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Category Archives: books

Death in Sarajevo

Death in Sarajevo is a film about the depths of a hotel in one of those cities that Easyjet doesn’t fly to. I have read this book In Europe three times. First time it was upsetting in the northern bit of Spain, the second time I wanted to share the pain night by night out loud, [...]

long sentences

After writing ‘use shorter sentences’ on 65 essays, the majority of which try to prove that grand and monumental planning is autocratic (and in doing so tilt perilously close to outright defining spatial planning as a failed endeavour despite their authors paying tens of thousands of dollars to become masters of planning themselves), a conversation [...]

the narrow road to the deep north

20 years ago I read a book called Death of a River Guide which I didn’t enjoy and which I don’t remember, but which has stayed with me ever since. not like a scar or a limp, not like a stain. more like a family photo granted immortalisation-by-framing. I didn’t read any of Flanagan’s other [...]

decay and boom

Queenstown today holds as many people as at any time in the last sixty years and covers a larger area than ever before. New streets of houses have sprung up both north and south, and they now stretch in a tight array, two miles down the narrow valley and up so many hills and gullies [...]

critical realism

have you heard of this? I hadn’t until I was told to look it up and I feel like it’s about everything, which is how a philosophy should feel. In summary, it’s a philosophy of reality, or of science, which has as it’s ultimate aim progress, moving forward the debate or the system. So, unlike the constructivists [...]

The Peaks of Lyell

We spent 3 days filming rock in Tasmania. Queenstown is the fulcrum, the hinge, the core and kernel of 100 years of Tasmanian history. Surrounded by national park, world heritage and impenetrable wilderness, it is a diminishing town; caught briefly between wild riches (what was) and emptied pit (what will be), with the fourth temporal [...]

circle dancers

Kundera has always been right, and things which make sense of humans in Eastern Europe post-war also describe our motivations here, today. like the circle dancers in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Today even in sleepy Melbourne we are dancing in circles, holding hands, feeling within the circle that all we can see is [...]


you think it’s so gothic, this damp island of off-grid crazies. the original off-grid destination for shamed somerset and surrey manor-men escaping gambling debt and livestock ruin. the island of horrifying Black Lines, and of escaped convicts eating their weakest till the strongest finally dies alone of food poisoning. the world’s cleanest air recorded at the [...]


I went out for a twig of blossom. Last week I had a twig of blossom in a jar in the bathroom and it looked good. In retrospect I should have photographed it and uploaded it to internet landfill because today the blossoms have all gone. First I thought the wind had blown them away [...]

the colony

Meg was running late, the whole suite of excuses: lightning and thunder, bike puncture, slow trams. So I ducked into the gallery at a serendipitous hour on the first Tuesday in November when a horse-race in the west had drained the city and its gallery of people. I hadn’t been there for years. Combined with [...]