Comments for Augusta Supple Thu, 14 Aug 2014 23:31:48 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on “Hey. We’ve gotta talk about this” | Issues in/with new writing by Alison Croggon Thu, 14 Aug 2014 23:31:48 +0000 Hi Diana – I don’t agree at all that artists are not allowed to imagine. Of course they are. But when it comes to directly drawing on real events and the traumatic lived experience of other people as an inspiration, responsibilities kick in too. (Yes, there are actual reasons I write fantasy novels, although even that is fraught). Fwiw I don’t have a skerrick of “middle class guilt”.

For my part, I have no opinion on most of the allegations being kicked around by sex workers, because I don’t know the full circumstances. But when I saw the play myself I left with a great deal of discomfort about how the subject matter was treated. Not a million miles from the feeling that it was “pity porn”, as sex workers have said. I don’t doubt it wasn’t intended to come across that way. A general defence seems to be that the work was fictionalised, but since it was publicised as based on real events, that seems a bit wobbly to me: you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Fiction is complex and it doesn’t absolve you of responsibilities either. There’s also the issue of the work’s good intentions – a desire to explore violence against all women – being hobbled by its very generalisations. Is all violence against all women the same? How does class play into it, say? How does race?

I wonder this: if it isn’t an artist’s responsibility to think about issues of representation, then whose responsibility is it? What is art for? Who is it for?

I think that to cast this as a question of “artistic freedom” or censorship kind of misses the point by a country mile: what is at issue is who holds the power in this equation, and in this case, it’s the person with the power to represent. Artists aren’t used to the idea that they might have power, but we do, and we should recognise it.

Comment on “Hey. We’ve gotta talk about this” | Issues in/with new writing by Diana Simmonds Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:16:45 +0000 “Sex workers speak for ourselves, our personal stories belong to us and it is our right if, and when to tell them.” – I so disagree with this statement it makes my eyes water.
If it were carried through to its logical conclusion, no artist, storyteller, painter, film maker, novelist (etc etc) would ever make any kind of work about anything.
Prostitutes are no more entitled to own stories than anyone else – and once a story is in the public domain it is…public.
What I suspect is happening here is that this particular cohort of workers is using middle class guilt against the middle class guilty in an attempt to own the un-ownable and to shut down the making of art.
It should be resisted.

Comment on “Hey. We’ve gotta talk about this” | Issues in/with new writing by starling Thu, 14 Aug 2014 00:11:00 +0000 Hi Gus,

I think appropriation and the stories we choose to tell/the artists who have the “right” to tell them/the processes they use are all hugely important issues to discuss. We do have to talk about these things.

But frankly, this argument was all triggered by a horrifically defamatory accusation of a breach of trust and confidentiality which seems, by all accounts, to be untrue. And it’s being argued, largely, by people who haven’t seen the play. I think that’s pretty damn serious. And it makes me quite furious that people are continuing these accusations with no evidence. People are NOT having a mature, informed conversation about this, so maybe it’s best that we leave this particular play be. I just think it’s become too vicious and the dialogue has deteriorated. Maybe have this conversation again when people have calmed down.

Comment on A confession… and a want… and a plea… by Deborah Thomson Tue, 18 Mar 2014 22:58:39 +0000 Quite frankly, I’m relieved to hear of this healthy ‘walkout’ of a performance. Without hearing the music, it sounded like torture. Circumstances in life have a great ability to shift our thinking and tolerances in life. The death of a great friend is one of those circumstances to which I refer and therefore, that ‘shift’ is a gift from them. James led you to that beer and taco because that was just so much more important and relevant to you at that moment in time.
I read out some of my own personal life’s philosophy’s/lessons to my guests at my 50th birthday the other night. Here are just two: ‘

‘Life is short so just do whatever it is that makes you happy’

‘Always follow your instinct, even if you don’t like what it is telling you’

You basically did both of these last night.
Good for you! Take care. x

Comment on A confession… and a want… and a plea… by Crozz Tue, 18 Mar 2014 22:35:30 +0000 Bravo for navigating a tumultous time. looking forward to tea

Comment on A confession… and a want… and a plea… by Xanthe Coward Tue, 18 Mar 2014 19:16:07 +0000 The perfect little bridge, from which we see your unique and very rich view of the world and our art! Welcome back! And do enjoy your tea. x

Comment on Vale James Waites: Lover of and fighter for the underdog, the glamour puss and all the quirky ratbags by geoff parkes Sat, 22 Feb 2014 08:34:00 +0000

James Arthur Waites (06.03.1955 – 12.02.2014)

Arts journalist and writer, mentor to many in the arts community and theatre critic James Waites passed away at Coogee Beach on the morning of the 12th February, aged 58.

James had been suffering from long-term illnesses and had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. With his health in terminal decline, he made the considered decision for his last swim to be at Coogee while he was still in a position to do so.

Jim Waites will be remembered by all who knew him as a deeply compassionate individual who was a devoted brother to his sister Patricia, uncle to Chris and Kirsten, lover, mentor, teacher and friend of many.

