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Jack Marx has been writing professionally for a quarter of a century.

He has written two critically-acclaimed books: Sorry – the Wretched Tale of Little Stevie Wright, described by The Bulletin as “one of the most harrowing rock biographies ever published”; and Australian Tragic, a collection of true horror stories that moved The Weekend Australian to describe Marx as “one of our most skilled literary craftsmen”. He has also ghost written books for notorious drug courier Warren Fellows, bank robber Anthony Prince and the occasional artist.

Marx is a recipient of Australia’s most prestigious journalism prize, the Walkley Award, and his online story,
I Was Russell Crowe’s Stooge, remains the most clicked blog post in Australian media history.

But Marx has a renegade side. A frequent attendee at Press Council tribunals, defending charges ranging from unethical conduct to offensive intent, Marx, through his opinionated blogs at Fairfax and News Corp, has drawn complaints from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the NSW Police Union and the Australasian Flightless Birds Association, to name but a few. In 2007, Marx was sensationally fired by The Sydney Morning Herald for refusing to submit his work to editors prior to publication, and his tenure as a newsreader at ABC Radio ended when a clearly inebriated Marx appeared to interview himself about the weather on a morning news bulletin.

Marx currently lives in Broken Hill, where he continues to freelance for the national press while researching and writing a book about a 60-year- old murder mystery that still haunts the outback mining town.

Jack Marx
is In Wild Air



Culture

Cargo Cults


In Hollandia, also known as Jayapura, they saw the Americans come and couldn’t believe it. Riches rained from the sky, from the bellies of weird creatures that flew like birds did. When those beasts landed, the natives crept toward them, carefully, to see whether they were male or female. When the Americans left, leaving behind all their stuff – picture theatres and weapons – the natives took control, and begged the gods for the stuff the Americans brought. My friend grew up on Holllandia, and told me about how he and his friends used to dig up weapons that were buried. He also told me that tribal leaders were flown to Australia so they could see how things were manufactured – that they didn’t just magically fall from the sky. It broke their hearts, but they had to know.

PEOPLE

Michelle Gurevich


I’ve only discovered her recently, though she’s been releasing records since 2007. Canadian born with Russian blood that bleeds through her music, she’s slow, throaty, dark and deeply cynical. She’s also quite beautiful, in a drunken Ava Gardner way, which is a fashion that makes me stroke my chin well into the hours. Her lyricist’s wit can be devastating at times: “There's nothing to discuss/Hearts will be faithful/While the truth is told to someone else” (Lovers Are Strangers) and; “Give me the first six months of love/ Before the truth comes spilling out/Before you open your big mouth” (The First Six Months Of Love). She’s cool as fuck – watch her performance in the YouTube clip for To Be With Others — the intelligence in her eyes is palpable, and when women are this good, men just look silly. She’s probably the heiress to whatever throne Leonard Cohen vacated when he stopped sucking air.

PLACES

Mulberry Vale


There’s a place just outside of Broken Hill, an old sheep station that is now a guest house. It’s very Sergio Leone – when the wind blows, the windmill creaks, the corrugated iron shudders, and the dogs howl sometimes. But a place is only as good as its people, and John and Pam are it. He blitzed his class at Timbertop – the school where the Royals went – and Pam ran amok in swinging London in the 60s. Now they’ve settled in the outback, where they drink big and late, every night. I once fell asleep in front of the fire, and when I woke I was in blankets with my bottle of whisky in front of me – Pam thought I might need it when I awoke. Sometimes, I’ll look out from there, and wonder how animals can live in such darkness and cold. John always sorts me out: “Cos they’re fuckin’ animals, Jack!”. God bless him.

THINGS

Voyager 1


It left Earth in August, 1977, and, at the time I write this, is 20,705,490,865 kilometres away. In the time it took you to read that, it’s travelled further than the width of our planet – it is the fastest thing we’ve created. It’s in interstellar space now – completely beyond the reach of the sun – and hurtling toward the star Gliese 445, which it will reach in about 40,000 years. We’ll be gone then, I think, and Voyager will be the only evidence of our existence. If anyone does find it, there’s a record of our stuff – waves, wind, lightning, and a little bit of Chuck Berry. Imagine those beings hearing that – it’s madness, what we know to be true. I hear that some of the JPL people who worked on Voyager have sunk into horrible depression, because they know this thing they built is now the loneliest thing we have ever known.

THOUGHTS

Death


I have died many times. I believe this. One time, I overdosed so badly I should never have woken up. But I did. I believe there are several lives we live – there are many universes in which people who love me are devastated about the fact I am gone. They shouldn’t be, because, well … I’m not that big a loss. The Aztecs grooved with this – the Inacas did too, though I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s all good, I reckon.

WILDISM

Animals 


I grew up in the city. I believed – and still do, to a point – that the city illuminated at dusk was as beautiful a sight as anything the natural world could show. But growing up in the city robbed me of knowing and loving animals. I knew them as dogs in yards, barking, and birds occasionally shitting on my hat. It was only when I moved to the outback that I realised animals were sentient creatures. They’re all around you here, and they speak, to each other and you. An ornithologist told me that birds gossip – “That dude’s OK … that bitch throws rocks”, and so on. She also played me a recording of baby owls crying when their parents were making them leave the nest, because they don’t want to go. I’ve seen dogs have play fights and willy wagtails scream at them to stop. It’s a weird, wonderful world at our feet, and for so much of my life I’ve missed it. A grazier I know had to shoot his old dog – he’d spoken to his wife about it, with the dog in earshot – and when he got his gun he found the dog at the edge of the property, facing the sunset, a place she'd rarely frequented. As he approached, she turned and saw him, out of the side of her eye, and then looked back at the sunset, the sort of lovely vision one would want to see in the last moments of life.