News & Commentary

Razer: are you with us, the wankers committed to culture?

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Look. Money. It’s not a pleasant topic, is it? And, it is one that has become so frequently demanded and discussed. Everyone is asking for some for their newest project or not-for-profit or story of heartbreak, and you and I are both sick to the back of our crumbling denture of these requests for our cash.

support_daily_reviewSo. I apologise very sincerely for joining the army of digital charity muggers. I must also declare that I do so in self-interest — after all, Daily Review pays me a wage for my work. In one sense, it feels plain wrong to be asking you, or anyone, to fund me and my interests directly. But in the present, it also happens to be the only recourse.

It comes down to this: if you don’t fund arts writing in Australia of the present, nobody will.

I anticipate that some will receive this note and think, “Well. If they can’t turn a great profit, they’re just a bad business. The market always rewards good ideas.” Well, this is not presently true, and I doubt it ever really was. Perhaps, for example, you’re a fan of opera. You would be well aware that this great and elaborate form would not have survived until the present without subsidy. And you would be aware that the recent ravages, inter alia, to the Australia Council have done their damage to arts.

Here at Daily Review, we are part of that damaged ecosystem — actually, we arose as a direct result of it. Our editor-in-chief Ray Gill started this thing, and continues to run it, knowing very intimately just how little review and comment around the arts in Australia survives. The new market hasn’t a place for it, even though we readers retain our great need.

And, it’s not just coverage of the finer arts that has suffered so badly, but good analysis of the low stuff, too — the stuff I write about. Let me tell you a story about how even our big media conglomerates were forced to lose their interest in good cultural coverage.

So, I met Ray when he was arts editor at The Age. Along with some other fine Fairfax editors — Jonathan Green, Gay Alcorn, Margie Easterbrook among them — he was the guy who really taught me how to write for a broad audience with intelligence and rigour. All of these editors, and others besides, would talk to me forever about a story idea. Then, we’d send it to a copy editor and give it a good second draft. Then, the in-house subs would have at it and finally, we’d agree that the big thing we wanted to say about the culture had been said. It was great for me and all writers, obviously. And it was an essential service to the people of Melbourne.

Then, things started to change. Very quickly, actually. The per word-rate went down. The number of places and ways in which one’s byline was used shot up. The time we had to write a piece was reduced to almost nothing and some of the editors — most of them in fact — who knew this old rigour were delivered their redundancy papers. Oh. And the subeditors — let’s hear it for this excellent and antique profession — were outsourced. As for copy editing. Well. I doubt that there are many in Australia who even knows what this process means anymore.

By the time I had turned forty, the old and meticulous way of doing things was no longer possible. Even writing about complex ideas was largely impossible, and it was a sad day that the Australian Literary Review, to which I also contributed, was forced to shut up shop. Steve Romei, another marvellous editor, this time from News Corp, used to have hour-long conversations with me about introductory paragraphs, about how we could describe French psychoanalytic feminism to a wide audience. I had that conversation in 2007. At The Australian!

I continued to write for Fairfax, chiefly around culture and the arts. I didn’t really know what was happening, because no one does when they’re in the middle of it, so when I was asked to write puff pieces, I just put it down to a bad week or one lazy editor or one fleeting impulse by the board. I went to Ray’s goodbye party. I started to write “TV recaps” for the paper, which was now no longer a paper but a pamphlet directing people to online, and I wondered when someone would let me compare, say, Ibsen and Big Brother again.

Suddenly, one day I knew that there was no going back. I knew that there was no possibility of treating popular culture with seriousness — always my personal passion — again when my editor took a reference to Harold Pinter out of my work.

It was a Masterchef recap. Everyone was doing Masterchef recaps and I reasoned, not unreasonably, that Fairfax readers wanted something more than they would get from the Herald Sun. I had even had this conversation with the editor — I had asked “You know that I am a wanker, right? That I will address an audience with intellectual curiosity?”. She said, yeah, sure.

If you are familiar with Masterchef, you will likely agree that it is the most comfortably middle-class of all the commercial reality programs. It is an exploration of manners, and is often edited to show the chasm between a contestant’s pleasant public face and their private fear. I even once mentioned this to Matt Preston, another former Fairfax writer, and he said, “Well, of course, Razer. It’s utterly Pinteresque.”

