What I’m doing on Patreon! Long and Winding Way To The Top stuff! Things what are happening generally!

Dear the Internet,

We did it, humanity! We made it to 2018! Looked pretty iffy for a while there, but we got there in the end. Good on us!

This is a bit of an update just in case anyone’s popping by this site wondering what the actual hell I’m up to, which is a fair question.

Short version: still writing a lot for for loads of places, including getting sciency at Cosmos Magazine, being snide about Australian property at Domain, talking dad stuff at Direct Advice for Dads, ranting about music in The Australian and doing all sorts of other bits and pieces. You’re very welcome to follow me on Twitter and Facebook in order to be occasionally prodded about whatever stuff has been published that might pique your interest.

But right now the big stuff is as follows:

THRICE-WEEKLY LEFTY SCREEDS ON PATREON!

Three times a week I do a little rant about whatever eye-catching stuff is going on in politics, much as I did with my old View from the Street column in the Sydney Morning Herald but, typically, with rather more swearing and gifs of Spider-man.

If you’d like to try before you buy you can read almost everything that’s been written so far FOR FREE! at my Patreon page, since they’re available to everyone after a week. But if you’d rather not wait seven days for my hot takes on whatever dumbarsery has just happened in Canberra then you can subscribe and get it right to your inbox the second I publish – and it will cost you a mere $3 per month! (That’s US, since it’s an American site. So… $3.26, at the current rates? Man, that’s still stupidly cheap).

Come embrace the terrifying subscriber-led future of tomorrow’s journalism – today!

THE LONG AND WINDING WAY TO THE TOP!

Look, if you’d had a book launch where Jimmy Barnes cuddled your one year old son, you’d shamelessly post photos of it too.

My third book The Long and Winding Way to the Top: Fifty (Or So) Songs that Made Australia is getting very nice reviews and being totally buyable at shops, including Big W which is weird, and through people like Booktopia. And, of course, the indie bookstores that are the nation’s literary lifeblood.

If you’re interested in knowing what the actual hell it’s about, Rolling Stone have a nice thing about it, and the Age/SMH published an edited excerpt of some chapters. Oh, and here’s a Spotify playlist of lots of the things in it. And if you missed my appearance on Conversations on ABC radio discussing it with the genuinely magnificent Richard Fidler, then you can listen to it right now!

And, of course, you can buy a signed and personalised copy directly from me right here. It’s the perfect gift for that person for whom you can’t think of anything else to get!

And while everyone’s going on about Australia/Invasion Day in increasingly strident tones, it’s a nice reminder that Australian music is one thing about which we can all be unambiguously proud. Goddamn, we have some amazing artists – and fifty (or so) of them get celebrated in m’book.

AND THERE’S A NEW THING COMNG!

…which I will let you know about shortly, honestly. God, this is already shaping up to be a frantic year.

It’s nice to have you around, you know. Thanks for being there: I literally couldn’t do a damn thing without you.

Yours ever,

APS

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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.

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

 

 

 

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.

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

 

What’s the most significant Australian song?

Dear the Internet,

So it’s been a long, long while since I updated this site. And that reason for the silence is fairly straightforward. He looks like this:

My phone more or less exists entirely as a daily archive of JPS photos these days.

James Peter Street turned up on New Years Eve and has been busy being the best thing in the entire universe. And being awfully distracting from the many, many things his father has to do.

So, if you haven’t been following me on Twitter or Facebook – and you totally can do those things – you might assume that I’ve not been spending the fleeting hours when James is briefly asleep madly writing columns (such as the View from the Street column at the Sydney Morning Herald) and/or doing podcasts. But rest assured: that’s what’s been going on.

(Speaking of which: the next live recording of the Double Disillusionists podcast with m’self and the charming and erudite Dom Knight is at Redfern’s Giant Dwarf on Tuesday 2 May, with special guests Mark Humphries of SBS’s The Feed and the former premier of NSW, Kristina Kenneally! Tickets are on sale now, and if we do say so ourselves it’s going to be a great one.)

But on the subject of writing: I’m working on a book at the moment about Australian music – yes, the one that got mentioned about a year ago, before I got completely sidetracked by The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull – and I was wondering… what would you say was the most culturally significant Australian song ever?

Not necessarily your favourite, you understand – but the one that you think either changed things or signified a significant moment in our culture. ‘Treaty’? ‘Khe Sahn’? ‘Friday On My Mind’? ‘Cattle & Cane’? ‘Man Overboard’? ‘Down Under’? ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’? ‘Shaddap You Face’?

The book, y’see, will be the 50(ish) songs that shaped Australia, and I’ve got a long, long list which I’m still winnowing down. And you, beloved reader, could be part of that process, either by making me feel better about my choices and/or reminding me of something I completely, bafflingly overlooked.

The comments are yours: what are the songs that shaped our nation?

Cheers,

APS

My email to the Salvation Army, regarding their statement on Safe Schools

This email was sent to the Salvation army (nsc@aus.salvationarmy.org) on 5th December 2016. Since their statement regarding their non-support for the Safe Schools programme was made in public, I’ve decided to make mine public as well.

Dear Salvation Army email reader,

In these straitened times it’s hard to work out where an engaged citizen should send their charitable donations, and so I want to thank you for making that decision easier.

I have previously donated to the Salvation Army in recognition of your homeless outreach work, but that decision will be changed having read your public statement regarding Safe Schools.

safe-schools-logoIn this statement you make clear that the organisation does not support the programme on the grounds that it discriminates in favour of LGBTIQ children*: a baffling argument given that you simultaneously acknowledge that these children experience higher rates of bullying, self-harm and suicide in the previous paragraph.

To argue that an anti-bullying programme is inadequate because it helps the people disproportionately affected by bullying is a bizarre and inconsistent argument, and looks awfully like discrimination against people based on their sexuality and sexual identity.

It’s one thing to hold that opinion privately, but it’s quite another to make a public statement on the matter.

Clearly, the organisation wishes the public to take their position seriously and to make decisions on that basis, or you wouldn’t have issued a statement to this effect. And so I will respectfully take you at your word.

Therefore, I will no longer be supporting the Salvation Army.

There is nothing remotely Christlike about putting children at risk – an especially bad look, given the revelations in September of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse with regards your organisation’s historic failure to protect children.

I urge you to reconsider your position, but in the meantime I will be putting my resources toward organisations that do not put conditions on which children are worthy of love, respect, and protection.

Yours in disappointment,

Andrew P Street

*The statement declares “We believe the availability of support services for every vulnerable student including those identifying as LGBTIQ is vital. We also believe the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups.” Thus the criticism of Safe Schools appears to be that it doesn’t deal with other high risk groups – which the statement neglects to identify – in favour of the one high risk group which it explicitly acknowledges.