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Sara Savage

Urban Choreography: Central Melbourne 1985– edited by Kim Dovey, Rob Adams, and Ronald Jones

October 2018, no. 405

In her influential 1961 text The Death and Life of Great American Cities, American-Canadian urban activist Jane Jacobs famously characterised the complex order of a successful city as ‘an intricate ballet’. The ‘dance’ of a thriving city sidewalk, says Jacobs, bucks trends of uniformity and repetition in favour of improvisation, movement, and change.

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Early in What Goes Up,  Michael Sorkin shares an anecdote from the final collection by fellow architecture critic, the late Ada Louise Huxtable. ‘Just what polemical position do you write from, Madame?’ asks a French journalist of Huxtable, who, to Sorkin’s discomfort, fails to produce ...

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There is a moment in ‘The Skit’ – the second in a collection of sixteen short stories by Indian-Australian author Roanna Gonsalves – when the writer protagonist, upon reading her work to a group of her peers (‘the Bombay gang’, as she describes them, ‘still on student visas, still drinking out of second-hand glasses from Vinnies, and eating off melamin ...

In 2015 it was virtually impossible to set foot in Singapore without being exposed to the government-led 'SG50' campaign commemorating the island nation's fiftieth year of independence. All over the country the 'little red dot' logo appeared on everything from double-decker buses and A380s to festive Chinese moon cakes and special-edition Tiger Beer bottles. In real ...

The Train to Paris by Sebastian Hampson

April 2014, no. 360

Lawrence Williams is a twenty-year-old New Zealander about to commence studying art history at the Sorbonne. Stranded at a deserted train station in the French town of Hendaye after a less-than-perfect holiday in Madrid with his girlfriend, he is suddenly arrested by the sight of a woman twice his age who saunters past him in a white leopard-print dress. A few pages later, the unlikely pair are having drinks at a nearby cafe.

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The popularity of letter-writing has been in decline for years, and recent proposals to privatise Australia Post may accelerate this trend. In an age when an email reaches its recipient in mere micro-seconds, the impassioned letters between Miller and Nin, Stieglitz and O’Keeffe, or Queen Victoria’s estimated 3000 letters to her daughter ‘Vicky’ can seem like relics of a bygone time. It is safe to assume that in the museums of the twenty-second century, artefacts of the current era won’t appear in the form of framed letters written in fountain pen.

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Writing a memoir at the age of thirty may seem like an exercise in self-indulgence: what wisdom could one possibly impart amid the universal tumultuousness of the Saturn Return? Seemingly aware of the predicament, the author of Banana Girl doesn’t pretend to deliver any answers, her memoir instead giving a more immediate snapshot into the life of a twenty-something; specifically, the life of Michele Lee, an Asian-Australian playwright on the cusp of thirty, living in Melbourne’s inner north.

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‘Nothing is not giving messages,’ reads a postcard wedged between the keys of a typewriter on a cluttered bedside table. As well as a nod to Edwin Morgan, the postcard is just one item in an abundance of ephemera lining a small makeshift bedroom in the basement of the North Melbourne Town Hall. This is the setting for American-born, Edinburgh-based poet Ryan Van Winkle’s one-on-one poetry ...