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THE Melbourne

REVIEW Issue 23 September 2013




The film-maker talks life, family, Father Bob and INXS with Wendy Cavenett

Lachlan Aird talks with Dennis Altman on changing Australian attitudes and institutions

Peter Tregear welcomes the Tallis Scholars back to Australia for a national tour




SIMONE KERMES (Germany) soprano PAUL DYER AO Artistic Director and conductor



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4 The Melbourne Review September 2013



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John Brumby reflects on Melbourne’s leading role in ideas and research

Alexander Downer compares recent elections in Australia and Egypt

Professor Avni Sali on strategies for restoration, prevention and maintenance

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Disclaimer Opinions published in this paper are not necessarily those of the editor nor the publisher. All material subject to copyright.

Politics 10 Health & Research 14 Columnists 16 Books 18 Performing Arts 20

Audited average monthly circulation: 64,856 (Oct 11 – March 12) THE MELBOURNE






Phil Kakulas chats with the multi-faceted musician about his newly released Wake

The best venues for parties and functions as we head towards spring and the end of the year

Visual Arts 26 Food.Wine.Coffee 33 Venue Guide 39 FORM 43

The Melbourne Review September 2013 5




REVIEW Issue 23 September 2013





The film-maker talks life, family, Father Bob and INXS with Wendy Cavenett

Lachlan Aird talks with Dennis Altman on changing Australian attitudes and institutions

Peter Tregear welcomes the Tallis Scholars back to Australia for a national tour




Our Cover


Lachlan Aird

Alexander Downer

Tali Lavi

Patrick Allington

Robert Dunstan

John Neylon

Becoming Traviata

D.M. Bradley

Arabella Forge

Lou Pardi

John Brumby

Suzanne Fraser

Kate Roffey

From Thursday, October 3 Classic Cinemas, 9 Gordon Street, Elsternwick

Wendy Cavenett

Andrea Frost

Avni Sali

William Charles

Dave Graney

Margaret Simons

Jennifer Cunich

David Knight

David Sornig

Helen Dinmore

Stephen Koukoulas

Evelyn Tsitas

Jacqui Dean, Translucence Assorted images from the upcoming exhibition Translucence at Eleven40 Gallery, Malvern.

Natalie Dessay prepares to take on the role of Violetta in this documentary about the staging of Verdi’s masterwork at the Aix-enProvence Festival in France. Directed by Philippe Béziat. Stars Charles Castronovo, Natalie Dessay and Louis Langrée.

Business Marketplace Wednesday, October 23 Melbourne Showgrounds, Epsom Rd, Ascot Vale

See page 30.

Enjoy and prosper from world class speakers, the T.S.B.I. mentoring panel and workshops. Be among hundreds of stallholders and business people all there to give you the edge in business. This publication is printed on 100% Australian made Norstar, containing 20% recycled fibre. All wood fibre used in this paper originates from sustainably managed forest resources or waste resources.

Survival themes, disturbing images and coarse language


6 The Melbourne Review September 2013


Richard Lowenstein by Wendy Cavenett


s many Melbournians know, Richard Lowenstein has a special place in the city’s cultural milieu. An awardwinning filmmaker of extraordinary talent and tenacity, he has remained an outsider for decades, giving shape to stories that may have otherwise remained untold. Many know him for his 1986 cult classic, Dogs In Space, starring the late INXS frontman, Michael Hutchence. Based on Lowenstein’s own experiences living in a share house during Melbourne’s ‘little band scene’, it literally rocked the industry when it landed. As one critic so aptly pointed out, it was ‘from another universe entirely’. When we meet, it’s late afternoon in St Kilda, and Lowenstein – who is dressed in various shades of black – greets me like a friend, and settles quite quickly into a candid conversation. There are no barriers it seems, no pretenses or hesitations about what to talk about. Instead, Lowenstein is amicable, smart and refreshingly self-deprecating. He laughs often and expresses his many stories through the movements of his hands – with fingers outstretched, and palms taut. The softness of his voice is nicely tempered by the energy of the many tales he tells.

cut from more than 500 hours of footage. It offers an intimate portrait of a Catholic rebel caught in a David and Goliath struggle, while the homeless, and the poor – “the unloved and the unlovely… the angels of our better selves” – seek Father Bob’s protection and care. Lowenstein says Pussy Riot became Father Bob’s heroes. He put them in the context of all the rebels in the history of Christianity – Martin Luther, Joan of Arc, and himself. He says the Catholic Church has always had ways

“My mother had a very strong focus on the working class,” he says. “I have very obviously broadened that because even with say Dogs In Space, they weren’t working class kids, they were middle class kids. For me, stories that are interesting or unique, whether it’s upper, middle or working class, should be told.”

He starts close to the beginning: there’s his alternative education at Brinsley Road Community School where he directed his first film – an adaptation of the children’s story, Pippi Longstocking – and his years as a student of film and television at Swinburne Institute of Technology. He also recounts his experiences directing music videos for the likes of The Ears, Hunters & Collectors, The Church, INXS, Pete Townsend, U2 and more.

of dealing with anyone who comes along and “shakes the pot a little”, and usually it’s by some kind of martyrdom or some kind of sacrifice.

Today, Lowenstein has two films on the table: In Bob We Trust, a feature-length documentary about Father Bob Maguire’s ‘forced retirement’, and a feature film about Michael Hutchence, Lowenstein’s longtime friend and colleague, whose unexpected death in Sydney in 1997 still elicits a sense of disbelief and sorrow from those who knew him, and from the fans who adored him.

Lowenstein, who has long lamented the difficulties of working in the Australian film industry, teamed up in 2000 with Lynn-Maree Milburn and Andrew de Groot to form Ghost Pictures, a collaborative operation that also offers a creative oasis, a force greater than one. “There is no hierarchy here,” Lowenstein says. “I think working with people is an important aspect of what we do.”

Both are stories of the “everyman”, Lowenstein says later. “These are stories with qualities that are unique and profound.” And they are stories that need to be told, he adds, stories that are not normally documented.

Together, Lowenstein, Milburn and de Groot have shared writing, directing, cinematography and production duties. They have created a cache of films, documentaries and TV series, including He Died With a Felafel In His Hand (2001), John Safran vs God (2004), the brilliant We’re Livin’ On Dogfood (2009) and 2011’s Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard.

Of In Bob We Trust, Lowenstein says it was filmed over three and a half years and



PROFILE Later, when the sun has set, and the glow of street lights and neon signs stream into the large, quiet studio space, Milburn – who directed In Bob We Trust – and de Groot, arrive at the studio to finish some last minute editing. Each is exceptionally likeable, their openness, their dedication to the creative process, and to the stories they choose to tell, indicative of their desire to create quality films and documentaries. Lowenstein, who grew up with “Communist parents and May Day marches”, says he was forced to go to demonstrations from a young age: the very first one he can remember was the 3,000+ strong vigil held to protest the hanging of Ronald Ryan outside Pentridge Prison in 1967. Lowenstein was almost eight years old. His parents – Wendy Lowenstein, the esteemed author, social activist and oral historian (1927-2006), and Werner Lowenstein, one of the Dunera boys, who was relocated to Australia in 1940 after fleeing Nazi Germany – married in 1947, and had three children, Peter, Martie and Richard. In 1969, the family left Melbourne for a year-long Australian folklore expedition, a big tour that saw the Lowensteins circumnavigate Australia – “we never went to the centre, it was always the edge” – with Wendy recording old folk songs and memories of people she met along the way.

All the history books were full of the big guys, Lowenstein says, the Captain Cooks and all the governments, but nobody had thought to record – like they’d done in America with Studs Terkel and the dustbowl – people in the street, the working class stories of everyday Australians. These recordings, known as the Australian Outback Interviews 1969 (126 hours), are now held at the National Library of Australia. Its 109 works are part of a massive archive that totals approximately 740 hours of interviews, which were conducted by Wendy over her lifetime. For 10 years, Lowenstein was the “sound recorder guy”. He would set up the tape recorder, get the sound levels right, “and try to get [Wendy] to stop gesticulating because she was using a hand-held mic at the time”. Lowenstein laughs. He runs a small hand through his rather impressive head of hair. Again and again, he references the strong presence of his mother throughout his life, hinting at their complex relationship, always admiring her work as an author and oral historian. “My mother had a very strong focus on the working class,” he says. “I have very obviously broadened that because even with say Dogs In Space, they weren’t working class kids, they were middle class kids. For me, stories that are interesting or unique, whether it’s upper, middle or working class, should be told.”

For a time, Lowenstein was affectionately known as “the seventh member of INXS”, having met Hutchence in April 1984, and eventually directing more than 15 music videos for the band over a nine-year period. “I have been writing the screenplay for this feature for three years now,” he says of the Hutchence film. “There’s no rush,” he reassures me. “This is a story I was intimately aware of, and I want to get it right.” It is not, says Lowenstein, a conventional story, and it’s not just about rock and roll either. In fact, for Lowenstein, it is a story about a person lost within the rock and roll persona, which conversely, was immensely attractive to him. “It’s almost a story of two Michaels,” he says. Lowenstein admits that one of the main inspirations was seeing the qualities that Anton Corbijn brought to Control (2007), the raw, black and white exposé about Ian Curtis, lead singer of the late 1970s, post-punk band, Joy Division. “It wasn’t a mainstream story,” Lowenstein concludes, “and it wasn’t doing Hollywood things. It just gave me the thought that in the right hands, and with the right sensitivity, a film about Michael could be a very interesting and involving story.”

» In Bob We Trust is released on October 17.



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8 The Melbourne Review September 2013

OPINION What is required in such a world is the ability to add value – as Friedman puts it ‘average is over.’ In government, we believed that human creativity would not only be important to our economy, but also to every individual Victorian working in the hyper-connected world.”

Melbourne The ongoing development of Australia’s creative and intellectual capital by John Brumby


s I write this, the Monet’s Garden exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria is drawing to a close. Melbourne Winter Masterpieces – of which Monet’s Garden is the latest instalment – began in 2004 when the Bracks Government partnered with the NGV to bring the Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Musee D’Orsay exhibition to Melbourne. More than four million people have now visited 16 exhibitions ranging from Tutankhamun to Art Deco. But the economic benefit to Victoria can’t simply be measured by the $318 million brought into the state. To see why we need to go back about 30 years, when our economy began to enter a period of major transition. In 1983 I became the Federal Member of Parliament for Bendigo. This was a time in which Australia’s tariff walls were coming down and the Asian economies to our north were heating up as regional governments pursued pro-growth and pro-development policies. As a consequence, many jobs in the textile, clothing and footwear industries were lost to cheaper production overseas. I’m pleased to report that things are much better in Bendigo now – many workers were able to retrain, new industries

began to emerge and the area’s economic profile shifted in response to the changing global conditions. But the point of the story is that adjustment of this kind is never done once and for all – as long as globalisation continues economies will need to adapt, innovate and find new sources of wealth and prosperity. Which brings us to the early years of the Bracks Government in Victoria. In 2002 I became the nation’s first ‘Minister for Innovation’. We felt it was important to draw attention to this word and its importance for our future as a non-resource state with a strong manufacturing history. Today the word ‘innovation’ is in common usage, but while it’s vital that we continue to invent new products and services, push the frontiers of research and development, commercialise new ideas and find new and better ways of doing old tasks, we must also think about how this actually comes about. How do you build an economy in which innovation can occur? Step one is infrastructure. Our Government identified the sectors and industries that were likely to grow in importance and stature, and invested heavily in the institutions and

for societies, he claimed, is not just how to attract companies but how to attract and retain the right kind of creative people. That means developing an attractive cultural environment: ‘Technological and economic creativity are nurtured by and interact with artistic and cultural creativity.’ In fact, Florida designed a system by which to measure a city’s creative potential, and when he visited Melbourne in 2004 we came fourth as measured against 268 regions of the USA. equipment that would drive that growth. Medical research and biotechnology is perhaps the most obvious example. We pursued eminence for Victoria through major new investment in the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the redevelopment of the Florey Institute, the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer at the University of Melbourne and the Australian Synchrotron at Monash, to name but a few.   But the best equipment in the world means little without the right people to operate it. That’s why step two is even more important. This involves a recognition that the key ingredient when it comes to innovation is human creativity. A strong, modern economy must be able to attract intelligent and creative people. Furthermore, as globalisation gathers pace it is not just the lower-skilled who are vulnerable to competition from lower-paid workers in other parts of the world – in what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has called the ‘hyper-connected world’ more and more of our workers are now competing with highly skilled individuals, and even intelligent machines, from just about anywhere on the planet. What is required in such a world is the ability to add value – as Friedman puts it ‘average is over’. In government, we believed that human creativity would not only be important to our economy, but also to every individual Victorian working in the hyperconnected world. By now you may be wondering what all this has to do with Monet’s Garden. In 2003 Professor Richard Florida of Carnegie Mellon University published a book entitled The Rise of the Creative Class. His central premise was that ‘creativity is now the decisive source of competitive advantage’. An important question

In some ways this was not surprising. Melbourne has an impressive cultural, intellectual and creative history. In 1854, just seven years after Queen Victoria declared Melbourne a city, then Governor Sir Charles Hotham laid two foundation stones on one day – one for a new University and one for a new State Library. In the years and decades following, Melbourne became a hotbed of innovation: we had the largest tramway system in the world and some of the first and biggest skyscrapers on the planet; we came up with new tools for agriculture like the famous Sunshine Harvester; and we were innovators when it came to minerals research, medical research, and even astronomy – the ‘Great Melbourne Telescope’ was the largest steerable telescope in the world. In 2007 UNESCO recognised The True Story of the Kelly Gang, shot in Victoria in 1906, as the first feature film ever made. And it’s no coincidence that around the time we were most innovative, Australia also had one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Unfortunately our capacity for innovation dropped off somewhat following the tremendous loss of young men in the First World War, and fell even further during the Great Depression of the thirties. But then came the other great social development that Richard Florida has identified as key for economic success in the modern age: multiculturalism. Successive waves of immigrants to Victoria increased our diversity – and our diversity in turn fostered creativity, flexibility and adaptability. Thomas Friedman and many others have pointed out that the skills required by new immigrants to build a new life in a strange land and the skills required by entrepreneurs and innovators are almost exactly the same.

The Melbourne Review September 2013 9


By the time our Government came to office, then, we had strong foundations on which to build a dynamic and creative multi-culture. Victoria has a long tradition of political bi-partisanship when it comes to the arts, and we were eager to continue this legacy. As Premier I was thrilled to open the new Melbourne Recital Centre, and to set the ball rolling with funding for the redevelopment of Hamer Hall.

world of action. I have always regarded politics as a contest of ideas, and I believe that a state without an open and vigorous intellectual discussion will be greatly impoverished. The centre piece of our City of Literature bid was the establishment of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas at the State Library – a highly successful partnership between government and the philanthropic sector, and a place of year-round discussion and debate.

Our Government also took the decision to pursue UNESCO City of Literature status for Melbourne. We were the second city in the world to receive this designation, and it speaks volumes about the value that we as a community place on books, writing and ideas. Ever since the Melbourne poet CJ Dennis sold 15,000 copies of Songs of a Sentimental Bloke in 1916, Victoria has been the literary centre of Australia. We are now home to almost a third of Australia’s authors and editors. We have the largest number of small presses and independent publishers in the country. And we have more bookshops per capita than any other Australian city. Last month, more than 300 writers from all around the world arrived for the annual Melbourne Writers Festival.

In 2008 our government – in partnership with Melbourne University and the federal government – provided funding to establish the Grattan Institute, which is now our pre-eminent public policy think tank and a powerful voice heard right across Australia on matters ranging from cities and energy to productivity, health and education. Then in 2009 Andrew Jaspan, a former editor of The Age, came to me with a proposal for a new kind of news website which would tap into the knowledge and expertise of university academics from around Australia. Our Government subsequently helped pay to get The Conversation off the ground (theconversation. com). Today it draws on over 5000 Australian academics who offer high quality and informed writing on ideas, news and current affairs.

Our Government wanted the arts to flourish; we wanted our literary heritage to be enhanced and globally recognised; and we also wanted to create an intellectual environment in Victoria in which the world of ideas could feed into the

At a time when Victoria faces great global challenges – from rising health costs to a changing climate and a global economy in profound transition – we cannot afford to

leave our intellectual capital locked up in our great universities. Nor can we treat the arts and literature merely as an afterthought. Solutions to the challenges we face will always start out as ideas, and those ideas will come from creative people who are attracted and nurtured by an artistically rich, intellectually fertile and proudly multicultural society. Monet’s Garden is not just another successful exhibition – it tells a broader story about our global reach and the future of our city and our state.

»»The fourth annual Melbourne Knowledge Week will be held from Monday October 28 to Sunday November 3, 2013. knowledgemelbourne

»»The Hon. John Brumby is a former Treasurer and Premier of Victoria. He is currently a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

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10 The Melbourne Review September 2013


Rolled gold vs tin foil

likely to be consistent with an unemployment rate above 6.5 percent! This is sloppy maths from Mr Abbott that could have been exploited by Labor for what it is, but also turned into a positive if Labor articulated a plan to cut the unemployment rate to 4 percent by 2018. Then there was underplaying of the massive achievements with DisabilityCare, the transformation of the education system and the carbon price. Whilst a little quirky, most of Australia just had the warmest winter ever recorded which might resonate with the need for a carbon price and the sheer absurdity of the Coalition’s Direct Action carbon plan.

Reviewing the 2013 election by Stephen Koukoulas


he old saying that opposition parties don’t win elections, but governments lose them, showed up yet again with the emphatic loss of the Labor Party and win of the Coalition in the September 7 election.

Of course, for a person like Kevin Rudd, any emphasis and magnification of the successes of DisabilityCare and education reform would have been an acknowledgement of the legacy of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister. Mr Rudd’s DNA meant that that was never going to happen.

The Labor Party loss was based on an upside-down campaign where many of those formulating the strategy for re-election were blind-sided on a range of issues, especially in the area of economic management and the inconsistencies in the alternatives being offered by Mr Abbott and the Coalition.

