Author: Lindsay Barrett
Smoke rising from a street cauldron of morning stew. Evil-smelling and nourishing. Each ragged member shuffling forward…taking a wooden bowl of steaming gruel. Roll up, roll up, step right in and spy the Crystal Grotto, linger by the Marionette Theatre…steal a visit to the Hermit’s Cave…glorious wonders and excitement…dazzling delights and secrets of the Orient. ..high above the illuminated gardens you can see a balloon descent twinkling out of the dark, starry night sky…tiers and tiers of supper and pleasure boxes…costumed waiters and bawdy wenches serving the rich and famous… Welcome to the dichotomy that is Cremorne…
New Year’s Day at the Hotel Australia
In the late 1930s an apprentice potter made a solemn pledge with some of his young work mates to meet up on New Year’s Day, in the year 2000, in the famous Long Bar of the Hotel Australia. But the reunion never took place because, while sixty years later the young man in question, the author’s father, was still going strong, the venue was no longer standing. The Hotel Australia, Sydney’s premier hotel throughout much of the twentieth century, had been demolished in 1972 to make way for the MLC Centre, a concrete skyscraper which was at the cutting edge of the city’s redevelopment as a global business hub. Charting a course through modernist literature, popular fiction, rugby league, shopping centres, suburban kitsch and prefab concrete, this book looks at the impact of the ethic of progress on Australia in the middle of the twentieth century, and the way in which a particular version of masculinity – the self-made man – became enshrined as a new version of Australian identity. At a time when the average tradesman is now a media celebrity, and as property developers scour the urban landscape for profit as never before, New Year’s Day at the Hotel Australia looks back at the heyday of the self-made man, and the world he was busy building, even as forces much more powerful than he could muster were in the process of redeveloping it into something much bigger, blander and more corporate. Lindsay Barrett is a writer, cultural historian and curator. He has written on a wide range of aspects of the experience of modern life, including technology, art, sport and politics. His book on the Whitlam Government’s purchase of the Jackson Pollock painging Blue Poles has been acclaimed as the definitive cultural history of the event. He was born in Sydney, and some of the things that make up the narrative of New Year’s Day at the Hotel Australia he actually witnessed, while others he has only read about in the newspapers.
The Runaway Machine
“I can now reveal Exclusively to the Mother Planet and all our watching neighbours out there…Wait for it,. Five, four, three, two, one! Sweet jumping Jupiter! The Androids of Mu!…Yes, you heard it here first, Folks, with Cousin Eddy and Sister Nova. The Androids of Mu! The greatest all-girl Rock band in the entire Universe are on their way here to perform live, Yes, live, in twenty-five chosen venues across the Mother Planet. Fresh from conquering their own planet, this all-girl Martian Rock group are on their way. They’re coming here today! The day ahead awaits and framed thoughts are gaining concentrated attention in Valentine Bone’s brain. Gradually forcing the inner screen clear of the myriads of flooding images, begging and pleading for his urgent attention. The Director-General and the upcoming mission are being hard-wired into the mind…Steeling himself to be catapulted out from the sanctity of this apartment. The order of unbroken chaos beckons
The Truth Dentist
You live with it and it’s never going to end. You stop expecting anything. Any hopes or dreams have long since disappeared. Each day brings the totally unexpected and is the same. False reports. Little hinted-at canards to dupe the duplicitous…The sand eats into your young bones and you feel as old as the Universe. Nothing ever happened before this…no end in sight…Bravery isn’t an act you even contemplate…Everyone shitting themselves before they go into action…You may not fear, but you are still afraid.