Tony Abbott Responds to Climate Change Warnings

Tony Abbott

Today, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded to the recent  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report as experts point out that climate change has the potential to wipe out humanity. Prime Minister Abbott responded with a new slogan “Who fucking cares?”, he was later overheard saying that the people most impacted by climate change were Labor and Green voters anyway.

When a particularly persistent journalist asked if National Party voters had any reason to be concerned, the Prime Minister replied that Australia was a land of droughts and flooding rains and would continue to be so. Political commentators have also mentioned that pandering to the National Party could suggest that the Liberal Party was incapable of obtaining a mandate for its policies by itself and needed to form a coalition with a minor party in order to get elected.

Mr Abbott later reiterated that he was focused on implementing this big policies, including funding maternity leave for rich executives by cutting welfare to single mothers and bailing out mining companies with proceeds from cutting the carbon tax. When asked how reduced funding from the removal of the emissions trading system would allow him to prop up wealthy mining companies Mr Abbott nodded his head for five minutes and then told the journalist he’d received the answer ‘he deserved’.

Yes, this is a work of satire. — Matthew Lang

 

Queermance 2014

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Giving Birthg - The Art of Getting Published at Queermance 2014. From Left: Alison Mann (Silver Publishing/Rooster and Pig), Jacob Coates (Jaffa Books), Lindy Cameron (Clan Destine Press), and host Nicholas G Frank

So I’ve been neglecting my little website since November (sorry everyone), but I’ve been doing it for a very good reason – I hope. I’ve taken on the task of Festival Director for Queermance 2014, which is the first of hopefully an ongoing series of events celebrating Queer fiction and Queer Romance. We’re up and running this weekend, and I’m writing this from the back of the room actually. There’s been a fantastic turnout for the conference so far and we’ve already launched our Anthology, including my second footnoted Lex story, called Inheritance. The Anthology is available for gold coin donation for the next two days at our evening Queermance events, and you find can find our full program at the Queermance website. I personally recommend coming along to the Sunday Night Queerbaret, and we also have a sex toy workshop running which I highly recommend.

NaNoWriMo – Rebel Scorecard 2013

NaNo50K

It’s just about that time of year where we lock Matthew in the basement and make him subsist on a diet of grilled cheese sandwiches and black coffee while churning out 50,000 words (it’s okay, we have paramedics on standby). Although he did announce plans to write interactive fiction, he now looks set to start work on a sequel to Dragonslayer, the book he’s currently pitching to a number of different publishing houses.

We are, of course, busy trying to get video footage from OzmmMeet 2013 up on youtube, so you can all see what happened, and we’re still a few videos away, but you can view the current uploads here, and we’ll add more throughout November as soon as our ancient machine finishes rendering the video. We’ll also embed a few here throughout the month for everyone who’s as lazy as us.

Matthew’s also updated his rebel scorecard for NaNoWriMo, although we understand the changes consisted of replacing “2012″ with “2013″. We think you could have done that yourself, but it’s here for the downloading if you like. You can also use it as a normal scorecard, but it’s here for rebels like Matthew–he’s already started writing Moonchild, which is against the NaNoWriMo guidelines, but he wouldn’t listen when we said the muses wouldn’t be impressed. He muttered something about his muse being wonderful, understanding and hot, but didn’t elaborate further.

More on that as it develops, hopefully.

Download the NaNoWrimo 2013 Rebel scorecard here

 

New Bookshop Display!

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So it looks like The Bookshop in Darlinghurst has a new window display for OzmmMeet–and I’m in there. Woo!

Don’t forget, you can still register for OzmmMeet and get that 15% discount!

OzmmMeet — an Industry Gathering

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Matthew will be attending AQRM’s OzmmMeet 2013. That’s a lot of letters, but it’s basically a get together for authors, aspiring authors and readers interested in the writing process to hang out, chat and discuss all things writing and the future of the M/M Romance Genre–or even if M/M Romance is actually the correct genre to describe the writing we do, read and love.

Registration costs $100 for the three day weekend, and includes all panels, and discounts at The Bookshop to the tune of 15% on all full priced books and 20% off all full priced DVDs. Stock in the upstairs saleroom or on the AQRM sale table will also be discounted by a further 20% when you show your conference ID. Currently panels will include discussions on what goes into a book published in the M/M fiction genre, publishing and editing discussions and marketing tips. There will also be a sex toy workshop, featuring an appearance by Dick Savvy (Mr Sydney Leather 2012). Other conference attendees include author Isabelle Rowan, Silver Publishing Editor Alison Mann and SX Columnist Barry Lowe.

There is also a free party at the Midnight Shift open to the public on Saturday the 12th of October:

Where: The Midnight Shift, 85-91 Oxford Street‚ Darlinghurst, Sydney When: Saturday 12th October, 6:30 PM Cost: Free

For more information, join AQRM on Facebook to find out about future meets.

