“I lost my sleep and this is the greatest tragedy tha tcan befall someone. It is much worse than sitting in prison. I went out of the house at about midnight or later and roamed through the alleys. And there were only a few lunatics and me, all alone in the entire city, in which absolute silence reigned. Everything that I thought in consequence and later composed was ‘born’ during those nights. Because I could not sleep at night and roamed about, I was naturally useless during the day and could therefore practice no profession.”
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COVER: Vali Myers photographed by Norman Ikin at age eighteen (c1949) just before she left Australia for Paris
FEATURE STORY - OPIUMThe earliest reference to opium growth and use is in 3,400 B.C. when the opium poppy was cultivated in lower Mesopotamia (Southwest Asia).The Sumerians referred to it as Hul Gil, the “joy plant.” The Sumerians soon passed it on to the Assyrians, who in turn passed it on to the Egyptians. As people learned of the power of opium, demand for it increased. Many countries began to grow and process opium to expand its availability and to decrease its cost. Its cultivation spread along the Silk Road, from the Mediterranean through Asia and finally to China where it was the catalyst for the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s.
In the ancient mythologies, Greek and Roman, the early existence and use of the Poppy have abundant attestation. Cybele, mother of the gods, is represented on the old monuments as wearing a wreath of poppies, a symbol of fecundity(Jacques).The Romans accounted the plant a gift of Demeter or Ceres, the goddess of corn, and she is described as bearing a sceptre in one hand, and in the other the symbolic poppy capsule. Homer, earlier than any of the rest, names the poppy among the familiar embellishments of the garden. Helen, on the occasion of a nuptial banquet in the halls of Menelaus is said to have amalgamated an elixir for the use of her company a cordial of some sort—
«Φαρμακον / Νηπενθες, τ’αχον τεκαων επιληθον ἁπαν,»
A mirth-inspiring bowl, /To clear the clouded front of wrinkled care / And drythe tearful sluices of despair—”
FEATURE STORY - ATHENS 1944: BRITAIN’S DIRTY SECRET
PRIME MINISTER WINSTON CHURCHILL TO GENERAL SCOBIE (ATHENS) 5 DEC. 1944You are responsible for maintaining order in Athens and for neutralizing or destroying all EAM-ELAS [National Liberation Front—Greek People’s Liberation Army] bands approaching the city. You may make any regulations you like for the strict control of the streets or for the rounding up of any number of truculent persons… It would be well of course if your command were reinforced by the authority of some Greek Government… Do not, however, hesitate to act as if you were in a conquered city where a local rebellion is in progress… We have to hold and dominate Athens. It would be a great thing for you to succeed in this without bloodshed if possible, but also with bloodshed if necessary.
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FEATURE STORY - IVAN AND THE DOGSA small boy lives with his mother and abusive stepfather in a Moscow tenement. It is a time of economic collapse and the rise of gangster capitalism. Drug use and alcoholism are rampant and civil society seems to be collapsing. The cost of surviving is high. So, unnecessary luxuries—such as pet dogs—are discarded. They live in packs on the edges of cities. Children are also discarded, and the four year old Ivan Mishukov decides to leave his intolerable home environment voluntarily. Ivan spent two years living on the city streets where he was adopted by a pack of wild dogs in Yeltsin era Russia. “So I bark, with difficulty at first and then with a loud convincing sound. It is the most extraordinary sound. I repeat this bark—becoming like a dog.”
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FEATURE STORY - THE ABSURD LIFE OF FÉLIX NADAR, FRENCH PORTRAITIST...In his mid-thirties, Nadar was already a notorious Paris bohemian and a celebrated caricaturist when he abruptly emerged as the world’s ﬁrst great portrait photographer.
“What can [not] be learned … is the moral intelligence of your subject; it’s the swift tact that puts you in communion with the model, makes you size him up, grasp his habits and ideas in accordance with his character, and allows you to render, not an indifferent plastic reproduction that could be made by the lowliest laboratory worker, commonplace and accidental, but the resemblance that is most familiar and most favorable, the intimate resemblance. It’s the psychological side of photography—the word doesn’t seem overly ambitious to me.” — Nadar
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FEATURE STORY - JAMES FRANCIS ‘FRANK’ HURLEYFrank Hurley could probably be called an ‘extreme’ photographer nowadays. He went to extremes of environment and danger to obtain his famous images.
