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The Saturday Paper

By Tara Kenny in The Saturday Paper

The Gossip Girl reboot feels more like propaganda for the elite than the frothy satire it promises.


The pilot of the original Gossip Girl series aired in 2007, in a simpler time — or at least, a simpler time for rich kids. There was less overt class warfare and billionaire-hating, and the It Girl of the moment was heiress Paris Hilton, who aped working-class existence on The Simple Life and once described herself as “the closest thing to American royalty”. …

By Max Opray in The Saturday Paper

A slow-moving heat dome is bringing record-breaking temperatures to the northern hemisphere. Climate scientists are alarmed by how bad it is — and what might follow in Australia.

A firefighting tanker drops retardant over the Grandview Fire in Oregon. CREDIT: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY

Erica Fleishman and her colleagues at the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute wondered if something might have been wrong with the weather forecast. The high temperatures predicted for the north-west United States were more like Portland, New South Wales, than Portland, Oregon.

“People’s reactions were like: ‘This is very strange,’ ” Fleishman tells The Saturday Paper. “It was not until it was about a week…

By Rick Morton in The Saturday Paper

A time line of the science behind the Covid-19 vaccines shows how close Australia came to its own breakthroughs, and how it backed the wrong candidates.

Laboratory assistants from BioNTech at its Pfizer production site in Marburg, Germany. CREDIT: BORIS ROESSLER / DPA

This story begins three months before the novel coronavirus made its first apparent leap into humans. Two documents from two different continents were published, both of them prepared with no knowledge of the pathogen that was about to change the world.

One — a scientific paper published in the journal Nano — would describe promising breakthroughs in vaccine development and specifically in mRNA. The other — a…

By Jacob Boehme in The Saturday Paper

A former thief and heroin addict, actor Uncle Jack Charles has been part of some of the most important movements in Australian theatre history.

CREDIT: Ross Coffey / SBS

Content warning: this piece contains the names of Aboriginal people who are deceased.

“I have no problems being a gay and old arty bloke, because I’ve been a gay and young arty bloke for many years and everyone’s accepted it,” says Uncle Jack Charles. But back in the 1950s and ’60s, being gay was a problem.

“In those days, you had to keep it dark because it was illegal,”…

By Linda Jaivin in The Saturday Paper

While a laboratory leak may never be ruled out as the origin of Covid-19, the sources of that theory remain highly questionable.

Journalists are moved away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. CREDIT: AP

One year and a half into the Covid-19 pandemic, the novel coronavirus has infected some 180 million people and killed at least four million — and the virus’s origins are still a mystery. …

By Miriam Cosic in The Saturday Paper

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint’s otherworldly paintings were hidden for most of the 20th century. She wanted it that way. Born in Stockholm in 1862, she died in 1944 at the age of 81. Her will stipulated that her work not be shown to the public until at least 20 years later, as she believed the world was not ready for her ideas. Indeed, when a few of her works were shown for the first time in a 1986 exhibition in Los Angeles, The Spiritual in Art, they received little attention.

When her…

By Santilla Chingaipe in The Saturday Paper

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ television adaptation of The Underground Railroad is a brilliant and deeply moving depiction of slavery in America.

Aaron Pierre as Caesar and Thuso Mbedu as Cora in The Underground Railroad. Credit: Amazon Prime.

If you were around in the late 1970s, the chances are that you are one of millions of people around the globe who watched the original Roots television series. If you happen to be Black and of African descent, watching Alex Haley’s mini-series was an unofficial rite of passage.

I recall the first time I watched it on a VHS tape my family had borrowed. I must have been about eight. After…

By Naomi Stead in The Saturday Paper

Supplied: Australian War Memorial

When Scott Morrison announced on November 1, 2018 that the government would provide $498 million over nine years to fund a major redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial (AWM), he described the place as “the soul of the nation … sacred to us all. It transcends politics, it transcends all of us.”

Despite Morrison’s overt religiosity and hyperbole here, he’s not wrong. The commemorative spaces at the national memorial are deeply moving: the bronze Roll of Honour with its embossed names and poppies pressed into the cracks, the pool of reflection and eternal…

By Anwen Crawford in The Saturday Paper

As My Bloody Valentine add their lauded back catalogue to streaming services, and hint at the prospect of new music, Kevin Shields describes the fascinations and inventions that gave the band their sound.

My Bloody Valentine (from left) Kevin Shields, Colm Ó Cíosóig, Bilinda Butcher and Debbie Googe. CREDIT: STEVE GULLICK

“The truth is it’s nearly like performance art,” says Kevin Shields, describing how it feels to play live with his band My Bloody Valentine — a band that has existed, on and off, for almost 40 years. “You could say, ‘It represents the struggle between the fragile human and the machines we’ve created.’ ”

On the side of the fragile…

By Katrina Lobley in The Saturday Paper

Although Tasmania’s last passenger train service ceased operations more than four decades ago, rail enthusiasts still have ample opportunities to enjoy living history.

Tasmania’s West Coast Wilderness Railway steam train.

Tasmania’s West Coast Wilderness Railway attracts your everyday tourist, along with a certain type of enthusiast. “You have your ‘puffer nutters’, as we like to call them,” says Andrew Wiles, the heritage steam train’s guest experience supervisor and guide, as we chug back towards Queenstown’s moonscape — a legacy of mining, toxic fumes and logging. In 2021, the train is so popular with Australia’s trapped travellers that you have to…

The Saturday Paper

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