Matt’s Back–and Reading from The Way You Are

The Way You Are Cover

Matthew would like to apologise for the lack of updates here at Matthew-Lang.com, it’s been a rather stressful time over here–Matt’s been struck down with Bronchitis and then moved house. When we say moved, we mean bought and renovated, so it’s been a while since he’s managed to anything except get well and stress about moving.

In the interim he’s been around the web, and we hope to bring you some of his guest posts and appearances shortly — for you you can check out a reading of his novella The Way You Are, which he recorded at a creative type meet up in Melbourne and keep and eye out for more updates from the man himself.

We’ve also received a positive reply from Joy FM regarding his complaint to them, although he says he’s lost the email during a computer upgrade. He did however, tell us that the issue was caused by an unfortunate juxtaposition where a guest host was talking with a guest DJ who wanted to leverage the song to talk about issues with 457 visas in Australia. Joy policy is to stay out of politics and the guest host quickly shut down that avenue of talk, but that left the juxtaposition open to the obvious (and unfortunate) interpretation. Both guest DJ and guest host have since undergone additional media training.

Matt also advises he’s once again happy to listen to Joy and will likely look at renewing his membership once he gets his tax return back this year.

An Open Letter to Joy 94.9

JoyFM

To: feedback@joy.org.au

Subject: Racist Music Choices

Dear Joy FM

Sometime between 3 an 4 PM today, Alex and Andy Mac put on a track that was a country style piece “About the 457 Visas” that are currently in use. I believe it was called something like “Aliens among us”. It essentially glorified segregation and suggested the best way to deal with the situation was to kill the aliens, who were depicted as having non Anglo Saxon features.

Given the explanation of the purpose of the song, I find it hard to believe Joy allowed the song to be aired and given the complete lack of tongue in cheek sarcasm or humour, it’s very difficult to interpret the song as anything beyond racist. I fully appreciate the 457 visas are a contentious issue. I agree there appear to be loopholes and perhaps people should do more to stand up to the mining magnates and ensure the government doesn’t bow to their lobbying. Vilifying the individuals entering the country on such a visa is neither helpful nor an action taken by members of society accepting and supporting diversity, and it is saddening that such an action was taken by radio presenters on Joy FM today.

While I’m sure further parallels could easily be drawn between the attitudes expressed in the song with the still racist attitudes expressed by a portion of the queer community, I doubt there was that much thought put into the song choice. I would like to think that the entire incident stemmed from a lack of thought, rather than malice, but even in that best case scenario, one would have to question if there is an element of unconscious racism in such a choice, the same way that the queer community still struggles against unconscious homophobia.

I don’t have much to say other than that I am deeply disappointed by the song choices on air today, and I have to admit I do feel a little betrayed by a radio station that has been founded upon the idea of inclusivity and being a voice for a marginalised minority group. I also know that this one program is not the entire station, but I cannot with good conscious continue to support Joy FM if music that vilifies and stereotypes another group to the extent of advocating their deaths is allowed to be played on air.

Warm Regards

Matthew Lang

NB: Andy Mac and Alex’s program is Three Chords and the Truth, broadcast on Sunday between 2 and 4, which is when I will not be tuning in.

Final Goodbye: The Thylacine

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Earlier this month a milestone passed quietly in the world. It wasn’t momentous, really. Not really. Just a meeting in Bangkok of 178 delegates from a number of countries. And the Thylacine–Tasmanian Tiger–was removed from the list of animals with trade bans by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). To the best of our knowledge, the last Thylacine was died in 1936 inside Hobart Zoo. The last known wild Thylacine had already been shot in 1930. So really, there’s been no change in the story of the Thylacine. Perhaps all that could be said is that humanity has officially decided to give up hope that any Thylacines were left in the world who could be saved. Somewhere. Anywhere.

I don’t know why the Thylacine has had such a great impact on me personally. Possibly it’s the first creature I learnt of that had died out because of us–humans. I knew about the dinosaurs and I thought they were cool. I even convinced my dad to take me to see Jurassic Park when I was twelve despite the fact that it had a PG 13+ or maybe even 15+ rating, and my mum was pretty strict on what films and shows I was allowed to see back then. But the dinosaurs had died out because of a meteor strike, or so the popular wisdom went–and as far as I know, still goes. The Thylacine had been shot. A beautiful creature that existed nowhere else in the world was shot as a sheep killer, even though studies now suggest Thylacines killed very few sheep, and indeed the majority of a farmer’s losses in those days were more likely to be due to people and the feral dogs who had been introduced by said people.

There have been many attempts to bring back the Thylacine, through cloning and genetic engineering. It’s not quite Jurassic park given that the bones and tissue samples we have are not fossilised. There’s arguments against playing God, although I’d argue that in killing off multiple species we’re already there, and other concerns around genetic diversity and a sustainable population, but I can’t help wishing there could be a day when I will be able to see a real live Thylacine, not just an old grainy video of the last one we mistreated. At least it wasn’t clubbed to death by some sailor for sport as the last dodo was I suppose.

Recent evidence suggests that some idiot purposely introduced foxes into Tasmania, and I like to think there’s a special circle of hell reserved for whoever it was who thought that was a good idea.

