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Our Funniest Videos of the Year
Yesterday we brought you our most watched videos for 2010, but as it’s the silly season we thought we’d celebrate some of our funniest guests and quirkiest ideas from the year.
Opening up the season of good cheer, like a pair of partridges in a pear tree we have the two Tones: Martin and Wilson. Miles from a Two Ronnies Christmas Special, the Tones…
If you’ve been looking at the newspaper and thinking you could do a better job then Schmedlines could prove to be the perfect distraction.
The idea is simple: get a real news story with a weak headline and then invite users to submit their alternatives. Today there’s a story about a Montana jury who have decided they won’t convict for the possession of a…
Of Ducks’ Guts, Bees’ Knees and Cats’ Pyjamas
Of all the intestines in the animal kingdom, large or small, those of ducks are the finest. Same goes with the knees of bees. Similarly, if you are seeking the best pyjamas, by any measure those worn by cats can’t be bettered. As Australians, we hold these truths as self-evident (American slang meaning none of these statements is a barbie stopper).
We are also…
Our Most Watched Videos of 2010
As non-ratings season plagues TV, it’s a good time to catch up on the Wheeler Centre’s biggest videos of 2010.
5) Just before the Federal election we featured a little known Greens candidate talking about the failure of the two-party system. Adam Bandt proved to be right with the hung parliament results, but also as he became the first Australian Green in the House…
Assange Memoir Due Next Year
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is reported to have sold his memoir to UK press Canongate, according to the Bookseller.
Still facing charges for sexual assault in Sweden, Assange is expected to deliver the manuscript in March of next year. Daily Finance reports that Canongate publisher Jamie Byng had confirmed the news via email with a US edition to be published by Knopf. News…
The Future for Bookshops
The future is small for bookstores - in a good way according to a report from NPR. The report believes that “the big chains are in trouble - and new technologies may provide independent bookstores with a lifeline.”
Writing the End
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Jeff Sparrow says death is “wonderfully democratic” while Helen Garner calls it the “clarifying stroke” that can define our lives. While Shane Maloney believes crime fiction has the most honest approach to closure, because you’re guaranteed a corpse. Lou Swinn wonders if writing about death is an attempt to find immortality but Maloney says “The book is a kind of…
Paris Review promo video that makes dessert of the literary journal
The venerable literary journal the Paris Review has had something of a makeover and to celebrate they’ve put together a video preview of their latest edition that puts the hype in hyperactive. Galleycat speculates that the over the top voiceover from “an announcer that should be narrating monster truck shows”.
We’re also enjoying the South Park-inspired animation of Jonathan Franzen repeating the word…
World’s Oldest Joke Inspires Crickets
Paul McDonald writing for the Independent believes he’s found the world’s oldest joke and it’s a good indication of just how much humour dates.
According to McDonald the oldest recorded joke came from ancient Sumer (1900-1600 BC) and includes both sexism and flatulence:
Something that’s never been known since time immemorial: a young lady who doesn’t break wind in her husband’s lap.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed in the US
On Saturday the US repealed its controversial policy on gays and lesbians serving in the military not revealing their sexuality. Better known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the policy had long been criticised as marginalising gay and lesbian servicemen and women.
Writing in the Huffington Post, former tennis great Billie Jean King said the decision “should have been a no-brainer” which she sees…
John Marsden Awards Preview
Award patron John Marsden
Tonight Express Media will announce the winners of the John Marsden Prize, one of Australia’s top writing prizes for young people.
According to Express Media’s artistic director Bel Schenk this year the prize is bigger than ever. “The Prize gained a record number of submissions this year, with 648 entries from across Australia covering everything from death, sex and war…
Soho! A Literary Boardgame
Looking for a bookish gift that’s not a book? Soho!, a literary board game could be the answer.
The game revolves around collecting “6 pieces of rashly commissioned copy [that] need to be retrieved from a somewhat motley bunch of recalcitrant writers… And, being writers, all 6 are currently holed up in 6 Soho pubs, cadging free drinks, chatting up people half their age…
Simon Winchester on When Journalism Becomes Creative Non-fiction
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Master creative non-fiction author Simon Winchester wanted to stretch himself so he thought he’d write about the more than 2 million year history of the Atlantic Ocean. He borrowed a structure from Shakespeare and found himself writing one of the biggest books of this Christmas.
