‘He didn’t realise the danger’: the family grieving a lost son and their push to slash Australia’s drowning deaths (The Guardian)

In February, a promising young athlete was swept off a beach and never found. Can anything help prevent the increase in drownings at unpatrolled beaches?

The Highs and Heartbreaks of Modern Love (Broadsheet cover story)

s a microcosm of sex and dating in 2024, Heartbreak High is teeming with life. Season two of the Netflix ’90s reboot is a Petri dish of lo-fi chemsex, anti-fap apps, incel erectile dysfunction, cute throuples, BDSM fantasies and bi-curious explorations. Nobody stays closeted or curious for long on this campus, and being sexually extra is celebrated.

‘Your worst night out … but it never ends’ (The Guardian)

Attendees at Pitch festival were “dropping like flies” from severe heatstroke and drug use, and may have been put at risk by widespread disorganisation, workers at the festival have alleged.

Domain Review cover story: Natalie Paull

Paull writes beautifully of “endurance”, and how it applies to love and baking alike. She chooses a quote from Joni Mitchell, who was peeved at forever having to play Big Yellow Taxi: “Nobody ever said to Van Gogh, ‘Paint a Starry Night again, man!’ You know? He painted it, and that was it.”

Rolling Stone cover story: Hannah Gadsby

Gadsby, who won Best Comedy Special at the 2024 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTAs), granted Rolling Stone AU/NZ unprecedented access in one of their most revealing interviews to date.

The cover story, written by Rolling Stone contributor Jenny Valentish, chronicles Gadsby’s story as they address the Netflix drama off the back of their viral but polarising 2018 special Nanette. The show was intended as a farewell to the industry that began a transformative and triumphant new era spawning two further specials, a Ted Talk, a Variety cover, and a memoir.

The interview also sees Gadsby delve into their early life and career, experiences with the damage that gay law reform and the same-sex marriage bill would inflict, as well as their strong dislike of gatekeepers in the comedy industry and beyond.

“To my delight, the Hannah I interviewed was every bit as fiery and nimble a commentator on the fly as they are on stage,” Valentish says. “They were generous enough to take on any topic, no matter how controversial or – I’m sure, on occasion – deeply personal. A new era of Gadsby is about to begin and it was a pleasure to get an early glimpse behind the curtain.”

‘I think kissing is beneficial, actually’: the whistling prodigy courted by Dr Dre, Barbie and Karen O (The Guardian)

If you see Molly Lewis at a soiree and ask her to whistle a tune, she’ll probably decline. After a martini her game can be off – just as you might have slurred when making the request.

Generally she’s not precious. “As long as I can breathe, I can whistle,” Lewis says with an ever-present smile. “I knew this whistler who wouldn’t kiss his wife two weeks before a competition. I think kissing is beneficial, actually. It strengthens the lips.”

When you don’t write lyrics, this is the alternative analysis one must endure.

Award-Winning Artist Marisa Mu Paints Her Heritage in Bold Hues (Domain Review cover)

Marisa Mu sits on the kerb outside her studio in Fitzroy. She wears her mother’s jade ring and has a bold butterfly tattoo on her neck. Both are deeply significant. Mu is an artist who plays close attention to signs. The fact that I share a first name with her mother, Jenny, is a good sign, she’s sure.

‘Callous your mind’: can motivational speeches pump up your gym performance? (The Guardian)

Perhaps my father walked out on me, the speaker hypothesises, his voice thundering over crashing drums (the kind that accompany tense moments on reality TV shows).

Absent fathers are a common theme of motivational workout speeches, and so the narrator in my earbuds takes the form of Dad; sometimes Encouraging Dad, but more often Shouting Angrily from the Sidelines Dad.

Rumi’s Joseph Abboud Wants You To Mess Up His New Cookbook (Domain Review cover story)

When Joseph Abboud first opened his restaurant Rumi 17 years ago, his proud mother bought him RUMI 06 numberplates to mark the occasion.

Tactfully, Abboud explained that personalised plates could be seen as naff. Undeterred, his mum put them on her own car, where they remain to this day, even after she upgraded from a Ford Laser to a Nissan Micra.

David Walsh interview (Time Out)

Just putting this up because I notice it’s one of four articles of mine (I probably wrote 400 in the four years I was editor) that survived a Time Out website overhaul.

Having applied the concept of “having an edge” to gambling and art alike, Walsh has now done the same with the format of the memoir. Each chapter is a late-night dinner party debate that gets the synapses firing – but the sort of dinner party that guarantees somebody will storm out. Sometimes David Walsh, aged 20, will talk to David Walsh, aged 50 and David Walsh, aged 80. Occasionally he’ll muse over the publishing process of Pan Macmillan in real time. (Apparently there’s an editor there who is refusing to work with him because he is “sexist”.) Then there are the hypnagogic ideas – theories streaking across his train of thought like meteors.

An exercise in discipline (The Age)

One half of the motel room is like a crime scene, wrapped in plastic. The other half is splattered with a fine spray of droplets. From my vantage point on the makeup stool I can see two tanning tents, like the pods in The Fly; a naked man in each. I’m next.

Tent doofs and alcoholic hornbags: Gold Diggers (The Guardian)

When Claire Lovering read the script for Gold Diggers, she thought she’d been miscast. Gert Brewer was described as “a sociopathic, alcoholic hornbag, liberated and robust and brash”.

The ride of a lifetime (The Guardian)

eizing fate, I once placed a personal ad in a magazine, trying to track down a nameless, attractive ride operator who’d swept into my town with a travelling carnival. I was 13 and desperate to escape. Just placing the ad let in a ray of light.

Ginger Taylor: How coloured pencils at the restaurant table shaped Australia’s new queen of kitsch (The Age)

The young Ginger Taylor saw cartoons everywhere, as though she was living in her favourite film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Her father, Deane Taylor, was an animator for Hanna-Barbera, working on Yogi Bear, The Jetsons and The Flintstones, before moving on to the ’90s slapstick mayhem of The Ren & Stimpy Show and Cow & Chicken. Taylor’s mother was a costume designer. Dedication to the craft meant the family preferred to eat out than cook.

Alannah Currie/The Thompson Twins in Classic Pop

This 2017 print mag interview is now archived online as well… Behind the imposing doorway of the Sisters HQ in Borough, south London, is a four-storey hive of mischief.

The workshop is the enclave of Alannah Currie, one of pop’s great dissenters, and her shadowy feminist army, the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance.

It’s strewn with furniture she builds, and silk protest banners, stitched with expletives.

The basement belongs to her husband, Jimmy Cauty, who creates post-riot landscapes in miniature, along with riot shields bearing the ‘Smiley’ symbol of acid house – the genre he once dominated with The KLF.

Bali is overrun by influencers: local are fighting back (Australian Financial Review)

In Bali, spirituality merges with crypto-capitalism in a montage of flapping linen. In February 2023, Vlogger Nas Daily told his 60 million followers that Bali is the “whitest village in Asia!” against a backdrop of smiling young white folk shimmying in rice paddies and posing on scenic swings. “Everything here is affordable! To white tourists at least!” he says in wonder.

Castlemaine Idyll: The raucous annual event that turns ordinary folk into rock stars

There can be few Castlemainians who have gazed upon the flatbed-truck stage at arts precinct Lot 19 and haven’t nudged the person next to them to vow: “I’m doing that next year.”

How kitsch became cool: Australiana exhibition celebrates Dame Edna, Ken Done and melted ice-creams

Jenny Kee worries out loud that we’ve got off on the wrong foot. I had expressed wonder at the fact that, as a teenage rebel in the late-60s, she had walked into the boutique Biba, the bullseye of London’s fashion and music scene, and got a job. When I ask if that was by accident or design, she is indignant.