So I mentioned in this recap that the show recalled Pinter, and to the words “Harold Pinter” I had linked to a site reliably describing “Pinteresque”. Which is to say, I wasn’t being a snob, but doing the work of the television reviewer set in train by Clive James: educate your audience, or affirm your audience’s education, while making them laugh.

And so I asked the editor why this thing had been removed. And she said to me, “I don’t think our readers are interested in painters.”

Long story short, I haven’t pitched to Fairfax in years.

We will never again have the opportunity as writers and readers to engage in carefully crafted public conversations about culture and the arts as we once did. There is no time to talk to an editor at length and there is no money to fund it. And, importantly, there are few opportunities for artists and readers alike to measure their views against a critic’s.

Daily Review provides one of those rare opportunities. And it has done so only through stubbornness and a commitment by old media guys like Ray and me, and new media aesthetes like Ben Neutze, to the culture. None of us expects to make a huge profit out of this. We just want criticism to survive.

And, we’re doing that with this direct appeal. And, again, I am genuinely sorry for the charity mugging. But, I would say that even a small investment will be leveraged by us with great force. Because we are wankers, old and young, who retain our commitment to the culture.

Read Daily Review Editor Ray Gill’s piece explaining why we’re asking for your support, and find out more about how you can help by clicking here or clicking on the ‘Support Daily Review’ button, wherever it appears across the site.

69 responses to “Razer: are you with us, the wankers committed to culture?

  1. Helen, you never fail to crack me up and/or confirm that my blood should be boiling. So, count me in for a few dollars – I am one of those readers who DOES like to read about painters/Pinters.
    And now that the shadow-of-its-former self ABC is comprehensively fucked (particularly radio – gave up on the web news ages ago), I am damn well going to get my culture in the few remaining places I can find it.
    PS. I know I should be out there protesting for the resuscitation of the ABC, but, well, to be honest, I have culture/the Arts-saving fatigue.
    LOVE YOUR WORK. Thank you.

  2. I read you, so I’ll throw my two cents in the plate (sorry, private joke, I just checked my bank account, $10.02, and I’m permanently injured, out of work, not a resident and ineligible for welfare support and being supported by a friend who I help with his hobby business now I can’t help him with his ‘real’ one) I guess it would be rude of me not to. But I got so much things to say right now. Laters. (Thought I’d get in here early before the other dust bunnies blow in and dunno if I’ll be back.)

    1. Please don’t feel bad. Jeez. Life is hard.
      Be well and hope for the revolution that will do away with nonsense that’s not your fault. Thanks for reading.

  3. If you’re a wanker who writes for wankers, I’m with you – and have kicked in so you keep elucidating the issues I care about. Thanks for staying rational but angry and cynical, all at the same time. Me too.

  4. Glad to help a little to enjoy more decent writing. Mourn the loss of copy editors having suffered under two of the best and strictest way back in 70’s London.

  5. Done. You are helping me to keep sane and educated (even inspired me to pick up Althusser again) so it’s a small price to pay. Thank you.

    1. Criticism of the arts is a sign of a civilised society and should be part and parcel of a culture of rigorous thinking. I fear it is dying, so thank you Helen, Ray et al on Daily Review for keeping it alive. I’m an avid consumer. Happily supporting this.

      1. Thank you very sincerely, Mandy. I do feel really like a bit of a heel for doing this because I am not going to pretend that it is not AWESOME to be paid for my opinions. But, yes. You’re right. Thanks again.

  6. Happy to be mugged by you and your ilk. In equal measure alarmed and amused by the Pinter-Painter yarn. Arty wankers unite!

    1. I still find it peculiar. I mean. If I don’t understand a reference, I hush and quietly Google it. My first assumption is not that I know everything or that the things I don’t arent generally known.
      Still. That’s who the editors often are, these days.
      Thanks so much.

  7. Yup I chipped in. I don’t always agree with you Helen (there is so much to disagree about these days!!), but I’m always informed and surprised how often I’m keen to know what you might think on some current issue (including latest TV series!) seems to help me work through my own thoughts. So thanks for many years of engagement,

  8. I too write and miss the time that used to be available to pitch ideas and receive on-the-job training and encouragement from wonderful editors like Alan Attwood.
    I hadn’t realised how much the Daily Review means to me until this tin-rattling. We can’t lose you too! So I’m going to chip in. And keep up the great work, Helen. It is such a relief to regularly read something intelligent, honest, fresh and furious.

