Flat White

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Xena madness

For sheer grotesquerie, a recent push for the feminisation of the Australian Army would be hard to beat. Former General…

23 Jun 2018

Heart of darkness

Sometimes African rulers get so corrupt that Western aid donors go on strike. Take what Trump would call the shit-hole…

23 Jun 2018

Pride stripped bare

Every now and again the clouds part, a shaft of light breaks through and something up ahead is illuminated. In…

23 Jun 2018

Trump towers

In his 1977 book The Age of Uncertainty, the American economist John Kenneth Galbraith depicted the great leaders of history…

23 Jun 2018

Theatre of the absurd

The controversial University of Melbourne dance performance, Where We Stand, is an insight into the kind of divided society we…

23 Jun 2018

Nobel laureates manqués

Calls for a Nobel Peace Prize for Donald Trump reminded me that if anyone should be a Nobel Laureate, it…

23 Jun 2018

Closing down sale

When an historic Melbourne church went up in flames three years ago, the actress Rachel Griffiths, who’d made her First…

23 Jun 2018

Not our ABC

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a $1.04 billion piece of public policy and we treat it as exactly that: a…

Giorgio de Chirico Gare Montparnasse

The other morning, the Director of MoMA from New York, Glenn D Lowry was on ABC Breakfast. He was knowledgable…

23 Jun 2018

Michael Lewis as Rigoletto

Sir Walter Scott published The Bride of Lammermoor in 1819 as one of his hugely successful Waverley novels which captured…

16 Jun 2018

Kororadika Beach by Augustus Earle

Antiquarians can seem an exotic group to many of us and yet there are several successful dealers in this country,…

9 Jun 2018

Culture buff

George Bernard Shaw called it ‘a chronicle play’, I suppose a sort of docudrama if a superior one. Saint Joan…

2 Jun 2018

The Bible’s #MeToo problem

New York I write this on my last day in the Bagel, and it sure is a scorcher, heat and…

23 Jun 2018

Cancer? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world

Homesick for England, family and friends, I flew back, and the next day went for a long walk with my…

23 Jun 2018

The hidden costs of dogging

Every day in every way we are paying for more and more. I realise this increasingly. Things we took for…

23 Jun 2018

How to handle fickle racehorse owners

On the famed Whitsbury gallops, as corn buntings and stonechats fluttered from the fence posts, a dozen of Marcus Tregoning’s…

23 Jun 2018

The short step from good manners to lofty imperialism

In the gap between what we feel ourselves to be and what we imagine we might in different circumstances become,…

23 Jun 2018

How Steven Spurrier enraged the French — and was never forgiven

Fine wine rarely makes it into the public consciousness, but one event in 1976 has proved of perennial interest: the…

23 Jun 2018

From Don Quixote to My Struggle — a survey of the novel in 160 pages

I wonder what your idea of a good novel is. Does it embody the attributes of solid plotting, characterisation and…

23 Jun 2018

A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers, reviewed

We’re in Virginia, in the 1850s. A girl called Emily is tormenting her dog, Champion, and her father’s teenage slave,…

23 Jun 2018

Death-defying acts and the dark side of the circus

In 2013 Tessa Fontaine joined up with the World of Wonders, a circus sideshow that travels around the United States…

23 Jun 2018

Swept away by Hitler’s charisma: German women gush over the Führer

The distinguished historian Konrad Jarausch’s new book is a German narrative, told through the stories of ordinary people who lived…

23 Jun 2018

Dickens and Agatha Christie made my childhood bearable

Girl with Dove is a memoir by Sally Bayley, a writer who teaches at Oxford University, of growing up in…

23 Jun 2018

When trendy ideas capture the ruling elite, democracy can go hang

If social media manipulation has influenced elections, and dark money has influenced our elected representatives, then we are already on…

23 Jun 2018

Lucia, by Alex Pheby, reviewed

In 1988, James Joyce’s grandson Stephen destroyed all letters he had from, to or about his aunt Lucia Joyce, the…

23 Jun 2018

It took a long time for de Gaulle to become ‘de Gaulle’

When General de Gaulle published the first volume of his war memoirs in 1954, he signed only four presentation copies:…

16 Jun 2018

The story of the last living survivor of the Atlantic slave trade is a high adventure

Zora Neale Hurston, the African-American novelist-ethnographer, was a luminary of the New Negro Movement, later renamed by American scholars the…

16 Jun 2018

The scandal of American shipping – incompetence, venality and shocking safety standards

‘We are globalisation,’ a senior executive at the shipping company Maersk told me. ‘We enable it, and we have questions…

16 Jun 2018