The House of Rumour

Posted on May 09 in Fiction, What We're Reading by

The House of Rumour is an hugely enjoyable novel that melds and twists genres ‘historical’ ‘literature, ‘sci-fi’. Starring an amazing array of disparate historical characters including Rudolf Hess, Aleister Crowley, Jim Jones, L Ron Hubbard, Ian Fleming, et al, Arnott cleverly links their varying real biographies in a conceit that ties strands of mid-20th Century mythology. Hess’s 1941 flight to Scotland, early rocket science, British wartime intelligence service, and Crowley’s paranormal myth-making and sexual libertarianism all converge, reflecting and refracting the 20th century experience. more…

Women Are Heroes

Posted on Apr 11 in Featured, Photography, Uncategorized by

Jr is a French urban activist/street artist who has taken pasting to another level. His book from a few years ago, 28 Millimetres quickly sold out and has never been reprinted. In this most recent book, Women are Heroes, JR has taken portraits of women across the third world. These are then blown up into huge prints and with community involvement posted on buildings, train carriages, roads, favela walls etc. Some are printed on tarps and used as roofing in slums. The huge portraits, these women, then stare back out at the community, saying both: ‘I am here, see me’ and ‘I am here, witnessing’. Incredibly powerful in their construction and beauty. My favourite is the train posters, see this clip

Beautiful Whale

Posted on Apr 05 in Photography by

I’m not usually a sucker for whale photos, but Austin’s new book Beautiful Whale is pretty stunning (is whale porn a genre?). Austin has spent a lot of time with the whales he photographs and is able to get close to the animals. the close-ups in particular are awe-inspiring. Beautiful Whale is similar in tone to Nick Brandt’s African animals.

Born Weird

Posted on Mar 16 in Fiction, What We're Reading by

The Weirds have always been a little peculiar, but not one of them suspected that theyd been cursed by their grandmother. This reviewer has long been a fan of Andrew Kauffman’s previous works; the short novellas All My Friends Are Superhero’s and The Tiny Wife. Kauffman has a level of skill in weaving the supernatural with the everyday that few budding novelists have and this is amply showed in his latest and longest tale to date, Born Weird.

Born Weird is set in Kauffman’s home country of Canada and focuses on a family of five children; Angie, Kent, Lucy, Abba and Richard. Each at the moment of their birth were gifted with blessings to help them through life by their grandmother; from strength to the ability to forgive. However, these blessings became double edged swords and each sibling struggles to live a normal life as adults, often failing. more…

The James Bond Archive 007

Posted on Feb 14 in Film by

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the most successful and longest-running film franchise in cinema history! Made with unrestricted access to the Bond archives, this XL tome recounts the entire history of James Bond in words and pictures – including photos, designs, storyboards, and production materials. The result is the most complete account of the making of every James Bond film ever made, from Dr. No (1962) to SkyFall (2012). more…

Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan

Posted on Feb 03 in History, What We're Reading by

In 1839 the British invaded Afghanistan for the first time in an attempt to return a leader of their liking, Shah Shuja, to the throne. With almost 20,000 troops, they established control of the country, attempting to sure up the interests of the East India Company. Within two years, the first British occupation foundered and Britain suffered it’s greatest humiliation of the nineteenth century. The British were forced to withdraw at the beginning of an Afghani winter in October 1841. Of the approx 16,500 that left Kabul for India, only one man would make it down through the pass (see famous painting above).

The 16,500 retreating party included 4,500 military personnel and 12,000 camp followers - sepoys, servants, wives, children - many died as a result of the unceasing military ambushes by Afghan tribal groups seeking retribution and plunder. The rest of the party starved or froze. ‘Lord Auckland’s folly’, the name by which this disastrous campaign is often referred, not only cost lives and reputations, but almost bankrupted the East India Company, weakening Britain’s position in the Great Game. more…

Soundsystem – The Art of Jamaican Music

Posted on Jan 23 in Featured, Music by

For over 50 years now Jamaican music has been incredibly important in contemporary music, from the invention of Ska, Rocksteady, Roots, Dub and onto Dancehall. This tiny island has produced one of the richest and most innovative veins in popular music, it has influenced rap and then hip-hop, MCing … Not to mention its injection of cool and gansta into contemporary urban culture.

Soul Jazz Recordings have been all over the music, and now their publishing off-shoot has produced two great books in the history of Jamaican music: Soundsystem: Mento to Dancehall – 60 Years of of Original Reggae Album Cover Art, and Soundsystem 45: Original Label Art of the Reggae 45 Single. See also other great books produced by Soul Jazz such as Cover Art of Studio One Records and Voguing and the Ballroom Scene of New York 1989-92.

Beautiful Ugly: John Gollings

Posted on Jan 05 in Architecture, Photography by

Beautiful Ugly: The Architectural Photography of John Gollings. I hadn’t heard of Gollings until I read this book.  Beautiful Ugly collects a lifetime of architectural photography in Australia and around the world. While overtly an architecture book, this really is a photography book by a photographer of great skill and understanding of his architectural subjects. In the text by Joe Rollo suggests that Gollings’ skill - understanding how to present a building - is usually better than than the architect of the building. & indeed some of the photos seem almost philosophical.

How Music Works by David Byrne

Posted on Jan 01 in Biography, Music, What We're Reading by

Not wanting to do the age-ing rocker autobiography, David Byrne has produced a book that is a larger overview of the history of contemporary music. That said, Byrne does allow a potted history of his own career (a word you get the feeling he’d hate), and of Talking Heads. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is its attempt to explicate the nuts n bolts of making music, and making money from the music industry. Byrne’s account in enjoyably intelligent and passionate. As his been his way musically, he is intellectual without being wanky, punky without the spit and snot. At the end of the book, Byrne sets out a practical range of models that a new band might adopt in an effort to make a living from making music in this new era. How Music Works is a great read for all who love music (and art generally) and are disheartened by the unending cycle of appropriation of art and artists by corporates who apply their MBAs to art and wonder why they wreck it.

To the Highlands by Jon Doust

Posted on Dec 29 in Fiction, What We're Reading by

To the Highlands, by local author  Jon Doust, is an engaging and honest tale of a young Perth man’s coming of age in the strange and foreign setting of PNG. Five years after Doust’s Boy on a Wire, Highlands again features Jack Muir, a young and listless boy from the WA country. Now at the end of the swinging sixties, when the world is full of change and revolution, Jack is sent to the islands as a bank Johnny. This new novel follows Jack’s journey of self-discovery from rising bank star, to trouble maker and finally to the highlands, where Jack questions who he is as a person and the invisible laws that come between love and people of different colour. Doust is a master of imagery and is particularly adept and displaying Jack’s disorientation. more…