    1. I am very familiar with Mr Atwood, too!
      Wow. It is just so sad to think there will not be dozens of people like him in the future. Writing is labour. The problem is that you have to do it so it doesn’t appear like labour, because no one enjoys reading something in which one can hear the sound of the keyboard. So we produce this thing which appears,at best, like it just flowed out of us, and wasn’t actually ripped.
      (The late writer David Rakoff, who was a wonderful features writer, said that writing was “like having teeth pulled out of my dick”.)
      I get why people think writing is just fun. And, it is fun, in parts. But, as you say, it’s only through years that most of us (there are always a handful of exceptions in any generation) learn how to do it and it is only with the support of others that we can produce individual works.
      The really annoying thing is that the marketing departments and levels of management seem to grow at conglomerates, even as the number of workers who make the product recede. And they say that government enterprise is inefficient!
      Anyhow. Thanks a bunch. Really. I feel bad asking. I am so stunned by your generosity.

  9. Yes! I live in the mid- west of WA and could curl up with head in the sand waiting for the ‘ state of play to change’ or ramble amongst the healing wilderness I live in remaining ignorant to what is happening to long form great writing ‘ out there’….or I can stump up to support you as I do those Doctors with out borders !

    1. Hey, Fi. Yes. I have to be honest and say that the only people I have donated to this year are Médecins Sans Frontières. If it’s a choice between arts writing and people who have US bombs rained down on them while they are operating on little kids in Afghanistan, well. You know!
      So I really appreciate your donation, and all the donations. Although arts and culture writing is my work, I tend to a very pragmatic view in my own tithing. Still. Where would we be without a culture that criticises itself?
      Well. We are, largely, a culture that doesn’t criticise itself. Which is kind of how you allow bombs to go off in other nations, I guess. So it does make sense that you have donated.
      Still. I am really overwhelmed that so many of you have done so. I am really ambivalent about this. But, this is what has to happen in these shithouse times. xx
      Thank you, and all, so much.

  10. Helen: It’s quite possible I have added $25 to the pot – but since the account site has offered me a variety of options to complete I suspect it might not have gone through! I’d be happy for your accounts department to confirm one way or the other. As with New Matilda I relish Daily Review, too! Such brilliance to counterbalance the dimming stars of Fairfax and the exploded death star(e)s of NewsCorp.

      Being a very vain person, I appreciate the plaudits more than the money x

  11. First Counterpunch now Daily Review, it would be easier to just stop reading. I wasn’t going to comment so that I could maintain the comfortable thought that thousands of readers were donating not just the comment writers. Let’s hope it is only modesty that stops them revealing their support.

  12. I can do fifty bucks, any more and my credit card will explode. Fortunately I’m drunk, which is a good time to gouge me but it means you have to suffer a bit of narcissistic Romanticism. Cheap price. I don’t know what is going to happen to the fragile art of writing for the sake of words themselves (more or less, it’s kind of shorthand for the Enlightenment etc) in the coming time of Trump, but I do know that individual vocational writerly commitment matters far more than just about anyhintg else right now, including prpbably talent. It’s so rqre. Also, that there are a million writely imposters flooding the joint right now – it’s a by-product of ht einterWebz, we can all fake it online – but I have read your stuff for long enough to know the real dealk when I se it. So don’t; ever stop, don’t ever play to the gallery, any gallery anywhere. Thanks qnd good luck to you all at Review.

    1. J. I am fully aware of the strong relationship between donation and plonk. Whenever I have a book sales link to share or I am helping someone out with a fundraiser, I do it online no earlier than 9.30PM. The smashed are generous.
      I have myself wondered if there is not a means of temporary suspension of credit. Say, my fridge could communicate to my bank that I am up to my second beer and that I am barred from any transaction.
      As for Trump. Well. I would say that he has already inspired some of the best left-wing writing I have seen in years. It’s the times, not just a stupid man, that has produced so much stupid.

