australia (slash) invasion day, + “there will be some introspection”, part 2. {official Thing}

{public post}

hallo loves.

ill be reading all of these comments, please comment liberally.

i got two long reads for your sunday, all very interconnected: this post and the beautiful new patron-funded medium piece by jack nicholls and gaby motola (link at the bottom, but also here if you’re impatient).

pull up a chair and grab a coffee.


here we are.

the earth is burning.


nobody knows exactly what to do.

this seems to be the theme.

i have a lot of my own long-form writing to do in the coming months….i especially want to sit down to pen something thoughtful to explain the release of the new song i wrote down in tasmania after sitting with almost a hundred people in a small wooden box. i’m not even sure where to start with that. i know i’m learning things that i never expected to learn, and i’m connecting dots that i never knew were there to be connected.

it’s been a listening few weeks. on top of the tasmanian adventure, i did four hours of talking and sharing and listening yesterday at the arts centre here in melbourne.

the first two hours was dedicated to a small group of twenty local melbourne artists. the admission was free but the artists had to apply to get into this program, which is run by the arts centre, and mostly, i learned a lot. we talked about everything from vanishing arts funding (i’ve noticed that’s a huge running theme of horror nowadays in australia), to imposter syndrome, to balancing “doing good” with “taking care of your own shit” (impossible), to having belief in your own work, and on and on.

it was an incredible group of folks. if you were one of them, thank you.


after that, i went into a larger hall and took questions for a couple hours from a batch of local melburnians who paid $15 to just sit and have a yarn. it was a GOOD YARN. i did most of the talking this time and went deep into doubt, parenthood, art and community, open relationships. vegemite. morrissey. it was hard, and it was good. so good.

to all of you who came, thank you.


the money all went to firesticks alliance, which i’ve posted about here before….they’re an indigenous group who are trying to raise awareness and educate about cultural burning.

long game.


after the whole shebang, i found out that one of the guys from firesticks, amos, had come to support and listen and say thanks.

he gave me some clapsticks, and some emu feathers, and we had a chat.

about our lives, and about what we were doing the next day. i knew that it was invasion day, i knew there were marches and speeches and gatherings.

back in the states, we have “thanksgiving”.

here in oz, they have “australia day”.

back in the states, or at least in new england, where i’m from, many people now observe a “national day of mourning”.

the folks here just call it “invasion day”.

i told amos i’d probably be too exhausted to go, it was my first real day off with my kid in a long time. but we traded numbers in case we could collide.


i talked about this on stage in melbourne the other night.

i remember the time – one of my first BIG solo shows – i was scheduled to play in australia  – in 2011 – on “australia day”.

at the sydney opera house. this was a huge deal.

i didn’t know very much about the national politics.

i didn’t know much about what australia day meant to people.

i knew that people on twitter started to educated me.

i knew that the people at the opera house wanted to decorate the stage like a giant, tacky, bogan picnic, including massive boxes of VB (victoria bitter: australia’s answer to bud light, if you’re being generous…natty ice, if you’re not).

i knew that i really didn’t understand much and that i was on tour and would just do what i always did: go with the flow.

here’s a photo from that show, by chantel bann.

(there’s actually a whole gallery here)

australia day 2011

i asked neil to write a poem about australia day, something that would speak to the bigger issues. he did. (and he came back and did it again, with a quartet. and i also just read it at sundown on a hilltop in woodford….and we recorded it).

i think it’s worth sharing here.

Australia Day

by Neil Gaiman

We killed them all when we came here.
The people came and burned their land
The forests where they used to feed
We burned the trees that gave them shade
And burned to bush, to scrub, to heath
We made it easier to hunt.
We changed the land, and they were gone.

Today our beasts and dreams are small
As species fall to time and us
But back before the black folk came
Before the white folk’s fleet arrived
Before we built our cities here
Before the casual genocide,
This was the land where nightmares loped
And hopped and ran and crawled and slid.
And then we did the things we did,
And thus we died the things we died.

We have not seen Diprotodon
A wombat bigger than a room
Or run from Dromornithidae
Gigantic demon ducks of doom
All motor legs and ripping beaks
A flock of geese from hell’s dark maw
We’ve lost carnivorous kangaroo
A bouncy furrier T Rex
And Thylacoleo Carnifex
the rat-king-devil-lion-thing
the dropbear fantasy made flesh.
Quinkana, the land crocodile
Five metres long and fast as fright
Wonambi,  the enormous snake
Who waited by the water-holes
and took the ones who came to drink
who were not watchful, clever, bright.
Our Thylacines  were tiger-wolves
until we drove them off the map
Then Megalania: seven meters
of venomous enormous lizard…
and more, and more.
The ones whose bones we’ve never seen.
The megafauna haunt our dreams.
This was their land before mankind
Just fifty thousand years ago.

