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THE MELBOURNE

review

THE MELBOURNE REVIEW

AGE OF REASON

Professor Avni Sali investigates minimising the risk of dementia

ISSUE 13 NOVEMBER 2012

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PLEASURES OF LINGERIE

Why Australian men (and women) should celebrate the beauty and pleasures of lingerie

www.melbournereview.com.au

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COMING OF AGE

Peter Tregear welcomes an exciting 2013 season ahead for Victorian Opera

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8 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Welcome Contents Profile

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Feature

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Politics

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Business

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Columnists

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Health

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Fashion

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Books

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Performing Arts

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Visual Arts

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Food. Wine. Coffee.

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FORM

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

44 THE PURSUIT OF HOPE AND MEANING A new exhibition at The Dax Centre explores the art, stories and creative and personal regrowth of those recovering from attempted suicide

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18

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LETTER FROM NEW YORK

DEAR MEN OF AUSTRALIA

WORDS AND MUSIC

Alexander Downer looks with pride at Australia’s accession to the UN Security Council

Patrick Allington writes to all the good menfolk of our nation

Phil Kakulas recalls a Leonard Cohen classic – and performing it live in Cohen’s presence

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39

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MONUMENTAL DECLARATION

OUR MARKET ECONOMY

PLANNING IS FOR EXPERTS

Veronica Gilbert enjoys a solo exhibition from Kirstin Berg at Gallerysmith

Claude Baxter on the vital role markets play in Melbourne’s social and economic identity

Byron George argues against too much populist input into planning decisions


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 9

THE MELBOURNE

review

General Manager Publishing & Editorial Luke Stegemann luke@melbournereview.com.au

Contributors

Andrea Frost

Paul Ransom

David Ansett

Michelle Gallaher

Avni Sali

Art Director Sabas Renteria sabas@melbournereview.com.au

Claude Baxter

Byron George

Christopher Sanders

Nina Bertok

Veronica Gilbert

Jason Smith

Daniella Casamento

Dave Graney

Peter Singline

Wendy Cavenett

Phil Kakulas

David Sornig

William Charles

Tali Lavi

Shirley Stott Despoja

Benjamin Cooper

Amy Middleton

John Thwaites

Jennifer Cunich

Giles Mora

Peter Tregear

Alexander Downer

Fiona Myer

Photography

Arabella Forge

Lou Pardi

Matthew Wren

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10 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Profile Jane den Hollander Vice-Chancellor and President of Deakin University Wendy Cavenett

P

rofessor Jane den Hollander admits she often sees herself in the many students who begin university quite frightened but “fizzing with excitement” as well. “I am first generation university educated,” she says, “and nobody in my family had any idea what university was.” She describes herself as a young student, leaving the safety of her home in Carletonville, a small mining town in South Africa, to attend Wits University in Johannesburg. “But I was lucky,” she says. “I had a strong mother who believed in education. She filled in my application for university. My mother is alive today and she would probably tell you that herself.” Den Hollander laughs. “And that’s how I got to university.”

Photo: Michael Amendolia

It’s hard to believe den Hollander was ever a nervous undergraduate. Today, she is the Vice-

Chancellor and President of Deakin University – a confident, ambitious person who embraces change and values the transformative power of education. Listening to her talk about her life, I cannot help but think about Joan Didion’s great statement: “To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth… is potentially to have everything.” Den Hollander seems to possess just that. Yet conversations about the challenges facing universities in the 21st century are rarely easy. It’s a controversial subject, a hotbed of philosophical, intellectual and fiscal debate, a debate den Hollander faces daily. Known for her strong views around equity, social inclusion, and community engagement, den Hollander believes embracing the new digital frontier is integral to the future of Deakin University, its students, staff and research partnerships. She says technology is already increasing access to higher education

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for “anybody who is curious or clever or who wishes to spend the time to learn”. The future of higher education fascinates her, yet always present is her past – the experiences growing up in Apartheid South Africa, the strict upbringing in a close-knit Catholic community, and the family expectation to do well – to read (“there was no television”), and to be good at

mathematics. Also present is the incredible marriage between her Irish-born father (a miner with mathematical flair) and her strong-willed, self-educated mother, who was from Liverpool in England. Having a good upbringing gave her confidence, den Hollander says. She was clever (“not genius”), bright-eyed and enthusiastic about life. For her, the world was teeming with possibilities. She believes it still is.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 11

Profile “I lived in South Africa when it wasn’t a democracy,” she says, “so I admire people who take democracy seriously, because without it, you have almost nothing. You certainly don’t have access to great education in the way that we have. We have a proper, liberal, academically free education system to think in, where you can read what you wish, and say what you wish within the norms of the society, so I think that’s very important.”

You know, you don’t have to be the cleverest person to lead the place, but you absolutely have to have the skills to enable everyone else to do their job, and I think that’s what I’m really good at.”

When we meet, it’s already 6:30pm. Her office, located within the impressive Deakin University Melbourne City Centre, is uncluttered, open and decidedly modern. Deakin University’s commitment to the integration of new technology is as present here as it is on every campus and in every digital page located in the university’s ‘cloud’. Outside, the light is fading quickly and the brisk evening air belies the city’s usual spring warmth. Den Hollander, accustomed to the hotter climes of South Africa, and more recently, her husband’s hometown of Perth, is feeling the cold, and wishes she had worn a winter coat rather than the light blue jacket that covers an even lighter blue dress. Nevertheless, it is an elegant ensemble that reflects den Hollander’s refined demeanour. It also reveals her incredible constitution – she is impeccably presented, poised and engaging despite her 5am start. Throughout our conversation, she is attentive, articulate and surprisingly candid, especially in her appraisal of her own life and career. With a background in science, she is quick to admit that she “wasn’t clever enough” for a life in the laboratory – which, she admits, she sometimes thinks about on quiet Sunday afternoons. But she is, she says, very innovative and can almost convince Eskimos to buy ice. “I’m very persuasive,” she says laughing. “You know, you don’t have to be the cleverest person to lead the place, but you absolutely have to have the skills to enable everyone else to do their job, and I think that’s what I’m really good at.” She believes her science education gave her the skills to think logically, and her experiences gave her the insight to build teams that enable wonderful collaborations to occur. “Over your life you collect the things you need,” she says, “and then eventually you have a package, which you can use… I think I’m in absolutely the right job. I’m a very good enabler: I can help make things happen. I’ll probably have to be shoe-horned out of the place.” Den Hollander, who holds a BSc (Honours) First Class in Zoology, a Master of Science degree from Wits University, Johannesburg, and a PhD (with a focus on early stem cell research) from the University of Wales, in Cardiff, is highly regarded in her field. Since emigrating to Australia in 1996 with her family – her biologist husband and their two children – she has worked for the University of Western Australia, Curtin University of Technology (as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic), and now Vice-Chancellor and President of Deakin University (since July 2010). She currently sits on numerous boards and national committees including Universities

Australia, Education Australia Limited and the Advisory Board of the Office of Learning and Teaching. Much of her life is focussed on addressing the many challenges involved with overseeing Australia’s eighth largest university with its 43,000 students, 3,500 staff, four campuses, as well as off-campus study options. Established in the mid 1970s as Victoria’s first regional university, Deakin’s origins as a distance educator seem to augur well for the new digital economy. This is particularly relevant when one considers Live the Future: Agenda 2020, Deakin University’s new strategic plan that was launched in June of this year. Embracing the new digital era with its promise of a “personalised and borderless education experience”, the strategic plan outlines an ambitious commitment to Learning, Ideas, Value and Experience whilst utilising innovative technologies. “The big change is access to information,” den Hollander says, “and connectivity.” Not surprisingly, like daily life, students are constantly downloading information. They’re also checking what lecturers say and challenging any conflicting claims. “We educate in a problem-based environment,” she says. “We expect contestation, we expect challenge.” Like her students, den Hollander is very connected – iPhone, iPad, wi-fi. She loves technological innovation and is very present in the digital environment. Google her name and you will find more than 120,000 results pointing to YouTube videos, discussions on Twitter, interviews with major media outlets and essays about the future of learning in the online publication, The Conversation. “…for many years, we have said we want our students to be lifelong learners and creators of new knowledge to solve complex, interdisciplinary and ill-defined problems,” she writes in MOOCs: neither the death of the university nor a panacea for learning. “Tomorrow’s knowledge of course builds on what we know today.” Den Hollander’s words are a reminder of the important tradition Deakin University has built in regional Victoria. Founding ViceChancellor, Professor Frederic Raphael Jevons, AO was known as a visionary leader, a man who understood the intrinsic value of education and who established many of the principles

that guide Deakin University today. Jevons, who died on on September of this year aged 83, leaves a lasting legacy, especially in terms of the university’s commitment to innovation, its progressive agenda and its lasting connection to the township of Geelong. Den Hollander says Deakin University’s role is the transfer of knowledge to the next generation, teaching (educating), and taking ideas and turning them into research, which hopefully improves the

communities the university serves. “You know, I’ve never misunderstood the fortune of having a strong mother who believed in education,” she concludes. “I’m very clear that the advantages I have had are not the advantages that my parents had, or their parents. My parents did not have those advantages, but provided a platform for me. An education is a wonderful thing. If you get an education, you can be whatever you want to be.”

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12 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Feature

John Ridley

The Melbourne Forum Rita Dimasi

W

hat exactly is the Melbourne Forum? To get a sense of its history and purpose newly appointed Executive Officer Rita Dimasi spoke to some of the founders and primary members. Don’t confuse the Melbourne Forum with the venue or lecture series sharing the same name. The Melbourne Forum is a place for a diverse range of people to discuss social, economic, cultural, political and public policy issues of relevance to Melbourne. It all began around 2009 from a discussion Melbourne Forum Chairman John Ridley had about how to engage more with the community and the people who make up Melbourne. From that conversation a plan emerged to bring together a group of like-minded Melbournians from across all sectors, gender, cultures and age groups who wanted to be part of that discussion – a discussion which, in principle, would be open to everyone. This initial group of Melbournians included leading business people, politicians and philanthropists from John Ridley (ex-state director of the Liberal Party Victoria and board

member of the Children’s Protection Society, Zoological Board of Victoria and Dandenong Ranges Gardens Trust), to Michael Henry (Chair of Oxfam Australia, and Deputy Chair of Oxfam International), Geoff Walsh (ex-Chief of Staff to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and advisor to Prime Ministers Hawke and Keating), Peter Duncan (Chairman of Orica Ltd, and of the Cranlana Programme Foundation), Bruce Hartnett (Chair State Services Authority), Steve Bracks (ex-Victorian Premier), Helen Silver (Secretary of Department of Premier and Cabinet), Yvonne von Hartel (Chair of the Victorian Skills Commission and Trustee of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Trust), Carole Schwartz (Chair of Our Community and Qualitas Property Partners and founder of the Trawalla Foundation) and Janine Kirk (Chair of Tourism Victoria and The Melbourne Prize Trust). John Ridley recalls that while all of them realised there was a need for a forum in Melbourne that was open to everybody engaged in issues that mattered to Melbourne, there really wasn’t any existing association that did this. With that in mind, the goal from get-go was to provide a forum that would attract the men and women of Melbourne across all activities and age groups who were actively interested

in the issues to do with Melbourne, and who wanted to make a difference.

compromising. Both the membership fees and activities are kept affordable.

The group then tested the idea on friends, who all responded with alacrity it seems, and from that moment the Melbourne Forum was registered and launched. According to Ridley, despite the initial enthusiasm it all began with great trepidation, as the group trialled various ways to engage and hold functions that reflected those original ideas of inclusivity and engagement.

Founding member Helen Silver characterises the Melbourne Forum as very sympathetic to Melbourne culture and its strong multicultural view of the world. For another founding member Peter Duncan, the purpose of the Melbourne Forum was always simple – it was to be a place where a community of Melbournians interested in what was happening in the city they lived in would get the opportunity to meet and be part of a discussion, even simply a gathering where the city and its many issues would be at the heart of conversation.

Believing that large numbers were the benchmark of success, the group discovered to its surprise that what people most enjoyed were smaller functions, where people could engage with speakers on a oneto-one basis and test their own views. Fittingly past speakers have included Maxine McKew, Indigenous opera singer Deborah Cheetham, Family Court Justice Linda Dessau, Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams, Dr Philip Moors, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens and Sarah Davies, CEO Reach – to mention only some. When current Prime Minister Julia Gillard spoke at the Forum’s first annual dinner, some in the audience recalled how all she spoke about was her passion for Melbourne – there was no campaigning within earshot. Since the launch of the first event in May 2009, the growth in membership has been brisk, and nominations are regularly offered for new members on a weekly basis, although according to Ridley, the development of the club is not necessarily to grow numbers alone, but rather to look at providing a real snapshot of the multicultural community that makes Melbourne so diverse. Regardless of member growth, affordability is a key characteristic the group has no intention of

Yvonne von Hartel, a co-founder alongside Janine Kirk and Carole Schwartz, admits she was never one to join clubs, as they are generally not outwardlooking, but the Melbourne Forum’s intent to talk about all things to do with Melbourne has provided a very inclusive experience for her. For Janine Kirk, it is the breadth of themes that makes the Melbourne Forum work – from cultural analysis to planning projects, to cutting edge advances in health and medical research. In the end fellowship and companionship are the winners here. It’s about sharing stories and remembering history, and having somewhere you can find out more about what people are doing in our city. From government to not-for-profit to academic to business to research, it’s all about discussion in a collaborative way.

INFORMATION To find out more about The Melbourne Forum, its events and how to become a member contact the executive office on info@melbourneforum.org.au.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 13

Feature

Happy Birthday

THE MELBOURNE

REVIEW

THE MELBOURNE REVIEW

ISSUE 01 OCTOBER 2011

WWW.MELBOURNEREVIEW.COM.AU

L

ast month, almost without us noticing, The Melbourne Review celebrated its first birthday. Since our launch in October 2011, The Melbourne Review has begun to establish itself as a reference point for quality coverage of the arts, design, sustainability, food, wine, research, innovation, health and ideas. Our aim from the beginning has been, following our motto of “Intelligent Style”, to bring readers and clients all the design, elegance and style for which Melbourne is renowned, while maintaining longer form and intelligent reading. Over the past year we have brought together a diverse stable of writers, including Lou Pardi, John Thwaites, Byron George, Dave Graney, Jennifer Cunich, Alexander Downer, Avni Sali, Arabella Forge, Wendy Cavenett, Shirley Stott Despoja, David Sornig, Tali Lavi, Patrick Allington, Andrea Frost and others. At the same time we have been delighted to host extracts from the works and speeches of prominent Australians such as Gideon Haigh,

IDEAS, QUESTIONS, IDEAS

Patrick McCaughey looks back on the Melbourne Festival of Ideas

08

EVERYDAY BIOTECH

The fruit of Melbourne’s world-leading biotech research is with us every day

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TATE ADAMS

RMIT Gallery hosts a retrospective of a lifetime of printmaking

40

John Kinsella, Laura Tingle, Christos Tsiolkas, Lindsay Tanner, John Brumby, Juliana Engberg, Glyn Davis, Paul Cleary, Malcolm Turnbull, Michael Gawenda, Patrick McCaughey, Michael Wesley and Chris McAuliffe. We have profiled Melbournians at the head of their fields, including Steve Woods, Sue Roberts, Monique Sasson Wakelin, Alice Pung, Matt Irwin, Rebecca Forgasz, Mark Rubbo, Victoria Lynn, Kate Brennan, Natalie Miller, Jill Sewell and Ken Cato.

As we head into our second year, The Melbourne Review reaffirms its commitment to being an outstanding, independent voice in the print and digital media landscape, championing arts, design and quality thinking in all its forms, while continuing to develop innovative approaches to coverage of food, wine, research, architecture, fashion, sustainability and planning. As we celebrate this first birthday, we are proud and excited to announce the launch (coming midNovember) of a fully enhanced new website at

melbournereview.com.au, complete with much greater capability for video content, social media linkage, daily news updating and more. We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our readers and supporters who have been with us throughout this first year. We hope to bring you even greater rewards in the year ahead. Luke Stegemann General Manager, Editorial and Publishing

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14 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Politics Letter from NEW YORK Alexander Downer

F

our days after Australia was successfully elected to the Security Council for a two year term I was in New York myself for consultations with the Secretary General and other United Nations officials. For over four years I’ve worked for the United Nations as an Under Secretary General with the title Special Adviser to the Secretary General on Cyprus. It’s a hard job by any standards. The task is to help achieve the objective set by the UN Security Council of re-uniting Cyprus after 38 years of division. There’s a specific formula for the re-unification but years of distrust, antipathy and mutual blame make it hard work; in some respects the hardest job I’ve taken on. That’s a story for another time. Cyprus is, after all, one of the world’s three or four most intractable problems. Over those four years, I’ve come to know the UN, warts and all. It is an imperfect organisation. It has its administrative weaknesses, it often disappoints a hopeful world and it has made mistakes. But for all that, it has its strengths. The UN is imbued with a sense of idealism; a belief that it is serving the best interests of humanity. Its policies may sometimes be flawed, it may disappoint even, but it is driven by good intentions. It wants disputes settled peacefully, it abhors violence, it fights poverty and crime, it promotes civil liberties especially in oppressive societies. And it does something more; it brings together almost all the countries of the world in a single

forum where they all get a say, from the United States to Samoa. At the heart of the UN is the Security Council. Its resolutions are one of the bases of international law, of the rules-based international political system. And at the heart of the Security Council are its five permanent members: Britain, the United States, Russia, China and France. They all have a veto. Nothing can happen without their approval. Then there are the other ten non-permanent members, from next year including ourselves. They can, collectively, block any initiative of the five permanent members but they can’t act without them. It’s a fairly weak position but there’s no doubt about it; it’s a good forum to be in. You attend meetings of huge importance; you can express a point of view, argue a case and try to persuade others. So personally I was pretty excited when Australia was elected to the Security Council. I did my bit. Without my own UN hat, I asked a number of foreign ministers for their support. And I had someone in New York wake me up with the result – I was asleep in Australia at the time.

As a senior UN official, I go before the Security Council once every six months to report on Cyprus. It will be nice next year to report to a familiar Australian figure – an Ambassador who at one time used to work for me. To be frank, the election this time shouldn’t have been difficult. It would have been extraordinary if we had lost. We did lose in 1996 just months after I became the foreign minister. That time we ran against Sweden – which itself had lost four years earlier – and Portugal. Portugal has extensive links around the world having once been a global power. Interestingly, Portugal is again on the Security Council right now.

was almost out of the question. And secondly, without being disrespectful of Finland and Luxembourg, the problems of the euro and the weakness of the European economy more generally has made the EU a little less popular than it once was. In this case, that’s a bit ironic because both Finland and Luxembourg are amongst the EU’s best performing economies. But even if it was easy to win, we did and for that I’m glad. It isn’t proof, though, that we are wildly popular or a good international citizen all of a sudden. We didn’t beat everyone! We only beat Finland and Luxembourg! Rwanda won as well in a different ballot.

There are two other reasons why our victory was a virtual certainty. One is that at the last elections two years ago, two EU countries were elected and Canada defeated. There isn’t in the minds of the UN a country more like Canada than Australia. Some UN officials laughingly call Canada Australia on ice!

Our two years on the Security Council will be a window into the machinations of the UN. We’ll learn a lot more about it. And one of the things we’ll learn is this: the UN is only as strong as its member states will allow it to be. If it can’t agree on Syria it is rendered powerless. When it did agree on Libya or Afghanistan in 2001, it made a huge difference.

For UN members to have once more elected two EU members and this time rejected Australia

But there’s one thing to say about the UN: if it didn’t exist, you’d invent it.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 15

Sustainability A Plan for Affordable Energy John Thwaites

E

lectricity price rises have become a BBQ stopper in much the same way that water shortages were five years ago. Maybe my BBQ conversations are a bit nerdy, but certainly people are more aware of energy prices and energy efficiency than they have ever been before. Since 2007, electricity prices have risen more than 50 per cent. There has been plenty of debate about the cause of the rises. The best evidence points to high expenditure on electricity distribution networks, the poles and wires bringing electricity to our homes, as a prime culprit. Part of the reason for this is the increase in peak demand, particularly on a few very hot days when everyone turns on their air-conditioners at the same time. As electricity can’t be stored, poles and wires and extra generation have to be built to cope with these ‘super peak’ periods, which may only cover around 40 hours a year, but are responsible for up to 25 per cent of electricity bills. In some states, Queensland and New South Wales in particular, it has been claimed that electricity bills have been driven up by ‘gold plating’ by the electricity distribution companies building more expensive infrastructure than is really needed. This is not totally surprising as the companies are paid a regulated return based on how much infrastructure they build. The more they build, the more they are paid. A group of business, consumer and welfare groups have recently commissioned a report on electricity prices that demonstrates that without urgent reforms, electricity bills will continue to rise in the next five years. As well as continuing rises in network distribution costs, there is a likely new culprit – rising gas and coal prices, which

will drive up the cost of generation. Despite all the public debate about the carbon price, it is expected to be responsible for only about 10 to 15 per cent of a total increase in the electricity price of more than 100 per cent over a decade. The business and consumer group includes the Australian Industry Group, the Brotherhood of St Lawrence, CHOICE and the Energy Efficiency Council. They have made a number of recommendations for reform to help make electricity more affordable. One widely supported reform is to allow big electricity users to sell a reduction in their electricity zuse to the wholesale electricity market at times of peak demand. This would make electricity more affordable for everyone by reducing price spikes during periods of intense demand and by reducing the need to build new generation and network capacity that is only used on a few days a year. Another reform is to set incentives for distribution companies to reduce their spending on infrastructure by encouraging demand management measures. To do this, there needs to be a shift in the way the distribution companies are remunerated. Distribution company prices are set by using a regulated rate of return on their capital expenditure that is based on how much infrastructure they have built. The companies therefore have an incentive to invest in more infrastructure, which drives up prices. Incentives could be set to encourage distribution companies to be more efficient by setting targets for them to reduce peak demand or by basing their remuneration on the total of both capital and operating expenses. Another potential cost saver could be reliability standards. No one wants to experience brownouts but in some cases reliability standards may

be unreasonably high. The reliability standards should at least be examined to see if they can be reduced to save costs, while at the same time protecting business and residential customers.

to-door selling and marketing may be putting up retail prices in Victoria. These prices should be monitored and evaluated to assess the effectiveness of retail competition and deregulation.

One of the main reasons for the growth in peak demand is that there is no price signal to electricity users about the real cost of using electricity at peak times. Time of use pricing would significantly reduce peak demand because people would have an incentive to cut their use at peak times. However it would be important to ensure that vulnerable households are not disadvantaged. At present we don’t have much information about how time of use pricing would impact on lowincome households or other vulnerable customers and this needs urgent investigation.

Finally the report recommends that in future, energy consumers – both business and residential – should be given a much greater role in setting electricity prices. This could be achieved through establishment of a national consumer energy advocacy body with a formal role in the price setting process.

Retail margins generally only make up a relatively small proportion of electricity bills. In most states there are now numerous retail companies that compete for customers. Victoria is the only state to have fully deregulated retail prices. Interestingly retail price margins have risen faster in Victoria than in other states. Increased expenditure by the retailers on door-

Some of these reforms can be implemented quickly and some will take time. But if we don’t start the process now we will lock in billions of dollars of unnecessary infrastructure and higher bills for years to come.