      1. Yeah, I’d agree…you, plenty of others here, Michael West before they sacked him, Waleed Aly, Verender, Mike Seccombe and the Saturday guys…and obv GR and co over the road. Obv. Still plenty to dazzle, still plenty doing whatever words can manage in this word-whoreish technovomitous era . The worst of times inspiring the best of writing/culture/enlightened aspiration in response, as ever? Sure, political decadence does that…but I suppose I am always mindful of Peter Cook’s historical lament on the power of Weimer satire (and more so, Heine on burnt books, which wasn’t about books at all, was it)…so many clever words, so little…ach. Anyway, HR, onya, cheers & bless v. much for the wave. We can be a frustrated lot of self-loathing muppets here in the comments box fringes sometimes (speaking only for myself obv), generally better politely sidestepped by the wiser byline in proportion to our length/incontinence. So…appreciated. Good luck & keep writing like a (non-gender specific, obv) totes headkicking bastard.

  13. Done. I bought a Crikey subscription last week with the sole purpose of helping you pay your rent so you can keep educating, entertaining and elucidating me forever. Take my money, woman. Because You’re Worth It.

    1. Lady B. I thank you and so does Guy Rundle and Bernard Keane and all the contributors and staff!
      Just to be clear, Daily Review is now owned independent of Crikey, even though those guys retain warm relations.
      I really appreciate the advertising slogan. You know I do!

  14. I always look forward to your articles Helen, even if some of them are a bit over my head (being mostly in the sciences rather than the arts). I’ve chipped in what I can.

  15. Hi Helen, I enjoyed reading this piece. I’d like journalists to be able to continue writing about culture and to mention Pinter without embarrassment. I would also like to offer a point of view about where the great unwashed – in which I include myself – lost interest in cultural and indeed all journalism. Journalists (and the media generally) are just too separate. By design, apparently. I’m a qualified journalist too – a graduate of UTS – and if I want a short conversation with a journalist who has a job all I have to do is ask what he/she is working on. Nil response. If I pitch anything, nil response. Even one editor who was expecting an email from me didn’t answer because “I didn’t look at your email I just assumed it was spam.” The arrogance is just breathtaking. Then there is the immensely time wasting gambit of demanding lots of free work but never ever coming good with any opportunity whatsoever. “Thanks for the free work, sucker!” To cut my whinging mercifully short, it seems to me (since graduating from UTS) that everyone left who has a gig in journalism is hanging on to what they’ve got – and they are determined not to give an inch to anyone else. Sorry, but that’s how it looks. Closed shop. Nobody can get close to these publications, so no-one gives a hoot. Here’s a challenge. If I can email a pitch, and an editor actually reads it and actually responds, I’ll be happy to donate. They don’t have to commission the story, just provide an actual response. I suspect that will be too much for anyone to swallow – but if not please let me know.

