Spilled Ink

Week 9

Jo’s watching

Roadhouse, a Comparison

So, this year we got a remake of the 1989 film, Roadhouse. The version featuring the greatest ‘ass-ets’ is obviously the 1989 one, starring Patrick Swayze. But the 2024 remake needed its own way to appeal to the female demographic. Enter Knox, the main villain. The man has a baller intro—by which I mean we get an unobstructed view of his iconic saunter, butt thankfully we don’t see his balls. Knox is played by none other than the Irishman Conor McGregor, former UFC champion. In the prime of ‘touch-butt Conor’, he was a legendary fighter who did drills in the park where he and his coach tried to defend their backsides from each other. Conor was the first to hold two weight classes in the UFC at the same time: featherweight and lightweight. This begs the question of just how good camera angles are; he’s five foot nine, but looks giant against the other guys in the show. Jake Gyllenhaal talks about how, ‘to watch a real fighter learn how to not fight is actually kind of funny… you’re telling them you have to miss?’. This film is not an elegant display of the ‘touch-butt Conor’ we all long to see again, this is ‘coked-up Conor’ at his absolute peak.  

The intro of the remake also features a fight with Post Malone as Carter Ford. I honestly didn’t recognise him, but he looked like he was having so much fun playing the character and suited the grungy-underground-fight-world aesthetic well.

The overarching story of each movie is quite different. You have Patrick Swayze’s Gentleman Bouncer, James Dalton, who studied philosophy and trained in karate. And then you have Jake Gyllenhaal’s I-killed-a-man-in-professional-fighting-and-he-was-a-friend-but-I-let-my-anger-get-ahead-of-me-and-now-I’m-all-choked-up-by-it version of James Dalton, whose flashback to this memory was filmed at the UFC 285.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way: the women. 1989 provides such an interesting look into the sexes; men are rugged and tanned in tight jeans and women enter wet g-string contests and are almost exclusively blonde. When I realised the woman had a fair amount of muscle, I was in awe. However, I fear their appearance of muscularity is more the byproduct of being painfully thin—it’s just the small amount of sinew left on their bones.

In the ending of the 1989 film, Swayze’s Dalton defeats the bad guys, saves the town, and gets the girl. Swayze kills some dudes and then they swim around in the pond near the horse stables and live happily ever after. Arguably a nice ending.

Whereas in the remake, the end is kind of hilarious. Love interests largely control the happiness of the ending in these sorts of films; in the 2024 version, when the woman is given agency rather than being a prize for the protagonist (as I feel is right for the movie’s end), things don’t get wrapped up so neatly. A character in the 2024 film states, ‘You got shit taste in boyfriends, El’, which creates this idea that—yeah, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dalton isn’t a very stable guy. Ultimately, El turns him down, not wanting to spend the foreseeable future with an on-the-run murderer. It feels a lot more accurate to life.

You can watch both the 1989 and 2024 versions on Prime Video. Thanks for reading.

Olivia’s reading

Water Like Broken Glass by Carina Bissett

Content Warning: Domestic Violence, Murder

April seems like it was a month for monstrous aquatic women—at least it was for me. This week’s reading was originally published in the 2023 anthology Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga, but I read it for the first time reprinted in The Dark issue 107. If you find yourself interested, you can access it online at https://www.thedarkmagazine.com/water-like-broken-glass/. The story opens with violence: our protagonist Yelena’s head underwater, her lover’s arms around her throat. She drowns, eventually returning as a rusalka—a malevolent spirit bound to the river. She is alone at the river until another woman, Tilde, arrives battered and crying for help, pursued by a soldier. Yelena drags the chasing soldier down into the water, near drowning him, then letting him go, gasping for air, only to pull him under once more. She repeats this until, at last, she drags him under for good. 

The relieved Tilde reveals that she is a member of the Resistance, plotting revolution against the invading soldiers. Thus begins a relationship between them: Tilde lures countless enemy soldiers to Yelena’s river to be drowned, the riverbed eventually becoming a floor of skulls. The two even become lovers, and Tilde swears to find a way to free Yelena from the watery grave that anchors her. But Tilde spends long periods away from the river, serving the Resistance, and in their separation the two grow and change. 

