Kesha feels the love after court ruling

BY DAVID LINDSAY

It was a sad day in court for pop sensation Kesha and women’s rights everywhere after a New York judge ruled on Friday that the teary and distraught singer would not be released from a recording contract with Sony Music and the producer she claimed was sexually and mentally abusing her for years.

Terrorist attack “inevitable”

BY BRIM GARRETT @iusecomicsans

Acts of terrorism in Australia are ‘inevitable’, a counter-terrorism expert and military strategist has warned.

Dr David Kilcullen, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army and counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, also said that anyone who thinks the threat can be stamped out is “living in a dream land”.

Dr. David Kilcullen, counterinsurgency adviser to General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, in 2007. Photo: Spc. Chris McCann/Wikimedia Commons
Dr. David Kilcullen was counterinsurgency adviser to General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, in 2007. Photo: Spc. Chris McCann/Wikimedia Commons

“The question is: how bad will it be, how will we respond, how will we focus on consequence management and on recovery from that kind of attack?” Dr Kilcullen said.

On the episode of Q&A, which aired Monday night, an audience member asked why the western world was not adopting the Israeli mentality and cracking down hard on extremist and terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. Another panellist, Federal minister assisting the Prime Minister Michael Keenan, responded that the force Australia was employing was equal to the threat it is facing, and rejected the notion of heavily enforcing violence against the acts. He added that security problems faced by Israel were worse than in Australia.

Dr Kilcullen said on radio station 3AW last week that the chances of another terrorist attack in the future are “one hundred percent”.

“I don’t mean to be pessimistic but I do think we need to be realistic that if you think that the government can protect you from any kind of terrorist attack, you’re living in a dream land,” he said.

Mr Keenan noted that although three local terror attacks have taken place, Australian agencies have stopped a further six.

 

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE:

 

Samsung unveils new Galaxy S7

The brand new Galaxy S7 Edge. Photo: Facebook

BY JAMIE TOOMEY @jamietoomeylive

The brand new Galaxy S7 Edge. Photo: FacebookSamsung has unveiled its new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, the company’s new flagship smartphones for the first quarter of 2016.

The phones include state of the art cameras with low light performance, built-in IP68 waterproofing,  and a 30 per cent faster CPU.  The micro SD card slot for expandable storage also returns to the new models.

The phones will come in two varieties, the 5.2 inch Galaxy S7 and the 5.5 inch Galaxy S7 Edge and come with a selection of either 32GB or 64GB built-in storage.

Pre-orders for the phones start as early as the end of February, with a March 11 release date.

Interview with The Guru: 10 questions with Dave Faulkner

Dave Faulkner is the singer/guitarist of legendary Australian band Hoodoo Gurus. He currently writes about music for The Saturday Paper. He chooses to write about alternative and relatively unheard of artists, introducing them to a broader audience. Two of his recent articles feature Melbourne post-punk act Gold Class and Newcastle producer Szymon. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave this month and learned a thing or two about both the music and journalism industries. By ANDREW READ

Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner. Photo: Facebook
Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner. Photo: Facebook

How did you get into journalism? Was The Saturday Paper your first journalism job?

Initially the role of music critic for The Saturday Paper was offered to Tim Freedman. Tim expressed misgivings about the demands of the job and he recommended that I help share the workload. I had never done anything like it before but Tim had enjoyed reading my acerbic comments about music in emails when we were both serving as judges for the Australian Music Prize (the AMP), a role that I still perform today. After contributing one review to The Saturday Paper, Tim decided to step aside for a while to concentrate on a stage show he was devising about Harry Nilsson and I have continued doing it in his stead ever since. I’m not sure why Tim hasn’t contributed any more articles since his first one but he was very complimentary about my writing when a rang me after my second review was published, something I very much appreciated at the time. As you can see, I pretty much “fell” into the role. If The Saturday Paper’s editor had approached me alone I probably would have declined the offer.

