Shared posts

20 Jan 14:08

The Passive-Aggressive Guide to Book Gifting

by Louisa Hager

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
The perfect gift for: Your mom
What you're really saying: "Your new boyfriend is not my dad and I'm going to make things very difficult for you."

Le Morte d’Arthur, by Sir Thomas Malory
The perfect gift for: Your absent father
What you’re really saying: “See what happens when you ignore your kid?”

The Odyssey, by Homer
The perfect gift for: Your boyfriend
What you’re really saying: “You’re always late, and I have other options.”

Read more The Passive-Aggressive Guide to Book Gifting at The Toast.

16 Jan 14:36

Belle and Sebastian Albums, In Order

by Alex Balk


9. Storytelling

8. Write About Love

7. Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

6. Dear Catastrophe Waitress

5. The Boy with the Arab Strap

4. Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant

3. The Life Pursuit

2. Tigermilk

1. If You’re Feeling Sinister

13 Jan 12:44

The Internet Is Terrible Because Of Everyone: A Continuing Series

by Alex Balk

For someone who believes that everything is terrible and only getting worse, and that what we see on the web is both fulcrum and paradigm of that horrific progression, I spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing the Internet and its awfulness. Perhaps it is masochism. Perhaps it is the manifestation of a desire to somehow identify the source of the increasing terror that is corroding our souls. Perhaps it is a combination of the two. Regardless, my continuing examinations into the nightmare of our existence in the digital space and its spillover into our waking life have already resulted in the discovery of Balk’s Law (“Everything you hate about The Internet is actually everything you hate about people.”) and more recently yielded a further realization which, in consultation with a team of advisers, is still being refined, but that I feel is too important to keep from the population at large until it has been fully developed.

I want to repeat the caveat that this is highly theoretical and its ultimate implications have not yet been rationalized, and also warn you that there is a good deal of technical imprecision to the theory as it currently exists, but if you are willing to look past those exceptions we can proceed. Okay. At some point, probably in the ’80s, probably in The Book of Questions or one of the myriad knock-off versions, a query was posed about whether you would actually want to know the totality of what other people genuinely thought regarding your appearance, temperament and behaviors, instead of the sliver that they, bound by the dictates of courtesy and tact, expressed in your presence. The premise behind the question was the idea that society is only held together by a massive state of denial in which we consciously disregard the low esteem other people have for our assortment of generally disagreeable personality traits while maintaining a thick internal file of our various collected disdain for everyone else’s. This is not particularly groundbreaking in its understanding of the cognitive dissonance necessary to avoid widespread psychic paralysis but it was a recent reminder of the question that brought me to what I am tentatively denominating Balk’s Second Law. What I realized was that the worst thing isn’t knowing what everyone thinks about you. No, Balk’s Second Law puts it this way: The worst thing is knowing what everyone thinks about anything. And here is where we see the true malignant force that drives the Internet: It is the purest mechanism yet through which everyone can express every idiot opinion they have about everything to everyone else. I will not even get into all the metacognitive aspects of this or the terrible ways in which we classify all these opinions, the derisiveness of which is its own kind of awfulness. No, for now I just want you to let this sink in for a second: The Internet is poisoning you every day with its constant gush of idiot opinion from the vast waste-ridden tide of people who need to be reminded to shut their mouths while breathing. It is terrible and only getting worse, and the various forms of social media are only amplifying the process and hastening us toward our inevitable end.

That said, even I have to admit that there was something indescribably beautiful this weekend to watching a bunch of Dallas Cowboy fans bitch and moan on Twitter, without any sense of irony or self-awareness, about how a bad call robbed them of a playoff victory. Hahahaha! Suck it, you ignorant sacks! I hope bitterness tastes good, because that is all you will have to eat for another year. Hahahaha! Losers!

12 Jan 16:10

News: The Drones Are Reissuing ‘Everything We’ve Recorded’

by Mess+Noise

The Drones Are Reissuing ‘Everything We’ve Recorded’

The Drones have jumpstarted the new year by announcing ambitious plans to reissue “everything we’ve recorded.”

First up is a double-vinyl new edition of their 2005 third album, The Miller’s Daughter. Long out-of-print and celebrating a decade this year, it’s just been reissued by Spanish label Bang! Records and features a cover of John Lennon’s ‘Well, Well, Well’ that was only available in the original vinyl pressing, as well as “previously unseen pics and revised artwork,” according to a recent Facebook post. It’s available now at select Australian record stores, says the band.

The Miller’s Daughter will also see digital release for the first time this year, according to another Facebook post, and the band’s AMP-winning Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By (2005) and debut LP Here Come the Lies (2002) will earn their first-ever vinyl release.

The Drones’ most recent album, 2013’s I See Seaweed, topped our Critics Poll and came in at #2 on our Readers Poll. The band are working on its follow-up as we speak. Also, frontman Gareth Liddiard will play solo as part of The Gasometer’s Collingwood Open series on Friday, February 27, supported by Ela Stiles (Songs, Bushwalking, solo) and Jensen Tjhung (Deaf Wish, Lower Plenty, Exhaustion). Tickets for that here.

07 Jan 13:44

Lord Of The Rings Litter Box And Sauron Scratching Post For Cats

by Julija K.

Tim Baker and the team of Superfan Builds make the most awesome one-of-a-kind items for fans of movies, video games, comics and other pop culture. In celebration of the release of the final Hobbit movie, the team surprised a true Lord of the Rings fan and his two cats, Frodo and Sam, with Hobbit house cat litter box and the Eye of Sauron cat scratching post.

They used foam and rope to build the tower, attaching a catnip eye at the top. The house was also made from foam, decorated with delicately made trees and flowers. They even recreated Hobbit’s tiny tools and pot plants near the windows!

To see the reactions of fans and how the team made this possible be sure to watch the full video below.

More info: Facebook |  Youtube  (h/t: neatorama)












The making of






07 Jan 12:33

The Sounds of Rain

by Josephine Livingstone

Illustration by Hallie Bateman

When I woke up in the middle of the night that joined Monday to Tuesday, I only had a few hours left to sleep, but didn’t. The rain was back! My body was tired but the night was singing. I smiled into the dark and listened. That night I stayed awake through the real rain; other times, I depend on simulated rain. I incessantly play RainyCafé while I’m working but also need the Rain, Rain app to fall asleep. My favorite setting is “City Rain” (“Harbor Seagulls” is totally awful, “Rain on a Tent” is fine). I can hardly sleep without it.

Actual rain falling on my urban windows was, however, just too good to miss. I have lived on three continents and my family comes from a fourth: these circumstances have forged in me a deep and abiding attachment to environmental constants. At two, the rain in Hong Kong seemed to bounce off the pavement as high as I was tall. At ten, I slept under a slanted window in an attic bedroom, watched over by rough grey London skies. The smell and the sound of rain, you’ll find, doesn’t change much. Hot rain falling on the sea is a bit different from cold rain falling on concrete, sure, but there’s a note somewhere in there that is always just the same.

Without that constant note, I can’t concentrate or empty my mind. Similar feelings can be found in music, and it is no coincidence that good work-music often sounds a bit rainy. Tim Hecker veers pretty far into the crunchy drone of noise but also likes to punctuate his work with events; snapping, crackling passages that roll across the ceiling of the music like thunder. Slowdive totally sounds like rain. My friend Georgia associates rain with Gnossiennes No. 5. Stan Getz’s Blood Count does it for me. For a whole year I only listened to Wagner’s Parsifal while working, not because I like it that much (I’m not that high-brow) but because my German is so bad that the libretto neither distracted me nor warned me when the terrible screams were coming. Like thunder, screams keep you alert.

Rain sound is like opera because they both have core thematic structures but are also so big and organic that no single moment is characteristic of the whole thing. It takes hours to absorb and appreciate the whole. It is also like opera in that it is music, not noise. A lot of people find brown noise (named for Brownian motion, not the color) or pink noise (named the color of visible light with the same frequency spectrum) soporific, or calming. There are many thousands of hours of these noises to be found on YouTube. But it doesn’t suit me: noise doesn’t vary, it is just a smoothed-out, blanketed audio ooze. Noise has a quality, but not a music. Rain’s musical aspects—the pattering rhythm of its fall, the various percussive timbres specific to its fall on particular surfaces, the sweet modulations of the storm’s thunder-cracks—are particular to it, and special. Noise without dynamics is just silence with a different color.

In honor of the subtle music of rain, therefore, here is a rundown of the five most important types, to me:

Spring rain (London, England)

Spring rain in England happens often. It is a sweet bright sprinkling in the inkling of warm weather, still very cold but landing on blossom rather than bare branches. Attempt to eat in a park and grey clouds will roll over your April lunch break, determined to spatter your sandwich. Watch it through your office window instead, dreaming about your summer holidays and forgetting that this, the green and tender knife-edge of the year, is already perfect. Sleeping under this rain is a bit over-exciting and you may well become tired and stressed. If you have big exams coming up, try to read a detective novel until you get drowsy, then let the imagined pressure of the drizzle bash you gently to sleep.

