The Basement Tapes

Saturday, 27th February 2021 –


I come home and there is one of those cylinders the post office uses waiting at my door. I don’t open it for a few days as I am so flat out I have no time and I initially put it aside and forget it’s arrival.

Then I notice it again in a corner and open it up, half expecting it to be a poster of some kind related to my book, Boy on Fire – The Young Nick Cave. It’s much more than that. It’s a gift from the Australian artist Jenny Watson, among the first people I interviewed for the book almost a decade ago …

Read More

An interview with Barry Lopez

News is just coming through that the American writer Barry Lopez has died. Lopez was one of the world’s most important nature writers, a profound essayist and poet of landscapes and place. I met him fleetingly and by chance in Alice Springs in the late 1980s and enjoyed a correspondence with him much later when he offered me encouragement while I was working on my first travel book, ‘Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip’. In 1999, Lopez consented to a lengthy interview with me for the Australian literary quarterly, Westerly. It was a wide-ranging and generous conversation and still holds up today as an insight into one of the great writers of our time.

Read More

America, I Love You

America, I love you: you’re Peggy Lipton in Mod Squad, you’re Patti Smith in the ‘Piss Factory’, you’re Cary Grant and Sidney Poitier, Arsenic and Old Lace and the Lilies of the Field, my grandmother and I watching you on the television, laughing and finding holiness and beauty in a prayer. You’re the fast talk…

Read More


Sinister and rousing, Donald Trump’s Fourth of July speech at the foot of Mount Rushmore will go down as one of the great political speeches of modern history.

Read More

True Romance

Me and Michael Hutchence. A happy day talking in 1994, both of us feeling older and wiser at the ripe old age of 34! I was Editor of Australian Style at the time, which was really going off as a publication. He was a major rock star searching around for his next moves. I don’t think either of us knew how good we were really doing. Maybe we never do when we are inside our own experience? Three years later he was gone.

Read More

The Magic Hour

Walking the afternoon streets of the Inner West, waiting for that time the American film director Terrence Malick called “the magic hour”. It’s still too early yet, not silver enough by half, but the coolness hints at the night to come, and the promise of the first stars…

Read More

Making Hard Yards with the Swans

What does leadership mean anyway? It can rise up from the ground as much as something delivered from above. In the car park for the Addison Road Community Organisation two of the Sydney Swans finest, Nick Smith and Kieren Jack, are standing around having a chat about what’s going on with food relief in the city and what they are doing now.

Read More

White Crosses

Day ends at the Addison Road Community Organisation. Gurwinder starts to take the chairs from the road, leaving only the white crosses that now mark out the social distance needs of our times…

Read More

Living in the Time of Dylan

I believe we are in the Time of Dylan as much as the Time of COVID-19, and that maybe the former will be remembered as much as the latter.

Read More