – there is as much beauty as there is pain in this anthology, and levity and grace in even its most brutal moments. She did her masters degree on the poet Charles Bukowski. “A known misogynist…my study was about exploring sexual power,” she says. “And in his work, even though his themes were often ugly, there was a kind of glory in the writing, a softness.” “It’s all about the language,” she emphasises. “This is a literary book. I’d love people to realise that alongside the feminist messages and subtext, there is power in the word-by-word construction, like a poem. Each story is contained, and a world of its own, like a poem. People can be, and are, a mess, but there are always moments of respite.” Ultimately, says Beaumont, “This is a collection about connection. ‘Hey, I’ve been there. I’ve seen this. You have too. I see you.’” 



andy Beaumont’s debut collection of stories is bold, bright and bloody. The stories are on the side of women, especially the downtrodden, the erased, the hurt and the despondent. The tales pack a solid punch, both literal and metaphorical, and Beaumont’s voice – channelled through all these disparate and yet familiar and echoing narratives – is resolute. By writing about (young) women in an unashamedly feminist manner, by offering them a way to express their anger, confusion and pain, Wild Fearless Chests is as validating as it is devastating. Her characters are in between where they are and where they want to go: temporary visitors in cheap accommodation, off-season pubs and hotels that smell of “cigarettes and spilt beer and sex and fights and affairs and blood”. They are caught up in generational trauma, in danger of turning into their mothers “at the next revolution of the wheel”.

Film Reviews

Annabel Brady-Brown Film Editor @annnabelbb


rom True History of the Kelly Gang to The Lighthouse, a gaggle of recent films have arrived frontloaded with a surfeit of style to keep the eyes jazzed. But ahh, it’s so satisfying to watch a movie that looks good and has something to say. That pleasure is provided by Zombi Child, the latest electrifying trip from Frenchman Bertrand Bonello, whose divisive Nocturama (on Netflix) delighted, bamboozled and upset viewers in 2016 for its depiction of a gang of consumer-driven teen terrorists. Zombi Child is another sharp, flashy tale of privileged youth, this one set in an elite French boarding school that really was founded by Napoleon. There, a Haitian teenager captivates her new friends. A parallel plot follows a Haitian man who is killed and resurrected as a zombi – Bonello knowingly uses the original Creole term, which is freighted with historical associations of slavery and oppression – as a colonial past crashes viscerally against the present. It’s playing in Melbourne and Sydney at the Fantastic Film Festival (20 Feb-4 Mar). Meanwhile, Parasite continues its honeymoon as The Film Everyone Loves. Bong Joon-ho’s morality tale about the haves and have-nots cleaned up the Oscars and is enjoying a second life in cinemas – with a monochrome palette. The obvious precedent is James Mangold’s Logan Noir, but in fact Bong spun this trick years ago with his very excellent Mother (2009). It’s a welcome excuse to watch it again. ABB



In Australian director Miranda Nation’s debut, anguished photographer Claire (Laura Gordon) is reeling from a stillbirth. Scars crawl across her hips; her gaze is vacant at group therapy. “Have you thought of some kind of ritual?” someone suggests. Then Claire spots her husband, ex-footballer Dan (Rob Collins), with a pregnant teen, Angie (Olivia DeJonge). A ritual presents itself: Claire begins stalking and photographing Angie; she daydreams about her swollen belly. The thriller grows thornier, as Dan and Angie’s complex connection comes to light. Undertow’s attempts to interrogate toxic masculinity are slackened by stilted dialogue and jarring plot developments. That said, Gordon delivers a powerful performance, enhanced by Bonnie Elliott’s cinematography: Geelong’s waves and condemned buildings enrich Claire’s turmoil, while imagined blood stains and dead foxes give the film a surreal, age-old feel. Nation portrays the messiness of grief with bold authenticity – this is a film that takes women’s pain seriously. CLAIRE CAO HONEY BOY




Malcontent actor and performance artist Shia LaBeouf stars as a fictionalised version of his own father, in a screenplay he wrote based on his life as a tween-starturned-troubled-action-hero. Episodic and fragmented, Alma Har’el’s film opens with the 22-year-old Otis (Lucas Hedges), whose court-ordered rehab stint forces him to reflect on his traumatic childhood. The life of the 12-year-old Otis (played by Noah Jupe) is split between the set of a slapstick family sitcom and the motel apartment he shares with his abusive father. LaBeouf’s depiction of his dad is often movingly raw, and Jupe’s Otis is both stoic and vulnerable. Yet despite the impressive performances, much of Honey Boy’s drama hinges on its metanarrative: any viewer familiar with LaBeouf’s Disney Channel-to-Transformers trajectory will likely recognise the film as largely autobiographical. While it avoids overly depending on a manufactured climax or moment of redemption, Honey Boy lacks restraint and tips too far into melodrama. GREER CLEMENS


