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Keywords: Brian Matthews

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Wit, irony and the Australian vernacular: Remembering Brian Matthews

    • John Schumann
    • 15 June 2022
    4 Comments

    Most of us, when pushed, can name a couple of teachers who had a profound influence on our lives. For me, Brian Matthews was one such teacher. I enrolled in English at Flinders University in 1972. On asking the enrolling officer whether anybody was ‘doing anything about Lawson’, I was directed to the office of Brian Matthews, a recent appointment to the English Department. ‘I hear you know something about Lawson,’ I said, leaning in his doorway.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The true quiet Australians: 10 of the best of Brian Matthews

    • Brian Matthews
    • 09 June 2022
    2 Comments

    Brian Matthews, academic, award-winning columnist and biographer, and Australia's foremost scholar on Henry Lawson and his mother Louisa, died last Thursday 2 June following complications related to lymphoma, at the age of 86. Brian first wrote for Eureka Street in February, 2002 and continued to contribute his monthly column for 20 years.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    From the archives: Dad's army

    • Brian Matthews
    • 09 June 2022

    It was Christmas morning of... many years ago. I was about eight years old but, despite my advanced age, I remained a dogged believer in Father Christmas. This belief was maintained in the face of cynicism and derision from the youthful toughs I consorted with and despite my own unspoken qualms in moments of inconvenient rationality. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Standing room only

    • Brian Matthews
    • 30 November 2021
    1 Comment

    The time: Queen’s Birthday Monday 1992. The place: outside the Great Southern Stand of the MCG. The occasion: St Kilda versus Collingwood. One word, belonging to the world we all now live in, brings the scene vividly back to me … because the gathering throng is clearly going to be huge — much bigger than forecast — and because one section of the G, at least as I remember it, is closed off for some local temporary reason, a very large crowd will require more than routine management.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The satisfactions of homeliness

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 October 2021
    2 Comments

    I’m reminded of George Orwell in smashed-up thoroughly locked-down, wartime London welcoming the first signs of spring amidst the ruins and winter’s lingering cold but wondering whether he should. ‘Is it wicked,’ he asks, ‘to take a pleasure in spring and other seasonal changes? To put it more precisely, is it politically reprehensible?’ 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tying off the threads of doubt

    • Brian Matthews
    • 05 August 2021
    4 Comments

    In times of unexpected or inexplicable crisis, humans all over the globe regardless of race, religion, lineage or historical evidence, will often turn to myth, the occult, each other, to their until then untested and unimpressive leaders, or to a hoped-for apparent miracle to explain what seemed otherwise beyond explanation.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The true quiet Australians

    • Brian Matthews
    • 03 June 2021
    6 Comments

    Red gum, this ‘smooth-barked large tree that gives watercourses all over Australia their Australian feel’, seemed intent on bobbing up in my life one way or another, sometimes as a result of sheer luck or coincidence.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mates, spies and silence

    • Brian Matthews
    • 30 March 2021
    4 Comments

    The military police were waiting for us in Gallipoli and they were not happy. Approaching in darkness, when we rolled to a stop we were immediately surrounded by uniformed figures. A group of men playing cards outside a café watched this drama unfold and one shouted something which made them all laugh. The military police, however, did not laugh.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Crossing borders in a Kombi van

    • Brian Matthews
    • 16 February 2021
    6 Comments

    The border-obsessed times we live in reminded me of some really tough borders I encountered in years past. It is October 1961, the place: rural Turkey. Where you would have expected to roll on down the deserted dusty road, there is a boom gate and four sentries. This can’t be a border, however.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tis the times' plague

    • Brian Matthews
    • 24 November 2020
    5 Comments

    In measures now sadly familiar in 2020, theatres were closed once the number of weekly deaths exceeded 30, later 40, but because actors and the theatre world itself were so economically vulnerable, actors, understandably intent on earning a living, soon legally or otherwise cut themselves some slack by taking liberties with the rules governing performances and quarantine — again, a phenomenon that is now, against all previous odds, familiar to people of 2020.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The romance of the song

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 October 2020
    10 Comments

    He came in, sat down, and we talked about Henry Lawson. He was well read in the field, having encountered Lawson not only in a small way at school but especially at home where his mother had given him an anthology of Australian stories and he’d come across ‘The Drover’s Wife’. We hit it off: he was pleasant, engaging and witty and we resolved to continue our talk in the near future.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Our neighbour Sam

    • Brian Matthews
    • 04 August 2020
    19 Comments

    Our neighbor Sam is in his mid-seventies. He takes things quietly, enjoys a chat where our two gardens converge at a corner of the lambing paddock that unfolds beyond our shared wire fence and, regularly in summer, Sam is partial to a few cooling drinks.

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