ALF: Go Back to Where You Came From?

I’ve encountered some people with very narrow-minded views on asylum seekers since Go Back to Where You Came From aired two weeks ago.

The latest issue of frankie has a feature on the best housemates of all time, ALF’s ALF being one of them. Now, I was very young when ALF was on TV and barely remember the plotlines of the show, but Benjamin Law, the author of the article, asserts that ALF was basically a refugee, seeking asylum from his home planet Melmac.

To those of you who think Australia is “full”, and that refugees should “go back to where they came from”, I ask: would you deny this face?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Response: Go Back to Where You Came From.

Image via Back to the Eighties.

Magazines: Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.

 

frankie’s latest edition is somewhat underwhelming, but there was one diamond in the rough: Justin Heazlewood’s “honest look at his relationship with Indigenous Australia” in “Black or White”.

I will admit that up until about two years ago when I started working in the cultural/tourism sector and really immersed myself in the Melbournian way of life, I was “a little bit racist”, as the Avenue Q song goes.

Now, I’m taken aback when friends, family members and, yes, even colleagues, express their racist views. Dare I say I’m offended on behalf of the racial minorities who are victims of racism on a daily basis. (I am primarily a white Australian, but I do have Native American heritage, and I have been the victim of latent racism on several occasions throughout my life). And there’ll be more to come on that later in the week.

Heazlewood references the homeless Aboriginals out the front of Woolworths on Smith Street in Fitzroy, who often get the short end of the stick when it comes to preconceived notions, but I was hanging out in Fitzroy last week and saw just as many drunk and intimidating bums who happened to be non-Indigenous.

But, as I discussed with a workmate over the weekend, city people are far more tolerant than country folk when it comes to race relations. I grew up in a small country town which claims to be the epicenter of Chinese immigration during the gold rush, and it certainly is. But I can only remember one indigenous kid and one Chinese kid at school… and I attended six different institutions!

It’s an interesting take on the cultural/racial gap in Australia, and probably the only reason to pick up a copy of the mag this (bi)month.

Related: VCE Top Designs: frankie Editor Jo Walker Talks to Media Students.

frankie Review: January/February 2011.

VCE Top Designs—frankie Editor Jo Walker Talks to Media Students.


Last Thursday frankie editor Jo Walker spoke to VCE students studying media and design at Melbourne Museum, as part of their annual VCE Top Designs exhibition.

The forum was also headed by two VCAA State Reviewers, who got the event off to a promising start when they asked the students if any of them read magazines as inspiration for their projects, and a tumbleweed blew by.

But you know what high school kids can be like: in the words of Matilda’s Miss Trunchbull, “I’m glad I never was one!”

Walker can count me as one of her loyal subjects, and I hung on her every word.

Granted, a lot of it is stuff I’ve heard before, as it’s been five and a half years since I graduated from high school, but interesting nonetheless.

She spoke about frankie’s humble beginnings, the founding editors Louise Bannister, who left not long after the mag’s inception to backpack around Canada, and Lara Burke, who’s still there as creative director today.

Walker described frankie as a “general interest magazine for hipsters”, which I have to say was a turn off, as I can’t stand hipsters! But, like my friend Zoe, who looks like a hipster on the outside, but is really just a normal, cool, great person on the inside, frankie is similar.

Walker said it’s easier to describe what frankie isn’t than what it is: it’s not a colourful, mainstream mag about how to please your boyfriend in bed. frankie readers already know how to do that, according to Walker!

The mag is inspired by “random conversations in pubs”, bookstores, news shows like ABC’s Australian Story, the internet, social media and frankie staff’s favourite blogs (no word on if Early Bird is one of them!). But essentially, if editors Walker and Burke  like it, it goes to print.

frankie has stopped using models for its fashion shoots (though not for the cover evidently), instead using musicians in what could be seen as a token gesture to silence its critics.

Stepping away from the typical frankie-esque story, this month has a “frankie weddings” special, which Walker described as “not just another [Cosmo Bride] wedding story”.

Ultimately, Walker says she looks to give each issue the balance, flow and rhythm of a “mixtape” (though I don’t think many of the kids knew what one is; “an iPod playlist”, if you will.)

I was so inspired by the talk and the amount of references to the current issue, I went out and bought a copy, even though I don’t get paid til next week and had already exhausted my magazine allowance!

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Why It’s Worth Talking About frankie Magazine.

Related: George Michael Paper Dolls in Independent Zine ZINm.

 frankie Review: January/February 2011.

Image via Girl with a Satchel.

Magazine Review: frankie—January/February 2011.

 

frankie’s last couple of issues have been fairly lackluster, however the January/February edition marks a return to form for the mag.

In terms of the pictorials, frankie’s got the hipster-esque “Magnificent Specimens”, where “photographer Dave Mead shares his favourite beardy portraits (p.45), laptop-sleeve porn on page 58, which made me yearn just that little bit more for the brand-new MacBook I am currently typing this on (!!), and Emily Chalmers shows off her “old renovated” London warehouse, where “she works as a stylist, author and shop owner of [boutique] Caravan (p. 87). At the back of the book, four artists draw their cities, with Nancy Mungcal from Los Angeles taking the take (in my book) on page 120.

It is also a quality feature-heavy edition this time around, with Heathers, Muriel’s Wedding and Gone with the Wind making an appearance in “Movies to Swear By” (p. 50), Jo Walker writing that catching a contagious yawn makes you an empathetic person (p. 110), and the world’s strangest holidays, like Punctuation Day and National Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day, on page 114.

Benjamin Law is always a joy to read (I should have included his latest, Family Law, in my “The Ten Books I Wanted to Read This Year But Didn’t”), and his articles this (bi-)month are no exception.

On page 57, Law laments life in the ’burbs, writing:

“Sing to me of Merril Bainbridge cassingles and of pas that play Tina Arena’s “Sorrento Moon” on repeat. Sing to me of Muffin Break and Mathers, of Lowes and Bi-Lo. Sing to me, oh acne-ravaged Asian teenager working at Big W named Benjamin Law, even though you’re going through puberty and really shouldn’t sing at all. Sing it sweet, and sing it loud!”

Whilst over in “An Open Letter To… The Straight Men of Australia” (p. 74), he asserts that they:

“… cop a raw deal, and that’s a culture that tells you to be a dumb, macho, insensitive piece of shit…

“But hey, the rest of us can only speculate what you’re feeling. Because god knows you can’t talk about flowery poofter stuff like feelings. Want to talk about your feelings? Clearly, you must be gay! Want to tell someone you’re sad? Go buy some tissues, gaylord! Want to ask someone whether that cardigan looks good on you? Whether you should call that girl? Whether it’s OK to drink white wine instead of a beer? Gay, gay, gay. Clearly, you’re so gay you poo rainbows…

“If you want to know what is or isn’t gay, ask me. I’m gay. I should know. Feel free to write this down somewhere so you don’t forget. Telling another dude he looks good? That’s not gay. (Women do that all the time, and you don’t see them going all weak-kneed for snatch afterwards…

“… ‘gay’ means feeling an uncontrollable urge to place yourself inside another man. Do you feel that urge? … if the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘sometimes’, well, you should come around to my place and talk. You know, about your ‘feelings’.”

Hil-al-arious!

And what I was originally going to make the first-ever “Magazine Clipping of the Week” before I’d ventured into the rest of frankie and realised it was worthy of a full review, is Rowena Grant-Frost’s essay on the dilemmas of sexiness=grown-upness (p. 40): sassy writing on a real-life issue.

Related: The Top Ten Books I Wanted to Read This Year But Didn’t.