Books

CHARLOTTE RAMPLING’S MEMOIR REVEALS WHO SHE IS, SORT OF…

How appropriate that an outfit called Icon Books should publish Charlotte Rampling’s WHO I AM.

Rampling is an undeniable icon of film and popular culture, and her book, co authored by Christophe Bataille, is sure to achieve iconic cache.

The first thing to say about WHO I AM is what it is not.

In the first paragraph, Rampling says, with a laugh, One thing it definitely can’t be is a biography. I’ve tried telling my life story. It doesn’t work…..I don’t open up. Continue reading CHARLOTTE RAMPLING’S MEMOIR REVEALS WHO SHE IS, SORT OF…

WORKING CLASS BOY : THE EARLY LIFE OF JIMMY BARNES

Just finished reading WORKING CLASS BOY the first instalment of the story of James Dixon Swan, aka – Jimmy Barnes. As usual I am about six months behind the times, the book was published to much fanfare last year, ironically when Barnsey was doing publicity for the book at various venues in Sydney I was in Glasgow. In a pub, about ten minutes from Cowcaddens, the rough area that Barnes lived in until the age of five.  That’s just how life is sometimes, but back to the real story.

Barnes’ home life in both Glasgow and Elizabeth, SA (where he spent most of his youth) was shambolic, the family lived in poverty and violence was commonplace. The stories he tells make your hair stand on end, the two bottles of vodka a day that became a regular feature of his later life start making sense. His substance abuse was not the usual garden variety abuse of the ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll crowd. Barnes was in need of more anesthetizing, to banish the memories of his troubled upbringing. Yet he tells it with such candour and humour that the reader is drawn in to the grey streets of Glasgow and South Australia willingly and we are happy to take the journey with him, and to some pretty dark places. Continue reading WORKING CLASS BOY : THE EARLY LIFE OF JIMMY BARNES

THE WRONG HAND : JANE JAGO’S BRILLIANT FIRST NOVEL

There’s no disputing the good writing and deserved bestsellerdom of books like Gone, Girl and Girl on a Train, just as there is no disputing the good writing and deserved bestsellerdom of Australian fiction that conjures comparison with these international blockbusters.

I recently waxed lyrical over Emily McGuire’s An Isolated Incident (run the search on this site), and I unequivocally wax the same lyricism for Jane Jago’s THE WRONG HAND.

This is a strong meat story of juvenile homicide, the taking of a young male life by two other young males. Based on the James Bulger case, Jago has written an absorbing narrative of the families affected, and the fate of both victims and the perpetrators. Continue reading THE WRONG HAND : JANE JAGO’S BRILLIANT FIRST NOVEL

SPOOK STREET : AN EMINENTLY ENTERTAINING READ

Featured image – talented, versatile author Mick Herron.

In prose and dialogue drier than a perfect Martini, SPOOK STREET may have a double O in its title but its tone is more Le Carre and Deighton than Fleming, although there’s the odd nod to Bond, in a sly “What would James do?” way.

These spooks are not strictly MI 5 or MI 6, this bunch is MI sfits and MI istakes.
“Slough House was a branch of the service, certainly, but ‘arm’ was pitching it strong. As was ‘finger’, come to that; fingers could be on the button or the pulse. Fingernails, now; those, you clipped, discarded, and never wanted to see again.”

The series has had a River run through it – River Cartwright – and he’s pretty much front and centre in SPOOK STREET. Continue reading SPOOK STREET : AN EMINENTLY ENTERTAINING READ

ERINLAND : WHERE FANTASY MEETS VIRTUAL REALITY

There is nothing that quite matches the feeling of elation that arises after one has published one’s first novel. Especially when the book has been some twenty four years in the making.

It was over two decades ago that Kathryn Berryman read The Book Of Kells at the Trinity College Library in Dublin. The sweeping nature and wonder of the book has always stayed with her, and it stirred within her the wish to create her own work of fantasy.

