|Place of Birth||Adelaide, South Australia|
BioI began my professional writing life in the Adelaide nest that harboured the beginnings of Rupert Murdoch’s leviathan; that original afternoon tabloid, The News, is no more, a victim of The Beast’s corporate oedipal complex. Those were days when journalism was a noble pursuit; it still can be, but in my darker moments I believe the news media, for the most part caught in the pincers of state interests and the corporation, to be irrevocably held hostage to the Josef Fritzl that is the entertainment industry.
Exploring knowledge, art and expression in a myriad fields and forms, including more concerted forays into creative writing, occupied me in Sydney through the 1980s. In 1991 I began university studies as a mature-age student, and I concentrated on academic research and writing with a focus on Middle East politics, history, society and economics. The academy teaches a great discipline in writing: sound arguments developed and presented on the foundations of thorough research, sober analysis and zero tolerance for error. At least, that is the theory, and the ideal. However, presuming the scholar is capable of coherent composition in the first place, the rigorous approach inherent to this form of writing is often taken too far, and the most basic purpose of any writing – to communicate – is lost in a dry, jargonistic ocean of a virtually unreadable progression of words: the polar opposite of the mindless dumbing down of language and the pursuit of celebrity, sensation and scandal in the popular media.
My book on Saudi Arabia was published in 2003 while I was still in Beirut, where I also made a return to performance poetry; in 2004 I organised, I am told, Beirut’s first public performance poetry events, at least post-civil war. It was a welcome change from sub-editing, page editing, feature and editorial writing (sometimes all at once) in the surreal, high-tech sweatshop that was the editorial department of Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper. It was towards the end of my nearly four-and-a-half years in Beirut that I began exploring both creative and nonfiction writing with a new focus, and contemplating a fusion of the two. Since then I have worked at developing my own style of literary nonfiction, to integrate techniques of creative writing with academic discipline, bearing constantly in mind the imperatives of effective communication.
Coming to the United Kingdom was going from one extreme to another, reminiscent of the creative–academic–journalistic writing divides. Extremes are not healthy, and while the Lebanese and British physical and social environments are entirely different, they both represent extremes, and they do, in fact, overlap in many ways. One country struggles against the odds to develop and better itself; the other, suffering from advanced post-imperial decay and neoliberal–corporate exploitation, teeters on the edge of First World status. Both are pseudo-democratic, authoritarian states, one fractured along religiopolitical lines, decentralised and weak; the other strongly centralised and applying new technology to advanced methods of population control in its relentless drive to an Orwellian future. I should add that neither are particularly unique in the realms of human experience.
In June 2006 I helped found the Hereford Writers’ Group; a year later I left the group before I was expelled. I was, in fact, fearful of being run out of town. After experimenting with more traditional forms of creative writing, my transgression – in the eyes of many of my fellow writers and fine upstanding citizens – was to submit to the group some short pieces such as would not be out of place in SomethingDark. Fortunately, by that time I was a contributing editor and writer for the London-based, international fetish magazine, Skin Two, then in its twenty-third year of publication. In 2008 I became the magazine’s features editor, and was a close observer to the process that saw its closure and the birth of what was meant to be a new series of glossy books. I am pleased with my role in what turned out to be the only Skin Two hardcover book in early 2009: economic crisis and fickle readerships saw the demise of the publisher soon after (since resurrected and producing a new version of the magazine).
My own ever-evolving cultural interests in any case meant it was time to move on, and the result is SomethingDark, which I trust can speak for itself.
Contributions to SomethingDark
nonfiction: “The culture of oppression” (part 1)
nonfiction: “Ruinenlust: City and ruin in culture and psyche” (part 1)
nonfiction: “Max Mosley’s war for privacy is now a nation’s”
nonfiction: “The tabloid ecosystem and crimes against society”
critique: “Fantastic economics and the fantasy economy”
interview: “Alan Daniels: Erotic–psychosocial art, life and thought”
review: “Documentary exposes the banksters and their grip on government”
review: “Literature, art, philosophy and… [of course] perversity”
review: “Exploring the final frontier”
nonfiction: “Twenty years later: Mapplethorpe, art and politics”
nonfiction: “Censoring Mapplethorpe in the UK”
nonfiction: “Stilettos: the quintessential fetish object”
review: “Demolishing the ‘impossible divide’”
review: “Celebrating naked femininity… prodigiously”
review: “Look closely: we are all fetishists”
Publications held by libraries internationally.
2016 Event organiser & exhibition curator, “The built environment and urban decay”, SomethingDark in Berlin: SDk03 launch event and exhibition. Ivooo Gallery, Studio & Store, Berlin, 2–11 September 2016.
2003 Artist's agent & exhibition organiser: “Silver in Motion”, an exhibition by silversmith–designer George Paton. Beirut, Lebanon: EspaceSD.
Grants & Awards
2010 The Erotic Awards (UK), Erotic Writer of the Year 2010: John Ozimek, for Beyond the Circle: Sexuality & Discrimination in Heteronormative Britain (Consenting Adult Action Network), edited by Daryl Champion.
Author award for book edited by Daryl Champion.
1995 Australian Post Graduate Award (APA) PhD scholarship, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
1995 Nora Rose Memorial Prize, Politics Department, Macquarie University, Sydney.
Award for the highest overall performance in the 1995 Honours year in politics.
1995 Irwin Hermann Essay Prize in Middle East politics ("National development and religious fundamentalism in Sa‘udi Arabia: A case of uneasy co-habitation").
Australian national Middle East studies award. Judges for 1995: Prof. Michael Hudson (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.); Dr Michael Humphrey (University of New South Wales, Sydney).
Education & Training
2001 PhD, Political Science & International Relations: The Australian National University (Canberra).
1995 BA (Hons), Political Science & History: Macquarie University (Sydney).
1986 Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy, Alternative therapies/complementary medicine: NSW School of Hypnotic Sciences (Sydney).
1985 Diploma of Remedial Massage, Alternative therapies/complementary medicine: Nature Care College (Sydney).
1982 Journalism, traditional on-the-job training via cadetship: News Ltd (Adelaide) and Messenger Newspapers (Adelaide).