‘The Menzies Era’ – drinking game and review review


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Former PM of Australia John Howard loves Menzies. He loves Menzies so much, in 2014 he released a 630 page tome about Menzies’ impact on Australia. No Award doesn’t have time to read 630 pages written by a white man about another white man in order to review it for you, so instead we’re going to review the existing reviews of people who could be bothered reading 630 pages a white man wrote about another white man. (Please note: actual tome is 720 pages in length, but only 630 of those pages are biography.)

Rules of reviewing Howard’s Menzies:

  • You have to play the Howard’s Menzies drinking game.
  • Every time someone mentions that Australia was “cheated” by the slandering of Menzies: drink.
  • Every time someone says it was Keating’s fault that Menzies is viewed badly by Australian history: drink.
  • Every time a review says ‘Menzies had his bad points’ but fails to mention that thought Nazism wasn’t that bad: drink.
  • Every time a conservative waxes rhapsodic about Gough’s sweet kisses: drink.
  • Every time someone mentions how amazing John Howard was: drink.
  • Every time someone references light: drink. Drink twice if that light is on a hill.
  • Every time someone mentions a personal anecdote about Menzies or Howard: drink.

Spoilers: Stephanie’s favourite review is the Quadrant one. You’ll know why when you get there. Special mention to the Canberra Times review, for amazingness that we will be discussing later. #regionaldystopia

Overall, Steph has learnt from this process that she maintains a bias in regards to Menzies and his years, and she’ll be damned if she’ll let some baby boomer (or older) take that bias away from her.

Reviewer’s note: None of these reviews are linked, because Steph doesn’t want the bounceback to NA. However you have been presented with all the details you need to google them.

Continue reading

red the blood of angry linkspams


No Award is a bit all over the place at the moment; Steph’s computer died a death by drowning in tea, and Liz is right this very moment moving abodes. So have some things to read.

California is about to run out of water. Actual water thefts are occurring. The dystopia is now. (Trick statement: you already knew that) The post contains some great infographics and stats and things for your water dystopia needs.

This post at The Hoopla about Margie Abbott makes some interesting points, but Steph struggled to post this because it’s about Margie Abbott, and it made her feel like some sort of traitor to be pointing to something that is, even tangentially, favourable about Tony Abbott. And then she realised, that’s the point. As the article points out, she’s more than the headline about losing weight. She’s more than Tony Abbott’s wife. To reduce her from who she is down to what she is does her a disservice, even if she’s married to an absolute turd.

Great article by Bec Shaw at KYD: TERF War: Transphobia in the LGBTIQ community.

How technology led a hospital to give a patient 28 times his dosage. FASCINATING.

My boss brought a machete to a staff meeting at Captain Awkward.

The hidden tricks of powerful persuasion.

It’s getting cold! If you can, please help fund Winter Survival packs for homeless Melbilbies.

Did we mention Steph and Liz are in a book? Steph and Liz both have stories in Cranky Ladies of History, available now from Fablecroft. Read it, it’s great.

australian gothic


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A thing happened on tumblr on Wednesday – tumblr user korvidian started writing South East Queensland Gothic. Now we are all playing! After today, No Award, you are on your own, but for those of you who aren’t on tumblr and therefore have yet to fall down this hole of gothic glory, here is what we’ve found so far:

where it started, in South East Queensland, pt 1, pt 2, pt 3.

federal politics gothic 

a change.org petition that you signed sends an update. when you click to open the email, a staticky voice hisses from the speakers. ‘budget cuts, budgets cuts, budgets cuts,’ it whispers.



Perth (by Steph, deep in the haze of she should sleep)

Melbourne pt




More SEQ, and more

General Australia 1 and 2

Indigenous points + SOSBlakAustralia


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Let’s start with something uplifting: a compilation of rallies across the world calling for No Forced Closure of Remote Communities. Yay to everyone who was able to show their support, in whatever way they could!

Residents leaving WA settlement ‘amid fears of closure.’

“They’re gone, they’ve just taken off,” Mr Kopp said.

“People are just looking for another place to move on to because they’re just frightened.

“It makes me sad too, that’s all my family too, all moving away from their country.”

Our government is driving people from their lands, through fear, through threats, through actual humans rights abuses.

Funding cuts to Aboriginal Legal Services.

At Fieldnotes and Footnotes (and if you’re not following their twitter, you are missing out), A brief history of recent Government attacks. Withdrawing, withholding and rescinding…

No Award love museums, and yet: Reclaiming our cultural heritage.

