'The Nut Job', by John Van Tiggelen

Photograph by flydime, via Wikimedia Commons. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.

Dr Sammy, as my kids know him, is a Woody Allen-ish hypochondriac, which lends him a slightly unnerving ‘been-there-felt-that’ manner. During a consultation he’ll peer at you over the rim of his glasses as if to say, ‘Do you really need to be here?’ He’s never more droll than when ruling something out, like antibiotics for a cold, or depression. And if you present with a suspicious lump, he’ll smile and tut-tut: “Ha! I get cancer once a week!”

Dr Sammy looms large for the men of my town. He has been the go-to for vasectomies for so long, he’s the de facto town planner. But the town, thanks in part to his scissor-hands, is a small one. Horror stories flourish. There’s the one about the chap who lost a testicle. There’s another about a bloke who gained one. Still, Dr Sammy can’t have botched too many procedures, or perhaps he’d be known as Dr Balls-Up, instead of Sammy the Slasher.

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'How Giraffes Die', by Emily Meller

Public domain photograph from pixabay.com.

1. In the flat, open, dry savanna plains of sub-Saharan Africa, roaming giraffes routinely get struck by lightning and die.

2. When it enters the neck, around thirty thousand amps of energy surges through the body, singeing fur and causing the heart to beat itself to death.

3. In 2010 Hamley, the principal actor in TV series, Wild At Heart, wandered away from his pack and was struck by lightning and killed, all alone. He was aged seven years old. At the building where the series was filmed, Hamley would walk to the first floor window to have his ears scratched by fellow cast members.

4. Some experts say they are more susceptible because their stretched patchwork necks are perfect vectors for wayward storm energy, and that the space between their long legs makes it easy for the electricity to flow through their bodies. Others say it’s just a matter of chance.

5. I got taken to Taronga Zoo on a date, as a romantic gesture, even though as a pending vegan I was not sure I liked the idea of a zoo. As we walked through the gates, I imagined how a real vegan would have refused, forfeited the tickets, risked being ‘difficult’. Instead I went along and only winced quietly at the animals pacing their confines, wondering whether they realise they are trapped or just think boredom is part of life. I wonder if they ever worry about it.

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Featured Contributor: Roger Nelson

browcontribs:

Roger Nelson is an independent curator, and a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne researching Cambodian contemporary art. He publishes internationally on Southeast Asian contemporary art, and recently spoke on Cambodian performance at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Read Roger’s columns in TLB 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 23.

Featured Contributor: Roger Nelson

browcontribs:

Roger Nelson is an independent curator, and a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne researching Cambodian contemporary art. He publishes internationally on Southeast Asian contemporary art, and recently spoke on Cambodian performance at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Read Roger’s columns in TLB 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 23.

An Interview with Nicolás Casariego

 

There’s nothing quite like the price of tobacco in Australia to spark conversation with an international guest to the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. Nicolás Casariego (Madrid, 1970) author of the recently translated Antón Mallick Wants To Be Happy (Hispabooks, 2014) was blown away not only by the duty-free restrictions on cigarettes but also by the tawdry, brandless packaging imposed on Australian retailers. It’s the way of the future, he laments, pulling an indistinguishable cigarette from the packet and lighting it with a well-travelled Bic lighter drawn from the breast-pocket of a stylish sportscoat.

That perhaps sums up the peculiar mix of pragmatism and romanticism that shone through in our conversation at a café on Spring Street. The author expressed pleasure at having worked in collaboration with translator Thomas Bunstead on Antón Mallick, but also acknowledged that a foray into the English-language market is something every Spanish writer working today looks forward to. Casariego says that when writing the novel, which appeared originally in Spanish in 2010, he employed a style and rhythm that he thought could be easily conveyed in translation.

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Out Now! The Lifted Brow: Digital, Volume Twelve, Issue Two: The Deleted Rivers Edition

Cover art by Jr.Blue/LashnaTuschewski.

‘Not another literature magazine,’ we hear you thinking as another thick wad of paper lands on your doorstep, ‘where am I going to store all these things?’ Fear not: the Deleted Rivers Edition of The Lifted Brow: Digital is available now on your Apple device, and it‘s just begging to be put in touch with your eyeballs.

In this issue: Harriet McKnight visits Opouri Bay; new poetry from Mark Cugini; Benjamin Kunkel charts Patagonia; Jo Langdon is Somewhere Close; and James Robert Douglas interviews director Amiel Courtin-Wilson.

