Big Ups: 4 Things From October 2017 Worth Reading Again
Our monthly round-up of things from The Pantograph Punch worth celebrating.
Welcome to Big Ups, a monthly list of articles from the Pantograph Punch that deserve a big up. This month we have deliciously good bad reviews, a personal letter about equality and a vignette focusing on our political limbo.
Sarah Jane Barnett
If you’re going to read one thing this month it should be Matt Harnett’s beautiful essay about living in Australia with his boyfriend Drew. As a foreign national, Matt can’t vote in the current, non-binding postal survey on marriage equality, which the government is holding instead of simply changing the definition of marriage through an act of government.
In Australia a marriage celebrant must legally include words to the effect of, ‘Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others’ in a ceremony. So when Matt and Drew go to a friend’s wedding, they prepare themselves for this act of exclusion. But then something unexpected happens from their friends, and also from a visitor called Norma.
“The reality is you don’t really care what happens; the disappointment is already tangible. But there’s a discomfort you want to distract from, an itch you can’t quite reach, a disquiet you can’t explain.”
Laura Borrowdale’s vignette about four-odd weeks in limbo between the general election and a coalition decision holds up beautifully even if you know the outcome. In a precision tactile strike, it depicts the fleeting comfort of a new relationship and the tedium of the waiting-to-see that fills the time in between. Low-key political, its final passages evoke the sadness of our time, and that sense that the joy of change is always fleeting. Not everyone gets that brunch-and-theatre life and the luxury to wait and watch.
Lana Lopesi's review of Frances Upritchard's Jealous Saboteurs was one of those ones I had to read as soon as it was published; sitting at my desk at work at 9am, pretending to do something else. It cuts a clear path through the mangroves of cultural imperialism and encircles a question that exists across art forms – if we simply acknowledge our privilege, does that give us a free pass? 'Ethics' is often something we talk about in art-making but 'morals' often gets put away in the PC corner and told not to return to this wild space. But why not?
"Historically, expensively, impressively bad” was the line used to promote Kate Prior’s review of Pleasuredome, which had “the highest budget for a theatre show generated from this country.” Priors review cuts through the other Pleasuredome-paid press material, and readers loved it. Not only is it entertaining reading within itself, it was honest, seeing through the glitz and the glam of the exhibition. I will leave you with this gem: “Charlie Mcdermott proclaims that ‘content is king’. In this instance, the king is your drunk leery uncle, asking someone to sit on his knee, going outside to let off a few shit fireworks, mumbling something incoherent about love, before keeling over in a bush.”
Editor's note: The first iteration of Big Ups: 4 Things From October 2017 Worth Reading Again, claimed that there were Pleasuredome-paid reviews, we have corrected this to read press material.