For a brief period it seemed the Djar Djar Wurrung tribe had outmanoeuvred the two museums. The British Museum insisted that the Melbourne Museum take legal action against the Dja Dja Wurrung to lift the emergency declaration immediately. The Melbourne Museum became terrified that this reclaiming of stolen artefacts would jeopardise its future loan ability from other international museums, despite recognition in Australian law of the need to protect Aboriginal ownership of stolen cultural property. So bowing to pressure from the British Museum, the influential and well-resourced Melbourne Museum took the Dja Dja Wullung people to court, Dr Foley resigned and later the federal government rescinded the Protection Act.

From SOSBlakAustralia, a printable sign.

Two pieces from New Matilda: NITV National News to be spiked by June; and Beyond Dot Paintings.

reasons why i, a cyclist



Reasons why I, a cyclist, am on the road right now

The bike lane is full of pot holes and broken beer bottles.

There is a car parked in the bike lane.

There is a car poking out of the bike lane.

It’s a car’s fault.

There is no bike lane.

The bike lane is effectively the gutter, and that’s not safe.

A gutter made of cobblestones.

This is Sydney Road.

The bike lane is basically 100% drains.

The bike lane is full of parked/stopped cars/temporary road signs

Reasons why I, a cyclist, appear to be breaking the law right now

The bike lane just disappeared and this is a four lane road. Damn right I’m on the footpath.

It is actually legal for a bike to cycle on the road.

I can’t set these road lights off.

It’s much, much safer this way.

I’m sorry about that time I clipped your mirror while squeezing between the cars. Moving to the bike box is actually legal for me to do. Consider leaving enough space for me to do so.


stephanie in a rainbow skirt riding a bike on a road with a building in the background

bikes definitely allowed here

I locked my bike to this sign because you didn’t put in any bike parking, whilst you did decide on eleven trillion car spots.

I locked my bike to this sign because the bike parking that Council installed has been obscured by cafe seating.

I’ve been to train stations, I know how cars park when there aren’t any spots. I’m practically unobtrusive right now.

Reasons why you, a driver of a four wheeled vehicle of death and steel, are wrong

No, we shouldn’t register bikes.

There are more cyclists than cars okay.

Actually I can take up the whole lane in the roundabout; no, don’t honk at me for it.
You’re just jealous you can’t jaywalk in a car.

I also pay taxes that pay for these roads.

You should actually be happy, I pay approximately the same amount of tax as you do at a significantly lower infrastructure cost.

Really, I’m saving you money.

Not to mention, otherwise I could be driving a car, and if I was I’d be in front of you, because I’m a chirpy morning person.

(I’m mostly a chirpy morning person because I’m riding my bike, but still)

Registration doesn’t pay for roads, it pays for insurance when you hit someone, which statistically you will (our insurance scheme in Victoria is actually quite good). It’s really very hard to kill someone running into them with a bike, it’s a lot like running into them really fast with your legs. I bought insurance anyway, because I’m a responsible adult.

I know you’re in a rush, and how if you weren’t stuck in traffic you’d be there by now. Instead of getting aggressive consider riding a bike.

I’m also sorry about the time I didn’t stop in time and clipped the back of your car when you pulled out without a lot of notice. However if I’d been a car you’d cut up there would have been actual property damage.

Cycle tourists contribute five times more money to local economies than other domestic tourists in Australia because they can’t bring all their stuff and have to buy it all locally. So try not to buzz me when you’re going at 100km on a poorly serviced highway.

No, I can’t go faster; why don’t you go slower?

danni on a bike; she is at a stop at an intersection, and her bike is located in the bike lane.

no award staff writer danni on the roads (also allowed)

Reasons why I, a cyclist, just dinged my bell at you

It is dark, and you are wearing black.

There are limited street lights.

You’re in the bike lane and you’re an almost completely invisible bike/pedestrian/skateboarder/wheelchairer.

I’m passing you.

Reasons why I, a cyclist

I just am

descent into hell with greensleeves

I had a friend in Hobart 
A special friend in Hobart
Decided that he’d send me 
Otamatone in the post

(Otamatone otamatone otamatone
Otamatone in the post)


On the weekend, Steph was trying to talk about the Otamotone, but couldn’t remember its name. So she googled “Greensleeves descent into hell” and found exactly the video she was looking for.

The hero of the Otamatone is Nobumichi Tosa, who truly loves the Otamatone, and wants you to, as well.

the deluxe otamatone!

the deluxe otamatone!