Summer rain (Hong Kong, China)

It doesn’t rain all that often in Hong Kong, but when it does, it rains very hard. These are my earliest memories of anything. This rain is pummeling, hot, and lands on water and wood and the roofs of the trams. This rain was happening the first time I tried to stay awake all night on purpose and could not manage it. We were too far from the ground to hear the splashing of puddles—inside the cloud, really—so the sound of the storm was deep and structural. I fought the drops coming down the window against the orange night sky and lost.

Autumn storm rain (Brooklyn, USA)

You will be cornered by this rain, which howls at you like a vengeful harpy. Occupy the bedroom accordingly. Make fortifications. Do not let anybody you do not like into your apartment. Danger is everywhere. If there is a hurricane, make sure you have enough red wine and cigarettes in advance. Get ready for thick darkness. Watch Casablanca with one person you trust. Sleep and dream that the sound of stuff smashing on the roof is all about you.

Winter rain (Cape Town, South Africa)

This is driving rain, happening across a grey car park. It is boring, but only because you are a teenager. You try to stay awake to fume about everything but get lulled against your will. You can’t stay angry forever. The rain smothers and traps and soothes you in exactly the same way your big and crazy extended family does, so get used to it.

Total absence of rain (Namibia)

It turns out that after growing up in huge, filthy cities, the general countryside is sort of intolerable but absolute silence is fine. If I was born and raised among traffic and yelling and rain, my dad was born into the opposite. Pressed between endless semi-desert and a huge dry sky, you couldn’t even imagine rain falling on this little bit of earth. But the stars are bright and you are many miles from the people and duties which stress you out. Turns out you can live without the sound of rain as long as everything the rain neutralizes is gone too. Anyway, it is good to visit the places your parents are from and realize that you could live another way if you had to.

Like Klonopin, the therapeutic effect of rain sound lies in its ability to blur selectively. It takes the edge off the silence so that the outlines of your thought (or the purity of your sleep) can stay clear. After I close the rain sound tab I’m listening to now, the inside of my head will feel like your body does after you step off a trampoline: unnaturally hard and heavy, glowing with a kind of swelling and fluorescent anxiety. Empty noiselessness is as horrible as a big, tacky Californian villa. Held in the middle of any ambient cloud of sound—a language I don’t understand, a clattering restaurant, a rainstorm, an airplane’s thrum and rattle—I can sit and work and stay still. I’m not from anywhere in particular, but if I have a home, that’s it.

05 Jan 12:37

Let Baby Bjork Read You a Christmas Story in Icelandic, You'll Love it

by Hillary Crosley

Let Baby Bjork Read You a Christmas Story in Icelandic, You'll Love it

Bjork learned early that few things are more calming than flutes, violins, soft story-telling and a piccolo, which is how she began slaying audiences back in 1976.


18 Dec 14:43

What We’ve Done to Wolves

by Amy Collier

Amy Collier's previous work for The Toast can be found here.

1 poodle

2 bloodhound

3 chow chows

4 chihuahuas

large mops:
5 mop

Read more What We’ve Done to Wolves at The Toast.

15 Dec 11:57

An 18-Year-Old Hazara Refugee In Indonesia Is Making Documentaries On His Smartphone

by Alex McKinnon

The debate around asylum seekers in Australia is an old and frequently vicious one that does an excellent job of silencing some of the most important voices: the asylum seekers and refugees themselves. A combination of government secrecy, language barriers, the tyranny of distance and political scapegoating means that we rarely hear directly from the people who our policies affect the most, and struggle to understand their point of view.

Now some refugees living in limbo in Indonesia are taking matters into their own hands, using whatever resources at their disposal to tell their own stories in their own ways. Khadim Dai is an eighteen-year-old guy living in Cisarua, south of Jakarta. He fled his native Pakistan after a bomb went off in his school, killing 126 people, and decided to make his way towards Australia.

Khadim and his roommates, Baz Muhammad, Rahim and Amanullah, are Hazara, an ethnic group prevalent mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been frequent targets of violence from the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups. Armed with a smartphone, Khadim has begun documenting their lives as they wait to hear on their refugee status from the local UNHCR office — playing soccer, making musical instruments out of motorbike helmets, and making naan and fruit smoothies.

Khadim’s videos recently gained a profile with Indonesian online outlet Coconuts Jakarta, and they’ve started to gain attention on Reddit (via user Captwacky). In an earlier video, Khadim recounts how he and some friends began setting up a learning centre for the dozens of Hazara children in the neighbourhood who aren’t allowed to go to school.

Khadim and his friends have a Facebook page, ‘Who Are We Anyway?’, which they regularly update, as does the Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre. If refugees seeking to start a new life in Australia are speaking up despite — or because of — their circumstances, Australia would do well to listen.

Feature image via Who Are We Anyway?

12 Dec 10:43

Ada Lovelace, Genius

by Jazmine Hughes
by Jazmine Hughes

I have a peculiar way of learning, and I think it must be a peculiar man to teach me successfully… Do not reckon me conceited… but I believe I have the power of going just as far as I like in such pursuits, and where there is so decided a taste, I should almost say a passion, as I have for them, I question if there is not always some portion of natural genius even.

This is part of a letter that Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, sent to Charles Babbage, requesting him to be her mentor. Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators, a collection of mini-biographies, included this in Lovelace's section, commenting: “Whether due to her opiates or her breeding or both… she developed a somewhat outsize opinion of her own talents and began to describe herself as a genius.”

OK, but shouldn't we insist that the person who designed the foundations of modern-day computer programming— back in 1843—actually is a genius? Lovelace "envisioned a general-purpose machine capable not only of performing preprogrammed tasks but also of being reprogrammed to execute a practically unlimited range of operations," and began the conversation of technological sentience we're still having nearly 200 years later (see: Her, sex robots, Bender from Futurama). Let's give her some more credit: Ada Lovelace was a genius. Happy birthday to her.

[via Brain Pickings.]

04 Dec 11:28

A Majestic Cathedral Made Of Living, Breathing Trees

by Dovas

A building doesn’t have to be a dry and dead thing. Italian artist Giuliano Mauri’s epic Cattedrale Vegetale (or Tree Cathedral) is the perfect example of architecture that, instead of competing with or complementing nature, is quite literally a part of it. The late artist’s two groves of trees are destined to grow into a pair of magnificent basilicas.

The framework columns seen in these photos will eventually rot away and decay, to be replaced by the hornbeam trees planted in the center of each frame. As these grow, their canopies will mesh together to form the vaulted ceiling of a Gothic cathedral.

Mauri, who passed in 2009, laid the groundwork for his first visionary cathedral in Valsugana, Italy in 2002. The framework of the cathedral at the foot of Mount Arera in the northern Italian region of Lombardy was completed in 2010.

More info: (h/t: mymodernmet, BBC)


Image credits:  Virtual Sacred Space


Image credits: Michele Salmaso


Image credits: Aldo Fedele (left) | Arte Sella (right)


Image credits: Pava


Image credits: Arte Sella


Image credits: Ettore Galata Rizzardini


Image credits: Pava


Image credits: Giacomo Bianchi


Image credits: Riccardo Senia


Image credits: Pierangelo Zavatarelli


Image credits: Marco Rosato


Image credits: santino


Image credits: Il Giardino Sfumato

02 Dec 11:11

News: Kyneton Music Festival Announces 2015 Lineup

by Mess+Noise

Kyneton Music Festival Announces 2015 Lineup

Harmony, Laura Jean and Money For Rope will headline the third annual Kyneton Music Festival in February 2015.

The lineup also includes Ron S. Peno and Kim Salmon’s The Darling Downs, indie-pop quintet Tully On Tully and seven-piece “punk-string” crew Little Bastard. The acts will play at venues across the historic township of Kyneton – about one hour from Melbourne in Central Victoria – with the bluestone Kyneton Mechanics Institute once again acting as the festival hub, featuring an indoor evening stage and outdoor stage under the big oak tree. Other venues include Major Tom’s, The Pizza and Wine Club, the Stockroom art gallery, and the Red Brick Hall, which will host acoustic sets.

A full weekend pass for the festival on Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21 is only $70, and day passes and youth passes are also available. Children under 12 are free. Visit the festival’s website for more information.

Kyneton Music Festival 2015 lineup

Laura Jean
Money For Rope
Little Bastard
Tully On Tully
Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos
Sunbeam Sound Machine
Liz Stringer
The Darling Downs
Three Kings
La Bastard
Magic Mountain Band
Tracy McNeil
Lunatics On Pogosticks
Eaten By Dogs
The Seven Ups
+ many more to be announced

(From FasterLouder)

25 Nov 21:42

The Feminist Vampire Movie That Teaches 'Bad Men' a Gory Lesson

by Laura Barcella

The Feminist Vampire Movie That Teaches 'Bad Men' a Gory Lesson

The scare-queen at the heart of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, a new "vampire Western" film set in Iran, is the exact opposite of your typical Hollywood horror villain. She's not named Freddy or Jason; she doesn't wield an axe, wear a mask, or gleefully interrupt tanned teen couples in mid-thrust. She's also not a mewling, red-lipped cat-woman or a crafty witch in a velvet hood.


