Goodreads review: Strawberry Hills Forever

Strawberry Hills Forever.Strawberry Hills Forever by Vanessa Berry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve never really been someone for zines. I’ve read them on occasion, but in a lot of cases I find they’re a bit more OCD or hermetic than even I could handle. Sometimes it feels as if I’m an interloper with some titles; that I’m not the audience. Could be the case, granted. So I’m happy to note that this collection of pieces from Vanessa Berry – culled from her zines I Am A Camera and Laughter and the Sound of Teacups are welcoming while still maintaining their dedication to singularity of vision.
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Goodreads review: The Town

The TownThe Town by Shaun Prescott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shaun Prescott’s first novel is a strangely compelling Oz-lit amalgam of kitchen-sink drama filtered through an odd, pastoral folk weirdness lens. It’s an examination of failure: of motivation, of society, of relationships and of the laws of physics. It’s a meditation on the pull exerted by cities and their rural sisters, a contemplation of one’s ability to record loss (and the writing process), and something of a rueful love-letter to a particular part of Australia. (more…)

Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)

So, it’s finally finished. Twin Peaks: The Return has concluded, and there’s a shit-tonne of hot takes around. I’m going to write a little about it, too, because the original show has been so important to me over the years. In that, I suppose, I’m not unusual. It’s a show for nerds, populated by misfits.

I remember watching the original run when it aired on New Zealand television, where I lived at the time. I remember being intoxicated by the thing, the indeterminate time period, the music, the darkness. And I remember being terrified, late at night, by a screaming Laura, by a grinning BOB, by an owl flying towards me.

Since then, I’ve wanted to go back.

(Spoilers follow.)

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Goodreads review: Detours

DetoursDetours by Tim Rogers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five stars. I suppose it’s unlikely I would have rated any other way, really, given how much of my early adulthood was soundtracked by the guy. See, for nerdy dorks of my age and type, Tim Rogers’ work is pretty important. I’ve written about that here if you’d fancy further solipsism – but suffice it to say You Am I were (and are) a band that made you feel like you could give it a go, and that there was stuff and a place out there for you, too.

Yeah, there are big rock moves, and big rock appetites. But then behind it all was someone who wrote songs about OCD, who felt an impostor, and who used Townshend windmills to blur reality, just a bit.
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Goodreads review: Tex

TexTex by Tex Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TEX IS SEX, or so read the graffiti I used to see sometimes. Everyone kind of knows the guy – Greg to his mum – whether it’s because they used to see the Beasts, or because of that fight at the ARIAs, or because he’s the dude who makes albums with Don and Charlie, or because of that time he suggested it might be time for legal advice. You know – that guy.
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Supersense, Melbourne: August 18-20, 2017

I’m just back from a couple of days in Melbourne at the Supersense festival, and am kind of exhausted but mostly happy. So I figured while it was fresh I’d note some thoughts on the whole shebang.

Stage and stalls

The festival bills itself as an examination of the ecstatic experience, and that pretty accurately covers the couple of days I spent in the phone coverage-free bowels of Arts Centre Melbourne. Like other festivals it’s run to a timetable, sure. But this one saw performances enacted in familiar venues seen from unusual perspectives: foyers, rehearsal rooms and, notably, viewed from an enormous stage (and not the stalls). Throughout, I saw and heard a dedication to pushing music somewhere that transcends the idea of mere performance – sometimes unsuccessfully, but often brilliantly.

TLDR version? Goes orright, mate.

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A Shropshire apocalypse

Like the end of the world? Enjoy walking around? Hate people?

Well, have I got the game for you.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a game by the developers of Dear Esther, probably the best-known walking simulator game. Where that game focused on paths around a small island, Rapture allows you to wander around a fictional Shropshire valley, ostensibly at the end of Something Really Catastrophic.  (more…)

Goodreads review: Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on EarthJimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chris Ware’s almost-autobiographical tale of a meek man and his familial foundering has been on my to-read list since it started winning a bunch of awards in 2001. I’m kind of glad I’m reading it now, because I’m not sure I would’ve had the emotional fortitude to survive it back then.

It’s cold in here.

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Goodreads review: You Don’t Know Me

You Don't Know MeYou Don’t Know Me by Brooke Magnanti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know, it’s not every book opens with a quote from the 1700s by a leading light in the field of anatomical pathology. But then, we’re dealing with a tiny town in the Highlands, where the morgue assistant’s a metalhead and the population are individual, to say the least.
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