And yet he modestly claims that what leads him to non-fiction is that he would…
And The Winners Are…
Last week we asked you what you thought of our newsletter and promised to draw five double passes to our Gala Night of Storytelling 2011: Voices From Elsewhere. We got lots of excellent suggestions that we’re going to use to revamp our newsletter next year.
The winners of the draw were:Kathryn, Kensington Maree, Nth Carlton Tom, North Melbourne Allan, Heidelberg Penny, Hawthorn
Best of the Best Ofs
Franzen fandom remains strong
If you’re going to be writing a Best Books of 2010 list, it seems compulsory to include Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. It gets a mention in two New York Times lists, including one by critic Michiko Kakutani who also give Keith Richards' Life a hearty thumbs-up - calling it “a book in which Mr. Richards has magically translated the fierce…
Nicki Greenberg in Conversation with Shaun Tan
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“Hamlet is a play that engenders obsession,” according to graphic novelist Nicki Greenberg. It took her years to re-imagine one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays as a series of ink blots. With fellow illustrator Shaun Tan along for the ride, Greenberg takes us through her sketchbooks, plans and initial sketches that became the final novel. It makes for a fascinating encounter…
Critical Failure Looks at Popular Music
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With music festival season upon us, it’s a good time to chat with four music reviewers - Lawrie Zion, Mikey Cahill, Clem Bastow and Chris Johnston - as they look at how reviewing has changed. With an explosion in online music they give examples of people who are doing it well - including Twitter reviewer Chris Weingarten and…
O'Brien Honoured at Walkleys
Coming from his final 7:30 Report, Kerry O'Brien has been honoured at last night’s Walkley Awards. O'Brien was awarded the Walkley for journalistic leadership as well as the prize for best interview for confrontations with Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.
The ABC reported O'Brien appeared to lose his characteristic cool during his acceptance speech: “I’m stunned. I did not expect this. Tonight was…
Dead Europe the Movie
Christos Tsiolkas' 2005 book Dead Europe is to be made into a film, Inside Film reports. The book’s plot follows protagonist Isaac as he’s besieged by his Greek heritage when he makes a trip to Europe and discovers his familiy’s curse.
Beginning production in 2011, the film will be directed by Tony Krawitz, best known for his production Jewboy. It will be a…
Jackie O the Editor
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was once the world’s most recognisable woman, but in 1975 after the death of her second husband she became an editor at Viking Press before moving on to Doubleday.
Two competing biographies about her editing years will be appearing in bookshops soon. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books represents “a departure from the company’s longstanding…
Twitter Saves the Octothorpe
No matter what you think of social networking, Twitter has rescued # from neat extinction, according to a Guardian article.
“We haven’t seen a typographical resurrection like it since the @, an obscure accounting symbol meaning "at the rate of”, was pressed into service to form the first email address in 1971,“ the article begins. Known correctly as the octothorpe, the symbol is "generally…
Sally Heath New Editor at Meanjin
Outgoing editor Sophie Cunningham
Former Age A2 editor Sally Heath has been announced as the new editor of Meanjin. Heath joined Melbourne University Press (MUP) in August of this year under the title of associate publisher and takes up the role after Sophie Cunningham had her contract discontinued.
Cunningham reportedly left Meanjin after MUP chair Alan Kohler recommended the magazine move to an…
Dirk Gently Makes the Small Screen
Douglas Adams' fame continues beyond the grave with an adaptation of his curious crime book, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by the BBC. There’s no news of whether the ABC will pick up the series, but given Gently’s “unswerving belief in the interconnectedness of all things” it can only be a matter of time.
Classic video of the crossword inker
In a parallel universe crossword puzzles are made by a specialised team of artisans known as the “box team” including Garson Hampfield, crossword inker. Hampfield tells the intricacies and travails of crossword making in this animation by Michael A Charles. There’s landmark moments in the evolution of crossword setting, the rise of mechanised crossword grids as well as our favourite quote: “A lot of…