Here’s a bit more about our contributors:

  • Harriet McKnight is a writer from Melbourne. She is also the Deputy Editor of The Canary Press.
  • Mark Cugini is an American-born poet living in America. He is the author of I’m Just Happy To Be Here (Ink Press 2014) and the Managing Editor of Big Lucks Books. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hyperallergic, Pinwheel, Sink Review, Hobart, BOAAT, and numerous other publications. From July 20th to August 27th, he was the #1 ranked player of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
  • Jo Langdon was the inaugural winner of the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction in 2013. She is the author of a chapbook of poetry, Snowline (2012), and is is currently studying as a doctoral candidate with Deakin University’s School of Communication and Creative Arts, where she also teaches in Literary Studies & Professional and Creative Writing.
  • James Robert Douglas is a freelance cultural critic and Interviews Editor at The Lifted Brow.
  • Benjamin Kunkel is the author of Indecision, a novel; Utopia or Bust, a collection of political essays; and Buzz, a play. He writes frequently for The London Review of Books and is a founding editor of n+1 magazine.
  • Cover art by Lashna Tuschewski, an artist working in illustration, embroidery, collage, hand made jewellery, and ceramics.

The Lifted Brow: Digital is available on your preferred iOS device – get the app now.

Evolution is not just a theory

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That big old beardo Charles Darwin once wrote: “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” We say: shut up Charles Darwin! Who you calling weak or dumb? Not us, surely, because TLB is not and has never been about survival—we’re all about thriving! And jiving. High-fiving! Skin-diving.

You may have heard whispers of the massive change that is about to happen at TLB. We’re about to  s h a k e  things up—in pretty big ways for such a small and excellent and truly madly deeply humble publication/organisation as us.

But, firstly: please know that progress doesn’t mean crappy transmogrification! Since our inception in 2007, The Lifted Brow (both as a single print publication, and then a set of publications, and then as an arts organisation) has morphed and expanded to feature writers and artists from Australia and the world, always to both a national and international audience. Our changes continue in this vein; the traits that have been central to TLB—the championing of top quality writing and art, irreverence, independence, experimentation, transparency, accessibility, interestingness—will never be jettisoned.

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An illustration by Ben Juers from The Lifted Brow #24: The Medicine Issue.

benjuers:

The new Medicine Issue of the Lifted Brow is out!!! I was heaps chuffed to be asked to do the illustrations for the Middlebrow section cos Ben Urkowitz did the last batch and he’s my favourite Ben apart from me! Anyway, this is one of those. There’s seven more in the magazine. This one accompanies a piece about Healthy Harold. If you didn’t grow up in Australia, Healthy Harold was this giraffe who lived in a van and warned kids about eating too many drugs. I think it was a community service thing.

An illustration by Ben Juers from The Lifted Brow #24: The Medicine Issue.

benjuers:

The new Medicine Issue of the Lifted Brow is out!!! I was heaps chuffed to be asked to do the illustrations for the Middlebrow section cos Ben Urkowitz did the last batch and he’s my favourite Ben apart from me! Anyway, this is one of those. There’s seven more in the magazine. This one accompanies a piece about Healthy Harold. If you didn’t grow up in Australia, Healthy Harold was this giraffe who lived in a van and warned kids about eating too many drugs. I think it was a community service thing.

'Blurred Lines', by Tammy Ruggles

Landscape 1 by Tammy Ruggles.

Art and blindness are not often associated with each other, but both have always been a natural part of my life. I wasn’t born blind. In fact, I’m not completely, totally blind right now: I’m ‘legally blind’, which means I have just enough vision to be dangerous.

I was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a blinding disease that robs you of your sight over time. I can make out general, blurry shapes and colours during the day, but at night I see total blackness, except for a few blurry lights here and there. And the moon.

It took years to become legally blind. A friend of mine once remarked that he would just as soon go blind all at once and get the adjustment period over with. But it wasn’t that way with me. I was given my first pair of glasses at the age of two, and my vision only went downhill from there. In elementary school, I had to sit at the front desk in order to see the chalkboard. With RP comes night blindness, so I always had to hold onto someone’s arm or jacket sleeve when I was out at night. In some ways I felt limited, but now I realise that was just insecurity seeping in. At times it was hard for me to ask for help, or have anyone know I had a visual impairment, especially when it came to dating. Sometimes I’d be on a date at night in a car, and could only judge how it was going by what he said or how he said it, instead of seeing the expression on his face or seeing his gestures.

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