Here he is playing the OTAMATONE DELUXE (オタマトーンDX):

The otamatone is a “singing toy”, but to call it that undermines the pure devilry of the instrument. It’s like koalas mating. It’s like the descent into the underworld. Wiki says it’s like a theremin, jīnghú or synthesiser, and that description is doing those actual legitimate instruments a disservice.

The otamatone is the official instrument of the No Award Staff Writers; but not, we hasten to point out, the official instrument of No Award.






birds of australia: the black swan


Yes, after a teeny tiny delay, we return to Birds of Australia with Hayley and Michael! This month, The Black Swan. 

Michael Says

The black swan is more symbol than bird – a species that was commonly used as a metaphor in European society for more than 1500 years before it was first actually sighted by Europeans. It has since leant its name to statistical theories, swashbuckling pirate movies, Thom Yorke songs, batshit crazy Natalie Portman movies (and a subsequent, related fad diet!) and even the Bosnian special forces. I could spend my few hundred words rambling about the powerful symbolism of the black swan, but I’m meant to be a bird guy and this whole column is meant to be about birds. Besides, I’m sure Hayley will have that angle covered.

black swan

black swan

So, the bird. In most respects, they’re pretty basic swans – a bit smaller (and less deadly) than mute swans and not as impressive in the air as the migratory arctic swans, but shockingly, startlingly black. The idea of a black swan was so outlandish to Europeans, that the phrase ‘black swan’ had entered relatively common usage in 16th century English to describe something impossible, a usage that fell out of favour once they were ‘discovered’ by Dutch voyagers in Western Australia in the late 1600s. While they’ve since become widely associated with Western Australia (they’re the state bird and appear on the WA coat of arms), black swans are found throughout the country, from Cairns to Hobart, Adelaide to Broome. (Steph notes: because they’re the WA state bird, I actually had NO IDEA they were found across the country until I moved to Victoria and called everyone a liar)

Black swans are vegetarian, subsisting on algae, weeds and even grazing on grass like weird winged cows. They’re nomadic, happily moving great distances to follow the availability of food and water, but their movements remain poorly understood – anyone spotting a swan wearing a neck tag should take note of it and enter it at http://www.myswan.org.au, a fantastic research study that makes use of the general public’s bird enthusiasm to collect data on a population of 150 swans based loosely at Albert Park Lake. The researchers running this study have also punctured one of the major myths – black swan fidelity. While it’s true that swans tend to partner up for life, the researchers have found that Albert Park Lake is like a giant 1970s key party, with nearly 20% of all cygnets born the product of illicit cross-couple action. Saucy.

black swan distribution

black swan distribution

I’m not sure how to score black swans – they’re elegant and impressive birds and spotting a flying vee of them above the city skies never fails to give me a little lift, but they’re also aggressive and lacking the charisma of other iconic Australian birds. I’m feeling a bit like David and Margaret reviewing a dull Australian movie – I’ll give them three feathers, but I’m probably being too generous.

Hayley Says

The black swan is a philosophical impossibility. Or at least it was supposed to be. Well done Australia in upturning centuries of inward-looking European thought, as per usual.

The idea originated with Juvenal and his line rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno, or “a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan” meaning someone whose qualities are so rare that they are essentially impossible and don’t exist. Satirists, they love a metaphor, especially snarky Roman ones.



Once the existence of black swans became knowledge in Europe, apart from ruining a lot of doctoral theses in philosophy across the continent, they also came to fascinate scientific circles in the way that general excitement over this ‘new’ southern land invigorated explorers, scientists and, as it turned out, even a French emperor.

Did you know that at the exact same time that George Bass and Matthew Flinders were circumnavigating and mapping Australia, there was a French team of explorers lead by Nicolas Baudin sent under the aegis of Napoleon doing the exact same thing, just in the opposite direction? Of course you don’t, because no one writing British-favoured history wants to admit that the French were good at anything, and indeed, we wouldn’t have had such a complete map of Australia at this time without these French explorers – you can still see their influence in French-sounding names for landmarks stretching from Victoria all the way to the Western Australia coast. No one also likes to admit that had history gone differently, half of Australia could have been a French colony (called TERRE NAPOLEON!).

So anyway, Baudin’s expedition also busily collected many specimens of Australian fauna and flora. They may have been officially collecting for the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle, but Napoleon got into Baudin’s ear to make sure that plenty was being set aside for his wife, as Josephine had a very active interest in the natural sciences. Her home, Malmaison, ended up a free-ranging menagerie for a variety of animals from around the globe, including kangaroos, emus, and cockatoos.