    1. Hi, Paul.
      I appreciate your comments. I have lived them, in fact. I have gone through fucking years of having my emails unopened and if you ever subscribed to one of those Daily Deals email advertisements (I hope you haven’t!) you will have seen my “work”.
      For many years, despite having an established byline, I wrote the worst commercial copy. I also worked in telemarketing, ran a trivia night in a bar and checked coats for tips. All after I had produced best-selling books, had my name featured above the fold in newspapers and become known as a reasonably reliable producer of copy. In short, it’s not just you.
      I am hanging on daily to a wage. I have been lucky to form good relationships at present with a handful of editors who are able to articulate their needs so I am able to tailor my work to them. But it could all change next week. And, I am one of the lucky ones. I only owe a grand on my credit card and the rent is paid until January. My tax is not overdue. This is the best financial shape I have been in for a decade. Again, I am a “successful” writer, and I earn around 50K a year with no holidays, super, sickies or union that fights for the interests of people like me. And factor in the absolute necessity of maintaining a presence on social media to the point where you have at least 10K followers. You don’t get there without death threats.
      That’s what “success” look like for a writer, presently. Remember that. And think of my age mates, writers far better than me, who have fallen into deep midlife depression. There are some very fine writers of my acquaintance who are still in a state of shock that things changed so fast. I won’t dishonour them by giving you their names, but they are fine people whose names you would know. They are now taking Arapax, living in country towns, which are the only places they can afford. They are hours away from the psychological services they need for their health and hours away from the cultural institutions they need for their work. Some of them have kids. They have these years of training and good, raw talent but nowhere to use it. They don’t even know how to adapt to the peppy new environment of smarm. They are embarrassed to begin a kickstarter, presuming such a thing could even fund their special interests. One I knew has ended his life. This shit is insane. But, that’s what happens when labour markets change.
      This isn’t easy but, son, the world is burning and any economist worth their salt will tell you that unemployment is heading in the next 20 years to about a 50% proportion. People who know how to build cars, raise livestock, mine things out of the ground are among the many who are lost to a shrinking job market, whose enemies are automation. Our enemy in the culture industry is, similarly, profit. If you don’t have a bankable name or an outrageous thing to say (most of the things worth being said are not outrageous) or the willingness to be called all sorts of things on the internet, you are kind of stuffed. And, please don’t blame the editors. They are not sitting around in luxury, either. They have a stupid board breathing down their neck if they work for a conglomerate or creditors knocking at their door if they are independent.
      Think of writing like Geelong. Or Newcastle. The money and the jobs have gone, but a whole lot of critics who have never really entered the town keep yelling at it to “adapt!” and become more “agile”.
      On the upside, however, (for you, not for other workers) writing is perhaps a century away from being fully automated, like up to 70% of other jobs. Perhaps it never will be automated. So I would say that if this is your skill set, you have a much better chance of employment, however insecure, than your peers who studied science. Now, there’s a poor group of bastards. Have you seen what our “agile” Prime Minister has done to CSIRO?
      It is not nice, but this is what you have to do. Don’t read it if you are feeling fragile, okay? Come back to this advice on a day you feel strong. I am going to tough-love you.
      First, remember that your labour is not who you are. Having a job is not a natural part of being human. Second, keep writing, or you’ll forget how to do it. I think the revenue model for Medium is offensive, but you might consider publishing some of your long-form essays there. Third, study how to use social media. Never tweet drunk. Keep your Facebook page full of interesting things that engage people and are not always about you. Build a relationship with your followers, and push them to your work in a way that you can monitor no more than once a day. NEVER think that simply promoting your work is enough. You need to build an idea of you through informal, intelligent posts, photographs and fun. Fourth, just go and get some work. There*is* some and I know it wasn’t what you were trained for, but you simply must, unless you are independently wealthy, write directly for commercial interests. PR or discount advertising might not be what you had in mind. That’s the work on offer. Personally, it drives me batty and I only do it when the choice is a dental check up or rotten teeth. Fifth, this attitude of yours needs to change a bit. I agree that things are very difficult and I understand you feel ripped off. You have been ripped off. But you feel that the problem is that individuals are arrogant, that people are ignoring you because they are mean. The fact is, the system in which you seek to work is broken and until you quit taking that so personally, you will just continue to get too depressed to work. And I can tell that you’re depressed. Which you have every right to be, but it might help a bit to think of things as a system, rather than some people just being arseholes.
      Sure, some people are arseholes. And they just LOVE robbing your nose in your failure and their success. How do you think it feels to be me?! I was once very well-known. People love to say to me “How the mighty have fallen!” They call me, in print, irrelevant. I have been called “deranged” in Fairfax. They say I am an “attention whore” simply because I write accounts of things in a way I feel to be true. They call me ancient, and then also, quite curiously, fat. Fat, old, irrelevant, a failure and lord knows what else. Oh. Jealous. Bitter. Unfuckable. Stupid. And this is not an occasional occurrence. This is every day of the week. AND THIS IS SOMETIMES EDITORS FROM OTHER PUBLICATIONS. Not just users of social media.
      You think I don’t want to just chuck it in? I am sick to the shitter of seeing my name described as worse than nothing. I am very depressed that I built a name and decent relationships and now I have to fight to survive. But, you know what? You gotta get a shrink, thank the tides of fortune that you somehow got an education and work out a realistic plan for living. You just have to quit saying that it’s not fair. No, it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.
      And that’s why we are asking for money, too. Terrible times. I know it is awful to say “adapt” and “be agile”. But, if you want to do the thing you were trained for, that is the vile reality. I happen to believe that the world owes all its citizens a living. But we are a long way from that utopia. I have tried to describe the ugly reality for you. Either work ’round that or drive an Uber. I am sorry. These are the choices.
      Finally, never sound butt-hurt in your emails. I find that it helps if I amuse myself in the many emails I send out looking for work. Remember that anyone who receives your pitches is likely to be overworked and in need of a laugh. And I can tell you from experience: sounding miserable and desperate for work doesn’t work.
      I really have offered you good practical advice, here. I know it works because I’ve taught it to young people with my young friend Alyx Gorman, and they’ve got their shit together a little in this shitty world.
      SO pick yourself up and learn to bend to the demands of this crap market, which apparently no one at university ever bothers to teach.

