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Sarah Walker

Australian Realness 

Malthouse Theatre
23 August 2019

Australians love a bogan in pop culture. Kath & Kim broke ratings records; The Castle regularly tops lists of favourite local films. This sense of affection for the working class becomes more complex off-screen, when Aussie battlers become ‘cashed-up bogans’ and turn Queensland into a Liberal state; when they start threatening middle-class values ...

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I swim at night, carving through water full of chlorine and tasting of mould, turning lap after lap before the pool closes down, while cells inside me hurry into being like bubbles under a running tap. The lifeguard stalks along beside the pool watching me. I know he’s trying to get me out, but I can’t stop swimming ...

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Water Colours by Sarah Walker & Bad Girl by Margaret Clark

October 2000, no. 225

Sometimes ‘good’ girls just have to be ‘bad’. The ‘heroines’ of both these novels desperately want ‘to fit in’, but eventually discover that ‘fitting in’ involves accepting yourself for who you are, not changing into someone else. This seems an obvious lesson, but of course it’s one of the hardest to learn. Both books are jacketed in gorgeous fashion; the matte photographic images are enticing and every bit as seductive as the CD cases and video clips they emulate. But where one is brash and vibrant the other is muted and subtle – a description which could aptly be applied to the plots, too. For Walker and Clark deal with the age-old concern of self-identity in very different ways.

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