Stephen Romei sits down with Salman Rushdie today ahead of the release of the author’s latest book, The Golden Hour. It’s a cracking interview. I won’t spoil it here (turn to pages 16-17), but I will say Rushdie’s Australian ties run deep, and he’s funnier than you might think. Auditions begin next week for arguably the most interesting university degree in the country. Applications close today for NICA’s bachelor of circus arts at Swinburne University of Technology. The National Institute of Circus Arts will begin auditioning the new crop of talent in WA before touring the country on its annual recruitment drive. The degree is one of very few circus-specific courses in the world. Circus, especially in the cabaret format preferred by Circa and Strut & Fret, is a growth industry in Australia, a fact borne out at major festivals around the country. Study areas for the three-year course include: group circus acts; performance skills; circus business; anatomy, nutrition and sports psychology; and circus history. I don’t recall much of my arts degree, but I’m certain it was never that much fun. If you’ve been anywhere near a bookshop lately, you’d have noticed tomorrow is Father’s Day. And amid the sales tables heaving with lawncare manuals, footy memoirs and cricket biographies, you’ll find a small, unassuming gem: Muddle Your Way Through Fatherhood: How to Fool People into Thinking You’re a Competent Dad. Featuring chapters on “simple ways to avoid being assaulted during childbirth” and “the greatest lies to tell your kids”, Paul Merrill’s latest book is one of the more humorous things I’ve read in recent times. It’s unlikely Merrill, a former lad’s mag editor, has spent much time in the same sentences as Umberto Eco, but the thrust of his book ties in to one of my favourite quotes about fatherhood by the departed Italian novelist. “I believe what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us,” Eco wrote. “We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” Celebrate your dads. And for an extra dose of paternal pathos, skip back to page 2 and read This Life. It is quite a story.