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From red-shirts to red shoes

Maybe like Dorothy of the ruby red shoes former foreign minister Julie Bishop is hoping that the scarlet stilettos she…

8 Dec 2018

Slippery oil industry

When oil prices spiked to $US140 ($A193.85) a barrel in 2008, veteran analysts declared that prices would reach $US200 or…

8 Dec 2018

Show me the man…

‘Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime,’ secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria assured the equally loathsome mass-murderer…

8 Dec 2018

Making a hash of the climate debate

According much of the media, last Friday’s climate change ‘strike’ staged by school students across Australia was an epoch-making moment…

8 Dec 2018

Sleight of hand of the ‘moderates’

Ever heard of the wonderful American magician team of Penn & Teller? My son and I saw them in Vegas…

8 Dec 2018

Life tips for getting ahead in the modern era

Malcolm Fraser said life wasn’t meant to be easy and then went and joined the Greens anyway. So here are…

8 Dec 2018

Battle of Britain, MkII

The European Union has never tolerated democracy. It preaches it to its member states and lectures about it to the…

1 Dec 2018

Quit Paris, halve migration

The Victorian election demonstrates a desperate need for powerful leadership based on principle, something last seen in the 2013 Abbott…

1 Dec 2018

Banjo

He was a solicitor, journalist,war correspondent, soldier, grazier but, most importantly, a poet. Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson CBE (1864-1941) was…

8 Dec 2018

John William Waterhouse.The Lady of Shalott 1888 oil on canvas.

That a poet could enjoy huge popularity in mid-career and still be popularly admired more than a century after his…

1 Dec 2018

Richard Tognetti and the ACO

As leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti has never done quite what was expected, other than to be…

24 Nov 2018

Helen Thomson and Caroline Brazier

By my count, the 2019 Season will be the 40th produced by the Sydney Theatre Company. The coming season is…

17 Nov 2018

New York: the fact – and fiction

New York At times I used to think the place was real. The New York of films, that is. The…

8 Dec 2018

We lost our elderly, dementing French charge

I entered the cave house carrying groceries and panting from the climb to find an old hippie woman displaying rugs…

8 Dec 2018

My Christmas tree health-and-safety nightmare

Decorating a tree on the unfinished minstrels’ gallery was an appealing idea if only for the health and safety violations.…

8 Dec 2018

How 250 cows may have changed the course of racing

It may yet turn out that the most significant development in racing this year was the sale of some 250…

8 Dec 2018

Edward Gorey: master of the macabre

‘A is for Amy who fell down the stairs/ B is for Basil, assaulted by bears…’ The Gashlycrumb Tinies, an…

8 Dec 2018

Elizabeth II: Queen of tact and diplomacy

In her 66 years on the throne the Queen has represented Britain on official visits to at least 126 countries…

8 Dec 2018

Shades of Lord Lucan: A Double Life, by Flynn Berry, reviewed

A young girl finds the body of her nanny, brutally murdered, and the barely moving form of her mother, a…

8 Dec 2018

Family favourites: children’s books for Christmas reviewed

There’s no shortage of magical rings in the children’s canon, the sort of things that usefully make you invisible or…

8 Dec 2018

The scandalous swamp of Indian politics

Picture India in 1991. You need to make several trips to Delhi and wait three years to import a computer.…

8 Dec 2018

The gambler and the hooker: Awful Beauty, by Andrei Navrozov, reviewed

This book — the title is from Pasternak —is billed as ‘literary fiction’. The narrator, a Russian gambler and drinker…

8 Dec 2018

Tell them of Battles, Kings and Elephants, by Mathias Enard, reviewed

Michelangelo seems never to have travelled to Turkey to advise the Sultan on a bridge to span the Golden Horn,…

8 Dec 2018

A real-life Bluebeard: on the track of France’s most notorious serial killer

From Colette to Rudyard Kipling, celebrities flocked for front-row seats at the 1921 trial of Henri Landru, the notorious ‘lonely…

8 Dec 2018

What links fairy tales, Karl Marx, Anne Frank and St Augustine?

Its Booker-longlist nomination meant that Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina (Granta, £16.99) was the comic that everyone has heard of this year,…

8 Dec 2018

Is Lionel Messi the greatest footballer of all time?

If you don’t know who Lionel Messi is you won’t enjoy this book much. If you do, you probably will.…

8 Dec 2018

Chains and planes: Turbulence, by David Szalay, reviewed

In the opening pages of Turbulence, a woman in her seventies, who is visiting her sick son in Notting Hill,…

8 Dec 2018

Michelle Obama: ‘I was happy that Barack’s career came first’

‘To me, he was sort of like a unicorn,’ writes Mrs Obama, looking back on her courtship days with Barack.…

1 Dec 2018