The Big Issue : Edition 512
Colson Whitehead THEBIGISSUE20MAY–2JUN2016 37 FROM THE OUTER EDITED BY ALICIA SOMETIMES AND NICOLE HAYES JUST IN CASE you weren’t sure we needed a book about inclusiveness in Aussie Rules football, in the week that From the Outer was published, television’s The AFL Footy Show announced its first female co-host. Its first female. In 2016. More than 150 years after the game began. From the Outer, therefore, is a much-needed collection of essays and stories about Aussie Rules from those who are not normally asked for their opinion. There is Chelsea Roffey, the first female goal umpire to officiate at an AFL grand final; Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, founder of the Purple Bombers, Essendon’s LGBTIQ-friendly cheer squad; and Jacqui James, poet, author and Western Bulldogs fan, who was born with athetoid cerebral palsy and who communicates by computer. There is also Kirby Bentley, the female WA Indigenous footballer for whom the Kirby Bentley Cup – for Aboriginal girls’ football development – is named. And there is award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke, who “can’t kick a footy to save herself”. What just about every contributor has in common, however, is a fearsome fanaticism for AFL football. There is some exceptionally good writing here. Beneba Clarke’s poem ‘marngrook’; ‘Footy Dreams in Struggletown’ from Alice Pung and Nick Cadle; Anna Spargo-Ryan’s ‘How to Love Football’; Christos Tsiolkas’ ‘Love & Footy’. Stan Grant’s essay ‘I Can Tell You How Adam Goodes Feels. Every Indigenous Person Has Felt It’ may have been published before, but it’s important enough to warrant republication. Both editors contribute stories. Alicia Sometimes is a writer, poet, broadcaster and musician, and she writes nostalgically about the Hawks’ premiership win in 1991. Nicole Hayes tells of her disappointment at being turfed off the footy field because she was the girl, and not the boy, twin. There are stories that move, some that amuse and plenty that will leave you enraged. As you would hope, the book itself is inclusive. Not just in terms of content, but also in form. At least some of the jargon has been jettisoned, making this a book that could be read by anyone, not just the footy literate. (Although, footy tragics will get more out of it than others might.) The book makes the point that many Aussie Rules fans have diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds, “whether through gender, culture, geography, disability, sexuality or the socio- economic”. It’s good to see these fans brought in from the outer. by Felicity McLean » From the Outer is out now. Select Covering the standouts in film, music, books and home entertainment ALICIA SOMETIMES (TOP) AND NICOLE HAYES LOVE FOOTY.