Labor’s campaign strategy was like a mad woman’s breakfast. It highlighted many of the wrong things and assumed a level of ignorance in the electorate that Hawke, Keating and even Gillard would never have done. Mr Abbott’s win was built on policy flotsam and jetsam that Labor failed to sift through and recycle. The messaging was the wrong way around, especially feeding into the electorate’s perception that Labor was a poor economic manager who had blown the budget.

The ‘cut, cut, cut’ and ‘cut to the bone’ mantra that Mr Rudd used when discussing the risks from the election of Mr Abbott’s Coalition was 180 degrees wrong. The bulk of Mr Abbott’s policies were spend, spend, spend. Paid parental leave, Direct Action, defence and infrastructure are going to see the Coalition spend at a pace much like the Howard government did for the bulk of its time in office.

Fixing the budget required cuts, cuts, cuts, which is actually what Labor generally managed to do since 2009-10 with spending to GDP down from 26.1 percent in that year to 24.3 percent in 2012-13.

With the budget deficit and government debt being the high profile problems for the Labor Party in the eyes of the electorate, the electorate was probably pleased to see one side of politics ‘cut, cut, cutting’ because it was a sign that the budget deficit would be ‘fixed’ more effectively with a Coalition government. Labor would have done much better with a campaign of highlighting big spending policies that were unfunded and that would push interest rates up from the current record low levels. The fact that the futures markets are pricing in rate hikes at the moment would have only added to their case.

Coalition’s reckless spending, where each promise of an oval, PPL, a defence splurge, Direct Action on climate change, roads to nowhere or medical research were basically unfunded and in doing so, cited the fact that a Liberal government never had cut spending in real terms?

Labor could have followed through with the fact that since at least 1970-71 (the full set of budget data available on a roughly consistent basis), Coalition government has never delivered a single year when government spending was cut in real terms. Never under the Fraser or Howard governments. For the record, Labor have delivered annual cuts in real government spending on five occasions over that time.

What if they had linked this to the current low interest rate environment, which is delivering annual savings of $70 billion for mortgage holders and $50 billion a year for businesses compared to where interest rates were around 5 years ago?

What if Labor had campaigned on the

This may have avoided the silliness during

Do you want Mr Abbott’s policies to drive interest rates higher?  

the campaign of trying to expose the $10 billion black hole and the other mis-steps on the ‘cutting to the bone’ rhetoric. For Mr Rudd, there were also the distracting and unnecessary proposals on Northern Australia and moving the navy from Sydney to Queensland. Un-costed and pie in the sky stuff. These were off message and cost votes. On the positive side, the Labor Party could have also used demographics and articulated a target for the unemployment rate of, say 4 percent. Mr Abbott’s aspiration to create one million jobs in the first five years of a Coalition government is a corn-ball promise – it merely reflects population growth and no more. On not unrealistic assumptions about the participation rate, one million new jobs is

The Australian economy did not need a ‘new way’, it needed to stay on the path to steady low inflationary growth that was sending the budget on a trajectory to a budget surplus and debt reduction. Economic growth needs to lift a little to get the unemployment lower. Treasury should have been taken to task, by the Treasurer, prior to the Government’s economic statement, for not having at least one year with a GDP growth forecast of 3.5 percent. This is inevitable after an extended period where growth has been below trend. This would have delivered a couple of billions dollars of revenue in the forward estimates and held the small surplus in 2015-16. There was so much rolled-gold material that Labor could have used, but it chose the tin-foil when trying to win the 2013 election.

»»Stephen Koukoulas is Managing Director of Market Economics. He writes a daily column for Business Spectator.





n Election Day I couldn’t help but feel the strong sense of community at our local polling booth. It’s at the Bridgewater primary school in the Adelaide Hills. Bridgewater usually votes Labor and it did this time, just. But independent Senate candidate Nick Xenephon won a swag of votes and there were plenty of Green and other voters.

There were three things which were impressive about the Bridgewater polling booth. For a start, voting took place without emotion or rancour. The voters streamed in quietly, some taking How to Vote Cards, some not. Secondly, the partisans handing out How to Vote cards all chatted away amiably with each other. Labor and Liberal, Green and National. They had mutual friends and experiences. Divided as they were by politics, they were more united by bonds of community. And thirdly, the little school itself, like so many around Australia, used this great act of democracy to sell sausages. But why no coffee? That was a mistake! I spent an hour at the polling booth and this year it made me think of how democracy is about so much more than the right to vote. For a start, there has to be a broad consensus that the electoral system is fair. No one at the Bridgewater polling booth would have even imagined that the Australian Electoral Commission officials working there would be stuffing the ballot boxes with fake ballot

papers. Nor would anyone think it appropriate to interfere with a person as they voted. In other so-called democracies that’s always a possibility. Then there is the perception amongst the voters of the institutions of government themselves. The Australian public, whoever they voted for, accept the result as fair. Defeat is depressing in politics particularly as you travel to Canberra the week after the election and pack up your fancy ministerial office, say goodbye to your officials who served you loyally in government and have now turned their attention to others. But Kevin Rudd and his ministerial colleagues glumly accepted defeat and moved out just as the Howard government had done six years earlier. Not so in many emerging democracies. In Australia the prime minister and the ministers all change when a government changes. But remember, a lot doesn’t change. The judiciary remains in place, most senior public servants keep their jobs, the police and other law enforcement agencies stay put, the army stays in its barracks, the generals and admirals stay in their jobs. These are the struts which hold up our society even as political leadership changes. All this helps to explain why our democracy works so well. But it helps explain why, by contrast, the Arab Spring has been such a catastrophic failure. The Tunisians, the Egyptians, the Libyans – they’ve all been able to vote in the last two years. But too many in the West have proclaimed that fact to be sufficient to herald a new era of peace and democracy. It

Image courtesy Ahmed Abd El-fatah,

isn’t. The Arab Spring has taken the Arab world from dictatorship to anarchy in two short years. It wasn’t that the elections were undemocratic, although there were plenty of claims of vote rigging and ballot box fraud. The greatest single problem was that the winning politicians ended up with a blank sheet of paper. For the winners, there was no careful briefing from the heads of government departments, no incoming government’s brief based on campaign promises. The successful candidates – particularly for the Egyptian presidency – had to write a new constitution and hire new heads of just about all of the country’s major institutions. Imagine if the Abbott government had to do that! It would be a huge task. And imagine if they did what Egypt’s president Morsi did: Abbott appointed Liberal Party members to all the major institutions from the High Court to heads of government departments, from the Australian Federal Police to the ABC’s managing director. That’s what president Morsi did. He put people from his Muslim Brotherhood party in charge of everything

he could. And worse. He wrote a constitution which entrenched the Islamic ideology of the Brotherhood. The result was disaster. The political system lacked legitimacy with around 60 percent of voters who hadn’t voted for president Morsi and were now alienated from the whole political system. And look at Syria. The institutions are run by and in the interests of 10 percent of the population – the Alawites. But if the rebels win the civil war, will they build new institutions which exclude their opponents? I’m sure they will. The result will be endless instability. The thing about Australia is it has a sense of community. We know we have differing political views but we know partisanship shouldn’t be taken too far. Losers in elections are as much part of our community as the winners. They can’t expect to run the place but nor should they be alienated from the heart of the system by non-partisan institutions being turned into the playthings of the winners.

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12 The Melbourne Review September 2013


This Is The End? Dennis Altman on the changing nature of Australian society and institutional attitudes to homosexuality. by Lachlan Aird


ennis Altman’s 1971 debut work, Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation, heralded a longstanding career as an academic and expert on sexuality and politics. Since its publication, Altman has become a Professorial Fellow in Human Security at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, been a Visiting Professor in Australian Studies at Harvard, published 11 books and has become an important public figure on sexuality and politics. Forty years on, his latest work, The End of the Homosexual? reflects on the progress homosexuality has made since Homosexual was first published. This follow-up is a detailed history of homosexuality before, during and after the Gay Movement, drawing from Altman’s experiences in both personal and academic capacities. The End of the Homosexual? is actually the title of the last chapter of 1971’s Homosexual, with this question acting as Altman’s main thesis. This doesn’t suggest that homosexuality as a concept will end, but rather that social, political and cultural trends will evolve to an extent where people will no longer define identity based on sexuality. While this may have been the prediction of gay liberationists in 1971, it is still not a reality in 2013. Altman shares some of the thoughts on why this may be the case with The Melbourne Review. “I think there may be an end of a specific homosexual identity in the way we now think of it,” Altman explains. “I thought that 40 years ago and that was one of the things I was wrong about! One of the things I always have to say to people is that political scientists are particularly bad at predictions – although we’re not quite as bad at economists, who are the worst. All I can say is that there isn’t anybody today who could tell you what sex and gender will look like in 40 years time. The only thing I’d be prepared to say is that it probably won’t look as it does now.” Altman then shares a topic that he wishes he included in the book but didn’t: the idea of science fiction writing and its failure to

acknowledge changing gender and sexuality. “One of the things that always annoys me about a lot of science fiction writing is that it imagines these extraordinary changes to almost everything except sex and gender. There are exceptions [such as China Miéville and Margaret Atwood], which are really interesting, but for the classic boys’ science fiction, as it has traditionally been male, by and large people can imagine these radical changes yet somehow assume that sex and gender are constants — and that is so ahistorical.” While Altman does address the increasing global debate around sexual rights, including cases in Uganda, Nigeria and Malaysia, the timing of the book’s publication meant that discussion on Russia’s anti-gay legislation could not be included. This is proof that the politics of sexuality is an ever-changing landscape that can shift dramatically without warning. Altman shares his insight of how he may have addressed that particular case if given the chance. “I think the Russian situation for some reason has gotten through to a lot of people who were ignoring what was happening in other parts of the world... There is terrible persecution going on in many parts of the world and by and large no-one in Australia seemed to register that until, for some reason, the Russian situation, which has registered with a lot more people. I notice in the gay press a lot more coverage on [Russia] than previous issues. It’s not necessarily because it’s worse than what has happened elsewhere, but because for some reason – and we can speculate what that is – it has caught the imagination of a lot of people.” Altman also offers some intriguing insights into his views on the growing public discourse for humanitarian interventions and impositions on Russia. “It’s a really interesting and tough question,” Altman begins. “I think often making grand statements of support boomerangs, making things worse for people in countries being persecuted. We’ve seen examples of that

when Hilary Clinton and David Cameron, for undoubtedly good motives, proclaimed gay rights as very important and just fed an anti-Imperialist, anti-Western position on a number of governments. I think that what we do has to be thought through very carefully and has to be done on the advice and along with the groups in Russia themselves. When, for example, people call for the boycotting of the Winter Olympics in Russia, it sounds great and I’m not against it, but I want to know first of all – if we can find out – if that is what the lesbian and gay movement in Russia wants, and what the impact on them would be. We could boycott or go to the Winter Olympics and wave rainbow flags and then go home, but they’re the ones who will get beaten up. I think there’s a real danger of grandstanding by people in countries like Australia. We can feel morally righteous without actually helping people.” This is a harsh reality that is difficult to digest, yet illustrates how delicate sexuality

is within governance. With the case of Australia, which is the country where The End of the Homosexual? is anchored, there has inarguably been much progress towards the legislative and cultural acceptance of homosexuality. Altman is quick to note that there is, however, an important distinction to be made between progress and success, where he refers back to a recent conversation that he had with leading feminist Anne Summers on a panel at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival. “I would say that there’s been a great deal of progress, but that doesn’t mean there has been total success. We know coming out is still very traumatic for a lot of people and there is still a lot of bigotry... I think there are a lot of markers in our culture, but we know through research that is not true across the world, and there are huge variations in social attitudes between countries and cultures. There is growing hostility and homophobia in some parts of the world, usually connected

The Melbourne Review September 2013 13


I think often making grand statements of support boomerangs, making things worse for people in countries being persecuted. We’ve seen examples of that when Hilary Clinton and David Cameron, for undoubtedly good motives, proclaimed gay rights as very important and just fed an anti-Imperialist, anti-Western position on a number of governments.” with religious and nationalist tendencies... We can refer to the election where there was that extraordinary incident where Tony Abbott turned up at an evangelical school to give his education policy and it turned out to be a school that teaches hostility to homosexuality. Abbott had to distance himself from that,

but 40 years ago he wouldn’t have found it necessary to. I also suspect Tony Abbott 40 years ago wouldn’t have distanced himself, and I think he genuinely did.”

thought a lot about loss and grief and the fact is that you live with it. It doesn’t go away. At a communal level that hasn’t been sufficiently recognised and thought through.”

Given that much of Altman’s time recently has been dedicated to writing on the election, he has a captivating view on the contentious topic of marriage equality. Altman notes that opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t automatically make you homophobic, yet he does believe same-sex marriage in Australia is inevitable. Curiously, he likens the plight of same-sex marriage to that of the Australian republic.

While Altman’s book, like its predecessor, is an important insight into homosexuality and its global impact, Altman also wanted the book to be about Australian society.

“I don’t feel passionate about either issue as I feel they are both largely symbolic. I recognise that to others they are much more important than they are to me. The more important point I was making was that everybody on the Left in the 90s when Paul Keating was talking about the republic would have said that it was going to happen within a decade – and it didn’t – and I think that’s a very interesting warning.” Another issue that Altman illuminates through The End of the Homosexual? is his account of how the AIDS epidemic in the 80s unfolded. Given the severe loss that Altman experienced through the passing of his partner

“I actually wanted to write a book that is as much about Australia as it is about homosexuality, by using what had happened [in the Gay Movement] to say a whole lot of things about how Australia had changed through the last 40 years.”

Dennis Altman

of 22 years, Anthony Smith, last year to lung cancer before the book was completed, his reflection on this tumultuous time in history is especially poignant. “What is clear is that for people who didn’t live through that terrible period when a lot of people were dying, for them it’s probably like what it is for me when I read about World War II – a sense of large-scale death that you didn’t personally experience. However, for people in my generation and any gay man over 50, there’s a sense of ongoing loss and I don’t think that’s talked about nearly enough – and I don’t think people have come to terms with it. I lost my partner last year and I’ve

This implies that while The End of the Homosexual? will no doubt become a beneficial addition to homosexual literature, it also captures the changing spirit and culture of Australia over the last four decades, and is therefore an important read for all Australians.

»»Dennis Altman’s The End of the Homosexual? is published by University of Queensland Press. RRP $29.95.

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14 The Melbourne Review September 2013


Musculoskeletal health by Professor Avni Sali


ow well we feel is a complex interaction of many factors, especially our mood, but also includes body chemistry, nutritional balance and the absence of disease. Our sense of wellbeing is also affected greatly by the presence or absence of pain in the body. Discomfort from overall musculoskeletal disorders affects 30 percent of the Australian population. It is estimated that more than six million Australians suffer from a musculoskeletal condition – with arthritis accounting for more than three million of this total. In a recent US study, over 70 percent of people reported experiencing pain in the last 12 months, and in a large proportion of cases the pain had its source in a musculoskeletal problem. A high proportion of pain sufferers from this research study did not seek mainstream medical help for their condition. The major reason offered for this reluctance was the perception there was a high likelihood of stomach-upsetting medication being prescribed, and a desire to avoid general pain medication for specific conditions. The role of Integrative Medicine, which incorporates both evidence-based conventional and complementary medicine, is therefore an important one for those experiencing musculoskeletal pain. It provides a bridge between, or introduction to, a different approach to pain management and the ongoing restoration, prevention and maintenance of musculoskeletal health.




In Australia, national surveys indicate substantial usage of musculoskeletal medicine (MSM), particularly for back pain. Approximately one in four people surveyed had visited an osteopath, acupuncturist or chiropractor – amounting to more than 32 million visits per year. Further, 90 percent of respondents felt their treatment was somewhat helpful or very helpful. This willingness to use complementary therapies, coupled with the reluctance to use pharmacological medications, places new demands on doctors to be willing and knowledgeable about aspects of musculoskeletal medicine. Medical training courses have historically provided only brief introductions to this particular area of medicine, and there is now emphasis on research into the efficacy of many modalities in this field. Musculoskeletal disorders account for a third of all reasons for a trip to the doctor. MSM is a branch of medicine dealing with the management of disorders to do with the musculoskeletal system, including the muscle fascia (connective tissue surrounding muscles) and tendons, joints and bones, the skeleton and associated parts of the nervous system. Examples of musculoskeletal disorders included both acute and chronic back and neck pain, trigger points, sciatic-type pain, arthritis, whiplash, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, disc and nerve pain. The origins of MSM date back many thousands of years and through different cultures including Greece, India and Egypt. There is a description of an ancient Indian traction treatment for a spinal




deformity mentioned in texts from 3500BC and the father of medicine Hippocrates also wrote of treatments for back injuries around 400BC. In more recent times, a UK-based Dr James Cyriax, who pioneered ‘orthopaedic medicine’ in the 1940s, greatly influenced the development of this field of practice in Western-speaking countries. Eastern understandings of health and medicine have also influenced present day approaches with acupuncture showing considerable benefit in clinical trials. Herbs for pain management and inflammation, and even understandings of how meridian systems can help explain the presence or reaction of referred pain are increasingly

forming part of a comprehensive approach that brings together the best of mainstream and complementary practices. The role of Integrative Medicine with its emphasis on lifestyle interventions is critical in the ongoing care of the musculoskeletal system. Once a diagnosis has been made there is an emphasis on considering the source of pain and which factors (trauma, infection, malignancy or other aggravating features) are contributing. The integrative practitioner’s best approach will be multimodal and personalised. Research shows there is no singular solution to a specific back complaint; however, good outcomes can be

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The Melbourne Review September 2013 15

HEALTH that is generally occurring for less than three months’ duration – chronic pain is pain occurring longer than three months.) Research shows that psychosocial and occupational factors, including expectation of recovery and behavioural factors, have the greatest predictive value in whether an acute pain situation will become chronic. The goal of any treatment should be to reduce acute pain and avoid chronic pain development. Developing an integrative treatment plan can call on the following evidence-based options: Physical therapies: include the manipulation approaches used by chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists, massage and acupuncture. The American Pain Society says there is good evidence of moderate efficacy for spinal manipulation and it is as effective as other treatments including GP care and medication. Treatment gains can be further enhanced by additional exercise. Massage was seen to provide similar benefits to exercise and other therapies with benefits lasting well beyond the initial treatment period. Acupuncture point massage, using meridian points, appeared to provide better results than regular massage. Acupuncture or dry needling (a variant of acupuncture) also proved to be effective for short-term pain relief with sustained benefit when combined with other therapies.

obtained through a combination of treatments and supports that uniquely meet the needs, goals and preferences of the patient. Persistent pain pervades our society and contributes to lost work, missed recreation and sporting activities, relationship challenges and financial strain. The incentive for many people to rehabilitate and return to full function can be high. While lifestyle and mind-body medicine interventions may not be necessary during the initial stage of acute injury management, it is the assessment of these factors that form the core tool for identifying patient situations that may go on to become chronic. (Acute pain is pain

Education: face-to-face information about back pain rehabilitation, delivered in a clinical setting, whether for groups or individuals, has shown promising results. Back care clinics and patient education programs can ideally cover a range of lifestyle interventions and provide ongoing support and guidelines to patients. Nutrition: increasing evidence indicates the importance of vitamin D deficiency in muscular pain and weakness. Vitamin D is fundamental to every system in the body and in a recent study 93 percent of musculoskeletal pain sufferers were also vitamin D deficient. Patients presenting with musculoskeletal pain should be assessed for vitamin D deficiency. Appropriate sun exposure and/or supplementation can be an essential part of building an individualised approach to pain management.

