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.

Marvellous, Electrical: …and, kill Hitler!

I visited South Australia last week, so of course I had to say hi to the Adelaide-based creators of Danger 5, one of the most unusual and provocative Aussie TV shows of all time.

The action comedy pits five Allied agents against the forces of Nazism in a warped version of World War II incorporating mind-controlled dinosaurs, a seagull-headed military officer, and the lost city of Atlantis.

In its second season, the show takes a dark and dramatic turn, becoming a serialised revenge epic set in a strange version of the 1980s, ripped from the shelves of a VHS rental store.

The whole project is the brainchild of filmmakers Dario Russo and David Ashby. I talked with them about their surreal brand of action adventure, the need to laugh at Hitler, cosmopolitanism, fascism, and the glorious world of B-movie pulp.

Read Marvellous, Electrical: …and, kill Hitler! here.

Marvellous, Electrical: Play Both

“I want to see technology used for good, but I’m fascinated by the possibilities for destruction!”

Joel Edmondson, CEO of Queensland’s QMusic network talks digital technology, music beyond entertainment, mysterious orchestras in the middle of the ocean, and the “nefarious, sulphuric beginning of life” in this week’s Marvellous, Electrical.

David Cronenberg's VIDEODROME

Read “Play Both” here.

Marvellous, Electrical: Future Sea Punks

This week’s Marvellous, Electrical explores the Brisbane suburb of West End and its annual Kurilpa Derby, street art, social justice, censorship, and the ways communities get inside your head – for good and ill.

b51f9a26-c993-4b3c-99ca-34e02ff0cf38

Read Marvellous, Electrical: Future Sea Punks here.

Marvellous, Electrical and the Black Prince

Sidewalk in the Brisbane suburbs

What does a man have to do to be accepted as a true Australian?

We took a walk through the suburbs to Brisbane’s Toowong Cemetery, exploring the legacy of the 19th century champion boxer – and adopted Aussie – Peter Jackson.

Read more at Marvellous, Electrical: Sweet Science.

Marvellous, Electrical: Forms of Myth

This week, in Marvellous, Electrical: storytelling, town planning, sculpture, and the smell of first rain on dry stone.

Read ‘Forms of Myth’ here.

Marvellous, Electrical: This Means War

What’s it like to cook and clean for the soldiers and hospital patients of Brisbane?

How do you cope with split shifts on the city’s south side when you live in a northern suburb?

Kit inspection at Enoggera Barracks, 1915
Enoggera Barracks, Queensland

There’s evil eyes, paperclip pranks, and butter on the windows in Marvellous, Electrical: This Means War.

 

Marvellous, Electrical: Eustress

“Dance, whatever you say, it’s mostly all about me: its own kind of hedonism. You look in the mirror and judge yourself. You entertain the audience, maybe you inspire one or two kids who’d like to be dancers themselves, but that’s about it. It can be overwhelming to focus on yourself that way.”

“What I do now, I don’t stop people getting sick, I don’t fix every problem, but at least I know I’ve helped.”

Queensland ambulance

A classic Queensland amublance. Image from Queensland State Archives.

This week’s Marvellous, Electrical tells the story of a top-flight contemporary dancer turned Brisbane paramedic.

Read Curious, Mysterious, Marvellous, Electrical: Eustress here.