23 Nov 18:47

The Dirtbag Wars of the Roses

by Mallory Ortberg

[Enter RICHARD, skateboarding]
RICHARD III: more like the house of Planfagenet
that doesn't make sense
we're all Plantagenets
it's not Plantagenets versus somebody else
everyone's a Plantagenets
RICHARD III: more like fagcastrian
HENRY VII: also that's really unnecessary and offensive
RICHARD III: house of york?
more like house of dork
HENRY VII: that's your own house
you're not even being consistent with your homophobic slurs
RICHARD III: whatever
this party sucks

Read more The Dirtbag Wars of the Roses at The Toast.

22 Nov 22:29

If history repeats itself, Cosby’s legacy will be fine and his accusers forgotten

by Robyn Pennacchia
If history repeats itself, Cosby’s legacy will be fine and his accusers forgotten

If there is anything the internet loves to do, it is offer its opinion on what qualifies someone as a “real” rape victim.

“Real” rape victims, of course, always immediately report their rapes to the police, who are always extremely helpful and non-judgmental Olivia Benson-types. Their attackers–who can be clearly identified as bad-seeming people–have defensive wounds because the victim fought and fought to preserve her chastity–which was ideally perfectly intact prior to the incident. They were sober, of course.

If they don’t come forward to identify themselves, it’s because they’re hiding something, if they do, it’s because they want attention, delicious attention. And probably the imagined fabulous riches and major career boost that comes with outing oneself as a victim of rape. If only one victim comes forward it’s “well, if he was such a rapist, he probably wouldn’t have only raped that one woman.” If one victim comes out and then several others do, they’re just all making shit up in hopes of riding that sweet rape train to stardom.

It’s funny how people immediately assumed Janice Dickinson was lying. Janice Dickinson is a woman who has essentially built her reputation and personal identity on on being a bad-ass bitch. To come forward as a rape victim is to come forward as vulnerable–which is one of the hardest things about it. Think about that for a second. Do you think this is something she is enjoying?

Janice Dickinson, like Cosby’s many other accusers, had come forward about him before. It’s just, well, no one really gave a flying shit.  That’s usually the case, you know, when these things come out. Maybe people get angry for a bit, but usually that eventually subsides, and they forget. It is then only brought up by the evil feminists who just “won’t let anything go.”

Currently, many are furiously angry at the idea that poor, 70 year-old Bill Cosby’s legacy and career will be destroyed. Ostensibly by evil, selfish succubi, who will surely profit immensely off the destruction of this poor, innocent man’s life’s work.

Except, that’s not usually what happens. In fact, that is not what has ever happened, in the entire history of male celebrities being accused or convicted of rape or violence against women.

Even in the cases where the male celebrity actually went to jail? When they were actually convicted of a crime? It rarely affects their career or legacy.

Mike Tyson went to jail for raping Desiree Washington.

Tupac Shakur spent time in jail for orchestrating the gang rape of Ayanna Jackson.

Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary spent three months in jail for taking “sexual liberties” with a 14 year-old girl. He was later given an official Presidential pardon by Jimmy Carter!

Roman Polanski plead down to “unlawful sexual intercourse” with the then 13 year-old Samantha Geimer at the home of of Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston. He never went to jail, but he sure did win an Oscar, and pretty much every celebrity you know and love has come forward to defend him. By the way, he was also accused of sexually assaulting then 16 year-old English actress Charlotte Lewis.

People sometimes bring up Sean Penn’s arrest for domestic violence against Madonna. Surprise! This involved tying her to a chair, leaving there, and then refusing to untie her until she agreed to sexually service him.

Rob Lowe made a sex tape with a 16 year-old girl.

These are just some “confirmed” incidents. This is just the sexual assault. Tell me. Would you have known the names Desiree Washington or Ayanna Jackson if I didn’t just lay them out for you? Does it seem like these women achieved some glorious amount of fame for having accused a celebrity man of sexual assault? Are you aware that even though these men were convicted that their victims are still called liars?

Now onto the murkier stuff.

R. Kelly–somehow not convicted of sexually assaulting a 14 year-old girl despite their being video of it.

Ted Nugent adopted a teenage girl so he could legally have sex with her. He wrote a song called “Jailbait” in which he describes his lust for a 13 year-old girl. Also, in that song, he suggests to the cop arresting him that he use his handcuffs on her instead so they can both take turns on her. Courtney Love stated that when she was 12 years-old, she performed oral sex on Nugent, but she is, of course, definitely a liar. Nugent later went on to campaign for Mitt Romney, and has a plethora of conservative, “pro-family” admirers, like Sarah Palin and whatnot.

Jimmy Page essentially kidnapped 14 year-old Lori Maddox and kept her locked up at his place in order to essentially keep her as a sex-slave for a while.

Charlie Chaplin married 16 year-old Lita Grey in order to avoid being charged with statutory rape.

John Phillips raped his own daughter.

Woody Allen.

Darren Sharper.

CeeLo Green.

Zsa Zsa Gabor accused Frank Sinatra of raping her.

NFL star Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of rape by three separate women.

Kobe Bryant, accused of rape and according to one sportscaster, it gave him “sizzle” and actually improved his reputation.

Errol Flynn was accused of statutory rape by two underage girls. During a much publicized trial, a group of prominent men, including William F. Buckley, Jr, formed “The American Boys Club for the Defense of Errol Flynn.” He was acquitted, and it is thought that this trial actually helped revive his career rather than destroy it. You have probably never heard the names Betty Hansen and Peggy Satterlee.

William Kennedy Smith, of the illustrious Kennedy family, was accused of rape by Patricia Bowman and found “not guilty” after a rather suspect trial. Her name was dragged through the mud, she was called a social climber and a slut, and he got away with it.

To boot, there are male celebrities with serious domestic violence charges whose career and legacy were not hampered in the slightest by beating the crap out of women.

John Lennon, Bill Murray, Axl Rose. Tommy Lee, Michael Fassbender, Chris Brown, Jackson Browne, Dr. Dre, Glen Campbell knocked out Tanya Tucker’s teeth, Joe Dimaggio beat Marilyn Monroe, Miles Davis abused Cicely Tyson for years, Norman Mailer stabbed his wife at least twice in front of a large group of people.

No one really gave a shit about the horrific abuse Phil Spector inflicted on Ronnie Spector until he actually managed to kill someone.

Charlie Sheen, Dennis Rodman, Nicolas Cage, Gary Oldman, Christian Bale, Steven Seagall, Mickey Rourke, James Brown, Christian Slater, Pablo Picasso, Eminem.

I can only think of one male celebrity whose legacy has at all been hampered by domestic violence, and that is, of course, Ike Turner. Took long enough, though.

I could probably go on for much longer than I’d like.

The point is, a crime against a woman is not a crime punishable by losing your career in this country. Pretty much all of these men have done just fine after sexually or physically assaulting a woman. Unless the victims were celebrities themselves, they have been largely forgotten–their short time in the “sun” having largely consisted of being slut-shamed, called a liar, and told they were just looking for “attention” and “money.”

So, hey. If you want, tell me the story of a woman whose career and life has benefited from accusing a major public figure of rape, or statutory rape, or sexual assault, or sexual harassment. I’d be really interested in hearing it. Then, I will be happy to tell you all about how only 3% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail, and you can explain to me what that you are so much less hung up on that than you are on your unfounded theories that the women who accuse public figures of rape are always “lying to get attention.” I think it will be a lovely conversation.

I get it. We think so little of women in general and so very much of these male celebrities, that it is either more comfortable to forget or to believe that they are only in it for the “attention” and the “money.” Because after all, that’s all women want anyway, right? At least the evil kind, the kind who would try to take all your nice memories of Bill Cosby away for their own avaricious gain. Because a few think pieces here and there are worth your dignity, your privacy and your entire reputation.

Coming forward about this kind of thing is not an easy thing to do. It is not a fun thing to do. It does not result in fame or fortune. It results in being called a slut, a liar who just wants attention, a greedy whore, a vindictive bitch, crazy, or a just conniving hussy out to ruin some poor man’s life because he didn’t call her back, or just for shits and giggles. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a poor time to me.

**Would just like to issue a special thank you to everyone on the Facebook thread that inspired this post!**

22 Nov 11:40

How the Web Was Won

by Matt Buchanan

The Web is a Millennial. It was first proposed twenty-five years ago, in 1989. Six years later, Netscape’s I.P.O. kicked off the Silicon Valley circus. When the Web was brand new, many computer-savvy people despised it—compared to other hypertext-publishing systems, it was a primitive technology. For example, you could link from your Web page to any other page, but you couldn’t know when someone linked to your Web page. Nor did the Web allow you to edit pages in your browser. To élite hypertext thinkers and programmers, these were serious flaws.