Magnesium plays a role in controlling neuronal activity, neuromuscular transmission and muscular contraction/relaxation phases. As such, it plays a significant role in the alleviation of muscle pain. Omega 3 essential fatty acids are considered anti-inflammatory and therefore have a role to play in managing pain through the reduction of inflammation. Omega 3 supplements, using appropriate doses, were as effective in several studies as prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs. B group vitamins, particularly intramuscular B12, have provided significant reductions in pain in some studies. Participants also reduced their drug usage substantially as a result. Herbal medicines such as boswellia, devils claw and curcumin are regarded for their antiinflammatory action and research has shown they can be beneficial for lower back pain. While more studies are needed, these herbs are often better tolerated than regular pain medications and patients find them gentle on the stomach. Arnica as a topical application is also of interest to researchers and is considered beneficial for some injuries and wound healing. Behavioural, social and lifestyle factors to consider include: • Weight – Overweight people can experience up to four times more likelihood of lower back pain than regular weight people. Weight management is appropriate. • Physical activity – Exercise can help prevent musculoskeletal pain. Remaining as active as possible while respecting pain levels is the best encouragement that can be given for patients experiencing acute pain. For chronic pain, such as back pain, appropriate exercise can help reduce pain and increase functioning.   • Sleep – Pain can lead to insomnia, which in turn can make pain more severe. Adequate sleep can play a major part in the treatment of pain and has been shown to be as effective as strong pain medication. Sleep medication, either a natural or drug form, is essential if pain is preventing sleep. 

• Education/socioeconomic – Lower education levels and socioeconomic status are consistently associated with lower back pain. • Smoking – Although not thought to be causal, there is an identified link between smoking and the incidence of lower back pain.   • Psychological support – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is a type of therapy that helps people change unhelpful or unhealthy habits, when utilised with other treatments including moderate exercise and relaxation therapies, has proven efficacy in pain management or reduction. Pain education and work conditioning programs (strengthening and stretching programs to mimic work conditions) can also provide rehabilitation for many pain sufferers.   • Other mind-body approaches such as meditation are also useful. Meditation has proven efficacy for many ailments and can help increase wellbeing and quality of life. Techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and hypnotherapy may have particular application and help improve chronic pain.   Musculoskeletal pain cannot be considered solely a musculoskeletal condition but should be viewed as an experience not only of the body but also of the emotions, thought processes, family and social networks. For occupational injury, the work community of the patient is important. An integrative approach to musculoskeletal pain has to involve the patient as a participant for the best outcome in the treatment of their pain. How we care for our musculoskeletal system can not only prevent pain, but can also influence total health and wellbeing.

»»Professor Avni Sali is Founding Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM). He oversees the facilitation of the practice of Integrative Medicine at the NIIM Clinic in Hawthorn, as well as the promotion of education and research.




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16 The Melbourne Review September 2013

COLUMNISTS Irregular Writings Adelaide, Docklands, Bucharest BY Dave Graney

Hey I’m just passing through and yelling from my car window but I must point out Adelaide people have lost more than they’ve gained. I mean the new Adelaide Oval. What was once a cool, post colonial portal into a gentler time – a slowed, down-tempo, green world of freshly cut grass and large, flown fans to keep your flannels and khaki dry, is now a mess of concrete and glass dumped there in an ugly pile by the river. Dumped seemingly by a cashed-up tradie in a sulk who is missing out on a better job in DUBAI. Must be good inside. Pity it’s so horrible for the rest of the city. Hey! It’s out of proportion! The city is not getting any bigger! Not enough water for a start. Who’s this for? The AFL? The SANFL was much better anyway. You threw away the Peckers for the Crows. Seriously, there was that lovely stretch from the train station to the Festival Centre and the river and then North Adelaide. I know the

horse is always bolting and it has gone, well and truly in this case, but have a care for the place will yaz? Victoria Square is having an underpass tunnelled under it – what for? There is no traffic problem is there? You have one tram. Is this why you can’t turn right across the new tracks anywhere down King William Street? All those beautiful Victorian-era buildings turned into gyms and tourist two dollar shops. Is someone thinking there? Actually, don’t you have a resident thinker? Some fellow who runs a rock festival in the UK? Cranes everywhere. It’s great that there’s a new hospital going up – always need them. You don’t need inner city high rise. From the centre of Adelaide (where there are still some actual streets with houses) you can usually glimpse the hills, the edge of the city. Hold onto this! You don’t need towers to make somebody feel like they’re in a ‘real’ urban environment. Adelaide is a wide open settlement. People drift in from the interior, the top end and the coasts. Keep it dolomite! Pink and solid. I heard the voices of whingeing developers in your one newspaper while I was there. A man who wrecked Glenelg wants to wreck it better. Look at that place. It used to have a lovely hotel at the end of Jetty Rd. The Jetty Hotel. It was replaced by a monstrosity that was built to Romanian standards of disproportionate scale.

Ridiculously huge. But there was that lovely, goofy amusement park on the PUBLIC land. It was sold off privately and is mostly inaccessible. You can’t get this stuff back! It’s not really progress. It’s just people printing money and scamming the city, because they can. Hey I’m not usually like this. They’re building a McDonald’s in a suburb next to mine in Melbourne, despite 80 percent of the council voting against it. A big protest going on. They’re doing well without my help. I hope the protesters win. If they don’t, well, my neighbour told me the carpark used to have horses grazing on it. They pulled the carts for the dairy deliveries. It would be cute if that was still happening, but I don’t hold my breath. Still, it’s just a fast food joint. Across the road from a primary school, sure, but it’s just a common outlet in a suburb on the edge of the city. I mean there’s plenty of stuff in the world going on that I don’t approve of. It’s just that Adelaide Oval was cute. It had a presence from the outside and certainly on the inside. Whatever dopes thought it was a great idea to make a scale model version of the MCG have really fucked up. Though they have gone a long way to get to a position where they make decisions like that. Is it too easy to get to those positions in Adelaide? I guess football is a greedy business. They built VFL Park in Waverley, outer Melbourne,

but this was tossed away after a few decades with the new dream of DOCKLANDS and the new stadium which would have music and television as well as football. Developers thought they could grow a culture from nothing but their own ads. It’s empty. Docklands Stadium, which has had several corporate names, does at least have the occasional music event. Only they can’t have a PA system on the ground as the surface sits on the roof of the carpark. (The hard surface has resulted in many players retiring early, blaming the ground for joint problems.) Neither can a PA be flown from the ceiling as there is a retractable roof. The occasional show is put on after reinforcing columns are put under the ground – in the carpark, so the big speakers can be supported. There is, however, only one entrance for trucks to enter the arena. Most clubs who play home games there grumble how they can’t make any money. People in Melbourne go there, but they will go to any sporting event. Also, there are no other grounds, just the MCG and Docklands. So don’t believe all these slick hustlers when they make out like they know what they’re doing. They’re just sweating on a whole lot of wet cement they’ve got out back that they need to do something with real quick. @davegraney

The Melbourne Review September 2013 17


Longneck Election gastro

BY Patrick Allington

Six Square Metres Going to seed

BY Margaret Simons


hings are going to seed. I don’t mean in a bad way. There are none of the musty smells and nasty stains that we imagine when we talk of people and buildings that are past their best. Instead, there are yellow broccoli flowers bobbing in my front garden, the rocket has grown higher than the balcony balustrade and the cos lettuce have taken on the look of greenshelled rockets, their central tubes of furled leaves pushing higher every day. The flower heads will pop out any hour now, the tight roll of leaves will collapse and grow bitter, and it will all be over for those plants this season. Now is the time for the hurried making of salads and for planting new seedlings before the year tips over into heat. In the meantime, I have been dealing with the fruits of winter: to be specific, lemons. I have no room for a decent lemon tree – the gall-wasp-infected specimen I keep in a pot graces us with only half a dozen fruit a year, despite doses of potash and muttered threats. But a good friend of mine is moving house and the tree in the backyard is laden with fruit, some the size of grapefruit. I have been taking the opportunity to harvest as many as I can before I lose access. Yesterday I took the shopping trolley round and loaded it up. Now my fridge and my three fruit bowls are full and the whole house smells of citrus. The family thinks I am mad. Why take more than you can use? Perhaps I am greedy. I love the bounty, the getting of lots of stuff for

free, and my head is full of thoughts of lemons. And I can use them. I have made three tubs of lemon curd. Tonight, we will have lemon meringue pie. I squeezed lemon juice over potatoes and baked them in the oven. I have squeezed another dozen or so, and frozen the juice in ice-cube trays to grace gin and tonics in the summer months to come. I found a recipe for preserved lemons that seems deceptive in its simplicity. Cut the lemons in quarters, freeze overnight, thaw, pack with salt and bay leaves and peppercorns and cover with more lemon juice. Then let it steep, and use the peel in summer pastas and tagines. So we carry winter into summer. Already it seems warm enough to plant beans and peas. One of my gardening books advises that the way to judge this is by sitting barebuttocked on the ground. If your bum doesn’t get cold, it is time to plant. Given that my back verandah is visible from the McDonald’s drive through, and the little strip of land at the front faces the post office, I won’t be trying this method. An index finger in the soil will have to suffice. Am I imagining that the seasons are coming faster now? Usually, it is October before I lose the winter brassicas to flower. Normally gardening relaxes me, but the possibility that the seasons are changing – that the climate change we all fear is already upon us, means that my trips into the garden are tinged with anxiety. Not already, surely. Not here, in my garden. Please. It was Voltaire who, contemplating the broken nature of the world and our powerlessness in putting it to rights, declared that “we must cultivate our garden”. He meant, I guess, that we should look after the things closest to us, and the things that we know. I have cut the broccoli flowers and put them in a vase, and I will use a shovel to hack the plants into compost-friendly sections. @margaretsimons

I sit at my desk determined not to write about the election. Call it conscientious objection. Call it apathy with intent. Call it a disaffected political junkie trying to go cold turkey for the sake of his soul. Call it a riposte, however futile, to the analysis, opinion, commentary – expert and otherwise, interactive and otherwise – that these days rains down upon us, leaving us permanently drenched. There are so many talking heads, so many withering pens, busy thinking up the next angle, or honing the perfect put-down (democracy, it seems, gives everyone an equal right to be rancorous), or predicting or creating controversy, or exposing gaffes, or condemning any worldview that isn’t 101 percent internally consistent. Because the news never ends, those who gather it (current affairs is like a field of mushrooms) have a heavy burden to recycle information. But – if it’s not too political a question – can you sauté a mushroom that’s already been dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fried? By chance, I was in Canberra the day Kevin Rudd called the election. At about the time he was telling the nation ‘It’s on’, I was explaining to an audience at the National Library that Arthur Boyd’s great painting Nebuchadnezzar on fire falling over a waterfall reminded me of the Ruddster: he’s a lit-up spectacle, he’s all go, he’s gotta zip. He hurtles through the air, keeping himself ablaze – for ablaze is what he wants to be – and, miraculously, the ground keeps shifting, dropping, disappearing, to accommodate his perpetual motion. But it turns out that I was dead wrong. On September 7 Kev might finally have hit the earth, his flame – maybe, just maybe – finally extinguished. Not that I’m writing about the election. The second time I visited Canberra during the election campaign, I got gastro. In the course of my life, it was a minor event. I started feeling

dodgy late in the afternoon. By early evening I was writhing and moaning. By what would have been breakfast time, I was fragile and worn … and yet hungry. The rest of my family got sick too, which made me feel all patriotic: gastro is such an Aussie virus, so egalitarian. I staggered home from a week away to find that spring had launched itself (unlike Labor, it didn’t wait until the final moments of the campaign). The back lawn, which I’d mowed the day before I’d left for Canberra, looked like a cornfield. The garden beds and the fencelines were bursting with illicit, verdant weeds – so healthy, so arrogant. Was this an indication that the country needed a fresh start, a new way? Or was it a glorious mess that warranted nothing more than a trim? On election day, I remained an undecided voter: I’d mowed the lawn but the weeds grew on unmolested. And although my brush with gastro was a hazy memory, I now had Influenza A (those yellow Clive Palmer billboards are highly infectious). As I stood in a queue waiting to vote, I resisted the urge to cough on the volunteers thrusting how-to-vote cards at me. I found particularly perturbing the bloke who said he represented Get Up! He spoke to me as if I was a child who’d lost a puppy. “We’re not a political party,” he said, reminding me of those telemarketers who start their spiel with “Don’t hang up, I’m not trying to sell you anything …” Sure, and I’m not writing about the election. When my gastro was at its worst, as my pungent sweat left body-sized stains on borrowed bedsheets, I entered an otherworldly state. Neither awake nor asleep, I came to understand, with utter clarity, that if I could somehow line up in their correct order the various physical sensations my body was experiencing – nausea, heat, the pulsating pain in the back of my head, multiple muscular aches, itchiness, a searing thirst – I could conquer the virus and instantly cure myself. For the first time in my life, I experienced a spiritual sensation. I may have levitated (although I was sleeping on a blow-up air mattress). Or perhaps I just had an insight into what it takes to be a politician in the 21st century – I knew what I had to do but I had no idea how to go about doing it. @PatrAllington



CAIRO Chris Womersley / Scribe BY DAVID SORNIG

Given Chris Womersley’s attachment in his first two novels, The Low Road and Bereft, to the criminal end of Australian literary fiction (or is it the literary end of Australian crime fiction?) it seems only natural that his third, Cairo, should take on the story of the most artful crime in this country’s history: the stillunsolved 1986 theft and return of Picasso’s Weeping Woman from the National Gallery of Victoria. While Cairo isn’t the first novel to deal with the heist (Anson Cameron’s Stealing Picasso beat it to the post back in 2009), it has great fun riding on the back of a not-exactly hardboiled, but still intrigue-filled plot that plugs the gaps that remain between the publicallyknown facts of the story. Seventeen-year-old Tom Button escapes to Melbourne from country town Victoria (with its ‘beer-swilling, ute-driving football players called Macca and Robbo’) looking for a bigger world he can belong to. What he finds, in his recently-dead aunt’s Fitzroy apartment, located in the real-life Nicholson Street block



named Cairo, is entry to a bohemian world of artists and outsiders that centres on his neighbours, the strangely intense musician Max Cheever, his wife Sally and their part in the plot to steal the painting. It’s a world that is slightly, even dangerously, off its hinges. Not everyone is exactly what they claim to be. Somewhere between his youthful arrival and the greyer mood of his middle-aged present as an author, Tom picks up a formality of voice that colours his ‘memoir’ with the tint of pomposity. He remembers, for example, that he ‘quells’ his embarrassment, ‘discerns’ the identities of the voices outside his door, and finds potting herbs to be an ‘arduous labour’. These exaggerations set me to worry that Womersley had fallen short in finding the right note for the older, knowing Tom as he tells the story of his naïve past. Exaggeration suggests a mask, and here the device sometimes bars the reader’s access to Tom’s deeper emotional places. For some part of the novel, while Tom is a participant in the events at Cairo, he seems not to be invested in them. The double distance tends to render the events as interesting rather than moving. But what really lifts the novel is its plot, which, even in its more unlikely moments (and there are a couple) is the clear winner over its style, and by the end of the story Tom comes to learn some hard lessons about love and trust. It’s these that drive him to come out with some classic hard-boiled, and finally revealing one liners. ‘Sally Cheever:’ he remembers, plaintively, ‘I loved her from the time I first saw her, and for the rest of my life, but I loved her most intensely on that afternoon.’ It’s a good hint that Womersley is much more in control of Tom Button’s voice than I had first given him credit for. After all, like Tom, he’s an author making the most of the tall tale he has to tell.






Eleanor Limprecht / Sleepers


Near the beginning of What Was Left, Eleanor Limprecht delivers a glimpse into the life of Rachel as she endures the relentless, quotidian horror of her first weeks as a parent in Sydney: the double gender standards, the shit-stained clothes, the lack of sleep, the tyranny of the maternal health nurse. Rachel’s time, body and being are utterly out of her control, her suffering compounded by the awful imperative to keep quiet about her involuntary and awful temptation to harm her own baby. The pretence at being normal is too much for her and she does what appears to others as the worst thing possible, she abandons her family to embark on an odyssey of self-discovery, to find an uncanny chain of connection between the people in her life who have resisted the bond between parent and child. While it’s a little over-engineered in parts, and there’s a slight tendency to underestimate the sympathies of the reader, this is a bold and compelling first novel, certainly no anodyne journey of privilege like Eat, Pray, Love. Rather, it does what fiction does best, daring its reader to imagine what it is like to be someone society has long trained us to malign as the near-evil other.

b U S I N E S S



Robert Power has returned, after his successful 2011 novel In Search of the Blue Tiger, with another finely calibrated novel that addresses many of the dilemmas Power confronts himself in his day job as Head of the Centre for International Health at Melbourne’s Burnet Institute. Here is protagonist Anthony Malloy amid the littleknown world of pharmaceutical research, dealing with the uses and abuses that spring from the very real ability to change lives that comes from specialised medical knowledge. Malloy is driven yet conflicted - as issues of contemporary drug use and preventative medical strategies are played out he develops as a flesh and blood, vulnerable, anxious man, with a failing marriage, a complex child and troubled siblings. Power takes us, and Malloy, from London to south-east Asia, the USA and South America – a kind of Lonely Planet journey through drug and disease hotspots, without the voyeurism. This is another success not just for Power, but importantly too for small local publisher Transit Lounge, doing exceptional things with a very high quality list.



