Looking at the creative political sign in front of the Kingston Glass Workshop in October (now removed), the message was clear.
Looking at the creative political sign in front of the Kingston Glass Workshop in October (now removed), the message was clear.
The National Library is staging an exhibition of 125 documentary photographs, “Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now”. Continue reading photography at the National Library of Australia
Particular major urban developments in Canberra have been promoted to be in line with the plans of Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin or somehow in the spirit of the Griffins.
Book Review: Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul
Elizabeth Farrelly’s new book “Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul” is a must-read for anyone with an interest in their local planning issues.
Recommended reading for all of us as we try to work out what the hell happened with democracy and how our governments have ruined this country.
Mythomania: Tales of Our Times from Apple to ISIS – by Peter Conrad, Thames and Hudson
Several years ago I had listened to most of Peter Conrad’s BBC podcasts on his topic of Myths – and loved them.
I have read just a little of this book so far – but can say that it as good as if not better than listening to the podcasts of Peter’s broadcasts. It is now part of my reading for the next weeks. And there are new topics covered.
“This is one attempt to uncover how we got to this surreal political moment. It is also an attempt to predict how, under cover of shocks and crises, it could get a lot worse.
And it’s a plan for how, if we keep our heads, we might just be able to flip the script and arrive at a radically better future.” — From the Introduction
I have already reviewed this book – click here.
However I cannot stop pondering the challenge this story throws up for anyone interested in equity, fairness, and the role of the media in so many aspects of our daily lives.
If we had a real media, this story would have been totally different. Instead what happened here was the total manipulation of the media and through them members of the public, by all forms of malicious groups of people and individuals.
It was on hearing certain phrases used over and over again on Australian TV programs talking about the 2016 US election campaign that I became suspicious that we were witnessing a lazy press.
Almost daily the media was taking the same phrases and words and using them over and over again – with no evidence that they could be accurate except that they were the words and phrases being used by most journalists and commentators at the time.
On the basis we were supposed to accept their words as fact.
The theme being – Future thinking
From the publishers:
Although the term and precise starting point might be disputed, many anthropologists believe that ‘behavioural modernity’ – when certain traits such as abstract thinking and symbolic behaviour are said to have emerged in humans – started around 50,000 years ago.
From the publishers: Most Australians despise what Pauline Hanson stands for, yet politics in this country is now orbiting around One Nation. In this timely Quarterly Essay, David Marr looks at Australia’s politics of fear, resentment and race. Who votes One Nation, and why? How much of this is due to inequality? How much to racism? How should the major parties respond to anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim voices? What damage do Australia’s new entrepreneurs of hate inflict on the nation?
This is a must read for the articles on the ALT-Right by Richard Cooke – who pulls no punches and tells it as we all know it but it seems few in the press are game to do – well done Richard; and then there’s a condemning article – with maybe far too much detail – but totally providing an accurate picture of the damage done to the NBN by Malcolm Turnbull and his pals. And what a cover!
My knowledge of Australian history is patchy – I know the basics and much more. History interest me but usually most history books are far too dry. Then along comes this book with that title: GIRT.
Still Lucky, Rebecca Huntley, 2017. This is a good book. The message is clear – Australians are far more optimistic than we have been led to believe by our governments and the media. This researcher has done the research, travelled the country, talked to loads of people over many years. If you are interested in her reports on her research and comments – this book will give you all that and more.
Here’s a good read. Being a selection of essays and diary notes based on many events and sometimes those quite happenings that one observes.
I have not read any Helen Garner’s work but have a reasonable awareness of the topics she writes on. Other reviewers have related this work to previous writings – for me I had to take it all on face value.
I wrote briefly about this earlier – and as I said before – it’s a book for anyone puzzled by the current loser who is Prime Minister.
This essay by Don Watson, is totally recommended. If you are wondering what is going on with the USA and what is happening to democracy, then read this. It is not necessarily about Trump, but more about Don Watson’s observations of the American people and how they have ended up in this place – it is logical. This is in fact where the USA is today.
Book Review: Places Women Make, Jane Jose, 2016
This book is a celebration of the contribution by women to our cultural, social and urban lives. The book has the secondary title ‘Unearthing the contribution of women to our cities.’
The latest in this great series – Quarterly Essay – by George Megalogenis on Balancing Act: Australia between recession and renewal – hits all the buttons and makes the case for urgent action on how the country is being run – or more to the point how bad our governments have been for at least the last decade on so many things that effect the long term viable of the place.
The Price of Coles and Woolworths’ Dominance
This is yet another excellent quarterly publication by Redbacks Books – a subset of Black inc Books – publishers of The Monthly and the Saturday Paper.