The moment I knew: as he towed a stranger out of a rip, my reaction was selfish but primal

Frank and I only get married in places with an active volcano. Bali has three: Agung, Batur and Buyan-Bratan. The rule came about because we noticed our first two locations, Bali and Sicily, had that in common. Neither of us want to get married for real again, but we take our vacation versions very seriously, finding our outfits, witnesses and rings in the country of the ceremony.

Playboy kings and gospel choirs: could my relationship survive Jesus Christ Superstar?

Iwas an Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice groupie as a child, lispingly preaching their gospel to the naysayers at primary school. My zealousness has not waned with age. I publicly jiggled in my seat at Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat just last month.

So it would be a deal-breaker if my boyfriend Frank couldn’t get down with my favourite of the duo’s musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar – specifically the 1973 movie, which depicts a gaggle of hot hippies as the disciples drinking Christ’s Kool-Aid, against a backdrop of Israeli olive groves, mountains and fighter jets.

The fantasy of sugar dating: ‘They don’t want you to be a sex worker – they just want to pay you for sex’

When Lotte Latham was working as a window dresser at a major department store in London’s Knightsbridge area, she received an email from management. “It has come to our attention that prostitutes may be operating around the building at various restaurants or bars including the ground floor champagne and oyster bar,” it read. “Please report suspicious behaviour to your line manager if you witness anything unusual.”

Blue Crush at 20: the teen film that inspired a generation of surfers

It’s remarkable that, just like Billabong boardies, nothing about Blue Crush has dated since its release in 2002. The movie tapped into a hot new zeitgeist: between 1999 and 2001, women who surfed daily leapt 120%, according to the New York Times.

Australian Idyll: The raucous annual event that turns ordinary folk into rock stars

Up on stage, my physiotherapist is belting out a number in a blue sequinned dress with my neighbour, who’s bare-chested under an ornately embroidered Nudie suit – the kind that country singer Gram Parsons used to wear. If you’re going to win Castlemaine Idyll, you need to put on a spectacle.

Work therapy: can a climate campaigner help a coworking space go green?

Josephine Palermo manages an office full of people who work separately, but together. Lucy Piper is the director of a climate change organisation. Together, they chat practical ways to work more sustainably

Work therapy: Can a digital nomad expert get our woman in retail ready to work remotely in Thailand?

The expert: Diego Bejarano Gerke is the CEO of WiFi Tribe, a community of more than 1,000 digital nomads from 63 countries who travel together. The logistics of living in each country are sorted by chapter hosts employed by WiFi Tribe. He is also the co-founder of Beach Commute, an online course aimed at getting people into remote work.

Work therapy series #1: can a social media coach talk a self-promotion-phobe out of tall poppy syndrome?

The first in a series of four, matching people with work dilemmas with experts for a spot of therapy.

Marlon Williams (The Guardian)

For Williams, playing with other musicians provides a similar shortcut to intimacy. Even if the music is maudlin, harmonising feels like the weight of sadness is shared. “Being at the top of one bar and looking at someone and being like, I wonder if we’re gonna … and then yeah! There’s some semi-telepathic magic that happens and it’s just euphoric,” he says. “It’s an unfolding world that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It makes you fall in love with people.”

‘We just tore each other down’: why Parkway Drive went to therapy

I’m a little bummed the editor cut my favourite bit:

The songwriter has a deep interest in mythology, citing graphic novels, Star Wars and anime as influences. He calls it ‘world building’. His love of imagery infiltrates every sentence, too: I throw out a hamster wheel and he lobs one back about a carrot, and then one about kicking a snowball down Everest and building a gigantic LEGO set, until our metaphors are well and truly mixed.

Larping’s reality bleed: ‘I’m basically falling in love with a person that does not exist’

Live-action role play can make an ordinary life extraordinary for a couple of hours or days but reintegration is not always easy.

Look away, straight male gaze! How life-drawing became more inclusive

Art clubs popping up around Sydney and Melbourne are giving artists the chance to draw trans and queer people, burlesque performers and even models in cosplay

Books Even after 30 years of broadcasting, Jon Faine still has some secrets to tell

Jon Faine was going to call his book Dear Cretin. It would be a collection of letters he’d been sent when presenting Mornings on ABC Radio Melbourne, annotated to explain the context: the particular topic or opinion of his that had inspired so much rage. But then ABC management “went nuts”.

Confidence Man: ‘If you’re not going to dance, get off the dance floor. It pisses me off’

I meet Planet and Bones in a Fitzroy North cafe in Melbourne; their publicist has beseeched me not to publish their real names, despite these being easily found on the internet. It’s unclear if all this mystery comes from a genuine need for privacy, or just extreme playfulness. Their new album, Tilt, was even released on April fool’s day.

Only Fans models launch coaching courses

Banks is launching the website Thrill Sell. It’s a “sex worker hub” with resources for OnlyFans creators, such as 1000 captions that can be used with photos; lists of accountants who are sex-work friendly; and content from creators with varying demographic experiences. It will also promote businesses owned by sex workers – whether or not the businesses are related to the industry – to create the camaraderie Banks desperately needed when she started out.

Banks was doxed by another OnlyFans creator a few years ago; a woman who lived in the same town who had taken some kind of moral high ground.

‘Got your visa?’: Victoria’s coastal enclave of Rye is holding fast to its barefoot roots

There is some intense localism around here – diehards sport “3941” postcode tattoos, others “Rye or Die”. You might also spot the odd “Fuck off, touros” sign at beach tracks, but then localism isn’t confined to Rye. Frank points out he had a similar greeting written in surfboard wax on his car window once in Portland. There are seemingly so few coastal towns that haven’t had their barefoot culture diluted by gentrification, that those living in these pockets can get protective.

‘He cast himself as a Bear Grylls-type hero’: what makes us vulnerable to online dating cons?

If you’re chortling that someone would take at face value such tall tales, well, I can only offer that I thought lying was a device for saving your skin, not for fashioning your own creation myth

Inside an all-female Muay Thai retreat

A curious audience has gathered at the top of the steps of the beach in Victoria’s Bellarine peninsula, gawking at the 24 women having at each other on the sand.

“LEAN BACK!” comes the instruction on the wind. That’s if you value your head.

Touching the Void at the MTC (The Guardian)

Some may presume that catharsis can be found in memoir writing, but for Joe Simpson, putting Touching the Void down on paper was “horrible”. He retreated to a friend’s attic to write the book over seven weeks, purely because the facts of his stricken ascent up Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes as a 25-year-old had been greatly misrepresented through rumours in the climbing world. Now, decades on, he’s flummoxed to see his story as a play, making its Australian premiere in Melbourne on 17 January after receiving five-star reviews in the UK.

Pythons, AK-47s, scorpions: an Australian short film with bite (Sydney Morning Herald)

Frank Magree had a lot weighing on his mind when a hand pulled back the chair next to him at a busy Canggu cafe. The AK-47s hadn’t arrived and he still needed to cast one of the main characters in his film, a wet-behind-the-ears GI. He’d exhausted local modelling agencies. In desperation, he was about to start dropping flyers at local hostels.

This boy, politely asking if he could share the table, looked a bit like a young Christopher Walken with those cheekbones.

Frank Magree (left) and Oleg Dovsky from Run South, a short film showing at Flickerfest 2022
Frank Magree (left) and Oleg Dovsky from Run South, a short film showing at Flickerfest 2022 SUPPLIED

“Are you American?” Magree asked.

“I’m from the Ukraine but I studied in Canada.”

Close enough.

Messy? Unproductive? Need to dismantle your privilege? There’s a guided journal for that (The Guardian)

The pleasure of watching a streak of positive habits accumulating on a whiteboard has become almost a dependency for me. So much so, I debated packing it in my suitcase for a short trip away.

