! (The Linkspam Formerly Known As)

“Australians may or may not be making booze out of Vegemite” is hilarious right up until you realise that the rumour is about Indigenous Australians, and ties into a long history of government interference in Indigenous communities.

Important fatberg update: Fighting the fatbergs: how cities are waging war on clogged sewers.

From that link: Arne Hendriks is building his own fatberg.  I legit hope this comes to MONA.  I’ll go back for that.  I’ll even take the boat.

The cats of the State Library of Victoria tumblr.

When changing names means changing identities. Steph has so many feels about this.

That awkward moment when Our ABC briefly employed a Nazi spy.

A group of students have figured out a way to disrupt the period industry in low-income countries. Amazing brown girl innovation.

Remember that time Mark Latham almost became prime minister?  These days, he’s probably* a misogynistic and transphobic troll on Twitter, and causing some grief for the Australian Financial Review, which publishes his rants.

* “Probably” = the twitter account in question claims it’s run by an old school friend of Latham’s, which doesn’t explain how its tweets end up word for word in AFR columns, but obviously Latham can’t blame his nanny.

ETA: It’s most definitely Latham, so there goes that slender shred of doubt!

Koala on a quadbike. Probably a dropbear.

a jelly bean in a viking hat with blood coming out of her

Steph has a new housemate, proving that sometimes it pays to enter twitter competitions. (Stay safe around trains, quokkas!)


this week in: what has your government done to you

The politician Steph aspires to be, Penny Wong (queer, Malaysian-Chinese, left, yells in public) cuts Joe Hockey so decisively.

The Coalition party room voted not to allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage. Tony Abbott has suggested it be put to a popular vote, or maybe a referendum, or maybe a plebiscite, terrifyingly demonstrating that some of our federal politicians don’t understand how our political system actually works.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz suggested that because Dolce and Gabbana had never married, same-sex couples had no need of marriage.

The Prime Minister caught eating a whole raw spring onion whilst on site.

Liz asks: Is it possible that Tony Abbott just likes onions?  Is that a bad thing?  Should we as a nation be food shaming him for his unusual tastes when there are so many other weird and terrible things he does?  Is it just that it’s quite funny to watch someone eat a whole raw onion, French or otherwise?

An Asylum seeker who is married to an Australian PR was removed from her husband (and the centre in Brisbane where she was living, and the school where she was studying to receive her HSC) and is currently in a Darwin detention centre.

The state of Victoria’s new government logo looks like a map of Tasmania.  In every possible sense.

While the eyes of the world are on Ferguson, a Queensland police whistleblower who leaked a video of fellow officers assaulting a chef faces charges.  This forms part of a pattern of the Queensland police failing to investigate accusations of brutality from within its own ranks.

“Absolute revhead” and indistinguishable white man Tony Smith becomes Speaker.

Steph says: I know how white person names work. This man has a fake name.

Someone suggested that Indigenous Australians were making booze out of vegemite and so vegemite should be banned in remote Indigenous communities. Vegemite watch began, but has since been retracted.

The chair of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security thinks Australia should bomb Syria.

Steph says: no. Also call them Daesh, cos it makes ISIS mad to be delegitimised in this way and cos actual Middle-Eastern people have suggested we do so – the Western media is the only media who calls them ISIS.

First Term at Malory Towers – Chapters 17 and 18

Previously: Sally is desperately and mysteriously ill following an altercation with Darrell.  Darrell feels terrible about this — AS SHE SHOULD — and, after a day of moping, has written a letter to Sally’s mother confessing all.

Now, suffering from insomnia, she goes for a walk outside, discovering a Mysterious Visitor to the school.  The door to the Sanitarium is unlocked.  She enters… Continue reading “First Term at Malory Towers – Chapters 17 and 18”

museum shops of the world: mona

This weekend Liz and a host of No Award staff writers visited The Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, in Hobart. And so, a shop review in brief.

Liz wrote:

Too many postcards for old exhibits and not enough for current ones; no Ah Xian postcards, which is unfortunate because I love him and would have bought one.

Strongly book-focused, with jewelry that you can get from the NGV for the same price.

The cunt soap (actual name) was a highlight, except for the peppermint scented one, which just seems intrinsically uncomfortable.  Well, nothing about MONA is meant to be comfortable, but I don’t think genital itch is what they were going for.

TL;DR: two stars.

No Award staff writer Ashleigh notes: what I did appreciate was that the book collection was pretty well focused on artists whose work is or has been on display. that is surprisingly uncommon.

Museum: Museum of Old and New Art

Location: 655 Main Road Berriedale, Hobart, Tasmania

Items purchased: Liz purchased a postcard of “the Star Trek exhibit“; Noted Fatberg Zoe purchased a tote bag; Official Calligrapher Moya purchased “a fatcar postcard & a novelty blood filled syringe pen with which to creep out my new work frans.” Ashleigh purchased these things and also has a list of books she plans to purchase cheaper from book depository.

