Old, New, In-Between
As we navigate the “new normal”, I wonder if there is still comfort to be found in nostalgia. Or does the thought of our globetrotting, coronavirus-free past bring on an unbearable yearning? No doubt it is especially hard for those with loved ones in distant places. And what of the future: does it elicit excitement or trepidation. Perhaps both. These times have many feeling frustrated, lucky, reconciled, anxious, helpless and safe — all in equal measure. So how, then, do we find not only inner peace, but also a sense of purpose and desire?
These are complex times. While there exists a profound sense of loss, there are also signs of hope and revival, with new businesses opening, trends forming and growing confidence in many sectors. In the second issue of T Australia, we explore the tension between the recent past and present. As we head to the halfway point of 2021, it’s a good time to assess where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. What have we lost? What have we gained?
I like tension. I’m attracted to complexity. For that reason, the stories in this Modern Nostalgia issue have that delicious dichotomy of moving forward and looking back. And there couldn’t be a better fit than our cover star, the actor, director and quintessential Aussie bloke Simon Baker. Having left Los Angeles for Australia in 2015, Baker is determined to make an impact on the local film scene — a scene that had little time for his younger self.
Baker’s film credits include “The Devil Wears Prada” and “L.A. Confidential”, but he’s best known for “The Mentalist” TV series (when he extended his contract with the long-running show in 2010, the deal was reported to be worth $US30 million). Now he’s back in Sydney, indulging in his two passions: surfing and filmmaking. In this issue’s cover story (“Locally Produced”, Page 78), he discusses the “Aussiewood” phenomenon and why it’s never been more important to support Australian talent.
In “Hunters & Collectors” (Page 86), the Walkley Award-winning journalist Kate Hennessy hikes Tasmania’s Overland Track, searching for seeds that may prevent extinction of the island’s fragile flora. She’s joined by a botanist who offers fascinating insights into the past and the looming threat of climate change.
I’m in awe of the five grandmothers profiled in “Next-Gen Nannas” (Page 94). Not only are they smart, stylish women who wear their age (and grey hair) with pride, each one defies the ageist connotations that come with being someone’s nan.
And there’s plenty more, including The New York Times restaurant reviewer Besha Rodell’s thoughts on Pipit in northern New South Wales. The Veronicas tell us about their struggles with identity, we meet the Sydney artist Struthless and find out why barbershops in Australia have become a prickly business. Enjoy the reads.
Finally, let me express the team’s heartfelt gratitude for your incredibly warm response to T Australia. The weeks following the brand’s launch back in March have been a whirlwind of growth and opportunity, and every day has been a humbling experience. We appreciate every reader, every subscriber and every message of support.
Katarina Kroslakova — Publisher, Editor-in-Chief