It’s 1996, Atlanta is hosting the Olympics, and the city folk are celebrating with a concert in Centennial Park. Security guard on duty Richard Jewell – a portly 33-year-old wannabe cop who lives with his mama and knows just how that looks – discovers a pipe bomb minutes before it explodes. When a shady FBI team (led by Jon Hamm) try to peg the bombing on the sweet-as-pie Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser, a stand-out in an all-round excellent cast), he’s viciously trialled by the media. Spun from hero to zero overnight, he reaches out to the only lawyer he knows (Sam Rockwell). Based on real events, the material bends itself naturally to Clint Eastwood’s brand of comically grumpy “get off my porch” libertarianism – in his 41st outing as director, the 89-year-old is still squinting his eyes suspiciously at authority. But this study in heroism is more complex than first appears. Richard Jewell zips along, hitting the sweet spots of wired action and goopy melodrama with a pleasing efficiency. In Clint we trust. ANNABEL BRADY-BROWN

Small Screen Reviews

Aimee Knight Small Screens Editor @siraimeeknight




 | STAN

Since Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) began in 1948 it has been the benchmark for universal healthcare worldwide. This is no longer the case according to renowned activist and filmmaker John Pilger in his latest documentary, The Dirty War on the NHS. The NHS was founded to provide “freedom from fear” – fear of being turned away from, or unable to afford, medical treatment. But as Pilger reports, corporatisation and cuts by successive UK governments have left the service failing to provide an adequate service. The film combines historical footage and reportage, conversations with experts, and Pilger’s empathetic interviews with victims of the current NHS administration. He travels to the US to demonstrate the parallels between their failing system and the NHS, and fires a warning shot using examples from America’s healthcare crisis, some of which are already found in the UK: robotic apps replacing GPs, “patient dumping” and people priced out of basic treatment. The result is harrowing, highly affecting and alarmingly all too close to home. KYLIE MASLEN

Viewers looking for a narrative-driven musical series to fill the Rebecca Bunch-shaped holes in their hearts may be left wanting after the premiere of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Lady coder Zoey (Jane Levy, Castle Rock) is working hard at her San Francisco job when an accident in an MRI machine rouses her capacity to intuit other folks’ thoughts, in the form of pop tunes. This toothlessly sweet dramedy about an adorable nerd experiencing trauma feels like a think-tank response to the Broadway agitations of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the chaotic vim of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, without the natural charisma and idiosyncrasies of its predecessors. As a jukebox musical, it leans on familiar needle-drops like Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colors’ and Gary Jules’ cover of ‘Mad World’ to manufacture gravitas. Despite hefty exposition (in fairness, the burden of any pilot), the rules of the world – ie what’s happening in reality during Zoey’s song-anddance fantasies – seem quite malleable. So far, so safe, but it may find its own voice as the season progresses. AIMEE KNIGHT


ou can rely on the kindness of strangers in Kind Words (Lo Fi Chill Beats to Write to). This soothing computer game is simple in its premise – you write nice letters to people on the internet – but the effect is tremendously comforting. Developed by Boston’s indie game studio Popcannibal (whose voracious name belies their game’s gentle, compassionate mechanics), Kind Words encourages users to share their feelings in anonymous messages. Letters are then dispatched to other players by Ella the mail delivery deer, who returns with unsigned replies to your own notes. Soft electronic music provides a peaceful yet stimulating soundtrack. Now, it goes without saying that anonymous online spaces aren’t always known to promote tolerance and understanding. Right out of the gate, Ella reminds users that behind the digital missives are real people, divulging real problems – from relationship quibbles and workplace grievances to dire mental health issues. Bullying is not tolerated, and it’s notable that senders can’t reply to your reply, which limits the potential for ongoing harassment. Links to mental health resources are also provided, including some that are gamer specific. But in my experience engaging with Kind Words, I was overwhelmed by my ephemeral penpals’ generosity. Folks sent routinely touching responses to my worried little notes, and their altruism made me deeply consider how I replied to other people. It’s a great way to check your ethical compass. Kind Words is available for Windows, Mac, SteamOS and Linux. AK

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020




If Australian Gothic has evolved since Picnic at Hanging Rock, what are we now afraid of? In the grand tradition of confronting unspoken anxieties, Radio National’s new fiction series Oz Gothic explores this literary and artistic sensibility through six atmospheric audio stories. Each of them crumples the glossy tourism image of Australia, subverting tropes of otherness, and challenging historical records of colonisation. Produced by Camilla Hannan and Sophie Townsend (script editor on RN’s Fitzroy Diaries), the series is a constellation of narratives penned by some of Australia’s brightest writers: Tony Birch, Krissy Kneen, Julie Koh, Lachlan Philpott, Alicia Sometimes and Maria Tumarkin. Domestic violence, religious fanaticism and creepy neighbours become immersive earworms thanks to finely tuned sound design and hypnotic narration from voice actors such as Molly Roberts (‘The Pool’) and Mark Cole Smith (‘The Promise’). This series merges the nervous humour of Australian Gothic memes with the considered storytelling and curation of the Best Australian Short Stories anthologies. NATHANIA GILSON

