About Christopher Johnstone

Christopher Johnstone lives in Melbourne

Poking Fun At Edwardians

the_unbearable_bassingtonTHE UNBEARABLE BASSINGTON

H.H. Munro (Saki)

There is an anonymous quote floating around the internet that runs something along the lines of:

Should you ever see a man reading Saki on public transport you should do everything in your power to marry him before the next stop.

I like that quote. And in part, I like it because the quote itself sort of captures the wry humour of the writer in question.

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ASIM And The Australian’s Dilemma

The Hugo Awards short-list has been announced and the internet has melted down (again). For those who are unfamiliar with the Hugos, they are one of the major literary science fiction and fantasy awards. Whereas the Nebulas are industry voted, the Hugos are fan voted. The Hugos are named after Hugo Gernsback, founder of the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and not for example, after Victor Hugo, French dramatist and writer of the romantic movement. This preamble is really just intended to give some background. The Hugos have an American focus and a popular fiction focus. There are sometimes but very occasionally cross-over winners among the Hugos and the short lists of other literary awards. Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut was nominated and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Chabon won a Hugo, but that’s unusual.

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Confrontation. Exuberance. Triumph.

 

nothing_to_lose_cut

NOTHING TO LOSE

Performance (11-21 Mar): Dance

The Malthouse. Kate Champion. Kelli Jean Drinkwater. Ghenoa Gela.

From the Malthouse:

In her final work as Force Majeure’s Artistic Director, Kate Champion collaborates with artist and fat activist Kelli Jean Drinkwater and choreographer Ghenoa Gela to celebrate the sculptural splendour of the fat dancing body. Unseen, unexpected and unapologetic, this new work abandons stereotypes and / reshapes expectations.

If you have a chance to drop in on the Malthouse before the 21st of Mar, Nothing To Lose is a show to be reckoned with, admired and wondered at – this is assuming this show hasn’t sold out by the time you get around to buying tickets. There was a standing ovation at the end of the performance I attended and it would not be surprising to find that Nothing To Lose becomes a Melbourne theatre-goers’ favourite of the year.

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No Quiet Embroidery Here

bad_girls_and_wicked_womenBAD GIRLS AND WICKED WOMEN

Jan Stradling (ISBN 9781741960433)

In honour of International Women’s Day (yes, a day late, but, well, it is still International Women’s Day in some parts of the world), allow me to point you towards the beautiful, charming and witty work of Jan Stradling. Bad Girls and Wicked Women is the perfect antidote to anyone who thinks that ‘accurate’ historical fiction or quasi-medieval fantasy must relegate all female characters to a background role.

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Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook

Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook was published back in 2013 but it’s a title I missed seeing until recently. This is another interesting idea, similar to White Cloud Worlds, where the work is a collection of material from different creators, and there is a push towards creating a community around the book. In this case, there are online exercises and other extras available via an associated website. What an idea what sort of visual storytelling advice Wonderbook provides you can view the book trailer (below the cut). It will not be everyone’s cup of steam-powered fish-flavoured tea, but it will certainly appeal to some.

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Strange Rage

We seem to be in an age of internet rage. You see it pass by like ripples of mild life disruption on social media each day. Someone becomes angry about something, and there is much rage and wailing and electronic gashing of electronic teeth and then nothing happens.

Only sometimes it does.

And sometimes the whole affair leaves an uncomfortable feeling. Like, maybe someone just got stoned by a mob and no-one quite had the presence of mind to stop and ask, hey, wait, what are we really doing here?

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Happy Lunar New Year… Hold On. What Year Is It? Sheep? Goat? Or Maybe Antelope?

600px-Linné-Systema_Naturae_1735The Lunar New Year has rolled around again and there has been a week of celebration by way of gold and red dragons and sublime explosives rocketing into the sky for everyone’s enjoyment. Only, this time around, there seems to be a problem. It doesn’t quite seem like the English speaking world knows what year it is… sheep? Goat? Ram? Something else?

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Charm & Genius

annansy_storiesANNANCY STORIES

Pamela Colman Smith (1899) ISBN: 0-9769612-2-9

Pixifire Reprint Edition

You may not have ever heard of Pamela Colman Smith but I would bet anything you care to wager that you know her work. Pamela Colman Smith is the artist responsible for the most famous and widely used of all Tarot decks, the Rider-Waite Deck. It’s the deck you think of when you think of Tarot and Pamela did a lot of innovative things with it. In particular she was the first person that we know of who added illustrative scenes to the numbered cards. Prior to her version the wands and cups and so on were just a set of wands and cups and so on, much like a modern deck of playing cards.

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      THE QUIET AMERICAN Graham Greene (William Heinemann, 1955; Vintage, 2004) ISBN: 9780099478393 So, ah, have you ever started reading a book you thought was about something completely different than it turned out to be?  Because I was under some kind of misapprehension about The Quiet American before I started it.  All … Continue reading