But the humble whiteboard has a more portable, sophisticated upgrade: the guided journal. A few years ago I thought the trajectory of these workbooks – designed to probe or organise different facets of your behaviour or health – had probably peaked.

The Wheel of Time (The Guardian)

When she walked into the London casting room of The Wheel of Time, Madeleine Madden scanned the faces – a sea of white – and thought, “Yep, standard.”

To announce her presence, she politely inquired, “The Wheel of Time?”

“They were like, ‘Oh no – upstairs’,” she recalls. “Then I walked into the actual room and it was such a diverse room of people, I just felt so relieved. For so much of my life I was the odd one out. Here they’d done a worldwide search and brought in people from all over who they felt they were the best for the job.”

Motivational speakers get wild in the age of COVID-19 (AFR)

I’ve seen Mark Kluwer in action before. A circle of us lay on the floor of his sizeable shed with our heads pointing inwards like a human daisy, power-breathing ourselves into a state of euphoria and release. Kluwer, cutting a striking presence with his tattoos, wild beard and ever-present battered fedora skewered with feathers, paced around us, a disembodied yell. “We’re going through the door! We leave nobody behind!” I could hear the spluttering and uncontrollable sobs of blokes given permission to let go.

Catching the rebound: people who went big to get over their breakups (The Guardian)

From creating a standup show to climbing Everest, five people share their extreme – healing – heartbreak manoeuvres…

Electric dreams: the gadgetry tracking and hacking the way we rest (The Guardian)

In recent years, sleep-fretting has intersected with fitness-tracking, with the latest bio-hacks regularly featured on the podcasts of personal-development heavyweights such as Joe Rogan, whose Whoop Strap – worn around the wrist – told him he was getting four or five hours a night, not the seven or eight he’d thought; and Aubrey Marcus, whose Oura ring measures various biomarkers overnight and gives him a total score in the morning. “If I can get close to 80%, I’m golden for the day,” Marcus told the authors of My Morning Routine.

The Ray Bradbury Theater: kitsch, macabre and gloriously schlocky TV anthology (The Guardian)

Grown from the same cable-TV compost as The Twilight Zone, this 80s gem boasts a killer cast including Jeff Goldblum, Eugene Levy and Drew Barrymore

‘I saw death, I saw love’: Artist’s secret testament to life in Iran (The Age)

When Shafie was a child, her family left Iran to settle in England, but returned in 1978, after the Cultural Revolution. “I could see and feel the change,” she recalls. “When we first arrived I remember my brother grabbing my hand, saying, ‘I think we got off at the wrong station,’ because the country visually did not look the same. There was a sea of women in black chador, and signs in the airport, and we were shocked.

“I saw euphoria, I saw executions, I saw arrests, I saw death, I saw love. And I saw people still making food, sharing food, loving each other. There was this volatile mix of a very heightened series of emotions.”

Hellish: COVID-19 and a broken heart fuel Virginia Gay’s new-look Cyrano

Headlines can be misleading. Virginia Gay’s take on Cyrano de Bergerac is what she calls a “joy bomb”, but since she described getting COVID-19 as “hellishness”, that word has been plucked forth and the interview was given a much darker slant by a sub-editor. – Jenny

No goals: Why is it so hard to do something for enjoyment’s sake? (The Guardian)

This got a zillion shares and comments across the UK and Australia as soon as it was uploaded – people were keen to share examples of ‘telic’ and ‘atelic’ activities from their own life and to discuss that balance. – Jenny

The psychologists signing up for psychedelic therapy training: ‘Amazing things can happen’

When growing up in Yea, in rural Victoria, Campbell Townsend took a dim view of drugs.

“My parents were born in the shadow of Nixon’s war on drugs, and I was a very simple country boy,” the psychologist says, sitting in his cottage outside Castlemaine. “I grew up with stories from my parents about friends of theirs at university going crazy just from one choof of a bong.”

Kathryn Heyman on writing her ‘white hot’ memoir – and finding refuge on the Timor Sea

At 21, Kathryn Heyman didn’t have the luxury of “finding herself” in India like her peers. She had no money, no safety net and had learned to never rely upon others.

Instead, she hitch-hiked to Darwin with her journals and favourite books – and notions of a Kerouac-style adventure – and bagged a job as a cook on a fishing trawler, a boat called the Ocean Thief. She was later relegated to deckhand when it was discovered she could barely boil an egg.

Is this what male friendship is really like? Florian Zeller peels back the layers (The Age)

On stage and on screen, tennis scenes are often shorthand for male dominance and ego; the suburban equivalent of rutting stags in the forest. Tennis might also be a fitting metaphor for The Truth, the Florian Zeller play opening at the MTC next month. Much of the game’s terminology – volley, backhand smash, grand slam, spin, serving an ace, advantage, fault – could apply to Zeller’s fiendishly clever script about domestic deception.

‘I had not one friend in the job to debrief with’: life as an Indigenous police officer

Veronica Gorrie joined the force to ‘break the cycle of fear’ she grew up with. By the time she left, she was carrying additional burdens

Fight Plan (The Saturday Paper)

It’s quite the bucket list item, getting into the ring in front of 1500 people, and that’s what Team Ellis’s Pretender to Contender course caters for. Increasingly, fight gyms are coming up with what are sometimes referred to as white-collar programs, with names such as Rookie to Legend, Wannabe a Fighter and Wimp to Warrior, covering boxing, kickboxing and MMA. What could test the mettle more than literally putting yourself in harm’s way in your underwear, gaffer-taped into your gloves?

‘It’s about quality of life’: septuagenarian gym owners keep their peers moving

Barbara Hill presses play on the computer and, to the perky strains of the chart-topping Dance Monkey, flits around the shed with her walking cane, demonstrating an advanced boot-scooting sequence.

Her husband, Peter, watches her fondly. Even after all these years, he finds it incredible that Barbara can pick up a step sheet and immediately figure out the moves as she reads.

From Figure Skating to Free Running: Dominic Di Tommaso (The Guardian)

While Dominic Di Tommaso got his start in parkour by copying videos, he says it’s not about showing off by risk taking.
“That’s the common misconception we’re trying to break as a community,” he says. “There is a level of training that is necessary to be doing these feats. You can’t just instantly jump from rail to rail. It’s like any other sport, it takes years and years of foundation and practice and skill, and then building a mental resilience to then do those challenges.”

From Creationists to UFO hunters, Sarah Krasnostein comes to grips with faith (The Guardian)

Fred Valentich was lost among the stars over Cape Otway in 1978. He was flying his Cessna 182 when it inexplicably vanished. His final communication to air traffic control was that he could see an unidentified aircraft circumnavigating him at high speed.

A more enlightened deathmatch (The Monthly)

Joel Bateman will be on “weapons transport” for the first Deathmatch Downunder event. He’ll hire a van to shift the hundreds of fluorescent light tubes accumulating in his shed to the venue. There, wrestlers Callen Butcher and Damian Rivers will smash the tubes over each other’s heads.⁣

The wellbeing movement bringing tradies to tears (ABC)

Mark is wild-bearded and deeply tanned as a salty sea dog, though he’s actually a “mongrel plumber”, as he puts it. His hands are more callus than skin and there’s an anchor tattooed on his thumb.

Eddie Perfect: ‘I had some success and some pretty epic public failures’ (The Guardian)

They say the best revenge is a life lived well, but Eddie Perfect has trumped that. The savage theatre critics were proved wrong when the Broadway musical he scored, Beetlejuice, became an outlier success story that had Variety and Forbes scratching their heads – and then he returned home to write a meta cabaret about it all.