INFORMATION John Thwaites is Chair of the Monash Sustainability Institute and a consultant on sustainability and climate change at Maddocks.


16 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Business The New InfluencerS Peter Singline and David Ansett continue their look at the increasing commercial and branding influence of bloggers

Peter Singline & David Ansett

F

ew changes driven by the rapid advance of technology over the last decade have struck our lives as the revolution of media. How we consume, share and are influenced by media has changed – and leading the charge are a new breed of influencers. Web 2.0 brought us a revolution in blog site functionality and with it a new generation of bloggers fuelled by their passions who have quickly established serious followings. Many of the leading blogs in the US who cover business, news, fashion and celebrity gossip boast audiences many times larger than their traditional print publication counterparts. The popularity of these blogs, their authenticity through editorial independence and pure passion for their niche have combined to create overnight rock stars of influence. And so it is brands are waking up to the opportunity bloggers represent as the gate keepers to whole communities of potential consumers. But as always in a new landscape, brands, their marketers and PR agents are struggling to find their way – although not for want of trying. In advertising, the old adage goes that at any one time fifty percent of your marketing is working – the trick is understanding which fifty percent. With social marketing, the science has the potential to be more exact – a fact not lost on brands at the forefront of their categories. Stephanie Vieira, Social Media Assistant for fashion label J Brand says “Analytics are an important aspect of all our marketing campaigns, and the same goes for social media. The numbers help us determine what worked and what didn’t, how many people we reached and the level of engagement. We do the same for bloggers, tracking click-throughs from posts, and seeing how eventually these placements convert to sales. We realize our return on investment when a blog is noted as one of the top directors of traffic to our site.” Research presented at a recent International Herald Tribune Technology conference showed when engaged in active social media integration, brands have reported as much as a 25 percent return on investment. As understanding of the value of bloggers has grown, the opportunity for brands to leverage their credibility has created a potential conflict between the ability for bloggers to commercialise their popularity and make a living from their craft and the need for those bloggers to be an independent source of views and opinions. By partnering with brands, covering photo shoots and promotions, receiving payment or free products for writing posts or earning a commission on the sale of products they write about, the blogging industry is developing a commercial edge. And why not? Today’s bloggers are talented writers and photographers who are

dedicated to their readers and invest hours of time and buckets of passion into what they do. The sensitive line between endorsement and independence is one that bloggers seem hyper-conscious of, with one declining to be involved with this article based on the subject matter alone.

As a blog reader, I switch off from blogs that become one advertising post after the other – so I won’t consider doing the same to my readers.” Anderson reflects the views of many bloggers: “I get a heap of requests for products to be featured on my blog and offers for straight out advertising. I’m not interested. If I allow myself to be owned then I fail myself and my principles; what’s the point of that?” Checks and Spots’ Claire Hillier adds, “I’m incredibly selective who I will work with. There has to be a synergy between their brand values and positioning and mine. As a blog reader, I switch off from blogs that become one advertising post after the other – so I won’t consider doing the same to my readers. I’m also always upfront about which posts are sponsored or what products I’ve been sent to road-test. I do this by including a disclaimer at the bottom of each relevant post. By being honest, my readers can trust me – and that trust is sacred.” Whilst editorial integrity is self regulated in the semiprofessional blogging industry there is a clear grasp of authenticity and transparency that frankly puts many traditional media figures to shame. Chris Richardson who writes the travel blog The Aussie Nomad concurs. “Leveraging my brand to work with the corporate world is a balancing act for sure. I’ve found that fully evaluating any partnerships and laying out firm ground rules allow me to keep the independence that my blog grew from.” yTravel’s Caroline Makepeace agrees: “Always ask yourself ‘What is in it for my readers?’ It is not a two-party partnership when bloggers work with brands. It is a three-party one, you have to look after the silent third party – your readers.” Design blogger Lucy Feagins of The Design Files Daily takes her editorial independence one step further. “I write all the content on the site myself, and all content on The Design Files is editorial.  I am very strict about this – we have clearly designated ad space on the site and no editorial content is paid for.” 

As the way we consume media fragments further with more hours glued to the little screen instead of the big one, it seems we’re in good hands. Perhaps, just perhaps, with the commercial demands of big media replaced by the simple and pure demands of remaining true to passion and community, bloggers may be providing some much needed richness and balance to our lives – and that can only be a good thing.

INFORMATION Peter Singline and David Ansett are co-founders and directors of Truly Deeply, a Melbourne based brand strategy and design consultancy. trulydeeply.com.au


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 17

Business

Meet the New Influencers

Design Files Daily founder Lucy Feagins. Photo by Sean Fennessy

Rohan Anderson / Food wholelarderlove.com Rohan Anderson is a modern day food warrior. Raised on a small farm near Jindivick in regional Victoria, Anderson developed not only an affinity for nature, but also an understanding, and appreciation of, the role nature plays in providing sustenance. Anderson has taken these lessons into his adult life where he now grows, hunts, fishes and forages in wild and urban surroundings to feed his family. He also documents his adventures through photography, sharing his recipes, slow food philosophies and (sometimes contentious) views on his hugely popular blog, Whole Larder Love. Clare Hillier / Fashion checksandspots.com Clare is a brand storyteller. She works with fashion and lifestyle brands to create a narrative that connects with the hearts and minds of their target market. After all, it’s not what you say – it’s how you say it. Checks and Spots is her blog dedicated to checking out and spotting fashion, beauty, design and lifestyle to inspire and amuse.

It is a chronicle of all the things that make her ‘look twice’. Clare also writes a fortnightly column called Look the Book for Just B. Caroline Makepeace / Travel ytravelblog.com yTravel blog is one of the biggest independent travel blogs in Australia and most popular in the world. The founders, Caroline and Craig Makepeace, have been travelling and living around the world since 1997. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with their global readers who are interested in living a similar nomadic lifestyle or who just want to travel for short holidays. The blog offers information and inspiration on travel destination, budget travel, couples travel, travel tips and family travel. Lucy Feagins / Design thedesignfiles.net The Design Files started up in early 2008. It’s been a brilliant ride. The Design Files has been featured in many local and national design and lifestyle publications. In 2009 it was named by The Times (UK) as one of the world’s Top 50 design blogs.

Each year The Design Files run an event called Open House. Open House presents fans of the blog with a real-world experience, introducing the designers, artists, products and brands showcased throughout the year in a styled Melbourne Home, with an added bonus – everything is for sale. From bed linen to books, artwork, furniture, kitchenware and lighting, each and every item can be purchased on the spot. Open House 2012 will run through November. Laura Porter / Travel golondon.about.com Laura writes the About.com London travel site and fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen’s. Laura has lived in the London area all her life and can’t imagine ever wanting to live elsewhere. Laura visits London attractions every week with her young daughter and is often the first to arrive and the last to leave. “I love London and want others to enjoy the city too. Many first-time visitors come for its history and royalty but, intriguing as those are, that’s just the beginning of what the city has to offer”. As Dr. Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”


18 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Columnists THIRD AGE One day a week Shirley Stott Despoja

O

nce a week I pick up my granddaughter from her school half an hour or so away and she comes to my house to play. She is four. I am 76. The age difference is not a problem. I am an old grandma. Young grandmas jump in the car and pick up the grandkids from school and that’s it. It’s different for me. One of the late Robert Hughes‘s attachments was to “slow art”; “art that holds time as a vase holds water.” My attachment is to slow life. Slow parenting is what old grandmas do. Preparations for picking up Cordelia begin the day before. Planning her after-school treat for the car trip home is something I put my mind to. Then there are the balloons to pick up on the way. The treats and balloons have to be duplicated because Cordy checks that her brother will get something later. Because the weather has improved, I get the plastic slide from the garage. It has been a great thing, that slide. It provides opportunities for little kids to show off without coming to grief. Cordy’s brother is nearly too old for it now, but Cordy has been asking for it all through winter. I assemble it on the back lawn before leaving for school. I am shy around the young teachers. Cordelia is not. They are her friends. Have you noticed that children playing school these days don‘t stand as an authority figure before an imaginary class as we did? In the car, Cordelia inspects her treats and smiles. “You know I like chocolate tiny teddies.” I glow. Now for my indulgence. Classical music indoctrination in the car begins after a few minutes. It is terrible when the wrong kind of music is being played on ABC FM. You’d think they could plan their programs for after-school grandma-time. I talk to Cordy about horns and violins and clarinets. It is a wonderful day for me when she volunteers that she likes something. If the radio is not giving up the right sound, I use a CD. It has some Kats-Chernin on it. Cordelia loves the music and the name. Kats-Chernin.

There can be a problem for me hearing chatter from the back seat. Not with Cordy. She knows how to speak up for grandma. I feel brave enough, when Tchaikovsky is playing, to ask her why she doesn’t go to ballet any more. She hesitates. I coax: “You know I like to see you dance.” She says, “Ballet makes me shy.” I have never seen Cordy shy and say so. “Ballet makes me shy so that’s why I don’t go.” She is a girl who knows her own mind. She is ready to sing for a bit. It is a song about a rainbow and she sings it a few times. We pull up at my house. I wait for the cheer but Cordelia, with her mouth open, is fast asleep in her car seat. I crush my disappointment and settle down to wait. I am busting for the loo, but you can’t abandon a sleeping child for small necessities. The nap doesn’t last long. After a long, noisy session on the slide, and cups of “tea” from the tea set that belonged to my daughter at the same age, I begin to think how nice a glass of wine and a sit-down would be. The former being out of the question, I go for the sit-down. It occurs to me that I am channelling my godmother, Aunty Mar (Mary) who looked after me on my Mum’s tennis days. Mar was a retired public servant, so it was slow life time for her too. It dawns on me that she switched activities so she had a fair number of sit-downs. That would be colouring-in time. Can I really remember this after 72 years? Yes. Cordy and I share an interest in language. Her subordinate clauses are good. She sometimes gropes for a new word and looks at me inquiringly. I am happy to supply “coil” this week when she tries to describe my no-kinks garden hose. She understands when I say she must not touch my golden kingcup, flowering in the little pond, because it is toxic. She tries, and likes, “toxic.” Inside the house she is allowed to touch everything that interests her except her brother’s aeroplanes. She tries the wind-up toy nun though it has never worked in her lifetime. It is a ritual. As is play in the bathroom sink standing on her stool. “Only three toys today,” she says reprovingly when I set her up. But it is getting to be slow time for both of us now. She never asks to go home. I am proud of that. But Molly the cat and I know when it is time for me to strap her into her car seat again for the short drive home. I come back to a quiet house where you can hear the clock ticking, as Cordy’s brother says. Toys are scattered from front to back. I choose to leave them like this for another 24 hours. To enjoy. As a vase holds water, slow life holds time.

Sort of but not exactly An open letter to the men of Australia Patrick Allington

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ear fellas, Miso g yn ists and sexists, perverts and louts, passive hypocrites and g ood blokes, straights and gays, metrosexuals and King Gee stylists, we must band together. So far so good: the media, without the slightest prompting, has transformed Julia Gillard’s parliamentary rant into ‘the gender wars’. In the rough and tumble months ahead, remember that there’s nothing like a slogan, a dose of crude salts, to create a diversion … although, that said, let’s postpone all ‘ditch the witch’ chants (if you can’t completely break your addiction, and I know it’s hard, at least confine yourself to the shed). Surely us blokes can’t lose the gender wars? After all, women go weak at the knees at the sight of blood – except, maybe, Tony Abbott’s blood. How many chicks wandered about Gallipoli? A nurse or two, sure, but (never repeat this aloud) the caring industry – like every other clean-upthe-mess-and-get-underpaid-for-it industry – isn’t where the real action is. Still, Julia’s speech sure got the global sisterhood screeching – hysterical mob aren’t they – and she even seems to have impressed a few limp-wristed blokes. But we must resist. As Kevin07 would put it, it’s up to all of us to roll up our sleeves and get behind the effort. Poor Kev: if we can’t save him, how can we save ourselves? But it’s getting harder and harder to fight back. What an awful gig Tony Abbott has, having to explain that Julia is playing ‘the gender card’ (memorise that phrase!) without coming across like a bullyboy. No wonder he’s grumpy. Tony is the mascot for the emasculated modern man. Despite chiselled shoulders, his identity, his man-spirit, is ebbing. Today he’s Leader of the Opposition but tomorrow he’ll be shuffling along abandoned streets, barefoot, haggard, a flat beer in one hand and a feather

duster in the other. ‘Should I scull my schooner or do the dusting?’ he’ll ask himself, but the very question will rip him apart. He’ll shake his feather duster at the heavens. A gigantic black cloud will block out the sun and bring forth an ice age (and the fact that he’ll end up being right about global warming will barely console him). Tony’s crisis is our crisis. Should I abandon the kitchen to watch the footy at the pub with my mates or should I stay home and make nutritious and delicious meatloaf ? While it’s cooking, should I read Zoo Weekly (so-so articles, great pics) or should I seek out my daughters to encourage them to be scientists when they grow up? After I’ve serenaded them to sleep, should I sneak out to the garage to give the ute a kiss and a cuddle or should I settle in for a quiet evening with the missus, reading the latest Naomi Wolf tome aloud to her while massaging her feet? It’s dire, I know, but there’s hope. We need to get back to basics. First, if you feel obliged to perve at hot young things, use restraint. Don’t let your gaze linger. Don’t dribble. And don’t commit the Peter Slipper error: say whatever you want about women to your mates, but never ever keep a record. Second, do just enough housework to create the illusion of something approaching a fair share. And be careful: the age of leaving scorch marks on the wife’s favourite blouse to ensure she’ll never again force you to iron a basket of clothes may, I fear, be ending. Fail with finesse: do your chores badly but not observably badly. In the meantime, talk up your feminist credentials. Ponder the fact that you’ve turned out all equality-minded because strong women raised you. Extol the virtues of the women you love and admire, and who love and admire you, and conclude that you must therefore be a New Man living in a New Australia. But don’t forget to fret about how boys are falling behind girls at school. This is our secret weapon. The more angst it causes, and the more time and money we invest trying to fix it, the less likely it is we’ll have to explain why all those under-achievers will probably end up earning the big bucks and running the joint, just like their fathers and their father’s fathers.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 19

Columnists IRREGULAR WRITINGS My life in Capitals Dave Graney

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woke up from a short but deep sleep, feeling g rog g y due to the potions I had partaken of the night before. They knocked me out but wore off pretty quick. A CLASSIC stone. I had dreams, but as has been my lifelong attitude to these things, was going to keep them to myself. As soon as I actually remembered them. It was a CLASSIC wake up. Absolutely VINTAGE. I ambled to the kitchen. In a way, I was waking up in a robotic, mechanical, zombie like manner, though I have since learned I could use a much grander term. I was operating in a CLASSIC manner. It was a HERITAGE shamble into a new day. The cat played its part and ran in front of me at every opportunity, herding me towards its food bowl. BEST cat! I boiled some hot water in the sleek, new, stainless steel, DEFINITIVE looking kettle and prepared some tea. No tea bags for me, only loose leaves which I had imported myself from an ICONIC supermarket in South Australia. A RUST BELT state. The tea is in a packet which I associate with that part of the world where I sprang from. And that time when I was springing. Behaving and moving to ETERNAL weather patterns and human growth. Amgoorie Tea. In a brown paper packet with exotic images of the mysterious east all over it. I drive there to get it. 455 kilometres a pack. I assemble a bowl of my BALL-TEARING cereal which is raw oatmeal from the ICONIC house of BLACK AND GOLD. I drench the rustic oats in LONG LIFE soy liquid and open my newspaper. As is my want, I threw it away in disgust. I was behaving in a PROTOTYPICAL way of a disgruntled reader of my age group. They would have had focus groups to agree with them on this. I needed to be herded toward

Blue Oyster Cult

the online version of the paper, full of more intelligent shit, blinking lights and sexier ads. Toward the exit door. My money was SAD. The editor should be happy. I turned the radio on to listen to the anguished thoughts of the callers. I wanted REALITY. I drank a can of pop soda. It had my name on it. A friend had bought me a case. TOTAL IRONY! The drink’s name itself was a brand synonymous with corporate fascism and mass ill health the world over. Loved by billions. To the grave by way of the dentist. I got into my car – a Japanese made 4 cylinder van. A PEARLER from the early 00s that will never be made again. I’m hangin’ onto it. The wheel. Will to live I guess. Some damn INNATE compulsion. Thank Christ something knows what’s goin’ on. I turn on the radio, set to a CLASSIC rock station and listen to stuff I had heard a thousand times before. It had been great. Once. I waited for the magic again. The stuff was guaranteed. SUREFIRE! I wasn’t feeling it. I felt off the world’s game. Out of it. Like Steve Martin in THE JERK. What am I sayin’? Its tough living in a world of capitalised CLASSICS! You feel TOTALLY diminished, ABSOLUTELY. I turned to one of the few stations dealing with new shit and tried some of that. Scandinavian

Eldridge Cleaver

indie bands singing some dreadful, sexless, feckless, filthless, faux folk song that sounded OLDER than time. Terrible lyrics and the boy/ man’s voice came all out of his throat. There was no rest of his body involved. Sounded like musical theatre pipes happening. Thin and reedy. Punk was never going to happen. Is that why people listen to Neil Young? The reassuring grampiness of it all? There were a lot of other acts around on air, they were all generic too. Rooted. When I grew up there was a squall of old time shit on the TV too. Made it unbearable. The Waltons and Happy Days. How many teen deaths were those shows responsible for? The nights were so long. Interminable! And then GREASE! So we got stoned and turned to the Blue Oyster Cult with their hit, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”. (The singer is dead and is telling his girlfriend to kill herself and cross over – a CLASSIC). The Cult were being killed off with that hit. That would have been legendary if we’d all carked out there in the forest, behind the drive-in, with “Tyranny and Mutation” on the tape deck, repeating on the track “OD’d on Life Itself ”. Total teen death VERISIMILITUDE! My life would have had, almost, an appearance of meaning.

Back in this day I was dressed in quadruple denim. The world had perverted me thusly. I was always dressing for that funeral that never was. For the old gang to gather at the back of the drive-in and sink a box of West End longnecks. And blaze a good pound of weed. A denim cape, jacket, shirt and pants. I was looking for some denim shoes and a denim hanky to poke out of my pocket. Years ago, I had a denim slouch hat made. A fucking CLASSIC! It was ICONIC! Made from a General’s titfer. Five folds in the band. ANZACIACAL! Still, people eyed me suspiciously. They still do. I am neither romantically driven nor do I strive for a classic form. Well I do, but that’s just me being polite, trying to get square with folks. Get out of peoples way. Dodgy, but. What I really needed was a one piece suit in dark denim, perhaps like the one designed by Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver. It was called a cock suit, because it had an exterior sleeve wherein a bloke ostensibly sheathed his throbbing purple headed Gila Monster. That was an ICONIC bit of clothing. It beheld a narrative! Eldridge had fled the USA to Algeria and had come back, with an eye to making a killing in the rag trade. They mocked him, perhaps that garment’s time has come? And I could at last assume some agreed human form?


20 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Health Age of reason Minimising the risk of dementia Professor Avni Sali

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here is no doubt that through the advances of modern medicine and technology we have all been given the chance to live longer. There is a great deal of emphasis on information that tells us how we can promote a healthy body and extended life expectancy, but there is a comparative lack of information about what we can do to promote a healthy brain. ‘Living longer’ does not need to mean ‘living longer with mental impairment or chronic disease’, and any discussion about healthy ageing needs to consider lifestyle changes we can make to prevent cognitive decline, most typically experienced as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD). While there is currently no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s, there are many ways we can delay onset, halt progression or potentially avoid cognitive decline by developing some proactive lifestyle strategies now. The terms dementia and Alzheimer’s are often used interchangeably but they are different. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease that causes the loss of large numbers of brain cells and is the most common cause of senile dementia, accounting for about 50% of all cases. There is a normal decline in cognitive functioning associated with ageing typically referred to as normal forgetfulness, but dementia is not necessarily ageing related and is not a natural part of ageing. Dementias are caused by a marked deterioration of cognitive ability such as memory and recall, reasoning, judgement and the ability to learn new information. They can also be caused by exposure to toxins (alcohol, toxic medications and environmental toxins), brain trauma and infections (such as Lyme disease or AIDS). There are many kinds of dementia such as Lewy body, frontotemporal, vascular and subcortical degenerative, and progressive dementias are ultimately fatal as they are usually accompanied by a bodily shutdown. Dementia is usually more of a

James O’Connor – Australian Rugby Star

concern to family and friends than it is to the sufferer who may not have the cognitive capacity to realise something is wrong. Pharmacological medications can provide some symptom relief, but there are a great many adjuvant integrative therapies that can be embraced to improve prognosis and help with the symptoms experienced. As world populations age, there is a corresponding increase in dementia incidence and it is estimated that by 2025 there will be over 50 million people worldwide experiencing the effects of cognitive decline. The prevalence of dementia in Australia is expected to increase fourfold by the year 2050. Family history and genetic factors play a part in increasing risk. Research has also found that dementia affects twice as many women as men overall and incidence increases in all people in successive age brackets. For example in Australia, the incidence of dementia in all people under 65 is 1%, between 70-79 years of age incidence for men is 5.6% and women 6%, and between 85-89 years the incidence rate for men is 12.8% and women, 20.2%. In Australia, approximately ten people a day suffer from a brain injury as a result of an assault and injuries of this nature can be an additional risk factor. It is interesting to note that incidence rates for dementia vary cross-culturally, with higher rates in Western countries. This poses a very good rationale for the importance of diet and other lifestyle factors in the management of dementia onset. The spectrum of symptoms in dementia Cognitive symptoms may include memory impairment (including prospective, remote, working and recent memory), word-finding deficit, executive dysfunction (the mental process that connects the past to the present), visuospatial problems (assessing objects and space), apraxia (difficulty with controlled, meaningful movement and communication), delirium and language impairment. Physical and emotional symptoms may include personality change, aggression, depression and

Social isolation in old age is a significant problem in our population. Pets have been proven to decrease agitation and increase socialisation, and great success has been experienced when dogs have been introduced to aged residential care facilities.”

anxiety, agitation, paranoia and delusions, wandering, sleep disturbances and weight loss. What increases cognitive decline? Loneliness – A lonely person has almost twice the risk of developing dementia compared to someone who is not lonely according to a recent study. Social isolation in old age is a significant problem in our population. Pets have been proven to decrease agitation and increase socialisation, and great success has been experienced when dogs have been introduced to aged residential care facilities.