In 1914 Hurley joined the ill-fated expedition of the British explorer Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica. Their ship, Endurance,became stuck in the ice and was eventually crushed, leading to some of Hurley’s most striking photographs.
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FEATURE STORY - RICHARD NEVILLE AND THE TRIALS OF OZBy Louise Ferrier and Peter Shenstone
MR MORTIMER ROSE AT 2:55 PM ON WEDNESDAY 23 JUNE 1971 IN COURT NUMBER TWOOF THE CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURTS AT THE OLD BAILEY IN THE CITY OF LONDON
“Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury,” he began. Pointing to two cardboard boxes containing 400 copies of the satirical, underground magazine, OZ No. 28–School Kids Issue, he went on: “I am Sure you are all very curious to discover what it is that has led us all here, people from various parts of London and various walks of life, to consider how dangerous or explosive may be those bits of paper over there in those little sugar baskets. In my view, this is a very, very important case. Because it is this case, and cases such as these, which stand at the cross-roads of our liberty, at the boundaries of our freedom to think and say and draw and write what we please.” —From The Trials of OZ by Tony Palmer
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FEATURE STORY - THE VAGABOND PAPERSINTRODUCTION BY MICHAEL CANNON
A respectable solicitor should not have bred such a son. Joseph Green James, sitting in his cosy solicitor’s office at Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, part of the mortar in the pedestal upholding the majesty and hypocrisy of the English law, had to enjoin his clerks to fear God and balance the ledgers, while his own son, his damnable son, was wandering around the countryside dressed in rags, preferring the company of vagrants and beggars to the comforts of his own home. What was to become of the boy, John Stanley James, born 15 November 1843, already a vagabond at the age of twelve? He would run, and keep on running, and forsake his respectable family, and fabricate a romantic new background for himself, and finish his life in Australia as the brilliant, ever-restless writer concealed under the pseudonym of ‘the Vagabond’. Wherever he went, James would carry with him the burden of a sensitive, proud nature, deeply affronted but not quite overcome by the sanctimonious virtues of his home and the more rugged virtues of the English boarding-school system.
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FEATURE STORY - How Big Oil Conquered The WorldBy James Corbett
The story, properly told, begins somewhere unexpected. Not in Pennsylvania with the first commercial drilling operation and the first oil boom, but in the rural backwoods of early 19th century New York state. And it doesn’t start with crude oil or its derivatives, but a different product altogether: snake oil. “Dr. Bill Livingston, Celebrated Cancer Specialist” was the very image of the traveling snake oil salesman. He was neither a doctor, nor a cancer specialist; his real name was not even Livingston. … He went by “Big Bill”. Others, less generously, called him “Devil Bill”. But his real name was William Avery Rockefeller, and it was his son, John D. Rockefeller, who would go on to found the Standard Oil monopoly and become the world’s first billionaire.
