I enjoyed this documentary on the ‘birth of Cool Britannia’. I am not sure I was aware how central Suede was. All I remember was the Oasis vs. Blur saga.

It all left me wondering whether this is a story that could have been told in different ways? There were certain voices not necessarily included, such as Bernard Butler. I also wondered about other artists, such as Pulp, and they place they served? Also, will time tell a different story?

Bookmarked How to change Google Sheets date format and convert dates to numbers and text by Natalia Sharashova (
I never cease to be surprised with what I can do with the QUERY formula in Google Sheets. I had a problem today where I wanted to match two datasets using the date column. The problem was that they were in two different formats. So I started searching. Low and behond, I discovered that you can in fact format using the QUERY format. The formula looks something like this:

=QUERY(A1:C7,"select * format B 'd-mmm-yy (ddd)'")

These are the available values:

  • d | Day without a leading zero for 1-9 (i.e. 7)
  • dd | Day with a leading zero for 1-9 (i.e. 07
  • ddd | Day as an abbreviation (i.e. Wed)
  • dddd | Day as a full name (i.e. Wednesday)
  • m (if not preceded or followed by hours or seconds) | Month without a leading zero (i.e. 8)
  • mm (if not preceded or followed by hours or seconds) | Month with a leading zero (i.e. 08)
  • mmm | Month as an abbreviation (i.e. Aug)
  • mmmm | Month as a full name (i.e. August)
  • mmmmm | First letter of the month (i.e. A)
  • y or yy | Two digit year (i.e. 19)
  • yyy or yyyy | Full numeric year (i.e. 2019)

I know Ben Collins has spoken about formatting dates before, but I never knew there were all these options.

Watched British historical drama TV series by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Peaky Blinders is a British period crime drama television series created by Steven Knight. Set in Birmingham, it follows the exploits of the Peaky Blinders crime gang in the direct aftermath of the First World War. The fictional gang is loosely based on a real urban youth gang of the same name who were active in the city from the 1880s to the 1910s.

It features an ensemble cast led by Cillian Murphy, starring as Tommy Shelby, Helen McCrory as Elizabeth “Polly” Gray, Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby, Sophie Rundle as Ada Shelby, and Joe Cole as John Shelby, the gang’s senior members. Sam Neill, Annabelle Wallis, Iddo Goldberg, Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Finn Cole, Natasha O’Keeffe, Paddy Considine, Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillen, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sam Claflin, Amber Anderson, James Frecheville, and Stephen Graham also star. The programme began on 12 September 2013, broadcast on BBC Two until the fourth series (with repeats on BBC Four), then moved to BBC One for the fifth and sixth series.

I had always heard of ‘Peaky Blinders’, but had no idea what it was about. I decided to watch it after reading that Nick Cave did the soundtrack for it. One of the interesting things was how now matter how many times Red Right Hand was played, it always felt fresh, with versions by Iggy Pop, Laura Marling, PJ Harvey, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and L.A. alternative band Fidlar.

As a series, I enjoyed the ebbs and flows, and the various characters. I also liked the way in which it tied in various historical elements and characters, such as shell shock, Wall Street crash, Tuberculosis, Winston Churchill, Jessie Eden and Oswald Mosley. However, I felt that the storyline got somewhat repetitious after a while. One person would die, a new family member would appear. One enemy would be overcome, another would take their place. Maybe this is a product of bingeing six series in quick succession, maybe it is just life. Not sure.

Listened First Two Pages of Frankenstein, by The National from The National

11 track album

In an interview for Matt Berninger’s solo album, he spoke about the importance of exploring other projects and how that feeds back into The National. Listening to First Two Pages of Frankenstein, I cannot help but hear Aaron Dessner’s work on Taylor Swift’s Folklore and Evermore. I was therefore not surprised to find out that they were both recorded at Long Pond Studio. I feel it is more subdued, also it continues with the collaborative enterprise started with I Am Easy to Find, with appearances by Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift.

Although I have enjoyed it, I cannot help compare it to High Violet. I wonder if it is on of those albums that would have a second life in seeing it live. I think time will tell where it sits in their œuvre.

Place between Taylor Swift’s Folklore and The War on Drugs.

Read Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary (/ˈboʊvəri/;[1] French: [madam bɔvaʁi]), originally published as Madame Bovary: Provincial Manners (French: Madame Bovary: Mœurs de province [madam bɔvaʁi mœʁ(s) də pʁɔvɛ̃s]), is a novel by French writer Gustave Flaubert, published in 1856. The eponymous character lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.

