John Rickard

John Rickard reviews 'The Enigmatic Mr Deakin' by Judith Brett

John Rickard

There has been an argument going on in the Liberal Party about the nature of the Menzies heritage – was Robert Menzies, the founder of the modern party, a liberal or a conservative? Notably absent from this discussion has been the national figure who was the first leader of a united anti-Labor party and who also happens to have been a father of Federation, Alfred ... More

John Rickard reviews 'Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891–1966' by Race Mathews

John Rickard

I was a student at Sydney University when, in 1954, the embattled Labor leader Dr H.V. Evatt went public, accusing a small group of Labor MPs of disloyalty, their attempt to gain control of the party being directed from a source outside the labour movement. He identified the Melbourne News Weekly as their mouthpiece. Few had heard of B.A. (‘Bob’) Santam ... More

John Rickard reviews 'Divas: Mathilde Marchesi and her pupils' by Roger Neill

John Rickard

Finding the right teacher is always a challenge for young singers, and the relationship between student and teacher can see the formation of a lifelong bond. By the same ...

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'On John Foster' by John Rickard

John Rickard

When Take Me to Paris, Johnny was first published in 1993, the AIDS crisis seemed to be at its worst. Many of us had friends and acquaintances who were dying. One began to notice men who, thin and haggard, one feared were suffering from AIDS (women victims being relatively few in number). There was no sign of the drug therapies that would, towards the end o ... More

John Rickard reviews 'Hector' by Rozzi Bazzani

John Rickard

Hector Crawford is a unique figure in the history of Australian radio and television. The Australian Dictionary of Biography article (also by the author of this book) describes him as 'television producer, media lobbyist and musician', to which could be added radio producer, showman, and entrepreneur. Above all, he was a persistent and canny advocate of Aus ... More

Arts Highlights of the Year

Robyn Archer et al.

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 ... More

John Rickard reviews 'Why Acting Matters' by David Thomson and 'Great Shakespeare Actors' by Stanley Wells

John Rickard

Why Acting Matters has on its cover the face of an ape; well, actually it’s Andy Serkis playing Caesar, ‘the top ape’ in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014). The point of this rather unexpected image from a movie not discussed in the book is, the blurb tells us, that ‘acting is baked into our primate DNA’. These two books, however, by elder ... More

John Rickard reviews 'My Old Man'

John Rickard

Many years ago, when I was struggling to make a living as an actor–singer in England, I spent six months in the chorus at the London Palladium, in a show breezily titled Let Yourself Go, whose star was former Goon Harry Secombe. It was hard work: two performances nightly, plus a matinee on Saturday. Years later, I realised that this demanding regimen ... More

John Rickard reviews 'Norman Haire and the Study of Sex''

John Rickard

Norman Haire was born in Sydney’s Paddington in 1892, the year in which the word ‘homosexual’ is said to have entered the English language in the translation of Krafft-Ebing’sPsychopathia Sexualis. It was a coincidence Haire might have enjoyed, though for a man given to speaking his mind he was always discreet about his homosexuality.

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