Sarah Mary Chadwick: I don’t really need to be crying on stage (The Guardian)

The dining-room table in Sarah Mary Chadwick’s home in Northcote, Melbourne, is crammed with hand-rendered album covers. She’s been ploughing her way through 100 of them – black ink on white card, each a different design – to go with pre-orders of the limited edition pink vinyl of her new album, Me and Ennui Are Friends, Baby.

Tana Douglas: The world’s first female roadie (The Guardian)

In recent years there has been a barrage of self-help books by former Navy Seals, applying their hard-fought techniques of leadership, discipline, problem-solving and survival to the lives of us everyday civilians.

Even though she served in the trenches of rock, Tana Douglas’s memoir, LOUD: A Life in Rock’n’Roll by the World’s First Female Roadie, could easily serve the same purpose – a kind of Gaffer Tape Your Life.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (The Guardian)

When Johnny Rotten crouched on the edge of the stage in San Francisco in 1978, at the demise of the Sex Pistols’ US tour, and asked, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” it would inspire a key moment in a film four years later.

Lost at sea? Ex-teenagers offer some advice (The Age)

Alan Duffy was getting neck strain, pressing his face against the cold glass of his father’s BMW sedan to see the stars. The journey between his mother’s house and his father’s, both in tiny towns in Northern Ireland, took in mile upon mile of unlit country roads, and cows, looming in the dark. In Duffy’s memory, 30 years later, it’s always raining.

Intimacy on Set (The Monthly)

Scrutinising the intertwined couple, Michala Banas pulled out her phone and opened a karma sutra app. “So, when you say, ‘from behind, let’s have a look at all the options.”

Aunty Donna on fame, fandom and the Big Ol’ House of Fun: ‘We prefer to live in the absurd’ (The Guardian)

Like many of us, Mark Bonanno – of Australian comedy trio Aunty Donna – let his hair grow out during lockdown. This upset his usual distinctive look of shaved sides, full beard and round glasses. The immediate response online was “vicious”.

Broden Kelly grew a handlebar moustache, for something to do. “Around that time we put up a YouTube video and everyone was like, ‘What the fuck do you think you’re doing?’”

‘You feel like you’re getting your power back’: how martial arts helps recovery from trauma (The Guardian)

Nikki was on a bit of an undercover mission back in February when she walked into BJJ Tasmania in Launceston with a bag containing gym tights and a rashie.

She had signed up to coach Claire Hayes’s new six-week course of trauma-informed Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as someone who has survived trauma herself. But she also had her professional hat on, because Nikki works with those who have suffered trauma. She wondered if rolling and grappling was really a good idea.

SAS Australia: we are all Schapelle Corby crying at Merrick Watts getting punched in the nose (The Guardian)

Just as there are armchair athletes, so are there hordes of us who enjoy endurance tourism. The Japanese were on to it first, with their gameshows that married ordeals and humiliation in front of a live studio audience (one of the most famous, in the 1980s, was Za Gaman, which translates as The Endurance), but now everyone’s reading David Goggins and listening to Joe Rogan for the lowdown on turbo-supplements and talking about “grit”.

Bodybuilding blind: ‘Anything’s possible with a bit of ingenuity’ (The Guardian)

When I was a teenager playing American football my nickname was Frequent Flyer because I got knocked through the air so much. I’d been told I was too short to play, but if people tell me I can’t do something, I think, “too bad”.

Jacinta Parsons on living with chronic illness: ‘I couldn’t feel my body properly’ (The Guardian)

Like many chronically ill people, Jacinta Parsons was terrified of appearing to be sick. She could date it back to being a three-year-old, when her appendix ruptured. Already her fear of hospitals loomed as large: as doctors pressed down on her pelvis she convinced them there was no pain. Then, at five, the vulnerability of her father – badly injured in a car accident – frightened her so much that she searched for signs of sickness in the corners of the house. At six, her mother took her to a doctor to get her mysterious pains checked out. The doctor told Mrs Parsons she was making a fuss. Even at that young age, Jacinta could pick up on her mother’s sense of shame.

A fertile time for death disruptors: ‘People are finding meaning in these new rituals’

There was never any question that Caitlin Wilks and her partner Joe Sassone would want to avoid a “McFuneral”. That’s the nickname sometimes given to the sombre, straight-out-of-a-brochure service offered by one of the two major corporations that hold around a third of the market share of Australia’s funeral industry. While Sassone – who had acute leukaemia – was joking when he suggested he be stuffed and holding a tray of drinks at his memorial, he still entertained unconventional ideas, like having the service at a brewery.

I Am Woman: how Helen Reddy’s music roared through the women’s movement

When Unjoo Moon visits Helen Reddy, they always gravitate towards the record player Moon bought the singer. Reddy, who’s been diagnosed with dementia, now lives in a Los Angeles nursing home for professional entertainers. Moon and Reddy play their favourite songs, as well as Reddy’s own albums. “And we sing to them,” Moon says. “Her with her still-incredible voice and me with my karaoke voice.”

On the Sauce: Shaun Micallef brings sobering eye to Australia’s relationship with alcohol

Shaun Micallef stands stiffly in the car park of the Mallee Root Roundup B&S ball, as yahooing revellers preload on grog drunk out of boots and beer bongs, to the sweet sound of revving Holden Rodeo utes. He’s not wearing RM Williams and, worse, he’s not even tipsy.

As a teetotaler of a few decades, he’s something of a foreign correspondent for his three-part ABC documentary series, On the Sauce.

Constantly distracted? Here’s how to wrangle ’21st-century syndrome’

Once upon a time, smoking at your desk was practically a sign of productivity. I’m not suggesting you rush out and blow a week’s salary on a pack, but I am about to plot a path from the ashed keyboards of yesteryear to our current problem of being hopelessly distracted by technology.

‘Why should I try to have a future?’ The Weather Diaries, Lupa J and a she-wolf’s lament

There had been previous obsessions; with eagles, with kangaroos. But when Imogen Jones first saw Princess Mononoke, a 1997 Japanese anime film that was made about the same time she was born, her alignment with the girl raised by wolves would be so profound that she would dress up as the character for years of her childhood.

Later she would name her electro-pop alter ego, Lupa J, in honour of the character.

Lorena: Amazon documentary about the notorious Bobbitt case is a 1990s time capsule

By the time of Lorena’s trial in Virginia in 1994, the trope of the rape victim fighting back had long been depicted in cinema to titillating effect: I Spit on Your Grave, Extremities, Sudden Impact, Lipstick … with the exception of Thelma & Louise, they veered into the territory of erotic thrillers, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the grim reality of the Bobbitts’ case was spruced up with sensationalism.

The artist with the remote-controlled robotic body: ‘I’ve made a career out of being a failure’

What was it about the 1970s that promoted suffering for one’s art? In Rhythm 0 (1974), Marina Abramović stood next to a table loaded with items ranging from a rose to a gun, and let the audience desecrate her with them. Tehching Hsieh took a two-storey leap for Jump Piece (1973) and broke his ankles. Chris Burden somehow lived to the age of 69, despite – in the same curious decade – getting a friend to shoot him, cramming himself into a locker for five days and nailing himself onto a Volkswagen Beetle. For Eleanor Antin’s 1972 work Carving a Traditional Sculpture, the artist crash-dieted for 45 days and documented her decline.

Mark Manson: We do awful things in relationships because we’re scared or hurt

I want to talk to Mark Manson about intimacy, a recurring theme throughout the blogger-turned-author’s new Audible Original audiobook, Love Is Not Enough. But the three publicists listening in on our call (another sent her apologies) are killing my vibe. I’m not sure if they’re here because of tightened security, put down to Manson’s obscene level of authorial success (his 2016 book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck has sold more than 10m copies) or if everyone is so enthralled by his wisdom that to sit in is an opportunity too good to pass up.

