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I’M NOT going to mince words here. If celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus is your thing, then the first Christmas after your family separates is likely to be bloody awful.

Whether you’re a gentle lover of tinsel or a full-blown Christmas tragic, the first Yuletide in Splitsville is about as much fun as a tequila hangover. If you’re lucky, you’ll get through it without actually dropping your head in the toilet.

And like a hangover, there really is no escaping the pain. Over the years I’ve watched many people try and fail to dodge the hurt of a newly broken Christmas, and when my turn finally came along, I made my own foolish attempts to escape the ghosts of Christmases past.

I tried the runaway Christmas, flying off to my family overseas and the snowy weather and twinkly lights, only to find that of course someone was still missing, and so we were still sad. I tried the pretend-it’s-not-happening Christmas, and spent a miserable day working tragically hard to imagine that Christmas wasn’t all around, and ended up in tears in a park scaring a small child who was wearing reindeer antlers.

It took me a while to get with the new holiday program.

 

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HAVE you seen the news from Canada lately? It’s all good.

Canadians are currently basking in the glow of the world’s handsomest prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who has just appointed a cabinet we can only dream of.

Here in Australia, our government is made up of a great deal of lawyers.

In Canada, the new minister for transport is an astronaut!

The minister for defence is a Sikh veteran.

The ministers for justice, fisheries, oceans and the coastguard are all indigenous.

Bloody unbelievable.

Imagine, the folks in charge of protecting the land and its people are the original owners. Can you handle it? There’s more. The minister for sport and disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian. Logic and experience? Please make the acquaintance of politics.

There are also new portfolios in the Canadian government including climate change and refugees.

And the thread of unheard of wonderfulness that runs throughout this raft of excellent progressive changes is that half of the Canadian ministers are women. Half. My stars!

And when Trudeau was asked why 50 per cent women? He answered: “because it’s 2015”. Brilliant.

So despite the fact that I’ve lived here for twenty-five years and not once renewed my Canadian passport, people have started to ask the obvious question. Do I want to go back? Surely I must miss my native land more than ever now. But despite these long dreamt of and fought for changes in my original home and the many, many other wonderful things about the great white north, I am not thinking about going back for a minute. Not one.

 

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As 1962 drew to a close, The Beatles were finishing up what was to be their final residency in Hamburg. On the last of these nights, the club’s stage manager recorded the band in all its amphetamine and beer filled pre-fame glory via a single microphone to a domestic Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. John Lennon allegedly gave permission for the recording to take place in exchange for a night of free beer for the band.

The Beatles forgot about the tape until news emerged that a ragged, lo-fi double album of their Hamburg days was about to be released. It was now 1977 and the band cried foul and took the record company to court. They claimed that the recording was illegal, that no beer deal had been struck, that the tape was, to quote guitarist George Harrison, ‘the crummiest recording ever made in our name’, and that the release would damage their reputation. They failed in this and a number of subsequent trials to prevent the record’s release. In 1998, The Beatles were finally granted ownership of the tapes and exclusive rights to their use. By that stage the raw and chaotic Live! At the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 had been available to the public for 21 years.

Last week, we became aware of another contested cultural bootleg, this time created by Germaine Greer in 1976 in the form of a 30,000 word love letter to writer Martin Amis. The letter was among the papers Greer sold to the University of Melbourne in 2013. There are moves afoot to release the letter in full, and Greer now says the letter was never meant for publication and that she is concerned for the privacy of some of those named in the document.

You can read the rest of the article here on the Meanjin Blog

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SEXUAL desire is a fickle beast. You can’t depend on it and you can’t tame it.

There’s no ‘normal’ when it comes to libido, there’s only your normal. So if you want to understand how lust works in your life, you’ll need to find a way to make your wild libido happy. And the best way to begin to do that is to give yourself permission to feel exactly what you’re feeling. No expectations, no pressures and no judgments.

And that may mean accepting that right now, your sexo-meter is set to ‘sloth’.

There are so many reasons why desire doesn’t come to visit. Sometimes the reasons are good, like when your downstairs gadget lets you know a tired relationship has run its course. Or when you’re somewhere on the asexual spectrum like at least 1 per cent of the population. Or when you’ve come to a point in your life where sex is no longer interesting.

These are all situations where your wild libido is letting you know the score. And you need to be brave enough to listen, if you want to avoid the misery that comes from forcing yourself to be someone you’re not into.

And sometimes lust goes on holiday because your partner has been hurtful, betrayed you or offered you so little support that even your gonads are over it. If that’s the case, then give yourself permission not to want sex for now, until you can tackle the issues together that lead to your loss of desire.

 

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No one is innocent.
– Ronnie Biggs

In language that mirrors dialogue from The Walking Dead, we decry the destructive rise of narcissism. We write self-help books on how to identify, avoid, manage and escape the narcissists among us. We refine our diagnostic standards for narcissism and we study our navel-gazing young people.

We re-diagnose past dictators, mass murderers and influential leadersthrough the newly polished lens of narcissism. We talk about our whole culture as a kind of Petri dish in which narcissists happily grow, and in which the rest of us who are not infected are at constant risk of harm.

Narcissism is the current favoured scapegoat for our interpersonal and social ills.

There can be little doubt that narcissism as we have defined it is on the increase, and has been for some decades. A search of everything from song lyrics to peer-reviewed journal articles shows both an increasingly self-focused social and individual psychology and an exponential interest in how to manage this new-found pathology.

You can read the rest of this article here at theconversation

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GOODNESS gracious, are we still asking this question? It appears we are. And why wouldn’t we be? There’s simply no end to the confusing messages about first date sex.

Some are saying just do it! Be free of the shackles of old-school sexual shame. Others say don’t do it, you’ll put them off with your lasciviousness. Be hot, but don’t be easy.

It’s fraught territory for everyone, this first date sex business, whatever your gender or orientation. You’re supposed to wait, you’re supposed to persuade, you’re supposed to dither and consult the experts, you’re supposed to dive in and be bold. Be a lady, be a man, be open, keep your cards close to your chest. Anything but be the person you really are. Anything but feel what you’re actually feeling.

Sex is a game, we’re told. Dating is a game. And what do we do with games? We try to win them.

But if you make the mistake of seeing sex as some kind of competitive sport, you might miss the fact that your date is actually supposed to be on your side.

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HAVE you noticed how narcissism is the topic du jour? We just can’t stop talking about it. Like kale, it’s taken over all the self-help menus.

If you’ve been reading some of the pieces about malignant self love that have sprung up everywhere and feeling a little cringey because some of this stuff is a bit familiar, please take heart.

Or if someone dear to you has been gently trying to point out that it sometimes feels like it’s all about you, don’t panic. If you do suffer from narcissism, it’s not because you chose to. Whether you’re a little narcissistic, or you’re suffering a full-blown case of self-absorption, the seeds were sown a very long time ago.

The signs can be hard to recognise in yourself, but there are a few key things that in combination are particular to narcissism. Do these three things ring a bell for you?

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