Author: Brian Matthews

  • AUSTRALIA

    Aboriginal footballers' MCG dreaming

    • Brian Matthews
    • 16 October 2015
    3 Comments

    In the recent AFL Grand Final, the performance of Aboriginal footballer Cyril Rioli seemed to be not much short of magic. Well, perhaps the spirit world did make a contribution. In 1844, a great throng of clans was camped on the site of what became the MCG. Perhaps, 170 years later, Aboriginal footballers, running down the race for the first time and steeling themselves for the noise, the space, the tension, find instead a great sense of intimacy as their feet hit the grass of the oval.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    I was a teenage Cold War Russophile

    • Brian Matthews
    • 18 September 2015
    9 Comments

    When Josef Stalin died on 5 March 1953, a couple of months into my Matriculation year, my Russophile leanings seemed about to be intensified. Research in those days was a matter of consulting encyclopaedias, or, if possible, going to the Public Library, but in Stalin's case the newspapers were full of reports, history, anecdote, judgement and various degrees of relief, so there was suddenly plenty of information.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Real estate agents and the crime of locality theft

    • Brian Matthews
    • 21 August 2015
    5 Comments

    We set off towards the beach and the esplanade that meanders towards what the better class of resident likes to call the 'village'. 'I prefer "township" – it's more Australian,' I said. Roy scoffed at what he called 'this "village" nonsense.' Referring to electronic theft of credit card numbers, online personal details, he said: 'I reckon there's also a phenomenon you could call locality theft.'

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Future shock is the new normal

    • Brian Matthews
    • 24 July 2015
    8 Comments

    They are ‘coming to get us’, warns our Prime Minister, adapting the ‘bogey man’ mode of our childhood fears to the contemporary narrative of terrorism and violence. The effect of related intrusions on our daily lives is being gradually dulled. The neoliberal dispensation under which we now live both relies on, and encourages, new episodes of normalisation that go far beyond what we've known in the past.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    All deaths great and small

    • Brian Matthews
    • 26 June 2015
    1 Comment

    Many deaths of course are not small deaths. They evoke distinction, achievement, leadership, innovation, creativity or, in some cases notoriety, quixoticism or eccentricity. Yet placing some names above many, some in a class of their own, others in a ruck of the scarcely memorable, one indispensable criterion unites all the characters and places them beyond our imaginative, intellectual or descriptive reach: they are dead.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The snob who snubbed Australia's Indigenous imagination

    • Brian Matthews
    • 01 May 2015
    14 Comments

    Mrs Cowling was formidable. Her significant physical presence was accentuated by a commanding mien, impeccable English enunciation, and an impressive depth and breadth of literary reference supporting rock-firm opinions. All these years later, I wonder just how burdened she was in teaching literature to Australian students, which she continued to do into her 80th year, by her husband's notoriety.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Cricket's assault on Australian racism

    • Brian Matthews
    • 27 March 2015
    11 Comments

    During the West Indies 1960-61 tour of Australia, Frank Worrell and his predominantly black team transfixed Australians from coast to coast and, without any missionary intent, struck a resounding blow at the White Australia Policy, which was still in place. This jubilant, exciting story prompts questions about today's masses, who enthusiastically support harsh, and arguably racist, treatment of asylum seekers.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Negotiating climate deniers and plovers

    • Brian Matthews
    • 27 February 2015
    9 Comments

    Call me paranoid if you like, but as I walked away, affecting a nonchalant strolling gait, I knew, I just knew, that she was a climate change denier and was daring me to argue the point. Had I hesitated one more moment, I would have been regaled with statistics about the mild coastal summer and other utterly benign climatological phenomena.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pop up shop of poetic pollie horrors

    • Brian Matthews
    • 30 January 2015
    9 Comments

    We all have these abruptly resurfacing images and references that pop up unannounced. For example, Treasurer Joe Hockey’s musings on the poor, who don’t drive very far – ‘O scathful harme, condition of povertie’ (Chaucer). And the rich, who are ‘lifters’. I was invaded mentally by Yeats’s ‘Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns.’ Without pain and with cigars and smirks of self-congratulation. 

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How Phillip Hughes' death moved the nation

    • Brian Matthews
    • 05 December 2014
    4 Comments

    Greg Chappell has already made the comparison with the response to Princess Diana's death, but it goes back further than that, to John Donne, for example, in 1624: 'No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main'. Death haunts the newspapers and the airwaves. Just? Not at all. Every now and then, we cower and weep before Death's undiscriminating might.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    David Cameron's shirtfronting impotence

    • Brian Matthews
    • 07 November 2014
    4 Comments

    Some aspects of the English/Scottish independence referendum confrontation rang interesting bells for Australia. But British PM David Cameron has had to tread cautiously on foreign policy to avoid adding grist to the 'Yes' campaign's mill. Not so Tony Abbott, for whom strutting the world stage works a treat to lift the pall of governmental confusion and unpopularity.

    READ MORE
  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The enemy in my kitchen

    • Brian Matthews
    • 10 October 2014
    2 Comments

    I have always prided myself on my capacity to do some heavy labouring in my spare time, but a serious back injury put a stop to most of that. Michael doesn't mind though. I point at the pizza oven and its need for removal. 'Well, mate,' he says, 'it's dressed in black and it's totally masked and unidentifiable. It wouldn't be allowed into Parliament would it?'

    READ MORE

x

Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up