Personality – High levels of neuroticism may be linked to dementia. Researchers found that positivity, easy-goingness, adaptability and a sense of spirituality helped lower the risk of cognitive decline. Stress – Research has shown that stress can destroy memory cells in the hippocampal area of the brain. The likely mechanism is thought to be due to the increase in cortisol that stress creates. Poor diets and sedentary lifestyles – A lack of fruit and vegetables, high saturated fat intake and the lack of regular exercise all increase the risk of

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the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 21

Health and zinc have been linked to the accumulation of metal plaques in the brain – a typical cause of Alzheimer’s and dementia. What delays cognitive decline? Brain exercise – Brain training or ‘intensive plasticityengaging training’ can result in an enhancement of cognitive function. Both participation in formal education and learning multiple languages are linked to delayed cognitive decline. Evidence of positive neurobiological changes suggests that engaging in mentally stimulating activities – a new course, puzzles/Sudoku and the like, can be effective in not only maintaining but also improving cognitive function. Keep learning, keep memorising and keep using your brain. People with a tertiary level education have a decreased risk. Regular general exercise – Exercise more than three times a week and enjoy a significantly reduced incidence rate for dementia and effectively delay its onset. Tests have shown memory function is greater in those who exercise regularly. Long term Tai Chi exercise may be of particular benefit in delaying cognitive decline. Dancing, in addition to being great fun, can also enhance left and right brain communication.

dementia, and also contribute to all other chronic diseases. Foods with a high glycaemic index, such as sugar, are bad for the brain because they keep insulin levels high. (see Diabetes article in The Melbourne Review, June 2012). The sunshine deficiency – Low vitamin D is directly linked to dementia and difficulty in performing cognitive tasks. Anyone working indoors for long periods and especially the elderly, whose living circumstances may keep them confined indoors, will be vitamin D deficient.

Obesity – There is an association between middle-age obesity and the onset of dementia – a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30 can increase dementia risk by as much as 74%. Smoking – Both number of years smoked and number of cigarettes smoked have been found to be associated with a decline in cognitive functioning. Heavy metal exposure and toxic environments – Exposure to mercury (in teeth amalgams and in large fish), aluminium (for example, in drinking water) or some metals such as copper

Relax, sleep well and enjoy quality of life – Meditation has many health benefits and there is evidence that it helps slow age-related decline in specific cortical regions of the brain. Physical and emotional therapies that reduce stress and anxiety enhance quality of life and cognitive functioning. They can be highly useful for offsetting agitation in dementia sufferers, but should also be considered part of a healthy life design. Quality sleep is critical to good health generally and melatonin has shown promising results for those with cognitive decline, which often causes restless nights. Spend quality time with friends in quality activities and enjoy the health benefits. Diet and nutrition – Foods such as fish, fresh fruit and vegetables (especially blueberries and cherries), wholegrains, tea, red wine as well as dark chocolate are beneficial. Recently the New England Journal of Medicine (the USA’s leading medical journal) reported a correlation between a country’s level of chocolate consumption and its total number of Nobel laureates per capita! Cognitive function is enhanced by vitamins and minerals such as the B Group vitamins (especially B6 and B12), folate, magnesium and Coenzyme

Q10. Fish oil and olive oil are also proving to assist in cognitive functioning and diets rich in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are desirable. The antioxidant vitamins C and E, which scavenge free radicals, are also being found to be helpful for cognitive functioning with a possible protective effect. Enjoy a drink – Smaller amounts of alcohol in early adult life may be protective against developing dementia, but be cautious, larger amounts of alcohol are directly associated with cognitive decline and one of the major risk behaviours. (The same study found that abstinence from alcohol also increased the risk of dementia, so mild to moderate consumption is the key.) Brainy herbs – Thousands of years of use have indicated some herbs can be beneficial in delaying cognitive decline and further research on such herbs is warranted. In India, where turmeric is regularly consumed, the incidence of dementia in men 70-79 years old is 4.4 times less than in the US. Gingko Biloba may be useful for those in mild/moderate states of decline and also has positive effects on mood and daily living. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidating effects of herbs such as brahmi, sage and ginseng may be useful as they can create optimal conditions in the body and support efficient brain functioning. Cognitive decline need not be an inevitable nor reasonable part of ageing if we are proactive in other stages of our lifetime and do what we can to sustain a healthy brain. This can be achieved readily by doing more of what is good for the brain, and less of what is bad. Mental agility and life enjoyment can be increased along with our increase in life expectancy. The proof is readily available in the lifestyles of many traditional yet present day cultures, such as Okinawa in Japan, where living well, and to the age of 100 years and beyond is normal!

INFORMATION 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. niim.com.au

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22 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Images courtesy Zeobond Pty Ltd.

Biotech

Bond, Zeobond

A Melbourne-based company is leading the way in geopolymer cement research, allowing for the development of ‘green’ concrete that works to reduce carbon emissions.

Michelle Gallaher

C

oncrete is the second most used material on earth – second only to water.

Most of us live in a concrete jungle, surrounded by buildings, roads and bridges. Living in the city isn’t always easy as trees fight for space against widening roads and freeways and many of us suffer the psychological impacts of living in built up environments devoid of greenery and living spaces. Neuroscientists for years have worked in urban design to try to improve the social impacts of urban environments. As a society we are rightly concerned about urban sprawl and important role of parks and gardens on our mental wellbeing as well as our city’s environmental health.

Now for a moment, imagine a world in which the construction of concrete toll roads and city buildings were actually helping the environment by capturing carbon dioxide emissions. Would that fact change the way we feel about urban development? Cement manufacture causes environmental impacts at all stages of the process, both to the landscape and to the air quality. The cement industry is one of two primary producers of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Concrete is used to create hard surfaces that contribute to surface runoff, which can cause heavy soil erosion, water pollution, and flooding. Concrete is a primary contributor to the urban heat island effect, but is less so than asphalt. Concrete dust released by building demolition and natural disasters can be

a major source of dangerous air pollution. The presence of some substances in concrete, including useful and unwanted additives, can cause health concerns due to toxicity and radioactivity. Wet concrete is highly alkaline and must be handled with proper protective equipment and the process of quarrying scars landscapes and drastically changes environments for flora and fauna. A Victorian company is leading the world having developed an award winning new geopolymer cement that reduces carbon emissions to one fifth that of conventional cement. The difference

between this new green concrete and traditional concrete is the use of geopolymer technology. Geopolymers are a type of inorganic polymer that can be formed at room temperature by using industrial waste or by-products from coal power plants and steel manufacturing as the binding agents. Traditional concrete is made with ordinary Portland cement that contains calcium silicates from limestone. Processing the limestone creates very high levels of carbon emissions. Professor Jannie van Deventer is a world-leading expert in geopolymer technology and former


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 23

Biotech VicRoads is also working with Zeobond to use and monitor green concrete in various highprofile but low-risk projects, such as footpath works in the Westgate Freeway upgrade. The results of the monitoring in signature public works has been such a success that VicRoads has changed their standards for general paving to include green concrete for use in footpaths, kerbs and guttering.

The partnership with VicRoads has been crucial to increasing confidence in using green concrete for Melbourne’s public infrastructure.”

Zeobond is now working on a project to develop and test precast concrete segments for tunnels. Already green concrete is providing superior resistance to chemicals and the replacement of steel reinforcing with plastic fibres should reduce corrosion over time. If successful the product use can be extended to marine and other corrosive environments such as outflow pipes for desalination plants and subway systems.

Dean of the Engineering Faculty, University of Melbourne. Her vision was to develop a practical, affordable and effective solution to creating a sustainable alternative to the manufacture of cement, one of mankind’s most polluting activities. Van Deventer established Zeobond in Melbourne to do just that.

The success of Zeobond in Australia has generated interest from the rest of the world. Zeobond is now in discussions for a large project in China to reduce carbon emissions and to add value to their considerable industrial waste that can be used to provide the geopolymers.

Today Zeobond has owned and licensee operated manufacturing facilities in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia and green concrete is revolutionising the building industry. Zeobond philosophy seeks to address national priorities of tackling the challenge of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, recycling industrial by-products and keeping Australia at the forefront of green research and development activity. Zeobond without doubt is in a strong leadership role with E-crete being used in a number of countries around the world after only a few years of commercial operation. Zeobond’s green credentials are impressive. The company is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia’s Expert Review Panel for Concrete, setting the bar for what constitutes sustainable concrete in Australia. One of the more fascinating aspects of Zeobond’s research and refinement process in

Melbourne Review_Oct 2012 for approval.indd 1

developing the product was using Melbourne’s Synchrotron beamline to analyse various artificial geopolymers to understand the properties and behaviour of geopolymers and how they form hardened gels that make concrete strong. The concrete was tested in a fire furnace at the Fire Engineering Facility of Victoria University to independently confirm that it was twice as resistant to fire as traditional concrete. According to the International Energy Agency, the manufacture of cement produces about 0.9 kilograms of CO2 for every kilogram of cement. Around five percent of global CO2 emissions

result from the concrete manufacturing is process, making it one of the more polluting activities undertaken by mankind. This is due to the energy used in production as well as the chemical reaction of the cement itself, which emits carbon dioxide. Zeobond also partnered with VicRoads to monitor the product in public places. The partnership with VicRoads has been crucial to increasing confidence in using green concrete for Melbourne’s public infrastructure. As the asset owner of Victoria’s road infrastructure, VicRoads has stringent guidelines and standards to ensure the safety of Victorians.

The research and development that is being invested in new construction materials with green credentials is considerable. The market will demand it. City dwellers from Melbourne to Shanghai are increasingly concerned about urban environments and seeking alternative construction and building materials that will contribute in a positive way, not a destructive one. Not just in cities, but in their own backyards.

INFORMATION Michelle Gallaher is Chief Executive of the BioMelbourne Network. biomelbourne.org zeobond.com

26/09/12 9:53 AM


24 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Fashion Looking beautiful, feeling beautiful Australians still have so much to learn about lingerie – why women wear it, how to choose the best style and fit, and why men should be more involved Giles Mora

A

rguably there is nothing in this marvellous and complex world so endlessly beautiful as the female body – millennia of artists and poets will bear witness. Surely then a range of garments designed to further enhance that female form, to highlight its boundless sensuality and beauty, is to be celebrated?

One would immediately think yes – cultural and religious persuasions aside – and yet why does lingerie have an unsure reputation? If there is one area (there may be others, granted) where Australian men show great ignorance it is in the whole approach to the sensual and graceful possibilities inherent in women’s lingerie. On the one hand, men can shy away deeming lingerie a ‘girly’ thing to take an interest in – too soft, too pink, too feminine; on the other, it can be

dismissed as trashy, being part of a cheap morality that forms part of the world of strippers, lap dancers and pornography. Nothing could be further from the truth – even though, if we’re honest, a lot of lingerie is as coarse and tacky as a bad T-shirt. But when done well, which is how it should be always done, lingerie is about light, pleasure, celebration, and the sharing of exquisite sense. Lingerie is about comfort, and a soft and slow reveal; between adults it encourages an unfolding story of pleasure and a shared adventure. Lingerie has no place in the multiplying array of cheapening images of women that so inundate our digital and visual media landscape. Lingerie enhances, rather than degrades, a woman. It is a confirmation of her luxury, her beauty and her capacity for pleasure – why on earth would men then not take a serious interest in it? In Melbourne there are a number of establishments, both in conventional retail and online shopping formats, that allow informed choices to be made about lingerie. It is a matter of education of both men and women, as we are not a culture – thanks to our largely British heritage – that is entirely comfortable with the sensual possibilities of the human body. Add to this the fact that women can be their own worst enemies in how they see their own bodies and how they treat them. Lin Windram of Brava Lingerie in Prahran and in Australia on Collins in Melbourne sees numerous women – some of them, in her words, strikingly beautiful – who are simply and eternally unhappy with their body image.

Brava, run by Lin Windram and daughter Maxine, was launched in 2006 to address what they saw as not only a lack of stylish and professional lingerie retail services in Melbourne, but also a general lack of knowledge of, and dedication to, the art and science of fitting. When finally able to find well fitted lingerie, they then struggled with the ugliness of much of the available merchandise. Surely there was a niche in the market? “We soon discovered there was a whole range of gorgeous and feminine lingerie out there that was suitable, but most of that product is sourced in Europe,” comments Windram. “We have found the best suppliers of beautiful brands. They know their stuff. They’re not just beautiful, they’re supportive and use great fabrics.” In other words, the European labels – past masters at the lingerie trade – know how to combine the fit with elegance and inimitable style. An outstanding product must be accompanied by an outstanding fit. Brava provides a unique service to women of D-Cup and above, as well as a dedicated sports bra store, Brava Sport, designed to help women remain comfortable, supported and confident when engaged in sports or similar activities. Importantly, Windram says, “our staff across all three stores understand this market, and are in the market themselves. We employ staff who may be either ‘lingerie nerds’ or are very compassionate women, who know that body


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 25

Fashion

Maxine and Lin Windram.

his backpack. He’d just taken it off the washing line. It’s a nice thought, but that’s not always right. She might be wearing the wrong bra anyway.” Some women may expect more from men than what they get – perhaps that is true of most women. While women would love their men to be a bit more daring, a bit more experimental, what men want is simpler. “Most guys,” says Windram, “just want you to look great.” It’s true that for many men, lingerie is seen as something exclusively for the bedroom, and with that the obvious sexual connotations. There’s no denying lingerie can serve as a brilliantly seductive part of the sexual game, but for women it can also be a matter of everyday wearing. Quite simply, it feels good. Women can enjoy lingerie for how it makes them feel, rather than how it might inspire or seduce others (without for a moment suggesting that role for lingerie is not important too).

Wearing beautifully tailored lingerie, quite apart from the sensual advantages, can be the solution

to feeling comfortable throughout the day. Men should know this. But are men embarrassed to be in lingerie stores? Yes and no, says Windram. Some men may know exactly what they’re after, and may (on rare occasions) serve as a support for their partner, but the more usual situation is that men, if they do enter a lingerie establishment at all, are bumbling and inexpert. “We encourage men to look at what their partner likes,” says Windram, implying that many Australian men would not be aware of such basic details. “I’ve had a guy come in with a wet bra in

Some women feel that lingerie is too pricy and therefore is too “good” to be worn throughout the day. But why not spend a little extra to have that comfort and pleasure at all times?

Yering Station, the definitive Yarra Valley experience. Proudly supporting Melbourne’s emerging designers.

Open Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun & Public Holidays 10am-6pm 38 Melba Highway, PO Box 390, Yarra Glen VIC 3775 T +61 3 9730 0100 F +61 3 9739 0135 www.yering.com

INFORMATION Brava Lingerie 487 High St, Prahran and Shop 214, Australia on Collins, 260 Collins St, Melbourne bravalingerie.com.au

Courtesy of MSFW 2012 and Lucas Dawson

image is a very serious thing for a lot of women. We ensure privacy and make sure women get what works for them. The fitting is what people come back for. If necessary, we spend a lot of time on any individual to ensure a fitting is just right. We often have women come in who have been uncomfortable for years, but have not known why.” Lingerie, like a shoe, must fit its owner perfectly. “You can’t be in this market and be a generalist,” she adds.

Windram emphasises this idea of comfort. “Women come in and are suddenly surprised… at how well things can fit. We sometimes hear screams of delight from the change room. Women suddenly discover their best and most natural shape once more, often after years of just doing what they’ve always done, which is all too often based on bad advice. It may be a cliché, but the truth is it can be life-changing for some women.”


26 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Fashion revolution and the end of the ancien regime, the Napoleonic Wars, further revolutionary periods in 1830 and 1848 and, amidst it all, the birth of the industrial revolution and with it the modern world. Lubin began his apprenticeship in the art of perfumery while still a boy with Tombarelli, a perfume master based in what was to become the legendary perfume city of Grasse. Originally from Florence, the Tombarelli family had settled in Grasse in the 16th century at the request of Catherine de Medici, then Queen of France through her marriage to Henri II. She was to play a major role in the development of Grasse as a capital of perfumes and fragrance.

Roses for an imprisoned Queen

I

t’s been quite a ride for the historic house of Lubin, one of the oldest of a distinguished group of French parfumeurs. From its founding in 1798 to near obscurity towards the end of the 20th century, the house has surged back to life in recent years.

Born in 1774 at the close of the reign of Louis XV, Pierre-François Lubin was to become one of the finest exponents of the art of perfumery, supplying to European royalty. By the time he died in 1853, at the time of the coronation of Napoleon III, his life had spanned the French

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By 1790, and now as a teenager, Lubin left Grasse for Paris to complete his training under Jean-Louis Fargeon. Heir to a Montpellier-based perfume dynasty, Fargeon was then still serving as the official perfumer to Marie Antoinette. Even during her imprisonment she continued to receive regular supplies of her favourite fragrance from her loyal perfumer. Every day she wore an eau de toilette containing citrus notes, but it was the scent of roses of which she was most deeply fond, and Fargeon captured this fragrance with all his talent. The young Lubin began distilling his own compositions at his premises in Paris and in 1798 opened his first boutique, Au Bouquet de Roses, a discrete tribute to the Queen. His blends and exotic fragrances soon made Lubin popular with the coquettish and the elegant of the capital, and he soon became one of the most fashionable perfumers of the day. His creations seduced the first dandies who emerged after the French Revolution – newly minted hedonists out to enjoy the subtle refinements that simply being alive had to offer. Above all else they sought to forget the recent reign of terror, where the more unfortunate of the French elite met their end beneath the guillotine. The dandies enjoyed a time of freedom from political dictatorship and before Catholicism once more returned to hold sway with its influence on social values. Move forward more than 200 years, and the glory days of Lubin seemed well behind it. Suffering a series of different owners, it appeared on the verge of disappearing altogether; by the late 1990s production and supply of perfume had ceased. It was then German owners of the Wella brand held negotiations with a French consortium of perfume specialists, with the result that a group of private shareholders led by Gilles Thévenin, formerly Director of Creation at Guerlain managed to save the historic parfumeur. In 2005 Idole was launched in Cannes, and the name of Lubin began to be restored to its former glory and acclaim. Thought lost for hundreds of years amid the Lubin archives, and referred to only by a code name “jardin secret”, the original creation of Jean Louis Fargeon, the once-lost fragrance created for Marie Antoinette has been re-released by Lubin, and is available in Australia through agence de parfum. Named for the small flask the Queen carried the fragrance in, protecting it from daylight, Black Jade is an ode to the illfated monarch, her exquisite taste and love of all objects of beauty, inspired by her beloved Trianon gardens at Versailles, her private domain.

It’s all about the hat H

ow to choose the best hat to accompany you to the Spring Races? The outfit will suit a brim of proportionate size. View the silhouette be it champagne flute, hour glass or brandy balloon – balance the hips with the hat. The aim is to look beautiful, relaxed and somewhat elongated. Clashing colours is big this season with bold brights and clashing patterns. The hat must “lift” the outfit, rather than matching. This season it’s all about flowers and photographical digital prints and these look great with a single colour headpiece. Of course, a single coloured dress needs a highlight hat co-ordinated with shoes and bag.

The roses in Black Jade evoke the air of a flower garden, and are combined with jasmine from Grasse; but it is in the use of spices and exotic woods that we find reflected the motifs of the wall decorations at Versailles. Patchouli and sandalwood, vanilla and cinnamon, coriander and cardamom, frankincense and galbanum all work in harmony of elegance and sensuality, as the opening cool floral notes mellow and warm, leaving hints of amber along the skin.

INFORMATION Lubin Black Jade is available through agence de parfum, Eau de Parfum (100ml) - $249 agencedeparfum.com.au


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 27

Fashion Always consider the weather. A hat is at its most useful when shading you from the sun, allowing you to follow your horse’s progress and avoid sunburn. The hat should be fitted to your size and, if windy, a hatpin or comb used for security.

PHOTOS: Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2012, Neo Dia

Long hair in a chignon or short styles work with a small hat, or a soft pony is as beautiful as hair out with a larger hat. One must never distract from the hat on race day, so keep accessories minimal. A simpler outfit may benefit from the splash of jewellery here or there. Remember Christmas decorations are not till December. Sometimes you don’t need a new dress every year, but as the races are all about the hat, one needs a new hat each year. I recommend keeping your old hat to re-model in a few years.

INFORMATION Scally and Trombone 331 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 9419 6038 scallyandtrombone.com.au

The Australian Edit

C

oming up on November 25, in the nearby rural surrounds of Yering Estate, Jane Hayes Consulting and Yering Station will be teaming up to help support the local fashion and arts industry. Jointly, they will present the first seasonal edition of The Australia Edit – A Fashion Space, an event featuring some of the country’s most talented emerging designers.

MELBreview1/4pagePRODUCTSoct

There’s no doubt things are not easy in retail right now – arguably they are never that easy at the emerging end of fashion and design. The Australian Edit – A Fashion Space has been created to support and nurture Australian fashion and accessory designers and local manufacturing in what is a tough time for the local industry. Yering Station was notably a supporter of the 2012 Emerging Designers at Melbourne Fashion Week. 27/9/12 Series 12:04 PM PageSpring 1

Fifteen selected rising names in the fashion industry will have the opportunity to showcase and sell their collections on the day. Some of the participating designers include Cylk, Victoria and Maude, Edenborough Evans and Lisa Taranto. The afternoon of style will be held in the historic barn on the grounds of the property home to the popular Yarra Valley Farmer’s Market. The art continues beyond just fashion. The Australia Edit – A Fashion Space will coincide with Yering Station’s annual sculpture exhibition, showcasing a cross-section of contemporary Australian sculpture from established and emerging artists, all staged in Yering Station’s beautifully landscaped gardens.

INFORMATION The Australia Edit – A Fashion Space will take place on Sunday November 25 at Yering Station winery, 38 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen, between 1pm – 5pm. Entry is $10 and includes complimentary Yarrabank Cuvee and sweets. yering.com janehayesconsulting.com.au

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28 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Socials

POWERED BY

PHOTOS TAKEN WITH THE NIKON V1 AVAILABLE AT MICHAELS.com.au

Contemporary Indonesian Art AT NGV On October 17, the National Gallery of Victoria opened RALLY: Contemporary Indonesian Art, featuring two internationally-acclaimed contemporary Indonesian artists – Jompet Kuswidananto and Eko Nugroho. The exhibition saw Nugroho transform the NGV’s iconic Waterwall with a street-art inspired mural and Kuswidananto’s large-scale installation The Commoners, featuring nine ghostly soldiers, dramatically suspended in Federation Court. The event was attended by Melbourne’s contemporary art crowd.

Maylise Dent and Warwick Tiernan.

Kirsty Grant and Anne Ross.

Robert and Frances Lindsay.

Hilary Sadek and Claire Richardson.

Kasine Huguenaud and Muguette Jumeau.

Sophia Robinson and Kylie King.

Travis Siniuk and Seae Oh.

Karen Reitmann and John Herman.

Photos: Matthew Wren

Meg Williams’ at MARS Gallery

Kenneth Wyatt, Christopher Wyatt, Lvina Agaranyah and Melanie Nightingale.

Malcolm Thomson and Stephen van Gils.

Meg Williams’ launch at MARS Gallery last month drew a large crowd to see the latest work of this popular artist. The exhibition featured new paintings both striking and captivating with vintage toys and bizarre still life theatrical combinations. MARS Gallerist Andy Dinan welcomed hundreds of attendees including Rick Amor and his daughter Zoe Amor, Lewis Miller, Bill Sampson, Geoffrey Ricardo, Julie Irving, Ken Scarlet and Malcolm Thompson to name a few. Photos: Matthew Wren

Meg Williams and Toby Wenyel.

Eolo Bottaro and Marguerite Brown.

Peter Weyner Mariana and Danos Lewis Miller.

Steve Mifsud and Beth Williams.