— Paul Ford on the history of the Web and HTML5, the “markup we deserve”

19 Nov 15:38

There’s A Hotel In Brussels That Lets You Sleep In Your Favorite Pantone Colors

by Low Lai Chow

In Brussels, there’s actually the Pantone Hotel, which offers eyepopping colorful sleeps starting from just 179€ ($223) a night. You can crash in a room with any one of seven color palettes offered by the hotel. Each color scheme swallows up one entire floor.

Opened in 2010 and designed by Michel Penneman and Olivier Hannaert, the boutique hotel is the architectural extension of the Pantone Universe line that includes modestly-sized lifestyle products like watches and storage boxes.

The colorful treatment comes down to even the smallest details, such as snaps by photographer Victor Levy that are suitably hued to match the room’s color scheme and Pantone coffee mugs. As one reviewer wryly noted on TripAdvisor, “it feels like you’re inside a 12-year-old’s pencil case” and “there’s nothing quite like wiping yourself with fluorescent orange 2 ply (toilet paper)“.

Colored pajamas not included – so bring your own to unlock the room’s hide and seek feature.

More info: (h/t:



19 Nov 11:39

German town pranks neo-Nazis, ruins their parade

by Alex Moore
German town pranks neo-Nazis, ruins their parade

Every year for the past few decades in the small town of Wunsiedel, neo-Nazis have convened to hold an annual march for their cause much to the town’s chagrin. The location was selected by neo-Nazis because it was the burial spot of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, and hundreds of Germans from all over the country descend on Wunsiedel to hold their Nazi march every year.

This year, however, the town fought back.

Before the march, local businesses and residents got together and decided to turn the Nazi march into an anti-Nazi charity walkathon: They’d sponsor the the marchers, and for every meter they walked the town would donate about $20 to a charity called EXIT Deutschland, an anti-extremism non-profit that helps people transition out of neo-Nazism and other hate groups.

The town let the parade proceed as planned, but instead of keeping their distance like they’d done in the past, they greeted the marchers with rainbow confetti, banners for EXIT Deutschland, and markers painted along the parade route letting marchers know how much they’d raised for the anti-Nazi charity by marching.

 German town pranks neo Nazis, ruins their parade

The neo-Nazis were completely caught off guard—you can see their deer-in-headlights expression in the Washington Post video below. But instead of calling the whole thing off mid-march they completed the parade route with somber expressions and in the end wound up raising nearly $50,000 for EXIT Deutschland.

Suckers. It might just be the greatest Nazi troll in history.

18 Nov 11:38

News: Artist on Artist: Beaches vs Little Ugly Girls

by Mess+Noise

Artist on Artist: Beaches vs Little Ugly Girls

Ahead of sharing the stage at Chapterfest 22, ANTONIA SELLBACH (Beaches, Love of Diagrams) and LINDA JOHNSTON (pictured) of cult Tasmanian band Little Ugly Girls discuss musical catharsis, a feminine voice, developing a stage persona and much more. Photo by ROBERT CARBONE.

Linda: “I shall speak about women’s writing: about what it will do. Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing ... Woman must put herself into the text – as into the world and into history – by her own movement.” – Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa

I’ve been listening to Beaches’ second album She Beats, and these descriptions come to mind: sonic/swirl, seductive, energising, hypnotic. And to my ears your music emanates a strong feminine quality. The Cixous quote is in reference to the idea of Écriture feminine (women writing), a feminist philosophy that stresses the importance of writing purposefully to create a new language that is able to describe female experiences. Although she is referring to literature, I think her ideas translate to writing music, both lyrically and in terms of form and structure.

Do you think there are male rock ‘n’ roll tropes that your bands deliberately avoids? Is there a discourse in your bands about these ideas when you write?

Antonia: I really like that Cixous quote. I think maintaining a female voice is important. We need to get better at historicising female voices and making sure that we are heard. Yet alongside this, I also quite like the idea of freeing language to the point where we can allow qualities to ‘just be’.

The qualities you mention are also qualities I can hear with Beaches. I don’t think we deliberately set out to have these qualities, it was more a case of them emerging and then we fostered the ones we found most interesting. If there was one thing that I was consciously aware of with She Beats, it was that I wanted it to be immersive and I wanted it to sound powerful. I don’t want to sound like a pushover. Yet although I see a power in representing our femininity and selves in way that is real and not prescribed, I also don’t think of gender as something that must always define us.

When discussing gender and music making, I have noticed that gender can often mean ‘everything and nothing’ all at once. I think this is an important point – we need to allow the issue of gender to be everything (I am female; there are experiences unique to my gender that are important and will always inform my practice) and also nothing (music can sometimes be so abstract that it frees us from the boundaries of gender and opens up a world of humanness existing outside of gender). I oscillate between these views and whilst polar opposites in many ways, they can also inform each other and provide a healthy standpoint. Perhaps this makes things complicated to speak about, but it also makes things interesting.’'Everything and nothing’, all at once. I like the plasticity of that idea.

My first question for you: I started watching Little Ugly Girls in Hobart in the late ’90s and also caught your last shows in Melbourne in the early 2000s. I found your band hugely inspiring. As a younger woman, watching you perform made me feel like I could do it too. You seemed to draw on something – perhaps personal, perhaps external (I am not sure) – that appeared immensely cathartic. Having been in the audience, I can say it was cathartic for us too.

As a performer you have a really wild, amazing, strong and quite forward female presence. How did this evolve for you? Was it a reaction to dealing with the dynamic between performer/audience? Was it thought out or did it emerge intuitively? What are your thoughts on catharsis as an element of performance?

Linda: It’s a heartfelt pleasure to know that people have been inspired or emboldened by my music. It gives me a feeling of becoming part of an artistic history of which I am proud.

My first appearance on stage singing was as a teenager playing the part of Columbia from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and while this may induce cringing, her character embodied a wild unruly sexuality that I realised was incredible fun to play and held people captive. Around the same time, watching R-rated films on my black-and-white TV late at night in my room, I saw Glenda Jackson playing Tchaikovsky’s spurned wife driven to insanity in Ken Russell’s film The Music Lovers. Glenda Jackson oozed a crazed energy that I thought was brilliant. I’m lounging in the gold velour beanbags at home in 1980 when David Byrne sang/spoke “This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife” and danced those peculiar jarring gestures; I thought it was unnerving, unsettling and its irregularity intrigued me. On Countdown in 1979, I watched Chrissie Amphlett performing “I am just a red brassiere for all the boys in town”, with her neon pole mic stand and her stripper school uniform and I thought she was tough, slutty and awesome.

Fast forward 10 years. By the time LUGs formed in the early ’90s, I’d accrued considerable anger and sadness, growing up in a shitty small town surrounded by dysfunctional people in destructive relationships. By the time I started performing with LUGs I already had stage confidence. I worked as a professional actor in a theatre company for a year and I’d done various amateur things, so it was never a big deal to sing on stage. So I had my inspirations, confidence, buckets of anger, and all I had to do was deliver that energy. I had a formidable band which drew that energy from me. I’m never free from consciousness of being on stage, so there is always a stage persona. I think mine evolved from combinations; there are the influences you consciously choose but I’m sure there are people and events that are unknowing, festering in your subconscious. Sometimes writing songs illuminates your subconscious, revealing yourself to yourself. There is also my attitude towards performance, and that is I take it seriously and I feel a responsibility on stage to be true and generous to the audience.

There was a period in Hobart with LUGs I really didn’t enjoy and I developed a cold and tough stage persona that was combative because our music caused a frenzy that was too aggressive for me. It was really upsetting for me to make music that caused such a violent reaction. (No fun getting the microphone constantly smashed into your mouth.) It may have be that my own cathartic expression had manifested to something that repelled me. Perhaps my own anger was being reflected back. Growing pains!

The songs LUGs perform now were written in the late ’90s and later, and much of the vitriol of earlier years was lost. These songs are more poetic expressions which allow for the exuberance I feel when performing these days.

In the mid-’90s I discovered the RE/Search series Angry Women and Angry Women in Rock, which became my bible. In one interview with Diamanda Galas, she says that when she performs she sings for the gods, and I believe that you don’t need to be an opera singer to share this ethos. Writing and performing for me was without a doubt hugely cathartic and I’m fortunate I was given the chance to pursue this avenue (Thanks LUGs). I was proof that the personal is political, purging the hurt and anger I’d experienced and voicing the injustices and suffering of others I had witnessed. It became a compounding element in my life. It built my confidence, it fed my work (at art school), encouraged my political activities and gave me a sense of belonging within the music community.