Econobabble: How to Decode Political Spin and Economic Nonsense, Richard Denniss 2016
This is the latest in the excellence series, Redback Quartery. And it is a good read – recommended.
How the Abbott Government Destroyed Itself
Waiting for this one – a book about one of the weirdest periods of Australian politics. From the publishers:
Credlin & Co. How the Abbott Government Destroyed Itself by Aaron Patrick. Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, ran a brilliant opposition campaign. But their approach led to disaster in government.
How we forgot how to govern, Laura Tingle, November 2015
This is a recommended read for those with any sort of interest in how Australia has been and continues to be manged by the political ruling classes for the last couple of decades. I cannot say that anything Laura Tingle wrote about was shocking news, given my own experiences of dealing with governments and their bureaucracies, but her insights and observations are definitely worth the read.
I suspect that many people would agree that the joys and subtleties of culture is under threat by mass media technologies and the expectations of the immediate. The demise of culture is addressed in a new book “Notes on the Death of Culture”. This is not a joyous read as it is more about being in a state of despair about so many things about us in western society.
As art publication struggle along with other hard copy magazines, there’s interesting news about how ARTnews and Art in America are to merge to form the world’s largest art-media company.
This issue on Property is very timely as the debate around housing, affordability and ownership continue to dominate how we are making decisions about our cities and towns.
Germany: Memories of a Nation, 2014
I was somewhat aware of the complicated history of the German peoples. Over many years I had dipped into history books about various aspects of German histories. But despite this I had still not quite got my head around just how the German state as we know it today came into being.
This book by Neil MacGregor is recommended not only because it deals very well with the layers of history, but because he does this in a very accessible and enjoyable method. I cannot say the same for the exhibition.
I have just read a copy of a wonderful catalogue of a significant photographic exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA). Yet again the MGA lives up to their reputation as ‘The Home of Australian Photography‘.
Chances are that I will not get to Melbourne to see this exhibition. However, the catalogue is a real gem and should be sought after by anyone interested in the development of Australian photography during the early 20th Century. (click on the images to enlarge)
There’s a good review of this book online that points to the book being a good read. This theme of the effect of the growing inequity on economics and the basis of capitalism is now commonly talked about. click here
This is small book is another in the city series published by Newsouth (University of NSW). I have previously reviewed Hobart (click here) and Adelaide (click here). Paul Daley has told a set of stories about Canberra, the National Capital. Sadly he seems to not have invested the time to gather local knowledge about the city, its people, its life style and its complexities as a 21st Century city of 380,000 people.
Yet to read this, but I am listing as a suggestion for your Christmas reading and/or gift list. We have to move on climate change and I agree that it is an economic discussion, one about capitalism and corporate greed. No wonder our infamous Australia politicians want it off the agenda. It is about dealing with their mates and how they are ripping off the planet.
Happy to promote this book. This story remains complex. There have been several thoughtful reviews of the book published online. As well as the usual crap from the mainstream media, who were part of the problem during Julia Gillard’s time as Prime Minister. Sara Dowse has provided an intelligent and insightful review that is definitely worth reading. click here.
It has also been interesting to read the story of Rebecca Brooks. The question has been posed elsewhere, was she just a user of the corporate and political systems in order to climb the ladder to join the ranks of those in power?
I’m about to get my hands on a copy of this book. Having read some of the commentary about the author and the concepts he is dealing with, the book reinforces the need for more discussion about the topic of enjoyment of architecture and urban spaces.
My life is already involved with dealing with planning bureaucracies that lack vision and any notion of good design. I have posted several times about the blandness of architecture in our cities.
France takes a stand against the giant Amazon in an effort to safeguard its own culture of having viable bookstores. Good news for the French. Hope other are watching. Again, it may be time to shop anywhere but at Amazon. Click here.
Paul Costigan, 29 June 2014
I picked up this book quiet a while ago but it is only now that I have had time to look through it. I am glad I did, as after reading through quite a bit of it, I have become more aware that Canberra has a reasonable amount of good and notable architecture.
I have a quiet interest in good architecture and have spent some energies complaining about the current crop of badly designed houses and commercial buildings being thrust onto Canberra. Residents have despaired that good design in our civic areas and suburbs has become a thing of the past.
They probably thought so until the research behind this book surfaced and now they can read about the real history from this author, Russell Shorto.
This book is the precursor to Russell Shorto’s later book, Amsterdam, reviewed earlier – click here. Both are fascinating reads.
Andrew Dodd provides a thorough overview of Philip Chubb’s insider account of the demise of Kevin Rudd’s climate scheme.
His review males the book to be essential reading. My stack of books is already too high so I have provided this review as a way of tempting others. Click here.
Given the threats to these values almost daily by the current Australian government, it is a must to take time out and do a reality check on just how far backwards these elected clowns are trying to take us.