Nat’s What I Reckon: the sweary, ranty YouTuber who’s become an isolation cooking sensation

Looking every inch the metal drummer he is, Nat (no surname) is an unlikely Vera Lynn for our times. And yet, the Sydney comedian’s no-nonsense cookery segments are bringing comfort to the masses.

“What’s going on, Iso-Lords?” he says, introducing his latest clip, The Crowd Goes Mild Curry. “We’re back in the kitchen, saying no to jar sauce.”

The hidden therapist: music and psychedelic use

Neuroscientist Mendel Kaelen expects that some users will turn to the Wavepaths app to guide their psychedelic drug experiences, though it’s not something he is actively promoting.

Down and Out in Paradise book review

The Luke Williams style of immersive journalism is so brutally rigorous that had he sent himself on assignment to Siberia, he would probably have become a dancing bear.

How a drug cheat label sticks

Twelve years after she was found to have a banned substance in her system, Camilla Fogagnolo has developed a black humour around doping.

Michael Pollan worries we don’t know enough to legalise psychedelic drugs (The Guardian)

Ash Blackwell is a bit annoyed with himself that he’s here, but curiosity got the better of him.

The Hunting: Keddie and Roxburgh tackle new generation’s sexual power dynamics (The Guardian)

Asher Keddie stands in the grand open-plan kitchen in an old-money Adelaide house, discussing her character’s motivation.

‘They’d run a picture of me looking forlorn’: How a drug-cheat label sticks (The Age)

Twelve years after she was found to have a banned substance in her system, Camilla Fogagnolo has developed a black humour around doping.

‘Real’ violence: coming to grips with the ethics of virtual reality brutality (Guardian)

It’s morning, and the first thing that comes up in my Instagram feed is a picture of seven smashed and bloody faces.

Riot squad: how the KLF cofounder and his child army took over Dark Mofo (Guardian)

“No one must ever dictate, pronounce or try to explain the full meaning of the ADP. It can only be seen and discussed, not known.”

The petrolheads and pilots redefining retired living (AFR)

Think of a retirement village and it’s likely you’ll conjure up images of manicured gardens and gentle games of boules.

When we interview women they cry and cry (Guardian Australia)

Amanda and her seven-year-old daughter, Carly, live in a two-bedroom townhouse in Melbourne’s inner city.

Revolution comes to Melbourne (Guardian Australia)

Short of travelling first class, John Lennon’s suit – as worn on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – gets the VIP treatment on long-haul flights.

Sweet-and-sour cane toad? Eat the Problem at MONA

Kirsha Kaechele receives Guardian Australia in Cinemona, the plush cinema in the basement of Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art.

How psychedelic virtual reality can help end society’s mass bad trip (The Guardian)

Human beings have become nothing more than data in flesh suits. That’s the gist of Team Human, the 2018 TED Talk from media theorist Douglas Rushkoff.

OK Motels (The Guardian)

There’s a seedy romance to a rundown motel, and photographer Kate Berry has made it her mission to capture regional Australia’s finest.

Welcome to ganja Narnia (Vice)

Open the wardrobe, slide across the rack of shirts and you’ll stumble into a cannabis jungle.

The mushroom effect (The Saturday Paper)

Advocates of psychedelic drug research are hoping the psilocybin trial for treating anxiety in the terminally ill, at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, is the beginning of a new acceptance for the potential of the field.

Secret women’s podcasting business

A library bathroom stall, Brown University, 1990. On the wall, women had written the names of the student rapists enrolled at the prestigious Ivy League college.

Ayishat Akanbi: The problem with wokeness (Guardian)

Stylist who’s dressed Dizzee Rascal and appeared in viral videos knows how to maintain integrity in the age of self-promotion.

The Last Days of August (ABC)

The night the Santa Paula fires ripped through the canyon towards Ventura, propelled by winds of 80 kilometres per hour, Mercedes Grabowski was found dead in a park in nearby Camarillo.

Secret sex lives of Zeds (ABC)

It seems quaint now that Douglas Coupland’s 1991 book, Generation X, was subtitled “Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. Decades later, Gen Z is driving it like they stole it.

Ginger Gorman: Troll Hunting (The Guardian)

The Australian journalist found herself besieged by online trolls after unknowingly profiling two paedophiles. In her new book, she turns the tables.

The new wave of sobriety start-ups shaking the 12-step model (ABC)

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are so prevalent in television dramas that you’d think the 12-step program was sponsoring the networks.

The commodification of Frida Kahlo: are we losing the artist under the kitsch? (Guardian)

As a new exhibition of Kahlo’s photographs opens, Jenny Valentish looks at the merchandise bearing the artist’s image and wonders if we’ve missed the point.

Why professionals are taking psychedelic drugs in the workplace (AFR)

In a nondescript concrete building, one of many in this stretch of San Jose, are the offices of a cyber-security firm.

Going Underground (Vice)

“She kept waiting for the trip to turn into a PSA nightmare, or that TV movie she saw once, Desperate Lives, where Helen Hunt took PCP…”

Dead Dog on the Left (The Guardian)

Relaxing on the porch with a beer, tattoos poking out from under his shirt sleeves, Tyler Flanigan roundly mocks his fellow former marine Nigel McCourry.

Information for needle and syringe workers (Apex Bulletin)

There is a well-established relationship between substance use and complex trauma, which usually arises from traumatic events that occurred in childhood or over a long period of time.

Your reasons for drinking are way more gendered than you think

Women are conditioned to be social, and not only that, but to be the glue of our families and communities.

The body is a battlefield

Hordes of angry women wrote to me after the publication of Woman of Substances: A Journey into Drugs, Alcohol and Treatment.

Desperately Seeking Trauma Fodder?

How do journalists report on people’s personal experiences without being exploitative or causing further harm? Jenny Valentish attempts to find some middle ground.

Kristina Olsson on Shell, stolen children and ‘how we deal with shame’

It’s 1965. The Sydney Opera House – still a shell – has become a national scapegoat, slandered in the media and grumbled about in pubs.

The fantasy world of China’s multi-billion pre-wedding photo industry (The Guardian)

The black-and-white wedding photos of couples married in China used to resemble ID cards. Now a much more elaborate tradition is emerging.

‘His personality changed’: Michael Hutchence’s sister on his traumatic brain injury

Everything about Michael looked different, his sister thought. He was paler, duller in the eyes, more slumped in the shoulders. Even his Byronic curls seemed to have lost their bounce.

Who even am I? A ghost hunter investigates his own haunted childhood (The Guardian)

In a new documentary, a Sydney security guard’s ghostbusting business becomes a metaphor for unearthing the spectres of his past.

$150 an hour, BYO drugs (ABC)

John puts The Passion of the Christ soundtrack on the stereo and lies on the single bed in this Melbourne house.

Trace: Who Killed Maria James? (The Guardian UK)

While her podcast on the unsolved murder of Australian mother Maria James became an international hit, journalist Rachael Brown was relentlessly chasing new leads. She shares what happened next.

Mojo Juju (The Age)

Where to go when writing an album about identity in Australia? To Mojo Juju it was obvious – the desert.

Shame: the gender-flippin’ Mad Max (The Guardian)

Deborra-Lee Furness’ vengeful motorcyclist was complex and tough at a time when Hollywood’s leading women were hamming up the ditzy blonde trope.

The immigrants who built Australia’s castles (BBC)

In 20th Century Australia, nostalgic European immigrants far from home chose unlikely settings to build shrines to old traditions and in the process created Australia’s first theme parks.

My daughter, the murderer (The Guardian)

In her first nonfiction book, Mary K Pershall examines the complex mental and institutional issues that led to the ‘unimaginable horror’ of her child taking another’s life.

