Flat White

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We’re all Huguenots now

I’m not one of those Christians who go in for high days and holy days. Truth be told, I find…

27 Aug 2016

Two bad ideas

Two absurd propositions are currently gaining unwarranted attention: ‘recognising’ aborigines in the Constitution and a recycled idea from the 1970s…

27 Aug 2016

Anti-Semitism of the progressive churches

One of the nastiest perversions of Christianity in the world today – the attempted demonisation and isolation of Israel –has…

27 Aug 2016

Vagabondism and harlotry

That we are to have yet another Royal Commission into Aboriginal Affairs is good news for some. It is good…

27 Aug 2016

The morality of mandatory detention

Last week on the ABC programme, the Drum, I confronted my unwilling conscience. The topic was the Manus Island immigration…

27 Aug 2016

Business/Robbery etc

There’ll always be a Menzies while there’s a BHP For they have paid their dividends since 1883. There’ll always be…

27 Aug 2016

Even Gillard got her Census right

In 14AD, the Roman Emperor Tiberius, an unlovable man who succeeded the far superior Augustus, successfully managed a census of…

20 Aug 2016

For Scott’s Eyes Only

Three cheers for the government for saving us from the Yellow Investment Peril. If it weren’t for Treasurer Scott Morrison,…

20 Aug 2016

Martha Argerich

This is the time of the year when the major performing arts companies announce their seasons for next year, beginning…

27 Aug 2016

John Armstrong

‘What is art for?’ is a question too rarely asked. The question is posed, and answered, in the book Art…

13 Aug 2016

Sculptures at Barangaroo

The most significant enhancement to Sydney Harbour since the restoration of Walsh Bay, the Barangaroo development is coming into its…

6 Aug 2016

The Ring Cycle

Although it was premiered in Bayreuth in 1876, it was another 122 years before The Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner…

30 Jul 2016

Chinese whispers

Peter Ho Davies’s second novel, The Fortunes, is a beautifully crafted study, in four parts, of the history of the…

27 Aug 2016

The key to a hidden kingdom

It’s a modern pastime to hypothesise about what makes a good relationship. One evening not long ago in a Berlin…

27 Aug 2016

A view to a kill

A certain sort of male novelist will always aspire to be Joseph Conrad. The seedy cosmopolitanism of his fiction and…

27 Aug 2016

Tales out of school

At first glance Sean O’Brien’s new novel appears to focus on England’s devotion to the past. Even its title carries…

27 Aug 2016

Girls about town

On 8 June 1920 an old beggar woman sat against a wall in Kingsway holding a mongrel in her arms…

27 Aug 2016

Crying Wolfe

He might be 85 but Tom Wolfe is going strong with a new book and a dustjacket photo that still…

27 Aug 2016

Doctor who?

On 25 July 1865, during a heatwave, Dr James Barry died of dysentery in his London lodgings. A charwoman came…

27 Aug 2016

No happy endings

Between agreeing to review this book and receiving it, I got worried. Like many, I adore Doctor Zhivago with its…

27 Aug 2016

Gale-force lyricism

Centuries before their footballers learned giant-slaying ways, Icelanders knew how to startle the world with tall stories. In the moonscape…

27 Aug 2016

All about C

In March 1981 Margaret Thatcher went to the hospital bedside of Maurice Oldfield, the former head of the Secret Intelligence…

The Capability controversy

In a piece of light verse from the 1770s ‘Dame Nature’ — out strolling ‘one bright day’ — bumps into…

20 Aug 2016

Seeing red

Early on in his excellent and protean biography of a colour, Spike Bucklow quotes Goethe, writing in 1809: Every rope…

20 Aug 2016