Ari’s casual assertion that he’s a wog, not white, scorns millennia of Western empires claiming Greek epistemology as an intellectual forebear while systemically deorientalising it. This feels particularly salient for how homoeroticism in Greek antiquity is absorbed into the lineage of anglophone gay culture today. That troubled relationship to history and lineage is also a recurring trope in migrant narratives, as the point of origin recedes into a romantic homeland fading into the horizon, or becomes a risk and a burden, a chorus of voices clamouring for tribute. Or a third thing: a ship with new parts but the same name.
It’s really interesting to see all the different iterations of this story (I also reviewed the audio play in 2020) and be pushed to tease apart my responses and figure out what’s in the work vs what’s changed in the world or the presentation context or my point of view. A good exercise as a critic!
For The Saturday Paper, I reviewed She and Her Pretty Friend, an appealing and accessible history of queer women’s lives in Australia from roughly 1830 to 1980. There’s a lot I liked about it and a few things that bugged me too. As always, I can send a read link if you can’t access it through the paywall, just leave a comment.
Scrimshaw code-switches easily between the cautious register of the historian and the more colourful lexicon of chronically online queers, reading real events in relation to memes and fandom tropes such as “oh my god, they were roommates” and “be gay, do crime”. The effect is chatty and conspiratorial, like catching up with a friend who can’t wait to tell you about what she just read, and it’s endearing to witness her transparent disappointment when women treat each other badly or don’t get the life we feel they deserve.
As a public service, I gobbled up more than 3 kilograms of lasagne from Coles, Woolies* and Aldi, to review it for you, dear reader. Cheers to the Guardian for indulging my pivot from arts criticism to ready meal reviews.
There’s nothing like an oozy hunk of meat, cheese and carbs to make you feel as if you’ve just tucked yourself into a pasta doona. Eating lasagne under a blanket manifests a beautiful sense of symmetry: I’m at one with the universe in all its multi-layered glory.
FYI, I learned in the process of researching this story that lasagne is the plural, which is typically what’s used for pasta dishes (spaghetti, penne are also plural, and of course noodles), while lasagna is singular. Australian and UK English favours lasagne, US lasagna.
It’s the hour-long dysphoria soundtrack you didn’t know you needed! And me slyly moonlighting as a selector for Double J. Featuring June Jones, Jen Cloher, Janelle Monáe, Julia Jacklin and also some artists whose names don’t start with J. Read and listen here.
My audio piece for Powerhouse Museum’s Oscillations project is finally out! It’s a chewy little story about sino/trans inscrutability, visibility and representation. Massive thanks to sound and story wizard Jon Tjhia, and everyone whose voices and ideas are part of this work: Atong Atem, Oliver Reeson, Kate Bagnall and Tim Sherratt, and my glorious chorus. So proud of this. Listen here.
‘Nearly every writer here seems wary of the risks of putting something on the record and into the crosshairs of the governable. The space between the lines is heavy with purposeful omissions as well as inherited silences.’
I reviewed the latest Liminal anthology, Against Disappearance (ed. Leah Jing McIntosh and Adolfo Aranjuez), for The Saturday Paper.
‘I don’t think we should take the gender out of fashion’, says Rae Hill, designer at Origami Customs. ‘Instead of “genderless”, there needs to be more of a fluidity of gender. The gender of a piece of clothing is whatever gender you feel when you wear it, and not that you have to fit into the gender of that piece.’