I don’t think all catharsis in music is going to be something enjoyable, palatable or entertaining, but I would rather see something shocking than something trite and fake. And if someone howling or ranting on stage saves them from self-destructing, then more power to them. I think catharsis is one thing and self-indulgence another. We seem to suffer and tolerate the latter more often than not. It’s even encouraged as talent. Catharsis, on the other hand, has the potential to be shared. It can reveal overwhelming, powerful emotions that we all experience: anger, confusion, regret, embarrassment, mania, fear, sorrow. Cathartic expression is shared when their is courage in vulnerability. Saudade, the Portuguese songs of longing, loss and sorrow are to me a form of beautiful catharsis. I’d love to write a song that makes people cry.

Here’s my next question for you: I’ve been reading your blogs, listening to your bands and looking at your fantastic paintings ... Thanks Antonia, it’s been great cyber-stalking you! I can see that you are incredibly busy, tour extensively, write blogs and are generally hard-working and self-motivated. I read that you were a grant writer and have been an assessor on the Australia Council Music Board. I was wondering: in all your travels, have you experienced any positive cultural differences in the way bands are perceived or supported? Are you aware of governmental support in any overseas countries that facilitate bands in different ways than Australia?

Melbourne is a fantastic mecca for music and yet we all know it’s difficult to survive financially from a musician’s income. Given the world access the internet provides, do you think self-motivation and imagination are the only barriers to creating a sustainable life playing music?

Antonia: Touring in America, I’ve found people to be fascinated that there are funding bodies that give out grants in Australia. Nothing like that exists for them. Perhaps though, on the flipside, bands coming to Australia from overseas have a kind of ‘cultural currency’ that allow them to charge more for ticket sales and that enables them to successfully tour in a way that Australian bands overseas would really struggle to do. In Australia we seem to view bands from overseas as existing almost in another category than our own ... we raise them up, admire them and generally we will also pay a lot to see them. So it’s not exactly a level playing field – just different.

You get to have a peek into other scenes as you travel and at first I expected everywhere I went to have really robust, comparable music scenes to Australia. Some places do: our friend Allison Woolfe (Bratmobile, Partyline) introduced us to the whole D.C. scene when we first started touring around the US in the mid-2000s. There is a pretty amazing history to D.C.: the influx of musicians coming in from Portland and Olympia in the ’90s and the new bands that were created, riot grrrl in general, the Dischord label ... That specific track of history is palpable but more importantly also still active when you go there to play. We felt instantly accepted there and have made great lifelong friends there. Touring has also made me really appreciate the strength of the music that we have locally. I haven’t come close to seeing anything quite like what we have in Australia elsewhere, but perhaps that partially has something to do with only glimpsing small bits of scenes that you travel through at any time.

RE: self-motivation and imagination, those qualities are important but it is damn hard to make money out of music. I only really know how to make the music that I make and I am aware that it is probably not particularly commercially appealing. I’ve been inspired by the self-taught/‘DIY attitude’ of bands like Siousxie and the Banshees, The Slits, The Raincoats, Young Marble Giants, Pylon etc., whose singers have a powerful but slightly unpolished type of discordance. Perhaps this forever locates us on the border, the outskirts, but this sense of minority also locates us within an underground that we identify with and love. It also means we largely exist outside of the world of commercial viability/marketability/money-making, so rather than make a living solely out of music, I aim for the bands that I am in to maintain their own financial independence. That way the money we make is fed back into the band and we are able to do most of what we want whilst also maintaining creative and financial control.

OK, last question. It has been so great chatting with you, Linda. I feel like some of the stuff we’ve talked about doesn’t get spoken of that much and it’s rad we are having this conversation. It’s so amazing to read about how your stage ‘persona’ formed over time. I also really identify with your thoughts on catharsis, strength and vulnerability. I know for me, playing live has been a massive outlet for anger, confusion, sadness, anxiety/nervous energy ... it’s been really integral to my health.

Have you ever gone for stretches of time where you don’t play music? Or is music something that you can’t ‘live without’? Also, I’m so excited that Chapter are finally going to release the album. I’ve waited so many years!! When can we expect it?

Linda: I’ve loved talking to you too, and especially since we’re both from Tassie and still playing music now in Melbourne. We share lots of ideas and attitudes. Thank you! As we used to say in Hobart ... “not scared.” Looking forward to seeing you and Beaches at the gig on the 22nd.

There was a time I didn’t play or write and eventually I became quite lost and agitated. From memory, LUGs disbanded in 2002, and for the next three years I just held down a 9-to-5 job, drank a lot and yelled at talking heads on the TV. Eventually I figured out that singing is a vital force for me, a pressure-valve release on many levels.

I’d only ever written lyrics and melody so I was not confident in writing songs alone. Bean [Johnston, her brother] went off and formed a new fantastic band Keith’s Yard, so I lost my main writing partner. As time passed and drinking increased, my confidence waned. Eventually I hired a piano and took lessons, which I really loved. Sloth and I started a project called Oko Yono, which was a new approach to writing and from memory pretty cool, but circumstances meant that it didn’t come to fruition.

I know much of my identity was attached to being a singer in a band, and without it I was floundering. Perhaps there is a “well balanced” school of thought that thinks that unhealthy but my solution is to just find a way to sing. It’s part of our culture that if something doesn’t reward you financially then it’s relegated to hobby status. Music is not my hobby. I have hobbies and they are very relaxing. Writing and playing music is not relaxing.

I was temporarily saved by Legends of Motorsport, who asked me to write with them and record a song in 2002. It was released on their Beef With Cheese album. That was actually a big deal for me because I flew to Sydney and recorded with Jonathan Burnside, which was a big confidence boost. Initially I felt fairly intimidated, having previously very little experience in the studio, but I nailed it. What this whole period taught me was I needed to build on my abilities; so I started playing guitar. Bean was keen to play drums. We were both novices on our instruments and I have to say that jamming in those early months of The Dacios was the best fun I’d ever had writing music. I haven’t been playing live as much in the last year, but The Dacios have started recording another album, which we’ll launch next year.

The Little Ugly Girls’ long, long lost album is in the process of being retrieved. The unmixed songs were lost many years ago when a computer containing them crashed. Recently Sloth had them recovered; however, there is a mammoth task of wading through 7000 unnamed files to piece the songs back together. I think there are going to be many nights spent together for this project! I’m not sure how complex this task is going to be, so I’m unsure of a timeframe – the aim is to release the album next year on Chapter Music.


Beaches and Little Ugly Girls will both play at Chapterfest 22 this Saturday (Nov 22) at Queen Victoria Markets as part of Melbourne Music Week, along with Laura Jean, Pikelet, Minimum Chips and The Backstabbers. It runs from midday to 5pm, with tickets here. Beaches’ latest album is last year’s ‘She Beats’; read Steph Kretowicz’s review. Check out Robert Carbone’s photo gallery of Little Ugly Girls playing at The Tote for the venue’s 30th anniversary celebration in 2011.

18 Nov 11:18

First Contact Is One Of The Most Important Australian TV Shows Of The Year

by Chad Parkhill

How much contact have you personally had with Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Australian culture? If you’re anything like six out of ten Australians – the majority of us – the answer is little to none.

This lack of contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia is not only a shame for non-Indigenous Australians, who know little about the world’s oldest continuous culture, but it also helps contribute to a pattern of cultural relationships that oppresses Indigenous people. That oppression, in turn, has real material effects on Indigenous people around Australia, who experience higher rates of infant mortality, illiteracy and innumeracy, unemployment, and have shorter life expectancies than their non-Indigenous peers – in addition to having to bear the brunt of the misconceptions and out-and-out racism fostered by this lack of cross-cultural communication. Clearly, if we are serious about closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, part of the solution is to familiarise non-Indigenous Australians with Indigenous people and Indigenous culture.

SBS’s new three-part reality series First Contact – which premieres at 8:30pm this evening on SBS ONE and NITV – takes six Australians who have had little to no prior contact with Indigenous culture or Indigenous people on a remarkable road trip around the country. The six participants are tested in extraordinary situations, and they find their beliefs about Indigenous people and culture radically reshaped as they come face-to-face with the beauty of Indigenous Australia, the tragedy of its post-1770 history, and the lived effects of Australia’s racial  inequality in the present day. Hosted by Ray Martin and narrated by Hugo Weaving, the result is a television series that is both powerful and confronting.

We spoke to Darren Dale, producer of First Contact, and Bo-Dene, one of the show’s participants.

Darren Dale, producer

Junkee: What was the genesis of First Contact, and how did it develop from that point?

Darren Dale: It all started when we made First Australians, which was a historical documentary series, and some other films for SBS. But really the starting point was: how do you make something that will engage an audience about Indigenous issues? And how do we do something that will get a new audience, not just speak to the people we’ve spoken to before. So we did some research and we came across the fact that six out of ten Australians have had little to no contact with Indigenous people. And we thought, that’s such a simple idea, but a really great idea to test – to get six Australians who had little to no contact and take them to meet and see Aboriginal people, and immerse themselves in Aboriginal people’s lives.