Madame Bovary is a novel about the life of Emma Bovary. It revolves around her marriage to Charles Bovary. He is a good-hearted but dull officier de santé, a health worker not qualified enough to be called a doctor. After the death of Charles’ first wife, Emma and Charles marry. With her diet of romantic literature and fantasties of luxury, she soon gets bored. She instead has an insatiable thirst for something more, behaving more and more like an addict. This leads to a life of affairs with Rodolphe Boulanger and Léon Dupuis, as well as taste for the high-life. However, this all falls apart when the local merchant, Monsieur Lheureux, calls in his debt. Unable to accept the situation, Emma instead commits suicide.

One thing that needs to be said about Madame Bovary and Flaubert is that very little was made up.

Flaubert made up very little. Beginning with Madame Bovary , he became a prodigious appropriationist and researcher, a habit that would metastasize with time.

Source: Introduction to Madame Bovary by Chris Kraus

In particular, the main narrative was based on a local scandal involving Eugene and Delphine Delamare, suggested to Flaubert by his friend Louis Bouilhet. He would also spend endless time research various aspects of the book, such as the countryside or arsenic.

The novel ended up in court due to offenses against public morals and religion. The government of Napoléon III had begun to enforce laws of political censorship. The defense argued that it was a moral tale where Emma gets her just deserts.

Attorney for the defense Jules Senard argued persuasively that this very “realism,” and Emma’s meticulously described and horrible death, served as caution against the dangers awaiting young women like Emma, when they are educated and exposed to certain ideas beyond their comprehension and station.

Source: Introduction to Madame Bovary by Chris Kraus

In Our Time podcast suggested that the argument used in defense would these days be used against it, especially the sadistic description of Emma’s death.

What is interesting about the court case is how it stands in contrast to the world in which it was written into where adultery was a norm.

While “adultery” (or a multiplicity of sexual friendships and relationships) may be the source of shame and scandal in the provincial world of Charles and Emma Bovary, in the intellectual and society worlds of Paris it was very much the norm.

Source: Introduction to Madame Bovary by Chris Kraus

It could then be construed as a critique of the social inconsistencies between men and women, or as a critique of bourgeoisie.

Madame Bovary has been seen as a commentary on the bourgeoisie, the folly of aspirations that can never be realized or a belief in the validity of a self-satisfied, deluded personal culture, associated with Flaubert’s period, especially during the reign of Louis Philippe, when the middle class grew to become more identifiable in contrast to the working class and the nobility. Flaubert despised the bourgeoisie. In his Dictionary of Received Ideas, the bourgeoisie is characterized by intellectual and spiritual superficiality, raw ambition, shallow culture, a love of material things, greed, and above all a mindless parroting of sentiments and beliefs.

Source: Madame Bovary – Wikipedia

As a novel, Madame Bovary is often described as a seminal work of literary realism. This is based on Flaubert’s depiction of flawed and deluded characters and trite subject matter. However, it could also be argued to be a novel about style. As Flaubert suggested:

“What I would like to do is write a book about nothing,” Flaubert wrote to Colet, four months into Madame Bovary. “A book with no external attachment, one which would hold together by the internal strength of its style, as the earth floats in the air unsupported, a book that would have no subject at all, or at least one in which the subject would be almost invisible.”

Source: Introduction to Madame Bovary by Chris Kraus

Chris Kraus suggests that this “detached, descriptive style” is as “luminous and presciently modern as the paintings of Vermeer.” Interestingly, like a painter with a sketchbook, Flaubert developed a practice while abroad of trying to capture what he saw without judgement.

Throughout the trip, when he was not brooding about his future as a writer, Flaubert took stark descriptive notes about what he saw. Determined not to editorialize, not to embroider, he did his best to keep an accurate record of the landscape, people, and customs he knew he would not see again. “Return to Wadi Halfa in the dinghy, with Maxime. Little Mohammed is as he was this morning. Rocked by the wind and the waves; night falls; the waves slap the bow of our dinghy, and it pitches; the moon rises. In the position in which I am sitting, it was shining on my right leg and the portion of my white sock that was between my trouser and my shoe” (Flaubert in Egypt , p. 136).

Source: Introduction to Madame Bovary by Chris Kraus

In his essay, The Reality Effect, Roland Barthes described the way in which Flaubert captures the everyday ordinary.

The very absence of the signified, to the advantage of the referent alone, becomes the very signifier of realism: the reality effect is produced, the basis of that unavowed verisimilitude which forms the aesthetic of all the standard works of modernity.

This new verisimilitude is very different from the old one, for it is neither a respect for the “laws of the genre“ nor even their mask, but proceeds from the intention to degrade the sign’s tripartite nature in order to make notation the pure encounter of an object and its expression. The disintegration of the sign— which seems indeed to be modernity’s grand affair—is of course present in the realistic enterprise, but in a somewhat regressive manner, since it occurs in the name of a referential plenitude.

