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.

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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.

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Sound and Vision – Polly, here today, arriving tomorrow

Miro from Polly says they are just “a weird rock band from Marrickville”. Talk to him for a little while and you get the feeling they might become something much more than that. Miro has just turned 14; his band mates Tama and Chris “are still 13, but they will be 14 soon.”

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The Disappearing Man – Jarvis Cocker goes hardcore

Jarvis Cocker wanders through London’s Tower Books and Records like a spy in a foreign country. Close by, music fans are harvesting the racks of pop releases, among them the extraordinary 18-year legacy of his band Pulp. “You must feel like you’re running the gauntlet,” I whisper. “It’s OK,” he says crisply, “as long as you keep moving.”

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Down by the River: Nick Cave’s boyhood in Wangaratta (1959-70)

Here is a chapter from my long awaited biography, Tender Prey: The Life and Times of Nick Cave, a work-in-progress that’s been derailed and locked down by all kinds of problems: personal, professional and legal…

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