Including postage to Saudi Arabia
TLB22 is an unthemed issue of the Brow, insofar that we gave no instruction to contributors. But who are we to say that there aren’t theme(s) running throughout? We’re nobody. And it’s not like themes are everything. Chocolate doesn’t have a theme, it’s just chocolate. Sure, it could be said that chocolate is inherently chocolate themed, but why are you even talking about it? Just put it that chocolate in your mouth, or in the mouth of loved ones.
This issue of the Brow is anchored by two outstanding pieces of nonfiction, ones we’ve worked on with the authors for months, pieces of which we are super proud. ‘The Right Kind of Blood’ by Rosanna Stevens is a 10,000 word essay about menstruation that melds the personal with the political and a fair bit of polling, while Pete Nicholson’s ‘In the Belly of Jehovah’ is an exceptional and carefully-researched investigative essay into the presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia that tops out at 12,700 words. Did someone say “longreads”? Who cares, we’re too busy basking in the excellence of these pieces of writing.
Elsewhere in the issue we have Koren Helbig’s account of the time she nuded up for art and things became weird, Pepi Ronalds looking into geocaching and those that pursue it, Drew Rooke profiling Hazara man Hadi Hosseini as he settles into Bondi living, Patrick Bryson recalling his time under psychiatric supervision at Morisset Hospital, Ellena Savage channels her inner Sheila Heti with a collage of lines taken from love-related emails, Tim Train walks his dog, Rebecca Jessen presents one of the rawest accounts of severe clinical depression you’ll ever read, and we pluck an extract from our long online interview with author Romy Ash.
The fiction combo in this issue is the most strangely interesting we’ve published for a long while. Leading the charge is American literary luminary Diane Williams with three short-short stories, while W<J>P Newnham’s ‘Knocking the Scabs Off’ is a sight to behold. Jennifer Mills gives us ‘Phantom’, and Mike Ostrov’s ‘SIG Sauer’ is very sweet indeed.
Our regular columns abide in radness: Christine Priestly profiles professional cleaner Lisa Diwell for the Work column, Rhianna Boyle looks at urban animals for the Nature column, Chad Parkhill distills Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano for the Booze column, Nina Gibb looks back at her own experience with cancer for the Psychobabble column, and we introduce Nick Taras’s Astronomy column, the first of which he investigates the likelihood of other worlds that sustain life.
Has the Middlebrow arts lift-out ever not been just the best? Definitely not in Issue 22, anyway, where we have old favourites Andre Dao (Sound), Ellena Savage (Words), Steph Van Schilt (Nostalgia) and Shaun Prescott (Games) ripping out killer columns. We also welcome new columnists in Dion Kagan (Queer), Jana Perkovic (Performance) and James Robert Douglas (Discourse). And lately we’ve been welcoming many new faces into the Brow fold, and as such, we’ve asked these anew staffers to each write a Recommendation for the Middlebrow. Thanks and howdy to Colin, Jess, JRD, Simon, Katie and Alex (and Sharon too!).
Comics in this issue are the first to be commissioned by our new Art Editor, Katie Parrish, and she’s picked works from Nick Drnaso, Lee Lai, Marc Pearson, Andrew Connor, Michael Hawkins, JMKE, Alexis Beauclair and Sam Wallman. Plus there are editorial illustrations from Lord Mantraste, Magic Sweater, Lea Heinrich, Grace Helmer, Stephanie Gilmour, and Benjamin Urkowitz.
Eye-lickingly good cover artwork is by Jess Johnson.
And Law School is dirty and fun as usual!