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The Melbourne Review September 2013 19


Letter to George Clooney Debra Adelaide / Picador

BY Tali Lavi

My Brilliant Friend

The Society of Timid Souls

Elena Ferrante / Text Publishing

Polly Morland / Profile Books BY Helen Dinmore

BY Helen Dinmore

My Brilliant Friend is Elena Ferrante’s fourth novel in translation to English, and the first of a trilogy charting the lives of two friends, Elena and Lila. Born into poor families in 1950s Naples, the girls from an early age provoke in each other the habit of questioning a world that affords them little agency. As they grow, Elena narrates with excruciating honesty her insecurities, competitiveness and agonising sense of relativity to her extraordinary friend. But the story, for all it centres around the very things that curtail the characters’ lives – the shabby, peripheral neighbourhood, with its long culture of family politics and feuds, of codes of power upheld by an almost mundane violence – is pacey and unpredictable. Ferrante bewitches with her tiny, intricately drawn world – a world about which Elena feels revulsion, even fear, and certainly a desire to escape or transcend. But it’s also one she understands, and My Brilliant Friend journeys fearlessly into some of that murkier psychological territory, where questions of individual identity are inextricable from circumstance.

Documentary film maker Polly Morland tackles the question: can one learn to brave? Are acts of bravery instinctive, or can we be trained to respond to certain situations courageously? Morland’s inspiration is the ‘Society of Timid Souls’, an obscure 1940s support group for stage-frightened performers. The link between the Society’s antics and the straightforward investigation that Morland undertakes is a little stretched; this, and the author’s tendency to long-windedness make for slow-going at times. While the majority of choices for courageous interviewees tell familiar stories, some of the accounts of bravery, such as one man’s jaw-droppingly compassionate intervention in an attempted London train bombing, are the highlights of the book. Along the way Morland asks necessary definitive questions about bravery, and steers towards the thorny issue of whether a brave act is always a ‘good’ one. Can self-serving or immoral acts, however daring, be considered courageous? Is moral courage, defiant of tyranny, the ultimate kind? The argument could better acknowledge morality’s subjectivity, but arrives at hopeful conclusions about our ‘collective nerve’.

Letter to George Clooney is almost dizzying in its scope, for within this short story collection is situated a startling breadth of voices, experiences and rhythms. Dipping in and out of comedy, pathos and the bizarre, the interplay of emotional textures lends the reading of it an intense dynamism. Having been a past editor, and now writer and academic in creative writing, the world of literature and publishing is one with which Debra Adelaide is intensely familiar. She makes good use of writers, in various stages of their careers, as subjects. There is the candidate hopeful for a publishing contract who is attending a conference (`Writing [in] the New Millennium’), a writer deep in the act of birthing a story as her mother lies dying (`The Sleepers In That Quiet Earth’) and a disgruntled English poet Bill who flies into rural Australia to conduct a workshop (`Glory in the Flower’), an experience far removed from the one he had hoped for, which shifts from irreverence to sympathy for his bruised ego. In `Virgin Bones’, the traditional notion of the cemetery is subverted and quirkiness rubs up against a delight in the macabre. Here, as in the other tales that unfurl themselves (and in doing so often displaying a vein of perverse wit), the use of detail speaks more of the characters than of the environment. The title will raise some eyebrows and cast doubt over its literary pedigree by those who judge too quickly, but hopefully it will also lead to a surprised audience who come to it under the spell of the mere mention of the charismatic actor. `Letter to George Clooney’ is the eponymous penultimate story, one exceedingly well crafted and executed without a whiff of tricksiness. It reminds one of the possibilities of literature to open

up portals into other people’s realities - in this case a Sudanese refugee to Australia and simultaneously upends the reader. As with life, the moment is all too brief and the circumstances where Miriam morphs from living a life of relative normality to experiencing the depravations of war crimes occurs in the blink of an eye. In a world saturated with conflict and human rights abuses, we are brought back to the experience of an individual, imagined but throbbing with truth. Adelaide ushers us into this intimate space slowly; the signposts are increasingly more unsettling as we accompany Miriam through her new reality, commenting on new migrants and Australians around her. The local IGA supermarket takes on heightened symbolism as the repository of guilt and fantasy. The narrator evades the disclosure of her story until it spews forth with the force of its brutality, only to be nuanced by acts of extreme decency; one that reverberates involves Sikh UN soldiers who remove their turbans to offer a shred of decency to women who have been stripped of all. The connection to George Clooney? It is too firmly embedded in the power of the story to disclose. There is an art in assembling a short story collection and closing on this sonorous note leaves one with a sense of gravitas and bravura.



THE VOCAL EROTIC The Tallis Scholars tour Australia in October BY PETER TREGEAR


t is hard to imagine it now, but half a century earlier you would have struggled to find recordings, let alone hear performances (outside those precious few churches still interested in the old liturgical traditions) of music that had been composed before the middle of the seventeenth century. The so-called ‘early music revival’, however, has changed that situation forever. The combined efforts of performers and scholars across the world (including many who were based in Australia) have uncovered and returned to public consciousness vast quantities of music that otherwise might have once seemed destined to lie unloved or unnoticed in the archives of religious establishments or private collections. While such an interest in musical archaeology can be traced back at least to the 1720s in Europe (with the creation of an ‘Academy of Ancient Music’ in London) it took both the relatively recent institutionalisation of musicology in universities, and more latterly, the development of hi-fidelity sound recording, to turn the early music revival into a truly global phenomenon with mass appeal. Like all revolutions, however, this change was not just the result of inevitable historical and cultural processes – it was lead and shaped by individuals of particular passion, vision, and skill. Just such an individual is Peter Phillips who, while still a student at Oxford in the early 1970s, recognised how the cathedral and collegiate choral tradition in England, and the

work of pioneer ensembles such as the Clerks of Oxenford, had provided a foundation for the formation of an unaccompanied vocal ensemble that could rival the world’s great chamber music ensembles on the concert platform. Some 2000 concerts and 60 CDs later, the group he founded, The Tallis Scholars, has indeed helped elevate the status of renaissance choral music to that of great concert music for millions worldwide. A sign of just how far the penetration of this repertoire has gone into the popular consciousness was the recent appropriation of their recording of Thomas Tallis’ motet ‘Spem in alium’ as the imagined soundtrack for one of the (apparently many) sessions of love-making in E. L. James’ best-selling work of erotic fiction Fifty Shades of Grey. One might be hard-pressed, as it were, to understand the erotic potential of such a masterpiece of Renaissance vocal counterpoint (it is written for 40 voices) at first, but the original purpose of such music was in part to create a sonic experience of intoxicating sensuality – so it really is not such a huge step from that aim to the realm of the erotic. Whatever we might think of such repurposing, however, there is no doubt that this is music that was designed to engender awe in the listener. In this respect, not least, The Tallis Scholars are well-named, for Thomas Tallis’ particular mastery of this style of music’s power has not diminished with the passing of centuries or, indeed, its original liturgical context (in his case the heady, tragic, days of the English Reformation).

Ironically, the Tallis Scholars’ distinctive sound was once considered by critics as ‘sexless’. A performing style that values homogeneity and purity of tone and faultless intonation must, however, have come as a bit of a shock to ears more used to a style of solo singing that is representative of the operatic stage. Now their sound is much imitated (though rarely matched). Like the sound of the finest string quartets, it requires great technical skill and subtlety of interpretation both within and across the whole ensemble. The fact that Phillips has been able to maintain such a sound for forty years, despite inevitable changes to the personnel, is a significant achievement in and of itself. Another has been the decision Phillips made in 1980 to create his own recording label, Gimell, which has ensured that he was not forced to compromise the group’s artistic vision

or relinquish the ability to continue to explore new repertoire. This in almost all cases has meant new old repertoire – the repertoire of extant Renaissance era vocal polyphony is truly vast – but contemporary music has also played a small, but significant, role in the artistic life of the group. In part this is because the style of unaccompanied vocal chamber music that The Tallis Scholars have done so much to promote has, in its turn, encouraged the creation of a repertoire of a number of significant new works by composers such as Eric Whitacre, Arvo Pärt, and John Tavener (the latter not to be confused with his English Renaissance forbear John Taverner, the music of whom the group also champions).

» The Australia leg of The Tallis Scholars 40th anniversary tour, which also includes concerts in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra, concludes with two concerts at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Tuesday October 29 at 1:30pm and 7:30pm.

» Gregorio Allegri’s famous Miserere features in both programmes, alongside works by Eric Whitacre, Arvo Pärt, William Byrd, and Thomas Tallis.




Delight of Spring Port Fairy Spring Music Festival BY ROBERT DUNSTAN


ort Fairy Spring Music Festival, now in its 24th year and regarded as one of the leading classical music festivals in Victoria, again boasts a strong program for 2013 with artists from overseas performing alongside high profile Australian singers and musicians as well as up and coming classical talent. Highlights will include Russian pianist Yuri Rozum playing Tchaikovsky, Sweden’s Haga Duo performing a program on flute and guitar and Sydney’s The Song Company presenting music from across the ages. Moscow-based tenor Andrew Goodwin will also be singing some Schubert as well as performing with Monash Sinfonia, and the female members of The Black Arm Band Company will be presenting their acclaimed dirtsong which uses

Andrew Goodwin.

Anna Goldsworthy.

Yuri Rozum.

11 different Indigenous languages.

Noted Australian composer Andrew Ford will premiere his new song cycle, Last Words, which will feature New York-based soprano Jane Sheldon.

years ago, now doing so well as leader of the Australian String Quartet. Having younger musicians at the festival also gives it a lot of energy.”

“It’s a work commissioned by the Australia Council and it was Andrew’s fabulous idea to set the last words of some famous characters and some fictional characters, such as Tim Winton’s Fish from Cloudstreet, to music,” Goldsworthy explains.

There will also be fun to be had when opera singer and cabaret artist Ali McGregor hosts Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night.

Classical pianist and writer Anna Goldsworthy has helmed the boutique festival for a number of years and chose Voyage as the theme for 2013. “I’ve always found it useful to have a theme that you can hang the performances on,” the artistic director says. “So with this year’s theme being Voyage, it’s music that will take the audience on a journey of some kind. “I also think it’s the strongest line-up yet and I’m thrilled at the calibre of the artists involved,” Goldsworthy adds. “In putting it all together, I liken it to creating a dinner party where you invite people who would be able to interact with each other and create a new chemistry.”

Performance #13 Berwaerts & Collins One of the world’s most diverse trumpeters, Belgian Jeroen Berwaerts, joins world-renowned clarinettist and conductor Michael Collins as he leads the ANAM Orchestra in a program featuring the Australian premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Clarinet Concerto.

Britten Clarinet Concerto

Zimmermann Trumpet Concerto in C Nobody knows the trouble I see Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra Michael Collins Clarinet/Director Jeroen Berwaerts Trumpet ANAM Orchestra

Saturday 21 September, 7pm South Melbourne Town Hall

Tickets Full $55 Sen $40 Conc $30

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ANAM Orchestra Sponsor

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“That has always been a very popular feature but this will be the first time Ali has hosted it,” Goldsworthy says. “It’s an opportunity to

The festival prides itself on presenting wellestablished artists alongside young talent. “That’s always been part of our brief,” Goldsworthy declares, “and our audience takes delight in that. It’s lovely to see someone like the wonderful violinist Christian Winter, who first played at the festival as a student many

» Port Fairy Spring Music Festival runs from Friday, October 11 until Sunday, October 13

22 The Melbourne Review September 2013


Love Poems

Keeping His Head Above Water David Bridie discusses a misspent youth, finding wonder and his new album, Wake.

Ute Lemper presents Forever: The Love Poems of Pablo Neruda

by Phil Kakulas


by Robert Dunstan

avid Bridie thinks we need a slap to stir us from our national stupor. His new CD, Wake, is intended as a wake-up call, both for himself and his country.


erman-born songstress Ute Lemper’s stage credits include her breakthrough role in the original Viennesse production of Cats as well as lead roles in such musicals as Cabaret, The Blue Angel, Peter Pan and Chicago. She has also recorded numerous albums and her last tour of this country some years ago had her presenting songs from Punishing Kiss which featured songs by Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and Scott Walker.

“It’s partly about me, but also about the times we live in and where music fits into things,” he says, “there’s a bit of yearning and searching in that… yearning for a better country. We send off troops to fight in wars but when refugees from those wars want to settle here we vilify them in the most disgusting way.”

“I always love doing new projects and taking them out to my audience,” Lemper says from home in Manhattan, “and Forever is new newest project. And we’ve just finished the album, Ute Lemper Sings Pablo Neruda, which is his love poems set to my music with some beautiful arrangements by my five musicians. “Whenever we’ve presented it on the stage, it has always gone over really, really well,” she quickly adds. “So it’s exciting to now be coming down to Australia with it.” Pablo Neruda was the pen name of Chilean poet and diplomat Neftali Basoalto who is said to have been poisoned by a former agent of the CIA in 1973. As late as June of this year, a Chilean court issued an order to locate the person alleged to have poisoned Neruda. Lemper, who is well-known for her interpretation of the songs of Kurt Weill, says she became interested in Neruda’s works some years ago after working with Argentinean bandoneon player, composer and arranger Marcelo Nisinman in Buenos Aires. “I’d been reading South American poetry for a while but after staging Ultimo Tango as a tribute to Ástor Piazzolla, I began intensely reading through different writers in search of something for my next project,” Lemper reveals. “But it was only when I found Neruda’s love poems that I felt I had come across something I could put to music. “I just found Neruda’s text to have so much integrity,” she continues, “although much of his poetry is very wordy and very political because he was speaking out against the oppression and dictatorship of his country.

Bridie may lament the ‘miserable heart’ he feels is at the core of Australia’s refugee policy but his own heart has taken a battering too.

“But Neruda’s love poems are away from all that and very direct, very passionate and so full of life. And they are also full of explosions and implosions. So I sat down and chose 12 of his loveliest poems and while I had written music before, this was more following in the tradition of chanson as I have as a chanteuse with the songs of Weill and Piaf and the tangos of Piazzolla. But Forever still honours the poetry of Neruda and half of it I sing in Spanish. The other half is English and French adaptations.” American singer songwriter Jackson Browne’s The Pretender album of 1976 had Kenneth Rexroth’s translation of the Neruda poem Brown and Agile Child on its back cover. “Neruda had become very popular and muchloved in the 60s and 70s and been blacklisted by the CIA; his poems were not allowed to be read publicly in the US,” Lemper says. “So I think it was an outcry for freedom that so many musicians and poets found his work. He was much-loved in that way. “The interesting thing for me is that because Neruda was in exile for many years and lived in Europe, he was very sophisticated as well,” she adds. “He collaborated and made friendships with many European artists, including Picasso, as well as many film-makers. Neruda was very much a passionate lover of life which he could do with a certain amount of freedom in Europe.”

Lemper says she tries to keep a fine balance between her family and being on tour. “I do love both,” she laughs, “but it is hard being away from home and I try never to spend more than a week away. So the two weeks I will be spending in Australia will be an exception because it is a bit of a sacrifice. But I do love my work and it’s also important for my children to understand that. It’s very good for them to see that I have such a passion for it. “I would one day love to bring The Bukowski Project to Australia,” Lemper says of her musical journey through the life of the infamous American poet and novelist. “That was originally what I had intended to do this time but my agent chickened out at the last minute. She said it would be too controversial. “But I’d be more than too happy to do it,” she concludes with a wry chuckle, “although I am still looking forward to presenting Forever. It’s always a privilege to be performing in Australia.”

»»Ute Lemper performs Forever: The Love Poems of Pablo Neruda at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, September 18.

The struggle to keep head above water, as the wake of the world washes over him, permeates the album and our conversation. “I feel, like many people do, that we’re like ducks,” he explains, “underneath we’re paddling in a very ugly and frantic manner and on top we’re just gliding along smiling politely.” One of the album’s most affecting tracks, Old Lovers, points to the barely concealed anguish that must have followed the recent break-up of his marriage: Your old lovers never leave the room Long after you’re gone they’ll trouble you It is the music that keeps Bridie afloat. “You can lose yourself in music,” he says, “a melody or sound, a turn of phrase or the catch in the singer’s voice… it has that kind of wondering. It makes everything slightly askew and allows you to look at something differently… or just takes you to another place.” Bridie’s songs are peppered with references to places near and far, but it is Melanesia, where he has established musical partnerships with PNG musicians like George Telek, that the conversation returns to most often. A student of the culture, he delights in explaining the history behind the term ‘bootmen’, as it is used on the album. “It’s what the Papua New




For Bridie, exploring ‘region and landscape’ had become fundamental to his work as an Australian artist.”

Photo: Luzio Grossi

singer told us that bands got paid more in Perth.” The group promptly set off across the Nullarbor in search of that elusive pot of gold. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know was that only cover bands got paid more in Perth. In fact, only cover bands really got paid at all, such was the city’s penchant for Top 40 and retro hits at the time. After two months and one live show the group returned to Melbourne with Bridie leaving soon after.

Guineans called the missionaries as they ate them,” he tells me, “as it didn’t matter how many times they cooked the fuckers – they were still as tough as leather.”

THE RIDERS Victorian Opera 2014 Season

Despite the backwash of his recent past, Wake suggests David Bridie can feel optimistic about his future. “Maybe I needed to go through that personal stuff,” he says, “bleak, dark, yucky stuff… to find wonder again.” Thirty years on from making his first musical splash Bridie has left much in his wake. He may still be paddling frantically but he hasn’t drowned yet.

» David Bridie’s Wake is available now.


s ! 30 33 $ ER D ST N U U XJ TI

Iain Grandage & Alison Croggon, based on the novel by Tim Winton

This appetite for travel was whet as a young man, when as keyboard player for the group Misspent Youth, Bridie took the biggest misstep of his musical life. “I was two days into an arts/law degree,” he laughs, “when our lead

The experience of crossing the continent did however make a strong impression on the young musician. His next project, the acclaimed Not Drowning, Waving, saw Bridie and guitarist John Phillips creating atmospheric grooves and expansive soundscapes that evoked the vastness of the Australian topography. For Bridie, exploring ‘region and landscape’ had become fundamental to his work as an Australian artist.