After a fulfilling working career Kathryn settled down to raise a family. Once her children had finished school and began their adult lives, Kathryn began to focus on putting together her own work of fiction. The result is the fantasy novel, ERINLAND. Continue reading ERINLAND : WHERE FANTASY MEETS VIRTUAL REALITY

BRIAN WILSON’S STORY – IN HIS OWN WORDS

I AM BRIAN WILSON is a rather long and vague postscript to  Love and Mercy, the 2014 film that tracks the famous Beach Boy’s mental illness from its onset in the mid 60s to the 80s, whilst he was in the care of the famously negligent Dr Eugene Landy.

Wilson’s sometimes prolific drinking and drug-taking was replaced under Landy’s regime with a steady diet of prescription medication which led to chronic apathy borne out of surrendering his will to that of the controlling doctor. Wilson eventually escaped the treacherous relationship with Landy with the help of second wife Marilyn. The film Love and Mercy is really an ode to their love.

This memoir features long tedious passages about the minutiae of Wilson’s present day, a long with details of his inspirations that, undiluted and free of intoxicants, are trivial at best and extremely tedious at worst. Continue reading BRIAN WILSON’S STORY – IN HIS OWN WORDS

‘TIM BURTON: THE ICONIC FILM MAKER AND HIS WORK’ BY IAN NATHAN

Unofficial and unauthorised, Ian Nathan’s TIM BURTON: The Iconic Film Maker and His Work is a handsome and illustriously illustrated study of the creator of Frankenweenie and Edward Scissorhands, to name just two iconic characters conjured by one of the most curious movie directors in contemporary cinema.

In his introduction, Nathan writes that, partly, the endeavour of the book is to describe the advent of the adjective Burtonesque. “If you use the word Burtonesque any film fan will know exactly what you are saying.”

Undeniably, there is a distinctive look to Tim Burton’s films, and like all great cineasts, image takes primary over narrative. Ian Nathan has had the great good sense of papering this book with images, and let his subject do the heavy lifting, sometimes in his own words, sometimes by his colleagues and collaborators. Continue reading ‘TIM BURTON: THE ICONIC FILM MAKER AND HIS WORK’ BY IAN NATHAN

SEX AND DEATH STORIES : SOME NOT SO LIGHT HOLIDAY READING

How we come in, how we go out, sex and death; these are the governing drives, our two greatest themes. Humid embrace, cold sweat.

In the vigour to mortis anthology, SEX & DEATH, edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs, twenty splendid stories that excoriate and excruciate the extremes of the exquisite remind us of what we already know – intuitive muscle memory – but can’t quite reconcile; the cognitive dissonance of living and dying and the attempts at loving in between. Continue reading SEX AND DEATH STORIES : SOME NOT SO LIGHT HOLIDAY READING

PETER CORRIS FAREWELLS CLIFF HARDY WITH ‘WIN, LOSE OR DRAW’

Peter Corris’ latest Cliff Hardy, WIN, LOSE OR DRAW is the last Cliff Hardy.

This amounts to a win, lose and draw situation for the legion of Cliff Hardy fans.

It’s a win because it’s a neat, clean, shaved and sober story, and Corris doesn’t care who knows it. Like Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, WIN, LOSE OR DRAW begins with Cliff Hardy being hired by a lucre lousy dad, Gerard Fonteyn, to investigate the disappearance of his daughter, Juliana, a statuesque fourteen year old vanished from their Vaucluse waterfront last December. Continue reading PETER CORRIS FAREWELLS CLIFF HARDY WITH ‘WIN, LOSE OR DRAW’

BRYAN CRANSTON’S MEMOIR : ‘A LIFE IN PARTS’

Part memoir, part acting manual, Bryan Cranston’s A LIFE IN PARTS is a six decade odyssey through a life that has seen him play many parts on the great stage of life.

Seemingly, Cranston had little chance of avoiding being bitten by the acting bug as, “My parents met like most people do; in an acting class in Hollywood.”, but a seminal event in his childhood almost robbed us of this thrilling thespian, a mortification during a school play.