Ayahuasca is the new frontier for ‘psychedelic feminism’ (ABC)

Ayahuasca is regarded by indigenous communities as a sacred feminine plant, so it’s ironic that female exploration of the medicine tends to be framed as a wellness fad, as though serious self-discovery is only for men.

Anthony Bourdain’s toxicology report showed little alcohol, but rumours persist (ABC)

When someone famous dies suddenly, what’s the one thing that can be guaranteed — other than a sharp rise in their product sales?

Hannah Gadsby (The Guardian UK cover story)

In her show Nanette, the Australian standup speaks out about homophobic and sexual violence – the set is now a Netflix sensation.

Camp Cope (S cover story)

It’s an annoyance to the band that recently their music has become the collateral damage of their politics, but then Camp Cope can’t help being topical.

Andrew WK

Contemporary writers’ festivals are a bit like colosseums, with Twitter issuing the thumbs up or down.

Dark Mofo 2018 (The Monthly)

I’m orbiting the Earth, overcome by my good fortune. The fact that I’m wearing virtual-reality goggles doesn’t detract from a breathtaking experience.

Perfectionism and Poverty (The Guardian)

Mental illness claims the lives of too many in music. A new helpline seeks to change that.

ZERO (The Monthly)

It’s a rite of passage for a small child to draw on the walls of the family home. Seven-year-old Mattijs Visser preferred to deface now-priceless artworks.

Dark + Dangerous Thoughts (The Monthly)

The most gripping moments of Dark + Dangerous Thoughts were not the left/right bickering over current affairs, but those that stuck loyally to the brief of skin in the game, offering a nuanced understanding of the drives behind an individual’s radical action.

Vickie Roach and Women Transforming Justice (The Saturday Paper)

Vickie Roach spent much of her adult life in prison. Fourteen years since her last conviction, the Yuin woman is not a prison reformer – she’s an abolitionist.

A Better Pill to Swallow (The Saturday Paper)

As an ardent campaigner for pill testing and decriminalisation, Matt Noffs has called for the government to consider new policy to minimise the harm caused by recreational drugs.

Sarah Mary Chadwick (LNWY)

When we talk on the phone about her album art Sarah Mary Chadwick is walking her dog in Melbourne.

Courtney Barnett (The Guardian UK)

The Australian musician has gone from indie darling to global star, but she’s still uneasy in the limelight and wracked with self-doubt – even self-hate.

The Jade Buddha (The Guardian)

Once at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, the Buddha will be protected by Mission Impossible-style security.

Nat Dunn goes in hard for songwriters and singers (The Guardian)

They’re the brains behind the catchiest songs on Spotify but they’re rapidly becoming celebrities in their own right.

Evelyn Ida Morris (LNWY)

When an artist gives an album the same title as their name, it’s usually to make some kind of statement.

Tropical Fuck Storm (The Guardian)

Former Drones frontman opens up about past trauma, his new band and his firm belief that smartphones are making us stupid.

Sandra Mahlberg: ‘We don’t realise how spoilt we are in Australia’ (The Guardian)

What does it take to offer help with little expectation of reward? Our series The altruists focuses on those who do just that, such as this retired nurse who helps underprivileged children.

Missy Higgins (S cover story)

While her new album Solastalgia muses on the end of the world, Missy Higgins is finally feeling relaxed about her career and place in the world.

The art of swooning (SBS)

In the golden age of Hollywood, women collapsed into men’s arms in melodramas. Later, in 1980s adventure romps, women were cast as the ditzy handicap, making way for the leading men’s heroics by losing consciousness.

Halsey: Why am I so lonely?

“If I’m such a legend,” Judy Garland once asked a reporter, “why am I so lonely?”

Song Hotel (The Guardian)

Famous Australian women have inspired two hotels that put profits towards programs supporting women and girls.

The Altruists: Lou Ridsdale, Food is Free

What does it take to offer help with little expectation of reward? Our series The altruists focuses on those who do just that, such as this publicist turned community gardener.

Sampa the Great

​Sampa the Great didn’t get the memo that artists should be of the tortured persuasion. She peppers her speech with gales of laughter. She wants you to know: “My childhood was pretty dope.”

The Altruists: Fay Alford (The Guardian)

What does it take to offer help with little expectation of reward? Our series The altruists focuses on those who do just that, such as this foster parent who raised 90 children over 30 years.

How the Oz rock memoir came of age (Spectrum cover story)

There’s an anecdote in Tex Perkins’ new memoir, Tex, in which he recalls the awful day his football team, St Kilda, nearly won.

Going Down: Michele Lee and Catherine Davies

Lu Lu Jayadi is the model migrant; an Indonesian refugee who has written an exquisite, award-winning book, referencing a rich cultural history.

Will We Ever Stop Mining Kylie Minogue For Tragedy? (ABC)

It’s worth asking, what do we really know about Kylie Minogue? Because I’d venture, not much.

The Altruists: Linda Fisk (The Guardian)

What does it take to offer help with little expectation of reward? Our series The altruists focuses on those, such as this advocate for female ex-prisoners, who do that.

The Altruists: Brendan Farrell (The Guardian)

What does it take to offer help with little expectation of reward? Our series The altruists focuses on those, such as this hay runner, who do just that.

Dr Ai-lene Chan (The Guardian)

What does it take to help others with little expectation of reward? Our new series The altruists focuses on those who do just this, starting with a Brisbane GP moved to help refugees on Christmas Island and Nauru.

Proletariats of fire (The Saturday Paper)

The rival bonfire societies of Lewes, East Sussex, vie to deliver the biggest spectacle of fireworks, costumed processions and burning effigies, in a working-class festival of rebellion.


The choice of a video call, rather than a phone call, is Feist’s idea. At 41, she’s an engaged and thoughtful interviewee.

Human League

At 62, Oakey analyses his band’s career with a kind of sporting glee.

Russell Brand’s AA reform plan (The Saturday Paper)

Is comedian and author Russell Brand’s repackaging of Alcoholics Anonymous for the masses just entertaining his messiah complex? Or is he truly aiming to be a global ‘mentor’?

How Supper Club gave a space to bereaved parents

When Anne spotted an old friend in the supermarket, a familiar sense of dread set in. Wheeling her trolley around, she headed for the checkout with her shopping list half completed.

Jimmy Barnes in The Guardian

When Jimmy Barnes shakes your hand, he’s scoping your knuckles. Are they split from fighting? Just how big is your hand, anyway?

This mortal coil

“About 90 per cent of people will have an end-of-life dream or vision, and it has enormous healing potential,” Michael Barbato says.

The neuroscience of nostalgia

When it comes to nostalgia, I’ve done it all. Watched Spandau Ballet glide through a hotel lobby in V-formation.

From suburban housewife to porn star at 52: the emancipation of Morgana

Suffering from depression at the end of an unhappy marriage, Morgana Muses found a new lease on life by making body-positive, anti-ageist BDSM films.


‘Perhaps Humbert Humbert’s delight at using playful language in Lolita comes from Nabokov’s experiences of seeing a ‘soft g’ as having a “rich, rubbery tone”, and ‘b’ as “burnt sienna”.’

Bernard Fanning

After 28 years of doing interviews, Bernard Fanning is more interested in getting meta.

Wet Lips take on the music biz boys’ club

It was 2014, and Wet Lips, along with cohorts Girl Crazy, were booked on an otherwise all-male bill.

Beth Orton

Orton mentions the Oblique Strategies cards that Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt created in 1975, as tools to combat creative block.

Bros cover story

It’s hard to imagine these affable, double-Derek Zoolanders as having seen true darkness, but behind the bouncy pop, there was creeping paranoia…

Zara Larsson

It’s every journo’s worst scenario: a 15-minute phoner, just as the interviewee’s food arrives.