In any case, I just wanted to take some time to remember a remarkable animal who we slaughtered and who I will never get to see.

Let’s try not to add to that list.

More than Romance: Kendall McKenna

Kendall McKenna’s Brothers in Arms

Recently Matthew had a bit of a chat to Kendall McKenna, writer of military and military werewolf stories about her books and writing, which in her own words, is about a lot more than just romance. He started by asking her why she wrote:

Kendall: I write because I’ve always had stories in my head. I enjoy forming sentences and selecting words that say something specific, or that sound a certain way. I write because I just love to do it. I love being creative and constructing story arcs and developing interesting characters. I love the feeling of completing a story, it’s a powerful sense of accomplishment. It’s also pretty gratifying when readers appreciate what I’ve written.

Matthew: You say you wrote your first story at the age of nine. Can you tell us what that story was about?

Kendall: I suppose it was a form of fanfiction, only I didn’t know what that was at the time. There was a song that was popular, or had been popular in the recent past, I can’t recall. Anyway, I realize now that the song was nonsense. However, back then, I thought it was telling a story in a vague way. I thought it was deliberately non-specific for creative reasons. I was intrigued and I wanted to know the entire story. The only way to do that, was to write my interpretation of the story. And that’s what I did. I incorporated some aspects of the song and expanded on them until I had a full story.

I wrote it in a journal that I kept as a class assignment, and I have no idea where it is now. Somewhere, I have a spiral notebook that holds a Return of the Jedi fanfic that I wrote when I was about 12, but I’m not sure where that is, either.

Matthew: Do you have a personal connection to the military? What makes soldiers your characters of choice?

Kendall: I’m going to get technical on you. Soldiers are army. Marines are Marines, and are a subset of the Navy. It seems nitpicky, but every Marine you’ll ever meet will correct you. A fellow author wrote a story about a Marine and called him a soldier through the entire story, and she gets email from readers correcting her!

I have never served in the armed forces, but I have been around them in some capacity, my entire life. The grandfather I was closest to was a Recon Marine. He was an original member of Third Recon when they were formed in WWII. All the men in my family served in one branch of the military or another. I grew up in San Diego, which has more Navy and Marine bases than I can easily count. Coronado is the home of the Navy SEALs, MCRD is the west coast intake facility for the Marines, Camp Pendleton is the home of First Recon. My social circles growing up . . . → Read More: More than Romance: Kendall McKenna

Review – Spice Temple

Ye Heung Ke Ze
(Fragrant Fish Eggplant)

Ye Heung Ke Zi(Fragrant Fish Eggplant)

I’ve been to Niel Perry’s Spice Temple twice now, and I figured it was time to write a review for it. I have a lot of respect for Neil Perry. He’s done wonders with the QANTAS food, is a massively internationally respected chef, and for me to feel disappointed by his food, was something I was not expecting.

But there it is. I was disappointed. In terms of cuisine and flavour, the best description I can give is ‘lite’. It was ‘lite’ in a number of ways I would normally expect from a Chinese restaurant. It was ‘lite’ in oil, which was good. It was ‘lite’ in size–i.e. servings were quite small–and it was ‘lite’ in drama. For me it feels like Perry has taken the western sensibility of flavour balance, understated, restrained and refined food and applied to Chinese cuisine, where I’m not sure it sits.

The words I associate with Chinese–and specifically Cantonese–food is powerful, generous and dramatic. Heavy’s probably in there too, but not in the good way. Cantonese food is about powerful, bold flavours, large servings to be shared and visually stunning. I find this important because if it looks appealing, I want to eat it, and I get more excited about eating it. From a cultural standpoint, having expensive, dramatic food was also a way to show your status–as if to say ‘hey, look at me, I can afford to eat crab’, and everyone could tell because you had a giant platter mounded high with noodles and the crab shell perching proudly on top. When I lived in Hong Kong, my father pointed out how some families would deliberately over order. Much like Jewish families traditionally want to have leftovers–otherwise someone may have gone hungry–Chinese families have often seen being able to waste food as a sign of wealth, and one that can be done very publicly.

I’m not advocating that mindset in any way, but looking at that, I hope you can understand why Cantonese food is so dramatic–the piles of crab shells, the giant serves, the way you can identify what a dish is just by looking at it, the hand made noodles stretched and shaped tableside–and why I expect it. So when Spice Temple served up a crab already de-shelled as a rather insipid looking stir fry, I wondered why someone would bother ordering it when it looked just like chicken–a rather dry chicken, given crab meat’s tendency to fall apart very quickly.

So it was with some trepidation that I returned for yum cha with my sister, ordering a range of dishes, from our favourite pot stickers, xiao long bao, a fish fragrant egg plant hot pot (pictured) and a garlic cucumber salad and a few other oddities such as a szechuan style Wagyu beef and imaginative ‘sliders’–a fusion of the white Chinese bao and a western style burger. It started well–after the daintiness of the previous dinner I was ready for miniscule servings . . . → Read More: Review – Spice Temple