By 1803 possibly the richest and largest commercial organisation in the world, the East India Company was practically running the Indian subcontinent as a vast commercial concern. The company’s business model may sound familiar:

“keeping supply and production costs low while maximising the price of goods sold in England. It ended up outsourcing as much as it could, including manufacturing, shipping and retailing. The value it added was in the selection of goods and in keeping the supply chain humming.”

The British government recently announced its revised plans to establish at least 10 ‘free ports’ in the UK next…


(A CutUp in the Style of Burroughs and Gysin)

The net of him is new and out of it Josef was sicker than Pilate, the author according to the wealth swords of the gladness business.

Give me testament and crop not his loaves from broke birds to man actions, here is your parable and just later you three weeping and wise. Then the name Jesus was called and all wanted Greek cures.

But the festival of criticised sins was his seed work on the brother testament than the script priests have read them and his soil. …


Robert Towns. His motto was to sail “to Hades and back if there was profit in it”

The mayor of Townsville Cr Jenny Hill has recently defended the placing of a statue of Robert Towns in the CBD of the city as part of the so-called ‘Pioneers Walk’. Cr Hill has stated in The Queensland Times (Jun 16, 2020), “there is little evidence Robert Towns was involved in slave trade”. This is far from correct. But worse still, Cr. Hill’s misguided argument is grounded in the council’s own paid research, published in a flawed report into the activities of Towns, commission in 2004 to pave the way for the statue, following the decision by Townsville CBD Promotions;


My premise in this essay is that performance art has a vocabulary and exists in sets of contexts. Just as poetry or painting have a common set of expressive features, techniques and contexts which are of course in a state of flux, developing and changing, often in response to innovation or external influences from human culture. I set myself the task of proposing some of the elements that make performance art what it is today. From this systemization I propose a distinction between spectacle and ritual within performance art as a means of developing the art form further.

Performance art…


Alesia Carrington Lanham (1975–1997) and I, Redfern, Sydney 1995

I arrived back in Australia on 7 March 1997 after 8 months traveling rough in India and Thailand. I visited my parents home in Queensland for the first time in a year but soon bad news came. A dear friend Alesia Lanham had finally lost her battle with the Black Dog and at 22 years old had taken her own life on 12 March 1997. The specifics were spectacular. She had evacuated herself from the psych unit she was being held in and headed for one of her favourite spots on earth; the forests of the Upper Colo River, north…


This current affairs piece from Australian TV last week is based on the short term. It is also somewhat ill-informed. There was no graduation for the final year high school students this year in Sweden, as depicted in the front image from the Australian TV program. Huge sections of the Swedish economy are gone — closed down. In Stockholm there are no planes in the sky, no concerts and nightclubs are deserted. Tourism is at a standstill and hotels are empty. Theatres, libraries, cinemas, museums and opera houses are all closed.

Meanwhile youth unemployment in Sweden is now at…


The Red Line in Stockholm: the average life expectancy for the end points differ by 18 years

Black Lives Matter has swept the world in the past weeks. The spark was the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the video that was spread around the world of his last minutes on earth. Of course an assault of a black man by a police officer is nothing new, and anyone who can remember 1991 will never forget the first great viral video of a police assault on a man of colour:

30 years after Rodney King LAPD beating video, what has changed?

Rodney King was clearly not in a position to offer resistance to these police…


The first global pandemic of the 21st century has been devouring lives for months now. At the same time it has presented humanity with some stark realisations.

An Italian survivor of the CORVID-19 virus describes his path through the illness

The Corona Virus, 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease or CORVID-19 was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where it took a terrible grip on the population, forcing the complete isolation of the entire city of over 11 million people. As of 7 April 2020, more than 1.39 million cases have been reported in more than 200 countries and territories, resulting in more than 79,000 deaths. More than 295,000 people have recovered. It has plunged entire national economies into turmoil and threatened the stability of governments and…


“Coronavirus: Time for us to summon the Anzac spirit” by PM Scott Morrison

The Australian PM Scott Morrison speaking in the Parliament on the crisis that is the global pandemic of the CORVID-19 virus. He acknowledges that it is a health crisis but does not really have much to say about it, other than “practice social distancing” and ‘pray’ along with a nationalistic sentiment that is summarised in two quotes:

While some must self-isolate, and we all must keep a healthy distance between us, it is important that we do all we can to ensure in the difficult months ahead…


In 1995 I was part of an art collective in inner-city Sydney. We published a fanzine called Gar Gah Gag. In the second volume of it (we created three) was my disjointed recollections of spending a week in Melbourne in 1994 on tour with noise gods Phlegm and the Mu-Mesons. Both bands challenged everything I had thought up to the time about what is music.

The Mu-Mesons were an avant garde performance group that brought the concept of free expression to new levels for Australian audiences. I saw them perform many times in the early to mid-1990s. …

James Barrett

Freelance scholar. Humanist. Interested in language, culture, music, technology, design & philosophy. I like Literature & Critical Theory. Traveler. I am mine.

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