Something Elsewhere

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Good Morning, America

6 Nov 2006  |  1 min read

Good Morning, America (2005) wake early that is the time to see the other America . . . the young men picking through garbage collecting cans bagging bottles for refund money and the old women talking to invisible companions piss-stained pants swollen feet in torn slippers the old men shuffling to empty... > Read more

BREAUX BRIDGE, LOUISIANA. A TOWN AT WAR (2004): Iraq comes to Cajun country

24 May 2004  |  6 min read

Breaux Bridge in Louisiana rarely makes the news. It's not that kind of place. The small town in earshot of the multi-lane highway between Lafayette and Baton Rouge is on the bayou, that eerily picturesque region where cypress trees and Tupelo gums grow out of the endless expanse of brown, still water.This is Cajun country. Most people here are direct descendants of the original French-speaking... > Read more


23 Aug 2003  |  6 min read

On a warm Thursday afternoon a little more than a month ago, a man in a white cotton shirt, jeans and brown shoes set off for a walk from his 18th-century farmhouse near the border of Oxfordshire and Wiltshire and never returned. By his suicide that day the modest, quietly spoken Dr David Kelly, one of Britain's leading experts in biological and chemical weapons, became the unlikely flint... > Read more

INSIDE AL QAEDA: Terrorism expert Dr Rohan Gunaratna interviewed

14 Jan 2003  |  20 min read

Sri Lankan-born, Dr Rohan Gunaratna is the author of six books on armed conflict, and addressed the United Nations, the United States congress and the Australian parliament in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the United States. He is the research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, St Andrew's University, Scotland.In his book Inside al Qaeda... > Read more

TERRORISM ON THE HOME-FRONT (2003): Coming ready or not?

1 Jan 2003  |  9 min read

In a travel story about New Zealand in the Sydney Morning Herald last month journalist Bruce Elder, trying to avoid Australian cliches about this country, stepped rather neatly into a patronising pile of them.Apparently we are no longer a country trapped in the 1950s, are "the only nation where sock, sacks, sucks, sex and six are all pronounced 'sux' ", and not only is our food... > Read more

THE MESS THAT IS THE MIDDLE EAST: Guns and rhetoric, again

19 Jun 2002  |  11 min read

The image resonated with a depressing deja vu: Israeli tanks rolling through the streets of Ramallah, rumbling past destroyed, deserted or barricaded homes, on their way to the compound of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Again.We saw this in April when Arafat was similarly isolated, so we know what will come next: Palestinian teenagers throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers and tanks, more... > Read more

THE POLYNESIAN PANTHERS REFLECT (2001): Three decades on from the dawn raids

22 Jun 2001  |  9 min read

For anyone who lived through the period, the iconography and images still resonate: the clenched fists in leather gloves, the lines of civilian-soldiers in empowering uniforms of black polo-neck sweaters, impenetrable shades and black berets. The language was of black pride and the images defiant and confrontational. The times they weren't a-changing, they'd changed - and in the early... > Read more

JIMI HENDRIX (2000): A slight return to the Experience

5 Jan 2000  |  2 min read

To fully appreciate the impact Jimi Hendrix had, you need to forget the decades of myth-making and t-shirts since his death. Try to imagine the music world in 1966. When Jimi crashlanded in London in September that year the Beatles were still a pop band, the Stones had released Paint It Black and Bob Dylan was confusing people with the sprawling double album Blonde on Blonde.... > Read more

STARS WHO WANNABE OTHER STARS (1999): Vanity projects for the self-regarding

1 Nov 1999  |  3 min read

News that broadcaster Paul Holmes is recording an album has been greeted with derision in some quarters, but the collector's group of Vanity Incorporated Products can't wait until this album —- apparently including such classics as Witchita Lineman — hits stores in time for the lucrative Christmas market.Not because it's especially welcomed for its own sake but some are seeing it as... > Read more

OLD FORGOTTEN SOLDIERS? (1999): But not in South Korea

27 Apr 1999  |  14 min read

The undistinguished town of Kap'yong, 90 minutes' drive north-east of the South Korean capital Seoul, isn't on many maps. Even the young man at the desk in Seoul's Tower Hotel can't say where it is, although he served in the Army in the district eight years ago.As an ordinary country town nestled in a wide valley between towering hills, it is a quiet place, the only regular noise coming from... > Read more

DAVID MARKS OF THE NEW ZEALAND SKEPTICS (1998): Spoon bending made easy

5 Feb 1998  |  8 min read

David Marks paces furiously around the small room, giving a good impersonation of a caged animal. It's disconcerting.His arms flail as he says that if we doubted his ability he'd accuse us of being negative thinkers who would rob him of his psychic powers.And then he stops to quietly perform a piece of magic. It's an old trick, but a good one. With a little gentle rubbing, the silver spoon he... > Read more