Saying so long to to the stage, Cranston embarked on a series of employment adventures that included farmhand, beast feeder, house painter, security guard and marriage celebrant. He also embarked on a motorcycle saga with his brother Ed.
“With the Steppenwolf road anthem ‘Born to be Wild’ playing in our heads, we blasted out of California on motorcycles for parts unknown. Duration unknown. Everything was unknown.” Continue reading BRYAN CRANSTON’S MEMOIR : ‘A LIFE IN PARTS’

CATHERINE TRUMAN: TOUCHING DISTANCE

Featured image – Fish ForThe Fight (1993) by Catherine Truman.

‘Catherine Truman is medium agnostic. Although she is enduringly fond of intricately carving English lime wood, her oeuvre extends into contemporary jewellery, objects, performance, choreography, public sculpture, installation, photography & moving image. She is a holistic maker – acutely aware of her process, while continually evolving her inquiry. Truman’s curiosity takes her & her makings into the anatomically unfamiliar – probing thresholds of human ‘being’.’

Melinda Rackham 2015.

Treat yourself – grab this stunning book , beautifully brought to us by Wakefield Press . This publication is a visual feast, drawing on Rackham’s generous conversations with Truman and her extensive research into her archives, photographs, process documentation, journals, hard-drives and drawings. The book has been illustrated with ravishing, enticing images, predominantly by Grant Hancock. ( This book should receive awards for the photos alone, and Rackham’s insightful writing is thoughtful, clear and concise).

This publication made me want to book a plane trip to Adelaide  straight away and run to the Gray Street Workshop.

Catherine Truman is an established contemporary jeweller and object-maker whose works blur the disciplines of art and science. She is co-founder and current partner of the Gray Street Workshop – an internationally renowned artist-run workshop established in 1985 in Adelaide, South Australia, where she currently works and lives. Continue reading CATHERINE TRUMAN: TOUCHING DISTANCE

CELEBRITIES SHARE THEIR STORIES OF THE HORROR OF BULLYING

The statistics are alarming; a note from the editor of Bully For Them – Fiona Scott-Norman who also suffered torment at school that, ‘’one in four students is affected by bullying.’’

At school it really is a case of survival of the fittest Bullying can break one’s spirit and leave one scarred for life. It might take years for the damage to one’s self esteem to be reversed. Bullying can cause a severe case of loneliness and lead to depression. It can be hard to forgive them for the anguish that they’ve caused. Many people have difficult home lives but that doesn’t mean they become bullies.

A common thread of thought amongst the twenty two celebrities who talk about their harrowing experiences is that having a sense of humour helped them. Comedian Judith Lucy, Paralympian swimmer Sam Bramham and journalist Wendy Harmer in particular referred to this. Continue reading CELEBRITIES SHARE THEIR STORIES OF THE HORROR OF BULLYING

WAVERLEY LIBRARY LITERARY DOUBLE HEADER

Eastern Sydney’s very active Waverley Library recently featured an impressive double header.

Upstairs, in the theatrette, Jennifer H Crane spoke about her book Our Lady Of The Fence Post.

In June 2003 an  apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared at  the headland south of Coogee Beach. No fewer than three academic papers have delved into the apparition. Two of them found a link between the sighting of the Virgin Mary and the death of a number of local rugby players at the Sari Club in Bali which was bombed in October 2002. Unfortunately, shortly after the sighting, the fence at Dolphin’s Reserve was  vandalised and the apparition was no more. Continue reading WAVERLEY LIBRARY LITERARY DOUBLE HEADER

STANLEY SPENCER – A TWENTIETH CENTURY BRITISH MASTER

 

Exquisitely, beautifully illustrated this is a large coffee table book, a fascinating visual feast . It is linked in with the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in Australia which has just finished at Carrick Hill in Adelaide .It follows the story of Stanley Spencer’s various muses and the subjects that made him one of the greatest forces in British painting.

Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) is regarded as one of Britain’s most significant twentieth-century painters. Shortly after studying at the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River Thames where he was born and spent much of his life. Continue reading STANLEY SPENCER – A TWENTIETH CENTURY BRITISH MASTER

IAN FLEMING : THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TYPEWRITER

Pay attention, 007!  Bloomsbury have published your creator’s letters.