Cat Marnell in The Monthly

Cat Marnell’s How to Murder Your Life breaks all the rules of the modern addiction memoir, which tend to wind up with the narrator rolling around on a bed of recovery chip.

Drug research and lived experience: The Saturday Paper

Few researchers working with prohibited drugs such as heroin and psychedelics admit ‘inside knowledge’ of their use, but some argue that the culture of non-disclosure is irresponsible.

Drugslab: The Fix

In each YouTube episode, the young presenters try a different drug such as LSD, ecstasy, ketamine, 2-CB, amphetamine, and mushrooms.

Gut Churn: New show from Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad

Radiolab founder Jad Abumrad brought his show Gut Churn to Sydney as part of 24-hour festival Bingefest.


The conscientious rapper must rotate a topic in their hands, hold it up to the light, and nurse it jealously, like Gollum and his ring. The problem is, to mull at such length requires a restless brain, well-versed in torture tactics…

The catch 22 that led to ICU

In the ambulance, Katelyn wondered if she was having another psychotic episode. She could hear the ECG monitor and she thought it was emitting a long, drawn-out tone.

Shirley Manson from Garbage

Having closely studied the front rows over the decades, Manson has noticed vast differences between the original Gen X fans and the influx of Gen Y.

L7: Rolling Stone

I really didn’t pick that two of L7 were sober – for almost their entire career. I got to interview my deadset heroine Donita Sparks for Rolling Stone and she dropped that bombshell…

Artist Louise Hearman

Perhaps many of us feel imposter syndrome when contemplating art. Conversation turns to John Fowles’ novel The Collector.

Alannah Currie in Classic Pop

I was very happy to be able to write this Classic Pop profile of Alannah Currie: artist, activist, ex-pop star. Her childhood in New Zealand with an illegal bookie father sounds like a scene from The Grifters.

Molly Crabapple

Artist and writer Molly Crabapple has elbowed her way into some of the world’s most dangerous or least-accessible places.

Tackling the taboo: Cherry Bomb

When I was ten years old I found my crime in a crime novel. My mother’s collection of Ruth Rendell and PD James spanned the width of the shelf and I was working my way through them.

All-star Bowie tribute

The schedule permits no time to be shy. It’s the first day of rehearsals for David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed and Tim Rogers is dancing like a dapper stork, in a rumpled three-piece-suit and loosened cravat.

New Order cover story

They’ve survived grief, grievances and the ’90s. No wonder New Order are being immortalised by Vivid LIVE.

The Drones

What do you ask the songwriter who – for this seventh album – has covered off Western imperialism, neofascism, Hugo Boss, Luftwaffe psychological warfare techniques, Koro Syndrome, the Taman Shud mystery and leftist utopianism?

Why do we hate kangaroos? The Age

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet, laments the title of James Herriot’s 1977 memoir about working with animals. Had Herriot been a wildlife carer in Victoria in 2016, the sentiment may have been a little more desperate.

Never Tear Us Apart: behind the scenes

Time Out is on set of Seven’s Never Tear Us Apart at the Espy’s Gershwin Room, which is standing in for Sydney Road’s now defunct venue Bombay Rock.

MONA’s David Walsh: A Bone of Fact

The founder of MONA has finally written the catalogue notes on himself. This interview includes an unpublished excerpt from his memoir, A Bone of Fact.

The Runaways’ Cherie Currie: The Guardian

For Currie, forgiving her former foe Kim Fowley comes with the price tag of controversy – but the only path to follow is her own.

Steve Jansen, Japan, for Classic Pop

The Japanese embraced their namesake band long before the Brits did. Initially derided by the UK music press, Japan went on to make five albums (three going gold) that took them from glam pop to revered, minimalist art rock.

A roo shock: The Saturday Paper

Wildlife shelters and native animal rescuers are struggling, with no Victorian government commitment.

Are we morally responsible for caring for those who have entertained us? The Monthly

In January 2015, the former pop star was filmed in an alleyway, smashing to smithereens his band’s platinum discs.

Took my ’97 Ford Falcon to the Deni Ute Muster

“I’ve spent all day sitting around watching people fall over,” he says happily, biting into a packet of dry instant noodles. “Everyone’s dug trenches and put down tripwire – then you just sit back and enjoy the show.”

The highs and lows of being in a-ha: Financial Times

How many farewell tours can one band have? Magne Furuholmen talks about stardom, group therapy — and why his music is more than just fluff.

Rare-as-hen’s-teeth interview with Bill Drummond

“Ex-pop star facing police probe,” ran the headline in The Mirror last year.

The power of the female memoir: cover story

Rosie Waterland’s publisher could so easily have shoehorned The Anti-Cool Girl into misery lit. Here was a memoir that covered domestic violence, foster homes, mental illness, drug abuse and sexual abuse.

Jaala in Fader

In this week’s GEN F, a punk-voiced Australian writes eccentric songs for misfits.

How The Jezabels survived a trial by fire

Self-doubt and controversy have dogged Hayley Mary, but she is hoping new album Synthia will usher in a new era.

Piper Kerman: Orange is the New Black

For someone whose youthful impulsivity was about to land her in jail, Piper Kerman was a meticulously prepared woman.

Bananarama and Belinda Carlisle

Back in the post-punk era, the pop industry was democratic. You could wear dungarees, tennis shorts, budgie smugglers or anything you liked.

Adam Lambert cover story

For his 66-date arena tour with Queen, Adam Lambert tried to channel Freddie Mercury. Now the American Idol star wants to find himself.


“There are hidden messages everywhere,” Boucher says.  “I do all kinds of things, but people rarely get them. A lot of the time I’m reciting really quiet poems under some of the songs.”

Madonna cover story

Madonna’s shows are legendary for their theatrics and spectacular sets. Jenny Valentish talks to the people who make it all happen.


It was a classic album. But was it also a classical album? Jenny Valentish asks the experts.

Brian Wilson

Bluesfest is bringing over Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson in 2016, to perform Pet Sounds from start to finish with his band. I interviewed him and a host of famous fans.

Maximus rock’n’roll

There’s a whole ecosystem of intrigue up in the bell towers of our cathedrals. The campanologists of St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne and St Mary’s in Sydney lower down the ropes.

Ellie Goulding as lonely Twitter bot

There’s a burst of melancholic opera at the beginning of Delirium, as if to say: Good. Now we’ve established what I can do, here comes the synthetic modulation.

Playing Whac-A-Mole with cross-addiction: The Saturday Paper

The trouble with beating addiction is that it isn’t confined to one substance or activity.

The great debate: is addiction a disease? The Age

Neuroscientist Marc Lewis’ new book cracks open a debate on why there is no consensus on what addiction is or how it should be treated.

‘Girl’ is not a genre: The Saturday Paper

Pitchfork editor Jessica Hopper talks to Jenny Valentish about perceptions that ‘girl’ is a genre and women aren’t great critics.

Back to the Batcave

How do you nail that Batcave sound? Flesh for Lulu’s Nick Marsh, The Alarm’s Dave Sharp, The Birthday Party’s Rowland S Howard and The Psychedelic Furs’ John Ashton recall their guitar set-ups…

Sinead O’Connor

Straight off the bat, talk-show host Graham Norton was showing uncharacteristic concern for one of the guests on his sofa.

Cherry Bomb in The Music

Jenny Valentish knows her music. Her debut novel, Cherry Bomb, is dense with detail – in a good way. It’s a work of fiction, but reveals more about the business than most music memoirs.

Spandau Ballet

They look like a band. From Time Out’s spy-hole in the hotel bar, Spandau Ballet – all coiffed hair, nice shoes and Savile Row suits – turn heads as they sweep through the marble lobby.

