So Long, Sisto

November 30, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, CRIME, Ulalume |

Melbourne, November 2018 It might be the first time a restaurateur got a State Funeral, but we won’t fuss because Sisto Malaspina, barista and bartender of Pellegrinis Bar, was a Bourke Street institution, who died needlessly after trying to render assistance to man who appeared to have been injured in a car wreck. The man, 30-year-old Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, was an Islamo-nut who had deliberately wrecked the car and ignited gas bottles loaded in the back, after which he set about the street on foot with a knife.  He stabbed Sisto to death, knifed two others, and then danced about…

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Carl Barron – “Drinking With a Fork”

October 31, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Entertainment Centre, 30 October 2018 A Queensland doppelganger for Paul Kelly, stand-up Carl Barron rapidly (almost obsessive-compulsively) circled the stage at a packed Ent. Cent last night, and his act went over a treat.  We might have missed a reference to his titular joke, ‘Drinking with a fork,’ but then, The Varnished Culture was locked-out for 7 minutes with several other unfortunates, having queued at length for some overpriced Bundy-and-Coke (to fire-up for the Man from Longreach’s act) – thanks, Entertainment Centre!  Nevertheless, Barron was true to form, and stayed mainly on script, with his usual array of observational and…

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Our Best (& Worst) Australian Films

October 29, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Classic Film, FILM |

"The Devil's Playground"

THE BEST DOZEN: OUR LIST Bliss (1985) (Directed by Ray Lawrence) [“After Harry Joy dropped dead… his life was never the same again.” Hell is real! Ray Lawrence creates a totally original rendering of the Peter Carey novel, as good as his next film (see below) is not, with evocative and surreal touches and a great turn by Barry Otto as fallen adman Harry Joy.] The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) (Directed by Peter Weir) [It gives “Mo-Town” a whole new meaning. No-one got this when it came out, a jet-black comedy of mythic, small-town, country-dark Australia.] The Castle (1997) (Directed by…

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More Hanging Than Picnic

October 7, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

“Picnic at Hanging Rock” – the Theatrical Adaptation (Directed by Geoff Brittain) Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 6 October 2018 If you don’t know the story, you’ve been living on Mars.  Young ladies from Appleyard College set off with some of their teachers to picnic at Hanging Rock.  It’s a warm day; the students have been forbidden any ‘tomboy foolishness’ by exploring the Rock; what could go wrong? This saga of Joan Lindsay’s has galvanised generations of readers and film-goers – such has been the hype over the years that people have started to regard the mystery as True Crime.  And there…

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The Football Solution

By George Megalogenis (2018) First, one disclamatory reason for liking this book. At a pub on the south side of Adelaide on AFL Grand Final day, 2017, I was the sole Richmond supporter (wearing my Glenelg Tigers scarf and barracking for my 2nd team) which earned plenty of dirty looks.  Outside a restaurant in town after the match, I caught the eye of an Adelaide Crows fan, bedecked in all the gear, packing his sullen family into a people-mover.  Without a trace of sarcasm (because I’ve seen a few losing Grand Finals, and you don’t rub it in in such…

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