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The Leisure Principle

Edition 81
In 1930, John Maynard Keynes spelt out a vision of the impending utopia. Work, he said, will become a thing of the past. ‘For the first time since creation,’ he predicted, ‘man will be faced with his real, his...
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THIS IS MY address, Gabrielle, to you and to no one else. You are the person I wish to speak to about the tumult of recent weeks. Remember how I told you that when I have my first sentence and have weighed it, then I know I have my piece? I have my sentence now. I have my foundation, I have my structure, I have at last the language that will allow me to speak. 

To write, perchance to dream

In fiction, dreams are a useful tool. They are the writer’s divine intervention. Like the famous opening of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, they can reveal the past in eidetic detail. They can make the murmurs of the subconscious plain. Catherine Earnshaw dreams she leaves Heathcliff to enter heaven, only to begin weeping to come back to earth.

Dog house

‘We’re gonna be legends,’ Spook whispered. I thought of the afternoon Dingo told him the plan, the four of us kicking up creek beds after school. How Spook had said the same thing then. The rest of us had listened, poking through the underbrush for toads. I knew Dingo would let him boast. Legends were made of news stories and souvenirs. Schoolboys like Spook were made of lies.  

The tyranny of the gay-stream 

Gay identity is not a single, fixed thing. But the flamboyant brand of this identity, which is on display at Pride or Mardi Gras, seems to have become the most important and recognisable version of queerness in the public imagination. When we focus on this entitled, Western version of gay identity, entire communities get overlooked.

The tubs

What was in the tubs that was worth saving, anyway? The journals had already done their job by helping me process my emotions and, perhaps, become a better writer. Really, I could just chuck them out. But as I transferred them into the filing cabinet, my heart rate returning to normal, I began referring to my new storage system as ‘the Elkin Archive’.

Australia v. The Superhero Film 

While Australian cinema has proven itself in most genres, the superhero film remains our kryptonite. We’ve made very few attempts, and they’ve been as bold as they are baffling, rife with McCarthyism, metaphysics and alien orgies. Join me, as I introduce you to The Return of Captain Invincible and Griff the Invisible: Australia’s two unlikely superhero movies, set apart by time and tone.

Help yourself

If we cannot live in the world and escape self-help, as the memoirist Jessica Lamb-Shapiro so wryly observes, we can hardly condemn its virulence without also being struck by its sheer resilience. At best, self-help might broadly inform, inspire and instruct, representing one of the most obvious – though not the most auspicious – mechanisms through which psychological and philosophical insights diffuse to a generalist audience.

Undervalued and overlooked

Western Sydney is home to half of Sydney’s population, and 10 per cent of the population nationwide. In other words, at least 10 per cent of the nation lives in a metropolitan area with almost no bookstores. But the real kicker is this: in Western Sydney, it’s almost impossible to buy books by authors who write from and about Western Sydney.

Behind the bestsellers 

The argument that independent and small book grocers have a more impressive and widespread range has held for a long time, but in May, Big W was awarded the prestigious Book Retailer of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs)… Recognition on this level legitimises the sales of books for half their value.

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