Hurrah, it’s The Last Hurrah

You’re all probably psyching up for Thursday’s Wordstock or pints at tonight’s In the Pub, but in the spirit of all things EWF, Black Rider Press has put together its own emerging writer lineup for its gig, tonight at The Willow Bar.

Officially, it’s A.S. Patric’s eBook launch, but it’s also The Last Hurrah: there will be MC-ing by Lifted Brow editor Ronnie Scott, support acts from Allison Browning, Eric Dando, Kirk Marshall, myself, plus others, and an appearance from Black Rider Press’ founder Jeremy Balius*.

Words will start flowing after eight. Entry is free, but as Allison likes to say ‘your sweetheart donations help us print books’.

*Yes, the wonderful JB will be gracing us with his presence. I had hoped to make Kirk and myself ‘I Heart Jeremy Balius’ T-shirts for the night, but I’ve been too busy working. *sigh*

30 x 1 minute pieces = 3 hours

…only adds up with much schmoozing and boozing, and Small Room’s A Bridge for Short Attention Spans had plenty of that. It also had plenty of zines and literary magazines on sale, raffle prizes, and free Small Room Issue Ones at the door.

I bought a copy of Ampersand (which I’ll be reviewing soonish), and won a copy of Tristan Clark’s Stick This in Your Memory Hole (Aduki Press). Someone also handed me Windmills, a Deakin uni zine, and ‘Red Den Beauty’ was ftw*; I managed to recite without forgetting/stumbling over/slurring my lines, though standing on a soap box is intimidating when one is in heels, the audience is visible, and there’s no A4 sheet to hide behind.

The rest of the night was readings, readings, readings. One minute was very little time to impress upon an audience, and pieces that succeeded were usually humourous and or well-performed. I say ‘well-performed’ because there was a difference between those who read their writing and those who engaged with both writing and audience. Allison Browning’s piece was not funny at all and rather late in the night, but her acting background helped her work every word.

Thanks to Bryan Whalen for organising a jam-packed**, super fun night. Hopefully we’ll be seeing Small Room No. Two some time soon.

*Red wine, however, was fail; I got red wine down the front of my shirt and had to liberally dab myself with white wine to erase the evidence.

**Why is it packed with jam? This is the weirdest phrase ever.

March 11: What’s happening, Melbourne?

What’s happening? Everything apparently.

Wednesday’s a big day with a book launch, a spoken word night, and a literary magazine event running concurrently. Affirm Press is launching Chris Parkinson’s Peace of Wall: Street Art from East Timor*, Sean M. Whelan’s Babble will have special guests Allison Browning and Anthony O’Sullivan, and RMIT’s Visible Ink is running a fundraiser gig with a mini-market and bands like East Brunswick All Girls Choir, Future Happiness and Owl+Moth.

On Thursday, 13 May, Willow Tales will be catering for the Northsiders and Storytelling, the Southsiders. There will also be the quasi-political intellectual discussion, The Great Firewall of China: Kaiser Kuo on Chinese Internet, Censorship and the West,  happening earlier in the evening at the Wheeler Centre.

rally for same-sex marriage rights is on at the front of the State Library on Saturday. Also, Small Room’s Bryan Whalen has organised a lit journal and art magazine schmooze-fest, A Bridge for Short Attention Spans, at the Brunswick Street Gallery. I’ll be performing alongside folk like Josephine Rowe, Emmett Stinson and Sean M Whelan. It’s gonna be fun in a queasy, butterflies in my stomach kind of way.

Oh, and for those of you who missed out on the Williamstown Literary Festival, you’ll be pleased to know that Duncan Felton is posting about the panels that he went to. His Let’s be frankie post is much more detailed than mine, so it’s worth checking out.

*Correction: Okay, that event was scheduled for Tuesday 11 March. Mega-fail. (Damn, I missed out.)

Excuses, excuses

I’ve been very bad with the not posting lately. Blame Labour Day long weekends and hail the size of golf balls (not that I got to see any of Melbourne’s freak storm, since I was raining it in Macedon). I’d like to think that you’ve missed me, but you probably haven’t, and now after the dispensing of my uninventive excuses, I have some photos in the style of Read You Bastards for your viewing pleasure:

Review: Lost and Found: Visible Ink 21

Alrighty. I said that I’d review a journal per week and already I’ve started outsourcing on the second week (thank you Sam Cooney for your thoughtful words on Cutwater). It’d be poor form to outsource again on the third week, so I’m going to review Visible Ink’s latest publication, Lost and Found.

