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Articles tagged with: Biography

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[15 Jan 2012 | No Comment | 1,132 views ]

IN the modern age, autobiography is a strange and wonderful genre. Or should we be talking memoir here? I refer to the unexpurgated recollections of H.G. Nelson (aka Greig Pickhaver), which, rather like the ”autobiography” of Dame Edna Everage, is supposedly penned by the writer’s alter ego.
Intriguingly, unlike Barry Humphries’s hugely successful and ever-evolving creation, in My Life in Shorts the real person behind the comic character doesn’t crack a mention. This is consistent with the character but also a bit frustrating.
Never mind. As for the veracity of it all, …

Books »

[24 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 1,654 views ]

THE new biography on iconic Australian comedian Austen Tayshus has one particularly tough critic: its subject.
“I don’t like it,” Tayshus says, leaving a comedicly deliberate pause.
“No, I do like it. I think they’ve done a terrific job of putting a lot of stuff in there which is untrue.”
Austen Tayshus: Merchant of Menace by Ross Fitzgerald and Rick Murphy does have at least one positive review, from Tayshus’s mother, apparently.
The book explores the life of Tayshus, also known as Vaucluse resident Alexander “Sandy” Gutman, from his early years growing up with his …

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[24 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 1,845 views ]

EVERYTHING about comedian Alexander “Sandy” Gutman (aka Austen Tayshus) is a dichotomy. In life, he is a tea-totalling, erudite intellectual, the father of two daughters – a far cry from his foul-mouthed, incendiary, dark-glasses-clad on-stage persona.
He has a love-hate relationship with his audiences, which he is famous for taunting – recently he made a Japanese audience member get on stage and apologise for World War II in exchange for a cessation of tsunamis and earthquakes – and simultaneously describes his hero Barry Humphries as the gold standard of Australian comedy …

Columns »

[18 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 818 views ]

AT the February 26 Irish general election this year, after controversial Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams resigned from both the Westminster and Stormont parliaments to enter politics south of the border, he topped the poll in the constituency of Louth, to secure a seat in the Irish Dail, the lower house of the country’s national parliament.
As befits a political party that fervently believes in a united Ireland, Adams’s presidency of Sinn Fein covers both the Irish republic and Northern Ireland, which Adams always refers to as “the north of Ireland”.
Sinn …

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[14 May 2011 | No Comment | 1,036 views ]

HAVING held the seat of Melbourne for the ALP since 1993, the minister for finance, Lindsay Tanner, retired from parliamentary politics at the 2010 federal election. Since then, Tanner, a politician of considerable talent and integrity, has given much thought to the sorry state of politics in Australia.
In its own way, Sideshow is as revealing as Tony Abbott’s important 2009 book Battlelines, which was also part memoir, part analysis and part impassioned critique. Tanner argues that the degradation of civic culture and the dumbing down of democracy is …

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[7 May 2011 | No Comment | 1,662 views ]

AIDED by a bevy of research assistants, A.J. Brown has produced a comprehensive biography of one of Australia’s most controversial judges and public intellectuals.
The subject’s co-operation in this project was achieved by Brown’s agreement that the book would not be published until after Kirby’s retirement from the High Court of Australia in March 2009. This meant the biographer and his helpers gained access to voluminous materials — personal and professional — that otherwise would have remained inaccessible, as well as to many third-party sources who would not have participated had …

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[1 May 2011 | No Comment | 1,581 views ]

THE reality is that Manning Charles Hope Clark was never an objectively inclined academic scholar. Thus his magnum opus, the six-volume A History of Australia, had more in common with the vision of 19th-century English writer Thomas Carlyle, whose three-volume History of the French Revolution was inspired by a distinctly personal vision spelled out in an epic narrative style.
Indeed, Clark sometimes admitted there wasn’t very much difference between literary fiction and “his kind of history”.
As academic Mark McKenna tellingly puts it, in the romantic tradition of Carlyle, who spoke from …

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[1 May 2011 | No Comment | 1,839 views ]

FOR reasons that are unclear, the University of Queensland Press parted company from Philip Luker over publication of his biography of “the ideas man”, Phillip Adams.
Perhaps some clues can be found in Luker’s acknowledgements to this controversial book. There he states that the veteran columnist for The Weekend Australian Magazine and long-running broadcaster for ABC’s Radio National “seemed to believe that I had agreed not to delve into his private life. He never asked me to agree and I did not do so, either verbally or in writing.” Luker continues: …

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[10 Apr 2011 | 4 Comments | 5,001 views ]

After briefly living behind the police station in the working-class Sydney suburb of Redfern, Francis Michael Farrell, born in 1916, was brought up in the ethnic melting pot that was Marrickville.
Named after St Francis of Assisi, Farrell was a devout Roman Catholic of distinctly Irish heritage. The future infamous Sydney policeman and legendary captain of the Newtown rugby league team gained his nickname from his habit, as a teenager who often walked barefoot, of picking up discarded cigarette butts, or bumpers, which he broke open, using the tobacco to make his own cigarettes. Indeed, throughout his …