Source: ‘The Reality Effect’ by Roland Barthes

In addition to the storyline, Flaubert’s third-person narration blurs the difference between the speaker and the author. This can be described as ‘free indirect speech’:

Free indirect speech has been described as a “technique of presenting a character’s voice partly mediated by the voice of the author” (or, reversing the emphasis, “that the character speaks through the voice of the narrator”) with the voices effectively merged. It has also been described as “the illusion by which third-person narrative comes to express…the intimate subjectivity of fictional characters.” The word “free” in the phrase is used to capture the fact that with this technique, the author can “roam from viewpoint to viewpoint” instead of being fixed with one character or with the narrator.

Source: Free Indirect Speech – Wikipedia

Chris Kraus discusses this in his introduction:

“Omniscent narrator” of the classic story-driven novel moves so close to his characters that the reader can no longer be sure who is speaking.

The narrator was a wit, a raconteur, a knowing friend, a moralist. But in Madame Bovary , the narrator virtually disappears.

“An artist,” wrote Flaubert to Mlle. Chantepie, “must be in his work like God in creation . . . he should be everywhere felt, but nowhere seen”(Vargas Llosa, pp. 124-125).

Source: Introduction to Madame Bovary by Chris Kraus

The other aspect at play in the novel is the psychological nature of the novel, where reality always undershoots.

The social condition of women at the time was undoubtedly linked to considerable psychological suffering, but it cannot be said that this was the main cause of the development of hysteria. Freud and other analysts took into consideration several factors to explain this form of neurosis: trauma, personal dissatisfaction, life events and even a disposition to manifest mental problems. In chapter three of the second part of the novel, Flaubert compares Emma’s behavior with two other women: the nanny Mme Rollet and Mme Homais, the pharmacist’s wife. The former plays the social role of a mother who feeds and takes care of children while the latter “… she was the best wife in Normandy, gentle as a sheep …”. Emma, on the contrary, is not able to conform to social demands because she does not love her husband, she does not become attached to her daughter since she would have preferred a son (“A man, at least, is free … a woman is always hampered”). Moreover, she is bored in the new house in Yvonville. From a psychoanalytical viewpoint, the Superego, represented by social standards and moral conduct, is struggling with an Ego which is dissatisfied with the present and real situation while the Id, home to unconscious desires, takes the control and leads Emma to commit adultery.

Source: Madame Bovary and Hysteria: A Freudian Perspective by Giuseppe Giordano

For Flaubert, it can be argued that all this helped him give voice to how women think and feel.

It is interesting reading a novel like this, thinking about it now, but also thinking about it in the context when it was written. For me, I am left wonder how much it is still precient, even though the world has completely changed.

Bookmarked How to Install macOS in a Virtual Machine on Ubuntu Linux (

Virtual machines are very important in computing and software engineering. They primarily allow us to test and use different operating systems without the need for extra hardware. Besides, you can rest assured that if something goes wrong with the virtual machine, it won’t break your existing host operating system.

This guide will show you how to install macOS on Ubuntu Linux using a QEMU-KVM Virtual Machine. With that, you will be able to use native macOS software that is not otherwise available in Linux.

I continued my tinkering with Linux. After replacing the operating system on my old Macbook Pro, I wanted to run some software that I needed MacOS to do. I followed Mwiza Kumwenda’s guide to using QEMU/KVM to run a virtual machine. Although it worked fine, I think that I came to the realisation that the days are numbered for the old Mac.
I was wondering if Autechre had ever shared any insight into their process, this led me to Sean Booth’s Twitch AMA reposted on YouTube. I have never watched or listened to an AMA before, especially not one that goes for six hours. I must admit, I only got to the four hour mark, but it was kind of interesting. My two highlights were his answer to tinnitus and his discussion of by neuro-divergent.

Responding to how Booth manages tinnitus, he suggested that it is as much neurological as it is physical. He finds listening to Computer World by Kraftwerk fixes things.

Discussing autism spectrum disorder, Booth explains that he is lucky as the various traits have actually helped him with his music, just as CEO’s with narcissistic personality disorder have helped them.

Regarding my question, I think that it is probably something that you can only learn through experience.

Listened Desire, I Want To Turn Into You, by Caroline Polachek from Caroline Polachek

12 track album

There are some albums that I find hard to click with. I listened to Desire, I Want to Turn Into You when it came out and watched a few of Polachek’s television performances. I really did not know what to make of it. However, after listening to Switched on Pop’s discussion of the new age references and disruptive structure, I felt like I was better able to appreciate it.

Place between Grimes and Montaigne.