Music Reviews


Sarah Smith Music Editor

here’s a lot of great stories about Gang of Four’s Andy Gill, many of which focus not on debauched rock’n’roll antics, but rather his time as a politicised arts student at Leeds University. A city riddled with violence and home to a buoyant National Front, Leeds was a tinderbox of left-right tension in the late 70s. It was amid this atmosphere that Gill’s band emerged. Popular Gill tales include an anecdote in which his nose was broken by a Neo-Nazi and, in turn, one in which he smashed his guitar over the head of a NeoNazi – at Gang of Four’s first-ever gig no less. Sadly, as Gill told LouderSound during an interview last year, neither is entirely true. But both do exemplify the environment that birthed both Gang of Four’s socially potent songwriting and Gill’s idiosyncratic guitar playing. As The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis noted upon Gill’s sudden death, aged 64, earlier this month: “It’s tempting to say you could hear the tension [of Leeds] in the way Gill played guitar.” Descriptions of Gill’s playing invariably use the word “angular”, but his own description of that now-iconic funky, post-punk sound does it far more justice: “The sound of the pick against the string. All those scrapes and zips, all those things mixed in with a little bit of a tune made something quite magical.” It’s a sound that can be heard in every decade since Gang of Four’s inception, cementing Gill’s legacy as something quite magical indeed. SS






Grimes’ personal life has dominated the headlines more than her music lately, but the artist born Claire Boucher remains the queen of weird with her first album in five years. Ditching the brighter sounds of 2015’s Art Angels, here the musician blends industrial and nu metal sounds with her signature art-pop, loosely based on the concept of an anthropomorphic goddess of climate change. There are moments of closer convention – the acoustic earnestness of ‘Delete Forever’ and the addictively tuneful ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’ – but this record is largely about textures rather than melody. Grimes eschews even words on some tracks – ‘4ÆM’ sees her frenetic vocals, filtered through machines, become another instrument, almost as though she’s not quite human herself. In this way Miss Anthropocene feels like an otherworldly meditation – both a reflection of our planet and a reimagining of it. Five albums in, Grimes remains committed to all things weird and wonderful, with a record that brims with strange, chaotic intrigue. GISELLE AU-NHIEN NGUYEN





Several years ago, Melbourne artist Martha Brown was developing her digitally staggered sound and pitch-altered vocals as Banoffee, delivering joyous contemporary pop. And then there was silence. Banoffee spent those years performing with Charli XCX on stadium tours and working with the experimental pop label PC Music. Look at Us Now Dad is her long-awaited debut album: a re-contextualising of the adversity that she faced earlier in her career, scored by maximal hyper-pop arrangements. Banoffee kicks into gear with ‘One Night Stand’, pairing smooth keyboard chords with the bouncy club kicks of her recent UK-based collaborations. ‘Count on You’ is a celebration of support and strength in unity. Framed by a ridiculously distorted guitar-backed chorus, the track is a co-production with Scottish artist SOPHIE that gleefully synthesises the internet age’s liberated approach to varied musical influences. Banoffee offers optimistic flair, in spite of the painful memories she is unpacking. CHARLIE MILLER

This year marks a quarter century of Canadian Dan Bejar’s ambitious solo project Destroyer. Aside from Bejar’s idiosyncratic vocal delivery, few things have remained constant – one minute Destroyer is a wistful folk act, the next a bustling indie-rock band, then making a stopover in 80s-kitsch, just because. For album 12, Bejar teams with long-term collaborator John Collins to produce a record that channels VCR-quality vintage pop and the constant movement of a movie soundtrack. As a result, Have We Met contains tracks that are simultaneously the most interesting and accessible of the Destroyer canon. ‘It Just Doesn’t Happen’ is propelled by an indelible synth refrain and clean palm-muted guitar, while ‘Cue Synthesizer’ matches Collins’ churning bassline with Bejar’s clever text-painting lyricism. Not everything lands – the meandering instrumental title track was an easy cut – but it’s not for nothing that 47-year-old Bejar is still finding ways to breathe life back into Destroyer. DAVID JAMES YOUNG

Book Reviews

Thuy On Books Editor @thuy_on


still remember the worthy but oh-so-dull books available to me as I tried to figure out how squiggles on the page could actually translate into words. Thankfully, times have changed for the better in terms of literacy tools. Children on the scary but exciting path to learning how to read will be well served with a new series, Aussie Kids. It’s a collection of eight books designed for emerging, independent readers (eight characters, eight stories, eight authors and eight illustrators from eight Australian states and territories). Keeping it easy and engaging seems to be the mantra of all involved, so there are short sentences and chapters, broken up by two-toned pictures. The vocabulary may be simple, but each book is based on an adventure, set in the outback, the beach, the zoo and various other locations. A new volume will be released each month, starting from February, with the first one by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Nicki Greenberg: Meet Taj at the Lighthouse (Victoria), followed by Belinda Murrell and David Hardy with Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo (NSW). I like the diverse skin tones of Aussie Kids’ protagonists, their different backgrounds and the inclusion of some fun facts at the end, as well as the small notes on each writer and illustrator. TO

