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Everyone is sickillness in 2022 has medieval vibes

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Now is the winter of our discontent! After two years of plague, after a summer of torrential rain and flooding and more plague, after an autumn of mould and more rain and even more plague, comes the sickness. It’s lik...

Why did Covid disappear from our collective consciousness so quickly?

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After a mass trauma comes the mass forgetting. No one really wants to talk about Covid any more, even though it tore through every dimension of our lives. But now it’s as if the disruption was so great, weird, terribl...

Linkedin is a place full of polite people being nice to youso why am I drawn to the war zone that is Twitter?

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Does our existence on a social media platform have the lifespan of a dog (10-13 anni) or a person (72.6 anni) or a palm tree (80 anni)? I guess we don’t know because the end has not been written in the code, instea...

Confessions of an old learner driver: would I get my license despite not knowing left from right?

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The journey began – like all good journeys – in the Downing Centre local court. I had just successfully contested a driving charge (failure to wear a seatbelt) with my friend Jemma (I was the passenger, she was drivin...

Money might save your property, but who wants to live in a country where the poor drown and the rich are saved?

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Imagine a future even more dystopian than the present – a world where catastrophic climate change meets catastrophic income inequality. In this near future, floods and fires get more intense and the government’s respo...

A stranger who lived in a van gave me moneyand some incredible life advice

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I’d never done a reverse park before, and in the empty train station car park, my instructor directed me to reverse in beside the only other car in the area – a grey van. Reverse parking is horrible. I don’t understan...

Did I just pay someone to bash me up? The horror of a rough massage

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author who hands in her manuscript must be in want of a good physiotherapist. After more than two years working on a book about Stoicism, my body had calcified around my ...

A letter to New Zealand, from Covid-ravaged Australia

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Dear New Zealand, Kia ora! I guess by now you have received Omicron, the unwanted visitor that we in Australia hosted over the Christmas season (and beyond – the guest that stayed all summer!). No doubt you have been...

I was pretending to be a hedonist – but I was actually the opposite

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Catching up with old friends this week and talk turned to a party we had between 2020 blocchi. In the rented beach house there was dancing on tables, jugs of cocktails, late-night swims and lots of singing. “How abo...

Teeth grindingthe sound of the pandemic

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“You’ve got bruxism,” said my GP, printing out some information for me from the internet. “No I don’t. How dare you!” She asked me if I knew what bruxism was and I confessed I didn’t, but doubted I would have an infe...

I once worked as a dish pig in a seminary. It was character-revealing

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“I’m training”, says the badge, or “Trainee”. Or they tell you “I’m new”, and that it’s their third shift. The last fortnight, I have been staying in the Bellarine peninsula – a popular holiday spot west of Melbourne....

The six ages of driving – or how I went from heroin alley speed junkie to terrified city motorist

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The amusement arcades in Russell Street were the place in Melbourne to buy heroin in the 90s and early 2000s. But I went there to learn how to drive. My housemate and I would wander down to the city after classes and...

Huge domes of dust drift across my floor. Where do they come from – and why do I feel so afraid?

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Is it Covid or is it dust? Since I moved into this apartment, I frequently wake up with a runny nose, an inflamed throat and watery eyes. I’ve never lived in a place that’s so dusty. The amount of dust I must deal wit...

From crackpot Covid theorists to antivaxxers, hubris and fear haunt the wellness community

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It’s not unusual to meet people with alternative beliefs at a Sufi meditation course on a rooftop in Ubud. But when a mild, vaguely apologetic Australian woman in her mid-50s explained to me that she was responsible f...

I missed four lockdowns. Now I’m living in Sydney with a fridge stuck in my bedroom

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To bastardise Cold Chisel, the last plane into Sydney’s almost gone. There’s around a dozen of us on this Virgin flight, entering a city – as they say on the news “that’s on a knife’s edge”. Covid numbers are up but ...

I became a super commuter and felt like if there was a system, I had gamed it. Then came the pandemic

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Five years ago I had a teeny tiny house deposit and a desire to settle down (sort of). The only place I could afford was the regions, so I bought a cottage there and left Sydney (sort of). I was not one of those peopl...