Wake’s melodic post-punk sensibility combines the rich textures and found sounds of Not Drowning, Waving with the acoustic stringed chamber pop of his current group My Friend The Chocolate Cake. Both Phillips and Cake cellist Helen Mountfort appear on the CD, with Phillips also performing as part of the touring band – something that Bridie says he is enjoying both on and off stage. “It’s great having John on stage,” he says, “and great drinking in bars with him until 3am.”

by Simon Stone after Anton Chekhov

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Cherry_MELB REVIEW_123x158_FA.indd 1

Zahra Newman Pamela Rabe Eloise Mignon

13/08/13 4:27 PM


PERFORMING ARTS / WORDS & MUSIC A warning perhaps that from here on in nothing will be quite as it seems. I I I I

remember how the darkness doubled recall lightning struck itself was listening, listening to the rain was hearing, hearing something else.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom Verlaine delivers the lines in a high, taut voice. Around him the forces of nature gather, the import of his words ominous but obscure. Life in the hive puckered up my night, The kiss of death, the embrace of life. There I stand ‘neath the Marquee Moon, just waiting the crossroads perhaps? Poised heroically on the verge of some momentous fate with just the moon to light the way? The lyrics suggest the struggle is as much with one’s own nature. The natural world gives way to the hive of the city, the stars replaced with neon and the moon taken as a sign to light the way.

Television: “Riveting… A treat for fans of opera (and) the performing arts.” VARIETY

“Impressive singing and insights.”

Marquee Moon


“An exquisitely observed look at performance.” LOS ANGELES TIMES


With their extended solos, clean guitar tones and poetically cryptic lyrics, mid-70s New York hipsters Television seem unlikely progenitors of the punk rock movement. Yet, the group was at the epicentre of the hugely influential CBGB scene that also gave rise to the likes of Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads. Their 1977 debut album, Marquee Moon, helped rewrite the rulebook for a generation of alternative musicians to come and its title song remains one of the great artefacts of the era.



Marquee Moon begins with a musical sleight of hand that tricks the listener into hearing the second beat of the bar as the first – an aural illusion created by the staggered entry points of two interlocking guitar parts and a bass line. The result is a mind-bending correction, triggered by an impossible drum fill that appears to start on the ‘wrong’ beat yet ends on the right.

After the second chorus, guitarist Richard Lloyd takes the first solo, his playing fluent and expressive. His guitar tone, like that of Verlaine’s, is the pure sound of a fender guitar and amplifier, unadulterated by pedals or effects. According to Lloyd the group were steadfastly ‘anti-Marshall and anti-hippy’ – in reference to the ‘fat’ sound of the Marshall amps so popular in the 70s. Rather they opted for the sharper, shinier and decidedly ‘thinner’ Fender sounds so popular with the surf and garage bands of the 60s. After the third chorus Lloyd and Verlaine swap roles with Lloyd holding down the rhythm while Verlaine solos – and here we can appreciate why he is regarded as one of the truly great players in rock ‘n’ roll. He starts low and tremulous, like Dick Dale’s Miserlou, before rising slowly up the fretboard in sinewy, snaking movements. Drummer Billy Ficca follows him while bassist Fred Smith stays resolute. Verlaine wrings out the notes like he’s strangling the instrument’s neck, or as Patti Smith once put it ‘like a thousand bluebirds screaming’. According to Verlaine, it’s an approach that owes more to sax players like Albert Ayler and John Coltrane than any rock guitarist. Verlaine’s lengthy solo is followed by a series of rising chords and staccato beats that build to an emphatic crescendo and sparkling lyrical passage of transcendent beauty. Having reached the 10-minute mark the song dies away, only to reprise at the beginning a moment later - the (life) cycle complete. Marquee Moon was recorded in a single take by one time Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones producer, Andy Johns. “I had no clue

what the music was like or if we’d get on,” Johns has said. “My first impression was that… the music was bizarre.” Johns was also confused by the band’s expectations. Having spent the first day getting the massive drum sounds he had created for Led Zeppelin, he was surprised when Verlaine asked him to tear it all down. “I thought, didn’t you hire me for this?” says Johns. “Tom was saying they wanted ‘small dry sounds.’ I said ‘Oh, this must be like a Velvets thing, right? It’s a New York thing, right?’” Johns was right. It was a ‘New York thing’ that reached back to the Velvet Underground and spread quickly across the world. Folklore has it that English impresario Malcolm McClaren, who was in New York during CBGB’s heyday, returned to London with a blueprint for the Sex Pistols. From Television’s original bassist and visionary Richard Hell he took the spiky hair and nihilistic attitude and from The Ramones the three-chord buzzsaw guitars. Adding class politics was his own idea. Marquee Moon would touch a wealth of bands like The Pixies, The Strokes, Echo and the Bunnymen and closer to home, The Triffids and The Church.

» Television play the entire Marquee Moon album at ATP in Melbourne on Oct 26.

The Melbourne Review September 2013 25

PERFORMING ARTS / CINEMA A Hijacking by David Knight

The captivating realism of Danish cinema and television is back in vogue nearly two decades after Dogme 95 briefly threatened to revolutionise cinema. It is the small screen output of the Danes that is currently in demand with shows such as The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen engaging audiences across the globe to continue the golden age of television drama, which began with HBO in the mid to late 90s thanks to Oz and The Sopranos. A Hijacking’s writer and director Tobias Lindholm is one of the major players of the Danish renaissance and is a student of Dogme. He wrote 20 episodes of Borgen, a political drama about the Danish prime minister, and is responsible for the screenplay of 2012’s grim Jagten (The Hunt) with director Thomas Vinterberg (who helmed Dogme’s original and best film, Festen (The Celebration)). A thriller on the high seas, A Hijacking is not a thriller in the Hollywood sense, yet it contains more moments of drama, tension and action than 99 percent of Blockbuster’s ‘Thriller’ section with its simple yet engaging documentarystyle story and direction. Mikkel (Pilou Asbaek, who plays the spin doctor Kasper from Borgen) is a cook onboard a Danish

cargo ship, which has been boarded by Somali pirates who hold the crew to ransom. This premise (a cook on a hijacked ship) may recall that of Under Siege but A Hijacking is as close to a Steven Seagal picture as Lars von Trier is to Michael Bay. The pirates negotiate the ransom with the CEO (Peter, played by Soren Malling, another Borgen veteran) of the ship’s parent company in Denmark. With the help of a professional negotiator (on both sides) they try and drive the ransom’s value like a boardroom deal: clinical, emotionless with both parties fighting to lock in the right price. While this seemingly trivial negotiation drags on, Mikkel and the men onboard the cargo ship continue to be held as prisoners in horrible conditions by the unpredictable Somali pirates. Not a feast for the eyes in a cinematic sense, A Hijacking is instead a fly on the wall look at people being treated like a commodity. A Hijacking ain’t pretty – in more ways than one – but it sure is moving and utterly believable in these times as the drama splits between the boat and the boardroom to great effect.

»»In cinemas from September 19

BLUE JASMINE by D.M. Bradley

The workaholic Woody Allen (78 this year) keeps on turning ’em out, and his annual-ish offerings sometimes hit (Midnight In Paris), occasionally clunk (Cassandra’s Dream), often prove to be familiar and frothy (To Rome With Love) or stray into darker areas, like Match Point and this latest effort, in which Cate Blanchett plays a character vaguely indebted to A Streetcar Named Desire who’s amongst the most damaged and messed-up in all his films. And, more daringly, very hard to like. Cate’s formerly high-living, Park-Avenueshopping Jasmine (or is it Jeanette?) is introduced arriving in San Francisco from New York to live with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in Ginger’s small, ‘homey’ apartment, and immediately there’s trouble, as Jasmine is broke after the tax-evading and womanising activities of her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin in his third pic for Woody). Flashbacks show how rich and privileged she was (or at least believed

herself to be), and these then demonstrate just how broken Jasmine has become, as she talks to herself in delusional episodes from the past that freak out those around her. Intriguingly, while another director (or another Woody Allen movie) might have made Jasmine’s cracking psyche something for which we’re invited to feel sympathy and sadness, instead we’re here rather distanced from her, and as the plot progresses and she’s consistently nastily snobby to Ginger and her would-be boyfriend Chili (Bobby Cannavale) and, later, lies to a potential rich beau (Peter Sarsgaard as Dwight), our ability to laugh at her decreases and something tragic and even rather scary creeps in. Blessed with an unusually diverse cast (including two generations of big names in US comedy: Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay), this is certainly a comedy until things turn ugly and, in a brave moment, Cate’s make-up comes off for a long, lingering close-up (and yes, she’s still gorgeous – but anyway).

»»Rated M, in cinemas from September 12


INTENSITY AND COMMITMENT Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney BY SUZANNE FRASER


hen selecting the works for this year’s Primavera exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney, guest curator Robert Cook undertook an exploratory lap of the country on a self-prescribed mission to seek out artists who demonstrated two key characteristics in their practice: “intensity and commitment”. In setting these requirements, Cook was guided by the conditions of the space in which the exhibition would be displayed. 2013 is the first year in which the jumbo Level 1 North Gallery of the newly-renovated MCA has played host to the annual Primavera exhibition. Other than the characteristics noted above, the eight artists who were invited to join Primavera 2013 are restricted by no determinative theme, style or medium. The founding objective of the series, now in its 22nd year, is to showcase the work of Australia’s finest young artists (aged 35 years and under). While one might argue that it would have been prudent to stipulate that participating artists make at least passing reference to either hay fever or the return of barbequing season, no such condition was mandated at the establishment of the exhibition in 1992. Regardless, for curator Robert Cook, this annual show provides a vital opportunity for

young artists to raise their game on the national stage, as well as offering the Australian public the chance to view contemporary works that might ordinarily only be exhibited in smaller artist-run spaces or private art galleries. As Curator of Modern and Contemporary Photography and Design at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Cook brings a wealth of experience and a large dose of modish vitality to the role of guest curator of Primavera. When I asked Cook whether the upcoming show was designed as a synopsis of contemporary art practice in Australia, he was quick to clarify that he purposefully made no attempt at establishing an objective narrative of ‘what’s out there right now’ in this exhibition. “I was selfishly responding to things I really loved,” says Cook. Yet the eight artists whose works are displayed in this exhibition seem to span a wide range of contemporary practices; from the highly expressive paintings and sculptures of Brendan Huntley (Melbourne) to the intricately analytical and conglomerate installation work of Thomas Jeppe (Melbourne).

works function to immerse the viewer in the subject matter of the images, which have been physically moulded and photographed by the artist in her studio and, as a result, possess an ineffable tactility in their visual matter. The quiet ambience of Ball’s pictures stand in stark contrast to the lurid yet demonstrably elegant video works of Sydney-based artist Franco Heath, whose charming demeanour as an artistabout-town finds a series of utterly outrageous alternative identities in his artistic output. The characters he portrays in his work – including the three films showing at Primavera, one of which is a brand new piece – are deviant and/or deranged, determinedly repeating phrases that function to unsettle the viewer, whilst located within carefully designed settings charged with a challenging aura of hyperrealism. This is contemporary art at its finest, as Heath uses new technology and rowdy creativity to cultivate a new crop of works for the Australian art landscape. While the works exhibited in Primavera 2013 perform together as excellent examples of contemporary Australian art, their disparateness maintains an essential level of tension in the display. For Cook, this produces a “modulated

Amongst the other artists in this show is Jacqueline Ball (Perth), who presents a series of eight large-scale photographs that serve as portals into fantastical spaces. The dimensions of these

TarraWarra International 2013

Animate/Inanimate Until 6 October Curator: Victoria Lynn › Allora & Calzadilla (USA) › Amar Kanwar (India) › Janet Laurence (Australia) › Lin Tianmiao (China) › Louise Weaver (Australia) Book now for combined tours of the exhibition and Healesville Sanctuary Forthcoming: Animate/Inanimate Symposium, Sunday 1 September featuring: Professor Barbara Creed, Prue Gibson, Janet Laurence, Professor Deborah Bird Rose and Louise Weaver. See website for details. 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Rd Healesville, Victoria, Australia Telephone (03) 5957 3100

OPENING HOURS Tue to Sun 11am – 5pm

Lin Tianmiao All the Same (detail) 2011, coloured silk threads, synthetic skeletons and metal constructions, edition 1/3, length: approx. 2200 cm. Photo by Yang Yuguang. Courtesy of Lin Tianmiao. © Lin Tianmiao

experience” for visitors to the MCA, which will invariably keep them on their toes as they move around the expansive gallery space on Level 1 of the new building at Circular Quay. Each year Primavera introduces a spring-like fertility to the cultural scene of Sydney; hotly anticipated by locals and out-of-towners alike, welcomed with eager eyes and shorter garments (although the latter consideration might be incidental to the art display). The eight individuals selected for this year’s exhibition (including Melbourne-based artists Jackson Eaton and Jess Johnson, as well as Juz Kitson and Kusum Normoyle from Sydney) maintain this tradition, whilst contributing their own idiosyncratic airs to the larger atmosphere of Primavera, currently being experienced at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

» Primavera 2013 shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, from September 12 to November 17.

Kusum Normoyle, S.I.T.E: A Scream for Ljubljana 2011, performance still, The Event: 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, 2011, Image courtesy and © the artist.


The Melbourne Review September 2013 27


The Fine Art of Listening

by our psychology. Are we comfortable? Are we fearful? Are we anxious, relaxed? How much coffee have I had today? The emphasis is on the sonic qualities of the space. So we’ve even done things like get the air conditioning and made it a little quieter, and worked to limit traffic sound by installing an absorbent structure at the entrance to the main gallery.

Sound Bites City at RMIT Gallery by Evelyn Tsitas


MIT Gallery’s exhibition Sound Bites City (September 4 – October 19) will showcase the new RMIT University Sound Art Collection – the first of its kind in Australia – and offer audiences the chance to experience 19 new and significant works by leading Australian and international sound artists. As exhibition curator Lawrence Harvey says, “listening takes time and to focus means choice”. So what will visitors find in this new exhibition based on sound? And how, as a curator, is he intending to focus our listening? Evelyn Tsitas: How is sound art different to either classical or experimental music? Lawrence Harvey: The artists are not necessarily limiting themselves to what we get from musical instruments, which are objects that make sound, that are highly refined and highly developed but have very particular qualities in terms of the pitches they play, the rhythmic structures they are best suited to, or the ways that they can be played, stroked, strummed, blown. Sound artists find sounds in nature as well as the orchestra, and musical instruments. In fact a lot of these works are based on sounds in nature. ET: Sound Bites City will feature international as well as local sound artists, including 2010 Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz’s We’ll All Go Together, and leading Australian sound artists Sonia Leber and David Chesworth’s Sydney Olympic Park Commission 5000 Calls. Can you explain how these works will change the way we hear sound? LH: Susan Philipsz’s work is based around her singing traditional songs. It’s very engaging, evocative work. It’s almost a moment of stillness that you have; it almost sounds like a cliché to talk about the purity of the solo voice but it’s certainly what’s there. Then you get to the piece by Sonia Leber and David Chesworth, this expansive, extraordinary work that draws on the sound of human effort – everything from childbirth through to international tennis, to calling out on football

fields just to anything you can imagine. These are the sounds of human effort drawn into a single artwork. These are sounds of running, of jumping, of calling, of breathing, of shouting, of crying, of laughing, of gasping in this other context. It’s quite extraordinary. These works are both very different, yet they make you think about what it means to be human and to be in the world, in quite a different way. ET: Let’s now talk about ‘seeing’ sound. I’ve been watching the Torus take shape in the main gallery space, from concept drawing and then construction of the faux lawn seating area and finally, the canopy that invites visitors to walk through and listen. Why has so much effort been going into the visual presentation of a sound exhibition? LH: One of the original ideas for the collection is that it will exist in a more permanent or temporary location on campus in some kind of multi loud-speaker installation. That’s where we’d like to get to. So, one aspect of this particular exhibition is that we want to road-test that idea. It’s a speculation about how a local audience and the university community would respond to the collection being available all the time, or at particular times on campus. I asked architect Nick Williams, who’s a PhD candidate and researcher in SIAL at RMIT, to design an exhibition space that would include a promenade for audiences to walk around the installation, but also offer them somewhere to sit if they wanted to stay for a particular amount of time. We also wanted the sound system to be on three levels around the audience, so above, at ear level and below. Along with colleague Jane Burry at SIAL, Williams came back with the

idea of the Torus. So we have a donut shape structure so that you can be inside, you can be in the interior of it as well, and you can also walk around it. It’s constructed along the lines of a grid shell. Imagine a lattice that you might grow something up in your garden. We have long cross beams arching up over a walking space and that frames up ‘sound landscape’. In the centre, it will be like a garden; somewhere to lounge. Sort of like a lawn in the middle of the city with a sound system around it. ET: So in Sound Bites City, the visual experience is actually as important in many ways as the aural one? LH: That’s right, because I don’t believe that a dark room is the best place to present sonic work. I think that triggers a whole lot of primal fears in us about the dark. And our ability to listen and to process auditory information, to process sounds, is influenced

»»Lawrence Harvey is an Associate Professor and director of the SIAL Sound Studios. His recent projects include artistic direction and sound diffusion for five concerts at the Melbourne Recital Centre, a report on Melbourne’s five Urban Soundscape Systems, spatial performance research with Elision Ensemble at the 2011 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and performances at the Institute of Sonology, The Hague, 2013. »»Sound Bites City: the inaugural exhibition of RMIT University’s new Sound Art Collection, runs from September 4 to October 19.