Andrea van Gils and Brigit Heller.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 29

Socials PAUL SMITH Sir Paul Smith visited Australia for the first time to host the official opening of the Melbourne store situated in the historic and beautiful building at 120 Collins Street. A champagne reception in the store was followed by a party at Comme restaurant. During his visit to Melbourne Paul also gave an inspiration talk to Fashion and Design students at RMIT. Both events were enjoyed by Paul and guests, including press, bloggers, customers and local people of influence. Photos: Matthew Wren

Bridie O’Donnell and Caitlin Jolly.

Narelle And Matt Syme.

:Jason Yap and Adam Skelton.

Grant and Jo Atkinson.

Emily Ricci, Paige Toth, Emma Noack and Athanasia Karanikde.

Nikita Papas, Ben James and Natalie Postruzin.

Susie Santiago and Maurice Cancilla.

Tim Chatfield and Katie Rusden.

Property Council’s Annual Gala Ball

Wendy Brakey, Kane Bowden, Barry Brakey and Renee Bowden.

Alison and Simon Leckie.

The Property Council’s Annual Gala Ball was held on October 12, with over 400 esteemed guests from across the industry. For the third year, the Ball has helped raise funds for the Property Industry Foundation and their beneficiary for this event, the Lighthouse Foundation. The Property Council and the Property Industry Foundation are proud to have raised $95,000 through the 2012 Gala Ball from generous sponsorship and fundraising activities. Photos: Matthew Wren

Emily Dean and Christine Dean.

Valeria McBride River and Seccombe Okeefe.

Eric and Linda Wells.

Jo Stanley and Jennifer Cunich.

Rob and Elizabeth Hattersky.


30 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Books

The Silent House Orhan Pamuk Penguin Tali Lavi At one point in Silent House, a character muses, “I wonder what we’d be like if we’d been born to a Western family”. It is an impossible, perhaps even unanswerable, question but one which pervades this literary masterpiece. Translated almost thirty years since its first publication in Turkey, the historical context is of a nation precariously close to civil war and on the brink of experiencing the bloody military coup of 1980. And yet, this being written by Orhan Pamuk – archaeologist of the interior, intellectual and gleaner of both Eastern and Western heritages – albeit a younger version, it is inflected with a Chekhovian sense of ennui and an unhappy family which might have descended from one of Tolstoy’s own creations. Constructed by five overlapping perspectives, the novel is a domestic portrait as arresting as a great still life canvas; a memento mori, wherein life’s inextricability with death is laid before us, almost unbearable to experience for its portrayal of beauty’s transience, the passing of time and the

violence of death. In a house trapped in stasis by the weight of memories and secrets, three orphaned siblings pay their annual summer visit to their grandmother. Fearful of impending death and sin, nonagenarian Fatma’s interior monologues are blistered with invectives. Flooded by recollections of a life married to the crusading Selâhattin whose unrealised life’s work was to both write a definitive Eastern encyclopaedia and to disabuse his fellow countrymen of the falsity of God’s presence, the agility of her mind is at variance with the stillness of her room. In a moment that is both Proustian and yet not, subverted as it is by being emptied of pleasure, Fatma beholds the objects on her table ‘to see if they have something more to say to me, but they have reminded me of so much already that they have nothing left to say.’ Recep, Selâhattin’s illegitimate adult son whose longing for companionship and conversation is palpable, co-occupies the house as a mostly silent servant. His corporeality is repository of a monstrous act and reveals other people’s humanity or lack thereof through his refracted image, for he is also a dwarf. The setting of Cennethisar, a former fishing village now summer playground for the nouveaux riche, prompts disparate experiences for the siblings. The eldest, Faruk, a worldweary historian, is sunk in moral inertia by his alcoholism whilst his leftist sister, Nilgün, finds herself being trailed by her childhood friend and Recep’s nephew, disaffected Hasan. Metin falls in with an apathetic rich set and is increasingly inhabited by lovesickness and fantasies of death. The potency of knowledge withheld and words unsaid coils tight throughout the narrative engendering an atmosphere of dread as characters stumble around in ignorance or disregard, unable to recognise each other’s desperation. There are motifs here that reappear in Pamuk’s later work; anxieties of cultural influence, romanticisation of beautiful females, the haunting of exiles and explorations of obsessions, alongside a brief postmodern reference to a writer named Orhan. To read a novel by Pamuk is to be subsumed by a world awash in poetry, ideas and tragedy; it is to feel not as a naïve sightseer in Turkey but a resident of its interior for the length of its exquisite, heartbreaking duration.

Greenwash

Griffith Review38

Guy Pearse Black Inc.

Text Publishing

William Charles Just as the vigour, enthusiasm and the desire for change inherent in early rock n roll was soon co-opted by Big Capital and fed back to youth as a consumer lifestyle option (and now to Boomers as the nostalgia industry), so too the ‘green’ movement, if we follow Guy Pearse’s sector by sector breakdown of the lies, half truths, mirages and window dressing that have come to constitute many business’ claims to be ‘green’. What is really at stake is the most efficient way to convert aspirations into dollars. As each chapter follows a similar expository, analytical and denunciatory framework, this is a book to be dipped into, section by section, rather than for cover to cover reading. But it contains some brilliant exposés of capital scamming the unwary consumer, giving them a green hoodwink while continuing opposite practices elsewhere. From hybrid cars to sustainable coffee, from the strangely pointless Earth Hour to any number of zero emissions claims, from sex to sport to soft drink to ‘do good’ celebrities – beware, argues Pearse. The green veneer is all too often just a marketing gambit, vanity, spin, or simply an illusion.

The Melbourne review Quality writing on the arts, culture, ideas, knowledge, health, science, politics, design, planning, entertainment, gastronomy, technology, business and finance.

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review

David Sornig In its fourth annual fiction edition, the Griffith Review has published six high-quality new novellas by Australian authors: Mary-Rose MacColl’s ‘The water of life’ about the death of a Brisbane pedestrian, Katerina Cosgrove’s ‘Intimate distance’ about an intra-familial love triangle in Greece and Sydney, Christine Kearney’s fevered heteroglossia of Dili life ‘A minor loss of fidelity’, Ed Wright’s ‘An end to hope’ set in a Japanese village in WWII, Lyndel Caffrey’s ‘Glad’ about young working class lovers in 1920s Melbourne, and Jim Hearn’s ‘River Street’ in which a junkie is on a breakneck, adrenaline-charged quest to land a job in a restaurant kitchen. Each story is so memorable and satisfying in its own way that I’m not going to do the collection a disservice by picking a favourite. Where short stories are sometimes too elusive, and novels, with all their rococo splendour, are sometimes too noisy, these novellas satisfyingly encourage attachment to character and the full development of a single story. Even when they do stray into Sliding Door possibilities, into future speculations, ghosted worlds or junkie hyperreality, they don’t drift far from their anchors in the real. Lots to love here.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 31

Books The Yellow Birds Kevin Powers Sceptre David Sornig

The Casual Vacancy The Heart Broke In J. K. Rowling Little, Brown

James Meek Canongate

Tali Lavi

William Charles

A distinct fury, engendered by poverty’s attendant depravations and dehumanisation, along with society’s homogenisation of its underclass, directs J.K. Rowling’s propulsive novel to its devastating conclusion. Squalor and middle class follies are portrayed in their minutiae whilst language is oftentimes explosive, thick with violence. The novel is weighty with its ambitions, starkly realised when it comes to its social conscience, for it confronts the reader with a world that most would rather elide. Undoubtedly bleak, it is also like Dickens (one of the author’s professed literary heroes), scurrilously funny. Rowling’s control over a staggering cast of characters is formidable and the teenagers, particularly, are keenly filled with longing and rage, egotism and delusions. This is her entry into modernity with small town elections, the funding of housing estates, racism, cyber bullying and self-mutilation. At times prosaic and maudlin, The Casual Vacancy is an uncompromising battle cry against the state of our nations. Having emerged from AntiPoverty Week with its overwhelming figures of horror – among them the claim that 2.2 million Australians currently live beneath the poverty line – Australians would do well to read it.

Journalist and writer James Meek exploded onto the literary scene with 2004’s much garlanded The People’s Act of Love, a novel that displayed his capacity to draw very human tales from the broader geo-political complexities of the both the past and the contemporary world, highlighting the intimacies of lives and their thousand small joys and tragedies. Here too, against a broad canvas of scientific research, public celebrity, family grief and thwarted love, a convoluted tale of loyalty and treachery unfolds in Meek’s contemporary Britain. In an extraordinarily prescient way, The Heart Broke In, his fifth novel, begins with a rock star turned TV producer accused of excessive meddling with underage teens, while his scientist sister turns down an offer of marriage from a famous newspaper editor; what follows is a story of ambition, celebrity, genetics research, betrayal and love, as families are pushed to the limits of their comfortable known lives, testing how far they might go to save a loved one. Where do our behaviours come from, and how do we respond to heroism and treachery? Meek’s novel is a masterpiece not only of plotting but of beautifully executed style.

The Yellow Birds is an earnest and powerful first novel about the experiences of a young American solider during the American-led war in Iraq. It was written by Kevin Powers who was himself a combatant in that war. The Yellow Birds recalls, with an honest and ravenously poetic tongue, the experiences of a young soldier named Bartle in the lead up to and following the death of his buddy, the younger and far-less experienced Murph, in Iraq’s Nineveh province in 2004. In alternating chapters that lead up to and emanate from Murph’s death, the story recounts both the horrors of the war from the micro-perspective of the occupying US force (it never pretends to observe anything mildly geopolitical) and the absurd moral contortions its on-the-ground players devise to endure it, or to imagine they are enduring it. In Bartle’s reckoning there are two outcomes for the soldier: to imagine death and by so doing suffer survival, or to imagine survival and suffer death. It’s a perversity that delivers some of the best concrete images of violence in a consistently well-written book. When Bartle drunkenly imagines his own death, he imagines that ‘first I had to become a body, so that there would be something to be shot, but more likely there would be an explosion, more likely there would be metal made into sheets with jagged edges folded over into my skin and my skin would be torn.’ Of course in the Iraq War more US soldiers survived than didn’t, but whether or not they did so because they so embraced their anticipation of death, their capacity to ‘stay deviant in the motherfucker,’ as the boys’ combat leader Sergeant Sterling puts it, is another matter. Certainly the reportedly high rates of post-traumatic stress suggest they might have. The value of a fiction of this colour is to bring to the imagination of those who weren’t there something of the psychological experience of those who were. It’s a book whose wisdom is such that we forget sometimes to remember it has been

configured as a fiction. But it sometimes does reveal its own contrivance. When Bartle’s flight back to the US crosses the coast, for example, he struggles to find the words to articulate what it is he wants. It is of course ‘home’ but there is a conscious sense of narrative tidiness to his inability to find the word. And on a larger level Murph and Bartle are, of course, more than just soldiers, they are a mythological Janus: Eros and Thanatos, their trajectories are fixed. It reminds us that we find a need to make sense, even if it is a deviant one, from an experience we cannot ever hope to control. I wonder if it’s too cynical to point out that even before I started reading The Yellow Birds I had understood that it would be fine and worthy, a novel that would fit more-or-less successfully into the tradition it so obviously draws on: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Things They Carried. The novel is everything I expected it to be, a kind of fulfilment. Every war, it seems, has its novel, its gaze into the abyss. And while The Yellow Birds might be the novel of the Iraq War to date, a first-person shooter that extends into the soldier’s traumatised moral and psychological certainties, extending it beyond the simple visual and aural realism we’re already too familiar with from YouTube and gaming, I wonder if it might still be worth waiting for something else to surpass it.

CRIME FICTION - SOCIAL JUSTICE FESTIVAL WEEKEND: 16 - 18 NOVEMBER International Guest: IAN RANKIN, Festival patron Tickets: By session: $20 / $17 conc (+ booking fee for online sales) Full program and booking information - Online: www.crimeandjusticefestival.com In-store: Reader’s Feast Bookstore, 162 Collins Street, Melbourne Phone: (03) 9662 4699 Other guests inc: Kerry Greenwood, Peter FitzSimons, Catherine Deveny

Literary Offerings Judicial Debate

After the festival.... An evening with PHILLIP ADAMS celebrating 21 years of Late Night Live with his book Bedtime Stories Tuesday 27 November. 6.15 for 6.30pm $6.00pp Reader’s Feast Bookstore. Unreserved Seating. Call (03) 9662 4699


32 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Performing Arts any event, things are not quite as oppositional as this might seem, as two of the operas by Verdi (A Masked Ball, and Aida) do make it to Melbourne as well.

PHOTO BY: BRANCO GAICA

The former is a production by the Catalan theatre group La Fura dels Baus, and will come to Melbourne after a season as part of the Sydney Festival. After Melbourne it heads to Brussels, Oslo and Buenos Aires, heralding a welcome (and well overdue) move towards major co-productions with leading international companies. The latter is a re-run of Graeme Murphy’s effective staging and while many of us may be attracted in the first instance by the vocal splendour and pomp of a grand operatic imagining of ancient Egypt, Aida also remains a fascinating and complex deliberation on race and Empire. They may do things very differently, but there is no doubt that Verdi’s and Wagner’s operas are intensely political as well as profoundly musical.

Opera Australia in Victoria Peter Tregear

A

few years ago a wry (but perceptive) critic observed that the finest venue for opera in Australia was to be found in a combination of the outside of the Sydney Opera House and the inside of Melbourne’s State Theatre. As far as the programming of the national Opera Company is concerned, it is an idée fixe that Melbourne’s functionality, however, consistently loses out to Sydney’s hometown advantage and good looks. 2013 therefore marks a bit of a watershed, as it is precisely the suitability of the State Theatre that makes Melbourne, not Sydney, the setting for Opera Australia’s first ever staging of Wagner’s mammoth four-night Der Ring des Niebelungen.

While the project was ultimately secured by a multi-million grant by Maureen Wheeler, underlying it was the fact that Sydney simply does not have a theatre suitable to house it. The season in Sydney is well compensated, however, with five separate productions of works by the other operatic giant of the nineteenth century (who also celebrates his 200th birthday next year), Giuseppe Verdi. For Lyndon Terracini, Opera Australia’s proselytising Artistic Director, this programming decision also reflects the ‘Zeitgeist’ of each city – an interesting comment given that the Verdi/Wagner dualism can (if you’re a Wagner fan) be crudely couched in terms of style versus substance, or (if you’re a Verdi fan) sincerity versus pretence (and dodgy politics). In

Melbourne also gets a revival season of Handel’s opera Partenope, one of the composer’s rare forays into comedy. Don’t expect a barrel of laughs, however. This is a subtle comedy of manners and the plot is as convoluted as any other of Handel’s works, the usual round of mistaken identities (and genders) nested inside love triangles pasted onto a loosely historic time and place (in this case, ancient Naples). One does not go to a Handel opera, however, for the dramatic or historical verisimilitude, one goes for the succession of stunning arias that such scenarios justify (albeit loosely) and Partenope has such arias a-plenty. As for the rest of OA’s season that is not coming to Melbourne, some of us might be glad that Terracini has not decided to try and replicate the Handa Opera on the Harbour extravaganza in the Docklands. This year sees another incongruous mix of setting and stage as Bizet’s Carmen is transplanted onto a floating stage. Great corporate entertainment it no doubt will be, but – Terracini’s claim to be widening access to opera notwithstanding – I can’t help but think that such productions quietly reinforce the cliché that opera is merely tax-payer subsidised entertainment for toffs. Overall, it is watershed year for Opera Australia, with the combined budget topping $100 million. So far, things look very good indeed, at least in Melbourne where the Ring is already sold out, and plans for another cycle in a couple of years already underway.

INFORMATION Opera Australia’s Melbourne Season Giuseppe Verdi. A Masked Ball. From April 12, 2013 Giuseppe Verdi. Aida. From April 22, 2013. George Frederic Handel. Partenope. From May 2, 2013. opera-australia.org.au

The reasons aren’t important When Sydney Dance Company tread the Arts Centre boards later this month with 2 One Another, audiences will be free not to get it. Indeed, as Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela suggests, there doesn’t have to be a reason. After all, it’s dance

Paul Ransom

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afael Bonachela has seared in memories of the Arts Centre. On the opening night of Sydney Dance Company’s Melbourne season of We Unfold, the sound cut out. At first, everyone thought, arty silence? But no. Bonachela shudders involuntarily at the recall. “Actually that was one of the most terrifying experiences ever,” he confesses. Two years on from tech glitch hell and Bonachela’s newest work, 2 One Another ‘unfolds’ before a huge LED screen and beneath splitsecond lighting changes. Indeed, as with all of Bonachela’s work, the show is much more than dance moves. “You have the steps, and that is the dance, but choreography is everything,” he declares. “I can have the most beautifully crafted piece of dance but if the lights and the costume aren’t right …” he shrugs to make the point, before adding, “The costume can kill a piece.” Since the departure of Graeme Murphy and the tragic death of Tanya Liedke, the Barcelona born choreographer has steered Sydney Dance Company onto almost cinematic terrain. His work is intense and exhaustingly physical. The aforementioned We Unfold was about as emotionally immersive


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 33

Performing Arts As a response to the eternal challenge of ‘narrative’ in dance, it’s refreshingly spare. “I don’t need a war to make a ballet or a book to make a dance about,” he adds. “All of my work has some idea and I draw from that; and then it becomes a dance. But for me, whether that idea is about the oceans or relationships or anything else, it’s not important.”

Photo: Ken Butti

That’s right, Rafael Bonachela is quite happy for us remain unsure. “If there’s an intention behind my decisions and behind my dancers’ thinking I believe, and hope, that the audience will engage with it. I just can’t expect that everyone is going to get that reason.”

and breathtaking as contemporary dance gets. (Not even an unscheduled interruption could hide the fact.) “I’m obviously someone who’s into the body,” Bonachela says matter-of-factly. “The physical, but also the emotional and the psychological. For me, I think that my work speaks about emotions and human relationships through a very intensely physical but abstract style of movement.”

The collision of concrete physicality and pure abstraction sits at the heart of dance, particularly in the post-War era, as contemporary practise has pushed the form into bold new shapes. As Bonachela explains it, “Dance is an artform that allows you and me to enter it from a different space and have a different experience. It can also be pure beauty, just that; and there’s nothing wrong with that. There doesn’t have to be a reason all of the time. The body itself is a reason. Movement is a reason.”

With 2 One Another the back story bedrock is very definitely in place; not just in terms of its overarching theme – relationships – but the philosophy behind its construction. “2 One Another started being about the people in the room,” Bonachela reveals. “All the inspiration came from the sixteen amazing dancers I had in front of me. So, just those individuals with their different experiences and different relationships, and this idea about how we relate; but also, how we don’t relate. This was my ground.” The process of bringing the piece to life also involved Sydney poet Samuel Webster, who was invited to rehearsals to spontaneously write down his musings. These were then given to the dancers for a physical meta-interpretation. “It

was an experiment,” Bonachela recounts. “I didn’t really know what would happen because I had never worked with a writer before. He wrote all these beautiful … more like sentences than a poem. Then, when we gave them to the dancers it just generated more and more ideas and that then became 2 One Another.” Obviously Bonachela will be hoping that the final theatrical product (with its painstakingly conceived lighting, tailored original score, filmic backdrops and poetic inspiration) will reveal just enough of its complex heart; although he’s clearly not one for the conceptual over-share. “Where is imagination anymore? Does everything need to be signposted? Does everything need to be chewed for us?” If there is a purist bent to that Rafael Bonachela instantly and adroitly up-ends it. “I keep saying that I just make steps and to a point it’s true,” he concludes. “For me, at the end of the day, whatever anybody thinks or doesn’t think … it’s a dance.”

INFORMATION Sydney Dance Company presents 2 One Another at the Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse, from November 21 – December 1. artscentremelbourne.com.au

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Kazuhide Isomura, Tokyo String Quartet


34 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Performing Arts

Victorian Opera Comes of Age Peter Tregear welcomes an exciting 2013 season ahead for Victorian Opera

Peter Tregear

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013 will be a defining year in the development of Victorian Opera, coinciding as it does with the commencement as Artistic Director of Richard Mills. Mills arrives with something close to the perfect CV. Not only is he arguably Australia’s most accomplished operatic composer, he comes to the post having overseen the development of WA Opera for over fifteen years into one of the nation’s best, and just as he is about to climb the summit of the Mount Parnassus of conducting gigs – he is music director for the performances of Wagner’s Ring for Opera Australia in Melbourne later in the year. Furthermore, while he was born and grew up in Queensland, he’s also a committed and long-term resident of Melbourne – this is a city he knows and loves intimately. It is fitting , too, that the 2013 season commences with a work both conducted and composed by his immediate predecessor (and company founder) Richard Gill – his second foray into the wonderfully self-referential (and deliciously naughty) world of Pantomime, this time Sleeping Beauty. A long-time staple of the Christmas season the UK (and perhaps the last surviving remnant of their venerable musical-hall theatre-cum-cabaret tradition), Victorian Opera appears to be banking on the possibility that the tradition could be established here. Certainly this is entertainment that, like many modern cartoon films, works for both young children and their parents. Like its sell-out predecessor, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty premieres at Her Majesty’s Theatre in January. Another tradition established by Gill, the annual Gala Concert, returns on February 23 in Hamer Hall, and Mills has been able to secure the services of one of the world’s great Wagnerian sopranos, Australian Lisa Gasteen. Ongoing neck problems had prevented Gasteen from performing for several years but from all accounts she is back to full vocal health. She will perform alongside Opera Australia’s principle baritone Jose Carbo. As well as Wagner, the programme includes music by two other anniversary birthday composers: Verdi (1813), and Benjamin Britten (1913). Thereafter, Mills’ new vision for the company starts to emerge. Arguably, Victorian Opera was founded, and had to develop, in the shadow of both the national company and local independent companies like Melbourne Opera. Now it seems to have found its niche – the works for 2013 are genuinely of a kind that we cannot expect either company to deliver.

John Adams’ Nixon in China is just such a work. Nominally about a defining moment in US-Sino relations, the visit of the 37th President of the United States to the People’s Republic of China in 1971, the opera is as much concerned with the way we turn history into myth, and the curious power of opera itself to celebrate, if not cement, that transformation. A complex score that weaves minimalist drive with complex rhythmic shapes and souring lyricism, Nixon in China requires supreme technical precision from the whole ensemble. For that reason alone the choice of Melbourne conductor Fabian Russell is an inspired one, as any who heard his stunning direction of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie with Melbourne Youth Music in 2011 could attest.

