Self-immolation draws a response. The image of a monk robed in flame remains a symbol of the Vietnam War. Mohamed Bouazizi burned in an Tunisian street and lit up half the Middle East. Two people in a matter of days have set themselves on fire in Australian custody, in the abject corners of distant islands where we punish those so gauche as to arrive seeking asylum by the wrong mode of transport.
Articles from Heathen Scripture
No one knows what to do when the lights go out. In the first moment time doesn’t apply, a couple of seconds that could be any duration. We’re left immobile by a room abruptly dark. The next moment we’re passive but thinking, stranded in the absence of explanation, expecting the anomaly to correct itself. Only once a third chunk of time arrives do we accept that this might be longer lasting, and start to think about next moves. But what do you do when illumination can’t ever come back?
Write that you’re ashamed of your country and the same bullshit argument descends like a dead snapper. Within three minutes Internet time, someone who doesn’t share your disenchantment will say “Why don’t you just fuck off to North Korea then?”
Australia. Don’t fucking ruin it for everyone. Sometime in the next couple of days you are all going to do that weird dance with the little cardboard houses and the scrawling of runes on scrolls, and like a magical phoenix sewn from boredom and Windsor knots, a new government will be formed.
There is a strange magic to aeroplanes.
I was cleaning out my phone last night and found this in its dim recesses, from a UK number to Australia last year. Still amazing. Still no idea what the fuck was going on.
A salute to the captain of the good ship Queensland. On visiting Campbell Newman’s sunny state last week, I was asked to be part of an event called The Sincerest Form of Flattery, in which writers mimic the style of a favourite author. I decided to go with A.B. Paterson. When I’ve got a minute I might rework this, keeping to the Banjo’s original metre. But I rather had to knock this piece together on the day, so this is it, as performed at the Brisbane Writers Festival.
Here’s one of the more exciting things I’ve been working on while I’ve been away. The record label Elefant Traks is a great Australian institution, founded by The Herd over a decade ago and supporting top-class Australian music and writing ever since.
You can tell there’s pre-election tension in Malaysia when they start locking up writers. On Tuesday, Australian-educated political publisher Ezra Zaid was arrested and brought in front of a judge, where a date for him to be charged was set for July.
For Malaysia observers, a move against Ezra’s ZI Publications was hardly a surprise. In a country where official censorship remains heavy-handed, ZI releases the kind of books that politicians would prefer were not available.
One of our new projects is about to be released.
It’s always rewarding when you get to be a part of making something beautiful. Not that a new website necessarily sounds like the most thrilling thing. Nando’s Chicken has a website. The Australian Society of Orthodontists has a website. Christopher Pyne has a website. But it can also mean the creation of something startling, compelling, and a little strange; the digital equivalent of a tongue in your ear.