If interested in organising an interview, for extra information, or to republish any of the material in the book, email Breakdown Press: [email protected]

Media Information Sheet (click to download)

Reviews, Media & Excerpts

“An impassioned McIntyre gets down and dirty in an insiders account of activist pranks … McIntyre has amassed hundreds of tales alongside dramatic photographs in what is unashamedly a songbook for Australia’s future culture-jammers and mischief makers.”
Katherine Wilson, The Age.

“An absolutely fantastic book with a sensational cover image…”
Alan Brough, ABC 774 Melbourne interview

“A great chunk of our social history.”
Louise Maher, ABC 666 Canberra Drive

“An exquisite production with beautifully reproduced posters and photos … a compilation of stories and images from various troublemakers and ratbags throughout Australian history. Even if you’re a person who doesn’t like history per se I think you’ll find this book hard to resist.”
Jeff Sparrow (Overland editor), RRR Melbourne,
Aural Text interview

“Fantastic, fun, entertaining and very enlightening…”
Lou Swinn, RRR website review

“Fascinating interviews with Australia’s best troublemakers, including John Safran and The Chasers, and pics galore, make for a riotous scrapbook covering our radical history of revolts and resistance.”
Rachel Power, AEU (Australian Education Union) News AEU News summer reading article

“The perfect book for enlightened coffee tables.”
Rachel Evans, Green Left Weekly

“If you’ve ever thought of speaking out about an issue or have idly wondered what you could do to make the world a better place, this is the book for you! Fascinating interviews, quirky historical snippets and stunning photos chronicling all the Australians who have made a differenceand who have done so with courage, audacity and a lot of humour! Keep it on your desk at work for all those moments when you need some inspiration, a bit of hope or just a good laugh.”
Jill Sparrow, Co-author Radical Melbourne 1 & 2

“A fascinating recovery of Australia’s neglected past and a worthy inspiration to today’s would-be troublemakers.”
Sean Scalmer,  Author of The Little History of Australian Unionism and Dissent Events: Protest,
The Media and the Political Gimmick in Australia)

Sydney Morning Herald – Dave Burgess Interview republished – 17/12/09

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Review by Rachel Evans
18 November 2009
From: Cultural Dissent, Green Left Weekly issue #818 18 November 2009.

Ever wondered what happened to billboard graffiti artists BUGA-UP? Want the low-down on the Chaser’s APEC stunt or an insight into Australia’s convict revolts? If so, How to Make Trouble and Influence People is the book for you.

In his perfect book for enlightened coffee tables, author Iain McIntyre reveals the vital history of creative resistance in Australia through tales of Indigenous resistance, convict escapes, picket-line hi-jinks, student occupations, creative direct action, media pranks, urban interventions, squatting, blockades, banner drops, street theatre and billboard liberation.

Included are stories and anecdotes, interviews with pranksters and troublemakers, and over 300 spectacular photos.

McIntyre is a Melbourne-based writer and community radio broadcaster. He began his ratbag ways in the late 1980s in anti-racist and environment movements.

McIntyre said: “The book brings to life knowledge that would otherwise be buried in the realms of academia and in the memories of those who lived this history.”

How to Make Trouble explores the political mischief-making of anti-apartheid campaigner Meredith Burgmann, John Safran, “No War” Opera House decorator Dave Burgess and political artist Deborah Kelly. McIntyre interviews The Chaser on its great APEC hoax and gleans wisdom from the women behind the John Howard Ladies’ Auxiliary Fan Club.

Howard’s Fan Club would race out to meet him in ’50s dress and appropriate signage. On their clothing was an explanation: “We were channelling the Queen. We thought that was appropriate as Howard had taken us back to 1952, or at least wanted to.”

The women launched a white blindfold campaign and “produced little origami white blindfolds which were handed out to passengers and said ‘Now this is the official John Howard view of history. What happens with the white blindfold is that you put it on and you can’t see a thing. It completely whites out everything. All you can see is white.’”

Kevin Buzzacott is an Arabunna Elder who played a key role in the campaign against the South Australian “Water Thieves” Olympic Dam mine. His humble interview about imaginative actions taken, from serving eviction notices on Western Mining Corporation through to engaging in thousand-mile long peace walks, is an inspiration.

Grevillea was a “creative inspiration group” that took action against torture in Chile. Alan Bond, who owned most of Perth when Grevillea was active, was supporting the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet by buying into the Chilean telephone exchange.

At an art gallery opening that included a Bond-owned Van Gogh painting, a Grevillean activist got up with a megaphone in front of champagne sipping well-to-dos and said: “Ladies and gentlemen…While you are sipping on your chardonnays, I hope you are happy with the idea that the money that is funding this event is coming from the torture of dissidents in Chile.”

She was escorted out, but the point was made.

McIntyre interviews the Graffiti Games Organising Committee; Stuart Highway, leader of the Network Against Prohibition, campaigning against the “war on drugs”; the gay male order of nuns – the Order of Perpetual Indulgence; and NoToPope Coalition activists.

Interspersed between interviews and vivid photos of inventive actions are brief notes of historical resistance. For example — in Adelaide in 1970, an annual Miss Fresher beauty contest at Adelaide university was shut down when 60 feminists and their male supporters occupied the catwalk.

In Sydney in 1798, an Irish convict was given 100 lashes at Toongabbie for throwing down his hoe and giving three cheers for liberty.

In Melbourne in 1992, racist “Asians Out” graffiti was revised to read: “Take Asians Out to Dinner — No Borders” and “Asians Shout Death to Racists”.

How to Make Trouble is full of ideas for future actions against bigotry and injustice. As McIntyre said: “History is filled with individuals and organisations who were totally out of step with the mainstream of their time… In learning about the deeds of rebels past, we are provided with a memory bank of ideas and tactics from which to draw.”