From Worship to Despair Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain at the Art Gallery of NSW BY LUKE STEGEMANN


oming on the heels of last year’s masterpieces from Madrid’s Museo del Prado that graced the Queensland Art Gallery, this selection of Spanish prints and drawings from the British Museum on show at the Art Gallery of NSW continues a run in which Australian audiences are being spoilt by the offerings from Spain’s particularly rich, always generous and sometimes eccentric heritage. So dominant is the figure of Goya, so colossal is his presence in the history of Spanish art, that his name alone can denote an entire epoch: Renaissance to Goya charts a period which begins with the Christian reconquest of Muslim Spain; encompasses the Spanish Golden Age of the 17th

century and Hapsburg reigns of Philips II – IV and Charles II, the transition to the Bourbon monarchy, and ends in the first decades of the 19th century. This last was above all the age of Napoleon, continuing the steady decline of Spanish political power within Europe and the fragmentation of its colonial empire – a process of collapse that had begun as early as the reign of Philip IV when imperial overreach began to take effect, as history shows it always will. The earliest years here are scarcely represented; a few engravings and woodcuts – mostly anonymous – that predate the revolution in drawing and material techniques that were to be imported from northern Europe and Italy

4 September — 19 OctOber 2013

José de Ribera 1591–1652 A hermit saint (Albert?) tied to a tree 1626. © The Trustees of the British Museum

the inaugural exhibition of rmit university’s new Sound Art collection—

SOund biteS city Kallena Kucers Featuring works by contemporary Australian and Sense of Self: Substance #3 international sound artists broadcastThe over a 16 channel 2010 (detail) 97 x 68 cm speaker system housed in the torus –archival a specially designed print on silver rag circular listening structure. The Cunningham Dax Collection


RMIT Gallery I n g e n i e u r e 344 Swanston Street Melbourne 3000 Telephone 03 9925 1717 / Monday – Friday 11 – 5 / Thursday 11 – 7 / Saturday 12 – 5 / Closed Sundays Free entry / Public Programs / Like RMIT Gallery on Facebook / Follow RMIT Gallery on Twitter

during the reign of Phillip II. Added to this, there was the difficulty of fragile drawings surviving circumstances not amenable to preservation; the drawing was not yet considered of value in and of itself. Yet while those early prints speak clearly of a Renaissance worldview and mode of representation, the world has been entirely reconfigured three-and-a-half centuries later; the exhibition ends with the emotional and physical exhaustion of a depleted and battle-weary empire, with Goya’s reverberating themes of humiliation, poverty, disease and occupation, an all-pervading despondency that settled on Spain and was not to lift until the remarkable ‘generation of 1898’ nearly a century later. Overlooked, cast into shadow by the glittering sun of Spanish classical painting, the tradition of drawings and prints serves as a guiding path through the mechanics of how many of those masterpieces in oil were created – these are experiments by which form and composition took shape, and the marginalia in which notes are made on everything from religious practice and rules, to authorship, to daily gossip. The steps of draughtsmanship are fascinating – we see surprisingly undeveloped, almost clumsy sketches by Ribera, for example, beside some of the genius’

finest works; we see also how themes were developed over careers – see Vicente Carducho or Eugenio Cajés (or Goya) – across epochs (Renaissance, Golden Age and Napoleonic eras) or via geographic region. So, conveniently, the artworks are represented not just by chronology but to reveal regional schools: we have the great Madrid court artists, the Andalusian masters (Pacheco, Herrera, Zurbarán, Alonso Cano, Murillo, Valdés Leal) and samples of the tradition as developed in the vibrant Mediterranean port city of Valencia, through lesser known masters such as Pedro Orrente, Juan de Juanes or Juan Antonio Conchillos. It also throws a fascinating light on those painters whom history has cast into second rank perhaps because they dedicated more time on drawings – Vicente Carducho for example – than on oils, or whose drawings have by one historical whim or another survived in greater quantity. The most notable near-absence is that of Diego Velázquez, so dominant in the court of Philip IV. It seems inexplicable that Velázquez could have created some of his masterpieces – such as Las Hilanderas or The Surrender of Breda – without drawing, yet barely any preliminary studies survive, nor does X-Ray technology

The Melbourne Review September 2013 29

VISUAL ARTS reveal any significant degree of preparatory underdrawing. Another of the strongest lessons coming through this remarkable collection is the role Italian artists had in shaping the Spanish creative endeavour of the time; Naples was for much of this era a part of Spain, and the traffic of commerce and artists between the two kingdoms was constant. Many Italians spent time at the Royal Monastery of El Escorial, on the outskirts of Madrid, as it became one of Europe’s most astonishing repositories of archival material and artistic treasures, a centre of creativity and of living history. These insights alone are worth the entry. But the drawings were soon to be more than just a proving ground, a notepad for the working out of the main event later to be executed in oil. There are many prints or drawings here that cannot be linked to paintings; others too that stand alone as exquisite masterpieces, such as Ribera’s red chalk images of suffering saints. By the time the art of printmaking had developed fully during the 17th and 18th centuries, the stage was set for Goya to arrive, producing the towering sets of social commentary that were his Caprichos and Disasters of War, works that combine clarity of message and depth of vision with a sense of wonder and horror, and expand the form of artistic representation so much further than it had been taken before – into the realm of the suffering existence of the common man and woman. As with the glimpses afforded through last year’s Prado exhibition, here again at first hand are examples of a quantum leap in the conscious awareness of universal human suffering. The artworks here inevitably describe a version of social history. They are one window into a society that for all its close connections to Italy and its northern European royal lineage and territorial annexations, nevertheless began to develop more and more apart from central European social and political modes of thoughts and governance; Spain turned its back on principal elements of the enlightenment, enacted the Inquisition and remained wedded to a deeply conservative and mystical Catholicism. Folklore played a huge role in this isolation – the festive or ludic is almost always a kind of partner-infolly to the temperate austerity of the Church. From worship to hysteria, hilarity and despair, the idea of celebration, whether dressed in the bright rags of the drunken street or the sobriety of clerical robes, is never far from the surface of Spanish life.

»»Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain shows at the Art Gallery of NSW until November 24.

Studio 26 – Alistair Whyte

An Artist’s Life Experience the working studios of Yarra Valley artists.

by The Melbourne Review


he 2013 Yarra Valley Open Studios is a free event that will take place on September 21 and 22 and is an opportunity for art lovers to take a behindthe-scenes look into the life and work of some of the region’s finest designers, painters and sculptors. The convenience and chaos of a digital world often leaves a gap – a yearning to experience that which reminds us that we are human. The Yarra Valley Open Studios program is for people looking for the authentic and artisanal. This premier cultural event allows visitors to traverse between the art of self-expression and functional objects deserving of the spotlight. Amy Middleton, project coordinator for Open Studios, says the weekend will allow you to witness, enjoy and own a locally handmade object or artwork. “This is a rare opportunity to observe an artist’s life: inspiration, training, travel, struggle, livelihood, reflections and joy. The artists in this program highlight the dignity of art making and skills required in transforming found objects and traditional art materials into art.” Zoe Warne, ambassador for the event, comments on how the Yarra Valley provides the perfect setting for visitors to immerse themselves in the creative process of the participating artists. “I spent my childhood years discovering how to mould, shape and create pottery in my grandparents’ studio. For me the Yarra Valley Open Studios weekend is about the delight of understanding creativity, rare talent at work and being able to once again immerse myself in an artist’s world.”

The 2013 program will see nearly 30 sculptors, painters and designers across

Healesville, Yarra Glen, Warburton and the Yarra Valley open their studios. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, classes and demonstrations and purchase pieces directly from the artists. All the participating artists have interesting stories and will be exhibiting distinctive pieces of art which are unique to the Yarra Valley region where they live and work. Lynne McDowell is a ceramicist who has taken part in the Yarra Valley Open Studios since it began in 2009. “My studio and gallery can be found in an old dairy, overlooking the peaceful Woori Yallock Valley, where daily I watch the setting sun cast shadows over this uniquely Australian pastoral landscape,” she says. “This lovely environment inspires me to indulge my creative spirit and to produce a broad range of work for both the home and garden. For some time the Yarra Valley has been a settling place for artists of many talents and skills to establish their studios and, in 2008, a group of them gathered to explore the idea of local artists opening these studios to the public. The original Open Studios weekend was to be held in late summer, but the bush fires and loss of some artists’ homes and studios changed all that. September was instead decided on as a preferred time. “After many months of work and, with the help of generous sponsors, the first Open Studios Weekend was held in 2009. The extraordinary success of the work done by this group was acknowledged by winning the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Tourism Award for the best New Event.” This year, a group exhibition featuring new work from each artist will be held at The Memo Hall in Healesville, from September 7 to 26. The group exhibition is a great way to start the Open Studios experience as it offers a sneak-peak into each artist’s practise. People planning on visiting the Open Studios can also download a free guidebook complete with information on the weekend’s events, participants, studio opening times and places to eat from the Yarra Valley Open Studios website. Entry to the exhibition and artist studios is free.


richest landscape painting prize Join the finalists of the world's in November 2013. richest landscape painting prize in November 2013. Visit South Australia's McLaren Vale and the Southern Visit South Australia's Fleurieu during the Fleurieu McLaren Vale and the Southern Art Prize festival where fine art, Fleurieu during the Fleurieu fabulous food and spectacular Art Prize festival where fine art, wines collide in an inspiring blend fabulous food and spectacular like paint on a canvas. wines collide in an inspiring blend likeworks paint on canvas. Finalists willabe exhibited in wineries and galleries Finalists works will be exhibited throughout the region in a month in wineries and galleries long celebration of the arts. throughout the region in a month long celebration arts. Discover why thisofisthe a truly prized landscape. Discover why this is a truly landscape. THE prized FLEURIEU ART PRIZE. 26 October – 25 November 2013 THE FLEURIEU ART PRIZE. 26 October – 25 November 2013 WWW.ARTPRIZE.COM.AU WWW.ARTPRIZE.COM.AU



30 The Melbourne Review September 2013




YaRRa Valley open studios

Yarra Valley Open Studios Group Exhibition Until September 26, including special weekend visits to the studios of 28 Yarra Valley artists on September 21 and 22. 10am – 5pm Until September 26 The Memo, 235 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville

RMIT Gallery Sound Bites City: The Inaugural exhibition of RMIT University’s new Sound Art Collection Sound Bites City features the specially designed Torus - a circular structure inviting visitors to stroll through a 16 channel speaker system, finishing on a raised mini landscape offering the best aural vantage point to hear the works by leading Australian and International sound artists. Until October 19 Storey Hall, Swanston St, Melbourne







eleven40 gallery


Geelong Gallery

Jacqui Dean Translucence Until October 10 1140 Malvern Road, Malvern

2013 Geelong Acquisitive Print Awards Until November 24 Little Malop St, Geelong

McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park


NEST: The Art of Birds Air Born Until October 6 360 - 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin


Hawthorn studio & Gallery

Margaret Mcloughlin ‘Vibrant Vistas’ Oil Paintings Alisa Tanaka-King ‘Deluge Divine’ Prints September 14 – October 8, Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm 635 Burwood Road, Hawthorn East

Catherine Asquith gallery

Jo Darbyshire Ireland Alexia Sinclair An Introduction... September 17 – October 5 48 Oxford St, Collingwood


Monash gallery of art

Jon Frank (finalist) Bowness Photography Prize October 4 – November 3 860 Ferntree Gully Rd, Wheelers Hill,


BUrrinja gallery

Secret Ingiets Mysterious stone carvings and ceremonial objects of the Tolai, PNG Until December 1 Crn Glenfern Road and Matson Drive, Upwey 3158


Cambridge Studio Gallery

Cambridge Studio Gallery Melbourne Studio School (group show) Hand and Eye September 18 – October 5 52 cambridge Street, Collingwood


bayside arts & Cultral centre

Anne Judell Drawing September 12 – November 17 Crn Carpenter & Wilson Sts, Brighton

collingwoodartsprecinct An intimate evening of exhibition openings at the galleries of the Collingwood Arts Precinct Open Night | Spring 2013 6.00 - 8.00pm Thursday October 10

for more information visit

The Melbourne Review September 2013 31






Flinders Lane gallery


Hannah Quinlivan Something Missing September 17 – October 5 137 Flinders Lane, Melbourne


james makin gallery

Fabrzio Biviano Stacks September 12 – October 6 67 Cambridge St, Collingwood

Heide Museum of modern art The Sometimes Chaotic World of Mike Brown Until October 13 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen


Jim Thalassoudis September 26 – October 19 Charles Nodrum Gallery 267 Church St, Richmond

Melbourne art rooms Psychedelic daze Group August 25 – UNtil October 6 418 Bay St, Port Melbourne


FLinders Lane gallery

Agneta Ekholm Elements September 17 – October 5 137 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

JACQUI DEAN TRANSLUCENCE OPENING 1140 Malvern Road, Malvern, VIC 3144 T 03 8823 1140 Mon / Fri 9 - 6 | Sat 11 - 4


WEDNESDAY 18th Sept 6.30pm - 8.30pm

EXHIBITION 12th Sept - 10th Oct





The Johnston Collection

Murmur (mûr’mûr) An installation by guest curator, Rosslynd Piggott, as part of the annual ‘house of ideas’ series, evoking facets of William Johnston as a person, collector and gardener. Piggott recaptures the spirit of Fairhall as Johnston might have lived in it. Mon-Fri 10 am, 12 pm, 2.15 pm. Bookings essential Until October 23


without pier gallery

Sarah Paxton Until September 25 Jo Bisset & Lis Bisset Until September 25 ian Dickinson & Ross Wilsmore September 29 – October 13 320 Bay Road, Cheltenham


the dax centre

Reverie Reverie shines a light – not on illness – but on wellbeing. Reverie considers the therapeutic and healing effects of connecting with our inner world in a way that enriches our sense of self and relationship with others. This exhibition explores how art can create the opportunity for reverie in one’s life. Until September 20 The Emotional World Of Children The Emotional World of Children explores the emotional world of the child by showcasing a selection of artworks created by children in psychoanalytical psychotherapy sessions with renowned child psychotherapist Margaret Ericksen between the 1940s and 1980s. Kenneth Myer Building, The University of Melbourne, Genetics Lane off Royal Parade, Melbourne



Tony Woods: Archive BY SUZANNE FRASER


new book has been released tracing the fifty-year career of Melbournebased artist, Tony Woods. Edited by curator Andrew Gaynor, this large and lovely-looking publication contains essays by friends and colleagues of the artist – including the architect and poet Alex Selenitsch and artist Phil Edwards – which nicely embellish the bare bones biographical information previously available on Woods’ life and work. Alongside these instructive accounts of the artist is a plethora of images of works from across his varied career, serving to make Tony Woods: Archive a hefty art book that you are happy to carry around with you. Tucked away in a Fitzroy warehouse, and largely eschewing the machinery of commercial

exhibition in recent years, Woods has fashioned a shielding anonymity within the recognised story of twentieth-century Australian art – whether he meant to or not. This book shines light on the career hidden within Woods’ warehouse archives, yet without the brashness or fanfare one might expect from a reveal-all exercise. What immediately becomes clear on opening this book is the utterly diverse artistic practice embraced by Woods since he first began exhibiting in the early 1960s: from early landscape watercolours, to fauvistinspired figural paintings, to abstract prints, and, more recently, experimental moving image projects using super 8 film. And yet

Collingwood Arts Precinct

Spring Open Night returns on October 10 BY SUZIE FRASER


ince it first began as a collaborative venture in 2009, the Collingwood Arts Precinct (CAP) has served as a physical and conceptual destination for contemporary art in Melbourne. Currently comprising six galleries around Collingwood’s Smith Street, CAP brings together the resources and experience of a diverse group of gallerists to galvanise the reputation of this precinct within Melbourne’s prominent commercial arts community. On October 10, Collingwood Arts Precinct once again opens up its door for a Spring Open Night – allowing visitors the chance to potter around all six galleries after-hours and become familiar with the creative goings-on of this area of town. Over the past 10 years, Collingwood has been establishing a new identity as a site of coolness and innovation, seeming to sit comfortably alongside its long established local character. According to Catherine Asquith, whose own gallery was a founding partner in the collaborative CAP venture, this area of town has become “quite the thriving arts hub – with designers, jewellers, speciality shops, and artist run spaces”. All of these elements in turn contribute

buoyancy to the commercial gallery sector that has emerged at its core. The regular open nights hosted by Asquith and her comrades – namely, Australian Galleries, Fehily Contemporary, James Makin Gallery, Kick Gallery, and Mossenson Galleries – offer both locals and visitors a packaged overview of contemporary art in Melbourne. As Asquith states, “It’s almost as if you’re getting the entire gamut of contemporary art in this precinct: across representational landscape, photography, digital prints, and Indigenous practice.” This event, organised by CAP, also facilitates a great night of culture, dining, and wandering in the dynamic environment of Collingwood. The short walking distance from Melbourne’s CBD to this area is all but refuted in the warm and secluded-feeling streets of Collingwood – a dynamic embraced by its creative communities and commercial ventures.

» Collingwood Arts Precinct Spring Open Night runs from 6pm to 8pm on October 10.

there are thematic threads which have been weaved across his career. Sheridan Palmer discusses the artist’s repeated examinations of the “structure of shadows” in one essay, as well as the interactions between “interior and exterior” spaces in a second essay. Born in Hobart in 1940, Woods consolidated his explorative approach to the visual arts during a residency in New York from 1968 to 1970 funded through the coveted Harkness Fellowship. In the essays of this book we read tales of him living at the Chelsea Hotel and spending evenings at Max’s Kansas City bar; we also see the investigational paintings that issued from Woods either side of this residency. Here we find romance without sentiment, which is

just what we want from such a narrative. Tony Woods’ contributions to the visual landscape of Australian art over the last 50 years have touched upon a great many areas and niches, although without the recognition one might expect after having read this book. An accompanying DVD also introduces the reader to Woods’ video works, expanding still further their understanding of his experimental artistic nature.

» Tony Woods: Archive is published by and is out now in all good bookstores. RRP $79.95


Food.Wine.Coffee F I N E D I N I N G • S U S TA I N A B L E F O O D • C O F F E E • W I N E


As Melbourne water views go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more interesting setting than The Baths Restaurant, Middle Brighton.


34 The Melbourne Review September 2013

FOOD.WINE.COFFEE Asian Food Festival As the 24th Asian Food Festival hits its stride, we take a look at what’s on offer – adventures include Yum Cha on the river, lunch in Bendigo and a street lunch that will see Chinatown roads closed for celebration.