Evie Wyld, the winner of the 2014 Miles Franklin Award, is one of modern literature’s most talented writers of Gothic-infused literary fiction, dressing up very real horrors in the tropes of the macabre to stunning effect. In The Bass Rock, her third novel, Wyld shows a singular talent for plumbing the same themes without ever seeming to repeat herself. Once again, we find ourselves transported back and forth in time as Wyld shifts perspectives between narrators. Three women in three different times: a witch, a mother and a daughter, their rage and despair palpable, find themselves trapped in lives weighed down by the same trauma, violence and abuse, as ghosts flit by. The story opens with the discovery of a dead woman in a suitcase. This bleakness threatens to overwhelm, but Wyld’s facility for inventive, poetic language, as well as moments of tenderness, rescue the reader from despair. Suspenseful and compulsively readable, if a little long, the novel will reward any reader who can face the violence and abuse it depicts. ANGELA ELIZABETH SHIRL WAYNE MARSHALL 

Wayne Marshall’s debut collection can be described as Australiana set within the most bizarre dream states. Stories like a ‘A Night Out’ with the titular character Shirl, and ‘Gibson’s Bat and Ball’, are set against the hot, dry, timeless backdrop of country Victoria. They lead you through a world most of us would know well: tinnies, pokies, cricket, monosyllabic men, disgruntled women and laconic, foul-mouthed children, before dropping you neck-deep in bloody weirdness, mate. Sadly, to describe any of the stories is to ruin the wonderful dance of accepted reality and 4am heat delirium that Marshall creates. My only criticism is that I would have liked twice the number of stories. Marshall needs at least that amount to construct a sort of Brothers Grimm-like dreamscape made up of the dry fields and Hills-Hoiststrewn backyards of Victoria, ominously waiting for you, like a crocodile. RAPHAELLE RACE


The cover with a frazzled stork struggling to carry an oversized package (a teenager staring at a phone) says it all about this cheery little compendium, an A-Z of Adolescence (from Argumentative to Zits). It’s a great little resource for parents and carers that isn’t, as its authors point out, a book of “woe or mockery”. For them, young adults are “increasingly interesting, fabulously fun and just damn lovely” – when of course, they’re not being “surly and snarly”. If they are though, Sarah Macdonald and Cathy Wilcox’s companion book is here to help. It canvasses a whole range of potential problems and offers consolation and advice in Macdonald’s reassuring, conversational tones. Whether it’s binge-watching, driving, influencers, piercings, meltdowns, shoplifting or X-rated material, this book covers it all in short instalments you can dip into as the need arises. Wilcox’s cartoons add to the lighthearted humour. THUY ON

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020





Tastes Like Home edited by Anastasia Safioleas



Tastes Like Home Beekeeper Steve Webber

Honey Ginger Snaps Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line three baking trays with baking paper. Combine the butter and honey in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the butter melts and the mixture begins to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together, then stir into the honey mixture until smooth. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on the trays, leaving room for the biscuits to spread. Using your thumb, make an indent in the centre of each biscuit. Top each with a sliver of crystallised ginger and a sprinkle of raw sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Cool the honey snaps on the trays. Devour!


hat I love about honey ginger snaps is that they’re homemade and healthy...for a biscuit. My wife Suzy is a very good cook. She is one of those annoying people who doesn’t even open a cookbook – it just happens. At the moment my bees are 450km from home, so I go away for a week at a time every fortnight and she’ll often make me these. They’re great because they don’t go soft so you can nibble on them while you’re driving. My father was a beekeeper. I was the oldest of three kids and would spend quite a bit of time with him out in the bush at the beehives. Mum used loads of honey in cooking and we used to sell honey at the monthly markets where I grew up in Taree. The night before, when the honey was all packed, I remember making gingerbread men and biscuits that we would also sell. I was always interested in beekeeping. I could see the potential and liked the idea – it’s a fairly sustainable harvest. And I like the bush. There are times in winter when it gets cold and wet – and you just grizzle and groan – and then it’s hot, but you’re out in the open air. I run about 400 hives, mostly on private properties. I like the thought of them being safe on farms and providing pollinating services where needed. I follow the different flowering cycles of Australia’s unique eucalypt species by trucking the bees to the trees. I really enjoy that part of it and the research I do. I’ve become a bit of a backyard botanist. A good healthy hive has 50,000 to 60,000 bees. A hive is like one organism; if you take the queen out the whole thing is buggered. But it’s been difficult because of the drought. We’re all doing it tough; my beekeeper mates have helped me out when I’ve needed it and I’ll repay the favour when I can. It’s good to talk to other farmers. There’s always someone doing it tougher than you. I know one fella who’s lost 800 hives in the fires. That’s a huge, huge loss. As a farmer, you just have to get up in the morning and keep going. Don’t listen to weather reports. Just have hope in Mother Nature and wait for the sound of the bloody rain on the roof again. It’ll come when it comes. STEVE’S RECIPE IS FEATURED IN FARMER: RECIPES AND STORIES FROM THE LAND BY JODY VASSALLO. ALL PROFITS FROM SALES OF THE BOOK GO TO THE COUNTRY WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION.