Letters? You must be joking.

I never joke about his work, 007.

Emails, texts, tweets?

No, 007, letters, fully fledged, beautifully written correspondence with publishers, proof readers, and his public, with you as the principle subject.

I’m flattered. What’s it called?

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TYPEWRITER. It contains a selection of letters that charts the progress of his literary career from a January holiday in Jamaica to a September memorial service in London, spanning a dozen years.

This opusculum, to use one of Fleming’s favourite words, has been arranged in seventeen chapters covering your published case files.

Opusculum? Sounds like a SPECTRE torture chamber.

It actually means a small or minor literary work. Each of these letters is indeed a literary work, full of candour, style, and flourish that has sustained his reputation and popularity.

Seventeen chapters you say? That’s three too many. Fleming only published fourteen volumes of James Bond adventures. Continue reading IAN FLEMING : THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TYPEWRITER

MICHAEL CONNELLY : THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE

Evocative of Raymond Chandler in title THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, Michael Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch title also channels Chandler in tone with a per fine ounce of a dotty, near dead, industrialist’s issue with his issue.

THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE is a two tiered intriguer that has Harry Bosch working two cases, one officially sanctioned by the San Fernando Police Department involving a serial rapist dubbed The Screen Cutter, the other a private investigation for ailing aviation billionaire, Whitney Vance.

In a prologue – that’s book talk for a pre title sequence – a US Army helicopter made by the Vance company is shot down over Vietnam half a century ago. That short sequence resonates throughout the novel, until it neatly dovetails into the book’s end. Continue reading MICHAEL CONNELLY : THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE

RICHARD MAUROVIC : SHAPING LIFE

This monograph, featuring over 120 of his artworks, traces the remarkable career of the painter Richard Maurovic. A large, lavishly illustrated enticing ‘coffee table ‘ book it is stunning, visually arresting and delicately draws the reader in.

It is twenty years since Richard Maurovic’s first solo exhibition in 1996. His 2016 exhibition of old and new works at the Hill Smith Gallery, Pirie Street, Adelaide, and the publication of this book celebrate his considerable achievements.

Often described as a ‘’super realist ‘” influenced by Jeffrey Smart, Richard Maurovic has in fact drawn on a wide range of artistic influences from Piero della Francesca to the American Precisionists painters, particularly Edward Hopper, and the Australian Modernists.

Human activity and its impact on the shaping of both rural and urban environments are of great concern to Maurovic .The visual geometric appeal of his subject matter, and explorations of colours, shapes, detail and patterns delight with his ‘bold structural compositions, saturated planes of colour and crisply rendered forms. Physically compromised by an accident in his early twenties, now wheelchair bound , Maurovic combines his interests and distinctive technique with extraordinary ingenuity in the pursuit of his very particular vision.

Richard Maurovic is an artist who, while summoning memories and associations of his beloved Adelaide and South Australian countryside, also makes statements of concern regarding the ubiquitous nature of modern landscape  design and consumerism, and in doing so connects us across both interstate and international boundaries ( ie street signs, views at airports).

The book is divided into several chapters , looking at Maurovic’s early life and then various aspects of his work – how he is fascinated by industry , transport and technology, portraits, still life works, landscapes and so on and also provides a chapter looking towards the future.

One section I particularly liked is the amazing Portraits .There are a couple of marvellous self portraits, one of Maurovic as a glamourous Napoleon, the other as a Doge of Venice ( echoing Carpaccio ).

The portrait of Suzanne Twelftree with its echoes of Frida Kahlo’s work is striking and challenging. There is also the striking Self Portrait in Wheelchair, with its unusual angles and viewpoint, revealing the restrictions he faces, and leading on to the whole discourse on artists and disability.

In the ‘People’ section paintings range from dizzying Brooklyn Bridge workers to that of a busy chef and also a homage to Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe in the picture Echelon Menwith Hill featuring a strange golf ball like clouds with the military base in the background.