Are there any specific journalists or articles that made you want to get into writing?

To be honest, no. I’ve enjoyed reading a lot of music journalism, in particular Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer but, as a musician myself, I’ve often felt I’ve been misunderstood or treated shabbily by “hacks”. There is a great deal of suspicion, if not enmity, between musicians and the critics who are appointed to sit in judgement upon them. 

Your artist choice is always great — often not mainstream, but still appealing to a broad audience. What’s your usual process of deciding a topic/artist to review?

I just write about the albums and artists I enjoy. They may be artists that are familiar to me or ones I’m discovering for the first time. I discuss my choices with my editor but we have an implicit understanding that I will only review albums that I really like. I would find it too difficult to do anything else. I’ve always had a very broad taste in music, something that would probably surprise people given my long, single-minded career spent writing for my band, Hoodoo Gurus. Being able to “turn on” the readers to a wide variety of music has been one of the pleasures of this (part-time) job. I have no rules about age, era or genre, and I will happily talk about an interesting reissue from a long-established artist one week and a debut album from a neophyte the next. The only thing i won’t do is review an album simply because the rest of the music industry (or a vocal part of it) deems “important”. A lot of contemporary music, whether mainstream or “indie” (a term I hate), feels like a rehash to me and I steer clear of it. That said, I do feel an obligation to keep pushing our readers towards new music and I search high and low to find records that inspire me amongst the deluge of new releases. I strongly believe that great music can be discovered in any genre or era, including the current 

Did you used to write back in the early days of Hoodoo Gurus? Ever written an interview with yourself to get published for band promotion?

No, the only prose I’ve written since leaving high school has been the liner notes for a couple of our albums, oh, and a lot of Facebook posts on the Hoodoo Gurus page.

How is the current state of the music scene in Sydney? What’s the difference between here and Melbourne?

Music is always in a state of crisis, particularly since the advent of wholesale theft of artist’s work online. That Pandora’s Box will remain open, unfortunately, and for most artists their survival depends entirely on their ability to make money through performing live. Melbourne appears to have a healthier live scene than Sydney but Sydney’s is certainly vibrant and nothing to sneeze at. A flourishing community of musicians can lead to interesting collaborations but it can also lead to a self-congratulatory “groupthink” (everyone says so-and-so is good so they must be). Most of the interesting artists and art throughout history has been created outside the mainstream by mavericks and pioneers who ignored prevailing wisdom and sidestepped obstacles they found in their way. To be blunt, I’ve heard a lot of boring music coming out of Melbourne from people celebrated by their peers and the Melbourne “music mafia”. Unlike viticulture, geographical origin is no guarantee of quality.

Journalists and police ministers saying Sydney’s ‘live music industry is dead’ is a big hindrance to the success of the city’s live music scene. What are the differences between the industry now and in the 70’s and 80’s in Sydney/Australia? Any ideas on what would improve Sydney’s music culture to help it thrive?

This is too big a subject to answer in a couple of sentences. Here’s a link to a keynote address I gave on the subject two years ago at Sydney Town Hall as part of the City Conversations series presented by the Sydney City Council.

Hoodoo-Gurus-roof-top_t620

Of all the songs you’ve written, which is your favourite? And what makes that one stand out in your mind?

I don’t have any favourites, but I always use ‘What’s My Scene?’ as a textbook example of what I consider my strengths as a songwriter: a strong melody matched with economical, comprehensible lyrics (conversational in style). Lots of energy and momentum in every department.

What is a great piece of writing you have read recently?

I’m frequently amazed by the journalism I find in The Saturday Paper. I know that sounds glib but it’s true. In particular, the recent series of articles focusing on the inhuman conditions people have experienced in our government’s offshore refugee detention centres have been remarkable.

There are so many clickbait style ‘news’ sites out there now. Are there any bad journo techniques or styles that frustrate you, or any things that future journalists should avoid doing?

