Marvellous Finale

It’s the final edition of Curious, Mysterious, Marvellous, Electrical today – the newsletter I’ve used to capture stories and secret histories from Australasia and beyond over the last two years.

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We started out by walking the coasts near Lisbon back in January 2016 and we finish the journey more or less where we began, exploring the history of one of Portugal’s most illustrious artistic families.

In the intervening years, highlights included:

And that’s not even including the drug counsellors, the Nazi hunting comedians, the dancer turned paramedic, the time travelling arts worker, or the Argentinian sisters running a horror-themed cake shop out on the tropic of Capricorn

…or the pastry.

Check out the complete Marvellous, Electrical on Google Maps.

Marvellous, Electrical: Distant Lands Are Not So Far Away

Pop stars at the fall of Communism. A man who builds imaginary tools to solve problems that never were. A mining engineer who made a ten-tonne truck disappear through a metre-wide tunnel.

Approaching the end of the year and the final instalments of Marvellous, Electrical, we’re joined by two humble figures with secret artistic careers.

Andy MacDonald, factory supervisor at Queensland’s Cobb + Co Museum, recounts a life spanning mining, sculpture, stage design, and jet fighter maintenance in Part 1 of The Fitter And The Handyman.

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Then Alf Klimek, doing odd jobs and broadband installation in Melbourne, reveals an unexpected career as a Berlin-based Cold War pop star.

You can also see two years’ back catalogue of Marvellous, Electrical over at the newsletter’s Google Maps page. Distant lands are not so far away…

Marvellous, Electrical: Lusophone

We’re revisiting two previous instalments of Marvellous, Electrical in a new form this month.

My partner Marta Cabral reads “The Dough“, about Brisbane’s baker of Portuguese pastries, in a bilingual version here:

Portuguese speakers can also enjoy Marta reading “Foolaru”, my Australia Day piece from 2017, here:

Marvellous, Electrical is a two-year project in the form of an email newsletter from across Queensland, Australia and beyond.

You can subscribe to the newsletter here and enjoy the full archive at this link.

Marvellous, Electrical: The Body Artist

June’s Marvellous, Electrical takes us from Salford to the Brisbane suburbs via wrestling, a burglary at LS Lowry’s house, body bequests, and other wayward adventures.

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Read Marvellous, Electrical: The Body Artist here.

Marvellous, Electrical feat. @drjessc – Couldn’t Escape If I Wanted To

“The world comes together every four years to compete in the soccer World Cup and the Olympics, but there are very few global events that celebrate the cultural as spectacle. We could argue for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but their budget for wind machines and holograms is notably lacklustre.”

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Eurovision scholar Jess Carniel talks wind machines, geopolitics, and European identity while we get to the bottom of Brisbane’s moonshine industry in the latest instalment of Marvellous, Electrical.

Marvellous, Electrical returns

My newsletter Marvellous, Electrical is back, after a brief pause to get sorted with my next job.

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In this instalment, we’re joined by a quiet triathlete who was once the highest ranked openly gay civilian in Australia’s Defence Intelligence Organisation.

From beer-fuelled military ventures to haunted television shows and the strange world of endurance sport, check out Marvellous, Electrical: The Artists’ Rifles here.

Marvellous, Electrical returns

My newsletter Marvellous, Electrical kicks off its second season this weekend.

Last year, the newsletter took us from the fairytale coasts of Portugal to an ibis-themed burlesque show; we met bakers and boxers and bassists and acrobats, spent time with cleaners and inner-city drug counsellors, and even investigated a family history of murder.

In 2017, Marvellous, Electrical will appear once a month so I can fit in a few more projects on the side.

Sign up for Marvellous, Electrical here.

Marvellous, Electrical: Vienna in Canberra

What values have migrants brought to Australia over the years? How have they changed the nation’s culture? Have they broken laws in an attempt to impose foreign ways of life on the population?

Letter to Gus Petersilka from Canberra government

Gus Petersilka of Canberra did. By putting out tables and chairs on the sidewalks of Australia’s capital, he forced the uptight city government to acknowledge, accept, and ultimately embrace convivial traditions of outdoor dining.

Gus' Cafe, abandoned in Canberra CBD, 2016

Now Gus’ Cafe is gone.

Read its story at Marvellous, Electrical.