A solitary bather at Bondi poses on the steps and we also see the posh QVB tea rooms and the elegant Adelaide Club dining room contrasted with the plastic dreariness of the State Library Café in Adelaide ( look! It’s Jeffrey Smart! )

The wonderful still lifes are also arresting close ups of Smarties or the stripey Chocolate Biscuit Dreaming for example ( not forgetting the donuts , Frog cakes and other wonderful textured foods that make you just hungry looking at them ) in their precisely observed and controlled detail. It also make one appreciate the finely detailed design and texture.

The Shaved Pigs Head and Lamb Rump paintings are rather disturbing and unsettling.

The landscapes are also glorious ranging from Adelaide to London  to Venice and elsewhere. There is an amazing sense of rushing speed with the works detailing planes, trains and trucks zooming everywhere.

At the back of the monograph there is a list of selected awards and exhibitions Maurovic has won /participated in. There is also a listing of all the works by Maurovic featured in the book and as well as a separate listing of the works by other artists included which are also acknowledged.

This monograph has been co-authored by Jennifer Palmer and Maggie Watson.

Jennifer Palmer is a retired broadcaster with ABC Radio National where she was responsible for the Social History Unit and other feature programs. She has also been a book reviewer and art reviewer for national newspapers, an interviewer for oral history collections and has published short stories.

Maggie Watson is an Art History Graduate of the University of Adelaide and holds a Masters in Fine and Decorative Art from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She worked in the Modern British Art department of Christies’s London before returning to Australia. As an art consultant she has written catalogue essays for several Australian artists, including Richard Maurovic’s Saatchi exhibition in 2014.

Category Arts, Architecture and Design
Format Jacketed hardback
Size 260 x 250 mm
ISBN 9781743054468
Extent 152 pages

http://www.wakefieldpress.com.au/product.php?productid=1321

 

 

FRANZ KEMPF : ASPECTS OF A JOURNEY 1947- 2016

franz-kempf-book-cover

Celebrating Kempf’s 90th birthday, FRANZ KEMPF : ASPECTS OF A JOURNEY is the catalogue of the exhibition that was recently on show at the State Library of South Australia.

Melbourne born Kempf studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School and in Austria and Italy. While in the UK he worked as a film designer with Richard Macdonald and was associated with Peter Blake, Joe Tilson, Ceri Richards and Keith Vaughan.

From 1973 to 1981 Kempf was Senior Lecturer in printmaking at the University of South Australia and he has been a Guest Lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, the University of London, the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland; Gloucester College of Art, United Kingdom and has participated in over 90 one man invitation exhibitions in America, China , Germany, Israel and Poland.

In 1964 Kempf was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society UK and in December 2002 he was awarded The Member of the Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the Arts. In 2006 he was the subject of a documentary film. Continue reading FRANZ KEMPF : ASPECTS OF A JOURNEY 1947- 2016

BOOK SIGNING : MICHAEL CLARKE : ‘MY STORY’

Australian cricket great Michael Clarke was on hand last Wednesday at the Dymocks city store to sign copies of his newly published autobiography MY STORY. 

Clarke was the greatest batsman of his generation and, as captain, possessed the sharpest tactical mind in the game.

Bursting onto the scene in 2004 with a Test century on debut, Michael Clarke was Australian cricket’s golden boy. And the batting prodigy they nicknamed ‘Pup’ certainly fulfilled his destiny in a stellar 11-year international career of 115 Tests, 8643 runs and 28 centuries. Continue reading BOOK SIGNING : MICHAEL CLARKE : ‘MY STORY’

BOOK LAUNCH : MARK TEDESCHI’S ‘MURDER AT MYALL CREEK’

Whether Mark Tedeschi, AM, QC, the State’s Senior Crown Prosecutor, intended this or not, he has written a trilogy of three legal cases each from a different point of view. In EUGENIA, the central subject, Eugenia Falleni, is a murderer, though some simplicity is elicited, KIDNAPPED whose main subject is Graeme Thorne, the kidnap victim, and now his latest  book MURDER AT MYALL CREEK where a courageous colonial Attorney General and the legal system itself is put on trial.