Water Like Broken Glass is a story of revenge and redemption, asking us if good deeds can wash away bad. The two women at the story’s centre offer us different views on all these themes. A solid recommendation from me. 

Callum’s listening

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die’s Whenever, If Ever (10th Anniversary)

During the winter university holiday, I laid on a single mattress in my mother’s new home. I was forced to spend two weeks here, away from my friends and possessions. Nobody I knew lived in this suburb, so I was stuck, day and night, with my mother’s new boyfriend and brothers. Thankfully, I had a separate room, so I spent most days inside when I wasn’t dragged along to a beachfront walk at dawn. On the second night, I was trawling through Tumblr, doom-scrolling as I do now on other platforms. I came across this post about ‘the best band you will ever listen to’. I thought my music taste had already peaked with bands like A Day To Remember and Thy Art Is Murder. My taste in music was too heavy, an ode to the angriest parts of my life. I looked up the band and was soon met with the slow, deep strum of a bass guitar that trailed on, thrumming rhythmically on the song ‘Getting Sodas’. A wavy, gimmicky voice sang: 

‘We are the walls in formless shapes.’  

I had no clue how to feel. The range this song brought to my ears was unheard of in my small bubble of listening experience. The drops and riffs were prolonged and maintained between choruses; slow pick-ups led to insane instrumental cluttering and unforgettable moments. The chanting at the end of ‘Getting Sodas’ electrified my heartbeat as I sat on the balcony of my mother’s home at midnight, the cold breeze of winter freezing my body. They chanted the band’s name repeatedly until my heart slowed and I could comprehend what I had just heard. I could feel the anger dissipate with each breath, felt the promise of calm. The days and weeks following this first experience with The World Is a Beautiful Place gave me purpose, even in the familiar matters I would ordinarily brush off. I was kinder to my mother and brothers. I welcomed her boyfriend and spent the remainder of my time there as a gentler child. The release of this tenth anniversary brought forth memories from my younger self and the feelings along with it. I relived the time spent between my parents and every emotion attached to it as I listened to the album again. Whenever, If Ever truly will make you kinder.  

Callum Ross-Rowland (he/him) is a Brisbane-based creative writing student at QUT. He was 2023 Literary Salon’s Photographer with his recent Diploma in Photo Imaging from Billy Blue (Torrens). He was recently shortlisted for Photographer of the year in the Animal and Nature category and regularly photographs for Artful Heads magazine where he captures portraits of artists from different mediums. Find him on Instagram @alrightatart.

Josephine Renee (she/her) is a 23-year-old Meanjin author majoring in creative writing at QUT. She is the Brisbane Writers Festival 2024 Youth Ambassador and a co-president of the QUT Literary Salon, as well as the 2023 recipient of the Kellie van Meurs Memorial Scholarship. She has travelled Europe for two years, spent a year and a half in North America, and recently returned from Paris. When not gaining worldbuilding inspiration, she dedicates her time to writing and illustrating. She has work published in WhyNot, ScratchThat Magazine, and Glass Magazine. Find her on Instagram @josephine_renee_official or at josephinerenee.com.

Olivia J Pryor (She/They) is a 25-year-old Meanjin based queer trans woman writer in her final year of studying creative writing at QUT. She is a lover of speculative fiction in all its forms: sci-fi; fantasy; horror; weird fiction and others, but still enjoys reading, watching, and listening to media in all genres and forms. She cares deeply about marginalised voices in the arts, particularly queer and trans women.


Logo created by Josephine Renee

Art created by Sophie Gollant


Sophie Gollant (she/her) is marked by her earnest oil paintings and photographs of earthly, isolated scenes. Sophie’s practice is steeped in metaphors and motifs that earnestly draw on her experiences of womanhood, chronic illness, and solitude.

Instagram: @soggolla