The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley is a majestic novel about an innocent young boy who gets caught in the middle of an illicit and ultimately tragic love affair. The story is told by a now-aging Leo Colston, who recalls the events of the summer of 1900, more than fifty years ago, when he was twelve years old and visiting a school friend on a lavish English country estate. Young Leo is a dreamy, romantic child, highly sensitive to the way others perceive him and still painfully ignorant of the workings of the adult world. He falls under the spell of Marian Maudsley, the older sister of his school friend, who takes a special interest in him. Marian is being forced into a socially advantageous marriage to Lord Trimingham, who has been grossly disfigured in the Boer War. But even as the momentum toward her marriage builds, Marian is carrying on a forbidden affair with Ted Burgess, a hottempered tenant farmer of a lower class. Tricked into acting as a messenger for Marian and Ted during that oppressively hot summer, Leo’s youthful naiveté is destroyed as he becomes ensnared in a devastating scandal that will kill one man and scar Leo for the rest of his life. Described by Ian McEwan as “a strange and beautiful book,” Hartley’s enduring masterpiece about class and sexuality and innocence, set in a vanished golden era, is a hauntingly beautiful, unforgettable work.

The Go-Between by LP Harley is a story about of innocence betrayed and corrupted. Leo Coulston, a thirteen year old holidaying with a friend in Norfolk, is somewhat unknowingly entangled within an affair that does not end well for either he or those involved.

Written in 1952, Hartley set the book in 1900 to capture a world before where everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, a time before the two world wars changed everything. As Hartley explains:

“I wanted to evoke the feeling of that summer, the long stretch of fine weather, and also the confidence in life, the belief that all’s well with the world, which everyone enjoyed or seemed to enjoy before the First World War . . . The Boer War was a local affair, and so I was able to set my little private tragedy against a general background of security and happiness.”

Source: Introduction to The Go-Between by Colm Tóibín

In an introduction for the New York Review of Books, Colm Tóibín captures some of the autobiographical aspects of the book:

The Go-Between has obvious autobiographical origins. In August 1909, for example, Hartley, who was staying with his school friend Moxey at Bradenham Hall in Norfolk, wrote to his mother, “I sleep with Moxey . . . and also with a dog, which at first reposed on the bed . . . On Saturday we had a ball, very grand indeed, at least, not very. We always have late dinner here. There is going to be a cricket-match today, the Hall against the village. I am going to score.” A year later, he wrote to his mother from Hastings, where he was visiting a Mrs. Wallis, who wanted him to stay an extra day “as she wants me to go to a party . . . You know I am not very fond of parties and I do want to come home on Tuesday. However, they have asked me to write to you and ask if you would mind my staying. I am enjoying myself here but I am sure we should both prefer me to be at home. Of course if you think it would be better for me to stay, write to me and say so; it is only for a day. But still, I do want to be at home again.” It is also clear from letters that the young Hartley, like Leo in The Go-Between, was not a good swimmer, though he was, like Leo, a good singer. Also, Hartley had worked as an army postman in the Great War and knew the thrill of delivering sought-after messages.

… In his book The Novelist’s Responsibility (1967), Hartley mused on the relationship between fiction and autobiography. He wrote that the novelist’s world “must, in some degree, be an extension of his own life; its fundamental problems must be his problems, its preoccupations his preoccupations—or something allied to them.” He also warned that while it is “unsafe to assume that a novelist’s work is autobiographical in any direct sense,” it is nonetheless “plausible to assume that his work is a transcription, an anagram of his own experience, reflecting its shape and tone and tempo.”

Source: Introduction to The Go-Between by Colm Tóibín

Going beyond innocence, the book also touches on ideas of class, culture, memory and sexuality. As Ali Smith has touched upon, it is a book where there is always something beneath the surface.

It is a masterpiece of double-speak and secrecy, somehow both ambiguous and direct. It works a magic on obviousness, so that it becomes a novel about British embarrassment and embarrassing Britishness. It’s a book which subtly, almost mischievously, rejects subtlety: “the facts of life were a mystery to me, though several of my schoolfellows claimed to have penetrated it.” But couched and quiet at its centre is a whole other novel at a further level of knowing, innocence and unsaidness.

Source: Rereading: The Go-Between by LP Hartley by Ali Smith

On finishing the book, I was left with so many questions. For example, what exactly happened to Mrs Maudsley and how long had she had her suspicions? However, these are questions that we cannot and in someway should not actually know. In this way, there are things we must know that we cannot truly know.

Reading it, the seemingly naive innocence reminded me of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and Macel Proust’s Swann’s Way. Here I am touched by something that Ali Smith wrote while reflecting on The Go-Between:

Books are, in essence, go-betweens, works which conjure rhythm and release across time and history, across places of familiarity and those foreign to us; and personally and individually, too, it’s all a going-between, for every person who picks up a book for a first, then a second, then a third time.