Getting There: Liz and the No Award staff writers flew to Hobart and drove to Mona because the boat is $20 a head and is basically there to disguise the lower middle-class suburbs that surround MONA.

Date and Time Visited: mid arvo, Saturday

ETA: Official Calligrapher Moya wishes to amend her review to give MONA negative points, as “the syringe pen is gross and blobby enough to not function as a pen at all”.  Unfortunate, though that is often the way with novelty syringe pens.

secret linkspam

Super important Fatberg update: Wet wipes cause massive issues for regional drainage systems.

Mr Raff said body corporate and property owners were footing bills of between $800-$1000 for the installation of cameras down drains in unit housing to determine who is responsible for clogging drains, should the problem arise.

Cameras to look at who is flushing wet wipes!  We hope the cameras are in the drains, not in the bathrooms.

Jax Jacqui Brown (well known Melbourne queer + disability activist) let down by VLine. Train shame: Disability advocate forced to sit in space reserved for luggage

Steph feels like the magic is gone, and it’s Buzzfeed’s fault: We Found The Guy Behind Australia’s Greatest Ever Meme.

Netball: The sport America invented, then lost.  Liz has a lot of complicated feelings about netball, mostly because it was compulsory for girls at her primary school, and the teachers just assumed everyone knew the rules.  Plus, she was tall (yes, really!) and much better at basketball.  However, netball as a cultural artifact is really interesting!

Derailing for Dummies.

What happens when cyclists actually obey all the road rules, haha, suck it.

Steph is having a lot of feelings about this tumblr thread on hippies as racism (which she agrees with, fyi, it’s just helped solidify some feels).

How snobbery helped take the spice out of European cooking. TELL STEPH ALL YOUR FOOD HISTORY FEELS.

The ‘N’ word through the ages: The ‘madness’ of HP Lovecraft. In case you didn’t know how racist he was.  (No Award’s new WordPress theme is called Lovecraft, because Liz was tickled at the idea of calling out our own theme as problematic.)

Liz went to MONA on the weekend!  Her feelings ranged from “Meh” to “Dislike”, with occasional pauses for things she actually liked.  Here is an article from 2012 that partially sums up her feelings.  The comments are also worth reading.

(MONA is not a great place to visit if you are asexual, have triggers relating to graphic depictions of rape, or have issues around cruelty to animals.  I mention this because it didn’t come up in any of my pre-trip reading, and I personally would have liked some warning.  Also, I can’t figure out why people were upset about the blunt knife in this piece, when the real issue is that the bowl is too shallow and the fish are hanging out in their own excrement.)

On the upside, I have yet to produce a museum review as terrible as this one.

Huw Parkinson of the ABC has found his calling: Australian politics and pop culture mash-ups.  The only aspect of this Bronwyn-Bishop-as-Lucille-Bluth clip is that Tony Abbott isn’t Gob.

On a related note, Friend of No Award Ash has drawn our attention to a highlight of Bishop’s Wikipedia page:

Bishop was educated at Roseville Public School, completing her primary education in 1954. Bishop undertook a five-year LL.B. program at the University of Sydney. However, she was deemed ineligible to continue after failing a number of subjects multiple times. Bishop failed a total of 11 subjects over six years. In her first year in 1960, she failed all four core subjects. In 1964, she failed four subjects again and repeated them in 1965, in which she failed three again. The policy of the University of Sydney at the time was that a student was required to show cause why they should be allowed to repeat a subject for a third time, and Bishop was deemed ineligible to continue.

…Bishop first worked as an articled clerk and played an acting role as a barrister in the 1960s Australian television program Divorce Court.

Finally, Liz had one ongoing problem in Tasmania: the underwire of her bra kept popping out and trying to stab her.  But Google has provided a solution!  (No, it’s not “don’t wear bras without underwires”.  They don’t exist in my size, and aside from the occasional stabbing, I prefer the support that comes with a bit of metal in one’s undergarments.)

This link has “borrowed” content and gender essentialism, but it also has more useful illustrations than the original source: How To Repair An Underwire Bra, featuring cheap corn/bunion pads.

the catch is the western middle class

If you chat with Stephanie for longer than about half an hour, you’ll probably discover her very loud opinions on capitalism. She has opinions. As a Chinese-Australian, from a South East Asian economy, from a variety of colonies, capitalism looms large and angrily. Capitalism is at the forefront of her mind when she rails against environmental degradation, against the injustices of our social system.

One of the major components of environmental action and changing the dichotomy in Australia is often about capitalism, and how we need to find a new paradigm. At No Award, we applaud anyone trying to engage with the capitalist storyline and changing it. We especially applaud anyone bringing other people with them.

And yet, it was with a wary and cautious eye that she opened this article at The Age: A cashless economy? Where’s the catch?