      1. Dear Helen,

        Thank you for the detailed, and fair, comments. Thank you for taking the time to respond in such detail – and I will certainly make a donation now.

        Thank you once again for the insights, which I realise have been hard-won, in your reply.

        Yours sincerely,


        1. Paul, please. I totally understand if you can’t make a donation. I didn’t give you all that ranty advice to secure one! I gave it because you need it.
          All young journalists do. And, jeez, I can’t believe it is not given at universities. Your expectations, especially at that prestigious course you took, should certainly be managed by teachers.
          You can email me with examples of your work and I can tell you where you might be likely to have it published, if you like. helenAT badhostessDOTcom
          Other advice, just email the shit out of everyone. All companies have an email convention in place. like firstname dot lastname @ domain dot com. Work out what that is, and send charming emails, or really businesslike ones. Whatever works best for you. I find just being my usual arsehole self works. Sometimes, I even pretend that I know the editor very well. I reason that drinking is so rife among the knowledge class, they don’t often feel confident to deny the implied friendship.

        2. Phew, strong stuff indeed. Sobering to hear it put that way, but too there is something so gutsy in all that, I agree with Paul and just tipped in a little more to help out.

      2. I know some of this has been written elsewhere, but you might think about posting your response as a stand alone piece.

        Because, frankly, I’m still not sure your average Shmo and Shmoanne truly realise how cataclysmic the effects on professional writers, journos, etc, the advent of the internet etc. has been in the past decade.

        Yes, there is a risk of the Boo Hoo Poor Me impression, but unless you have witnessed the shit firsthand, it’s hard for those outside the bubble to appreciate it.

  16. Your wit and intellect, your fine discerning, subversive mind~are priceless, Helen!
    And this forum is precious and so precarious. We don’t even have to wo/man the barricades…just drop coins in the minstrels’ hats. Here come mine. And thank you, thank you, Ray Gill! Small price to pay for salvaging our individual and collective sanity. Here we get some at least, of the reality…

    But why are we all apparently treading delicately round the Clintons’ ‘misdeeds’?
    Starting in Arkansas, and the CIA-Clinton cocaine smuggling Iran Contra nightmare, and Hillary’s Rose and co. law firm doing the legal side of laundering the money…And corrupt or intimidated D.A’. s etc sealing the cases or failing to proceed against identified criminals…Well, it was easy~so often those who were witnesses to Clinton and gang then or now, those who spoke out~ suicided or died suddenly, having for example, shot themselves in the back of the head. Or decapitated themselves. Or fallen asleep on railway lines after violently injuring themselves. At least 100 times to date…Don’t whatever you do, get on a detail to fly with Bill anywhere: your next plane will crash. And don’t mention Haiti…
    That’s before we even begin on the latest Wikileaks revelations. It looks like I’ve answered my own questions!

    1. Hi, Susan.
      Thanks so much. I really appreciate it. And while, of course, this is not a journal of current affairs, but of arts, I have written around the culture’s obsession with HRC. She’s simply another dreadful establishment politician. More everyday evil. Talk about “normalising hatred”. The Democratic Party has been in that covert business for years.

  17. Well written. I enjoy observations of high and low brow culture. Whilst not “yartz” writing, I miss the ratbaggery of the National Times and, for that matter, double and triple jay. Fairfax online is, to say the least, immensely shallow, and The Australian, has become Citizen Kane’s warped vision.

    1. It really all has gone to muck, hasn’t it, Peter? And, every generation says that about the present, of course. But, really. We are talking MISSING VERBS in the paper and lists of “ten times Hillary totally nailed it with her look” rather than any analysis, so I think we have a case.
      Thanks so much.

    1. Simon, really. Thanks so much. Money is a big thing to give. As I point out incessantly, the purchasing power of the typical Australian’s wage has plummeted over the last twenty years, so I really find every donation a small miracle. Happily, writers are now super cheap, so your money will go a long way 🙂

    1. THANK YOU, JON.
      (No one is asking me to say thank you. I am doing it because I am (a) avoiding getting my column in on time (b) I am genuinely fucking thankful.)

  18. Just kicked in H. Keep the fire in the belly and the words coming. Don’t know what I would do without DR, Crikey and New Matilda, the little mouse that roars, .


  19. Well Helen,

    It came to this. My wife and I have donated $20 between us, as we’re pensioners and that’s about what we could afford.
    Moind you, I had to raid the piggy bank in which I was saving up for our engagement ring, especially as you hadn’t quite said “yes”.
    I figure I can start saving up all over again. (No pressure, Helen.

    We enjoyed your heart-felt plea. That alone was worth the admission price.

    More power to your arm.

    James Gillard and Zanna Barnes-Gillard

    P.S. Written in collaboration with my wife..

    1. This is a note for Zanna alone:
      I wish to make it clear, dear Mrs Barnes-Gillard, that I am not responsible for your spouse’s several offers of marriage. I have told him that I am wed to the revolution, but still, every week, he comes back with his virtual ring.
      Even so, I do understand what an act of generosity it was for you to overcome your very understandable animosity toward me, your husband’s online mistress, and pony up with a donation.
      Really, many thanks. My love to the old fella!

  20. Oh dear, I don’t know whether to feel sad, at the plight of good writing/thinking, or humbled by the generosity of your readers. I suppose I shall have to kick in something, and not reluctantly, just forlornly.

    Goddamn, I think I have revealed in other posts that I definitely consider myself part of the privileged few (more by dumb luck than anything else, my intellect was chasing other things and accidentally some wealth found me, long story) so my comparatively paltry donation is much less than I could give without seeing me searching for my next meal. Ambivalence, whatever I give will be appreciated, and yet anything I give is less than adequate. Anything will appear Scrooge-like in comparison to the others, the pensioners and drifters here. Good luck to you all.

    “I don’t think our readers are interested in painters.”

    FMD. I once wrote a letter to the Editor of the SMH pointing out that another LTTE she had printed was incorrect in disabusing Elizabeth Farrelly of her views, as they had not taken a comma into account, and how that changed the meaning completely. Sorry, going on here, Grandpa Simpson-ish. What followed was successive emails between moi and said Editor explaining that she thought the other letter was fair. I tried to edumacate her on the use and meaning of commas, and she was completely befuddled, entirely unable to understand that they can change a sentence’s meaning by their placement. That is the current state of ‘quality’ journalism these days.

    If it’s ok with you HR, I’ll continue to look upon Pinter as mostly boring-as-bat-shit. Sure, everyone you study at school is, and perhaps I should investigate more, but I refuse. He has been lauded sufficiently by others, he don’t need me!

    Otherwise, carry on this weird and arcane way of making a living. I cannot understand why anyone would want to deconstruct Masterchef with reference to Pinter, I’m more a burn them damn elites if they ever show their faces kind of guy, but I’m happy to allow you your indulgences so I can also read your political manifests.

    You have taught me much.

  21. Why is it proving difficult to donate? Technology just shits me. I hope it went through, and in particular I hope it only went through once instead of the 5 times I had to click on the next page setting up an account which it didn’t want to take either as a current login or a new one, oh shit, everyone else has been able to do it and me, this giant freaking intellect, foiled by technology again.

    I’m so smart!

  22. I hope I have donated; it got too complicated. I love you and your mind and although a lot of what you write my uneducated mind cannot comprehend, I learn something through each piece
    Thank you, thank you

  23. It is done! For some reason it wasn’t easy, and I have had to lose the apostrophe in ‘Dogs’ to make it happen, but it is done. 🙂

  24. Helen, for what its worth Ive been listening to / readng your work since my uni days.
    You mentioned above a perception of having “fallen” from a success standpoint.

    I reckon that this is totally wrong, you’re still right up there, maybe not making the bucks but still a writer etc with a huge amount of talent on offer. Only a fool would not admire you. even if they dont agree with you from time to time.

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