Source: Rereading: The Go-Between by LP Hartley by Ali Smith

I think that this ‘go-between’ relates as much to text-to-self, as it does to the idea of ‘text-to-text’. For example, The Go-Between had me rethinking and remembering Atonement, but I also wonder what it might be like to re-read Atonement while thinking about the influence of The Go-Between.


It is a masterpiece of double-speak and secrecy, somehow both ambiguous and direct. It works a magic on obviousness, so that it becomes a novel about British embarrassment and embarrassing Britishness. It’s a book which subtly, almost mischievously, rejects subtlety: “the facts of life were a mystery to me, though several of my schoolfellows claimed to have penetrated it.” But couched and quiet at its centre is a whole other novel at a further level of knowing, innocence and unsaidness.

Source: Rereading: The Go-Between by LP Hartley by Ali Smith

The Go-Between is about books as much as it’s about memory. It’s a model of the importance of rereading (and God knows we treat books lightly – we wouldn’t, after all, expect to know a piece of music properly on just one listen), knowledge and innocence so much part of its structure as to make it a knowingly different book on revisiting. Above all, though, it is a text which works like a charm: books are, in essence, go-betweens, works which conjure rhythm and release across time and history, across places of familiarity and those foreign to us; and personally and individually, too, it’s all a going-between, for every person who picks up a book for a first, then a second, then a third time.

Source: Rereading: The Go-Between by LP Hartley by Ali Smith


If my twelve-year-old self, of whom I had grown rather fond, thinking about him, were to reproach me: “Why have you grown up such a dull dog, when I gave you such a good start? Why have you spent your time in dusty libraries, cataloguing other people’s books instead of writing your own? What has become of the Ram, the Bull, and the Lion, the example I gave you to emulate? Where above all is the Virgin, with her shining face and long curling tresses, whom I entrusted to you”—what should I say?

I should have an answer ready. “Well, it was you who let me down, and I will tell you how. You flew too near to the sun, and you were scorched. This cindery creature is what you made me.

To my mind’s eye, my buried memories of Brandham Hall are like the effects of chiaroscuro, patches of light and dark: it is only with an effort that I can see them in terms of colour. There are things I know, though I don’t know how I know them, and things that I can remember. Certain things are established in my mind as facts, but no picture attaches to them; on the other hand there are pictures unverified by any fact which recur obsessively, like the landscape of a dream. (pg. 28)

I was in love with the heat, I felt for it what the convert feels for his new religion…And without my being aware of it, the climate of my emotions had undergone a change. I was no longer satisfied with the small change of experience which had hitherto contented me. I wanted to deal in larger sums. I wanted to enjoy continuously the afflatus of spirit that I had when I was walking to Lord Trimingham and he admitted to being a Viscount. To be in tune with all that Brandham Hall meant, I must increase my stature, I must act on a grander scale. Perhaps all these desires had been dormant in me for years, and the Zodiac had been their latest manifestation.

Dimly I felt that the contrast represented something more than the conflict between Hall and village. It was that, but it was also the struggle between order and lawlessness, between obedience to tradition and defiance of it, between social stability and revolution, between one attitude to life and another. I knew which side I was on, yet the traitor in my gates felt the issue differently, he backed the individual against the side, even my own side, and wanted to see Ted Burgess pull it off. (pg. 124)

Nothing is ever a lady’s fault; you’ll learn that.

Lady-killer: what did that mean? I didn’t like to ask too many questions. I did not think, however, Ted would kill Marian: Man-killer, that was what I had been afraid of. Now the fear had passed away, lost its reality with the rest of my life at Brandham Hall. I could scarcely believe that I had once felt I ought to warn Lord Trimingham of his peril. The ninth Viscount would never know that I had saved him from the fate of the fifth. By removing myself I had removed the danger: it was my master-stroke.

Listened Methyl Ethel’s metamorphosis from

This is an extraordinary Take 5. There’s something a bit different about capturing an artist at a particular moment in their creative life. Not talking with me to promote an album or to spruik a tour… but in the midst of creating something new. And following a curiosity that will take them to this unknown end. This is where I found Jake Webb – better known as Methyl Ethel. The Fremantle based muso has made textured, leftfield pop for years now. And across four albums has shapeshifted what he does and how he thinks about sound.

For his Take 5, I gave Jake the theme of metamorphosis. And asked him to choose five songs that have marked chapters and change in his life. From The Supremes to Bjork to Deerhunter, this is deep conversation about art, and finding new ways every day to make something new.

The Supremes – Keep Me Hangin’ On
The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights
Bjork – Hunter
Deerhunter – Helicopter

Jake Webb provides an insight into his thoughts on music through five tracks. This included talking about his fascination with guitar and drums via The White Stripes, as well as his new fascination with cello. Personally, I could not imagine Methyl Ethel without bass, for me it is the ingredient to Webb’s music that ties everything together.

