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Dean Biron

Dean Biron

Dean Biron teaches in the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University. Hewas co-winner of the 2011 Calibre Essay Prize.

Dean Biron reviews ‘Shots’ by Don Walker

March 2009, no. 309 01 March 2009
Shots, so the media release claims, is written in ‘mesmerising prose.’ Yeah, right! This is the life story of a rock musician they are talking about. I can recall attempting to read one such memoir, a well-meaning present from a friend who might have known better. It was by Ray Manzarek, of The Doors; it was called Light My Fire (1999) and it was completely and utterly awful. Manzarek’s orga ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'Together Alone: The story of the Finn Brothers' by Jeff Apter

June 2010, issue no. 322 01 June 2010
A discussion of the outstanding albums of the 1980s might begin with the Shanachie label’s Mbaqanga compilation The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, 4AD’s Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares by the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Choir, and American Clavé’s Tango: Zero Hour by Astor Piazzolla (all 1986), three signal moments in the packaging of global music for Western sensibilities. On ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'The True Story of Butterfish' by Nick Earls

July-August 2009, no. 313 01 July 2009
Though born and bred in Brisbane, I had never read anything written by Nick Earls prior to this assignment. The closest I had come was a book reading over a decade ago when Earls amused the audience with excerpts from his Bachelor Kisses (1998), before the late Grant McLennan beguiled them with an acoustic rendering of The Go-Betweens song of the same name. The Go-Betweens connection remains palpa ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'The SBS Story: The challenge of cultural diversity' by Ien Ang, Gay Hawkins and Lamia Dabboussy

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
Movie Of The Week. The MacNeil–Lehrer Newshour. Helen Vatsikopoulos. Andrea Stretton. Tales From a Suitcase. Pria Viswalingam. Italian Serie A Football. Annette Sun Wah. These are just a few examples of SBS programs and personalities that helped me – and no doubt many others – negotiate the fetid swamp that was Australian television in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the swamp is a lot bigger an ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'The Age of Consent: Young people, sexual abuse and agency' edited by Kate Gleeson and Catharine Lumby

September 2019, no. 414 16 August 2019
Much talk around the abuse of children centres on the desire (or demand) for justice. Unfortunately, justice is not easy to attain. To begin with, it tends to require a justice system. This introduces all manner of creaking bureaucracy and complicated, sometimes outmoded laws. Justice outcomes are also hugely influenced by race, gender, and inequality. Nor does it help when our political leaders l ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'The Van Apfel Girls are Gone' by Felicity McLean

June–July 2019, no. 412 23 May 2019
From the ill-fated explorations of Leichhardt and Burke and Wills through to the Beaumont children, Azaria Chamberlain, and the backpacker murders in New South Wales, the history of Australia is peppered with tales and images of people going missing. And, as the First Peoples might well have been able to warn us, few of those stories turn out well. Felicity McLean’s first novel situates this fa ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'Old Scores' by David Whish-Wilson

January–February 2017, no. 388 20 December 2016
For the most part, the burgeoning 1980s nostalgia industry in Australia tends to overlook the fact that back then the states seemed to be engaged in a kind of Sheffield Shield of venality, competing to see which would prevail as the most politically debauched. One might have thought of the Queensland of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Terry Lewis and the New South Wales of Abe Saffron and Roger Rogerson a ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'Black Teeth' by Zane Lovitt

August 2016, no. 383 25 July 2016
Like James M. Cain's 1943 novella Double Indemnity – better known from Billy Wilder's influential film version of the following year – Black Teeth begins with a dubious-sounding insurance deal. The prologue also features a thickly overgrown Melbourne garden, which provides a better metaphor for the tangled, sometimes stifling narrative that follows. ... (read more)

Dean Biron reviews 'One' by Patrick Holland

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
The work of Brisbane-based author Patrick Holland is reputedly influenced by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose Tabula Rasa cemented his standing as one of the so-called 'holy minimalists' of late-twentieth century music. Reading Holland's new novel, One – based on the hunt for the Kenniff brothers, bushrangers operating in Western Queensland circa 1902 – the influence of Pärt's sparse, bell ... (read more)
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