While obviously about the city, this book is really a celebration of the people and their influence on the whole western world.
Julia Baird, New York Times
The photographs of architecture of the Post-Soviet era.
There’s a review in WIRED online of a book. To quote: Frank Herfort moved to Moscow with no intention to make a book. Like all photographers, the German-born artist always keeps one eye open for potential subjects, but making a book of architectural photos was never the plan. “While scouting the new city for myself, I began to notice these amazing buildings.”
This is another of those smallish book published about Australia’s capital cities. I have already reviewed Hobart, by Peter Timms.
I have to confess that I did not take to the book on Adelaide and at times seriously considered giving up. In the end I had a move quickly through whole sections in order to see where the author was going.
There is book review on the Guardian site. This is timely as Australia government goes through all sorts of actions to set the clock back on environmental issues. I dread what chance anyone would have right now of confronting this government over the long-term treatment of our soils, our biodiversity; in fact anything at all to do with nature.
Damon Young, Philosophy in the Garden
Melbourne University Press
Damon Young explores one of literature’s most intimate relationships: authors and their gardens. For some, the garden provided a retreat from workaday labour; for others, solitude’s quiet counsel. For all, it played a philosophical role: giving their ideas a new life. This book reveals the profound thoughts discovered in parks, backyards and pot-plants. It does not provide tips for mowing overgrown cooch grass, or mulching a dry Japanese maple. It is a philosophical companion to the garden’s labours and joys.
Untangling the Web, Aleks Krotoski 2013
In her book, Aleks takes us through some of the questions such as just how much have we changed because of the world-wide web, Facebook, twitter and google and all internet thingys.
Do not expect her to supply you with all the answers as the internet is very much a work in progress.
End of the Road?, Gideon Haigh, Pengiun Specials, 2013
It’s a tough life taking an interest in your country. Traditionally the main sources of information for most people has been the media. In the last decade this source has become totally corrupted, especially the mainstream media and the ABC.
When it comes to the rhetoric around the car industry in Australia, the ideological arguments that are trotted out do nothing but harm and mislead. Thank god (or whoever is out there) Penguin has these ‘Penguin Specials’ and thank you to Gideon for his research and information that goes a long way to providing a reality check on where the country is at when it comes to having a car industry.
Great Expectations, Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation, Laura Tingle 2013
an expanded version of her previous Quarterly Essay
The beginning of the 21st Century is a time when something changed in society due to a rise in the lack of civility and anger over expectations not being addressed. This unrest has surfaced within the larger political debates as well as in more discrete arenas such as companies, community groups, societies and associations.
The media has had a great time fueling this dissatisfaction through the constant emphasis on problems, large, small and imaginary, about our governments. Continue reading Laura Tingle Great Expectations
Flat Earth News, Nick Davies 2009
Nick Davies went out on limb as he has criticised his own profession. I suspect he did not win too many friends.
He was reporting on the facts based on his own research and experiences from inside the tent on what had happened to contemporary journalism and why we are now subject to so much ‘churnalism’. Continue reading Flat Earth News
Battlers & Billionaires, Andrew Leigh 2013
As I write this review we are witnessing a millionaire, Clive Palmer, use his wealth to buy personal power in the Australian Parliament. At the same time the millionaire clan of Gina Rinehart and her children are locked in some court battle over a family feud over their millions. Continue reading Battlers & Billionaires
Take Your Best Shot, The Prime Ministership of Julia Gillard, Jaqueline Kent 2013
The media, Tony Rabbot, Kevin Rudd and his ruddites and the shock jocks all part of the murky times. Then there was the uncivilised behaviour that morphed into accepted everyday behaviour and all those supposedly close colleagues who turn on you. What a time for anyone!
This is one of those essays that I picked up knowing some of this story and already having opinions on religion in Australia, the associated politics and the horrible abuse issues.
I read this essay in one sitting and was totally taken aback by the details of events and the nasty side of human behaviour as told by David Marr.
This is recommended reading for anyone interested in the story of where this country has been and the issues we are yet to deal with properly. Continue reading The Prince
The last three years in relation to the governance of Australia were just something totally unbelievable. We all think we know what happened.
I now consider that the labor government lost power well before the election. Was it because it was delivering fantastic economic management or was it because it did not deliver an outstanding set of national programs?
It was a month or so after our First Women Prime Minister had been removed from her position and following a number of not so nice events in my own life that I had started to wonder just what is happening to our Australian way of life and culture. What has happened to civility and respect.
There is a generation or two who seem to think that feminism is a cause now won and we should move on.
I find that certain men and women are fully capable of all sorts of weasel words about equality and the role of women in the workplace and act as if they champion such matters. Continue reading Misogyny Factor