Piazzolla was the undisputed master of the modern tango (or Tango Nuovo), and here he gets to explore, through Horacio Ferrer’s evocative libretto, many of the hidden cultural and psychological themes that lie behind this form’s intoxicating power.” The idea of a musical based on a famous painting and its critical reception seems an equally unlikely subject for an opera, but Sunday in the Park with George is another breathtaking American theatrical conceit by arguably music theatre’s most accomplished living master, Stephen Sondheim. Composed in 1984, the musical revolves around Seurat’s famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, a defining work of pointillism that involves an almost scientific approach to the application of colour to the canvas. Here however, it is not the technique per se, but the lives of the people depicted in the painting, which becomes the focus of our interest, or so it appears at first. For, like the painting which inspired it, the musical only fully takes shape when viewed not from the perspective of its moment-to-moment dramatic detail but from a wide angle. It emerges as a

2013 Artistic Director Richard Mills conducting an excerpt from Nixon in China at the Victorian Opera 2013 Season Launch.

deeply-felt meditation on the artist as creator, the ultimate, but hidden, subject of any painting, or indeed any opera or musical. The company’s main season closes with another genre-defying work in Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires. An Argentinean of Italian origin, Piazzolla was the undisputed master of the modern tango (or Tango Nuovo), and here he gets to explore, through Horacio Ferrer’s evocative libretto, many of the hidden cultural and psychological themes that lie behind this form’s intoxicating power. The opera charts the fall of Maria, who falls under the destructive influence of the city’s underworld of prostitution and vice, only to become, through music, part of the spirit of the city itself. The company’s season finishes with a series of projects that continue VO’s commitment both

to developing young audiences and Australian composers. A production in June of a children’s opera by Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge based on the eponymous classic tale Puss in Boots, is followed by a new opera by the local composer and librettist partnership of Calvin Bowman and Anna Goldsworthy based on Norman Lindsay’s evergreen The Magic Pudding in October. The Developing Artists program, now part of Master of Music (Opera Performance) supports two nights of ‘Rush Hour’ concerts in October.

INFORMATION For full details of the Victorian Opera 2013 Season, please visit victorianopera.com.au


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 35

Performing Arts

Oddest of couples Nina Bertok

F

ilm and television has featured plenty of odd couples over the decades – from Oscar and Felix in the original Odd Couple to the adventures of Abbott and Costello – but Simon Bent’s stage adaptation of the Norwegian motion picture Elling takes the cake in unlikely pairings. Directed by Pamela Rabe and starring Darren Gilshenan, this brand new MTC production (designed especially for the Melbourne stage) celebrates the simple things in life, in the oddest way possible. “The film was itself actually an adaptation of a series of successful novels in Norway in the 90s,” Rabe says. “Our adaptation has a lot of the themes of the film script and it’s based in the same location, but it’s been housed within one space on the stage which is quite magically designed by Christina Smith. The film itself was very successful, it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Picture in 2001, but this next incarnation by Simon Bent, an English writer, is filtered through as an English-speaking performance, which makes it yet another beast again. Having said that, the stage production of Elling has been performed all across Europe, and from looking at the photos, each production looks completely different to another.” While well-known Australian actor Darren Gilshenan takes on the lead role of Elling himself, Hayden Spencer plays his equallyquirky sidekick, Kjell Bjarne, with additional support from Ronald Falk as a once-famous poet who’s hit hard times and Bert LaBonte as social worker Frank Asli. Playing a series of different female roles through the play, Emily Goddard takes on the character of the upstairs neighbour, Reidun Nordsletten, as well as Gunn and Johanne, among others. The strength of the play lies in the strange but loveable nature of its two main characters, according to Rabe, and is something that the audience is sure to be drawn to.

“There is a joy about the piece as a whole. It’s fantastic in the way that it’s made up of different married parts and components which accumulate and snowball and finally take us to a place where we don’t know how we got there at all. We realise that we’ve somehow invested in the survival of these two guys because the truth is that we recognise ourselves and our own anxieties and fears and self-made obstacles in these characters. Their behaviour may be amplified in many ways, but on a more subtle level, these themes are not at all foreign to most people. For example, they’re dealing with amplifications of anxieties like some of us get when the phone rings and not wanting to answer it, or when someone knocks on your door who you don’t want to talk to, or the pressures of living in a big city.”

have a particular approach to comedy and we have a good understanding of the camaraderie between men. We barrack for the underdog and that’s what these two are.”

INFORMATION Elling shows at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner, until December 8. mtc.com.au

Although audiences are very likely to relate to some of the themes explored in Elling, Rabe says they may not necessarily relate to the plot itself. After spending years in an asylum, Elling and Kjell are given a leave pass as a test to see if they’re able to survive in the real world after being granted an apartment and becoming roommates. While the character of Elling is a supersmart, super-sensitive poet who likes to sleep in his wardrobe and write in his notebook, Kjell is a hotdog-eating, sex-obsessed 40-year old virgin. “The play sits inside the mind of this glorious, vulnerable, flawed, funny character called Elling who is just trying to survive in the modern world. He’s got some serious mummy issues after his mother died and that sent him into a tail spin and, as a result, a mental care facility where he is put. Because he’s lived his whole life with his mother, he’s never been outside and he’s got some OCD tendencies... but he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Kjell and you get to see their adventures throughout the rest of the play, where they try to prove to themselves and the Norwegian authorities they can live independently. “Having said that, it’s a great little play through which people can filter their concerns. We’ve created quite an Australian version of it and we deal with it in our own way. Aussies also

“... this is a must-see.” The Australian

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36 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Performing Arts

Chris Bailey

believe me, I’m completely sincere because it’s been too long between drinks.” Joining the bill will be Melbourne-based purveyors of indie pop, Crayon Fields, whose frontman Geoff O’Connor has also been concentrating on a solo project, but is looking forward to the band’s first and only performance of the year exclusively for Melbourne Music Week.

Crayon Fields

Musical riches Nina Bertok

T

his year’s Melbourne Music Week is set to be the biggest yet, with over a whopping 200 artists featured in the 2012 program, including Chris Bailey of Australian punk legends The Saints and Melbourne pop quartet Crayon Fields. With the total number of events across the nine days now climbing to 90 – 40 of which are free – the festival will see a fusion of music and cinema with workshops, parties, markets and exhibitions, plus much more. Currently preparing for a national tour which will coincide with Melbourne Music Week, Chris Bailey talks to The Melbourne Review about making an appearance at the event. “The last time I was in Melbourne was just last year, in fact,” says Bailey. “I came out to Oz to do some shows at the Troubadour with Judy Collins

famous Trackdown Studio, Bailey says the record features much nostalgia and reminiscence of a time gone by – but fans of classic Saints material will not be disappointed either. “We’ll go through the back-catalogue and pick out the tunes that appeal to everyone and that we know folks usually want to hear. Having such a large catalogue as The Saints do, it’s impossible to play everything so it’s going to be a bit of a roulette wheel in terms of that. The Saints have always been my main passion – despite my promiscuity and desire for musical experiment, I feel that The Saints are an unfinished musical journey. The new album is one step closer on this road.”

which was a lot of fun. Otherwise I’ve been living overseas for a long time now – strangely, it’s been about 15 years! I thought I’d only be in Amsterdam for about six months, but time flies when you’re having fun. I haven’t really lived in Oz since the 80s and, even for most of that, I was floating about all over the place. “Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually have the right to live in Oz because I’m a child of immigrants who never got it together to get citizenship, so when I want to come back I have to get a work permit and I’m supposed to be the lead singer of an Australian band... All I can say is that right now, I am looking out of my window and it’s a very low, dull, depressing, grey day – it’s not very warm at all – so I think my timing of coming to Oz is pretty good.”

But Bailey is just as well known for his solo output as well as his collaborations with fellow musicians, including the French rock artist Mickael Furnon. “If primarily I am a rock singer, then it’s kind of pleasant to occasionally stay away from that and do something quite different,” Bailey explains. “It just keeps things fresh and maintains that energy to keep the excitement going. And it is exciting, it’s exciting to be coming back to Melbourne especially – and I don’t mean for that to sound like a cliché thing American bands often say, but

With a brand new album under their belt, 2012’s King of the Sun, Bailey says The Saints are excited about showcasing unheard material to their Australian fan-base. Recorded at the world-

“One of the most fun things this year has been touring my solo project and going around the country as part of the Laneway Festival,” says O’Connor. “Otherwise, most of the year has been spent recording both my solo record and the Crayon Fields record, which should be finished early next year and released shortly after that. Crayon Fields are only doing the two gigs for this year – Melbourne Music Week and a show in Sydney. I think it’s a great thing that Melbourne holds an event like this – there are some pretty amazing new Melbourne bands around and the music scene is so healthy. I’m a big fan of an up-and-coming Melbourne band called Forces, but there are too many to name. “I haven’t had a chance to look at the full line-up for this event but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what’s happening with Siberia Records which I’ve heard is going to be in the underground car park at Melbourne Uni, and I’m keen to pop in and check out the Two Bright Lakes stage.”

INFORMATION Melbourne Music Week takes place between November 16 and 24. thatsmelbourne.com.au/Whatson/ Music/mmw/mmw2012

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the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 37

Performing Arts People were armed to the teeth’ said Cohen ‘and everybody was drunk… so you were slipping over bullets and biting into revolvers in your hamburger.” sessions have become the stuff of legend. The most infamous story of all concerning when Spector turned a gun on Cohen himself, declaring ‘Leonard, I love you’ as he put the weapon to the singer’s throat. ‘I hope you do, Phil’ replied Cohen, ‘I hope you do’. When it came to mixing the album Cohen was not invited. In his absence Spector buried many of his vocals in the thick aural soup. Cohen declared it a ‘catastrophe’. ‘I think in the end Phil couldn’t resist annihilating me,’ he said. ‘I don’t think he can tolerate any other shadows in his own darkness.’

WORDS & MUSIC Memories Leonard Cohen

Phil Kakulas

Y

ou won’t find the song Memories on any of Leonard Cohen’s greatest hits CDs, nor any other tracks from Death of a Ladies’ Man – that remarkable and monstrous collaboration between Cohen and the legendary 60s pop producer Phil Spector. Fraught with liquor, guns and lunacy, the album’s notorious recording sessions led Cohen to disown it even before its release in 1977. Critics and fans followed suite, panning it as a dire musical mismatch. Yet flawed as it may be, Death of a Ladies’ Man is worthy of reappraisal for its masterful songwriting and extravagant vision, perhaps best realised in Memories. Memories was composed by Cohen and Spector during a three-week period spent writing and boozing at the producer’s Los Angeles mansion, initially as a way for Cohen to amuse himself after

Spector locked them together in his house one night. Together they wrote some fifteen songs in what Cohen says were enjoyable but chilly conditions, the mansion’s temperature maintained by Spector at a crisp zero degrees Celsius. Cohen’s lyrics recall the teenage dances of his adolescence at Westmont High School in Montreal. In this fantasised version of a classic teen ballad, Frankie Laine is singing Jezebel as a lustful schoolboy finds the courage to approach the ‘tallest and blondest’ girl in the room and ask her the one burning question that is really only his mind – will she let him see her naked body? Balloons and streamers float down around them as they move toward the ‘dark side of the gym’ where physical desire and spiritual longing intertwine in characteristic Cohen style. She says, you’ve got one minute left to fall in love In solemn moments such as this I have put my trust And all my faith to see her naked body Spector’s music takes the doo-wop form and blows it up out of all proportion, his grandiose arrangement combining choirs and brass to create his signature Wall of Sound. Together with Cohen’s impassioned imaginings the effect is both ridiculously melodramatic and incredibly potent – like a B-grade teen drive-in movie with an auteur director. The heightened atmosphere also inspired one of Cohen’s finest vocal performances, as he

abandons all restraint to scream, moan and plead his case over the outro, the song fading away to the strains of You Cheated, You Lied by The Shields – a nod to one of the song’s musical inspirations. Although the writing sessions had been fruitful, in the studio things rapidly deteriorated as a megalomaniacal Spector took complete control of the project. ‘People were armed to the teeth’ said Cohen ‘and everybody was drunk… so you were slipping over bullets and biting into revolvers in your hamburger’. The dysfunctional recording

For me, the fascination with Memories started as a teenager in the late 70s when I first performed it as a schoolboy myself in an early line-up of The Triffids. In the early 90s The Blackeyed Susans recorded it and we’ve continued to play it ever since. In 2009, when the group performed with Leonard Cohen we agreed amongst ourselves that we would only play the song with his blessing. It fell to me to ask him and graciously he consented, adding with a wry smile that he ‘hadn’t heard the song in a long time’. As the opening chords rang out across the Yarra Valley that afternoon and Frankie Laine sang Jezebel once more, my thoughts turned to Cohen and I wondered if he was listening, quietly singing along with this extraordinary paean to youthful desire.

INFORMATION Phil Kakulas is a songwriter and musician who plays double bass in The Blackeyed Susans.


38 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Cinema We put a massive poster up in Hollywood saying, ‘great script, no pay’ and that attracted them in hoards.” Fox Searchlight distributes it. Now, the movie’s lead actor (Hawkes) is a shoe-in to receive his second Oscar nomination for his portrayal of O’Brien. It’s a story almost as good as the one Lewin and Levine decided to film – The Sessions, a fantastic little film with big (but not over-the-top) performances from its lead trio. But how do you go from anonymity to Oscar bait?

Hollywood ending After struggling in Hollywood for almost 20 years, Australian couple Ben Lewin and Judi Levine finally crack it with their Oscar-buzz indie film The Sessions. David Knight

T

he story behind The Sessions would make a great Hollywood flick. Aussie director and producer couple moves to LA after finding some local film success. Couple struggle for two decades to make it in California. Lewin, who was afflicted with

The Angels’ Share Christopher Sanders With a heart, a brain and a great sense of humour, Ken Loach’s latest is surprisingly warm and uplifting, without drowning in sentimentality or exploiting the characters and their situation. Set in Glasgow, The Angels’ Share follows the exploits of Robbie (Paul Brannigan) and his fellow community service sentenced ‘scum’ as they repay their debt to society. A young man with a violent past, Robbie has a newborn to think of and wants to change his ways despite his enemies constantly reminding him that this is an impossible task. But one man believes in Robbie - Harry (John Henshaw), a kind-hearted community service leader who takes Robbie and his mates on an outing to a distillery where Robbie finds he has a ‘nose’ for discovering quality whiskey. This

polio as a child, then stumbles upon an article by Mark O’Brien (a fellow Polio sufferer who spent much of his life in an iron lung and despite being Catholic wanted to lose his virginity to a sex surrogate) while researching for a sitcom. Couple decides to make the movie. The movie attracts leading indie actors such as William H Macy, John Hawkes and Helen Hunt and is a Sundance hit.

whiskey trail clears an unlikely path for this bunch of misfits to do something with their lives, although that path isn’t strictly legal. Both the script (from longtime Ken Loach collaborator Paul Laverty) and the direction from the veteran is straight down the line, powerful stuff, as the cast of mainly nonactors is superb, adding grit and heart to this neorealist drama. The Angels’ Share is also hugely funny (especially Albert (Gary Maitland) as the group’s comic relief go-to man) and while it doesn’t shy away from the characters’ misdeeds it shows that there is more to these scumbags than meets the eye.

INFORMATION Rated MA. The Angels’ Share opens on November 15

“I don’t think we set out for this at all,” Levine explains. “We just stumbled across this story and both thought it was a great idea for a film and we were hoping it would move people the way it moved us. We never said this is the film we should make because it’s going to have this sort of extraordinary impact on people or it’s going to be the one that has our ship sail in or anything like that. We just wanted to be working and making a movie.” Writer and director Ben Lewin knew from the moment he read the story that he would film it. “I instantly knew that I wanted it to be my next project,” Lewin remembers. “As much as any project I’ve ever stumbled across before, this one had the karma. It was a dramatically big story in a very compact form. It was a simple story to tell and I think we had the sense that we could do this without asking anyone’s permission to do it, where we didn’t have to ask the grown-ups, ‘could we make this film?’, we could just go and do it. But we did, we asked all our friends and relatives and said, ‘we’re making a film and you’re paying for it’.” When they decided to make The Sessions, originally called The Surrogate, the film didn’t have William H Macy, Helen Hunt etc in it. It was just a small indie financed by friends and family. How did the film attract its talented cast?

“We put a massive poster up in Hollywood saying, ‘great script, no pay’ and that attracted them in hoards,” laughs Lewin. “To be honest we were fortunate because we had a producing partner who knew a wonderful casting director, who are often the unsung heroes of this process, and that was a woman called Ronnie Yeskel,” continues Levine. “She was the one who introduced us to John Hawkes. Once Hawkes came on board and once it was announced in Variety that he was doing this indie film people sort of pricked up their ears. Here was an actor that they admired and who had been nominated for an Oscar, so they were curious about this project. Agents started looking at it and the word got out that there was this good role for a woman in her 40s for which there was a range of fabulous actresses who can’t find enough work. We were then suddenly in a position where there was a much more open choice to women of Helen’s calibre, so we got a call saying Helen Hunt wants to meet with Ben. It took off from there. William H Macy was just handed to us on a silver platter because he’s represented by the same person as Helen.” When watching The Sessions you can see why the actors were attracted to it, as it is a brave film where sex concerning people with disabilities is finally filmed in a moving, real and humorous way. Aside from that, it features a Catholic priest (played by William H Macy) who encourages O’Brien to have sex outside the sanctity of marriage. “I’m not religious but the fact that Mark O’Brien wanted to do something very ordinary and earthly but wanted to feel that it was blessed in some way, that he could reconcile it with his Catholic faith was something that I found fascinating,” Lewin explains. “The idea of a kind of hippie priest in Berkley, California in the 80s seemed very plausible to me and not only plausible but very dramatic and funny too.”

INFORMATION Rated MA. The Sessions opens on November 8


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 39

Visual Arts and shards, one after the other, reducing the sheets to a series of random fragments. In a very physical way, the violent act of tearing down then gives way to reconstruction. Using the shards as her palette (muted reds and ethereal blue-greys feature prominently), Berg gathers them into a random configuration, shifting and layering pieces across her canvas. This process of arranging, ordering and layering continues until she arrives, often serendipitously, at a desired composition. Here, colours merge and gradate in symbiotic synthesis, providing a playful counterpoint to the random nature of the assembly. The finished works are a kind of bas-relief assemblage of paper and pins; heroic gestures of strength, splendour and triumph. Yet the potency of each composition masks an undercurrent of vulnerability. Each piece of paper is torn in a way which exposes its fragility. The fibres of the paper are laid bare along the edges of each tear, exposing the heart of the materials and, within, an existential struggle for equilibrium. The effect is an intoxicating blend of tension and resolve.

INFORMATION Kirstin Berg’s MONUMENT shows at Gallerysmith, 170-174 Abbotsford St, North Melbourne from November 16 to December 8. Kirstin Berg, The Distance Between Us, 2012, watercolour, ink, ash, graphite and steel pins on Arches paper, 160x240x6cm.

Monumental Declaration Veronica Gilbert

D

espite its proximity to the central business district and many architectural treasures, city-fringe North Melbourne has been the awkward step-sister to the fashionable neighbouring suburbs of the inner north. However, it seems that the word is out. It is now home to a growing number of hipster cafes, bespoke furniture makers and wine bars, adding still more texture to this gritty inner urban pocket. So it should not be entirely surprising that the suburb is also home to a commercial art gallery which appears to be straight from the lower east side of New York. Gallerysmith has eschewed the familiar art strips in Flinders Lane, Richmond and Collingwood. Housed in a non-descript 1940s warehouse, it is a revelation. Huge steel-framed windows at the rear of the space illuminate a vast chamber with three spacious white-walled galleries. On the day of my visit, they featured a series of installations by Dadang Christanto, one of Indonesia’s most important artists, and smaller ink works by emerging artist Lucas Grogan who has courted immense controversy in his short career. I don’t much care for the controversy; his works are exciting and visceral. I wanted to take one home. But I digress. My purpose was to preview the

work of Melbourne artist Kirstin Berg, whose new exhibition, MONUMENT, opens at Gallerysmith in November. I had a studio preview of the works. Berg’s works are intense. It is immediately apparent that they are made from the artist’s dying necessity rather than wanton desire. Central to her practice is the need to establish order from chaos; to make sense of a world where every landscape, whether social, political or emotional, rests on shaky ground. For as long as artists have been making art, this need has been present. In 1937, Picasso painted one of the seminal works of the 20th century, the monumental painting Guernica. While plainly an anti-war protest, Picasso’s underlying motivation was his need to extract sense from the senseless slaughter of innocents and, arguably, innocence. The same motivation drives Berg. Though her works are often described as psychological landscapes, they could perhaps be more easily understood as process paintings, where the process rather than the concept imparts the narrative. When considered in this way, Berg’s works are powerfully expressive. They are also remarkably resolute. Beginning with oversized sheets of soft cotton paper, Berg applies pigment, ink, loose charcoal and sometimes ash to the surface with broad gestural strokes. Once dry, the painted paper is torn into strips

gallerysmith.com.au


40 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Visual Arts

LOUISE BOURGEOIS

What counts, our whole purpose, is to try to understand what we are about, to scrutinise ourselves … Every day you have to abandon your past or accept it, and then, if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor. -Louise Bourgeois

H

eide Museum of Modern Art is presenting two distinct but interrelated exhibitions featuring the work of Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). The first, Louise Bourgeois: Late Works, assembles 22 major fabric sculptures and fabric drawings made during the last fifteen years of Bourgeois’ life. The second exhibition, Louise Bourgeois and Australian Artists looks at relationships, both real and imagined, between the art of Louise Bourgeois and that of ten Australian artists. Some pay direct homage to Bourgeois’ work or consider similar themes, while the connection of others registers more instinctually, on the level of a shared psychological intensity. Many of the Australian works, like those

of Bourgeois herself, are rooted in memory and emotion. In a career spanning seven decades, Louise Bourgeois created an oeuvre of arguably unparalleled material and stylistic diversity that continues to resist categorisation within any specific aesthetic tendency. In the decades since her revelatory 1982 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a proliferation of thematic or comprehensive survey exhibitions of her work has occurred across the northern hemisphere with increasing ambition and frequency. In contrast, Bourgeois’ work has been little seen in Australia.

PHOTOS BY: Christopher Burke, © Louise Bourgeois Trust

Jason Smith

Bourgeois was born in Paris on December 25, 1911. Her parents Louis and Joséphine

Louise Bourgeois
CINQ, 2007
Fabric and stainless steel, hanging piece
61 x 35.6 x 35.6 cm.
 Courtesy Cheim & Read and Hauser & Wirth

14 september — 17 november 2012

RMIT Gallery 344 Swanston Street Melbourne 3000 Tel 03 9925 1717 / www.rmit.edu.au/rmitgallery Monday–Friday 11–5 / Thursday 11–7 / Saturday 12–5 / Closed Sundays / Free entry Like RMIT Gallery on Facebook / Follow us on @RMITGallery on Twitter

Bourgeois ran a tapestry gallery near their home on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Bourgeois’ mother and grandmother had been raised in Aubusson, the southern French town settled in the sixteenth century by tapestry makers from northern Europe. Tapestry-making was the family tradition and its business. Bourgeois’ grandmother established her own commercial studio making tapestries and passed the labourintensive skills of production and repair onto her daughter Joséphine. By the age of twelve Louise Bourgeois was sketching feet and other missing elements for cartoons that guided the re-weaving of fragments within ruined historical tapestries. This effort and activity had an enduring influence on Bourgeois’ understanding of her usefulness and the usefulness of art. At this time the productive act of making became embedded in Bourgeois’ psyche as a way of dealing with anxieties and eliminating destructive impulses. As she recalled: ‘My mother would sit out in the sun and repair a tapestry or a petit point. This sense of reparation is very deep within me’.

altered by the arrival of Sadie Richmond, who was employed by Bourgeois’ father to teach his children English. Sadie swiftly became his mistress and a deep sense of betrayal took root in the young Louise. It is her father’s betrayal of her mother, Sadie’s betrayal of Louise, and all the adults’ ignorance of the child Louise’s seething anger and confusion that would provide a foundation for Bourgeois’ work throughout her life. Bourgeois saw her mother as rational, patient and stoic in her nurturing, in contrast to the temperament of her father whom she regarded as irrationally emotional, unreasonable and capable of psychological cruelty. Bourgeois became aware at an early age that she was living in a time and social environment in which women and their identities were subordinate to men. As a daughter she felt she was a disappointment: ‘My father provoked in me a continual loss of selfesteem. My mother represented self-confidence’. Writing and the keeping of diaries became an essential means of self-awareness at the age of twelve, and Bourgeois maintained written and visual diaries throughout her life.