Details of a memorial service will be available on this site and elsewhere from Friday 21st February 2014.

The Australian Arts community have acknowledged his passing on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and print press. Selected links are included at the end of the brief and potted biography that follows.


”We must remember that each performance is a unique work of art, merely bearing a similarity to the performance the night before, and other evenings yet to come. Then there’s the matter of what each of us brings to the encounter.” – JAMES WAITES

we have lost a great soul… I wrote to him on the 10th… on the 12th he was gone… I have no idea if he even saw my message

Jim saved my life in Sydney. He took me under his wing when we wrote for G magazine, and when G Magazine collapsed. He taught me how to cook rice through the absorption method. And we watched that’s my bush and serge the seal of death… and he paid for tickets for us to see bob dylan in the rain at centennial park…

Jim was a wise man, a battered man… he’d worked with the best; hell, Patrick White gave Jim his typewriter… he introduced me to william yang, who uses jim’s garage as a dark room, and we brunched with Bob Trevorow (bob downe for all you ingrates :-) )… we did coffee on oxford st… saw requiem for a dream in newtown cinemas… he gave me a postcard of allen ginsberg in tangeirs which I treasure… but he gave me so much more

i believe he went well – he loved swimming… he loved living… he just didn’t love the bullshit that came from people who fucked things up…

he was the first guy I ever met who taught me about how to live with a permanent condition – in Jim’s case, HIV… he supported my move to come back to my hometown after I’d had my breakdown in Sydney… fuck he supported so much of what I did…

and he taught me a lot when I was reviewing and writing… and he left us many things… including this, which is probably a far better summary of his spirit than i can ever say:

I live in the pain of never really being able to express myself directly. And so I figure the next best thing is to encourage others attempting the same. Being a critic, which I think is a disgusting word, is probably the stupidest way to go about such a goal because it can encourage such nay-saying. I know I have hurt many people in the past. These days I try to take a gentler path – looking for work that I can ‘speak up’; and only going to the negative when I feel I cannot possibly, in all conscience, avoid it.

jim was one of my first mentors, one of the first to get what I was trying to do, and one whose ethics taught me much about why Sydney was not the place for me; if Jim, as chief theatre critic, could get sacked from the sydney morning herald for taking on a shitty production of Les Mis because of nepotism, well then maybe sydney wasn’t the place to make it after all…

one final memory of Jim… we’re on the green lawn outside Sydney’s Museum of Modern Art, me smoking my camel unfiltered, him having a joint, on one of Sydney’s blisteringly blue days, looking at the harbour in front of us, the opera house, cruising the guys wandering past. Jim stubs out his joint in the grass besides us, gets up and walks over to a suit, with two bodyguards, striding by. Turns out to be the state premier, Bob Carr (later foreign minister under the Gillard/Rudd govt), who Jim was friends with from his journo days. He had a quick conversation,said goodbye, and came back to me, this nobody, lit up his joint again and we kept talking about the world of ideas, the world of books and music and film and art…

out into the ocean jim… swim on…

wave thou art pretty.
wave thou art high
wave thou are music
wave thou are white
(oh albino)
(oh albino)
wave thou art high
(wave thou art pretty)
wave to the city
goodbye sir.
goodbye papa

Comment on Vale James Waites: Lover of and fighter for the underdog, the glamour puss and all the quirky ratbags by John Mizon Sat, 22 Feb 2014 00:56:55 +0000 @Kirsten Waites
Hi Kirsten,
I went to university with Trish and was a frequent visitor to your home when you were young.In recent years I have lost contact with her, and other than by this method, I know of no way in which to pass on my deepest sympathy during this difficult time.
I wanted to pass on my conolences to both you and her. Whilst it has been many years since i have seen Jim, I have fond memories of him and always enjoyed his company.
I know times such as these can be both sad and stressful, and my thoughts are with you.

Comment on Vale James Waites: Lover of and fighter for the underdog, the glamour puss and all the quirky ratbags by ruth williams aka t.ruth in the old days Fri, 21 Feb 2014 06:05:33 +0000 It’s so far back i cant remember how i got to know James Waite but i presume we were at University of New South Wales together. Somehow we became talking buddies and got close quick, and then about 30 years passed and we recognised each other in Broadway Centre, the old Grace Brothers at top of Glebe, and we shared sushi and he showed me some site he’d created for his favourite Mario Brothers.

Hearing about his passing today (through Boom Boom being online and going to her page and seeing a message from Roger Foley Fogg) is sort of so meaningful, as if he’s calling his mates to remember him; and i will be there at the memorial. He was … a few moments ago that would have been is … one of those people that even 30 years didnt dampen our memories of great times.

Had just poured out the last of the xmas gin … it had been waiting for around a month for some tonic.

Ok, it’s sunk in now. Love to All

Comment on Vale James Waites: Lover of and fighter for the underdog, the glamour puss and all the quirky ratbags by Roz Cheney Thu, 20 Feb 2014 08:17:02 +0000 Thank you dear James, for your fearless and public support of new ABC radio work, including mine. A great colleague and friend.