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.

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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