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020


Steve says…


150g butter ¼ cup (90g) honey 1½ cups (225g) plain flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 3 teaspoons ground ginger ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 tablespoons thinly sliced crystallised ginger 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Public Service Announcement

by Lorin Clarke @lorinimus

Right now, somewhere, someone is taking a big breath and trying to maintain eye contact as she stands up for herself in a meeting with her boss. Gently insisting on a few things. Starting with some lines practised with a loved one in the familiar kitchen at home the previous evening and, right now, waiting, a pretend casualness about the way she’s standing. Her boss, ever so slightly, raises an eyebrow and goes to speak. Right now. Right now, someone is realising it has been two years. Two years since he stopped smoking. He’s looking down at the app notification on his phone and, while his friends continue talking and laughing all around him about something else entirely, he’s allowing himself a quiet smile. Someone, somewhere, is being born. A whole life is beginning. Outside, in a waiting room, two people who are, right this moment, becoming grandmothers, look out the giant maternity ward windows, plastic cups of water in their hands, commenting on the colours of the clouds. Someone is about to come out and tell them. Talk about great social upheaval. Someone just got a text message. He’s going to read it a few more times in the next 24 hours, just to be sure. It’s from his partner and he almost cries with happiness when he reads it. It says I got the job.

Someone, somewhere, just heard terrible news. Just felt the universe shift. Will forever measure time back to this moment. Right now. Right now, two people, in a park or a desert or a kitchen or a school, are mid-laugh. Not a normal laugh. A grasping, gasping, so-funny-it-makes-you-laughagain laugh. Tears. Silence. Eyebrows. Nothing on planet Earth has ever been funnier than this. There’s science happening, right now. Cells are doing things. Chemicals are being surprising. Animals are responding to cancer treatments. Life is about to change because of this moment right now. A writer just sat back in a chair and thought, It’s done. I think it’s finally finished. Will it stop millions of people in their tracks? Maybe it’s a song. Maybe it’s a book. Perhaps a speech. People will stop, when they hear it, and feel it go right through them, thanks to now. Someone, somewhere, is – right this very second – reaching out to the person next to them and, because it is finally the very most obvious thing to do, they are, to their mutual delight, holding hands. Allowing a small shared glance. Feeling the enormity of it. Trying to play it cool. There’s a teacher – there are always teachers – finding a way to penetrate confusion. Finding the right narrative, adjusting things ever so slightly to the pupil’s way of understanding until, finally, at last, comprehension dawns on the face of the pupil, like a flower opening up. A mental pathway forming. An entire new world of possibilities becoming available to a mind that, moments ago, was blind to them. Right now – this second right now – someone’s door just blew shut behind them. Little moment of horror. Nope. Keys must be inside. Someone, somewhere, is sitting, reading exactly this, letting it interrupt their life a little bit. Skimming back, later, for a bit of well-deserved Andrew Weldon. Bit of a read. Bit of a think. This is a Public Service Announcement: right now is important, but there are lots of versions of it, and most of them have nothing whatsoever to do with yours.

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.



ight now, this very second, is hugely significant. It is! Maybe not to you. Although, maybe it is to you. Maybe you have a lot going on. You could be on your way to a job interview. You could be sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. You could just be at a crossroads or sifting through a sea of everything or feeling yourself blown off course. Maybe this time, right now, feels significant. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, no offence, you’re probably wrong. I had an English teacher once who advised us against writing clichés. He admitted that, in writing about a time in history, we would probably get at least one point in an exam for describing the period as “a time of great social upheaval”. He pressed upon us though, that probably every time in history was a time of great social upheaval. That’s what history is: a whole lot of moments whose consequences led to other moments. Public Service Announcement: everything is hugely significant and also not at all.

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

Right Here, Right Now

Puzzles By Lingo! by Lauren Gawne lingthusiasm.com TUCKSHOP




5 letters Hospital carer Less than zero Multiplied by Stipulations Temporary hair‑tint 6 letters Anxiety, or civil disorder Guarantee Person who doesn’t wear clothes Round up (sheep or cattle) Spring‑cleaning aid






by websudoku.com

Each column, row and 3 x 3 box must contain all numbers 1 to 9.


U 8 1

7 5


8 5 4 1 3 8 6 5 7 2 7 9 7 5 4 3 4 2 1 8

Puzzle by websudoku.com

Solutions CROSSWORD DOWN 1 Summoned 2 Nightcap 3 Yeast 4 Impairs 5 Elapsed 6 Plaything 7 Regent 8 Basket 14 Easter egg 16 Cloister 17 Raindrop 19 Digital 20 Reserve 21 Mayhem 22 Madrid 25 Apses

Using all nine letters provided, can you answer these clues? Every answer must include the central letter. Plus, which word uses all nine letters?

by puzzler.com

ACROSS 1 Sunny side up 7 Rib 9 Magma 10 Phalanges 11 Outstrips 12 Tinge 13 Erasers 15 Drip 18 Used 20 Regalia 23 Agate 24 Gestation 26 Harvester 27 Sitar 28 Mud 29 Golden syrup

Word Builder

Tuckshop first appears in writing in Britain in the 1850s, from the schoolboy word tuck, meaning food, particularly sweets. This word also gave Australian English tucker. It ultimately has its origin in “tuck” referring to a fold or a pleat in drapery, or the analogy of snuggly tucking food into yourself. Your school may have had a canteen instead. In French it originally referred to a shop set up near a military camp, before coming to be used for the room where meals were taken at camp in the early 1800s, and extended to schools by the 1870s. You’re more likely to encounter a canteen in Western Australia or South Australia, while tuckshops are most common in Queensland.