Superficiality is a curse. Lightness of touch is a gift. If you can balance those two opposing forces you’re doing well. I have no advice to offer on journalistic ethics than to be scrupulously honest with yourself first and foremost, the rest will follow naturally from there. The question for anyone is always, does it pass the sniff test?

Any advice for journalists wanting to get a job in the industry?

I have no journalism-specific career advice other than what I would give anyone embarking on any career: don’t do it simply because you can, do it because you just can’t stop yourself. A couple of quick clichés to finish: 1. The ends don’t justify the means, but the means should justify the ends. 2. Starting a career is easy, sustaining one is the challenge.

Q&A: Paola Totaro, gun for hire

Paola in Italy with Antoine, who migrated from the Ivory Coast. Photo: Ella Pellegrini (click on the photo for more photos from Ella's website)
Paola in Italy with Antoine, who migrated from the Ivory Coast. Photo: Ella Pellegrini (click on the photo to see more of Ella’s work)

Paola Totaro (@p_totaro) is an Australian freelance journalist living in London. She writes for numerous media organisations including Fairfax, News Corp, The Guardian, The Independent, the BBC and Tina Brown’s Women in the World in the New York Times. One of Paola’s powerful stories this year reveals the exploitation of immigrants working in the lucrative tomato industry in Italy, the world’s third-largest exporter of tinned tomatoes. She also broke the story of alleged safety and security breaches resulting from cost-cutting at the Australian embassy in Iraq, featured in a series of front-page stories in The Australian.

Paola has been nominated for a prestigious Walkley Award twice, and has just finished two years as president of the London-based Foreign Press Association. She spoke with JASMINE SUTHERLAND (@JazMamone)

What is your role in the media industry?

I am currently a freelance foreign correspondent, living and working in London. I arrived in the British capital in 2008 as Europe Correspondent for the SMH and The Age and when I was asked to return to head office, chose to remain in the UK to freelance. I now work for anyone, a kind of gun for hire, and am in the unusual position of working for both Fairfax and Murdoch (The Aus etc.) as well as The Guardian, BBC, NYT and other publications (or whoever will take my story pitches!) A sample of my work is on my journalism page at www.paolatotaro.com

What tasks are you given in this role?
I primarily pitch my own stories although increasingly, I am asked to conduct interviews and cover stories in the UK and Europe when the staff correspondents are busy or in the field, I interview, profile, cover breaking news – pretty much anything needed and often at a moment’s notice.

What experiences have you had working as a journalist?
I have 25 years working as a journalist and editor under my belt. I’ve interviewed Prime Ministers, covered elections in places as far away as East Timor and Italy, travelled on a plane with the Pope, been the only Australian journalist in Westminster Abbey when William and Kate married. It’s been a blast. And continues to be! Yesterday, I went to dinner at Gray’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court that from medieval days trained barristers before they were called to the bar. I met a good number of the British High Court judges and when they are having a drink and relaxing it’s great fun! I also now that some of my most rewarding work has been telling the stories of those who are less fortunate, in refugee camps, in prisons, the homeless, victims of crime and more. Journalism allows you to be comfortable talking to anyone – and finding stories in every human being.

How did you become a journalist, and how old were you when you started?
It was a fluke. I was studying arts at Sydney Uni and decided to defer in my third year (I was also doing law and I hated it). I worked for a small media company and wrote a little piece about cliques at uni. My boss liked it and unbeknown to me, sent it to the SMH. I was called in for an interview and offered a three year cadetship. I never, ever looked back. (And finished my degree aged 41!). Two years ago, I went and did a Master’s with my redundancy money from the SMH! I started at the age of 21 at the SMH.

Is there any advice you would give to a future journalist who is looking to pursue the same career?
Write. Write. Don’t talk about writing. Write. And don’t fear asking questions. Be uninhibited, ballsy, and write some more.

Paola filing a story from St Peter's Square in Rome. Photo courtesy Paola Totaro
Paola filing a story from St Peter’s Square in Rome. Photo courtesy Paola Totaro