section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    15 Wisdom Street

    • John Ellison Davies
    • 17 June 2014
    5 Comments

    The woman next door is not talking to her husband. She rakes a garden argument, punishes leaves, brawls with flowers, frustrated by the strength of weeds, kneels on a stone and swears. Inside the house her husband smokes and reads the paper, turns each urgent page, amazed that he is not news. He wonders who writes true histories of pain, of hate. Newsprint stains his fingers like guilt.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Cancer teens in love and death

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 12 June 2014
    1 Comment

    Augustus and Hazel meet in a support group for cancer sufferers. During the course of their ensuing romance they both prove to be pragmatic about their own mortality. They share frank discussions about God and the afterlife, and gain little comfort from them. It's an inherently sad story, but to parallel the individual horror of their cancer with the experiences of Anne Frank during the Holocaust is a step to far.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The boy who never stops

    • Clare Locke
    • 10 June 2014
    4 Comments

    I'm sitting on sturdy chair, stretch cotton nightie, baby to my breast in this pale light, my newest success. Memory has framed this view, of life dawning, love nestled quietly in a sure footed chair. Years on, that honeyed perfection, the bliss of triumphant togetherness, soothes the shock of his rage, his energy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Atheist Clive James' hymn to God

    • Philip Harvey
    • 10 June 2014
    8 Comments

    Rumours of his death are greatly exaggerated, but Clive James has since 2010 made a public art of dying. It is in this intense moment of re-evaluation of life that we read his translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. Possibly no great poem is so immersed in the connections between our life here and now with life after death. It's striking that an avowed atheist produces the best poetry in Paradiso.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Veteran muckraker wrestles with God

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 06 June 2014
    2 Comments

    When journalist and activist Barbara Ehrenreich was a young woman she came face to face 'with something vast, terrifying and unknowable'. We mustn't take for granted the courage this admission took coming from such a committed atheist. While noting science can 'dismiss anomalous 'mystical' experiences', she wrestles her discontent into submission by boldly declaring that it 'is not unscientific to search for what may not be there'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    White messiah rides Rwanda's cycle of hope

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 05 June 2014
    1 Comment

    In 2002 US Cycling Hall of Famer Jock Boyer was convicted of lewd behaviour with a minor and served time in prison. Today he is the coach of Team Rwanda, a team for Rwandan cyclists, associated with aid organisation Project Rwanda. In Rising From Ashes, the traumatic experiences of his team members, all of whom were living witnesses to the 1994 genocide and lost family members to it, are footnotes to Boyer's redemption story.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Regime change is fashionable this year

    • Les Wicks
    • 03 June 2014

    There are efficiencies in the fictions of right. The glee, that honest toil of looting other lives. Each tumble clears the view, just a bit. Years are nothing, what's rebuilt doesn't work — just as effortlessly as the dirty little system before that so many died to defend. But don't worry, time is a grader. Alongside the quacking of historians all mistakes will be buried under new initiatives.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sex and alienation in Scotland

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 29 May 2014
    2 Comments

    The succubus of medieval legend is a female demonic being, sexual intercourse with whom can result in sickness or death. This resonates uneasily with the attitudes of contemporary 'men's rights' movements who view women as social and sexual aggressors. The greatest irony confronting the 'succubus' of Under the Skin is that the femaleness that she had wielded as a weapon proves also to be what marks her out as a victim.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greek neighbour's grace and lemons

    • Nick Gadd
    • 28 May 2014
    5 Comments

    He has two hobbies: playing the bouzouki, and reporting cars for parking infringements. We don't see much of him, but sometimes we hear plunka-plunka-plunk from the other side of the fence. On a night of storms, our gum tree splits and falls, and, at 3am, orange-suited SES men and women climb onto our roof with chainsaws. Our neighbour emerges in a dressing gown, waving his arms. 'Don't damage my lemon tree!'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    God of the cracks

    • P. S. Cottier
    • 27 May 2014
    2 Comments

    mona lisa with monobrow, smiling past watchers as she spots the gay god, the god who goes down, sweet curser of figtrees, just to perplex theologists.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Planning for a good death

    • Michele Gierck
    • 26 May 2014
    9 Comments

    The ambulance has brought my 88-year-old mother to the Accident and Emergency ward at the local public hospital. In answering the doctor's question about resuscitation, I'm so thankful that my mother's wishes have been made clear, and documented by her general practitioner, by means of an Advance Health Directive.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Feelgood celebration of white male privilege

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 22 May 2014
    1 Comment

    Given last week's unequivocal iteration of the dire state of Australian politics, perhaps we've earned the right to a bit of escapism. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty proves adept at turning the warm-and-fuzzies up to 11. Still there's no escaping the sense that Walter's ability to jet around the world in order to find himself is implicitly an expression of affluent, white male privilege.

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