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FEATURE STORY:DEATH OR LIBERTYStanding trial before the High Court of Scotland in Edinburgh, 30 August 1793, on charges of sedition a twenty-eight-year-old lawyer named Thomas Muir declared: ‘WHEN THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE PIKE: REMEMBERING THE EMPIRE’S MARTYRS TO FREE SPEECH’ Extracted from Death or Liberty: Rebels and radicals transported to Australia 1788–1868 by Tony Moore, 2010 The enemies of Reform have scrutinised, in a manner … unexampled in Scotland, every action I have performed—every word I may have uttered—Of crimes most foul and horrible, I have been accused— Of attempting to rear the standard of civil war, and to plunge this land in blood. ‘I may tell you that we think a deal more of Marcus Clarke in our country than I am sorry to think you do here.’ - Mark Twain, 1895
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FEATURE STORY: MARCUS CLARKEWhen Australians now hear the name Marcus Clarke they might--at a pinch--recall that he wrote For the Term of His Natural Life, the convict saga that became an international bestseller in the nineteenth century. Many who have admired the book’s psychological insights and gothic darkness imagine it to be the work of a worthy older Victorian gentleman. In fact Clarke was in his 20s when he wrote the classic, a young iconoclast whose fast life as a celebrity columnist of Melbourne’s urban comedy came to an abrupt end in 1881 when he was only 35. The book’s provenance was far from reverent, first serialised in a magazine, with Clarke’s editor locking him in an office with a bottle of whisky to force the last chapters out of the wayward author. Marcus Clarke was young, hip and dangerous to know, a self-confessed Goth and a punk in the age of steam, an iconoclast not an icon. With an ironic Wildean wit, he ate, drank, and scandalised his way about Melbourne in the 1860s and 70s, setting up a string of underground literary clubs, outraging respectable society and keeping one step ahead of the creditors. Along the way Clarke invented a new Australian character to challenge the bushman -- the urban bohemian writer. “In this society I was progressing rapidly to destruction, then an event occurred which rudely saved me. My father died suddenly, in London, and, to the astonishment of the world, left—nothing, [...] My friends of the smoking- room and the supper-table philosophised on Monday, cashed my IOU’s on Tuesday, were satirical on Wednesday, and ‘cut’ me on Thursday.” ‘I may tell you that we think a deal more of Marcus Clarke in our country than I am sorry to think you do here.’ - Mark Twain, 1895
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FEATURE STORY: THE GREAT WAR“‘Dear auntie, this leaves me in the pink. We are at present wading in blood up to our necks. Send me fags and a life-belt. This war is a bugger. Love and kisses.’”
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FEATURE STORY: GREED, THEFT AND BLOODY MURDER!In the context of an attempt to slap our beloved nation in the face with the shame it deserves for its past and present treatment of the Indigenous population of this country we herein will demonstrate the appalling slaughter visited upon a fairly gentle and friendly people. We say ‘fairly gentle’ because it must be noted that some of the social practices of the pre-settlement aborigines was, to say the least, ungentle. Robert Lyon – Speech at a public meeting in Guildford, June 1833. “You are the aggressors…..They did not go to the British isles to make war upon you; but you came from the British isles to make war upon them. You are the invaders of their country – ye destroy the natural productions of the soil on which they live – ye devour their fish and their game – and ye drive them from the abodes of their ancestors… They may stand to be slaughtered; but they must not throw a spear in their own defence, or attempt to bring their enemies to a sense of justice by the only means in their power – that of returning like for like. If they do – if they dare to be guilty of an act which in other nations would be eulogized as the noblest of a patriot’s deeds – they are outlawed; a reward is set upon their heads; and they are ordered to be shot, as if they were so many mad dogs! If ye have any feelings of compunction, before the die be cast, let the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia live. Ye have taken from them all they had on earth. Be content with this, and do not add to the crime of plundering them that of taking their lives.”
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FEATURE STORY: FROM TEHRAN TO AUSTRALIAThe amazing story of the man who calls himself ‘Slash’, and his account of fleeing Iran - a journey that spanned over a decade. Born in Tehran ‘Slash’ resisted the influence of a heavily authoritative culture from an early age. And Iran was/is most certainly a very religious, political and morally strict environment for any headstrong boy to grow up in. Forget about the freedoms we here in Oz take for granted. “I go special place to try and fix my problem with special intelligence people, very scary place, with big men with beards.”
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FEATURE STORY: Reginald Robert Etherington‘Star Wars and Australia’s Secret Past’. The revelation that Australia was once at the forefront of the optics industry, and led the world in optical skills which made weapons like the intercontinental ballistic missiles, space satellites, ‘smart’ bombs and the ultimate American dream of a Star Wars style missile shield possible. This little known story has emerged from the dusty papers of Reg Etherington’s study. It is a story of secrecy, Cold War rivalry and the loss of a potentially advanced industry for Australia. What is relatively unknown about Reg Etheringon’s life is his classified involvement in the optical defence arms race - producing the worlds most advance camera lenses of the 50’s and 60’s for the Australian Departments of Supply and Defence.
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