Time is a beast that eats and eats
gives nothing back but ash and bones
And one day someone else will come
to excavate a heap of stones
And wonder,  What were people like?
Their teeth weren’t sharp. Their feet were slow.
They walked Australia long ago
before Time took them into tales

We’re transients. The land remains.
Until its outlines wash away.
While night falls down like dropbears don’t
to swallow up Australia Day.



there’s an anecdote about the night before that show that neil and i have shared with a lot of people. i had a ton of stuff to rehearse, and we were sharing a single hotel room with a single desk and bed. i needed to get my head together to go all the material the night before the show, so i asked neil if he could scram for a few hours. he said sure. but it was raining, and the bar he was in closed at 11. he came back to the room. i was probably sitting there with my laptop open, listening to the songs i was going to play and cover, surrounded by a mess of papers and lyric scraps on the floor.

“do you mind if i just work quietly here?” he asked.

i gritted my teeth.

“as long as we can totally ignore each other.” i said.

“of course!” he said, and then sat down with his phone,  laughing at it, and interrupting me every fifteen minutes to tell me something interesting he had just read on email. i wanted to kill him.

however, there was an up side.

it wasn’t long after that episode that i delivered my TED talk.

neil came with me to long beach, california, to the TED conference.

we shared a hotel room. but for the night before my actual talk, i booked two rooms.

neil and i are still convinced i wouldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been for the sydney debacle.

so i may have one miserable night in sydney to thank for the fact that i nailed my TED talk.

back to the point. trust me, it will all connect.


neil and i woke up today, ready to spend a family day together.

i’ve been busy as fuck. it’s been hectic. (the australians say this all the time. it’s pronounced “hik-tik”, mate)

we had no plans.

just an expanse of beautiful empty collapse and family time.

just to amble, enjoy each others’ company, cook. cuddle ash. read books. maybe go to the park, maybe visit a sick friend. cook more.

the march started at 11. we didn’t even wake up til 10. i also know: marches are crowds. neil does not like crowds. he realllly doesn’t.

after we had eaten, i lightly suggested to neil that we could swing by the aftermath of the march and meet amos.

he said “sure” brightly.

then i did a stupid thing that i often do with neil.

i asked him a question that sent him into the dark.

you know, i said, as we packed up the bottles and sandwiches and the sun screen, i don’t think i even know the answer to this question: have you ever been to a march? a rally?

neil froze. then some of his childhood stories haunted the room, and then we were on the way to the tram and i could see neil’s mood heading into the blackness. why are we going to a march?? why didn’t you tell me about this last night? MARCH? I DON’T WANT TO GO TO A MARCH. THERE ARE PEOPLE. 

i tried to fix things.

we aren’t really going to a MARCH, i said. it’s OVER. it’s more just….i wanted you to meet amos. i want to just swing by. we can just swing by and say hi. there will not be lots of strangers. well or there will only be strangers for like 5 minutes.

neil glowered at me.

maybe you shouldn’t come. i said. maybe we should all just go home. or maybe i’ll go and take ash and then you can meet us at the museum. or maybe fuck everything. i don’t know. 

ash started to scream about something.

by this point we were halfway to the tram with ash in tow, who was getting agitated in that way he gets agitated when his parents start to disagree.


i thought about the almost hundred people i’d talked to in tasmania.

how everyone looked and felt so desperate.

desperate to get things done. desperate to figure out the balance. desperate to help everybody else. desperate to take better care of their kids.

now it was me.


neil went home to work.

i took ash to the rally-march-aftermath-Thing.

as i wandered to the Thing in town with a stroller, lost, sweating and rushing through the central business district of melbourne, texting amos and trying to track down where the gathering had moved to and taking at least three wrong turns and having to plough the stroller through a mass of thousands of shouting people while ash yowled that he didn’t want a piece of fruit, he wanted a rainbow zombie piece of candy (WHAT IS THAT EVEN?), i felt two conflicting things.

i am so glad neil didn’t come, he would have killed me by now


why am i actually doing this?

i could be home, playing in the yard with my kid. i could be at the air conditioned melbourne museum looking at shark corpses with ash and neil and everyone would be happier.


earlier in the morning. i had tweeted the information about the invasion day marches that were happening all over australia.

it got the fewest amounts of retweets and likes than almost any post i’d put up this week.

did everybody already know?

did nobody fucking care?

was australia not on twitter anymore?

why am i actually doing this?


i found amos.


he kept an eye on ash while i took some photos of the march.



ash made a friend.

he and his friend harassed the australian cops.