But her favourites out of all her animals were her pair of black swans. They were also the only Australian animal to successfully breed at Malmaison, increasing to seven at the time of Josephine’s death in 1814. Many of the illustrations and engravings of the Malmaison grounds from the time feature the swans prominently. Europe was basically losing its MIND over them, and why wouldn’t you? BLACK SWANS.

If I may also add a quick addendum to Michael’s discussion of black swan breeding habits, there has been research that has discovered that a sizeable proportion of black swan pairs are actually homosexual males, and that they actively seek out opportunities to raise chicks by either stealing eggs from other nests, or entering into polyamorous threesomes with a female swan in order gain eggs, which I think is PRETTY DARN RAD.

In short, black swans are amazing. Who doesn’t have room to fill their heart with endless love for the bird that made thousands of years of crusty philosophers pop their monocles, whose propensity towards same sex relationships is an entirely normal occurrence, who were Empress Josephine’s favourite bird? HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO EMPRESS JOSEPHINE?

nobody denies empress josephine

nobody denies empress josephine

Four feathers.

Bird: Black Swan

Hayley: Four Feathers

Michael: Three Feathers

indigenous business: bundarra sportswear


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There is some crap going on, and it’s all important, but maybe you’re thinking about how you want to do something that’s not rallies and writing to your local member. And that’s okay! So once a week here at No Award, we’re going to showcase an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander thing. “Thing” is a bit inexact, but we don’t want to limit ourselves – we’re talking businesses and not for profits and designers. Things. We here at No Award still want you talking about injustices and and rallying if you can! But things are important, too. (If you can think of a good name for these posts, please let us know)

This week: Bundarra Sportswear. Steph is super into Bundarra Sportswear. She has their Deep Space Hammer leggings which are secretly SPACE HAMMERHEAD SHARKS, they are comfortable and breathable and the print on them is designed by Indigenous artist Robert Levi.

Bundarra is an Australian indigenous clothing label. Founding organisation, Indigenous Job Connections of Cairns identified a growing interest for an uniquely indigenous brand that indigenous communities Australia wide could call their own.

Bundarra was accordingly piloted in 2011 at the Laura Dance Festival to great success. Bundarra will strive to make quality sports aboriginal and torres strait corporate work uniforms, teamwear, leisure wear and promotional items depicting original indigenous artworks.

Bundarra is the Djabuguy word for cassowary. The cassowary keeps the rainforest clean and regenerates the plants and trees. A healthy rainforest means healthy rainforest people.

Don’t you want to support that? Indigenous artists, Indigenous themes, Indigenous jobs. Super comfy legs. Yes, good work, everyone.

deep space hammer pants!

deep space hammer pants!

national day of action: stop the forced closure of remote indigenous communities


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subtitle: more things to hate your government for. actually the same reasons as last week, but here is some action.

i mean it

i mean it

There are protests all over the country today for a National Day Of Action. If you can’t make it to a physical protest, or even if you can, you can also participate virtually.

Follow the SOS Blak Australia twitter, and #SOSBlakAustralia.

Read more at New Matilda.

“They’re going to close down these communities and turn people into fringe dwellers. There’s going to be more in jail, and more homelessness. And there’s a lot of people homeless now,” Uncle Ben told New Matilda.

“I’m 75 now, and there’s been 70 years of racism in my life. Dehumanising conditions we’ve been living under. There’s still that hopelessness.”



CANBERRA: Assemble at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at 11:30 am

SYDNEY: Kirribilli House, Kirribilli Avenue, 12:30 pm

PERTH: Forrest Chase, 1 pm

MELBOURNE: Parliament of Victoria, 5:30 pm

ADELAIDE: Victoria Square, 12:30 pm

BROOME, WA: ICC Office, Dampier Terrace to Broome Shire Offices, 1 pm

HALLS CREEK, WA: Cnr of Duncan H’way and Great Northern H/way, 10 am

GERALDTON, WA: Edith Cowan Square, Marine Tce, 10 am

BEAGLE BAY, WA: KRCI office, 10 am

HEDLAND, WA: Bloodwood Tree, Sth Hedland 10 am

BELLINGEN, NSW: Outside N5 & Kombu, Church St, 10 am

BENDIGO, VIC: Rosiland Park, Cnr of View St and Pall Mall, 11:45 am

LISMORE, NSW: Lismore Transit Centre, 5 pm






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