The Friday Daily – Spoken word artists in the studio


L-R Scott Sandwich, Jo Sri, yours truly and Miles Merrill.

This was the BEST FUN. Spoken word artists Scott Sandwich, Jo Sri and Miles Merrill came into the 2SER studios and performed live on the air. Their ways with words were really something.

The artists were out and about for Sydney Writers’ Festival, in collaboration with Word Travels.

This was first broadcast on May 24th’s Daily on 2SER.


The Friday Daily: Urban Foraging with Diego Bonetto


This is the side of my house. Maybe there is a feast growing there!

I went exploring with Diego Bonetto, who takes city folk on tours to teach them what edible plants are growing in their own backyards. It’s all about a renewed connection to our environment, and recovering lost knowledge.

This was first broadcast on The Friday Daily on 2SER, on May 17.

The Friday Daily: Elections in Pakistan

I spoke to Associate Professor Claude Rakisits from Deakin University about the recent elections in Pakistan. The presumptive Prime Minister is Nawaz Sharif, although there were allegations of vote rigging from his opponent, Imran Khan. It remains to be seen how the new leader will deal with the Pakistani Taliban.

This was first broadcast on The Friday Daily on 2SER, on May 17. As of next week I will be that show’s new presenter.

(Correction from Claude: The PPP came 2nd, not 3rd.)

“Body image” is not the be-all and end-all, is it?

I see beautiful women everywhere.

On the streets in the daytime or out in the city at nighttime, their not-messy hair, smooth complexions and perfumed auras make my heart all aflutter. Sometimes they even want to be my friend! When I start watching movies or TV dramas, I am treated to glimpses of creatures who are barely human – beings of pure feminine energy who could make you melt into a puddle with one wink. It’s the same with magazines. The same with television, fashion photography and art.

But then I switch off or go home to bed, and everything’s ok. I wake up in the same imperfect body and mind, and life goes on. I think to myself when I see a billboard or TV commercial, “Wow, doesn’t Charlize Theron (or whatever angel they choose) look gorgeous in that dress? I don’t look like her, but it’s cool because there are plenty of other things that are good about me.”

Am I going to agonise over the fact that society loves attractive people? No, because it was always thus for the last gazillion years. And what about the fact that it just so happens that these last few decades it’s been considered more attractive to be more skinny than my actual self? Am I going to demand that all the fashion houses start employing models who look like me, because I’m a “real woman”? Is that going to solve every problem I have ever had in life?


I recently learnt, from watching a certain tedious Dove commercial (hey everyone, Dove is a company that sells beauty products), that not every woman considers herself beautiful, although she totally is because strangers think so. Do I need to list all the actual problems facing women today? The advertisement made me feel uncomfortable the way all the incessant internet talk about “body image” does. The truth is that anybody who derives the majority of their self-worth from their appearance is destined to ultimate unhappiness.

Today, for instance, I read about a new “body image initiative” whereby people can dump their fashion magazines into a box that says “Shed your weight problem here”. The group responsible for the installation say this:

Your ads and fashion spreads are an inspiration to many girls and women. We look at your ultra thin models and think – if I’m skinny, I’ll be perfect just like her… All we ask is that you think before you cast and that you consider inspiring us with a look that’s both beautiful and attainable.

Their hearts are obviously in the right place. The thing about beauty and fashion and art, though, is that by being “attainable”, it might lose some of its reason for existing in the first place. Modern-day gals might see Botticelli’s Venus as having a “healthier” body shape than 21st-century supermodels – more “womanly”, as it were – but I’m guessing that Botticelli wasn’t aiming for realism. He, too, was painting a beautiful fantasy goddess, and a work of art that takes us all away from the real world, if only for a few seconds.

Young girls are vulnerable and need to be taught something important – it’s not all about the way you look. It sounds obvious, but something isn’t working if all we are doing is blaming the media for “pressuring” them into disordered eating. Men and women need to be able to appreciate beauty without then hating some part of themselves. As a teenager, I thought I was pretty ugly too. Then I left high school and discovered that actually, people of all shapes and sizes and features are attractive to others. Welcome to the real world, not the world that only exists on pages and big screens. Even those of us who are stunning now might not be forever, and there’s no shame in that. Let’s all move on from “body image” and start really living.


The Friday Daily – Newstart is too low

Last week the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) held a community conference in Redfern to call for changes to income support in tomorrow’s budget. I went along to hear all about it.

This package was originally broadcast on The Friday Daily on 2SER.

The Monday Daily – Two sides of the sweatshop story

New Sewing Machine (practicecactus, Flickr)

New Sewing Machine (practicecactus, Flickr)


This week I took over The Monday Daily on 2SER while the regular host was absent. The show featured two interviews about clothing manufacturing – a reflection on the recent sweatshop disaster in Bangladesh, and an insight into how a group of Australians is working to protect manufacturing workers from exploitation. These interviews were live on air.

Here Daisy Gardener from Oxfam Australia chats to me about what can be done to prevent future tragedies like the recent factory building collapse in Bangladesh.

Penina Huho is the Creative Director of No Sweat Fashions, an Australian initiative  that provides support and training for newly arrived refugees and other migrants to work in manufacturing and garment making. It’s a positive story from the fashion industry.

Final Draft: Interview with Romy Ash


Congratulations to Romy Ash, whose first novel Floundering has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin prize!

I spoke to the Melbourne writer and food blogger about the book, which is sparse and disturbing, but captures the feeling of driving across the Australian landscape like nothing else.

This interview was first broadcast on Final Draft, 2SER’s literature show, on May 4.