It was also an intriguing conversation for the insight it provided into the creative process. Webb spoke about the importance of process (coffee in the morning) and turning up. He also talked about splitting up his days into 45 minute blocks to prevent from falling down the rabbit hole, especially when working alone.

I was left with so many questions. For example, what has he learnt over the years? Is there anything that he would possibly do differently now, compared with the past? What does he do in-between each of the blocks of time? Has he always started with piano or is this a new thing?

Red Team Blues by Cory Doctorow is the first novel in the Marty Hench series. It revolves around Hench, a forensic accountant doing one last job. However, things do not necessarily go to plan.

One of the things that I find interesting about Doctorow’s work is the balance between observing the world and explaining how things work. With Red Team Blues, more than say the Little Brother series, I felt myself enthralled in the story, rather than being endlessly distracted by the technology. Paul Di Filippo talks about a ‘maturing’, but I also think that this series has a different feel, providing a different perspective. Rather than youth, we are given an older perspective, with Marty Hench 67 and ready for retirement.

My only gripe with the novel was that Hench really did not seem like a 67 year old, but then again, his life is clearly a bit different.

I got the Wil Wheaton read audiobook as a part of a pledged associated with the Kickstarter campaign.

Read The Australian Dream by Stan Grant

In a landmark essay, Stan Grant writes Indigenous people back into the economic and multicultural history of Australia. This is the fascinating story of how fringe dwellers fought not just to survive, but to prosper. Their legacy is the extraordinary flowering of Indigenous success – cultural, sporting, intellectual and social – that we see today.

Yet this flourishing co-exists with the boys of Don Dale, and the many others like them who live in the shadows of the nation. Grant examines how such Australians have been denied the possibilities of life, and argues eloquently that history is not destiny; that culture is not static. In doing so, he makes the case for a more capacious Australian Dream.

‘The idea that I am Australian hits me with a thud. It is a blinding self-realisation that collides with the comfortable notion of who I am. To be honest, for an Indigenous person, it can feel like a betrayal somehow – at the very least, a capitulation. We are so used to telling ourselves that Australia is a white country: am I now white? The reality is more ambiguous … To borrow from Franz Kafka, identity is a cage in search of a bird.’ —Stan Grant, The Australian Dream

Stan Grant’s Quartarly Essay extends on his speech on racism in Australia at the IQ2 stage in 2015.

Now, you will hear things tonight. You will hear people say, “But you’ve done well.” Yes, I have and I’m proud of it and why have I done well? I’ve done well because of who has come before me. My father who lost the tips of three fingers working in saw mills to put food on our table because he was denied an education. My grandfather who served to fight wars for this country when he was not yet a citizen and came back to a segregated land where he couldn’t even share a drink with his digger mates in the pub because he was black.

My great grandfather, who was jailed for speaking his language to his grandson (my father). Jailed for it! My grandfather on my mother’s side who married a white woman who reached out to Australia, lived on the fringes of town until the police came, put a gun to his head, bulldozed his tin humpy and ran over the graves of the three children he buried there.

That’s the Australian Dream. I have succeeded in spite of the Australian Dream, not because of it, and I’ve succeeded because of those people.

Grant elaborates on the challenges associated with his personal history, the idea of indigenous people as ‘migrants’, and the layered nature of identity. I found it a fascinating book to read, especially in light of discussion around the referendum for a voice in parliament. For me, it highlights that there are no quick answers, instead it is always complicated.


The story revolves around a portrait of Dorian Gray painted by Basil Hallward, a friend of Dorian’s and an artist infatuated with Dorian’s beauty. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton and is soon enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life. Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied amoral experiences while staying young and beautiful; all the while, his portrait ages and visually records every one of Dorian’s sins.[3]

Wilde’s only novel, it was subject to much controversy and criticism in its time but has come to be recognized as a classic of gothic literature.

Although I had always had a copy of Oscar Wilde’s collect works, I had never actually read any of it. I really enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is interesting to consider how the book, with its opium dens, hedonism and homosexual desire, would have been received when it was first the release. The dialogue reminded me of Marcel Proust, but with a gothic twist.  I think that I could easily re-read it just for the quotes.

The gay strain in Wilde’s work is part of a larger war on convention. In the 1889 story “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.,” a pseudo-scholarly, metafictional investigation of Shakespeare’s sonnets to a boy, Wilde slyly suggests that the pillar of British literature was something other than an ordinary family man. In the 1891 play “Salomé,” Wilde expands a Biblical anecdote into a sumptuous panorama of decadence. Anarchists of the fin de siècle, especially in Germany, considered Wilde one of their own: Gustav Landauer hailed Wilde as the English Nietzsche. Thomas Mann expanded on the analogy, observing that various lines of Wilde might have come from Nietzsche (“There is no reality in things apart from their experiences”) and that various lines of Nietzsche might have come from Wilde (“We are basically inclined to maintain that the falsest judgments are the most indispensable to us”). Nietzsche and Wilde were, in Mann’s view, “rebels in the name of beauty.”

