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Damien Hirst’s £500,000 pencils stolen

Damien Hirst’s £500,000 pencils stolen

Long story short: teenager steals a pack of pencils (above) from multi-millionaire artist, is arrested and up to be fined £500,000. Slightly longer story: 18-year-old graffitist Carwreck, sorry – Cartrain – arrested by the Art and Antiques squad from New Scotland Yard for the theft of a packet of pencils from Tate Britain gallery. Currently […]

The Hollywood strangle, and a broken bowl

The Hollywood strangle, and a broken bowl

On my morning surf, I found buried deep in The Age‘s website this fascinating article by Paul Kalina. (Micro-rant, rhetorical query: Why are the arts sections [not even dignified by the word “Arts”] of Fairfax websites so shite?) Kalina has written about the indie doco Into the Shadows, recent joint winner of Best Australian Film […]

If Sci-fi is a genre, then so is Literature

If Sci-fi is a genre, then so is Literature

Okay I’m not buying into the fight. (As Sophie Cunningham said, a few days ago: “When someone is clearly picking a fight, the temptation is just to ignore them.”) That’s the one over the Big Fat (1500 pages) Anthology of Australian Literature. But if you are interested in it, here are the links. The most […]

Reading without merit

Reading without merit

Some days I can barely bare to read anything. Barely a thing. It goes in one eye, casting a shadow, a shadow of the eye, an eye shadow, goes where one knows not. The phrase popped into mind: Reading without merit. Merit is maybe the Buddhist equivalent of Catholic good works. Reading for necessity (manuals, […]

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The Crikey culture blog

We are always really carrying a ladder, but it’s invisible

We are always really carrying a ladder, but it’s invisible

As it is officially spring one turns towards poetry, much as Moe of the Stooges turned towards slapstick: ‘Niagara Falls! … Slowly I turned … and step by step, inch by inch I walked up to him and I smashed him, I *&% him, I $#@ him, I ±@* him, and I knocked him down!’ […]

Compared to what?

Compared to what?

What do you say when someone calls you a dill? And not just that but a super-dill? That’s what Victoria’s Minister for Water was called after he was rescued from his two-night ordeal, feared dead, in his state’s Alpine region. Opposition MP Bernie Finn: ‘The ordinary Joe from the suburbs who goes walking by themselves […]

Griffith Review: sexier ideas

Griffith Review: sexier ideas

In September’s ABR (Australian Book Review) there is a full page ad for the new issue of Griffith Review. The headline reads: We’ve always been smart – now we’re sexy too. It goes on: ‘Presenting Griffith REVIEW 25: After the Crisis, the first edition with our new partners at Text Publishing and featuring an elegant […]

Home Sweet Village

Home Sweet Village

This isn’t a neat little town in Bavaria. It’s a hundred-year-old planned community called Forest Gardens in Queens, New York. And those timbered buildings are made from … pre-cast concrete slabs. Have a look at the Slate slideshow of this fantastic bit of retro-visionary town planning – designed with those modern buzzwords, walkability and heterogeneity, […]

Tarantino and “comic violence”

Tarantino and “comic violence”

NB: Includes mild spoilers to Inglourious Basterds, Violence and Language. Here’s the big joke: eight vengeful Jewish American soldiers roam the fields of France between 1941-44 killing German soldiers, and under the direction of their hillbilly Lieutenant (Brad Pitt), scalps them. Literally. In close-up technicolor. If they are allowed to live, for propaganda purposes, a […]

Obama’s holiday reading list (and, Books I’ve Bought But Haven’t Read, Vol. 1)

Obama’s holiday reading list (and, Books I’ve Bought But Haven’t Read, Vol. 1)

2,400 pages. That’s what President Obama’s vacation (to use the Yankeeism) reading entails according to the White House, as reported by Slate’s invaluable John Dickerson: The Way Home by George Pelecanos, a crime thriller based in Washington, D.C.; Lush Life by Richard Price, a story of race and class set in New York’s Lower East […]