In 1838, 11 convicts and former convicts were put on trial for the brutal murder of 28  indigenous men, women and children at Myall Creek in  Northern New South Wales. Controversial for the colonial era this was the first time Europeans were charged with the murder of indigenous people who were ranked lower than sheep and cattle in the eyes of the law. It would become one of the most serious trials of mass murder in Australia’s history. Continue reading BOOK LAUNCH : MARK TEDESCHI’S ‘MURDER AT MYALL CREEK’

FIVE GO ON A STRATEGY AWAY DAY

five-go

famous-fiveTry to fathom the Famous Five in adulthood, old grist to the Millennial mill of clap trap commerce as they embark on their modern adventure, FIVE GO ON A STRATEGY AWAY DAY.

On securing a new job with large multinational corporation called Lupiter Funckstein, Julian realized his team was severely understaffed and promptly hired his childhood pals Anne, Dick and George. Ripping.

The harmony of their working relationship is threatened when they are required to attend a Strategy Away Day with all the manufactured tensions and stress of hot housed leadership games and fatuous team building exercises intended to “incentivise”, build “cohesiveness”, and create “outcomes”. Continue reading FIVE GO ON A STRATEGY AWAY DAY

WORD HUNTERS TOP SECRET FILES

 

word-hunters

Educational fun – for some, that’s an oxymoron. So too word play. WORD HUNTERS TOP SECRET FILES turns an oxymoron into a tautology.

Nick Earls and Terry Whidborne’s book is a towering word trade centre, a bazaar for the bizarre origins of words, designed for young readers as a companion to the three fiction titles in the Word Hunter series.

A little like a young readers version of The Inky Fool, Mark Forsyth’s The Etymologicon, WORD HUNTERS TOP SECRET FILES is a fascinating foray into word facts and the phraseology and vernacular that evolves from various forms and fields of human endeavour. Continue reading WORD HUNTERS TOP SECRET FILES

CAT IN AN ALPHABET ENDGAME BY CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS

carole-nelson-douglas-1

This is the latest – and for the moment the last – of the marvellous series of Midnight Louie/Temple Barr feline detective novels that have wound their way from A to Z. There is as much fun as ever in this the 28th book in the series.

Multi-genre novelist Carole Nelson Douglas is the writer of of two bestselling series: the contemporary Midnight Louie feline PI mysteries, and the Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, noir urban fantasies set in 2013.

Douglas has won more than thirty writing awards, including RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Awards for Mystery and Versatility. Her NYT Notable Book of the Year, Good Night, Mr. Holmes, launched a series following the adventures of the first Sherlockian woman protagonist, Irene Adler. Continue reading CAT IN AN ALPHABET ENDGAME BY CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS

CADEL EVANS : THE ART OF CYCLING

The greatest Australian cyclist of all time Cadel Evans attended a book signing event at Dymocks Sydney city store on 15th November.

Famous in the sport for his meticulous preparation and an athlete who prided himself on his ability to ‘leave it all on the road’, Evans writes about the triumphs, the frustrations, the training, the preparation, the psychology of the sport, his contemporaries, the legends, and his enduring love of the beauty of cycling. Continue reading CADEL EVANS : THE ART OF CYCLING

ZOE BINGLEY- PULLIN’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH FOOD CONTINUES

A portion of Dymocks lost its persona as a bookstore when it became a kitchen for this television celebrity cook. Two hot plates and an array of spices were set up to facilitate Ms Pulley’s demonstration in the making of a delicious soup and condiment flavoured chicken thighs.

There was a large crowd eager to taste the results of her cooking demonstration.

Its purpose was to launch her new cookbook FALLING IN LOVE WITH FOOD. With each signed copy Ms Pulley presented the purchaser with a free bottle of extra virgin oil in order to facilitate her recipes.

Also present to view the launch was her proud father and stepmother.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).