Here’s an email Steph got from Liz when she was like ‘maybe we should No Award about this’:


(Please note, No Award is very fond of long hair and also not having jobs)

Continue reading “the catch is the western middle class”

First Term at Malory Towers – Chapters 15 and 16

(Note: we’ve done some redecorating!  But there is a certain amount of housekeeping that needs to happen with our header, what with it being too large, and also Official No Award Calligrapher Moya has forbidden us to use one of those fonts.  Stay tuned.)

Back in the day, before I realised that blogging with Stephanie is more fun, I had a series of posts about Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers books on my personal blog.  Specifically, I was reading a chapter or two at a time and offering a running commentary with snark, illustrations, random anecdotes from my childhood, and whatnot.

That was 2012.  I don’t know why I stopped, except that I was busy, and there was a lot of typing involved, and probably something shiny came along and distracted me. But I bought the modern (electronic) editions of the books yesterday, and fell madly in love all over again.  Yes, the brown-and-orange uniforms called me back once more.

Accordingly, I’ve imported the original posts over to No Award (that’s totally a thing you can do, thanks, WordPress!), and I’m going to continue here.

(Importing old entries means we’re in the odd situation of having content that predates the existence of this blog.  No Award’s second birthday was last weekend, by the way.  We should have vegan, gluten-free cake to celebrate.)

And first, let me say, these new editions are weird.  There’s no more talk of slapping people, not even jokes.  Instead of giving Gwendoline four sharp slaps for her cruelty towards Mary-Lou, Darrell gives her “a rough shake”.  I’m not sure how inflicting brain damage is supposed to be an improvement, except that it’s probably harder for small humans to cause any damage when they engage in imitative behaviour.

Additionally, someone has done a search and replace, substituting “strange” for “queer” throughout. Which is fair enough, shifts in meaning and all, but I feel like something important has been stolen from, like, two-thirds of the queer people I know.

(I know, I know, it’s not as if they’ve rounded up all the old editions and set fire to them.  I might start nosing around secondhand stores for old copies, though, just for comparison/completion purposes.)

Continue reading “First Term at Malory Towers – Chapters 15 and 16”

the last plane out of linkspam

This post has been sitting in our drafts since before Aussie Spec Fic Week, so bear with us if some of these links are a bit out of date.

The six problems ruining Melbourne’s rail network.

Last week the other week Steph went to the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney (in Chippendale!) and it was great! Modern Chinese art, yes, thank you. And on 30 July they close the current exhibition to bump in the new one so GO TODAY. The current exhibition is heaps of fun.  Sorry, sorry.

Aboriginal mothers kept in jail “for their own safety”, family violence hearing told. Love a system where being victims of DV means being jailed. Awesome. Good times. Definitely post-racial.

Are you a girl under 18 who wants to write crime fiction? There’s dollars available for you for that.

Grill’d is totally paying staff under Award and that is bull.  But since we started this post, they’ve been forced to increase wages and reinstate the fired worker who drew attention to them.

How ‘Privilege’ Became a Provocation. NYT.

Steph is SO EXCITED about Jane Rawson’s new book ‘The Handbook: Surviving and Living with Climate Change’. She’s also very jealous that she didn’t write it, but we all have our climate change burdens to bear. Here is a blog post in relation to it.

Ghost bikes.

This story about killer seagulls justifies everything Liz believes about birds.  Also, don’t feed wild birds, and don’t go on a spree of revenge bird killings, that’s just terrible.  Anyway, birds will win that war.

Octopus Wrestling and the Cephalopod Uprising. No Award does not approve of this article’s strong anti-cephalopod bias, not to mention what passes for journalism at Vice, but there are some interesting cephalopod facts in there.

Britain’s Secret Ghost Trains – restless infrastructure from beyond the grave!

Underneath the ‘Orientalist’ Kimono – a brief look at the issues that arise when Asians living in western countries consider something — in this case, white people trying on a kimono — racist, while Japanese people regard it as a positive sign for the future of their culture.  Intersectionalism is complicated!

Melbourne Aquarium conducts an underwater census.  Warning: PUNS.

Pictures of 19th century Sydney show that it was totally a great place for women and ethnic minorities.  We are linking to this for the pictures and the quotes from Josh Quong Tart, not the “cultural assimilation is the mark of a great immigrant” narrative.  (Such narratives tend to overlook the fact that Quong Tart died of injuries sustained in what was almost certainly a racist assault.)

Steph is having a lot of feelings about this post at the Toast: Grief in the Diaspora.

anthologies in review

Steph loves anthologies; Liz is more ambivalent, being less of a fan of short stories.

(Liz clarifies: I just don’t enjoy anthologies.  Too many stories in too short a space.  I need to read them, like, three stories at a time, or else they become a blur.)

Steph is on her own as she reviews:

  • Dead Sea Fruit, Kaaron Warren (horror)
  • Eat the Sky, Drink the Moon, a whole awesome bunch of stories by Indian and Australian writers and illustrators
  • Phantazein, reworkings of fairy tales, yes excellent, from Fablecroft

Continue reading “anthologies in review”