The War on Cheese

The Federal Government will launch a pre-emptive strike against the highly addictive drug ‘cheese’ to suppress its use in Australia with the launch of its $49m campaign ‘Freeze Cheese: It’s not Cool Fool.’ Cheese is a solid drug sourced from the milk of cows, goats and other mammals. Cheese is made by curdling milk using a combination of rennet (an enzyme obtained from the stomach lining of calves) and acidification. Its use has grown in Read more…

Cracked Head

The truck made it into town before being overtaken by its white exhaust plume. I’d been nursing it along for the last 40 k’s, one eye on the temperature gauge, the other on the shimmering road. It was flat out here, treeless and brown, so monotonously sunfucked that I’d seemed forever stuck to the same length of tacky road. I killed the engine and popped the hood, stepping out into the glaring heat. The slam Read more…

The Parkes Elvis Festival, NSW

The king of Parkes Elvis is in the building. He is roaming the streets, riding a throbbing motorcycle and reverse-parking his pink Cadillac beside the library. A trio of Elvises lurch by on stilts, dressed in white jumpsuits and red scarves, overtaking an Elvis in a purple body stocking and chunky gold sunglasses. The mob of bouffant hair and faux rhinestones surge along Clarinda Street, the main street of Parkes, towards Cooke Park, where the Read more…

How stressed are Melbournians? A walking test

Are Australians really the sunburnt slackers we like to think we are? Warwick Sprawson takes to the streets with a stopwatch to find out. Melbourne – rushed and rude Recently I bumped into a French tourist, André, while I was on holiday in southern NSW. André loved Australia – it was so different to France – not just the plants and animals but the attitude of the people. He thought Australians were gloriously relaxed and Read more…

Windmill Books

From: publisher@windmillbooks.com.uk To: dev074@fastmail.com.uk Subject: New Voices Award 2020 Dear Devin, Congratulations! You are the winner of Windmill Books’ inaugural New Voices Award! Your manuscript, with its vivacious writing and vivid characterisation, beat contenders from all around Australia. Everyone here at Windmill is really excited about working with you to publish your wonderful manuscript, The Bourgeois Collective. Would it be possible to come into our London office and meet the team? It would be good Read more…

The Last Card

The cigarette butts are sodden and autumn leaves cling to the footpath like starfish. When it’s cold and wet the thing is to keep moving. Walk, walk, walk. Walk away from the cold and the stomach pains, walk away from the hunger and vertiginous thoughts. But it’s hard today, I am so very tired. Yet I must continue. You never know when God is going to talk to you – today might be the day Read more…

The System

I try not to think about it. It’s like walking down stairs or riding a bike – if you think too much you’ll fuck it up. I take the ball, push the roulette wheel and flick the ball around the track in the opposite direction. The red and black numbers blur and the casino’s bright lights gleam off the wheel’s chrome spokes. I roll my shoulders, trying to dispel the tension that’s built waiting for Read more…

The Real Man

He stalked into the supermarket in a pair of shorts, their worn fabric, barely visible between his heavy gut and chunky thighs, like a rag stuffed into a corner of a couch. Stopping in front of the line of registers, he looked up at the aisle signs. Shoppers described caution-sized arcs around him, their dark winter coats in stark contrast to his smooth pale skin. I continued placing boxes of tea on the shelf. There Read more…

22 Minutes in the Life of Mikhail Mankov

The drips from the faucet thunk into the stained sink, doling out time like a miser. The smell of cabbage soup fills the flat. Aleksandr says the photo will be sold in 22 minutes. He is selling it on the computer, some kind of novyj bidding thing. He says the highest bid so far is 2000 roubles, 70 US dollars. Two thousand roubles is an insult. Not enough money for a coffin let alone the Read more…

The Long Night

Monday I was in the mall when the lights died. Without the fluorescents the shopping centre looked as grim as a concrete toilet block. Still, people weren’t fazed. They made for the exits in festive moods, chatting like the blackout was a celebrity they were too cool to acknowledge. We all like a little drama in our lives. Not too much, just a pinch; a bit of mild flooding, some fearsome wind, a sudden deluge Read more…