Culture

Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia
Three part series presented by Lucy Worsley
Available on SBS On Demand until October 10

This three-part series examines the history of Russia’s most famous royal family, the Romanovs. This is a useful introduction to a topic for those wanting to know more about the conditions that led to the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The Romanovs rose to power in 1613 after the collapse of the previous Rurik dynasty that ruled Russia for 700 years. The tsars were absolute monarchs with enormous power.

One Punch Wonder
Directed by Amanda Crewes
Performed by the Actors Hub Perth
Playing at the Melbourne Fringe Festival

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus takes a look at four new books of interest for ecosocialists. Inclusion does not imply endorsement or agreement with eveything the book says.

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Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World
Joshua B Freeman
WW Norton, 2018

One Last Spin: The Power & Peril of the Pokies
Drew Rooke
Scribe, 2018, 325 pages

Ever wondered if it possible to win against the pokies? Why not ask someone who should know, like a poker machine technician.

“I make these machines in order to grab your money,” one such techie said when asked by freelance Sydney journalist, Drew Rooke. “I would not be so stupid to play myself.”

Dozens of DJs and music producers have joined an international call to support the cultural boycott of Israel.

“As long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people, we respect their call for a boycott of Israel as a means of peaceful protest against the occupation,” reads the statement artists posted on their social media pages, along with the hashtag #DJsForPalestine.

With a bold call for protests against Israel’s crimes of apartheid, US-based pop band Of Montreal has dropped out of Israel’s Meteor Festival on September 4, just days before it was set to begin.

This follows the cancellation by headliner Lana Del Rey, who nixed her performance on August 31.

Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth
By Charles Massy
University of Queensland Press, 2017
592, paperback

In Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth, Monaro farmer Charles Massy has written an excellent book on agricultural change to restore the environment.

Massy talks about his transformation from a land degrader to a land regenerator, and the inspiration he received from dozens of other Australian farmers who have done the same.

2028
By Ken Saunders
Allen & Unwin, 2018
$29.99

This satirical novel is set in Australia’s near future and revolves around an accident-prone Liberal Prime Minister running a hopeless election campaign.  

The setting is near enough to be uncomfortably recognisable but allows Ken Saunders to stretch out today’s neo-liberal realities to the point of absurdity. 

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
Daniel Ellsberg
Bloomsbury, 2017
420 pages

After the controversy of US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning being refused a visa on “character” grounds, Phil Shannon takes a look at a book by one of Manning’s forerunners – Daniel Ellsberg, best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971, exposing US military secrets.

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