7 letters Bone in the chest Way of thinking


8 letters Last stop

1 Apu Nahasapeemapetilon 2 A turkey 3 Tony Smith 4 Waitangi Day 5 Nike 6 Parasite in 2020 7 Twisties 8 Yes 9 Tasmania 10 Sportscraft 11 Mr Hyde 12 One (Renae Lawrence) 13 Flags 14 Morocco 15 San Francisco 49ers 16 Cabbage 17 Polonium 18 Glenrowan 19 4 20 Maurizio Cattelan


by Siobhan Linde
















12 1

14 1

15 1


19 1





23 1














24 1









27 1







Cryptic Clues




1 Dawn embraces New York team’s way of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

cooking eggs (5,4,2)

7 Most of bird’s backbone? (3) 9 Mother and grandmother found molten rock? (5) 10 Unfortunately, has leg pain after losing one’s

19-down bones (9)

11 Overtakes competitors by wearing sport suit (9) 12 A bit of colour can galvanise outsiders (5) 13 Makes a mistake, grabs case, takes out

100 rubbers (7)

15 Swim across river to get weakling (4) 18 Exploited American editor (4) 20 Crown is part of this very good beer review? (7) 23 Silver polished off stone (5) 24 Development of grotesque, giant toes (9) 26 Farm worker given nickname by rich people

surrounding king? (9)

27 Artist almost abandoned musical instrument (5) 28 Wet dirt and mould, every now and then (3) 29 Pudgy loners demolished treacle (6,5)

1 Called for (8) 2 Drink before bed (8) 3 Fungus (5) 4 Weakens (7) 5 Passed by (7) 6 Toy (9) 7 Monarch’s deputy (6) 8 Container (6) 14 Festival treat (6,3) 16 Seclude (8) 17 Blob of water (8) 19 Relating to fingers (7) 20 Put aside (7) 21 Chaos (6) 22 European capital (6) 25 Church recesses (5)

Some said old man would be sent for (8) Spooner’s bird to sleep in this? (8) Fungus still contains a primary spore (5) Weakens demon with songs (7) Pleased about having progressed (7) Toy resolves any plight (9) Monarch’s deputy entertained by mature gentlemen (6) 8 Bachelor takes out container (6) 14 Get Grease (remastered) for DVD bonus (6,3) 16 Rebuild costlier walkway in convent (8) 17 Bit of precipitation or rapid storms around noon (8) 19 Like something covering every other nail of one’s fingers (7) 20 Keep or give out again (7) 21 Can he start managing chaos? (6) 22 A doctor in central European capital (6) 25 Apes hide last of berries in alcoves (5)



21 FEB–05 MAR 2020







5 Nurse Minus Times Terms Rinse 6 Unrest Insure Nudist Muster Duster 7 Sternum Mindset 8 Terminus 9 Rudiments


9 6 2 3 7 4 1 5 8


5 4 3 1 9 8 6 2 7


7 8 1 6 5 2 3 4 9


1 Fried on the bottom (5,4,2) 7 Bone (3) 9 Molten rock (5) 10 Troop formations (9) 11 Overtakes (9) 12 A trace of colour (5) 13 Rubbers (7) 15 Weakling (4) 18 Exploited (4) 20 Emblems of royalty (7) 23 Stone (5) 24 Period of development (9) 26 Agricultural machine (9) 27 Musical instrument (5) 28 Slander (3) 29 Pale treacle (6,5)

3 2 7 8 1 6 5 9 4


Quick Clues

Puzzle by websudoku.com



8 9 4 2 3 5 7 6 1



6 1 5 7 4 9 2 8 3



1 5 8 9 2 7 4 3 6



4 7 9 5 6 3 8 1 2


2 3 6 4 8 1 9 7 5


Click 1942

remarked “The presidency is temporary – but the family is permanent.” De Gaulle was above all a military man. He fought in WWI, was bayoneted through the thigh and taken captive. “An incomparable officer in all respects,” wrote his mentor and patron General Pétain, under the impression de Gaulle had perished. Come WWII, it was the same General Pétain who took the reins of the collaborationist Vichy regime – and who de Gaulle, in exile, implacably opposed. For her prudishness, dowdiness and lack of style, Yvonne earned the nickname “Aunty”. Behind the scenes she urged her husband to ban prostitution, pornography at newsstands and even the miniskirt. Which made it all the more odd when, hosted by the English royal family in 1960, she shocked everyone with her answer to the question of what she was looking forward to when her public life was over. “A penis,” she replied, in her accented English. It was the Queen who clicked. “Ah, happiness.”