Louise Bourgeois’ family life was irrevocably

By the age of eighteen Bourgeois was taking


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 41

Visual Arts desire and fear, anger and remorse, isolation and connectedness. In the recycling and reconstruction of her clothing and collected textiles Bourgeois intensified her work’s expression of the human body and of life’s episodes (those as daughter, wife, mother, woman, artist). The materiality of these works testifies to the impression of Bourgeois’ past on her psyche and on reparative acts of making through which her past was reconciled in her present. The beauty of the past for Bourgeois resided in the nurturing, repairing, fortifying and protective tendencies of her mother, which she aligned with the processes of stitching and assembling.

Louise Bourgeois
UNTITLED, 2002
Tapestry and aluminum
43.2 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm.
 Courtesy Cheim & Read and Hauser & Wirth

Blue Days (1996) is one of a number of works in which Bourgeois suspended, stuffed and shaped her dresses and shirts, sometimes adding abstract sculptural elements like the red glass sphere that operates here like a nucleus around which the new sculptural bodies circulate. With its intimate relation to the skin and contours of the body, to time and seasons, clothing was used for its power to summon memory: ‘You can retell your life … by the shape, weight, colour and smell of those clothes in your closet. They are like the weather, the ocean, changing all the time.’ In other works Bourgeois’ fragmented figures and anatomical parts give physical form to anxieties rising from unfulfilled desire, acts of betrayal, losses or thwarted communication. Couple IV embodies the dark confusion of the child happening upon the sexual embrace of

Louise Bourgeois
COUPLE IV, 1997
Fabric, leather, stainless steel and plastic
50.8 x 165.1 x 77.5 cm. Wood and glass Victorian vitrine: 182.9 x 208.3 x 109.2 cm.
Courtesy Cheim & Read and Hauser & Wirth

drawing lessons at the École National des Arts Décoratifs after an education interrupted by her mother’s illness with Spanish flu and the necessity for Louise to assist with her care. Her mother’s death in 1932 precipitated depression and the abandonment of her short but intense study of mathematics to study art. From this time until 1938, when she married the American art historian Robert Goldwater (1907–1973) and moved to New York, Bourgeois studied or worked in various institutions or artists’ studios in Paris. Fernand Léger encouraged Bourgeois to recognise that her sensibility was more attuned to working in a sculptural space than within the limitations of painting’s two-dimensional plane. From the mid 1940s Bourgeois worked primarily in sculpture, and in printmaking and drawing. In the making of her art Bourgeois

confronted the emotion, memory or barrier to communication that generated her mood and the work. Sculpture gave material form to a consuming problem, and in the sculpture’s resolution the emotion would be recognised, and at least temporarily freed. Female subjectivity and sexuality, expressed through the body, are overt concentrations in Bourgeois’ late work: ‘The fears of the past were connected with the functions of the body, they reappear through the body. For me, sculpture is the body. My body is my sculpture’. Around 1996, aged 85, Bourgeois began to mine her closets for the garments and textiles that she had worn, collected and stored over a lifetime, and use them to make sculpture and ‘fabric drawings’, continuing her lifelong recall and articulations of familial dysfunction,

the adults. The copulating, decapitated lovers appear as an encased ‘archaeological specimen’ and signal Bourgeois’ fraught obsession not only with the infidelities of her father, but also with sex itself. For Bourgeois there is ‘a fatal attraction not towards one or the other, but to the phenomena of copulation … I am exasperated by the vision of the copulating couple, and it makes me so furious … that I chop their heads [off ]. This is it … I turn violent. The sewing is a defence. I am so afraid of the things I might do. The defence is to do the opposite of what you want to do.’ Louise Bourgeois’ practice was an elaborate articulation of an existence in which the sculpting world and the living world were one. Her late works summoned the past and confronted the present, and the passage of time, by using the very garments in which the experiences of her life, loves and longings resided.

INFORMATION Jason Smith is Director & CEO, Heide Museum of Modern Art Louise Bourgeois: Late Works November 24, 2012 to March 11, 2013 Louise Bourgeois and Australian Artists October 13, 2012 to April 14, 2013 heide.com.au


42 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Gallery Listings RMIT Gallery

Heide Museum of Modern Art

Experimenta Speak to Me 5th International Biennial of Media Art

Louise Bourgeois Late Works

Until November 17 Storey Hall, Swanston St, Melbourne rmit.edu.au/rmitgallery

From November 24

Louise Bourgeois & Australian Artists From October 13 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen heide.com.au

Gallerysmith

Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre

Kirstin Berg MONUMENT

Various Artists Dances with Wools

November 15 – December 8 170 – 174 Abbotsford St North Melbourne gallerysmith.com.au

Anna Pappas Gallery

Elisabeth Weissensteiner Mirror Brain

Until November 18 cnr Carpenter & Wilson Sts, Brighton bayside.vic.gov.au/thegalleryatbacc

Catherine Asquith Gallery

November 14 – December 22 2-4 Carlton Street, Prahran annapappasgallery.com

Andrew Mezei The dawn said something strange to me November 6 – 24 48 Oxford St, Collingwood catherineasquithgallery.com

Hawthorn Studio & Gallery Kerrie Warren Salt Water Series

November 10 – December 1 635 Burwood Road, Hawthorn East hawthornstudiogallery.com.au

Edmund Pearce Gallery

Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

Chris Cottrell, Georgina Cue, Jason Parmington, Cara-Ann Simpson and Malte Wagenfeld Cloudy Sensoria Until December 2 7-27 Snake Gully Drive, Bundoora bundoorahomestead.com

Carbon Black Gallery Colin Palethorpe Blocks

November 8 – 18 188 High Street, Prahran carbonblackgallery.blogspot.com

Monash Gallery of Art

2012 Bowness Photography Prize Until November 18 860 Ferntree Gully Rd, Wheelers Hill mga.org.au

INTELLIGENT STYLE

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review

twitter.com/MelbReview

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Gregory Elms Preserved Zoe Wetherall Aerial Albuquerque Sarah Blythe Deconstructing Nature November 7 – 24 Lvl 2 Nicholas Building 37 Swanston St, Melbourne edmundpearce.com.au


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 43

Gallery Listings The Dax Centre

McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park

Inspired Lives: Discovering Life in Imagination

Janet Laurence The Alchemical Garden of Desire

Until January 11 Kenneth Myer Building The University of Melbourne Royal Parade, Melbourne daxcentre.org

From November 3 360 - 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin mcclellandgallery.com

Arts Centre Melbourne

War Horse and The Breath of Life From November 10 St. Kilda Rd, Melbourne artscentremelbourne.com.au

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art

Stephen Bowers Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part IV)

Anita Traverso Gallery

Until December 8 5 Malakoff St, North Caulfield diggins.com.au

Tracy Potts i am your exotic bird

Until November 24 7 Albert St, Richmond anitatraversogallery.com.au

Until January 28

Negotiating this world Until February 25

Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists

Until December 9 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road Healesville twma.com.au

November 9 – February 17 (Burrinja Cultural Centre) Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Drive, Upwey burrinja.org.au

November 1 – 24 61 Smith Street, Fitzroy portjacksonpress.com.au

The Four Horsemen: Apocalypse, Death and Disaster

TarraWarra Biennial 2012: Sonic Spheres

Fashion meets Fiction: The Darnell Collection

Debra Luccio The Dancing Line: Drypoints & Etchings of The Australian Ballet

National Gallery of Victoria

TarraWarra Museum of Art

Eastern Regional Libraries

Port Jackson Press Australia

From November 16 NGV International 180 St Kilda Rd NGV Australia, Federation Square ngv.vic.gov.au

Melbourne Art Rooms

Jeremy Kibel New Works, 2012 Santina Amato Blue is seasonally desired November 8 – December 2 418 Bay St, Port Melbourne marsgallery.com.au

Gray Reid Gallery

Metro Gallery

Until December 25 156 Collins St, Melbourne grayreidgallery.com.au

November 12 – December 1 1214 High St, Armadale metrogallery.com.au

Gold & Silversmiths Guild of Australia Exhibition

Luke Cornish Not With It


44 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Visual Arts health and wellbeing by fostering a greater understanding of the mind, mental illness and trauma through art and creativity. Given its collection (the Cunningham Dax Collection) I knew it was a unique organisation with a history of staging challenging exhibitions. It was a space that had exhibited art that acknowledged difficult emotions and experiences. I felt it would be best placed to grapple with the complexities of the exhibition. After thorough consultation with the Director, Eugen Koh, and the exhibition advisory committee, we were invited to exhibit Inspired Lives as part of a pilot access gallery program.

Konni C Burns, Atrabilious: Depression of the Spirit, 2008, Charcoal on paper, 160 cm (h) x 20m (w) or parts thereof

The pursuit of hope and meaning Amy Middleton

I

nspired Lives: Discovering Life in Imagination is an exhibition that shares the original voice of suicide survivors through a series of large-scale art installations. Inspired Lives originated from a mutual interest in the subject of suicide and suicide prevention between artist Mic Eales, poet Jessica Raschke, and Dr Erminia Colucci, a lecturer and research program coordinator at the Centre for International Mental Health, University of Melbourne. Mic Eales and Dr Colucci had started to organise arts-based initiatives about suicide. It was during one of these events that they met Jessica Raschke, who also had an experience of suicide. They quickly

found common ground. All of them had observed the silence around the issue of suicide and as creative individuals felt strongly that art could bridge a gap in understanding and ultimately promote hope and provide inspiration. In 2009 Dr Coluccci invited me to join the project as curator. At the time I was actively involved with communities affected by the Black Saturday bushfires, coordinating posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide prevention seminars. While the seminars were well attended by people who wanted to support the communities affected by the bushfires, we were unable to reach those who experienced the fires first hand and were at risk of suicide themselves. There are times when words fail us. Through my experience in the visual arts and arts management I’d seen situations where art had, through the material form, naturally facilitated conversation. The initial step in developing the exhibition

was to look for other contributors to the project. In one month we had 30 expressions of interest from artists working in various mediums and art forms, including writers, actors and musicians. We felt this was a substantial number of people willing to share their stories about suicide. One of the respondents was Konii C Burns. It was immediately apparent that there was a strong aesthetic and thematic connection between Konni C Burns and Mic Eales’s artwork. Both artists draw on personal narrative and symbolism to explore the psychological and spiritual crisis of suicide and its damaging after-effects. Their imaginative and immersive large-scale artworks use found objects and materials of the natural world to give shape to painful emotions. There was a beautiful synergy between these two regional artists in their approach to materials and scale. Mic Eales’ practice involves interpreting the personal experiences shared by others. His collaboration with Baden Offord and Jessica Raschke opened the exhibition up to include other stories. It was an exhibition that was greeted cautiously by funding bodies and galleries. We were turned down time and time again; on occasion we received offers of support that were contingent on diluting the focus on suicide or on presenting suicide using a medical model rather than the subjective approach we were advocating. In 2009 I approached The Dax Centre, a notfor-profit organisation that promotes mental

The exhibition does not offer advice or solutions to the complex and often overwhelming phenomenon of suicide. Instead it shines a light on the moment/s when people feel suicidal. The journey each artist has taken is very personal and, in some cases, the battle against suicide is ongoing. Inspired Lives aims to capture ‘frames’ in the experience of individuals who have been dealing with suicide at one point, or at several points, in their life. The four artists included in this exhibition are people who have travelled through emptiness and unspeakable pain; they have attempted suicide and survived. Their artworks express despair as well as good fortune. Each artist continues to find the inspiration to live. For them and those who struggle with suicide there is no doubt that artmaking plays a pivotal and transformative role in their pursuit of hope and meaning. Henry David Thoreau wrote, ‘Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?’ The personal narratives of the artists who have a lived experience of suicide and have shared their story affords us a better understanding of this complex phenomenon. We can find ways to talk about suicide. We need to if we are to go some way to ending the desperate silence that puts lives at risk.

INFORMATION Inspired Lives: Discovering Life in Imagination shows at The Dax Centre, Kenneth Myer Building, The University of Melbourne, Royal Parade, until January 11. daxcentre.org


THE MELB OU R N E R EVIEW NOVEMBER 201 2

Food.Wine.Coffee FI NE DI NI NG

SUSTA I NABLE FOO D

CO FFEE

WI NE

Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall No longer greasy, with a new chef and some excellent cocktails, Joe’s is fast becoming the perfect Summer HQ.

SPRING Champagne Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne; there’s nothing quite like it.

48

OUR MARKET ECONOMY Claude Baxter on the vital role markets play in Melbourne’s social and economic identity

50

THE ARTS CENTRE Experiments in geometry with new Executive Chef Sean Keating

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46 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Food.Wine.Coffee A steak will probably suffice, but that would mean missing out on starters, which is not recommended. The Snacks menu offers up bar nibbles like bourbon and maple syrup peanuts ($4) up to Southern style fried chicken ($10) and the standout buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce and celery sticks ($10). There’s a substantial range of burgers whether you like them hard-to-handle or delicate slider size. Some swear by the Popcorn prawn sliders (all sliders are two for $10). Two of these arrive on a long board, with small sweet rolls cradling battered prawns topped with Thousand Island dressing and a side of coleslaw. There are also pork, lamb, wagyu and chicken sliders.

Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall No longer greasy, with a new chef and some excellent cocktails, Joe’s is fast becoming the perfect Summer HQ.

Lou Pardi

J

oe’s has had a big year for change, a new fit-out, and now a new executive chef in Katrina Hingham (Windsor Deli, The Point, Il Solito Posto). There will always be those who sentimentally pine for the good old greasy days, but truth be told, come dusk, the view from Joe’s – a silhouetted Luna Park and skies which go on forever – is as magical as it ever was. And many would argue the new Joe’s is vastly improved. A blonde timber fit-out complements the locks of the locals, but there’s more to this hang out than the minimalist interior suggests. Behind the bar you’ll see some familiar faces, or perhaps it’s the forearms you’ll recall from shaking up your favourite cocktails all over

town. The well-curated crew of cocktail makers at Joe’s brings together a volume of classics, new inventions and a daily secret cocktail made with care, love and skill. It’s an excellent start to the evening whether you’re staying at Joe’s for dinner or straying elsewhere. Never has there been more reason to stay at Joe’s for dinner as there is now. The attractions are many, but can be encompassed in three words: a decent steak. There’s plenty more on the menu, but those three little words can be some of the most comforting in the English language. The steaks at Joe’s are simple – good produce (Romsey Range Beef ), well-cooked, and served with an incredibly addictive potato salad. Three cuts: porterhouse (320g, $28), eye fillet (250g, $29) or rib eye (300g, $36) are on offer.

As for the full-sized burgers, beef, chicken, barramundi and lentil burgers are served up with a side of hand-cut chips for $18 each. On the mains, the six-hour slow cooked pork ribs ($26) might be considered a work in progress, so for the moment skip to the steaks or feel virtuous with an Octopus ceviche salad ($20). Hingham is a talented chef in many respects, but anyone who has indulged in a Windsor Deli peanut butter chocolate chip cookie will vouch for her prowess in the dessert department, especially in bringing salt and sweet together in glorious union. The Joe’s dessert menu is no exception to this brilliance. The staff swear by the Oreo and chocolate cheesecake ($10) – a fat wedge of Oreoflecked moussey goodness which could defeat even the most fervent sugar fiend. The chocolate tart ($8) is decadence itself. But the real standout of this dessert menu, perhaps the whole joint, is the peanut butter cup with amaretto liqueur ($8). A chocolate case cracks away to reveal a whipped peanut butter filling which is just salty and just sweet enough. Served with almondflavoured amaretto, it’s an unlikely but superbly happy marriage.

Rice Queen Lou Pardi

O

nce situated in the Panama Dining Room building, Rice Queen has skipped over a block to take up St Jude’s old spot on Brunswick Street and by all accounts, looks completely settled in. The menu has grown and offers up plenty of dishes designed for sharing, making Rice Queen a great choice for a group catch-up. Bookings are recommended as the new, (relatively) smaller space fills up quickly. Groups of over 10 people on Friday and Saturday are required to have one of the very reasonable banquet set menus which start at $30. You’ll find differing opinions, from those who love it to those who are completely underwhelmed. There are some treasures to be found. The prawn toast ($7 for three) should stave off a nasty hangover, and arrive obscured by a pile of Vietnamese mint and tasty herbs which balance its fried goodness. Other starters include new Melbournian staple, bahn mi. Truth be told we’ve been eating banh mi at Vietnamese bakeries and sandwich shops for years. They’re the crusty white torpedo rolls filled with meats and salad, and if you’re lucky a bunch of leafy herbs. Recently though, we’ve learnt the correct name for this delicious snack and wasted no time in mispronouncing it to its vendors (it’s bun mi or bung mi, or something else entirely, depending who you ask). Rice Queen offers up crumbed chicken or roast pork belly options for a very reasonable $5 each. Aside from Vietnamese treats, you’ll find influences from India and China, with the menu

INFORMATION Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall 64-66 Acland Street, St Kilda 9525 3755 Dinner: Monday - Sunday Lunch: Thursday - Sunday

Spring has arrived in limes, oranges, greens and olives...


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 47

Food.Wine.Coffee dissected into Small, Wok, Mostly Greens, Curry, From the Charcoal Grill and a collection called Something Else which encompasses chargrilled chicken ($24), some tasty dark-braised beef short ribs ($22), and a kimchi chicken you’ll end up wearing if you’re not careful.

slow-cooked caramelized fennel, apple sauce and very more-ish Nicola potato croquette. However – and I hate to be a spoilsport – Otway pork is ‘bred free-range’ and is not ‘certified free-range’ as the menu suggests. (In a similar vein, I should also note that Jonesy’s milk is not biodynamic!)

There are more than usual gluten-free and vegan options available, and when it comes to drinks, there’s a range of local wines and beers to suit most palates, with the odd Spanish Tempranillo and obligatory Tiger beer thrown in for good measure.

Menu criticisms aside, there are plenty of swashbucklingly good dishes to be had. Try a countrystyle French chicken terrine made with delicately moist, well-seasoned free-range bird wrapped in piquant, sweetly-sharp tasting savoy cabbage and a pinot glazed red onion confit. Or a wholesome, peasant-style puy lentil and cider soup made with chunks of smoky bacon well-buttered crusty bread.

The cocktail list encompasses ten concoctions which predictably sway to the citrus side. Rice Queen’s range of cocktails ($15 - $19) do the job and what they don’t provide in excitement the ambience will carry along. They’re happy to make classic cocktails too so my bet would be a martini with a request for the West Winds Gin – if you haven’t tried this Aussie gin you really must. Speaking of ambience, towards the back of the space you’ll find a karaoke room to fit up to 16 people – packages can be arranged including drinks and finger food and range from $25 (not peak times) to $57 per person. For the super-sweet-toothed, the roast coconut milk pannacotta with salted palm sugar fudge ($8) is potentially addictive. On a hot summer night the pineapple granita with fruit and vanilla condensed milk is a winner ($7.50).

INFORMATION RICE QUEEN 389 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 9419 6624 Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday Lunch and dinner: Saturday - Sunday

Fitzrovia Fine Food Republic Arabella Forge

T

aking its name from a bohemian and artistic hub in central London, Fitzrovia is all about fine food and local produce. Located in the midst of the foodist revival of Fitzroy Street – it rubs shoulders with Golden Fields and 2Doors Down – Fitzrovia represents the next generation of fine foodie fare which is modern, clean and refreshingly uncomplicated. Tall glass windows and a light-filled entryway herald the entrance to Fitzrovia. Reminiscent of a European larder or perhaps your grandmother’s pantry, there are wooden vegetable crates stacked with luscious market produce and fresh pots of herbs and greenery hanging from the window spaces. Head chef Paul Jewson’s resume reads something like a celebrity novella; twenty years working in the UK with stints at the prestigious Mezzo, Soho House, River Café and Terence Conran’s Bluebird, he also ran the kitchen for The Admirable Crichton; a

catering company which served British royalty and A-list celebrities including Sting, Trudie Styler and Ralph Fiennes. Teaming up with Liz Milroy (former head chef at St Ali) and Marco Pugnaloni (front-of-house) the group is a freshly wholesome tour-de-force. Local produce and lower food miles are the buzzwords of a fine food market, and Fitzrovia is leading the pack. The dinner menu includes such gourmand delicacies as Warnambool grass-fed steak and Western Victorian Blue Eye. There’s also fancy Mount Zero olives and locally sourced Spear Creek lamb. With dishes like milk fed veal and slow braised suckling goat on the menu, it’s a given that vegetarian dishes are few and far between – you might be left with a Portabella mushroom Wellington, or a handful of salads and side dishes. But if you are a gourmand-loving carnivore, you will be in your element with the Otway pork belly, which is beautifully cooked and well fatted with a crisp hat of crackling on top. It is well matched with its traditional accompaniments of

The thyme-roasted mushroom tart is a forager’s adventure; buttery-plump field mushrooms rich with the tastes and smells of a hobbit forest and tossed together with crispy pine nuts and rolled into a fluffy butter-rich filo pastry. The salad on the side is an assortment of radicchio, mint, rocket, cucumber and parsley, which, in keeping with the theme, reminded me of a fresh spring meadow – unsullied, crunchy and wild. It could, however, do with a little more dressing to soften the greens. Dessert is not to be missed and, in fact, the counter display of sweetly decadent options may warrant a trip for the coffee and dessert alone. Try an angel-wings cupcake with thick heavy cream and a hidden layer of gloriously rich caramel at the bottom, or a sweet, strawberry galette, rich with cream, puff pastry and sweet, sultry berries. Fitzrovia carries all the appeal of St Kilda neighbourly funk with a touch of River Café class thrown into the mix. It’s stylish and sleek, with a good assortment of fresh, clean dishes sourced from fine-estate Victorian suppliers. The staff are professional and helpful (which seems to be a given in this new hub of Fitzroy Street foodville) and the fit-out is fresh and appealing.

INFORMATION Fitzrovia 155 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda Phone: 9537 0001 Breakfast and lunch from Tuesday to Sunday Dinner from Wednesday to Sunday Fully Licenced fitzrovia.com.au

Savour tasty and exotic delicacies, ripe for picking now at the incredible Dandenong Market. If you’re hosting a barbeque or packing a picnic, you’ll find succulent meats, sea-fresh fish, warm Mediterranean breads and seasonal offerings from near and far. Spice up your table with exotic wares from all over the world and dine like a king this Spring. Connect with us on…

market Use hashtag #dandy

Open every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday (except public holidays and closed on Melbourne Cup Day). Corner Clow & Cleeland St. dandenongmarket.com.au

DMK155


48 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Wine

WINE REVIEWS by ANDREA FROST

Bubbles for the carnival Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne; there’s nothing quite like it. On the rails, in a marquee or in a backyard with a sweepstake, here’s a range of sparkling wines for all occasions.