i listened to the stories people told from the rally stage while ash squirmed around.

we wove in and out of stores and swarms of people.

the crowd chanted





amos and i walked from one rallying spot to the next, and he told me more about firesticks, about how the recent flames in australia are just starting to teach firefighters what they don’t know.

amos is a firefighter.

they’ll just burn a ring or a square around the animals, trapping them, leaving them no path to escape, amos said, shaking his head.


i thought about neil. how he would be so interested in this conversation but he would be so traumatized by the crowds. i’ll tell him everything, i thought.

how we pass information.

how we try to make sense of everything.

this has been the theme of the tour.

this is what all artists are confronted with when things get so dark out, when the smoke comes, when the fire comes, when the wars come, and you’re standing there with a goddamn pen or a ukulele or a paintbrush in your hand.

why am i actually doing this?


but everywhere at the protest, there were the sounds of drums beating.

there were the painted signs, and someone had to paint them.

and back in the house, neil gaiman was hopefully writing a story that would change somebody’s life….later.


why am i actually doing this?

if not this, what should i be doing instead?

as if on cue…..jack nicholls (words) and gabrielle motola (photos), who i brought on the european tour using patron-dollars to create community-plus-backstage-insight in the shape of some longer-form pieces, have finally finished their second piece.

it’s all deeply related to this entire question.

to boot:

why is anyone actually doing anything?

i know that the answers are not there.

not in my post, not in my songs, not in jack and gaby’s work.

but maybe there’s a more important question.

what can you do?

are you doing anything? 


maybe too much why is fucking us up.


i am incredibly proud of jack and gaby, AGAIN. they’re both truly powerful artists in their own spheres and capturing this tour was a hard task. i love jack and i love that this is the approach he took for piece number two: to talk about the climate, about hope and hopelessness, to go deep into the why am i actually doing this?

if you missed the first piece, There Will Be Some Introspection — On The Road with Amanda Palmer Part 1: Us and Them you can catch up on the patreon post HERE…..

……and read the beautiful writing and see the gorgeous photos here in our new patron-fueled medium publication, We Are The Media:

here is the entire (first) piece:


and now, part deux.

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read it here:


AND…..of course:

some words from jack.

Hi from Jack,

I’m here in Melbourne, with the release of the second feature on Amanda’s There Will Be No Intermission tour, with a focus on protest politics and the environment. This one was originally drafted in December, but then Australia caught fire, and we felt we had to update it, which the problem of writing about climate change as it accelerates – there is always a new disaster to distract us.

The understandable consensus from Patrons was that the last piece was too long, so we did our best to cut this one a little shorter. There was a lot that could have gone into this but we didn’t have space for. The Scottish independence rallies we attended, where Catalonian flags waved in solidarity with the Scottish cross. The way that Europe’s youth instinctively use English as their language of protest, reflecting their globalised/internet perspective. Amanda’s own history of street activism and arrest. In the unlikely event that anyone DOES want more detail, I wrote a whole separate account of the Extinction Rebellion uprising at

This is a huge topic, and I think quite emotional for me, Gabrielle and Amanda. I was frustrated at trying get across my depth of feeling on it and feeling like I was failing to do it justice, but I hope what comes through is a picture of how it felt to be part of an amazing community during this difficult historical interlude.

Thank-you to Gabrielle Motola and Emilie Tondeur for their captivating photos, and thanks most of all the Patrons who talked to me about their fears and hopes. I am sorry I was only able to use it a fraction of your words in the finished piece.

In the meantime, I am feeling quite upbeat. The tour is over for me, but I dropped in to Amanda’s Melbourne show and sang Beds are Burning at with the crowd, always cathartic for an Australian. I’m currently finishing the next article, which will focus on the decriminalisation of abortion in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the unlikely coincidence of Amanda being present and singing at both those events. 

Despite the subject matter, I hope it will prove to be more uplifting!


[Me and my mother with a tour souvenir on Christmas day]



some words from gabrielle:

Dearest Patrons,

Happy 2020 to you all. I’ve been gratefully nestled in the bosom of England for most of the end of the year and beginning of this one, except for a week in the mountains of Italy with 8 Italians and then a lot of walking in Rome, losing my phone to a Roman toilet on the first, which was a weird way to begin this year; with maps and timed rendezvous, using my intuition to navigate, days of media silence.

I’ve been back since the 6th of January, testing new cameras because the touring made me realise I needed to up my game. That’s kind of a nightmare but also exciting. I’ve used the same Olympus cameras for 8 years! So far I’ve been busy working on other projects, most notably a collection of work from last year of talking to strangers on the streets and bringing this wonderful article into visual life.