words by Michael Epis photo by Getty


t is in all respects an extraordinary photo – General Charles de Gaulle, all 196 centimetres of him, towers over his wife Yvonne, who adopts a classic pose of subservience, looking up adoringly at her husband, who stares into the distance. De Gaulle’s haughtiness, his superiority, his arrogance were legendary – who else could echo Louis XIV’s declaration of “Létat – c’est moi” (“The State – that’s me”) and not sound absurd? He exercised those traits not just in public but at home as well. From most accounts, Yvonne would not have had it any other way. She was a devout conservative Catholic, with some very set ideas. They met in October 1920. When asked her thoughts about him, she replied: “It will be he or no-one.” They wed six months later, and in the next seven years Yvonne gave birth to three children. The third, Anne, had Down syndrome. She was her father’s favourite – and it seems it was only with her that he would drop his appearance of dignified hauteur. Family was everything to Yvonne, who once

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

Yvonne and Charles de Gaulle, London

Celebrating Vendor Week

CEO Selling 2020 Participating Organisations:



CEO Selling 2020

ACT Legislative Assembly

Sonya Clancy and Steven Persson, The Big Issue


ow in its eighth year, CEO Selling is one of our biggest events on The Big Issue calendar. Every year business and government executives are invited to take part in CEO Selling, taking up the challenge to stand alongside our vendors and get a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be proudly working on streets around Australia. This year, we are delighted to have more than 80 leaders don the fluoro Big Issue vest for International Vendor Week. It’s an opportunity to celebrate street magazine vendors in Australia and all around the world, who are working hard to overcome homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage. When CEOs try their hand at selling The Big Issue, they get an insight into how remarkable and hard-working our vendors are, who, despite their backgrounds, are choosing to work and make a positive change in their lives. For the vendors, selling with prominent members of the community helps to break down stereotypes around people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage. It shows that vendors are hardworking businesspeople who sell a wonderful product. CEO Selling introduces vendors to new customers, who in turn can become regulars and continue to support their vendor throughout the year. We would like to say thank you to all of the organisations who have participated this year, our vendors who have been great mentors to our guests, and you – our regular customers – for continuing to support vendors who are proudly working.

LWP Property Group

Allens Linklaters

Make Ventures/ Assemble


ME Bank





Australia Post

MLC Wealth

Australian Banking Association

MSS Security

Balcon Group

Newmont Mining

Bank Australia BHP Bis

NBN Origin Energy PEXA

Brennan IT

Property Council of Australia



Cbus Property


Charter Keck Cramer

Rio Tinto

City of Perth

Rundle Mall

Clayton Utz

South Australian Government

Colin Biggers & Paisley Corrs Chambers Westgarth Deloitte Development Victoria

Stockland Sydney Swans Football Club Technology One


The Snow Foundation

Department of Communities WA

Town Square UniSuper


Urban Development Institute of Australia

Fortescue Gilbert + Tobin GlobalX Hutt St Centre ICD Property Land Services SA

Sonya Clancy

Steven Persson


Chairman The Big Issue and Homes for Homes

Chief Executive Officer The Big Issue and Homes for Homes

Lovely Banks Lucent Group

Victorian Government Westpac

Nicole: “I loved selling The Big Issue with Phil. It’s always inspirational meeting people like Phil who have a smile and a thank you for everyone. It’s a great magazine and Phil shared plenty of brilliant selling tips with me.” Phil: “CEO Selling is all about getting the information out about what The Big Issue and being a vendor is. Nicole is great; she had fun and I enjoyed it. It was actually perfect because we sold out of all the magazines!”

Stephen: “In the whirlwind of everyday life it’s often easy to forget how lucky we all are. It was a really great afternoon and I’d do it again next year, and would encourage everyone when they see a vendor to buy a magazine.” David: “I enjoyed it! I gave them tips like keep eye contact and look people in the eye. They were great at encouraging people to buy.”

David Atkin, CEO, Cbus, with vendor Louis

Ian Wells, Linda O’Farrell, Greg Lilleyman and Zara Fisher, Fortescue, with vendors Nakita, Sean, Kellie and Ron.

David: “I had a lot of fun today with Louis. People were very happy to see us, and Louis had a very lovely personality and some fantastic lines. He’s very experienced and he knows how to engage people and put a smile on people’s faces.” Louis: “David did a great job. I enjoyed it immensely. It was an interesting experience. It gives the CEOs an insight into how the other half lives, what it’s like selling the magazine and how challenging it can be.”

Greg: “Fortescue was proud to support The Big Issue across two CEO Selling days this year. Our Fortescue leaders enjoyed meeting the inspiring vendors and hearing their stories. We feel it’s important to be active members of our community and The Big Issue empowers people to set goals and never, ever give up – two personal attributes we really value at Fortescue.” Kellee: “I love doing CEO Selling; this was my third time. Greg was awesome and a really nice guy. I am really grateful for his support of us vendors.”