Checked into Check out who’s playing in April at the Thornbury Local
I saw Twinkle Digitz perform at The Thornbury Local. I had previously seen Will Hindmarsh aka Twinkle Digitz support Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine at the Corner. I was intrigued to see him again.

David Byrne talks about the the impact of space on the music that is created and performed. I am not exactly sure what music fits with the Local. The space includes a long bar on one wall and tables on the right, with a space down the centre to walk, with a small stage at one end with the mixing desk in front of the stage. Clearly, U2 are not going to work there, even with their cut back sound and choir. In some ways, Van and Cal Walker’s acoustic guitars, the support for the night, fitted the bill. What complicated things further was that it was clearly a shared space. Unlike myself, it felt like many were there for other reasons, some to socialise, some to eat, either way the music sitting in the background. After reading so much about The Go-Betweens and the Brisbane music scene lately, I wonder if this is what the Curry Shop was like?

Peter Walsh and Robert Vickers recall the Curry shop with wonder:

VICKERS: A dive, very small. It was, in fact, a curry shop. It was a place where you could buy curry and eat it, if you chose. A small basement— there was an alley in the back which opened into the store. It had a definite feel of squalor.
WALSH: It was dangerous to eat there. I don’t think I ever ate there. I played there.
VICKERS: It was certainly perfect for the time. It had columns, wooden columns, all through it; you were always up against a post. It looked like there were walls everywhere that had been taken down except for the uprights. A little tiny stage, and you couldn’t see anyone playing onstage because everyone could stand up front. You couldn’t hear anything—but you were there.
WALSH: You could hear the amps, and you could hear the guitars. The dressing room doubled as a urinal. I thought the people who ran it were hippies, and they meditated on a Sunday night, they had people to put you to sleep. And then someone must have said, “You should have some rock ’n’ roll!” – Page 46

Nichols – The Go-Betweens

With all this in mind, I am not sure if the music sonically fitted the space. However, the performance of one person on a stage supported by an array of technology means that the performance did in fact work.

One of the things that really draws me to Twinkle Digitz is the self-deprecating humor in the performance. This is particularly encapsulated in the outfits. (As a side-note, I feel  There is something in the power of the prop. When I first saw Twinkle Digitz, it was at the Corner Hotel. At the Corner there is a clear divide between the stage and the audience, with a space off stage to wait and prepare. When I arrived at the Local, Will Hindmarsh was at the bar (to be honest, that is about the only place one can stand at the Local) with a few friends in a very unTwinkle Digitz attire, what I would call a lumberjack jacket. He was so unTwinkle Digitz that he had to explain to the lady behind the bar that he was in fact the performer for the night when ordering a drink. Once Van and Cal Walker had finished their set, he went about setting his gear in full view of the room. I wondered how he would transition from Will to the magic of Twinkle Digitz. However, once he had setup, out came the jacket and glasses. Surprisingly, these simple additions seemed to change everything. Alternatively, I am not sure that Worker & Parasite’s performance would have worked without the divide between setting up and performing.

Here is my attempt at the set list (although I am sure I have missed some tracks):

Pandora’s Box

Boogyin’ with my Baby-o

Shit Eatin’ Grin

In the City

Black Christmas

We Don’t Need Another Hero (Tina Turner)

Dancing In My Dream

SexxxKisss (Go-Go Sapian)

Read Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Truman Capote)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella by Truman Capote published in 1958. In it, a contemporary writer recalls his early days in New York City, when he makes the acquaintance of his remarkable neighbor, Holly Golightly, who is one of Capote’s best-known creations.

I stumbled upon Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Audible. I have never seen the film and actually had little knowledge what the book was about. The narrative style of trying to capture, Holly Golightly, this larger than life figure in a world of extremes reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. As WB Gooderham captures:

To start with, let’s take a look at the similarities between Jay Gatsby and Holly Golightly. Attractive, charismatic and enigmatic? Check. Connection with organised crime? Check. Penchant for hosting parties and affected speech inflections (old sport/darling)? Check/check. Cessation of said parties once romance blossoms? Check. Humble origins, changes of identity, driven by dreams and ideals leading ultimately to death and exile? Check, check, check, check.

Read The Return of the Native
I was recently re-watching Harry Potter and wondered if Alan Rickman had ever read an audiobook. In my search I found a reading of Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native. I had never read anything from Hardy. Although it was slow to get going, it got to a point where you both want to turn away, whilst at the same time read on to find out what happens.