1999 Pol Roger Cuveé Sir Winston Churchill Champagne RRP $295

Larmandier-Bernier Brut Blanc de Blanc Champagne Champagne RRP $85

2008 Mitchell Harris Sabre

Ballarat RRP $40

Brown Brothers Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier NV King Valley RRP $24

polroger.com

larmandier.fr

mitchellharris.com.au

brownbrothers.com.au

Prime Minister Winston Churchill loved Pol Roger Champagne so much that he consumed the label exclusively. Whether it was the Champagne or, as many suggest, his fondness for brand ambassador and lifelong friend Odette Pol Roger, one will never know but Churchill drank a pint of Pol Roger Champagne every day, for health benefits. After winning the Second World War, Churchill asked only to drink Pol Roger 1945 vintage until his death; understandably, he was fond of the year. Upon his death, the iconic white foil of the Pol Roger Champagne was given a black edge as a sign of mourning and tribute to the great man. A decade after his death, it was decided to release a wine in his honour and so, in 1975, the first vintage of Pol Roger Cuveé Sir Winston Churchill was created. Like the man, the wine is complex, robust, rich and built to last. For different reasons this racing carnival, you too might be able to cry Churchill’s famous words of Champagne: “In victory, deserve it; in defeat, need it”.

For many years, Champagne production was made up of the large Champagne houses and the thousands of growers who supplied the fruit to make their house styles of Champagne. Each house style is achieved by blending anywhere up to 80 separate parcels from various growers to make a consistent style. The roles of grower and producer were separate until about a decade ago when growers started to hold back parcels of their own fruit to make their own wines, now known as Grower Champagnes. Broadly speaking, these wines are terroir driven wines that express the site they’re from rather than the house they’re from. Larmandier-Bernier is one of the top growerproducers of Champagne who also make their wines biodynamically, meaning even more of the place is expressed. And how lovely it is; a blanc de blanc (made only from Chardonnay), this wine is the perfect aperitif: fine, aromatic, lively and dry with a fine mousse and lovely length.

The sabre is the name of the sword used in the traditional and ceremonious action of sabrage whereby you open a bottle of Champagne by sliding the sabre up the neck, forcing the top off. Should you have a sabre, I think this is a much simpler way of cork removal. On. Off. Easy as that. Napoleon is said to have started the tradition when he tore across the French countryside, stopping by the Chateaus to enjoy the sparkling loot. The 2008 Mitchell Harris Sabre was created when Harris moved back to his native Ballarat after tearing across the countryside making and sabring wines for Domaine Chandon for eight years. This wine, the Mitchell Harris sparkling debut, is made with fruit sourced from the cool climate and high altitude of the Macedon Ranges. Made with care and attention, it is aged in bottle for three years imparting complex yeast characters. The wine brims with lemon, citrus and biscotti and has a lively, fine and drying palate.

There are many rules in Champagne about what you can and can’t do for the wine to classify as Champagne. One of them is that you can only use three varieties (two of which are red) to make Champagne. Each of the varieties has a role in the overall blend and flavour of the wine. Depending on how the winemaker tweaks the levels of each, determines the end result. Chardonnay provides finesse and elegance, Pinot Noir richness and flavour, Pinot Meunier the fruitiness. This sparkling wine from Brown Brothers uses all three traditional varieties in this, one of the most consistent and best value Australian sparkling wines. Though the winery is based in Milawa, the fruit is sourced from the cooler and higher altitude sites of the King Valley ensuring the fruit captures the finesse and acidity that contribute to great sparkling wines. This wine is rich and complex with citrus notes, yeast complexity and lovely drying acids.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 49

Cafés

Green Refectory

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ention the contest for Victoria’s best vanilla slice and you’ll have someone mention the crude nickname ‘snot block’ and no doubt another mutter something about Sorrento. I’ve always been of the opinion that if you need to proclaim you’re the best (at anything) in neon paint you probably ain’t. My call (and I’m regularly told it is a bold one) is that the best vanilla slice to be found in Victoria is the one at Green Refectory. Just-denseenough pastry to not crackle all over you, and a whipped light centre you could happily smear all over yourself. Delicious.

The Little Mule Co Lou Pardi

I

t’s a wander down the laneway off Little Bourke (Somerset Place between Elizabeth and Queen) to café and custom bike place Little Mule. “Sit wherever you like Ma’am,” says the dapper gentleman host as I wander in – or maybe he didn’t think I was that old and he actually said, “Sit wherever you like, man.” But I doubt it. No matter. It’s all part of the paradox of Little Mule. The warehouse space manages to feel homely and warm with a communal bench, a scattering of tables with school-chair-esque seats and a lounge in a corner. On the walls are framed illustrations, industrial lettering and fixies lit like artworks. It seems whatever these folk do they do well the baked eggs is a pleasing mess

of homemade beans, spinach and chorizo swathed in a sheet of melted gruyere. For the more health-conscious there’s porridge, muesli and avocado toast. Come lunch time a line forms for specialty sandwiches (chicken jerk and pulled pork on allocated days) baguettes, melts, toasted sandwiches and salads. They make a pretty great coffee too.

INFORMATION The Little Mule Co 19 Somerset Place, Melbourne 9670 4904 Breakfast and lunch: Monday – Saturday (kitchen closes at 2:30pm) thelittlemule.com

You’ll find Green Refectory under the red Illy sign on Sydney Road. It’s also renowned for beautiful salads, an incredible breakfast stack of potato, haloumi, tomato, bacon and a killer relish, some fantastic house-made pies, pasties and a brilliant sausage roll. Back on the sweet side there are sky-high fluffy sponges filled with cream and topped with passionfruit icing, more slices than you can imagine and honey joys. Yes – it’s pretty much heaven on earth.

INFORMATION GREEN REFECTORY 115 Sydney Road, Brunswick 9387 1150 Monday - Saturday: 7am-8pm Sunday: 8am-6pm


50 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Food.Wine.Coffee For many of us it is about fair trade, not with the third world but right here with our neighbours. It also gives us the opportunity to escape the choking presence of the supermarket duopoly. It is about authenticity and meeting real people from whom you can learn the secret of the perfect method to bake lasagna the Italian way, or lamb the Lebanese way, or beans the Mexican way. For many of us, we also like to know when something is fresh and in season. It’s good to realise that some tomatoes have grown in soil in Heatherton Road and that they are at their flavoursome best right now. There are a lot of us who see environmental benefits of shopping locally, like shorter transport lines, shorter storage, and a smaller carbon footprint. For others, we just like contributing to a local economy and keeping people we might know in a job. It’s a bit like why I am happy to part with a gold coin to keep my windscreen clean even though it doesn’t really need it.

Melbourne’s Market Economy Claude Baxter

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elbourne has a market economy worth celebrating . By all reckoning Melbourne has the most markets of any city in the world – and they are extraordinarily good ones. Start with the backbone: Melbourne’s metropolitan markets. Queen Victoria, South Melbourne and Prahran receive a collective quarter of a million shoppers each week. But there are also the Footscray, Dandenong, Camberwell, Preston and Coburg markets. The cultural and food diversity is breathtaking. Nearly one in six Melbournians go to a market each week. A recent government report – my life must be

boring to have that on my bedside table – found that 75% of Australia’s farmers markets are in Victoria. So here we are, we enjoy food, we like it fresh, we like to know where it comes from, we enjoy things local and we enjoy the argy-bargy of market shopping. What’s the rest of Australia doing? No city has more than two proper markets and we have eight! We have three times as many farmers markets as the rest of Australia combined. And I haven’t even mentioned the joyous proliferation of clothing, vintage and craft markets. There is a crazy abandon to the summer markets, winter markets and night markets. And where do Penthouse Mouse, Hello Sailor, Shirt and Skirt and a myriad others fit in? Let

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alone the Rotary Painting Fair, the Camberwell Sunday Market, Finders Keepers and all the others? And then the school fetes, farm-gate sales and garage sales, and the internet ‘markets’ like Gumtree, where the entire market economy has its roots. We Victorians sell whatever we can produce or find surplus. But why do we do it? And why doesn’t the rest of Australia? I like to think we have somehow retained a greater sense of being local and that our fascination for secrets (the best coffee, the cheapest meal, the newest un-signed bar) is part of the answer. It is clear that market-goers enjoy the entertainment, the clamour, the experience and the sheer overwhelming diversity. And, of course, there is our love of quirkiness (like the tarot reader at South Melbourne or the poet at Rose Street).

If we had access to the market research, we would even see that the metropolitan markets stock food that is consistently cheaper than the duopoly. I love buying blackberries to make jam. But if I don’t think of buying the berries in JanuaryFebruary, I am always happy to buy a jar of someone else’s at a farm gate or at a school fete. Just spare me having to troll through every stall with my common-law wife; please, leave me at the wine booth tasting local delights. Now, I paint a pleasant picture but it is not all rosy in market land. I guess winegrowers think of their cellar-door sales as something in the same tradition as other opportunist farm gate sales. It’s just that it bugs me to pay for the tasting or to have to pay more for a bottle than I can get the same wine for without the three-hour drive. But that probably means I’m buying from the duopoly – and daylight robbery by a local is better than that.

INFORMATION Claude Baxter, former manager of South Melbourne Market, is a business consultant and budding primary producer.


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 51

Chef’s Column If the weather changes, change your way of cooking Benjamin Cooper welcomes in the warm weather and suggests some meal ideas for both indoor and outdoor gatherings with friends and family.

Benjamin Cooper

A

t this time of the year, after many months of cold and grey, the energy is palpable, with people running in their lunch breaks or playing tennis or picnicking in the park. The best thing about these months, though, is the return of spring. It is a magical time of the year, filled with hope and joy, of luscious colours and sunny days and, of course in Melbourne, of wind, the cold and the rain. The temperatures can, and do, fluctuate wildly and what can start out as a beautiful sunny day, can soon turn into a wet and windy one within the blink of an eye. The reverse of this is also true with wet, windy mornings turning into amazing rainbows, sundrenched afternoons and alfresco dinners under the stars. It is a time of renewal, of fresh chances, of birthing and abundance.

INFORMATION Benjamin Cooper is Executive Chef of Chin Chin, 125 Flinders Lane chinchinrestaurant.com.au

The return of warmth brings with it amazing produce, too. The vegetables are vibrant and crisp, the fruits are sweet and juicy, the herbs fragrant and the meats are tender and succulent (see the Sustainable Table website for a great pocket-guide to seasonal produce). And, just like us, it seems the produce is also ready for any turn that the weather may decide to bring. You see, the produce of spring is versatile – as at home in a soup or stew as it is in a salad or on the barbecue. In turn, it all lends itself to making our lives much easier to organise. Picture the following...

think, why not pull up a chair in the sun and have a quick beverage (you’ve earned it, it’s been a busy morning). The cider hits the spot, but so does something else. Just as you begin enjoying the sun and that hard earned drink, the weather decides it has other plans. The clouds roll in, the wind picks up and the sun gets extinguished by a mass of dark cloud from which comes a massive deluge of rain. And there goes your evening of alfresco dining and firing up the barbie. In one fell swoop dinner is ruined... Or is it?

It’s Saturday morning. You wake up to sunshine, have breakfast and head down to the local farmers’ market to procure some produce for a dinner that you are having tonight. Eight people at your house for a feast, planning to dine under the stars and fire up the barbecue for the first time in months. You are planning several tasty salads and some barbecued meats and seafood.

Take a look at those ingredients again. The fennel that was going to be shaved for a prawn and fennel salad with citrus and chilli dressing suddenly becomes caramelised fennel soup with prawn dumplings and chilli oil and kale crisps. The asparagus becomes roast asparagus with olive oil and shaved parmesan, while the mushrooms become a stir fry with coriander spice paste. The peas become pea, shallot and minced quail fritters. Meanwhile, the Asian greens get steamed with ginger, and the squid tubes get stuffed with pork sausage meat and braised in tomato, chilli and orange. The lamb gets slow roasted, stuffed with anchovies and garlic.

You then get to the market and go crazy, purchasing the following – fennel, kale, fresh peas, mushrooms, spinach, watercress, tomato, Asian greens, shallots, amazing asparagus... Thai basil, chives, chilli, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, coriander... mandarins, oranges, rhubarb, myriad different berries... spring lamb, prawns, quails, pork sausage, squid... Next, you head to the bottle’o and grab some ciders, beers and wine, then stop into the garage and exchange the gas bottle for the barbie. You head home and do a quick spring clean, hooking the gas bottle up and checking that it works (it’s been a few months!) The day is a stunner and there are still several hours left before the guests are due, so you

And just like that, a ‘ruined’ dinner party is averted and the party moves indoors to the warmth of the fire and a glass of red. The outcome is your journey, but you get the picture. This time of the year is all about possibilities, and it breeds joy and celebration. Let the life energy flow back in and get ready for the party season. I love this time of the year and I get the feeling that the produce does, too.

Hot 100 Wines

THE ADELAIDE REVIEW

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN

Out now a d e l a i d e r e v i e w . c o m . a u


52 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Food.Wine.Coffee

Arts Centre Melbourne Takes catering in-house Lou Pardi

A

s Hamer Hall reopens, Arts Centre Melbourne has elected to bring catering for all of its venues in-house. Thus far, just three full-time kitchen staff, Executive Chef Sean Keating and two sous chefs have been engaged.

You may not have heard of Sean Keating. He’s a tall gentleman who you could easily mistake for a painter rather than a chef. In fact he’s travelled the world exhibiting his fine art photography. He’s perhaps too self-deprecating about his appointment as Executive Chef. “Look at it, I’m a no-one. And I’m running the kitchens and creating inside the kitchens of one of the most iconic venues in Australia. It’s a big risk going with a no-one,” he says. Director of Food and Beverage, Duncan Thomson – whom Keating describes as a sort of well-disguised maverick, made the decision. Thomson is a standard-looking executive in excellent suits, who in fact is anything but conservative. He pushes his team to be as innovative as possible – and Keating is just the man for the job. Despite self-proclaimed ‘no-one’ status, Keating’s credentials lead him firmly to the Arts Centre door. In Tasmania he worked with a group of 20 resorts across the state. “I’m used to this size, but not this dynamic,” he says. The unique challenges of theatre goers and the demographic of the Arts Centre punters hugely influence what is possible in terms of innovation, but certainly don’t hold the team back.

In Melbourne, Keating has worked with Matteos, Jimmy Watsons and The European. He doesn’t come to the Arts Centre with a group of signature dishes. “I haven’t brought a single dish from Tasmania to here. And I won’t bring a single dish from here to the next place,” he says. As an artist, he’s influenced by his environment, and this is reflected in his dishes. “This is a different place: it’s all blocky and there’s architecture everywhere. In Tasmania it’s all open space and as far as the eyes can see and the Wasabi farm is down the road. Whereas here you walk to work at 7am and your eyes are just glazed over by buildings and sharp shapes and geometrics. And the food transcends into geometrics. The salmon and white chocolate bar – that’s an absolute direct reflection of this environment and what it’s like. I’m sure another great chef from somewhere else would grab it and go, ‘I really like this idea but I’m going to make it look more organic.’ But why would you bother – I’m not in that environment so it becomes a brick shape with spheres on top.” The unlikely combination of white chocolate topped with salmon roe was one of the most popular dishes at a recent showcase of the Arts Centre’s new food offerings. The Arts Centre caters for many corporate, private and member functions in their venue spaces, which include dining rooms for ten to spaces which accommodate thousands. In addition to restaurants Trocadero and Sake, which are managed by restaurateurs and enjoy the riverside view off Hamer Hall, the Arts Centre itself offers many food offerings from the Riverside Bar –

located inside the Arts Centre looking out onto the river, to foyer bars and grand venue spaces. Under the direction of Thomson to push limits, Keating works with culinary consultant Jan Gundlach and the sous chefs to design innovative dishes for each outlet. Currently,

the balance of the staff is made up of a large group of casuals who are also involved in shaping the menus in line with the Arts Centre’s experimental approach and belief that food is art. “We try to explain to people that you’re just like a set of hands for people that don’t want to cook. It’s a very very simple thing ;


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 53

Food.Wine.Coffee How are people changing in their tastes and preferences for cakes? There has been a trend toward catering specifically for dietary requirements, for example, eggless cakes & flourless cakes. Customers also want their cakes to have a unique twist or point of difference rather than a generic cake, so we work with our customers to create one-off custom cakes for their special occasions. We work to make sure that each cake has its own individual “wow factor”.

it’s the most basic thing you can imagine,” says Keating. But what is created often isn’t simple at all. Speaking with any of the team, there’s a constant theme of their passion for experimentation. It seems to come from a genuine hunger for exploration rather than a laboured point of difference or faddish approach. The tag line is ‘food is art’, but it doesn’t seem as if it’s a new concept to Keating. I ask him if he thinks it’s important to be edgy. “It’s just natural,” he says, without a trace of ego or sarcasm. “I hate saying that. It’s edgy with reason. The creative process in the kitchen, which is one of the first things we instil is, ‘go as far as you can.’ So when we whiteboard, when we pen and paper, when we jam ideas as a group – and that includes casuals, that includes from the base to the top – it’s gotta be as far out as it can. If anyone submits a safe idea we’re not interested. We want to see how far it all goes, the extreme limit of everything.” This no-limits brainstorming is then crafted into something palatable. “We cross-match and start to look at data and types of people, and then tweak and twirl things back in really, really gently so we as chefs stay current but deliver on what the client wants,” says Keating. “We have a very particular type of client so we have to move with them and the idea is to slowly sort of switch things around and slowly get their confidence and then change things.”

Describe your local customers – what do they like? We are dedicated to making each customer happy. They are very loyal, and they keep coming back for more! A favourite of our local customers is our special profiterole cake, filled with Italian custard and covered in chocolate mousse.

Dolce Fantasia Cakes

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About six years ago I took over the shop form an old Italian couple. How has it changed over the years? We maintained the original Italian recipes but also introduced new recipes including flourless chocolate cake, flourless orange cake, lemon tarts, petit fours, and of course our designer special occasion cakes.

hat is your name and position? Vicki Epifanidis – owner / operator – Dolce Fantasia cakes.

How long has your business been established?

Our customer base has grown significantly over the past six years, mostly through word of mouth. As the customer base has grown, we have also introduced new recipes to cater for our customer’s ever changing needs, including their changing dietary requirements.

We want our customers to be blown away by the large selection of cakes and treats. Our service is friendly and sincere, making the customer experience comfortable and fuss free. We cater to our customers’ special needs and make every designer cake unique. What other services are you able to provide? Able to cater for high teas, large functions. What is different about Dolce Fantasia Cakes? Voted best cannoli this side of town in 2010 by The Age. Our shop is always full to the brim with delicious cakes, desserts and other sweets. You never know what you might find!

• Independent designers and artists • Hawker-style dining • Cafés, bars and restaurants • Live music and entertainment

Thursday evenings 5.30 – 9.30pm 4 October to 20 December Under the Verandah, Coventry & Cecil Sts, South Melbourne styleafterdark.com.au

dolcefantasia.com.au


54 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

photos by: Fiona Mye

Travel

Not your average little island Fiona Myer

T

ry for a minute to imagine that you have landed in the middle of nowhere. How do you describe nowhere? Everywhere is somewhere… but

somehow this place is nowhere we can relate to. It’s flat, sparse, isolated and completely remote. This is Iceland, where only birds and foxes inhabited until the 8th century when Vikings arrived. Under the rule of Norway and Denmark, it wasn’t until the 18th century that towns were established. Now,

however, we arrive by modern day jet a landscape of wilderness and dramatic icecaps.

leave work to replace dinner with a round of 18 holes!

On the drive into Reykjavik from the airport, solidified lava flows and black sandy deserts provide the backdrop to the beginning of a three day visit that will include playing midnight golf and swimming in the famous blue lagoons.

Narrow and windy, the fairway is surprisingly green. Surrounded by volcanic rock with not a tree or shrub in site, there is no mistaking where we are. We pinch ourselves as we stroll down the first hole with our Icelandic partners.

With a population of only 60,000 you would expect to walk onto any of the three golf courses outside Reykjavik without needing to book. Think again. After a 20-minute drive to Keilir golf course, it is approaching 9:00pm. Enough time for a practice before our tee off at 9:30pm. As we make our way down the steep terrain to the first hole, we are greeted by two Icelanders who are here to join us for a four ball. Taken a little by surprise, we exchange a solid handshake and have it explained to us that golf in Iceland is hugely popular. No such luxury of a two ball. A booking is essential, preferably weeks before. Especially popular is midnight golf, as the locals

The course hugs the seafront with a rather icy breeze to remind us why we packed a sweater in summer. The temperature should be a mild 20 degrees except for the chill factor. The sky is blue and the sun is brilliant. On the third hole we find we are being watched by a crowd of puffins. This lava strewn island is everything and more than we had come to expect. Once again we give each other a passing glance. We are playing golf on 7,000-year-old lava field.

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It’s getting onto 12:30am as we finish our round, under a still vibrant midnight sun. The sky is deep blue but the cool ocean breeze has moved

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the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 55

Travel palette is monochrome; the wide blonde oak boards set a casual Nordic feel to alternative and individually designed contemporary rugs and furniture. On our final morning we meander down the rather bohemian narrow main street to take in some retail. From the Dover Street Store to Kronkron, Naked Ape, Elm, Sputnik, and the local market, it’s cool, it’s refreshing and it’s different. The Reykjavikurs have sourced some the best vintage clothes and treasures to be found. A morning is clearly not enough time to shop but our baggage limit has been surpassed. We quickly remind ourselves that the reason we came to Reykjavik was of course, to play golf at midnight!

INFORMATION style chalet the then leaders sat in front of one another and negotiated the INF treaty and the decrease of their countries’ nuclear arsenals. Back to our hotel of choice, Hotel 101, set in the heart of town, we make our way to one of the rooms overlooking Mt. Esja. Hotel 101 is a restored 1930s office block come boutique hotel which opened its doors in 2003 to a fast and trendy lot. It has been furnished by the owner Ingibjorg Palmadottir. The walls are filled with contemporary local art. The colour

The Laundromat Café facebook.com/LaundromatCafeReykjavik Hotel 101 101hotel.is Hofdi House visitreykjavik.is Grillmarkadurinn grillmarkadurinn.is Keilir Golf Course www.keilir.is

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up a notch. We are happy to finish and drive back into town to have dinner at the Grillmarkadurinn. By now I could eat the horse and the rider! Thank goodness for quick service – we are greeted with an outstanding Atlantic salmon and lobster. After a final full-bodied glass of very good red we climb back the hill to our hotel. It’s now almost 3:00am and still broad daylight. How will we ever sleep? With sheers but no curtains I wrestle through my overnight bag to find some blackout eye masks.

feels like a few too many people, we change and meet down by the lagoon.

The next morning we find our way down the street for a late breakfast at The Laundromat. Fabulous. The counter is supported by a library of books colour blocked in red, cobalt blue and white. It’s eclectic and quirky. All ages and very informal; the staff are young and fun. The breakfast is more like an American breakfast – we won’t go starving.