Post-tour there was a break as Jack mentioned with the article’s release due to these external circumstances. This gave me merciful time to rest my head, and get over the sadness of the tour ending and leaving the people I have come to love on it, and the atmosphere that is an AFP performance with you all there in your astute self-awareness and kindness. You are like no other audience I have experienced at a music show.

It also gave me a visual and emotional break from pouring over the enormous archive of images and a chance to escape to a cabin the mountains of Italy as a guest of an Italian woman I met 20 years ago in New York and ran into again last September. It was then joyfully exciting diving back into the archive for this piece and being with everyone again, on tour virtually. Though as you will see, I was not on parts of the tour as I left after Antwerp to fly to the USA for my brother’s wedding and rejoined in Cork, Ireland.

So instead of using just my pictures for this article, I picture edited in the work of Emile Tondeur and the photographers who have contributed to the growing body of work documenting the protests of Extinction Rebellion. It was frustrating not to be with Jack and the tour through the later part of September, nor in London in October (still stationed in NY) with Jack and Amanda for the XR protests. I had been present in London in April last year  (scroll down) for those protests and spent the weeks speaking to and documenting some of the people. The feeling of connectedness and the power of the XR demonstration and the community the protests manifested were intoxicating and medicinal in just the right proportions. I felt London come together for a couple of weeks and I’ve tried to hold onto that feeling in the street work I’ve been making since.

I’ve been watching the fires in Australia from here and in Italy feeling helpless and knowing that Jack and Amanda, and now Amanda’s team, are all there witnessing it firsthand. It brings back a PTSD feeling of watching New York in 2001 from here and being able to largely do nothing.

There have been many of you who have contacted me about photographs of after-show gatherings with Amanda and while I couldn’t fulfill each request individually, we have come up with a solution which I hope you will like. I will make those images available for you to peruse and download for a small fee. Half the money will go to charity. The other half will cover the time it will take to edit the work and build the portal.

Amanda and I have also been discussing the production of a book because while there were 110 photographs in the first article and more than 60 in the second (and more to come), there are countless others which should see the light of day. I know there is a lot on Amanda’s plate at the moment, as well as mine, but this plan is in process. I welcome any thoughts or ideas you have about any of this and look forward to you reading this piece and the others to come.

Love from Middle Grey London,


With friends from 20 years ago, a reunion in the mountains of Italy for New Year’s


Near the Dolomites in North East Italy


The Appian Way (Via Appia Antica) the Oldest Road in Rome (I walked nearly the entire thing out of Rome to the sticks.)

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-24 at 10.47.02

A picture of me by a wonderful Milanese photographer and musician Ikka Mirabelli (@iikka_mirabelli on Instagram) who I met at the house in the mountains.

do not forget that gaby is on instagram (her stories and photos there are really beautiful and human, and she’s also on patreon if you wanna support her.


happy reading, everybody.

why are we actually doing this?

i don’t know.

i do know that i’m really glad you’re here, i’m here, and that we are all here together.

thank you.

for doing….anything.

your support here made jack and gaby’s entire trip on tour possible, paid for their time and film and editing and brain-power….and that’s more than something. it’s huge. it’s a lot. thank you.

thank you from all of us, flailing.



1. if you’re a patron, please click through to comment on this post. at the very least, if you’ve read it, indicate that by using the heart symbol.

2. see All the Things i’ve made so far on patreon:

3. join the official AFP-patron facebook group:

4. new to my music and TOTALLY OVERWHELMED? TAKE A WALK THROUGH AMANDALANDA….we made a basic list of my greatest hits n stuff (at least up until a few years ago, this desperately needs updating) on this lovely page:

5. general AFP/patreon-related questions? ask away, someone will answer:


Sat Jan 25th – MELBOURNE – CHARITY Q&A at Arts Centre

Fri Jan 31 – BRISBANE, QLD – Brisbane Powerhouse

Sat Feb 1 – BRISBANE, QLD – Brisbane Powerhouse

Fri Feb 7 – CANBERRA, ACT – Canberra Theatre

Sat Feb 8 – SPRINGWOOD NSW – Blue Mountains Theatre

Fri Feb 14 & 15 – ADELAIDE, SA – Bonython Hall, Adelaide Fringe

Thu Feb 20 – SYDNEY, NSW – Enmore Theatre

Sat Feb 22 – PERTH, WA – Perth Festival Hall

Sat Feb 29 – DARWIN, NT – Darwin Entertainment Centre

Thurs March 12th: Auckland Festival: Hollywood Avondale

Fri March 13th: Auckland Festival: Hollywood Avondale

Sat March 14th: The Piano, Christchurch

Mon 16th: Wellington Fringe – St Peters Church

all info:

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