Doug Wallen

Storyland by Catherine McKinnon

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May 2017, no. 391

‘I write best from place,’ Catherine McKinnon told Fairfax newspapers in a recent interview. Her second novel, which concerns centuries of human interaction with the New South Wales coast region between Wollongong and Lake Illawarra, makes this abundantly clear ...

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On Bowie by Simon Critchley

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August 2016, no. 383

When David Bowie died in January 2016, Simon Critchley received many invitations to reflect on the pop star, in part because he had published a collection of brief essays ...

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The dislocation of international travel often prompts spontaneous moments of clarity, sparking a renewed awareness of where one is at in life ...

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The history of country music in Australia is in many ways the history of the specialisation of a genre,' writes Toby Martin, explaining how the style evolved from copying the American singing-cowboy model of the 1930s to incorporating Australian bush ballads and staking a 'unique claim to national authenticity'.

Notions of authenticity are among the many lin ...

'Oh, I just don't know where to begin,' opens 'Accidents Will Happen', one of the best pop songs of Elvis Costello's four-decade recording career. The English songwriter (born Declan MacManus) has no such trouble with his generously sized memoir, which details the creation of so much of his work. 'A lot of pop music has come out of people failing to copy their model ...

To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ...

Released in 1975, the début album by American songwriter, poet, artist, and memoirist Patti Smith captured a volatile alchemy of past and future modes. Horses came out of the much-mythologised rock scene of 1970s New York City, but also fed on the unbridled lyrical freedom of Beat poetry, the firmer narrative tradition of hymns, and the bodily release of f ...

Festival of Slow Music

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02 September 2015

For anyone who witnessed the frenetic pitch of Afrolankan Drumming System, the festival’s name might seem like a misnomer. Now in its third year, Ballarat’s Festival of Slow Music isn’t about reduced tempos but about listeners slowing down to properly digest music. All of the performances across nine days were acoustic, yet that term too can mislead, associate ...

In Saul Bass’s title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest, diagonal and vertical lines intersect to form a grid that eventually dissolves to the façade of a New York City office building. Bringing the classic spy caper to the stage for the first time, Melbourne Theatre Company uses that visu ...

Bill Callahan

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02 June 2015

Texas-based songwriter Bill Callahan recorded for fifteen years under the name Smog but, since releasing his first album under his own name in 2007, he has gradually shed the murkier indie-rock connotations of Smog and broadened into an acclaimed bard of minimalist Am ...

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