John Bartlett

Romeo & Romeo: a review of ‘Holding the Man’

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Romeo & Romeo: a review of ‘Holding the Man’

Not having played Aussie Rules football for more than forty years I’m not sure if the ‘holding the man’ rule still applies. That’s when you get penalised in a game for holding ‘the man’ with the ball for too long.   So the title of Tim Conigrove’s 1995 memoir Holding the Man was an apt description for the homoerotic love story between himself and footballer, John Caleo when they met as schoolboys at Catholic Xavier College in Melbourne in the 1970s. To the naive, the rough and tumble of the football...

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Twilight of Democracy or of Fortitude?

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Twilight of Democracy or of Fortitude?

As I hesitated at the sight of the long queue snaking away from the doors of Deakin Edge in Melbourne’s Federation Square yesterday, I heard a man say; ‘Tariq Ali would expect us to queue wouldn’t he?’ I thought he’d be more likely to think the opposite and then I did what I’d would never have done in my youth, queue- jumped, or queue side-saddled really into the already quickly-moving queue. I was at the Melbourne Writers Festival and a little civil disobedience seemed appropriate on behalf of Tariq Ali, a...

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FROM BATHSHEBA TO LAURIE – ARE WE THERE YET? (a sort of review of Far from the Madding Crowd)

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FROM BATHSHEBA TO LAURIE – ARE WE THERE YET? (a sort of review of Far from the Madding Crowd)

When I was a secondary school student in Adelaide I discovered the novels of Thomas Hardy. I was infatuated instantly and wore a path from my home to the Burnside library (walking distance) borrowing his novels one by one until I had devoured them all. My adolescent longings made me love his willful characters and his sensuous portrayal of nature, dark and full of desire. These longings resurfaced in old age with the most recent film adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. The characters which Hardy expressed on the page were reignited with...

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Hardline Compassion – Labor for Refugees

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Hardline Compassion – Labor for Refugees

Labor leader Bill Shorten poked a very large stick into the wheels of Labor for Refugee’s bicycle earlier this week when he expressed a very definite vote for asylum seeker boat turn-backs, slotting neatly into current LNP policy. But there was no sign of such meek capitulation by asylum seeker supporters on show today outside the Labor Conference at the Melbourne Convention centre. A huge crowd of asylum seeker supporters for a more compassionate policy chanted:’ no racism, no fear, refugees are welcome here ‘ while Labor...

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A LITTLE PILGRIMAGE

Posted by on 3:16 pm in Blog | 0 comments

A LITTLE PILGRIMAGE

On the great Southern wind another rain is falling / The sea is high, it’s windy, the waves are breaking on the shore / Thinking about the stories in your country (Shane Howard, ‘Tarerer’ ) Any pilgrimage is at least in part an attempt to move beyond the mundane and the everyday and to experience another more transcendent world, if only briefly. Leaving Geelong and heading west towards the South Australian border, as we did this week, was an opportunity to connect with some ancient history. I always try to imagine the landscape there just as...

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DISMANTLING COMMUNITY – brick by brick

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DISMANTLING COMMUNITY – brick by brick

Each Monday morning when I travel to Torquay’s Spring Creek Community House to teach Creative Writing,  I can never find a place to park. But rather than feeling my usual parking rage I find I’m thrilled to see so many people cramming into this thriving centre of community activity. The House offers support for a dozen different groups, everything from legal aid, AA support, tutoring, counselling, child care and a dozen different classes and training courses. It’s one of the most vibrant and popular community groups in the area.   For me...

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?

Posted by on 3:32 pm in Blog | 4 comments

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?

My partner and I have now been together for thirty years. Considering the ABS   found that the median duration from marriage to divorce in 2013 in Australia was 12.1 years we are travelling pretty well. Of course the advantage of not getting married means we won’t ever have to apply for divorce which I guess is a bit of a booby prize in the long run. Several years ago, under the threat of harsh penalties we were required as two adults cohabiting, to declare ourselves as a couple or face fines. Being considered as a cohabiting couple for...

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