The six participants represent a real diversity of opinions – it’s not just six people who are ignorant of Indigenous Australia, but people with loads of different preconceptions. You’ve got people, for example, who really fetishise and idealise Indigenous culture, which they can do precisely because they haven’t had prior contact.

DD: Having that diversity in the group – like having Bo-Dene, who’s 25 years old – was important, because that will also represent what people at home think. So the idea behind the show, really, is that you can identify with the participants – you can go, ‘Oh, I thought that!’ or ‘Don’t Aboriginal people get more welfare than we get?’ So what we wanted was that people could confront some of their own misguided stereotypes about Aboriginal people from the comfort of their own lounge room. And they can engage with those stereotypes. There are a lot of misconceptions about Aboriginal people, and lots of misinformation, too.

Having Alice on the show is interesting, too – she appears to be so progressive, so politically correct, and so on board with Indigenous identity. But the experiences she has on the road are actually quite confronting.

DD: The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is fuelled by many different things, isn’t it? It’s not just that people don’t know, or that people are ignorant, or that people have misinformation. Alice is someone at the other end of the spectrum, who has bookish knowledge: she knows about blackfellas, she identifies with them, but actually the reality on the ground is very different.

So I think with all those views – from having ignorance to feeling an affinity with Aboriginal people – there’s something for us to learn through having that human contact.


First Contact comes at a pretty interesting time, in terms the push for Indigenous recognition in the constitution, and less welcome news such as the number of Indigenous deaths in custody recently, in Western Australia. What do you think First Contact has to say to these current issues?

DD: There’s a conversation that needs to be had, and I think that conversation absolutely involves Aboriginal people as well. As a nation, we have an appetite to engage with Indigenous people – a friend of mine says that our nation has reached maturity and is entering its twenties, euphemistically speaking. It’s grown up, the terrible teens are now over, and we can start to engage with these pertinent issues.

In that conversation, there are lots of Aboriginal people looking for different ways to go forward. So I think it is a really interesting time for us as a country to address Indigenous issues, but a lot of that conversation is taking place amongst Indigenous people themselves: trying to take responsibility for issues that are in our community, and trying to move ahead with those.

Say you are one of those six out of ten Australians who have had little or no contact with Indigenous Australians – what kind of practical actions might you do to overcome that?

DD: I think, as Australians, it would great if we could get to the point where we see Indigenous culture as all Australian’s cultural inheritance. It isn’t just for Aboriginal people; we’re all Australians.

In New Zealand, for instance, lots of people know Māori language, lots of people know Māori culture. It would be great if we could see that Indigenous culture and Indigenous people are part of our nation’s rich cultural inheritance, as opposed to seeing it as just a black and a white culture.

Bo-Dene, participant


Junkee: Why did you sign up for First Contact, and how did you find out about it?

Bo-Dene: When I first saw the notice for the show, I wasn’t aware that it would involve Aboriginal Australia – it was just advertising a road trip. Then when I found out that it would involve going to Aboriginal communities, I thought, ‘Wow, this is an amazing opportunity’ – I’d never had the chance to do anything like that before.

It’s interesting that you saw it as an opportunity, because at the very start of the series there is some footage of you saying some relatively unkind things about Indigenous Australians, like “Aboriginal people saying that they’re disadvantaged compared to other people and that they need extra help is crap”. What was your thought process going from feeling that way, to deciding that you’d like to experience Indigenous Australia?

BD: I think that when I watch the series back I’m going to be a bit shocked at some of the things I said, because they were very ignorant views. I wouldn’t classify myself as a racist, it’s just that, growing up, I always had negative views about Aboriginal people. That annoyed me in the sense that I hadn’t had much interaction with them, so my views were pretty unfounded – shaped by people around me and the media, I guess. So I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some first-hand experience – living with Aboriginal people and learning about their traditions.

I have a lot of friends from overseas, and that made me realise that I just wasn’t happy with my view of Aboriginal people – I had a really negative view of them.

How do you think the trip changed those views?

BD: Living with so many different families taught me that Aboriginal people are very much like everybody else – I guess I was really thinking there would be a divide. It’s weird that there were so many things I could relate to with a lot of the people I met. There’s a lot of issues that Aboriginal people face that mainstream Australia wouldn’t understand, and you wouldn’t even begin to start the thought processes about why that’s happening unless you got the opportunity to have the amazing experience we did.

In Fitzroy Crossing, we met June [Oscar] and Emily [Carter] – they started an alcohol ban in that community, it was the first in Australia. I think meeting people like that, who are actually trying to change the bad cycles that are happening in Aboriginal communities, was amazing. Fitzroy Crossing really started to change my opinion of Aboriginal people from what I was thinking prior to the trip – it was amazing, and those ladies showed so much determination for the community.


What was the most difficult part of your First Contact experience?

BD: For me, the hardest part was when we went to Elcho Island. That was really upsetting, because I didn’t think that places like that could exist in Australia. I was born in Ipswich and then moved to Melbourne – I think I just always assumed that Australia was nice everywhere.

The first night we stayed in Elcho Island was so scary, it was the worst night of my life – the houses, the way it was so isolated from everything. It was so confronting to think that Aboriginal people can live in a community like that and no-one … well, personally, I’d never even heard of Elcho Island before the trip.

Now that you’ve done this trip, and had this life-changing experience, how do you personally plan to maintain that engagement with Indigenous Australia?

I would love to go back to the communities again to work, because I made some really good friends on the trip. Fitzroy Crossing was amazing with the work they’re doing there, and I hope some of the other communities we visited before that can take some advice from places like that, which are really starting to turn around. I’d love to help out in those communities again.

The first episode of First Contact screens tonight (Tuesday 18 November) at 8:30 on SBS ONE and NITV, and replays on SBS 2 at 9:30. Episodes two and three will screen on Wednesday 19 November and Thursday 20 November.

Chad Parkhill is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. He has written for The Australian, Kill Your Darlings, The Lifted Brow, Meanjin, The Quietus, and Spook. He tweets at @ChadParkhill.

17 Nov 15:25

Russian Miner Spends His Breaks Taking Photos Of Foxes In The Arctic Circle

by Skirmantė

Russia’s remote north-eastern Chukotka region is an inhospitable arctic tundra, but even in this brutal landscape, Russian photographer Ivan Kislov can find beautiful signs of life among the foxes that live and hunt here in the wild. He agreed to talk to Bored Panda and tell us more about his amazing photos.

Kislov, who lives in the north-eastern port city of Magadan, works in Chukotka as a mining engineer. When he has time during his long shifts, he looks to photography for “relaxation from routine.” He likes to go on “hikes to inaccessible places, raftings,” or just simple walking tours to “observe the wildlife.

Though he takes pictures of everything from bears and reindeer to wolves and stoats, Kislov says the foxes are often very willing models: “Foxes are curious and can come very close, and I shoot with wide angle and telephoto lenses.

More info: | 500px | Facebook





We’d like to thank Ivan Kislov for talking to Bored Panda about his work and letting us use his photos. Good luck taking more amazing photos!

15 Nov 09:58

Karl Stefanovic Has Worn the Same Suit Every Day for a Year Because Sexism

by Meg Watson

For more stories like this, Like Junkee on Facebook.

Karl Stefanovic is a lot of things. He’s a manchild with an acute sensitivity to sexual puns. He’s one of the few people in the world to tell the Dalai Lama a joke. He’s a true blue hero who doesn’t mind going on air after a few bevvies, a totally hilarious prankster, and one of the nation’s few professional cat journalists. But now we can add one more line to his already stellar CV — Karl Stefanovic is a feminist.


According to a report from The AgeKarl has spent the last 12 months of his life dedicated to a super secret mission to expose sexism in Australian society. Again — this is not a joke. After becoming frustrated with the superficial standards his female co-workers were held to in regards to the way they dress, Karl embarked on an experiment to test these standards on himself. He wore the same blue suit every day. First for a week, then for a month, then for a year.


“Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear,” Stefanovic told Fairfax. “I’ve worn the same suit on air for a year — except for a couple of times because of circumstance — to make a point [and] no one has noticed; no one gives a shit.”

The only people who knew about the experiment aside from Stefanovic were his co-host Lisa Wilkinson and Sunrise host Samantha Armytage — the women who seemed to inspire Karl to take up the cause. Both Wilkinson and Armytage have been the target of unfair criticism about their appearance in recent times. The latter even suffered a rough onslaught of bullshit from The Daily Telegraph for dressing in seemingly regular clothes while doing normal, everyday activities.


This just in: woman wears jeans and a jumper. #comfywomfygate

“I’m judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humour — on how I do my job, basically,” said Stefanovic. “Whereas women are quite often judged on what they’re wearing or how their hair is … that’s [what I wanted to test].”

Now, it seems the test was well worth his time. Though men’s suits are admittedly more difficult to tell apart than the varied cuts and styles of women’s usual dress, he’s got a point. The fact no one noticed proves that no one really cares. And, while that’s totally fine — there’s no real reason we should care what the host of a daily news-peppered infomercial chooses to put on his body — that standard should be applied across the board.

