Issue Nine

KYD No. 9 teaser: Ruth Starke’s ‘The Renaissance Man: Don Dunstan and the Sexy Seventies’

by Stephanie Van Schilt , April 4, 201210 Comments

For our second sneak peek into  KYD No.9, Ruth Starke looks back at the ever-alluring Don Dunstan in a scintillating investigation into the sexier side of South Australian politics.

If this teaser leaves you wanting more, you can find the full text of this essay and more on our website in the coming weeks. Or to instantly satisfy your urges, you can pre-order here.

The ‘70s in New York smelt like sex,’ recalled American journalist James Wolcott, in Vanity Fair last September. But it wasn’t just New York. There was a similar vibe in little old Adelaide, where Premier Don Dunstan was setting a pattern for the rest of the country. Aboriginal land rights, equal-opportunity legislation, the easing of licensing laws and dress codes (those pink shorts in Parliament!), open-air dining, gay rights and abortion reforms, and the only beach in Australia where you could legally swim nude – Dunstan revolutionised social and cultural life in South Australia during the 1970s. As artist Barbara Hanrahan put it wonderingly: ‘Adelaide starts seeming like somewhere else.’

Dunstan was as sexy, trendy and liberated a premier as the times called for, and nowhere did his star shine as brightly as at the Adelaide Festival of Arts, a biennial feast of theatre, dance, art, opera, music and literature. (2012 marks the establishment of the Festival – which finished last month – as an annual event.)

‘Don “Diamond Light” Dunstan is tripping around town to everything in a different outfit every day,’ noted the Australian in 1972. Two festivals later, writer Morris Lurie was thrilled to catch a glimpse of ‘the great Don himself, in one of those snazzy outfits he wears so well, his arm around an absolute darling of a Chinese gal, walking calmly in the Adelaide night, smiling hugely, no doubt pleased with all he has wrought’.

The charismatic premier rode on the back of an elephant and recited Ogden Nash’s verses to Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals at the zoo; he read Henry Lawson in the Writers’ Week Tent and poetry to factory workers; he welcomed guests at wineries; he recited prose in Ancient Greek and Latin; he flitted from event to event in Nehru jackets, sharkskin suits, colourful caftans, batik shirts, and white safari suits with gold neck chains. ‘Beau Brummell himself could not have taken more pains with his appearance,’ noted Adelaide historian Derek Whitelock in his 1985 book, Adelaide from Colony to Jubilee: A Sense of Difference.

The frisson that accompanied the festivals of the 1970s, and their full attendances, were in a large part due to Dunstan. ‘He generated all that interest and all that excitement and all that sense that if we didn’t have a lively arts program then we weren’t really entitled to call ourselves a major city,’ recalls music critic Elizabeth Silsbury, in an interview stored in the Dunstan Oral History Collection in Adelaide.

In 1972, the stars of Writers’ Week were the beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Ginsberg set the ball rolling by saying ‘fuck’ at his airport press conference, and the word reverberated repeatedly around the Town Hall during the poets’ sell-out readings. Ginsberg brightened up evenings at the Festival Club with amatory advances on waiters and diners alike, and a maid at the Hotel Australia entered his suite and found the poet squatting naked on the floor with a flower in his ear, meditating. ‘He said Om,’ she told the press. Or Oooooooooooooooooom, as he later demonstrated on ABC television.

‘The whole city,’ theatre critic Murray Bramwell remembered in the Adelaide Review in 2002, ‘was given over to festivity, and peaceful, tolerant and inquisitive community. That for me, then and now, was at the very centre of what Don Dunstan and others had imagined for South Australians. Not just some of us, all of us.’

Ruth Starke supervises postgraduates in creative writing at Flinders University and is currently editing a collection of Don Dunstan’s letters.

Pre-order Kill Your Darlings No. 9, or subscribe to the journal here.




  • http://storify.com/carolynlge/garden-ridge-coupons-instant-savings henry

    Hi there, yup this piece of writing is actually fastidious
    and I have learned lot of things from it concerning
    blogging. thanks.

  • http://storify.com/margiema158/burger-king-coupons-coupons-available-now james

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you
    been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your
    web site is excellent, as well as the content!

  • waltershawkya.skyrock.com

    Hello! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to take a look.
    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will
    be tweeting this to my followers! Great blog and great style and design.

  • http://troylksid.blinkweb.com/1/2013/06/sr-max-coupon-code-big-savings-6792/ new coupon

    Hi there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg
    it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be
    benefited from this web site.

  • http://kennethdxy.skyrock.com/3170793379-Ncg-Cinemas-Coupons-Big-Savings.html free coupons

    I love what you guys are up too. Such clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

  • http://www.journalhome.com/johnniegwlg/390694/oytoys-coupon-code-working-coupons.html oytoys coupon code

    I think the admin of this web site is genuinely working hard in support of his web page, because here every material
    is quality based material.

  • http://www.23hq.com/amandao6661/story/11960204 coupon codes

    I do not even know the way I ended up right here,
    but I assumed this post was great. I don’t recognise who you might be but certainly you are going to a famous blogger should you are not already. Cheers!

  • http://clairermjlc.skyrock.com/3170895227-Houston-Chronicle-Coupons-New-Coupons.html houston chronicle

    That is very fascinating, You’re a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and stay up for
    looking for more of your great post. Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  • http://www.journalhome.com/christinecol8077/392871/dgk-coupons-july-2013-get-coupons-here.html printable coupons

    I have read so many content concerning the blogger lovers however this paragraph is really a good paragraph, keep
    it up.

