In an interview, one of the founders of Cane Toad Times talks about using the magazine to develop a journalism of the everyday. (Cane Toad Times was a satirical magazine produced in Brisbane in the 1980s and there is an exhibition at the State Library.) A journalism of the everyday. It’s a rather poetic way to talk about or practice journalism; the interviewee also spoke of the influences of the ‘new journalism’ and long form writing. A journalism of the everyday also evokes other kinds of political, artistic and philosophical murmurings – de Certeau, Lefebvre, Blanchot and others.
It connects with other texts that have some bearing on writing place and Enabling Suburbs. The former relates to this project, while the latter relates to Chiara Camponeschi’s work, The Enabling City, which makes reference to the ‘power of the everyday’. This stuff of the everyday is formidable. An arts journalism experiment by a group called Engine29 observes that arts writers spend their time in venues and cultural institutions rather than “on the sidewalks, in the storefronts, throughout the neighborhoods that wrap around the white fortresses of museums”. They say that art is about place. For Moving Experience, Engine29 celebrated “the importance of context and the power of place in a way that served artists, audiences, and publications in a more relevant and valuable way”. Their methodology involved flipping the car culture and car narrative of LA, exploring the city on bicycles, on foot and on public transit for four days. It was about developing a new way of working and ‘getting closer to the culture of the city’ they were covering.
When applied to writing, ‘covering’ is a funny word isn’t it?
Sharing their learnings, they discovered the interconnectedness of the arts with places, writing with transit, writer with artist, art with community. It has linkages to slow journalism and other practices with explore the relationship between writing, depth, experience and speed. It also is about a kind of place based writing that considers community, culture and neighbourhood. They proposed a movement called street journalism (#streetjourno), a practice that may have existed once when journalists walked a beat.
Considering recent conversations about place blogging and a writing focused on changescaping, social media seems to make it more meaningful, more resonant. Thinking about my local newspaper and the comments made by the Cane Toad Times founder, I recall an earlier comment about how local events rarely attract analysis in the local press. There are other permutations of this connective kind of writing – a journalism of the everyday, of the local, of place – and what it means for suburbs, their solutions and their poetries.