It’s just before 8pm on a Monday night and I’m sat in The Clyde, waiting for my dinner and listening to a group of undergraduates (five men, one woman) discuss sex education. One of the students wears a navy hoodie with the word “Science” emblazoned across its back. I’m guessing they’re not humanities students. Mostly because one of them said “re-entry” and the rest of them giggled. I’ve just come from a talk at the nearby Church of All Nations, hosted by the Victorian Women’s Trust and Readings bookstores. The conversation was between noted local feminist columnist and slayer of trolls, Clementine Ford, and Bri Lee, the young author of a memoir entitled Eggshell Skull.
On Friday I walked underneath a blazing sun with 60 thousand other people to stand in solidarity with Aboriginal people and Torres Straight Islanders. We gathered in Naarm on Wirundjuri and Boon Wurrung land, under the banners of Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, the abolition of national holidays that are invested in narratives of white supremacy, and calling for a treaty to be negotiated in relation to the stolen land on which we work, walk, live, and love. We mourned the violences enacted against a 60 thousand year old culture. As I’m writing this, I’m sat in a pub, surrounded by old men while Baker Boy plays over the speakers, and there is an absolute joy that I derive from hearing Danzel Baker singing in Yolngu Matha. The resilience of humans to keep culture alive through art, stories and music is, for me, central to what it is to assert subjectivity (self in relation to power) in the face of oppression and dehumanisation. It is a bitter irony that International Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on 27th January, the very day after the Australian national celebration of the events that resulted in Australia’s genocide against First Nations people. News papers can’t seem to decide between proclamations of “Never Forget, Never Again” and “Just Get Over It.” The dissonance is painful.
I decided to head out the other night to write at a pub. It had been uncomfortably tropical in Melbourne, and my house is an old weatherboard, which is charming, but snug. This is brilliant in winter. In summer? Not so much. By the time I arrived at my venue of choice it became clear that a significant portion of the inner north had had a variation on the theme of my own idea. The pubs and beer-gardens were chockers, and this meant there was not really the space in which I could commandeer a table (annotated printout of article, reference books, iPad) and, perhaps more pressingly, my misanthropy went into overdrive. As it was 15 minutes before the tram that would take me home arrived, I decided to walk back along Brunswick st toward what I hoped would be a slightly less populated pub (spoiler alert: it was! yay!). On the way I called in to the usual suspects, the Brunswick St Bookstore and the Grub St Bookshop. As soon as I walked through the door of the latter, I saw A Card From Angela Carter. Continue reading “Featured Content: A Card From Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp”