Get yer signed copies of The Long and Winding Way to the Top RIGHT HERE!

Actual picture of the internet being the future of online shopping for my book.

Dear the Internet,

Short version: you can buy a signed’n’personalised copy of the forthcoming book RIGHT HERE!

Longer, APSier version: we all have people for whom we are obliged to buy an Xmas present yet no appropriate gift idea springs to mind. Fortunately this year THAT PROBLEM IS SOLVED because absolutely everyone – EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD THAT IS AUSTRALIA – will definitely not hate a copy of The Long and Winding Way To The Top: 50 (Or So) Songs That Made Australia!

It’s out in stores on November 22 and has chapters on all the songs your dad/mum/auntie/uncle/cousin/sibling/work colleague/neighbour/dog walker/copy editor loves! But why not go a step further and give them a signed and personalised copy?

Yes, thank to the wonder of ecommerce you can order a copy of the book from me and I will sign it, personalise it if you want, and then mail it to you, using nature’s The Post! Just whack the message/name of the person you want it made out to in the notes section at checkout and boom, done!

Books will be posted out after publication, and I’m going to cut off Xmas mailout at Dec 14 just because I don’t want to promise arrival for Xmas if I can’t deliver. Postage is Express Post for both speed and trackability.

Or, naturally, you can buy it in a shop and then chase me down in the street or a café or something and I’ll sign it for you with enthusiasm, unless I’m trying to feed m’son at the time because that’s a job that requires serious concentration.

And just finally: I’m so excited this is almost out. I’m pretty damn chuffed with this book and I think you’ll probably like it too. As will whoever you give it to: GUARANTEED!*

Yours ever,

APS

*Not remotely a guarantee.

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Say, have you missed my View from the Street column? Then MISS IT NO MORE!

Dear the Internet,

As you’ve probably noticed with the imminent release of The Long and Winding Way To The Top: 50 (Or So) Songs That Made Australiawhich is on shelves in mere weeks! – I’ve been writing a lot more about music of late – and also, somewhat gratifyingly, science (or more accurately SCIENCE!).

However, there’s still a part of my heart which is forever obsessed with Australian politics and after attempts to keep my snarky, lefty View from the Street column as part of the regular column-mix at Fairfax failed during their rationalisations earlier this year, I figured it was the end of it.

Except that I kept getting emails and Facebook messages from readers asking what was going on, which made me think that maybe I wasn’t the only person who missed it. And then when I idly suggested that I start doing columns again as a subscriber-thing on Patreon the response was overwhelmingly positive.

And it’ll only cost THIS MANY MONEYS!

So: last Friday I launched my new twice-a-week politics column, for which folks can subscribe for $3 a month, and the first one went up on Monday. And oh, it felt SO GOOD TO BE WRITING IT AGAIN.

So if you were a fan of V from the S, or the 10 Things column in the Vine that preceded it approximately a million years ago, then you can get it straight to your inbox or browser window simply by joining up here.

I’ve no idea whether this is the brave new crowdfunded future of journalism or a deluded ego trip as barking as a conspiracy theorist YouTube channel, but heck: it’s an excuse to look at the many, many, many wildly silly things happening in politics at the moment.

The posts will be publicly available after a week at the Patreon page, so if you’re reading this in at least six days time you should be able to see what happened back… um, now?

So if you’ve missed my snark, or just think that maybe politics could stand to be a bit kinder and smarter than the current cavalcade of up-fuckery, then come join the new thing. There’s some very nice people there.

Yours ever,

APS

 

 

 

Quick primer on what could happen this afternoon with the High Court

Dear the Internet,

So, the Citizenship Seven’s fate will be announced in a barely any time at all – at around 2.30pm, specifically – and it’s important to know what’s at stake here.

Less bloody than the likely outcome

First up, there’s the least-likely possibility in that everyone is found to be totes safe. Then the three Coalition MPS – deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and senators Matt Canavan and Fiona Nash – breathe a massive sigh of relief, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts smugly declares that he would have formed his own parliament anyway, NXT’s Nick Xenophon shrugs and keeps packing to move back to SA, and Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlum look foolish for resigning on principle but could theoretically return to parliament (which Waters would do and Ludlum seemingly would rather not).

So realistically this only affects the fate of four MPs: Joyce, Waters, Canavan and Roberts.

Roberts is easiest to surmise: he’s probably toast. His laughably inept attempts to “renounce” his UK citizenship via means other than the very clear and well-established process are unlikely to be read as being sufficient to the requirements of the Constitution, since “yelling I RENOUNCE THEE! to an obviously wrong email” isn’t one of the methods covered.

It’s the other three which are most interesting because they have the potential to be massive headaches for the government.

Let’s assume they’re all deemed ineligible. Then what?

First up, the government becomes a minority one: without Joyce they don’t have a majority in their own right in the Lower House. Depending on who is in the chamber, this means the government could have its own legislation thwarted, assuming the crossbench are up for a fight. Joyce will have to face a bruising by election which he will probably win, even with the current scandals surrounding his personal life, and things will go back to normal.

It’s the senators which are the big problem for the Coalition because they’re from Queensland: the state which doesn’t have Liberal and National MPs but one big mushed-up combination of both labelled LNP.

In practice what this means is that MPs and senators are all part of the one party, but in Canberra they either join the Liberal or National party room because they’re really not as close to each other as you’d think. And what happens on the Queensland senate ballot paper is that the LNP executive choose (for example) a Liberal at #1, a National at #2, a Liberal at #3, a National at #4, and so on down the list.

If Nationals Canavan and Nash are deemed ineligible, they’ll be replaced by the next person on the ballot. Except the person after each of them isn’t a National: it’s a Liberal.

That means that the Liberals suddenly gain two senators while the Nationals lose them – and both had frontbench positions, no less.  And this puts the barely-stable balance between the parties wildly out of whack.

The Nationals will demand that they be given frontbench representation. The Liberals will look at which Nationals are there that don’t already have a ministry – George Christensen, for example – and say “…um, how do you see that happening, exactly?”

So the government will have a choice: elevate people who don’t even have the incandescent talent and brilliance of Matt “My Mum Did It” Canavan to the front bench, or risk splitting the already-unstable Queensland LNP alliance. You know, the one already rocked by Attorney General George Brandis described them as “very, very mediocre” when he didn’t realise his mic was on.

In any case, the results are nigh. Get the popcorn ready!

Yours ever,

APS

PS: Want this sort of thing in your inbox a couple of times a week? Check out my brand new Patreon thing!

 

 

The new book has a cover and a title and a release date and a playlist!

Dear the Internet,

As promised, the third book is done. DONE!

It’s called The Long and Winding Way To The Top: 50 (or so) Songs That Made Australia, it’s out November 28 through Allen & Unwin, and it’s the perfect Xmas present for literally everyone in your life for whom you can’t think of something better to buy.

And to get your appetite whet, most of the songs mentioned in the book are in this here Spotify playlist – most get a full chapter, some just get referenced in some detail and a few aren’t on Spotify, annoyingly enough – which should bring you no end of joy. Aside from the genuinely awful songs on it, and there are a few.

I’m really proud of it, and it contains at least one really solid joke about wedge tailed eagles. How many other books on Australian music can say the same?

And if it seems like a wild left-turn from the previous books, there’s a similar spirit in there. These are horribly divided and aggressive times, and I think there’s value in pausing every so often and reflecting on things we can be proud of as Australians – and nothing does that for me like Australian music.

I say this in the book, but if you want to know what Australia was like at any point in history, you could do worse than to look at the records that were being made at the time. So this is something of a cultural history of the last 60-something years, told in a typically rambling and unnecessarily footnote-heavy way*.

I’ll link to pre-orders and any upcoming launch events as things fall into place, but be assured: it’s definitely a real thing and it’ll be on shelves TERRIFYINGLY SOON.

Yours ever,

APS

*Yes, there are SO MANY FOOTNOTES. I think there are as many in this as were in the first two books combined. My next book will be NOTHING BUT FOOTNOTES.

My final moments with Cassini, via the Guardian

Dear the Internet,

So, I was one of the 30 people selected to be present at the CSIRO/NASA-run Canberra Deep Space Communications Centre for the final moments of the Cassini probe last Friday (15 September) before it plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn. And it was one of the most emotional nights of my life.

I wrote about it before on this very blog, but I also wrote this piece for the Guardian, entitled Tracing Cassini’s fiery death was like watching a heart monitor flatline, which was written immediately after negotiating my white-knuckled way down the hillside from the CDSCC site in Tidbinbilla after multiple warnings from staff about the propensity of local kangaroos to hurl themselves at passing cars.

One thing that I’d like to highlight was this bit:

“Half an hour before the signal was due to vanish, the skies above the complex cleared and everyone trooped outside to where the DSS43 was pointed at Saturn, which looked like an unusually bright star in the western sky. By this point, the data of the final transmission had passed the orbit of Jupiter and was heading towards that of Mars.”

And here’s a pic I took of that moment:

It was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience, and a much-needed reminder that we’re really pretty amazing when we work together on problems together, we humans.

Yours ever,

APS

 

New article: Marriage Equality – a History of Avoidance

“This festival of dumbarsery began in 2004 when the government of John Howard decided to change the wording of the 1961 Marriage Act because it didn’t specify that the people being married could not be of the same gender. A line was added to make marriage “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”. And thus was an entirely avoidable political problem created.”

Even as you tick “yes” and send your voluntary survey ballot paper in THE VERY DAY you receive it, thanks, it’s important to remember the completely unnecessary bullshit that has brought us to this ugly point in Australian cultural and political history – and, importantly, the people who lied and keep lying to you about it.

That’s my new article at Rolling Stone Australia, Marriage Equality: A History of Avoidance.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: As anyone who listens to my’n’Dom Knight’s podcast The Double Disillusionists (available at Omny, or subscribe on iTunes) would be aware, the constant barrage of homophobic No arguments does a lot to send the message to LGBTIQ folks, especially young people, that they’re not welcome and not valued.

Therefore, I’m instituting a zero tolerance policy on my social media and this site: if you have a problem with marriage equality, you’re very welcome to rant about it somewhere else because I’m just going to delete anything hateful that’s submitted.

I don’t imagine that the sort of people wanting to check out an Andrew P Street website are huge No voters, to be honest, but in any case they don’t get to use my platform to spread their weird fears.

Yours ever,

APS

The new book is done! DONE! It has a title! It’ll be out for Xmas!

Dear The Internet,

I learned a very valuable lesson this year, and it is this: don’t pick the first six months of your debut child’s life as the perfect time to write a new book.

My son is many things: cute as a button, utterly hilarious, filled with a variety of fluids, destined to rule this planet and so on, but he’s also proved remarkably time consuming. To be clear, this is something which people did mention to me before he turned up, and I correctly figured there’d probably be a steep learning curve that started literally the second he turned up, but I had a cavalier faith in my ability to manage my time and multitask because I am a fool.

Pictured: the things that informed the book, and the thing that was enormously and marvellously distracting during the writing of it.

However, the book is done – I just went through the final edits and was genuinely chuffed with how well it read. I’ll say this for writing 80k words in the throes of sleep deprivation: it meant I read the finished product with fresh eyes, since I had zero recollection of writing most of it.

I’ll be doing a revamp of this site once I have a release date and cover art and so on, but the short version is:

  • It’s called The Long And Winding Way To The Top: 50 (or so) Songs That Made Australia
  • As with my previous two books, it will be published by the good people of Allen & Unwin
  • It’s the story of 50 (or so) songs that shaped Australian culture, either by capturing a moment in our history or by changing the national conversation in some way
  • Almost all of the songs are brilliant, much loved favourites that are part of our shared cultural heritage
  • At least one of the songs is genuinely, irredeemably ghastly
  • I tried like hell to ram several of my favourite songs into it and failed because I have a noble dedication to critical objectivity, but I’m hoping that I’ll find some other way to go on and on and on about why Models are and were such a pivotal Australian band who have never gotten their due. Also the Hummingbirds. Also the Falling Joys. Also [goes on like this for some time]
  • It’ll be out for Xmas and it’s exactly what you should buy your parents/colleagues/neighbours/sibling/other person you’re obliged to get something for if you can’t think of anything else to buy them
  • At the very, very least it’ll make one hell of a playlist of great Australian tunes that will play in your head unbidden simply by reading the contents
  • Every chapter is about a standard toilet visit long
  • I’m obviously biased, but I’m really proud of it

Hopefully it’s something that a very casual music listener can flip through and still enjoy, and if you’re a fan of the artist in question you’ll still find something out that you didn’t know.

There’ll probably be events launching it around the place, about which I shall endeavour to post. But just a reminder: you’re welcome to follow me on Facebook and Twitter if you want to know what’s happening generally.

And now, to get back into normal day-to-day writing again. Say, anything interesting happened in politics lately?

Yours ever,

APS