keywords: Brian Matthews

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Larrikin poet's Sentimental 'slanguage'

    • Brian Matthews
    • 16 September 2009
    3 Comments

    C. J. Dennis once wrote that, as a boy, he had 'a devout and urgent desire to become a larrikin'. The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke provides a window on part of Australian culture and the traditions, speech and images that forged it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Economists and other prophets

    • Brian Matthews
    • 12 August 2009
    3 Comments

    Economists are often, sometimes spectacularly, wrong. But like all prophets, they are unabashed by and unpunished for abject failures. They pop up from each new set of ruins, surprised yet unrepentant, princes of a plethora of evanescent predictions.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Malcolm Turnbull and the parable of the pelicans

    • Brian Matthews
    • 08 July 2009
    3 Comments

    Years ago, a trout fisherman with 'irresistible' bait was outsmarted by a flock of pelicans. Like a punter with unshakeable conviction, Malcolm Turnbull also learned the hard way that there's no such thing as a dead certainty.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The parable of the dirty floor

    • Brian Matthews
    • 17 June 2009
    1 Comment

    The mysterious stain on the kitchen floor was evoking obscure feelings of unease and danger. What was happening in the cosmos that could be making me feel that way? A hell of a lot, as it turned out.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Shakespeare and the F word

    • Brian Matthews
    • 13 May 2009

    If Shakespeare had dabbled in cuisine, dishes such as 'eye of newt' and 'fillet of fenny snake' may have been a sensation. As the first 'foody' to emerge from the obscurity of Stratford-upon-Avon, he would have an unlikely successor: Gordon Ramsay.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The gardener's prodigal son

    • Brian Matthews
    • 15 April 2009

    Joe's plans for a family business foundered on his son's refusal to get out of bed before 10am. Joe was not used to 'spilling his guts', but he needed to talk, and he knew that my experience of teenage vagaries was extensive.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to survive committee meetings

    • Brian Matthews
    • 11 March 2009
    2 Comments

    Some rules of thumb: always say 'prior to' instead of 'before', 'in excess of' instead of 'more than' and 'in the approximate vicinity of' instead of 'about'. It's good to say things like, 'We'll have to real-time this to impact on the offshore numbers'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    When nature is the enemy

    • Brian Matthews
    • 11 February 2009
    7 Comments

    Fires and floods, murderous cyclones, unprecedented storms — none of them confined to their time honoured places and seasons. Nature is no longer our familiar element and our inspiration. It's running amok.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    On Calvin, soaps and international Scrabble

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 February 2009

    'Toxic feedback' is an occupational hazard for columnists. You learn to ignore the aspiration of some readers to see you fed to sharks or eviscerated in public, but the pedants are harder to cop.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Woomf! Plunggg! Protons collide with doomsday fanaticism

    • Brian Matthews
    • 07 January 2009
    4 Comments

    The rumoured potential of the Large Hadron Collider to bring about the disintegration of the universe captured the public imagination. 'Hadron' is a word susceptible to misprinting of a kind that destroys the seriousness of any discussion. (September 2008)

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Scenes from a taxi

    • Brian Matthews
    • 17 December 2008
    1 Comment

    I don't support the view that cab drivers are sources of homespun wisdom and arcane knowledge. Australian cabbies are an amiable, diverse lot, not given to philosophy, though I encountered one spectacular exception.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Secret life of a bullied writer

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 December 2008
    4 Comments

    If Manning Clark was oversensitive to criticism, he was also strongly, sometimes brutally, criticised by his peers and by journalists. Matthews' biography presents the relationship between Clark's writing and his dramatic inner world.

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