Lanie Lane

A trip to the Peruvian Andes cannot be without its epiphany. When Lanie Lane made the pilgrimage earlier this year, shooting the video to single ‘Celeste’ was the least celestial part of her journey.

Cherry Bomb review in NZ’s Coup de Main

When I first read the title of this book, I was instantly reminded of The Runaways song of the same name, and that punk-rock feel of the song is incredibly well-suited to the debut novel of Jenny Valentish.

Guy Pearce

What were you afraid of? What was he afraid of? Guy Pearce’s musical effort is up to his usual high standard, says Jenny Valentish.

Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle on shitpop, marriage, revenge songs, Elliott Smith and that thing where people thrust their demo at you on tour.

The Madden Brothers

The Madden Brothers have screeched the Good Charlotte train to a halt and jumped off without their baggage.

Jimmy Barnes

One-take Jimmy celebrates 30 years as a solo artist with a new album of classics and collaborations.

Jenny Valentish video: Noise 11

Jenny Valentish and Noise 11’s Paul Cashmere turn anthropologists and discuss rock stars.

Interview: Jenny Valentish on Evenings with Dominic Knight (transcript)

Not every debut novel has effusive praise from Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers on its cover, but it’s not all that surprising when it’s been written by one of Australia’s most experienced music journalists.

Cherry Bomb: Book of the Week on Evenings with Dominic Knight

Talking about codependent band relationships, stalker fans, music industry enablers and the power of the teenage girl with Dominic Knight. 

Megan Washington

“All songs are Rorschach tests, aren’t they?” Megan Washington asks rhetorically, when I wonder if ‘Begin Again’, on her second album, is a letter to her mother.

Luke Moodysson

In Sweden, Lukas Moodysson is considered as punk rock as the subjects of his latest flick.

Joan Jett

While the topics are way more introspective than Jett will usually allow, her dedication to dirty rock’n’roll means it doesn’t veer from classic Jett glam stomp or snarling riffage – just the way legions of fans like it.

Jen Jewel Brown

Jen Jewel Brown made her name as a counter-culture journalist at a febrile time when frontiers were being breached and flags planted.

Jenny Valentish’s Cherry Bomb in Australian Musician

Set in the Australian music scene, Cherry Bomb is the debut novel from magazine/web editor, blogger, musician and pop culture maven Jenny Valentish. AM’s Greg Phillips sat down with Jenny to discuss the book’s origins.

Cherry Bomb in the Daily Telegraph

Valentish says she made Nina’s home base Parramatta because it reminded her of Slough, which she left in favour of London’s music scene.

Jenny Valentish on 4ZZZ’s The Book Club

Jenny Valentish talked to Sky Kirkham about The Vines, press releases, and getting to say the things you can’t when you’re a journalist.

Jenny Valentish and Kirsten Krauth on Radio National

Have a listen to Jenny Valentish and Kirsten Krauth on Radio National live at Capital Theatre during the Bendigo Writers Festival.

Cherry Bomb review on Arts Hub

At once a bildungsroman and a searing examination of the fallout of middle-class living, Valentish’s Cherry Bomb is a page-turner.

Cherry Bomb review by Jason Nahrung

Jason Nahrung is a very prolific Australian horror author, with a website that’s full of great resources for authors and readers alike.

Nikki McWatters

She was the sort of sexy schoolgirl immortalised in countless dodgy rock songs, sneaking out of bedroom windows and into venues (though her sartorial style was more New Romantic Pirate than Angel Centrefold).

Jenny Valentish in the Hoopla

What makes up a Cherry Bomb author, asks Meredith Jaffe? Ken Kesey, E Nesbit, Ruth Rendell and John Fowles, it turns out.

Mark Opitz

Sean Kelly of the Models calls him a “shit stirrer”. James Reyne says he’s “just as much a psychologist as a record producer”. Jimmy Barnes says simply: “My career wouldn’t have been anything without Mark Opitz.”

Kathleen Hanna

The subject of a recent documentary and focus of New York University’s riot grrrl archive, Kathleen Hanna isn’t going to be changing her tune any time soon.

Brody Dalle

The leather-larynxed frontwoman of the Distillers and Spinnerette answers this and more in Jenny Valentish’s Time Out Melbourne interview.

Abbe May

Abbe May has never been afraid to shed her skin.

Viv Albertine

A punk history on the surface, the memoir of the former Slits guitarist is more a story of survival.

Jade MacRae

The sort of conversation Time Out is having with Jade MacRae is a rare experience. Here’s an artist who has enjoyed major label urban pop success (and all that today’s The Voice contestants aspire to), and yet found herself existentially questioning the validity of it all.

Johnette Napolitano

When she isn’t making music, painting and taking photos, Hurricane Johnette spends stints working as a telephone psychic, a tattoo artist and a volunteer at a rescue shelter.

Cherry Bomb in the Courier Mail

Books editor Blanche Clark interviewed Jenny Valentish for the Courier Mail, about Courtney Love, post-coital analysis and grisly old rock stars.


With her second solo LP, Adalita Srsen has abandoned recent restraint and surrendered the mic to her psyche. As the woman herself says, “the more you withhold, the more I want in”.

Jenny Valentish on Double J

A really interesting interview with my old Triple J workmate Myf Warhurst.

Cherry Bomb on 2SER: Final Draft with Andrew Poble

Normally we bring you the best of books, writing and literary culture from across Australia and the world; but today we are mixing things up a little bit as I bring you music and literature….

Jenny Valentish’s Cherry Bomb in the Herald Sun

In the Saturday, July 12 edition of the Herald Sun, there’s a one-page interview with Jenny Valentish by books editor Blanche Clarke about the spectre of Molly Meldrum, grisly old rock stars, the significance of Nina being from Parramatta.

Cherry Bomb in Rolling Stone

In which Jenny Valentish doesn’t realise till too late that her T-shirt is see-through. Also, there’s talk about tortured geniuses and screamy girl bands. Short and sweet.

Cherry Bomb: Sydney Outsider

Music journo and Time Out Melbourne editor Jenny Valentish’s debut novel Cherry Bomb follows the story of Nina Dall, one half of Sydney pop-punk band The Dolls.

Zoe Zolbrod

Novelist and editor Zoe Zolbrod first beeped onto my radar when she wrote an article for Salon about Woody Allen, working in inductive reasoning about her own childhood sexual abuse.

Cherry Bomb on the radio with Waleed Aly and Fiona Parker

In Waleed Aly’s Drawing Room on Radio National, the subject was ‘Can rock still rebel?’ Guests were authors Jenny Valentish (Cherry Bomb) and Andrew Stafford (Pig City).

Jenny Valentish’s Cherry Bomb in Noisey

Jenny Valentish knows how to deal with the petulant, insecure, vain and munted. As a long time music journalist and editor including time at Triple J magazine and now Time Out, she has come across her share of precocious young bands.

West Australian interview with Jenny Valentish

‘Cherry Bomb’ was the 1976 debut single for American all-girl rock band the Runaways. Cherry Bomb is also the debut novel for Melbourne-based journalist Jenny Valentish, who sets her tale of pop-rock duo the Dolls in present-day Sydney.

An interview with Jenny Valentish on author Sara Foster’s blog

Told through the eyes of a young singer who’s seen it all, CHERRY BOMB is celebrated rock journalist Jenny Valentish’s debut novel – a wild ride into Australia’s music scene.

Sky Ferreira

Maybe you remember Lorde’s 2013 essay on the music industry, ‘I’m Not a Spreadsheet With Hair’. In it, she described an executive talking about her in terms of “lots of zeroes”.


Every artist dreams of nailing a common sentiment, don’t they? Of being the answer that is blowing in the wind?