And, though every sane person in the world knows this, it’s exciting to see the point coming from such a prominent figure in the mainstream media. As Clementine Ford said this week following the movements against the socially exiled Redfoo, and the actually exiled Julien Blanc, it seems more and more people are confidently speaking out against this kind of injustice.

Maybe all of Karl’s pranks have been insightful comments on contemporary Australia? Have we been missing something? Someone please decipher his point in the video below. Please. Someone. Give meaning to the world again.

For more stories like this, Like Junkee on Facebook.

05 Nov 10:44

Noel Pearson Gave One Of Australia’s Greatest Speeches In Honour Of Gough Whitlam Today

by Alex McKinnon

First thing’s first: all the footage in this article comes via the ABC. They filmed it, and they’re the reason you’re able to watch it. We just saw it and thought it was cool to share. Credit where credit is due.

Cate Blanchett’s tribute to Gough Whitlam, which she gave at his memorial service earlier today, has already gone viral, and for good reason: it was a fantastic speech that a lot of people have identified with. But immediately after Blanchett finished her tribute, lawyer, academic and Aboriginal lands rights activist Noel Pearson gave a tribute of his own, and it may genuinely be one of the greatest speeches ever heard in Australian public life.

Pearson has a great deal of influence with the government over policy-making on Aboriginal issues, and is a divisive and often controversial figure; last year he called for Aboriginal Australia to embrace mainstream Australian economic values, and his support for the 2007 Northern Territory intervention has drawn strong criticism from the likes of Labor NT Senator Nova Peris. The two are frequently at odds over issues like income management and government intervention in Aboriginal communities.

But people seem united in praise of Pearson’s speech today; Twitter is losing its mind even more than usual, and glowing tributes to Pearson’s glowing tribute are already starting to flow. Having watched it as it happened, I can testify: it was fucking magnificent.

Here’s an excerpt to give you an idea; reading it loses the power of Pearson’s voice, which is half the reason it’s such a great speech in the first place, but it gives you a jumping-off point.

“Thirty-eight years later, we are like John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin’s Jewish insurgents ranting against the despotic rule of Rome, defiantly demanding: ‘And what did the Romans ever do for us anyway?’

“Apart from Medibank? And the Trade Practices Act? Cutting tariff protections, and no-fault divorce, and the Family Law Act? The Australia Council? The Federal Court? The Order of Australia? Federal legal aid? The Racial Discrimination Act? Needs-based schools funding? The recognition of China? The abolition of conscription? The Law Reform Commission? Student financial assistance? The Heritage Commission? Non-discriminatory immigration rules? Community health clinics? Aboriginal land rights? Paid maternity leave for public servants? Lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years, and fair electoral boundaries and Senate representation for the Territories? 

“Apart from all of this, what did this Roman ever do for us?”

Now watch that snippet,with Pearson’s voice and all, and you’ll get it.

The whole thing is below; it’s eighteen minutes long, but it is genuinely worth those eighteen minutes. There hasn’t been a speech like this in a really long time.

05 Nov 10:31

Cate Blanchett Made It SUPER Uncomfortable For Tony Abbott At Gough Whitlam’s Memorial Service

by Alex McKinnon

For more stories like this, Like Junkee on Facebook.

Cate Blanchett was invited to speak at Gough Whitlam’s memorial service at Sydney Town Hall earlier today. If the thinking was that she’d be a harmless, crowd-pleasing celebrity guest, old m8 Cate didn’t get the memo; she came out swinging but good. Right off the bat, she highlighted free education and healthcare as two of the things she wouldn’t have succeeded without, which most of the crowd loved and made for some pretty fantastic shots of various government ministers looking deeply unimpressed.

Here are some highlights from her intro:

“When I heard that Gough Whitlam had died, I was filled with an inordinate sadness, a great sorrow.

“The loss I felt came down to something very deep and very simple: I am the beneficiary of free tertiary education.

“When I went to university, I could explore different courses and engage with the student union in extra-curricular activities. It was through that that I discovered acting.

“I am the beneficiary of good, free healthcare that meant that the little I earned after tax and rent could go towards seeing shows, bands, and living inside my generation’s expression.

“I am the product of an Australia that engages with the globe, and engages honestly with its history and its Indigenous peoples.

“I am a small part of Australia’s coming of age, and so many of those initiatives were enacted when I was three.

Tony Abbott’s whole row just kind of sat awkwardly during that bit while everyone else clapped. It was great.


Here’s how George Brandis looked during that bit about little healthcare bit, incidentally. He’s next to Bill Shorten, for some bizarre reason:



Here are some other highlights from Blanchett’s speech, which was pretty killer all round:


“Speaking of exhausting, I am a working mother of three, and when I took on the role in Little Fish [in 2004] I had just my second child. no one batted an eyelid. No one passed judgment and no one deemed me incapable because the culture around women, and the right of women to work as equals in Australia had also been addressed significantly by Gough Whitlam.

“Before 1973, only widows were entitled to pensions, and thus the new benefit created choice for single mothers in how they raised their children, and began combating some of the stigmas surrounding single motherhood itself.

“He established the Family Court, a cornerstone reform, and in the Family Law Act of 1975, he made the space for fault-free divorce, which allowed women to exit from abusive relationships and re-engage with society with dignity and with equality.

“But there is so much to say, even from my own, small, tiny, irrelevant experience, that what I would actually love to do at this memorial is pretend to be Gough Whitlam for a minute. Don’t worry, I’m not going to imitate him. No-one could. 

“He said of his government: ‘In any civilised community the arts and associated amenities must occupy a central place. Their enjoyment should not be seen as remote from everyday life. Of all the objectives of my government, none had a higher priority than the encouragement of the arts; the preservation and enrichment of our cultural and intellectual heritage. Indeed, I would argue that all other objectives of a Labor government — social reform, justice and equity in the provision of welfare services and educational opportunities — have as their goal the creation of a society in which the arts and the appreciation of spiritual and intellectual values can flourish.

“‘Our other objectives are all means to an end. The enjoyment of the arts is an end in itself.’

“I was but three when he passed by, but I shall be grateful ’til the day I die.”

You can watch the speech in full here, courtesy of the ABC:

For more stories like this, Like Junkee on Facebook.

Feature image via ABC News/YouTube.

30 Oct 14:40

Anita Sarkeesian on Colbert: Gamergate Is 'Terrorizing Women'

by Anna Merlan

Anita Sarkeesian on Colbert: Gamergate Is 'Terrorizing Women'

On Wednesday night, the Colbert Report became the first late-night show to really tackle the soupy pile of weeks-old vomit that is Gamergate, when Colbert hosted feminist video game critic and conquering badass Anita Sarkeesian. She talked briefly about the most recent death threat she received , and, more broadly, about creating a better and more inclusive gaming culture. She did not mince words.


22 Oct 11:33

Andrew Wilkie Has Written To The ICC Requesting That Tony Abbott Be Charged With Crimes Against Humanity

by Alex McKinnon

Goodness gracious me, this is exciting. Earlier this morning, independent MP for the Tasmanian seat of Denison Andrew Wilkie released a public letter to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, requesting that Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and the Australian cabinet be charged with crimes against humanity over the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

In the letter, addressed to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, Wilkie asks “that you initiate a proprio motu investigation in accordance with Article 15(1) of the Rome Statute”, the treaty establishing the ICC, claiming there is “evidence that members of the Australian Government are committing” crimes against people seeking asylum from persecution, including “imprisonment and other severe deprivation of individual liberty”, “deportation and other forcible transfer of population”, and “other intentional acts causing great suffering, or serious injury to body and mental and physical health”.

Wilkie writes that “members of the Australian Government are pursuing policies that are designed to deter persons arriving by boat from seeking protection in Australia”, name-dropping the government’s current Manus Island and Nauru resettlement policies. He also notes that “members of the Australian Government are putting large numbers of asylum seekers at risk by forcibly returning some of them to the countries from which they have fled”, and that the government is committing breaches of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. You can read the full thing here.

In a press release sent out to media earlier today, Wilkie said “the actions of the Prime Minister and members of his Government against asylum seekers are criminal”, and that “the ICC clearly has jurisdiction in relation to the Abbott Government’s systematic mistreatment of asylum seekers”.

According to Article 15(1), which Wilkie cites as the basis under which the ICC can prosecute the government, “the Prosecutor shall analyse the seriousness of the information received” and “shall submit to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” if they determine that “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an
investigation”. If the Pre-Trial Chamber, in turn, decides the Prosecutor has a case and it falls within the Court’s jurisdiction, it will authorise a full investigation by the ICC itself.

Wilkie, who won election in 2010 as an independent, is a former army officer. He was member of the Young Liberals in his youth, before becoming a vocal opponent of the 2003 Iraq War and running as the Greens candidate against John Howard in the seat of Bennelong in 2004. A few months ago he called for a Royal Commission into the 2003 Iraq War, and spoke out strongly against Australia’s new involvement.