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

Dave Stevens, Chairman and COO and Stephen Sims, CEO, Brennan IT, with vendor David


Nicole Sheffield, Executive General Manager, Community & Consumer, Australia Post, with vendor Phil



Craig Drummond, CEO, Medibank, with vendor Cheryl

Geoff Lloyd, CEO, MLC Wealth, with vendor Marcus

Craig: “It’s been a great morning working with Cheryl and Cheryl’s cat Cougar, selling The Big Issue. I was touched by Cheryl’s story and grateful for an organisation like The Big Issue who do really positive work engaging people that were previously on the streets and enabling them to have a meaningful life.” Cheryl: “It was great working with Craig from Medibank. We had a brilliant day, sold all our magazines, and he told me any time we’re doing this again to give him a call and we can have some fun again!”

Geoff: “I’ve been a passionate supporter of The Big Issue for the last eight years and I was humbled to be involved in Vendor Week again. Providing meaningful work to people as an avenue out of homelessness is a fantastic initiative.” Marcus: “I’ve known Geoff for a long time so it’s always nice to sell with him. He knows what he’s doing, and he did a really good job. CEO Selling is always a fun thing to do and hopefully we’ll do it again next year, so thank you to MLC for having me!”

Alex Bates, Australia Regional Senior Vice President (RSVP), Newmont Mining, with vendor Jackie

Luke Sayers, CEO, PwC, with vendor Sue

Alex: “I enjoyed working with Jackie in my fourth year of selling The Big Issue and was pleased to beat my sales tally of last year. Joining Jackie in selling on the sidewalk is a small but tangible way of recognising the value of our partnership and I was pleased to be part of that.” Jackie: “I really enjoyed myself today. It was great to sell with Alex; he was a lovely person, and I enjoyed meeting all the staff from Newmont. We sold heaps of magazines!”

Luke: “Today’s just a fantastic day. I’ve been doing this for seven years and it continues to get better and better every year. Sue was a rock star! Homelessness is a challenge here in Australia, and we want to play our little part in helping solve that.” Sue: “Luke is a very charismatic person. He has a natural way with people – very friendly and approachable. This is my second time selling with Luke. I was a bit nervous at first, but his lovely personality made me feel relaxed. I enjoyed the process.”

Owen: “I first met Phil in 2019 when we sold The Big Issue together as part of CEO Selling and he’s a terrific guy. Since then, Phil has been selling the magazine out the front of REA Group’s Richmond (Vic) office every second Tuesday and has become a much-loved member of the extended REA family.” Phil: “This was my second time selling with Owen, and we just had so much fun! I got to sell the magazine with my new boards, and we had a chance to catch up and chat. Any time, any place, it’s always great working with Owen and REA!”

Ed: “TechnologyOne Foundation is proud to partner with The Big Issue and while we can help with much-needed funding and volunteering hours each year, it’s the amazing work of our charity partners that is truly making an impact. It was a privilege to take part in CEO Selling and experience first-hand the impact that The Big Issue makes on the lives of vendors like Kerry.” Kerry: “Selling The Big Issue with CEO Ed was great! It was fun to see professionals in action, and the digital payment technology worked perfectly.”

Kevin O’Sullivan, CEO, UniSuper, with vendor Teresa

Hon. Simone McGurk, MLA, and Michelle Andrews, Director General of Department of Communities WA, with vendors Ron and Raylene

Kevin: “I love selling The Big Issue as part of Vendor Week. I get so much joy working with Teresa each year, and this year was no exception. I will be encouraging all UniSuper employees to buy a copy of the magazine to support their local vendors throughout the year. It’s a wonderful initiative and thank you for asking me to be involved.” Teresa: “It was very enjoyable selling with Kevin. He is a very capable seller and a very friendly guy. Some of his staff came along and bought The Big Issue from him because he’s the CEO! I have sold with Kevin for the past three years, and I like seeing CEOs sell The Big Issue and seeing how they relate with people.”

Michelle: “It was a privilege to spend some time with Raylene selling The Big Issue, though obviously my sales skills need some work! The Department of Communities and The Big Issue share the same values in seeking to bring respect and empowerment to some of WA’s most vulnerable people.” Raylene: “I loved it! Michelle was friendly and welcoming and we both really put ourselves out there. I don’t usually work in the city, and I really noticed people were rushing to work – it wasn’t easy to sell.  I still enjoyed it though and had fun.”

21 FEB–05 MAR 2020

Ed Chung, CEO, TechnologyOne, with vendor Kerry


Owen Wilson, CEO, REA Group, with vendor Phil

Profile for The Big Issue Australia

The Big Issue Australia #606 - Patrick Stewart  

It’s the return nobody thought would happen. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thoughtful, reserved, not afraid to think before ac...

The Big Issue Australia #606 - Patrick Stewart  

It’s the return nobody thought would happen. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thoughtful, reserved, not afraid to think before ac...