2019 is shaping up to be a real terror of a year. Parts of Australia are in the middle of a housing, job and health support crisis and the shit has well and truly hit the fan.
Heads of police are on trial for brutality, while politicians are dragging their feet on whether or not trans people have a right to exist. Bodybuilders are shooting up strip clubs and a massive methamphetamine epidemic is destroying the lives of vulnerable young people.
Young men with schizophrenia are firebombing punk squats while teaching staff and metro workers are routinely striking, grinding workplaces and services to a halt. On the street, there are hundreds of young people facing homelessness, violence, unemployment and lack of future prospects. To them, the future is bleak.
Despite all this, there are dozens of vibrant young artists creating challenging and unique works that directly tackle the horrendous and wretched world we find ourselves in. One of those bands is Fern Tree, Tasmania, iconoclasts All The Weathers.
Tote Hotel, Melbourne
Friday, 22 March 2019
I’m not a big fan of the rose-coloured 1960s discourse. Sure, the music’s great, the anti-establishment political rhetoric is inspiring and the fashion iconic. But the 1960s gave the world Nixon and the first incarnation of Reagan the politician, Engelbert Humperdink outsold Hendrix and it was mainly rich white kids (especially men) who had the socio-economic stability to drop out – because they could drop back in again anytime they wanted to.
The 1960s is a mythical idea, not a corroborated historical construct. We want to believe what it was like, because it’s not like that now. Revisionism. Nostalgia. Self-deluded idealism. There was good shit going on, but there’s good stuff going on now. There was plenty of bad, square and nasty stuff going on then, too. More so than the good stuff.
Banangun sounded like they’d crawled straight out of a '60s documentary. Maybe a Nuggets Acid Rock compilation. I hadn’t heard of them before tonight, though later on it was pointed out to me that their main man is Nick from The Frowning Clouds, and then everything made sense.
Gergely Csatari photo.
Mick Harvey and the Intoxicated Men
Harry Howard and the NDE
Melbourne Museum, Friday, April 5 2019
Upstairs at the Melbourne Museum hosts a local exhibit, a collage of images, dioramas, reportage and oral testimonies from the city’s post-invasion history. In a corner of the exhibit can be found a movie telling the evolution of post-war Melbourne, from the faceless images of businessmen in John Bracks’ Collins St, 5pm painting, to the vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis of the present day.
A black and white photo from 1979 shows five youths staring at the camera, sullen, callow, defiant and charmingly obnoxious. The adult voice of one of those rebellious kids talks of the change in Melbourne’s character: Mick Harvey, Boy Next Door, Birthday Partier, Bad Seed. Back in the day, Harvey intones matter-of-factly, the inner-city was a cultural backwater.