BY Lou Pardi

Although the Asian Food Festival has been moved from a summer celebration to help coax Melbournians away from the heater in winter long ago, this year’s festival falls in spring. Festival Organiser Eng Lim laughs as she recites the festival slogan: “’Spring rolls’ into Asian Food Festival.” Festival President Danny Doon has been working on the festival since its creation. He is the President of Chinatown Precinct Association Inc. and the Chinese Restaurateurs Association of Victoria. Eng says she’s been working with the festival longer than she remembers. She says the aims of this year’s festival are to entice people into the city and to promote Asian cuisine.

The Baths As Melbourne water views go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more interesting setting than The Baths Restaurant, Middle Brighton. by Lou Pardi


t’s a view you can’t take your eyes off. A weathered boardwalk frames a square of Port Phillip Bay and the water seems to be on a timer to lap at the most meditative pace. Further off are lights of the city sparkling on cue. The Middle Brighton Baths building was originally built in 1881 as a recreation centre, and rebuilt after a storm in 1934. The building’s history is more apparent from the street side, where its original features have been preserved. On the water side, glass extensions make the most of the view. Whilst downstairs recreation can still be found in the form of a gymnasium, together with a café, upstairs is a more refined affair. Plush and elegant, with neutral tones giving way to the view, the long dining room is smartly dressed, striking a balance appropriate for romantic dinners or business huddles. There’s also a private room available for groups.

Happily, the restaurant doesn’t rely on its view to provide all of the entertainment. An accessible but still interesting menu is complemented by polished service. To start, the Chef’s tasting plate is tempting (and excellent value at $20 per person, considering the portion size). Selections vary, but we enjoyed a smooth sweet corn veloute; twice cooked Wessex saddleback pork belly with burnt carrot puree, Crystal Bay prawns with beetroot and feta salad and roast pistachio dressing and game terrine with pear and saffron chutney. Quite an undertaking for a starter, but nonetheless an enjoyable one. The mains menu covers proteins from paddock to pond including chicken, beef, dory, flathead, salmon and kangaroo. For a comfort course, the Glenloth chicken with pumpkin puree, mushroom and gruyere ($35) is the choice. It’s generously sized so you won’t strictly need a side of hand cut chips ($9) but it’s not really a matter of need is it?

With The Baths’ generous serving sizes, chances are by the time you come to dessert you will be quite full. Perhaps now’s the time to take another look through the extensive wine list and have a few moments to recover, because dessert is not something you’ll want to miss. I am the first to admit that cooked fruit is not my favourite dessert, and as far as cooked fruits go, cooked banana is my least palatable scenario. However, the exception to this rule is The Baths’ banana tarte tatin with rum and raisin ice cream ($14). It’s a rustic-looking number but a glorious finish to the meal. For a classic chocolate fix, the chocolate fondant with raspberry gel is a rich indulgence ($14). From Monday to Saturday there’s a lunch special – two courses for $38 or three courses for $45 per person, including a glass of wine. If you’re after an indulgent breakfast on the weekend, head upstairs to the restaurant for a $30 set breakfast. On Sundays, BYO is

»»The Baths Restaurant 251 Esplanade, Brighton (03) 9539 7007  Breakfast: Saturday – Sunday Lunch and dinner: Monday - Sunday

The impressive program is likely to do both. “We always try to think of new events,” says Eng. “A few years back, instead of having the yum cha in a restaurant, we decided to have it on a boat. It’s very popular so now we have that event every festival.” The floating yum cha cruises (September 22 and 29 and October 6 and 13 - $48 per person) depart from Docklands and head to Williamstown and Hobsons Bay. Along the way dumplings, pastries and Chinese tea are served. The major event is The Biggest Yum in Little Bourke Street to be held on Friday, October 11 at midday. “This year for the first time we are closing all three blocks of Chinatown,” says Eng. Little Bourke Street from Spring to Swanston Street will be set up with tables and chairs and local traders will serve lunch. Lion Dance performances will potentially be upstaged by the waitpersons races – where waitstaff will race whilst trying to balance a tray of cups of Chinese tea. Part of the proceeds from the lunch will be donated to the Australian Prostate Cancer Research and Epworth Healthcare (Heart Foundation and Clinical Education and Simulation). Tickets are $79 per guest. For a more low-key event, the Paramount Centre Culture, Arts and Crafts day on October 13 (10:30am – 4:30pm) promises to be an exciting family day. The hawker-style food court eateries offer up dumplings, rice, noodles, satays, cakes and more. Once your hunger is sated you can peruse the Asian arts and crafts for sale and enjoy Lion Dancing performances – you might even be able to beat the drum. A highlight of the festival is the Chinatown pop up treat – Chinatown Melbourne Market Days on September 20 and October 18. From 4pm –

The Melbourne Review September 2013 35

FOOD.WINE.COFFEE 10pm Heffernan Lane (between Russell and Swanston Streets) is stuffed with hawker stalls selling authentic dumplings, rice, noodles and satays. On a warm spring night there’s no better place to be than this laneway – the aromas alone are worth the trip. If you’re after an excuse to get out of the city, look no further than Ride the Rails Back in Time – the festival’s trip to Bendigo in a nod to the Asian forefathers who travelled to Bendigo seeking gold. Departing from Southern Cross Station at 9am on Tuesday, October 1, participants take the V/Line to Bendigo, where they enjoy a leisurely lunch and return on the train ($88 per guest). Many dinners are on offer from $49 up to $200. Standouts include Shark Fin Inn’s Cook with Love from the Heart fundraising dinner for the Victorian Heart Centre at Epworth Healthcare on October 2 and Hutong’s Educational Delights from the Asian Kitchen on October 9 where diners will be able to see chefs preparing Hutong’s famous dumplings. Both dinners are $85 per head. It would seem a waste to be chatting to the organiser of Asian Food Festival and not ask for some restaurant recommendations. “It depends on the time of day,” says Eng. “If it’s late at night, Supper Inn. If I’m exhausted, Moonee Ponds, Lychee House; they’re involved in the festival with a special banquet and complimentary glass of wine. For yum cha – Shark Fin or Crystal Jade. For Malaysian - Red Hot Wok in South Yarra.” Whether you’re an Asian food enthusiast, a fine dining connoisseur or a family that’s really keen on Lion Dancers, there’s something for you this Asian Food Festival – the program is well worth a peruse.

The New Prahran: Harvest Hall Historic Melbourne market re-launches after an extensive renovation.

by THE melbourne review


tonnington Mayor Matthew Koce officially opened Prahran Market’s new fruit and vegetable hall on August 17, unveiling a special plaque to commemorate the completion of the civil works and the hall’s new name, Harvest Hall. “We are proud to present Harvest Hall to the public,” said Christopher Young, General Manager. “The works, 18 months in planning, have been designed to improve the ‘market’ experience for our customers, as well as ensuring the business success of our traders for the next 20 plus years.” Throughout the duration of the works, fruit and veg hall traders continued to trade from underneath the big top tent in Market Lane and also in temporary marquees within Market Square to ensure it was always ‘business as usual’. The completed project has involved laying a new flat asphalt floor, the provision of hot and cold water in each tenancy, new entrances, new tenancy spaces, a new aisle, a state-of-the-art waste and recycling facility and a brand new Blanco Kitchen.

Customers can now enter the market via new entrances on Elizabeth Street and from Market Lane creating different flows of traffic and making access easier.   “Harvest Hall and its new layout have been warmly accepted. Not only have we been able to maintain our widths of aisle but we’ve also put a lot of thought in the traffic movement through our market – where people travel to and how they get where they want to go. We’ve been able to incorporate that into the shape and flow of our aisles which has worked quite well,” Young said. The relaunch of Harvest Hall also coincides with a new partnership between Blanco and Prahran Market. The new Blanco Demonstration kitchen is state of the art and features dual cooking stations including gas

and induction cooktops, ovens and steamers and seating for up to 40 people. Located in the centre aisle of Harvest Hall it is a beautiful central hub of the market to be used for regular cooking demonstrations, events, tastings and trader promotions.

»»Opening hours: Tuesday 7am-5pm, Thursday 7am-5pm, Friday 7am-6pm, Saturday 7am-5pm, Sunday 10am-3pm. »»Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra. Tel 8290 9220

18 - 20 October


F I N E W I N E of A U S T R A L I A

Visit for a full program of events and follow us on



15 Pounds A Fairfield favourite for good reason, 15 Pounds is probably about the weight you’ll put on imbibing the many delicious offerings at this café. BY LOU PARDI


uge by Melbourne standards, 15 Pounds occupies a space many cafés would kill for, with a long dining room fitted out in of-themoment timber furniture and polished floors. Flowers adorn each table in a strictly countrymeets-cool effect, and menus are presented on clipboards. So far so standard.

Outside though is a huge courtyard, fantastic for summer and the whole place is relaxed, unaffected, confident and welcoming. With some of the best café staff you’re likely to come across, this place is a delight. The menu meanders through standard café fare from a crumbed chicken on Turkish bread (which is heading well into battered rather than crumbed territory) your usual breakfast offerings and some excellent, excellent coffee.

» 15 Pounds 21-23 Railway Place, Melbourne (03) 9482 4481 Breakfast and lunch: Tuesday – Sunday

Creperie Le Triskel Mid way down the bottom of Hardware Lane is a French café which is so at home in a completely out-of-place fashion it’s like a magnolia grafted onto a fern. Unexpected, but not unwelcome.


Creperie Le Triskel lies just beyond the Maccas and the carpark in the most unromantic part of Hardware Lane, but step inside, and all is transformed. French-speaking staff bring all the best of France: the food, the music, the language – and match it with outstanding service and courtesy.

Coffee by 5 Senses is excellent and served with the most delectable chocolate on the saucer. There’s also French cider and wines for later in the day.

The galettes (savoury crepes) menu runs to twelve combinations of buckwheat flour crepes. Highlights include the La Sacrebleu (Fourme D’Ambert blue cheese, red onion marmalade and prosciutto) and the L’estivale (ricotta, chives, fresh tomatoes and smoked salmon).

» Creperie Le Triskel 32 Hardware Lane, Melbourne 0466 406 404 Breakfast and lunch: Monday – Sunday Dinner: Friday




Closed Loop Compost Melbourne restaurants embrace new composting initiative



t’s not often that you hear restaurateurs speaking excitedly about what happens with food when it’s heading for the bin, but Cecconi’s and a handful of other largescale Melbourne eateries are fast becoming an exception to the rule. They are part of a group of Melbourne restaurants that have recently installed Closed Loop composting systems in their restaurant kitchens. The first of its kind, this automatic composting unit is the size of a large-scale oven. It takes all kinds of kitchen scraps – including meat, dairy products, bread and vegetable scraps – and decomposes them overnight in an aerobic environment to make useable garden compost.

Restaurants such as Cecconi’s have been able to transform their weekly 650kg of food waste into 150kg of useable compost. Owner Maria Bartolotto takes it back to her farm each weekend where she adds it to her thriving vegetable patch. As well as being a fertiliser, there is also a cost-saving benefit. Restaurant owners claim they can spend up to $750 per month removing waste, which can quickly become smelly and a space imposition if it’s not taken care of quickly. Joost Bakker at Silo is currently producing compost by the bucket-load. But without a farm to send it to, he is trading it back to his suppliers for extra compost on their farms. “It’s so good,” he says, “it’s just like chocolate cake! I’ve got them literally arguing over who gets it each week.” The composting unit fits into his zerowaste policy created at Silo, where no waste leaves the restaurant premises – everything is re-used and sent back to suppliers. The installation of the Closed Loop composting machines will form the basis of a social enterprise program known as City Harvest which is currently in its early stages of augmentation. Under this program the compost generated from restaurants will be used in the development of urban gardens throughout Melbourne with the vegetables grown being sold back to restaurateurs.

The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre at Albert Park and the State Hockey Centre have committed to space already, and there are several more in the wings. The biggest challenge for restaurateurs is the installation of the composting systems, which in many instances require full retrofitting of the kitchens to allow for space. It’s also a relatively new idea for many kitchen-hands who are used to simply discarding waste in the bin each week. Attitudes toward green initiatives appear to be changing. “Ten years ago we didn’t have restaurants growing their own produce,” claims Rob Pascoe, Managing Director of Closed Loop. “Now we have more interest in where food comes from. There is a renaissance in the industry and people are more receptive toward wasting less.” Speaking of which, there may be a few plump bags of compost circulating throughout the city during the upcoming months. Until the garden projects are underway, many eateries will have excess on their hands. Sean Kierce from Ladro restaurant plans to give bags away to regular customers. Considering organic compost sells for up to $15 a bag at most hardware stores, it sounds like a good deal for anyone with a green thumb.

it’s all about taste

Start your Prahran Market shopping experience

with a freshly roasted and brewed free-trade coffee and

a buttery croissant straight out of the oven. Enjoy choosing the tastiest, most crisp Victorian fruit

and veg, organically raised dry aged beef, sustainably sourced seafood and Melbourne’s greatest range of

cheese – all under one roof. When it’s all about taste, there’s only one food lover’s market.


h Street



ercial R





Perry Street


l Street

Come and experience real taste this week.

163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra 3141 Ph: 8290 8220. Tues, Thurs, Sat 7am-5pm, Fri 7am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm

38 The Melbourne Review September 2013


Meeting Your Heroes


hey say you should never meet your heroes. They’re human. They have moods. They’re not the character in the movie. They’re just people too, you know.

hero’s virtues represent our own dreams and fly in the face of what we’re told is possible. If they’re human and they can do it, why can’t we? So, I guess to meet your hero and find out they’re not so valiant after all is like being told your dreams aren’t possible.

mystery; they may not be acting but they have many personalities; they may not be famous but they’re often the stuff of legend and though they may be available, it’s often just briefly. The rest of the time they live in the stories retold by others about their marvelous encounters.

But I think the reasons a meeting with your hero can be perilous run deeper than that. Our chosen hero is as much about our yearnings and needs, our dreams and weaknesses, as it is about the hero. We’re attracted to our heroes because they help us believe how good we can be or perhaps, how good things can be. The

Wine too has many heroes; wines that are famous for an indefinable alchemy of excellence, mystery, journey, legacy, values and magic. Although not human they brim with

Recently at the Langton’s Classification tasting I had a chance to meet a few of these wines. Wines I’d heard about and tasted only briefly, many not at all. In this case, I’m pleased to say, that meeting my heroes was actually quite something.

2013 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling

2011 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz

2011 Cullen Diana Madeline

2010 Mount Mary Quintet

Clare Valley RRP $52

Hunter Valley RRP $115

Margaret River RRP $115

Yarra Valley RRP $145

This wine shows that a hero is as much about the alchemy that arises from the component pieces, as the component pieces themselves. It is a symphonic combination of site, variety, viticulture and pristine winemaking. Winemaker Jeffrey Grosset is known to many as a perfectionist. His wines are often described as precise, perfect, pure, sublime and brilliant. In addition to his pristine winemaking practices, Grosset runs certified organic vineyards and a holistic approach to place. Change one aspect even slightly and you change the magic. Grosset produces seven wines including two red wines but it is the Rieslings for which he is famed. The Polish Hill Riesling is the benchmark and is a fragrant, lively, zesty wine with precision and length that’s crafted to last. One of Australia’s heroic white wines.

Lean into a glass of Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz and you can almost hear the whispers of legends, stories and lore that have infused into this hero of the Hunter Valley. There are the founders including James Halliday, who, along with friends including the lauded winemaking personality Len Evans, made the first vintage of Brokenwood in 1973. There’s the influence of winemaker Iain Riggs and the 30 vintages of Graveyard Shiraz crafted into the Hunter Valley symbol it is today. And, if you lean in and listen very closely, maybe, just maybe, you can almost hear the ghosts who would have been laid to rest had the graveyard actually been put there, as was the plan before the vineyard was planted. A wonderfully complex, yet medium-bodied wine that melds savoury notes with dark fruit and gentle tannins. A delectable hero of the Hunter Valley.

Being a hero is not just about what you achieve but how you achieve it as well. This wine, an Australian hero from the Margaret River, is a fitting tribute to the late Diana Madeline Cullen, who helped to pioneer the Margaret River wine region, was founder of Cullen Wines and winemaker until 1989 when her daughter Vanya Cullen took over. It is said that Diana Madeline, who became a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to viticulture and wine, was famed for her graceful and generous manner. This wine and its winemaking is all that and more; certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and from a naturally powered estate, it is a wine of as much grace and elegance as its namesake. Brimming with attractive Cabernet complexity of dark berry fruit, herbal and floral notes and fine velvety tannins. A fitting tribute to a graceful hero.

Like true heroes, this wine has a mythical status among wine lovers. The Yarra Valley winery is not a wine name that’s brash or flash, but spoken about quietly. This makes sense given founder Dr John Middleton’s disdain for self-promotion and attention seeking, an attitude he passed on to his son Dr David Middleton who now runs the winery. As if only to add to the mystical nature of it all, I was at a literary do in Bendigo recently when a friend and colleague walked in with a bottle of this hidden in his bag: “Get into it”. Looking briefly both ways, I did. The wine is a blend of the classic Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. It was startling and beautiful, subtle and elegant and sat with us the whole night, even if it was in secret. A quiet hero of the Yarra Valley.

by Andrea Frost

The Melbourne Review September 2013 39



ity lights glitter against velvet black night – Luminare on the edge of the Melbourne CBD is the most gorgeous and exciting urban rooftop venue available for evening functions you could imagine. Managed exclusively by The Big Group this contemporary loft style setting, enhanced by sweeping wrap-around balconies and stunning views of Melbourne’s city skyline, is just made for all style of events. Add fantastic food, fabulous staff and brilliant views, and Luminare presents a venue made in heaven. The Big Group has designed and created a fresh, crisp and colourful selection of delicious menus for the warm Spring Summer months. The menu showcases the best of our new season’s produce, sourced as close to us as possible and selecting the only finest ingredients available. Our fridges are stocked with green and white asparagus, heirloom baby carrots, fragrant blossoms, local goat’s curd, Spring lamb shoulder, baby shoots and freshly churned peaches and cream sorbet. We’ve imported some exciting new products including caramel and violet pearls, pickled cherry blossom, zesty yuzu syrups and pressed clover. We’ve also embraced the pop-up movement,

having designed and custom made gorgeous food carts to roam our melting cheese and smoky bacon jaffles, popcorn prawn and hot mint sliders and braised pork tacos with pickled jalapeno cream and pork crackle. This exciting urban rooftop venue is available for evening and weekend functions, with a private entrance ensuring your guest experience is exclusive. Car parking facilities are available on site, and in addition there is ample street parking located in close proximity. The Big Group have teamed with Harry the Hirer to provide a professional and seamless solution to all your audio visual,

lighting, production and post-production needs. Including stunning Bayside terrace for predinner drinks, smaller dinner parties and wedding ceremonies, Luminare can accommodate 80 – 250 guests for a seated dinner and 100 – 450 guests for cocktail and more informal gatherings. Corporate events, product launches, business presentations, anniversaries, Christmas parties, along with private and wedding events can all be catered for. The sleek, subtle tone of the interior allows the space to be embellished to reflect all manner of themes, colour schemes and characteristics. The Big Group Event Managers work

directly with clients to develop menus, creative approaches and ensure from start to finish that your corporate or private event exceeds expectations.