I met half of the 2009 Vis Ink crew, Allison Browning and Anthony Noack, at this year’s NYWF. When Allison and Anthony spoke of their desire to start up their own literary journal once they had finished Visible Ink, I professed some scepticism. Did Melbourne need another literary journal? Seriously. It was getting crowded down here.

It has been tradition for some time for creatives to flock to Melbourne, to take advantage of the scene. The problem we now face is there’s too many of us here and not enough people amongst the public interested in what we’re all doing. We are our own audience, and since we’re all broke, we can’t sustain each other. (Chris Flynn, 14/10/09)

But after attending a couple of Read You Bastards fundraiser nights, which have become established events in their own right, and the Lost and Found launch, I wouldn’t mind if these guys go all Harvest. Unlike 1908, Lost and Found is one good-looking journal with colour art and photography gracing its covers and pages. Paper is of the recycled kind, and the the text is easy on the eye. Looks like Lost and Found knows that it’s a literary journal; it’s ‘noice’ without being overly designed.

There seems to be a couple of odd editorial decisions. Moreno Giovannoni and Simon McInerney are published twice. One might indulge in a couple of poems from the same poet, but two short stories from the same contributor seems a little excessive, especially in a journal that spans a little more than a hundred pages. I found out at the launch, however, that pieces were selected blind; it is credit to Moreno Giovannoni’s versatility that both ‘The Percheron’ and ‘Sally’ made the final cut. Simply and carefully told, ‘The Percheron’ unfolds without embellishment or trickery:

The man knows that the only way to work with a horse is to use a psychological approach, because his strength cannot match that of the horse. He normally tries to anticipate the horse’s likely behaviour and gently encourages responses consistent with the needs of the work. So what happens that day is a shock to both the man and the horse.

‘Sally’, on the other hand, is colourful in its colloquialism:

On the oval he’d go nuts in the middle of a pack. Didn’t care who he hit or which part of him got whacked. He knew that he’d get the ball if the others sensed his blind desperation. Crazy-brave. The opposition could tell he was going nuts so they’d let him have the ball. You would’ve thought he was prepared to die in there and that was scary.

Other pieces that particularly stuck out for me were Susan Fox’s ‘Waiting Room’, Bernadette Zen’s ‘Tramjam’ with its sweet, youthful earnestness, and Emma Starr’s photo ‘Solitude’, but almost every contributor had something to offer, and because of this I’m peeved at the 2009 Vis Ink crew for their wasteful use of four pages on editorial. But still, great job guys. Hope to see you manning another literary ship some time soon.

To order Lost and Found, check out Visible Ink’s post here.

Lost and Found: Visible Ink 21. Courtesy of visibleinkmag.wordpress.com

Next week, I’ll be reviewing another journal (not sure which one yet) unless I find someone else to review for me of course. Do you want to review something? It’s fun. I know you want to.

Until then, New Zealand-styled beached whale and sea gull on YouTube:

Read You Bastards 3

On Thursday, I finished my random pharmacy shift and headed down to The Empress for some Bastards action of the non-Tarantino kind.  I was bummed for missing out on the first set, which included a reading from Lisa Dempster, but I did get to see (and record) Allison Browning’s performance of an untitled piece. 

The sound quality isn’t great, so you might want to read the written version here

Spoken word nights are a bit hit and miss. Read You Bastards 3 isn’t an exception to the rule, though I do enjoy the mash of curated/non-curated prose/poetry and the ambience of The Empress, but Ozlem Baro’s ‘Hotel’ was the highlight of the second set, its vulnerability silencing the crowded room.

I also performed my piece, ‘Patrick Bateman’, a homage to American Psycho. I had consumed American Psycho during my Deakin years; the novel is a fascinating study technique-wise and I had wanted to reconstruct its style and write about the act of. Anyway, I performed the first half of ‘Patrick Bateman’, got feedback from Lisa (yay!) and ate some of her vegan birthday cake before trundling home. Lisa, I owe you a birthday drink…possibly two.

Reading 'Patrick Bateman' @ Read You Bastards 3 (photo courtesy of Read You Bastards peeps)

Reading 'Patrick Bateman' @ Read You Bastards 3 (photo courtesy of Read You Bastards peeps)

No. 3 was the last Read You Bastards for Visible Ink, but the 2009 editorial team may continue the Bastards tradition in 2010. Meanwhile, Lost and Found: Visible Ink 21 is launching on Monday, 9 November 2009. The cover’s beautiful; lets hope that the words are equally gorgeous.

Lost and Found: Visible Ink 21 (image courtesy of www.visibleinkmag.wordpress.com)

Lost and Found: Visible Ink 21 (image courtesy of http://www.visibleinkmag.wordpress.com)