Feature image via Andrew Wilkie/YouTube.

22 Oct 11:28

There Is A New ‘Marcel The Shell With Shoes On’

by Steph Harmon

Everybody’s favourite tiny shell with shoes is back, and as ridiculously adorable/occasionally philosophical/endearingly weak-voiced as ever.

‘Marcel The Shell With Shoes On’ — a joint effort between actor/comedian Jenny Slate, some place deep in the back of her throat, and Jenny Slate’s husband, director Dean Fleischer-Camp — was a viral hit when the first video was released in 2010. The three-and-a-half minute stop-motion film, revolving around a character developed one day by accident, clocked up over 23.5 million hits on Youtube, resulting in a best-selling coffee table book and a second short-film in 2011.

And now, in the aftermath of Slate’s debut film release — the sweet, sad and  wonderful Obvious Child, that’s about loads more than just abortion – comes the third in the series, released in conjunction with a second hardcover book: The Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been.

Marcel has been locked outside, in a storm.

Maybe we are all locked outside in a storm.

Part of the videos’ charm lies in the way they are constructed: Fleischer-Camp fires questions at Slate, who adopts the persona to answer them, completely off the cuff. “We started doing it in our house as something just to do together, during a time when I was just starting in the entertainment industry,” she told Slate’s Culture Gabfest earlier this month. “I was overwhelmed, was about to get fired from a job, and really just needed to get back to the mindset that was — and is, especially with the internet but in general in the world — that nobody can stop you from being creative.”

Here’s the first from Marcel The Shell:

And here’s the second:

15 Oct 10:01

12 Before-And-After Photos Of Autumn’s Beautiful Transformations

by Lina D.

Without stopping to take a look around, we can sometimes miss the transition of our surroundings from summer to autumn. But just in case you’ve been watching the trees change colors, here’s a list of photos that compare various locations before and after they change into their autumn colors.

Besides the nip in the air, the scarves, and the delicious autumn fruits and vegetables, the changing leaves are probably the greatest sign of autumn that there is. Chlorophyll, which is the green pigment in leaves that produces energy for trees, gradually breaks down in the fall, revealing the many other colors that also exist in leaves. That’s where we get the rich browns, oranges, yellows and reds that we associate with the season.

Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tearoom in Llanrwst, North Wales


Image credits: unicorn81


Image credits: g7preston

Gapstow Bridge, New York, USA


Image credits:  Jessica Jenney


Image credits: BooRad0859

Japanese Maple


Image credits: Kadek Susanto


Image credits: Pete Wongkongkathep

Apartment Building Facade


Image credits:

Forest Lake In Poland


Image credits:  Kacper Kowalski


Image credits:  Kacper Kowalski

Poet’s Walk, Central Park, New York, USA


Image credits: Eddie Crimmins


Image credits: Vivienne Gucwa

Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan


Image credits: 影 武者


Image credits: nipomen2

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland


Image credits: Martin Molcan


Image credits: Andrew Shaland

Lake Island, Poland


Image credits: Kacper Kowalski


Image credits: Kacper Kowalski

Capitol Creek Valley


Image credits: Wayne Boland


Image credits: Alex Burke

Kilchurn Castle, Scotland


Image credits: Mathieu Noel


Image credits: fen_snapz

Grand Island East Channel Light House, Michigan, USA


Image credits: Jim Liestman


Image credits: Ajay Thakur

12 Oct 21:42

Interpreting the Animal Choices on the World’s Most Popular Programming Books

by Amanda Pickering
by Amanda Pickering

If you are a software engineer, or work in an office with software engineers, or have ever been near more than one software engineer, you’ve seen the O’Reilly programming books with the animals. A bit of digging on the company website reveals that each book’s cover animal is selected not by the author but by O’Reilly’s creative director, Edie Freedman, who goes on to state: “I never reveal the reasons behind my choices, but I can assure all interested parties that there is always a reason.” So in the end, it’s up to you to figure out how a Mexican agouti, tarsier, or axolotl will guide you on your programming journey. For now, I did my best to decipher a few myself.

Learning Python
Cover Animal: Wood Rat
Meaning: Python, the programming language, was named in reference to Monty Python, not the snake. But this isn’t a snake. Not even a baby snake, still learning how to snake. It’s an animal that a python would probably eat, which is a huge bummer.
DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE: OK so maybe the wood rat has to learn about pythons to avoid death? Still sad.
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS: No, but you should probably learn python, it’s fun!

Programming Python
Cover Animal: Actual Python
Meaning: While you're learning Python you're just a rat about to be eaten by what you're trying to learn, but once you know what you're doing you go on to eating those who are still learning.
DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE: A lot, actually, though it’s kind of evil.
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS: This is the only O’Reilly book that chooses such an obvious cover, so they’re probably trying to trick you. Pass.

cat (2)Python for Data Analysis
Cover Animal: Golden-Tailed Tree Shrew
Meaning: The golden-tailed tree shrew is known for how much alcohol it consumes by drinking fermented palm nectar without ever getting drunk, since its body is designed to process ethanol super efficiently. Maybe you can analyze as much data as the golden-tailed tree shrew can drink alcohol, but you will possibly never get anything out of it?
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS: Yes. It's cute. Would learn again.

Learning PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS & HTML5
Cover Animal: Sugar Gliders
Meaning: Look at those huge, adorable eyes. Don’t you want to learn all the web things? Oh but wait, according to the book's colophon about the cover choice, "One male will assert his dominance by marking the group’s territory with his saliva and then by marking all group members with a distinctive scent produced from his forehead and chest glands." Men being obnoxious and overbearing? Highly relevant, A+ choice. Sugar gliders, who knew.

Clojure Cookbook
Cover Animal: Aardwolf
Meaning: A fucking AARDWOLF this is AWESOME I'm going to go learn Clojure right now since without it I wouldn't know that Aardwolves are real.
DOES THIS MAKE SENSE: I have no idea.

Mastering Regular Expressions
Cover Animal: Some owls
Meaning: Owls. Known in folklore for being wise, but also silent killing machines of small, cute woodland animals. Kind of like computer programmers?
DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE: Maybe? A bit ruthless but so is the tech world.

Becoming Functional
Cover Animal: Sheldrake Duck
Meaning: Ducks are pretty functional–their feet are webbed for swimming, but they can also waddle around on land, and they can fly! So functional. Definitely want to become this duck.
DOES THIS MAKE SENSE: A lot, actually.
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS: Yes, unless you don’t like being functional, but maybe you’re into that and that’s cool, the duck isn’t judging you nearly as hard as Regular Expressions Owls.

cat (6)Understanding Computation
Cover Animal: ???
Meaning: At first I thought this was a rock, which isn’t an animal, what is going on O’Reilly? Or was it maybe coral, which is technically alive. The wavy bits could be some sort of seaweed, which is also alive, but none of these books have plants on the cover. The ocean is huge, dark, scary, and full of all kinds of mysterious animals like that fish with the light on its head and sea cucumbers. This animal must be mysterious and complicated, much like computation. But actually it’s just a bear paw clam. (Not to harsh on clams.)
DOES THIS MAKE SENSE: The book is supposed to teach programmers without a formal computer science background more complicated computing stuff, kind of like figuring out what that clam even is, so yeah.
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS: Sorry but clams are still really boring, some of these books have Aardwolves on the cover. No.

JavaScript: The Good Parts
Cover Animal: Monarch Butterfly
Meaning: O’Reilly’s definitive guide to all of Javascript is 600+ pages long and has a appropriately giant rhino on the cover. No one is going to actually read it all the way through when they can just read the 100-page “good parts” of the language with a beautiful, graceful Monarch butterfly on the cover.
DOES THIS MAKE SENSE: So butterflies are a lot smaller than rhinos, but who says they are better, hmm? Monarch larvae is also poisonous to birds, and so many of these books have birds on the cover.
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS: I don’t trust this butterfly. No.

Learning Java
Cover Animal: Tigers
Meaning: Did you know that in the next ten years, 1.4 million programming jobs will be created in the forest, but only 400,000 tiger cubs will study computer science at tiger school?

Amanda Pickering Learns to Code in Brooklyn.


The post Interpreting the Animal Choices on the World’s Most Popular Programming Books appeared first on The Awl.

12 Oct 11:15

Woman can sing multiple notes at the same time

by Alex Moore
Woman can sing multiple notes at the same time

Singer Anna-Maria Hefele as honed the art of what’s called polyphonic overtone signing—a skill that allows her to sing two notes at the same time. And these aren’t just two notes that move in parallel, like when you try to whistle and hum at the same time—Hefele can move the notes completely independent of each other.

It’s easiest heard listening on headphones as computer speakers can drop the high-range of some of her overtones, but if you’re listening on a laptop jump to 3:25 for a jaw-droppingly impressive run that comes through loud and clear.

h/t: iO9