Taking our cue from others we simply wallow in the hot spring. The boiling water suddenly becomes temperate and we find we are instantly relaxing. Checking our hands, we decide it is like lying in water softener.

With the day ahead of us and the sun shining we make our way by car to the Blue Lagoon. A 45-minute drive from Reykjavik we arrive amongst jaw-dropping scenery – a winding lake of opaque aquamarine water set in amongst black volcanic rock. After checking in to receive a token and a towel, we make our way through the corridors of the modern architecturally designed spa. With what

We gasp as we plunge into the 38 degree silica spring. It’s an unusual experience – sun shining, rich blue sky, cool air and such hot water. The silica is knee high but with a water level up to our shoulders. Squelchy soft baby powder is perhaps the only description that comes to mind.

Before leaving the lagoon we stop in at the clinic. From rich moisturizers for face and body through to the full package of accommodation and treatments we learn that people travel from all over the world to cure psoriasis and other skin disorders. We leave feeling refreshed and incredibly relaxed – the highlight of our trip to say the least. Time is limited but our trip would not be complete without visiting the Hofdi house on the coast of Iceland which became the venue for the historic meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev in 1986. Set in this prefab Norwegian

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56 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

Deconstruction

Daniella Casamento

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t is rare for the transformation of a hospitality venue to be completed in five days but in early October, and in time for the 10th birthday celebrations of Federation Square, Zinc re-opened with a chic new look. A Scandinavian design aesthetic of light colours and clean lines merges with the existing architecture of slanted concrete rendered walls and angles that are reminders of Zinc’s relationship to the larger setting. Helen Rice of Rice Design and the designer of the original fit-out, understood the complexities of designing for a function centre and the importance

of adhering to an inflexible timeline. “We found time in October when there were no bookings and worked back from there,” explains Rice. “The builder started work on the Tuesday and handed back the following Monday lunchtime.” This decision allowed the builder to work unfettered and to a fast program which was planned well in advance of the handover. Carpet designed for the function room was ordered in May to allow for manufacturing lead-times and delivery from Germany. The existing ceiling was repainted and the stone tiled floor was retained at the bar and bathrooms while some tiles were removed to make way for the custom-designed rug at the entry. Dark toned perforated acoustic timber veneer panels that disguise doors were replaced with a lighter veneer which adds warmth and accentuates the graphic nature of the perforations. Glass clad columns were retained for their corporate look. New white curtains, with sections of open weave that form a geometric pattern, give the interior a sense of occasion. They can be drawn to

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increase the function space or closed to provide separation between the casual and formal setting. “As a function centre, the space needs to look corporate in the morning and sophisticated at night,” explains Rice, adding “the view to the river is an important aspect of the venue’s location.” The large function area can be divided into two smaller rooms with dedicated facilities to cater for two different groups. This flexibility in design allows Zinc to manage up to three bump-in times per day in peak times. Particular focus was given to the bar to achieve the desired minimalist aesthetic. A white marble countertop and illuminated backlit perspex to the bar front replace original darker finishes. Behind the bar, a rendered concrete wall now simplifies the overall scheme and provides the setting for a decorative art glass installation by Mark Douglass. The delicate nature of the white glass cells on the black painted background is in stark contrast to the surrounding hard surfaces and provides a graphic counterbalance to the minimalist scheme.

3. Wall Finishes

• Sealed Hardipanel • Rockcote • Dulux • Wattyl • White Oak • Baresque • Kvadrat Maharam

An artwork by Stieg Persson was the inspiration for the luxurious inset rug which features in the pre-function area. As an admirer of his work, Rice presented the client with an image she had saved from an exhibition held at Anna Schwartz Gallery some years prior. On the client’s approval of the overall scheme the image was purchased then digitally recreated for the custom rug. “Persson was excited about the idea of using his art in this way,” Rice says, “as his work will reach more people.” This organic design paired with the cluster of new folded paper pendants above, acts to soften the otherwise very linear elements of the interior and is consistent with the selection of new interventions. Zinc retains a sense of familiarity with the old, now invigorated by a less formal interior that has a fresh and youthful appeal.

4. Ff&E Finishes

• Grant Doorman • Svenska • Instyle • Royston House • Warwick

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5. Light Fittings

• Schaivello

6. Artists

• Stieg Persson • Mark Douglass


THE MELB OU R N E R EVIEW NOVEMBER 201 2

FORM DESI GN

PLANNI NG

S PO N S O R E D BY

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UPPER HOUSE A stunning new apartment project from Piccolo on the edge of the CBD

Swinburne to THE WORLD Recent graduates in Technology and Design have gone on to outstanding careers.

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PLANNING IS FOR EXPERTS Byron George argues against too much populist input into planning decisions

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a livability conversation Jennifer Cunich encourages an open conversation around ways to develop Melbourne.

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58 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

FORM From Swinburne to Nike and the London Olympics

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need for a new pair of runners resulted in a Swinburne University of Technology Design graduate and former Melbourne resident landing a dream job with Nike ahead of this year’s London Olympics. Quan Payne had caught the travel bug and wasn’t planning to settle down into a regular job when the opportunity fronted in what he says was a “moment of weakness.” “I needed to buy new running shoes, so I went onto nike.com,” Quan said. “I saw the jobs button down the bottom and in a moment of weakness I clicked.” The first job that came up was for ‘Global Brand Art Director London Olympics 2012.’ Thinking it sounded interesting Quan sent through his resume and within hours got a call from Nike’s recruitment team. He flew to the United States for an interview and was offered the job. A month after searching for new runners, the 27-year-old who describes himself as “not a natural sports fan,” had a new job with one of the biggest sporting goods manufacturers in the world, and was moving from Cape Town, South Africa, to Portland, Oregon, in the USA. Being the Global Art Director for London 2012 involved developing the athlete and product direction, as well as the visual communication for the brand’s campaign and in store presence during this year’s most watched sporting event. “I would never have thought when I graduated that I would be sitting on a specially designed Mad Max style truck with a Phantom camera hanging from a boom out the back directing Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix running through the streets of Los Angeles,” he said.

“Standing outside Selfridges on Oxford Street in London, looking at a queue of young people that extended round the block waiting to get into a Nike pop-up store that contained creative that I made was something that I never experienced before.”

With a brief to build an international quality design studio and to transform the perception of the business by the consumer from archaic and elitist, to modern and accessible, the expectations were high with a design team with no prior agency experience.”

Quan was determined to make a successful career in Design even before the opportunity at Nike surfaced. After graduating in Communication Design, with Honours, from Swinburne, in 2006, Quan secured his first job at Frost Design in Sydney. “I became the youngest Design Director at Frost in 2007, where I took on at the time, Frost’s largest advertising account, the Northern Territory Tourism Commission, as well as working on numerous projects spanning branding, publication, web design, and environmental design.”

The opportunity saw Quan clock up more than 100,000 air miles, months living in hotel rooms and sets with more than 100 crew, but he said it was worth it.

In 2009 Quan was seconded as the consultant from Frost to guide Woolworths, South Africa, with the responsibility of across-business creative direction as well as overseeing and directing the construction and development of an internal design studio.

“Suddenly seeing things that you created appear across the city, including billboards and department stores, was amazing,” he said.

“With a brief to build an international quality design studio and to transform the perception of the business by the consumer from archaic and

Quan Payne

elitist, to modern and accessible, the expectations were high with a design team with no prior agency experience.” Woolworths in South Africa is a stark contrast to its namesake in Australia. The department stores are upmarket, similar to David Jones. He spent two years working with Woolworths, breaking down barriers along the way. “It is not easy for a designer to be accepted as equal in the corporate world, and it took me almost a year to build up lasting confidence in Woolworths South Africa, across all the category leadership all the way up to the CEO,” he said.

“This meant that I was able to help influence creative business decisions that changed the consumer perception of the brand dramatically over the two-year period I was there.” In the space of six years Quan has worked his way around the world but said there are still many challenges ahead. “In my career I’ve made it a point to work across as many different creative disciplines as possible. I’m hoping that my next step will be something that I never would have expected.”

Designing a dream

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ninth birthday present from her father of a domain name and mini website was what set Melbourne woman Alina Korovina on the path to a career in Design. Alina, who migrated from Russia to Melbourne when she was three years old, is currently studying for a Bachelor of Design (Digital Media Design) at Swinburne University of Technology. She says her love of drawing started at an early age and continued through her secondary school years, so it was a natural progression to study Design. “My ninth birthday present from my dad was my own domain name with a little mini website

set up on it, so he kind of pre-empted all of this,” Alina said. “The first couple of projects in year seven and eight were to build websites. I think probably about year ten or eleven it was pretty evident that it (Design) was where I was going to go. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.” Alina still has a website, alina.com.au although now it showcases her current projects and lets those visiting it get an insight into her bright, bubbly personality and love of animation. She is currently participating in an Industry Placement as part of her course and will return to university in 2013 to complete her Honours. Her industry placement is at Melbourne web


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 59

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Graduate Exhibitions 2012

design business Studio Moso, where she works as a multimedia design intern mainly working on web design. “Projects I’ve worked on include flash banners, web design and basic back end coding and some motion graphics work,” Alina said. “I have also worked on two TV commercials for car insurance company Shannons, while working here. Being employed in a studio full time this year has been an incredible experience.”

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The most invaluable aspect of the program has been gaining an insight into a specific area of the industry, and understanding precisely what Alina wants to pursue after graduation. “My skill set has been boosted and I have become more confident and a better communicator. The most invaluable aspect of the program has been gaining an insight into a specific area of the industry, and understanding precisely what I wish to pursue upon graduation. “This takes away a lot of the uncertainties I would have felt about what to do with my degree.” When she is not at her day job she partakes in her other passion, music. That involves spreading those precious few hours of her free time between strumming the guitar at home and following the local music scene. A self confessed cartoon fan, Alina has her aspirations set on a job in animation where she can let her creative juices run wild.

Alina Korovina

“At the moment I have got my sights set on working at an animation studio in New York called Buck,” she says. “I would be absolutely stoked if I ever set foot through those doors.” Buck is a design-driven production company that employs a collective of directors, producers, digital artists, graphic designers, illustrators and animators. The company specialises in animation and visual effects, and has a broad range of clients in the advertising, broadcast, film and entertainment industries. For the moment though that dream job will have to wait.

The Melbourne review Quality writing on the arts, culture, ideas, knowledge, health, science, politics, design, planning, entertainment, gastronomy, technology, business and finance.

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ach year Swinburne University of Technology graduating Design, and Film and Television students, hold exhibitions and screenings of their work throughout November and December. This year a collection of work from final year, Honours and Masters students in Design and screenings of graduate films from Film and Television students, will be on display across Melbourne. The exhibitions are an opportunity for industry professionals and design lovers to be inspired by the work of emerging designers and celebrate excellence in the design field. Included in the exhibitions will be designs by eleven Swinburne Communication Design students that won awards at the recent 2012 Southern Cross Packaging Design Awards. Leah Baxter won Gold for her entry ‘Pu’erh,’ in the ‘Gourmet Coffee and Tea’ brief, which required aesthetically pleasing packaging with visual impact and which met safety requirements. The Film and Television Graduate Exhibition 2012 will feature the world-class productions of Swinburne’s Bachelor of Film and Television 2012 graduating students. This year has seen the School of Film and Television students and graduates win 31 international film awards. The best work of graduating students will be screened on December 17 at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Federation Square. Among the films being screened will be a short film produced by Film and Television student, Romilly Spiers, who took out the top award for Ten Quintillion, winning a Grand Remi for Experimental Film and Video at the 45th Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival. Ten Quintillion is a nature film that uses innovative cinematography and sound techniques to explore the creatures and plants that inhabit the suburban garden. More information about the film screenings, exhibition times and locations can be found at swinburne.edu.au/design/events/graduateexhibitions-2012.html


60 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

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upper house launches on cbd doorstep

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structural masterpiece that keeps your head in the sky and your feet on the ground, Piccolo Developments is adding to the rich diversity of Carlton’s residential landscape with the launch of its stunning new boutique project Upper House. Located at 516-520 Swanston Street, where Carlton meets the CBD, Upper House sees the transformation of the former Electrical Trades Union Building into a landmark 17-level project featuring 110 high-end apartments. Upper House features two distinct offerings, The Cloud apartments which appear to levitate, floating as a cloud, above The Podium apartments. Nestled in between the two residential elements on the 11th floor is The Observatory, a unique concept where the entire level, more than 500sqm or 10% of the total project, has been dedicated to communal space. The area features an observatory, gymnasium, lounge, dining area, and a spectacular skyline garden. The green retreat showcases magnificent views of Melbourne’s CBD, north and Port Phillip Bay and will encourage a special sense of community among residents. Scheduled for completion in 2014, Upper House is leading the way in ambitious residential design. Such is the interest in Upper House, the project was

already 45% sold prior to its official launch. Two years in the planning, Upper House is the latest project from multi-award winning developer Piccolo, renowned as one of Victoria’s premier residential luxury property developers. A boutique family business, with Mima and Michael Piccolo at the helm, Piccolo Developments has completed more than 500 apartments over the past 10 years, many of them in their beloved Carlton. At the centerpiece of its portfolio is The Garden House (see The Melbourne Review, February 2012), which recently claimed accolades including the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) State and National Award for Best Medium Density Development and The President’s Award, Australia’s Most Outstanding Development. The project also received a commendation in the Property Development category, at the Australian Property Institute 2012 Excellence in Property Awards. Piccolo Developments secured award-winning architects Jackson Clements Burrows Architects ( JCB) to create Upper House. Distinguished for their exceptional architecture, interior and urban design, JCB has created an architectural point of difference with a scattering of balconies and windows that provides the Upper House façade with a three-dimensional quality – its own

topography. The sophisticated, elegant interior of the apartments showcases luxury living spaces and high quality finishes with signature items completed in black chrome. Piccolo Developments director Michael Piccolo said, “Piccolo Developments is dedicated to creating landmark properties that are timeless and inspiring, and are designed for busy 21st century lifestyles. Upper House is a boutique project that is spearheading a design revolution – it is innovative and has its own special identity. It combines location, luxury and, thanks to The Observatory level, a fresh twist on high-end urban apartment living. People who buy into Upper House will want to live here, not rent their properties out. We are very proud of Upper House.” Upper House is expected to appeal to young professionals and owner / occupiers looking for a luxury home on the lip of the CBD, as well as astute investors. The Podium (levels 1-10) features 60 one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments (with a floor area of 41-44sqm) and 30 two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments (floor area 53-57sqm). Apartments start from $380,000. The Cloud, spanning levels 12-17, features 20 two-bedroom, two bathroom apartments (floor area 64-65sqm) with prices starting from $700,000.

INFORMATION Located at 520 Swanston Street, Melbourne, the Upper House display suite is open daily from noon – 4pm. Selling Agents Colliers International can be contacted on 1300 863 520. upperhouse.com.au


the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012 61

FORM modest projects. It’s fine when building a house in Ringwood, but not so good for adding a level to the back of a terrace in Fitzroy. This is why a strong and independent VCAT is so important. It removes the political aspects of the approval process, and measures each project independently by a member with years of experience in the planning system. This should be the starting point for planning reform in Victoria. Tailor the objectives of Rescode to each area so developments in Cremorne are treated differently to those in Cranbourne. Provide a balanced and objective framework for planning objections. Most of all, remove planning powers from elected local councillors. Robust debate is very important in the development of our city. Input from those who are directly affected (i.e., the local residents) is vitally important. The final say however, should be a balanced and considered approach that offers clarity and certainty for all parties – not a populist nod to the NIMBY set.

Melbourne, 1945. Courtesy of State Library of Victoria.

Somebody drew that Byron George

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his is going to sound ridiculous if quoted out of context, but hear me out. I think Italy’s current political situation should be the envy of the western world. Yes, the Italian economy is about as firm as a stale tiramisu; yes, the country was ruled by a leader more interested in pushing his own personal agenda than running the country; and yes, many Italians are frustrated and disillusioned by the political system. The difference is the country is now run not by an elected prime minister who also happens to own most of the private media, but by a technocrat and economist who is actually an expert in the field Italy most desperately needs. Fixing an economic mess. Skill 1, Populism, 0. It did take the tanking of the world financial system and the temporary shelving of democracy, but on the plus side, there is a newly blooming optimism on the streets of Rome.

I since learned that planning can work like this in parts of New South Wales. It’s about lobbying the councillors. In Victoria we have Rescode, which is supposed to provide a series of guidelines by which a project can be measured or designed. On the whole this works quite well. Local government elections can show the best and worst aspects of democracy. From a planning point of view, the level of government that offers the greatest access to the general public is also the part of our political system that is most at risk of political interference. In Stonnington, where I work and live, almost every candidate in the recent election ran on a platform that included stronger local controls on planning and campaigning to remove the power of VCAT to overturn local planning decisions. On the surface, this sounds like a good thing. It puts the power back to those directly elected. But planning is complicated. It’s about managing a multitude of often conflicting issues. On site amenity, overlooking, sun exposure to adjacent yards, urban scale, heritage, sustainability, traffic, existing fabric, flood plains, it goes on. These things should be managed by someone who is trained to do so. Particularly when you look at the level of investment required to build something. This investment is one of the biggest issues.

Byron George and partner Ryan Russell are directors of Russell & George, a design and architecture practice with offices in Melbourne and Rome. russellandgeorge.com

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This wasn’t the worst of it. A large waterfront development had three levels chopped off the top, despite the fact that it was the same height as buildings either side. It had a swimming pool added because one councillor decided it would be good for encouraging an active lifestyle, even though it was across the road from the beach and a public swimming pool. I have no issue with

The third item on the agenda was about a person who had illegally added a level to their house blocking several people’s view of the harbour. This was one area where you would have thought would have been relatively black and white. Surprisingly, the councillors decided to approve the development.

On top of this, the urban fabric in inner city areas means that it’s almost impossible to comply with all clauses of Rescode, even when doing

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Three years ago I was lucky enough to be part of a council planning meeting in inner Sydney for a small job I was doing at the time. My job was straightforward; we were asking for some external seating for a small (unlicenced) food premises in a busy shopping strip. This was supported by the planners in council, but objected to by local councillors, who stood up one by one showboating about how what we were doing would lead to the ruination of the neighbourhood. The reason? Young people would congregate and litter.

changes being made during the planning process if they mean that the development complies with carefully considered rules or responds to local context. I have a major problem with councillors using planning to perpetuate personal views.

Millions of dollars are often tied up in projects, and thousands of dollars in design and consultant fees, before something even comes close to getting out of the ground. Nothing kills a project like uncertainty.

Whether you’re completing an undergraduate qualification, or have been working in the industry, now’s the time to change your surroundings with an Architecture and Built Environment degree at Deakin University. Visit deakin.edu.au/scitech/arcmr or call 1300 DEGREE (1300 334 733) for more information.


62 the MELBOURNE REVIEW NOVEMBER 2012

FORM Lifestyle Working Collins Street – setting the standard in sustainability

V Time for a livability conversation Jennifer Cunich

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s we head into the 21 century, Me l b o urn e cannot afford to adopt a narrow view about liveability. For the second year running, we have been named ‘The World’s Most Liveable City’ by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit (EIU) Liveability Ranking. Melbourne’s status as a world-class city has been the result of its smart and planned growth. It is something which we should be proud of. However, if we are to maintain our liveability edge, our vision for the future should comprise a clear set of priorities which continue to evolve with the times. In many ways, there is false security in being labelled the most liveable city in the world. The Economist’s ranking was intended to serve as a comparative guide for use by companies sending

their knowledge workers abroad. As such, the metrics reveal a prioritisation of certain liveability characteristics over others, and fails to account for some of the issues and shortcomings most keenly felt by long-term residents of a city. A look at other urban configurations shows us that liveability is a fluid concept with constantly changing parameters. The league table devised by architect and urban planner Filippo Lovato, for the Best City Contest in July, included in the rubrics a score for spatial features (green space, sprawl, natural assets, cultural assets, connectivity, isolation and pollution). The winner of his ‘Spatially Adjusted Livability Index’ surprisingly was Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. In order to plan for livability, we should be accounting for factors that demonstrate Melbourne’s capacity to manage the demands of future populations as well as current ones. Lovato’s Index provides a more rounded perspective on the idea of a livable city because it forces us to

rethink our agenda. Unlike the EIU’s listing which favoured ‘relatively low population density’, Lovato’s Index included aspects of urban planning as an important consideration for any city. As a result, it is important to remember that not all livability assessors define success the same way. Melbourne’s urban challenges are unique. Therefore, any definition of livability should be unique as well. As we plan for the future, Melbournians need to think carefully about how we can approach livability issues in the context of Melbourne’s future growth needs. The view of what makes Melbourne liveable will need to balance current realities with the necessary improvements required to meet future demand. Issues such as housing choice, transport connectivity, jobs growth, sustainability and infrastructure provision must all feature prominently. The Victorian Government’s recently released Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy Discussion Paper makes a good start of beginning of this important community debate. I encourage all Victorians to read it and join the conversation about our city’s future.

INFORMATION Jennifer Cunich is Victorian Executive Director, Property Council of Australia propertyoz.com.au/vic

ictoria Harbour in Melbourne’s Docklands is setting a g lobal benchmark for urban development and environmentally sustainable design of built and open space. It is home to the highest concentration of green buildings in Australia. The innovative Lifestyle Working Collins Street project currently under construction will further contribute to the diversity of Victoria Harbour’s vibrant commercial offering by attracting small to medium business enterprises. The development is a creation by Lend Lease in collaboration with the Stable Group. The base principles guiding the design and operation of the Lifestyle Working Collins Street strata office concept are tangible and measurable value-add benefits - far more efficient space, low operating costs, leading edge technologies and ground breaking sustainable initiatives. Lifestyle Working Collins Street will be one of the few commercial strata office buildings to target NABERS 5-star Energy and Water rating and a minimum of 5 Star Green Star. The building has been designed with lower operating costs in mind. Reduced energy needs with extensive natural ventilation and supplementary solar energy are some of the initiatives that will help keep the operating costs down and contribute to stronger economic performance. Solar energy has been incorporated as a viable and established component within the design. A significant proportion of the base building energy requirements will be supported by an allocation of solar panels from the roof. The unique and groundbreaking innovation is the largest solar panel array on a building in Melbourne. Purchasers are able to buy their very own 1.5KvH solar lot, wired to their individual suite. During working hours, the suites are powered by the solar panels and when the suites aren’t in use, the solar power is fed back into the grid – a distinctive, valuable and measurable benefit. Lifestyle Working Collins Street suites start from $450,000. For further information visit lifestyleworkingcollinsstreet.com.au


Swinburne Design Graduate Exhibition. Imagination meets innovation at Swinburne University of Technology’s Design Graduate Exhibitions. Free and open to the public, our citywide series is a great opportunity to view the qualit y, breadth and creativity of work undertaken by our design students. Communication Design Wednesday 28 November – Sunday 2 December Digital Media Design Thursday 29 November – Friday 7 December Industrial Design Tuesday 27 – Wednesday 28 November Interior Design Friday 23 – Wednesday 28 November Product Design Engineering Wednesday 5 – Thursday 6 December

Visit our website for the most up-to-date information, including exhibition times and locations.

swinburne.edu.au/designexpo

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