With the setting in the heath, I was left thinking about Wuthering Heights and the way that the landscape becomes something of a haunting character throughout. Although there are no ghosts, there are references to Eustacia as a witch. There are also some traumatic deaths.

One of the things that I found intriguing was the setting in Egdon Heath and occupations, such as the reddleman and furze cutter. I am not sure if I read them as extremes based on the distance of time? Like, was Diggory Venn symbolically meant to represent the devil? This strangeness also comes out with his ability to appear all of the sudden all the time? I was left wondering how these things would have been read at the time?

Originally released in serial form, I was left wondering what it might be like to forcibly read a novel of this sort over that period, especially on the train.

Watched 2016 American mystery drama television series by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
The OA explores a multi-verse stemming from near-death experiences. Although I felt it was a bit slow to unpack all the characters and storyline, once it gets going it was quite captivating. From a storytelling point of view I feel like all these science fiction series blend into each other. There were aspects of talking between dimensions similar to Stranger Things, while the puzzle house reminded me of 1899.
Listened 2023 studio album by Kimbra by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

A Reckoning is the fourth studio album by New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra, and the first under the label Inertia and [PIAS], having previously been signed with the label Warner Music.[1] It was released on 27 January 2023.[2] The album was promoted with the singles “Save Me”,[3] “Replay!”[4] and “Foolish Thinking”.[5]

A few years ago, my family and I went on a holiday to New Zealand. One of the things the stuck out to me was the balance between beauty and chaos. On the one hand, there are majestic landscapes, but these always feel in contrast to thermal mud pools and dormant volcanoes. I came away thinking that maybe one was not possible without the other. I had a similar experience with Kimbra’s new album.

It some ways A Reckoning continues on the path started with the raw striped back reimagining of Primal Heart. This is captured through tracks like Save Me, I Don’t Want to Fight and Foolish Thinking. However, this is contrasted by more upbeat and sometimes abrasive sounds, such as Replay and New Habit. This is something that Kimbra herself has touched upon:

Kimbra: There’s a juxtaposition in the aggression of certain sounds against something very soft and tender, which is really me in a nutshell. I have all these conflicting things that live within me. My art is an attempt to translate my inner world to be understood, like all of us. The sonic identity is ever-changing, because I’m ever-changing.

Source: Kimbra is Busier Than Ever After a Five-Year Recording Break: ‘I’m Growing as a Person’ by Bradley Stern

Even with the various ebbs and flows, the album still feels contained. For Kimbra, the constant is the storytelling:

Kimbra: I think the cohesion in my work is often the storyteller at the center, the voice that leads you through these different worlds.

Source: Kimbra is Busier Than Ever After a Five-Year Recording Break: ‘I’m Growing as a Person’ by Bradley Stern

An embracing of the contemplation:

Kimbra: It’s my belief that, when you try to annihilate parts of you, they just get stronger, you know? So, instead, I wanted to sit and listen to them and embrace the chaos and embrace the contemplation.

Source: Kimbra: “If You Try To Annihilate Parts Of Yourself, They Just Get Stronger” by Cyclone Wehner

Capturing the current shift we are all experiencing:

“We’re in a reckoning around spirit, race, our earth and how people walk in the world with a sense of conscience,” Kimbra has said of creating her fourth album. “I wanted to have something to say in my work that spoke to that shift we’re all experiencing.”

Source: Kimbra’s A Reckoning is mesmeric, contemplative and incredibly intimate by Bryget Chrisfield

Pain can transform us, and that this transformation is ultimately our best chance at a happy and just world.

Source: Kimbra – A Reckoning – Double J by @doublejradio

Additionally, the constant with A Reckoning is Ryan Lotts co-production that provides a consistent sonic pallet throughout. When I think about what makes that ‘pallet’, it is the tightness throughout. Whether it be strong sounds coming in just as quickly as they cut out or the way in which the vocals one minute feel distant and then feel close.

One of the interesting things I read about the collaboration between Kimbra and Lott was the way in which his role resembled a remixer.

Hunkering down in Upstate New York, she sent vocal demos to Lott, whose role resembled that of a remixer.

Source: Kimbra: “If You Try To Annihilate Parts Of Yourself, They Just Get Stronger” by Cyclone Wehner

Alternatively, Charles Brownstein has suggested that it is Kimbra’s performance the pulls all the disparate parts together:

You could listen to this album on shuffle, or the way it was designed, it really doesn’t matter — the one throughline is Kimbra’s performance. She always sells the song, whether it’s the yelling to get out of one’s head on “replay!” or the barely-there vocals of the closer. And on songs where the arrangements are eclectic, like on “la type”, “the way we were”, or “GLT”, she manages to make pop music fresh.

Source: Kimbra – A Reckoning – Northern Transmissions by Charles Brownstein

Place between Daniel Johns and James Blake.