For further details and information on any style of event at Luminare please contact The Big Group event managers on 03 9661 1546, or email Corner Browns Lane & York Street South Melbourne, Victoria 3205

40 The Melbourne Review September 2013


Mural Hall


n the heart of Melbourne lies a chic European ballroom with soaring ceilings, sweeping stairs and city views peeking through original leadlight windows. Never before seen by the public, this hidden treasure is now available for corporate and private events. Located on the top floor of the iconic Myer city store, Mural Hall is so named for its impressive collection of 10 original Napier Waller murals displaying influential figures from the arts, opera, literature, dance and fashion. Filled with lavish stories from the past, the space was originally designed by businessman extraordinaire Sidney Myer to host private fashion parades and exclusive events for the Melbourne elite. Mural Hall offers a sense of modernity with a vintage overlay, and is truly one of the most unique spaces in Melbourne. With capacity for up to 750 for cocktail events, or anywhere from 100 – 550 for seated events, the Mural Hall is able to host almost any kind of event: it works as an exhibition and performance space; for fashion and product launches; gala dinners; private celebrations and weddings; corporate

Christmas events and of course sponsored and charity events The Big Group have teamed with Harry the Hirer to provide a professional and seamless solution to all your audio visual, lighting, production and post-production needs. Mural Hall hosts a series of elegant afternoon teas which are open to the public, in order for everyone to experience the beautifully restored, heritage listed Myer Mural Hall. Be entertained by the delightful Kenneth Parks, who maintains a passionate professional interest in the history of Australian art and that of Napier Waller famous for painting the 10 amazing murals. Enjoy a live performance whilst you dine on exquisite pastries, delicate fingers sandwiches, savoury tartlets, scones and sparkling wine. To view dates and ticket information please go to For all corporate and private enquiries or to arrange a site inspection of Mural Hall please contact The Big Group event managers.

Mural Hall Level 6, Myer Melbourne 314 Bourke Street, Melbourne 03 9661 1547 Managed exclusively by The Big Group.

EXCLUSIVE PENTHOUSE FUNCTION SPACE Level 10, 187 Flinders Lane Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia +61 (3) 8199 3734



ositioned on the riverfront side of Federation Square, ZINC offers a rare private space in the heart of Melbourne. This modern and stylish venue adds a sense of elegance and sophistication to your special occasion, with contemporary design and striking features such as floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Yarra River. Shaded by elm trees, ZINC’s outdoor decks provide an excellent setting for pre-dinner drinks with views across the river to the city skyline. ZINC recently reopened with a chic new look in time for their 10th Birthday celebration. A Scandinavian design aesthetic of light colours and clean lines merges with the existing architecture of slanted concrete rendered walls and angles. Whether you’re looking for a large event space or a more intimate venue, ZINC at Federation Square can fulfil your requirements. Comprising one large space or two smaller studios, ZINC is ideal for all corporate events.

Studio 1 and 2 has ample space for 100-450 guests for a sit down dinner, with a generous dance floor area and separate pre dinner drinks space. Up to 1000 guests can be accommodated for a cocktail style event. Two independent entries and a central operable wall enable the space to be divided into two studios to comfortably accommodate smaller groups, should your event be more intimate. EPICURE provides all catering at ZINC. Favouring local suppliers, they’re always aiming to reduce their carbon footprint by supporting homegrown, environmentally sustainable produce. They use free-range poultry and free-range smallgoods wherever possible, and they never use cage-reared eggs. All seafood is Australian, farmed or wild. Their philosophy also extends to the sourcing of specialty local dry goods such as nuts, grains, and vinegars, as well as local mineral water, 100 percent Australian orange juice and a fair trade coffee blend. This approach has helped EPICURE to create exciting seasonal menus that revolve around fresh local produce when it’s at its best. EPICURE’s chefs combine this ethical approach with their great passion and extensive experience. They draw inspiration from food trends from around the world and bring this to all of their dishes.

ZINC at Federation Square 03 9654 9333







scape the hustle and bustle of the city and captivate your guests with breathtaking sea views. Sandringham Yacht Club is located right on the water’s edge of Port Phillip Bay’s foreshore and 15km South East of Melbourne’s CBD. Guests to the Sandringham Yacht Club [SYC] surrender to spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay and the venue’s stunning contemporary decor. The Club offers three versatile venues at the one premier location, ensuring the perfect destination for events of any size. Together

with their professionally trained staff and world-class cuisine, SYC creates the ideal ambience for any event. Host an elegant dinner dance in the Port Phillip Room, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the bay and adjoining balconies for pre-dinner drinks. Throw a corporate cocktail event in the intimate surrounds of the Olympic Room overlooking the boat yard, or impress your business partners with a seminar in the Auditorium in the heart of the clubhouse.

SYC’s food promise means that by hosting your event at the Club gives you instant access to our first-class chefs. With more than 20 years’ experience in Melbourne’s top kitchens, their executive chef brings to the venue a depth of flavour and quality that’s missing from many function venues today. A professional approach sees the foodies at SYC invest a great deal of time sourcing fresh produce and designing our menus. From scrumptious finger food and three course meals to light lunches, they promise their food is creative yet able to fulfil its purpose – to satiate and delight guests’ appetites! Utilising only the best audio visual equipment, this guarantees the highest level of professionalism in presentation and event staging. Audiovisual and multimedia services are state of the art and help to create exceptional events. Boasting extensive industry experience and knowledge, the audiovisual professionals at SYC can deliver on any presentation, conference or event requirements. Ensuring that you have technical support on-hand during your event is just one way SYC ensures things run exactly as planned.

Sandringham Yacht Club Jetty Road, Sandringham 03 9599 0999



et amongst the clouds above Melbourne’s vibrant CBD, this stunning penthouse captures the beautiful city skyline as its backdrop. When you exit the lift on level 10, you will be overwhelmed with the mirrored ceiling panels, which reflect every inch of this amazing venue – guaranteed to be nothing short of exotic and elegant, from floor to ceiling. This unique space extends over two levels, with the top level boasting a retractable roof, for those who enjoy a cigar with their glass of Black Pearl or Remy Martin. Mon Bijou’s Chef, John Singer from the restaurant Lord Cardigan in Albert Park, has created a menu that reflects his desire to create canapés that remain in the memory and linger on the taste buds. Mon Bijou is ideal for exclusive corporate functions, engagements, weddings and for something extra special. With French-inspired extravagance and exemplary standards of service and style, Mon Bijou will exceed even the highest of expectations, immediately raising this stylish sky-high scene well above the rest.

Mon Bijou Level 10 & 11, 187 Flinders Street, Melbourne 03 8911 3734


THE BIG GROUP PRESENTS A CONTEMPORARY LOFT STYLE VENUE WITH SPECTACULAR CITY VIEWS For corporate & private enquiries please visit Phone 03 9661 1546 or email



RECREATING NATURAL BEAUTY The rise and rise of Phillip Johnson

Photo: Patrick Redmond

D E S I G N • P L A N N I N G • I N N OVAT I O N


FORM FAR FROM DOWN AND OUT We must start backing some manufacturing winners for the future – and they will not be the traditional short-odds favourites. BY KATE ROFFEY


elbourne and Victoria have a long and illustrious history of inventing and producing globally significant manufactured products. We developed mechanical refrigeration, the black box flight recorder, the electric drill, and the Bionic Ear.



ccording to the 2011 Census, one in seven Australians were aged 65 years and over. By 2042, the Victorian Government expects that figure to increase to approximately one in four. Given these figures, it’s not difficult to see that one of the biggest challenges we can expect to face concerns housing. Increased supply of dwellings will need to be matched with recognition of the specific planning and design needs of assets in the aged care sector. Presently, there is a disconnect between supply (type and location of aged care facilities and accommodation) and demand (needs and location of the ageing population). As an example, the growing cost of land and demand for larger developments has led to inner city facilities being relocated to the city fringe where land is more affordable. This may be limiting for prospective residents who prefer to reside close to their family.

The risk of a mismatch between existing housing stock and tenant requirements is underscored by demographic changes and historical growth patterns. This is currently most evident in the ‘baby boomer’ generation – the section of the population born between

the years of 1946 and 1965 – which accounts for around 25 percent of Australians. The values of this generation, born in the post-war boom, differ in many respects from the existing elderly, as do their lifestyles and needs. For instance, ‘baby boomers’ are differentiated by their longer life expectancies, income, wealth, education, lifestyle, workforce participation and independence. As they age, it is likely that they will have a considerable effect on many aspects of our society, including the property and development landscape. Their emerging expectations are something that planners, developers and service providers should recognise and prepare for. Gradually, traditional aged care models are making way for a greater variety of accommodation options. There has been a growth in forms of assisted living accommodation extending to recreational facilities, social activities and varying levels of integrated care. One enduring model over time is the retirement village, which in recent years has enjoyed even greater popularity and market variation, to cater for evolving needs. They are seen to be an affordable housing option, providing a high level of care and support

while encouraging independence and social participation. From a policy perspective, they are also a cost-effective way to deliver in-home care and health services. By freeing up housing supply, they also help to ease the pressure on residential housing. Meeting the particular housing challenge presented by an ageing population requires a combined effort between the government and private sector. Most importantly, the government should facilitate a businessfriendly environment that allows a greater selection of housing choice. To encourage greater investment in aged care, we must also address the many barriers to development, such as the high cost of construction, lack of access to affordable land, planning requirements and infrastructure contributions. These measures would in addition help to alleviate the problem faced by older people with finding affordable housing – an issue which estimates suggest will worsen considerably over the next decade (AHURI, 2007). The impact of population ageing on housing will be gradual, but significant. Rather than basing the future of aged care on the requirements of the current generation, the aged care industry and governments must anticipate not only the needs but the expectations of the emerging elderly. The time has come to inject new vitality into the retirement living sector – our own futures depend on it.

Jennifer Cunich is the Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia in Victoria.

Far from being down and out in terms of manufacturing, Melbourne and Victoria continue to maintain our long history as a leading developing and manufacturing centre. Latest ABS figures indicate that manufacturing added $26 billion of value to the Victorian economy in 2012, and our 16,500 manufacturing enterprises support over 253,000 full time jobs across the state. Why then, when we pick up the newspaper on any given day, do we see stories of the ongoing decline of the manufacturing sector as an economic driving force? Quite simply it is a sign of change. The recent announcement by Ford to cease Australian production hammered home the message that the Aussie tradition of manufacturing mass produced products is just not a competitive option anymore. The strong dollar, more competitive international countries, and our relatively high productivity costs mean that Australia is no longer the same highly competitive nation it once was when it comes to mass produced, relatively low technology intensive products. Despite this however, we have some excellent opportunities to continue to lead the way as a manufacturing city and state of excellence – so long as we shift our focus away from production of low value products that seek to compete on price, to high value-add products that compete on quality, and research and design innovation. With a revised focal point, it is clear there are a range of both traditional and new manufacturing and production sectors that can be significant economic drivers for us in the future. Take Victoria’s automotive sector for example. Whilst it will continue to struggle to compete from a mass production perspective,

The Melbourne Review September 2013 45

FORM it is growing strongly from an export and research and design outlook. In 2010/11, Victoria exported more than 1.24 billion dollars worth of automotive products, accounting for 54 percent of Australia’s total value-added auto exports. From a research design and development perspective, Victoria is clearly Australia’s industry leader, with 75 percent of all Australian automotive research and development being undertaken here. In the food and agriculture sector, Victoria’s cutting-edge research into new processing technologies such as high pressure processing, pressure-assisted thermal sterilisation, ultrasonic and microwave technology, has given us a significant advantage in production of safe and fresh foods.

Medical Technology Association of Australia estimates the global medical technology market is valued at over US$300 billion per annum, and Melbourne and Victoria are well positioned to capitalise on that growth and potential. Melbourne is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in medical research, with particular strengths in clinical trials, stem cell research and cancer therapies. Australia ranks in the top six biotech nations on the planet, and Melbourne dominates in taking the laboratory to the marketplace. More than 85 locally developed products were on the market last year, and dozens more were in trials waiting to deliver the next generation of medical advances.

It is estimated that by 2050, the world will demand around 60% more agricultural output than it currently does. By leading the way with food and safety standards and biosecurity system research and design, Victoria sits in a prime position to capture a significant percentage of the additional A$0.7-1.7 trillion in agricultural exports Australia is expected to secure between now and 2050.

Unknown to many, Melbourne has also been the centre of aircraft manufacturing and maintenance in Australia for over half a century. Victoria’s aerospace sector is the largest in Australia with more than 500 businesses, including Boeing, which employs more than 3,000 people in Australia (its largest operation outside of the USA), with the majority of these workers based in Melbourne at Fishermans Bend.

And it is not only the traditional sectors that are performing strongly. Healthcare and medical innovation is another area of potential economic growth for Victoria. The

Working with the CSIRO, Boeing’s Melbourne home has become a centre of excellence for composites manufacturing. This has made Melbourne the company’s only source

of movable tailing edges such as wing flaps and ailerons for the composite 787 aircraft. Victoria also produces airframe components for the F/A18 fighter, design for the Joint Strike Fighter and components for the Air Force’s Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft. Far from being down and out, Victoria is in a prime position to continue to lead the way as a globally competitive manufacturing centre – but we must be prepared to back some longodds winners. The examples above may not fit with our traditional thinking of our role as a manufacturing state, but there is no doubt these

are the innovations of the future. We need to start seeing ourselves as leaders in a redefined innovation-intensive, technologically advanced and highly skilled export-oriented industry, as opposed to the traditional definition as a sector that is primarily focused on the production of commodity products.

Kate Roffey is Chief Executive Officer, Committee for Melbourne



Recreating Natural Beauty



hillip Johnson has been what one might politely call obsessed with horticulture from a young age. “My grandparents had a block of land in South Caulfield and they had a little plot where I used to be able to play and dig and grow vegetables and my parents had a little area in their backyard in Glen Waverley. I just loved being outside and building things, moving rocks, and the real environmental connection happened at a young age, I loved going rock climbing, hiking, bush walking.” That connection is reflected in his work now. “People go away to these beautiful environments and they are so happy and connected. We can actually replicate that environment, a national park or Wilsons Prom, elements of these beautiful environments; we can create in people’s backyards.” Johnson’s latest recreation was a billabong, in London. The 2013 Trailfinders Australian Garden was presented by Fleming’s nurseries at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, designed by Johnson and created by a team who travelled to London for six weeks. The team was focused on winning, and they duly did, with the judges unanimously voting the garden best in show – the highest accolade awarded. I’m speaking to Johnson about his adventure on a rainy day back at home in the Dandenongs, by his own billabong. The garden that won RHS Chelsea Flower show and wooed the Queen is very similar to the one we’re standing in. A resident frog calls from somewhere in the foliage. “That’s not an audio recording like we did at Chelsea,” he explains. “One late night I was at the edge of my decking over there doing a little audio recording of the frogs that we had playing on the surround sound in our garden. If you create amazing habitats and biodiversity, which is what we need in our urban environment, things like this eventually do return.”

Water management has been Johnson’s passion for many years. He explains how integrative water cycle management works on his property. “When it rains I am capturing my roof water into my rainwater tank; the rainwater tanks are connected to the house, not just the garden or just for car washing. We are using that water throughout the year; we monitor and conserve it so if it’s a dry period we reduce how much we are using.” He also advises people to keep an eye on when there will be higher rainfall to help with flood mitigation. “If people don’t use their rainwater tanks, when it rains their tank will overflow straight away. If they’re using it, it actually slows down that storm water surge. I think the problem we’ve had [in Australia] is we thought about rainwater tanks as conserving water for drought. You still can use that water throughout the year. Precious drinking water should be used only

Photos by Patrick Redmond

When Phillip Johnson started out designing sustainable gardens long before it was trendy, he didn’t imagine he’d one day be harvesting water from the roof of the BBC in London.

for drinking – not for toilets, dish washing or car washing.” It’s an approach that works. “We’ve got clients whose water bill is next to nothing. My water bill here is thirteen dollars a quarter,” he says. In addition to continuing his design work, Johnson says he also wants “to dream big and work with governments and developers to install amazing spaces. I want society to benefit from what we can build. I would like to challenge the way we look at our public open space, so I like to dream quite large.” Above the waterfall and over the billabong in the garden built for Chelsea, stood a studio in the shape of a Waratah – it represented the flower Johnson’s father gave his mother when he returned from a long trip overseas just after they’d become engaged. Johnson’s mother almost wasn’t able to fly to London, but with last-minute clearance to fly after an operation, she made it. “She came and it was just beautiful, she listened to people’s comments and it was really a proud moment for my parents. I can’t thank them enough.”

Melbourne production company hsquared has created a two-part television series on Phillip Johnson and his team’s experience. Chelsea’s Greatest Garden 2013 is hosted by Selling Houses Australia’s landscape designer, Charlie Albone and screens on The Lifestyle Channel on Foxtel on September 12 and 19 at 7:30pm.







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The 2013 Business Marketplace will take place on the 24th April at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Epsom Rd Ascot Vale. Our BANC business network has created an event where people in business can meet, buy, sell and connect on one special day.

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The Melbourne Review - September Issue 2013  

The Melbourne Review is a fresh new presence amongst local media – an absolutely independent source of analysis, opinion and review of leadi...