  • http://www.23hq.com/tonyperezma/story/12108187 Loretta

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for
    me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer
    to create your theme? Exceptional work!

9781925266115

S.A. Jones

Light and Shade: Myfanwy Jones’ Leap

Grief, like depression, is potentially difficult material for a novelist to handle. To feel real, the reader has to be close enough to feel the raw, howling pain. But the reader needs reprieve too. It’s a balance of light and shade that Myfanwy Jones pulls off in her second novel, Leap. Read more »

the-story-of-the-lost-child

Kill Your Darlings

What We’re Reading: Readings staff share their August picks

Looking for a book recommendation? After a busy month dominated by the Melbourne Writers Festival’s huge range of events, staff from Readings bookshop share what they’ve been reading. Read more »

daniel-handler

Kate Harper

‘I think about terrible things happening’: An interview with Daniel Handler

Given the current age of acute media-fuelled panic over childhood trauma and accidentally fucking them up, Daniel Handler’s (aka Lemony Snicket) dastardly depictions of children fighting to survive can be read as tales of wonder. Kate Harper chats to Handler ahead of his upcoming Melbourne appearances. Read more »

One-Direction

Rebecca Shaw

Right Direction: The value of fandom

I have a pop-culture confession to make to you, Internet. It isn’t something I’ve been trying to keep hidden for fear of seeming uncool, because that ship sailed long ago. But it is something I haven’t opened up about until this point. I, Rebecca Shaw, have become a One Direction fan. Read more »

abortion

Rebecca Shaw

Choice Without Stigma: Dismantling the abortion taboo

Abortion is still illegal in the criminal code in Queensland – even in this, the Year of Our Beyoncé 2015. While women are unlikely to face practical obstacles to abortion due to the law, it can still cause isolation and unnecessary fear, and creates a stigma around the act. Read more »

17177200132_2383e88c36_k

Rebecca Shaw

Rage Against the Marriage: The inanity of same sex marriage debate in Australia

I am someone who is completely comfortable in my sexuality, and who classifies myself as the genus Lesbionisos. I am 100% certain that I am not abnormal, an abomination, or in any way inferior to heterosexual people. Sometimes I even secretly think non-heterosexuals might be superior. But I haven’t always been this assured. Read more »

The_Gift_2015_Film_Poster1

Anwen Crawford

Memorable Chills: Edgerton’s Gift

The Gift is Australian actor Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut — he also wrote, produced, and stars in it — and it bodes well for Edgerton’s directing career. A psychological thriller, The Gift is efficiently and quite memorably chilling, at least for the first half. Read more »

wolfpack-1024

Joanna Di Mattia

Escaping The Wolfpack: Inside and outside the screen

The Wolfpack introduces us to the six Angulo brothers, who were kept virtual prisoners for 14 years in their Lower East Side apartment. More than a captivity narrative, this is a film about the influence of cameras and screens, and the transfixing, liberating power of cinema. Read more »

f9a2809e-97eb-400d-b491-b4b6a6f09930-2060x1236

Clem Bastow

Telling Stories: Women screenwriters and the obligation to represent

There is something in the recent call to arms for female writers and directors to ‘tell your story’ that leaves me feeling bereft, not vindicated. The idea that As A Woman I must write about women first and foremost is a special kind of hell. Read more »

actf_rtt2_hero

Alexis Drevikovsky

Have You Ever Felt Like This: Going Round the Twist again

Working from home one day, I took my lunchbreak away from my laptop and flicked idly through the TV channels, hoping for a midday movie with Reese Witherspoon or, even better, an old episode of Cheers. What I found was beyond my wildest dreams. I excitedly texted my mate Alison: Round the Twist is on ABC3! Read more »

golden-age-of-television

Jane Hone

How the Golden Age of Television Brought Us Back Together

I recently heard someone say that it used to be that at 6pm, everyone would sit down to watch The Cosby Show. It seemed at once a quaint and almost sci-fi notion ­– millions of people watching the same show at the same time. How things have changed. Read more »

glitch abc tv

Stephanie Van Schilt

A Glitch in the System: The ABC’s undead gamble

In one gasping breath, Glitch shows that the ABC is stumbling towards something beloved by TV audiences the world over, but that regularly eludes the Australian and film and TV industry: genre. And not just any genre, but the ‘return-from-the-dead’ zombie-style genre. Read more »

ss_8df8236403f5aad45eeedd33d2bd545e45435b39.1920x1080

Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

Edinburgh

Jane Howard

The Impenetrable City: Getting lost at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

I just saw a one-on-one performance piece that ended in my bursting into tears and the artist sitting with me and holding my hands in hers for maybe ten, maybe fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. We had a shared piece of history, and her work was delicate and took me by surprise, and I have a cold, and I am homesick, and I don’t know why I’m in Edinburgh, and I’ve cried a lot, and now I’m in a gallery because I couldn’t face another show. Read more »

Resized__863

Jane Howard

A Mess of a Brain: A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

In some ways it seems like an impossible task to take Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing and translate it to any other art form. How to find a life for a book that is so internal, so unrelenting, in anything other than the pure words of its narrator as they appear on the page? Read more »

Keith - photo Shane Reid

Jane Howard

Local Courage, Global Reach: The National Play Festival

There is something to be gained from observing any collection of works in close proximity, and in these readings you could see the way Australian playwrights are reaching out into the world. Together, these works show the minds of our playwrights in robust health, with works that are itching to find their audience. Read more »