Dog’s Tales @ The Toff

Lucky me has been sick lately, so I haven’t been able to partake in the writerly festivities.

Ohmidog, I just wrote ‘sicked lately’. Speaking of Dog, last Sunday’s Dog’s Tales was a superstar version of the weekly event with international writers like Elif Batuman, Tiffany Murray, and DBC Pierre spinning yarns for us for the MWF version of the night.

Dog’s Tales co-host Josephine Rowe opened with an off-the-cuff about father and daughter miscommunications, whilst Kalinda Ashton thought she’d forego the leather armchair for her performance. Elif Batuman cracked up at her own jokes, Dog’s Tales patron David Carruthers told a more formalised version of his bikie gang story, and DBC Pierre drawled about tequila and skin. I got to listen to Tiffany Murray a second time (I had seen her earlier at The Lifted Brow event) and was treated to Carmel Bird’s snack-sized piece about fun buns. FUN.

I’ve made some bootlegs of Dog’s Tales. (What kind of unofficial MWF blogger would I be without unofficial tubes/photoblogs?) Elif Batuman’s performance  seems to be the least shaky so far:

For those who enjoyed the night, Dog’s Tales happens at the Dog’s Bar every Thursday night. There’s talk about changing the event to Tuesday night, so check with the venue before you start your journey southside.


I want to ride my bicycle

I finally got my bike back from the old man who fixes bikes down the road. It’s been three months or more since I last saw it, and more than three months since I last rode it. I nearly cried as I clambered over the skeletons of less fortunate bikes: it had been so long and over the phone, it sounded like he wasn’t sure what had happened to it exactly, and ‘no, it hasn’t been fixed, yet’. I should have harrassed him to fix it earlier but he looked like an old man who might visit my pharmacy, and I hate conflict; I just couldn’t bring myself to throw a long overdue ‘I want my bike back’ tanty, after having been on the receiving end of many a ‘I want this medicine without a script, and I want it now’ tanty.

But the bike is back, and it’s time to celebrate with some Queen:

Anyway, Storytelling is on again tonight at Dog’s Bar in St Kilda. I went along to last week’s gig and was surprised by the small turnout. It seems that not many people know of it. Well, I’m telling you about it now: this week’s tales will be provided to you by Lisa Dempster, EWF director and blogger extraordinaire, and Kalinda Ashton, The Danger Game novellist and associate editor of Overland. The stories start at 8pm and there will be a couple of open mic spots for anyone who wants to sit on stage in the comfy leather airchair.

Support your literary journal, damnit!

[Untitled], Melbourne’s newest literary magazine, got launched today and I am currently eying off my copy of the petite first issue. Eighteen centimetres high, eleven centimetres wide, and of slim bearing, she’s a cutie. You should totally take her out on a date.

Or at least that’s what Kalinda Ashton’s touting. In her speech, Kalinda praised the quality of the stories in [Untitled] and she likened the small literary journal to a writerly stepping stone. There’s a lot of good stuff getting written but not necessarily getting published by older journals; Overland, for instance, might only publish five out of a hundred unsolicited stories. Small literary journals offer space for the rest, giving emerging writers a chance to develop their craft.  Their existence, however, does depend on subscriptions. So support your small literary journal. Splurge a little. Literary journals love guys and dolls with cash. To find out how you can purchase [Untitled], speak to Blaise at Busybird Publishing & Design.

Following Kalinda’s speech were readings from various contributors. I particularly liked Stu Hatton’s ‘hands/office’, his deadpan delivery matched the tone of his poem perfectly. Afterwards, I got to chat with some of the other contributors: Elizabeth Jane (librarian), George Ivanoff (YA novelist), Claire Varley (Melbourne Uni Arts graduate), and Sophie Moon (fellow blogger). Hopefully I’ll be seeing them around at other stuff. The Lifted Brow perchance? Who knows? 😉

[Untitled] Magazine launch

My short story ‘Dermatology’ will be appearing in the inaugural issue of [Untitled] (ed. Les Zigomanis). Detailing the humiliation of a boy with severe acne, ‘Dermatology’ is an exception to the usual stuff that I get published. It is not ethnic lit, and it is over 700 words, so I’m excited to see it in print. Here’s an excerpt for all you peeps who are excited with me:

The tablets didn’t give him indigestion, but they made his face worse. At the station, he’d keep his head bowed and his eyes on the yellow line whenever the girls from MLC walked past. He could still see their legs though. He saw a lot of leg: the girls always wore their skirts above the knees with their socks pushed down to their ankles. If he was lucky, one of them would whip out some concoction smelling of passionfruit or mango, and swirl it over their calves. My skin’s way dry! they’d exclaim. Look. He never did though. He’d move further down the platform. He didn’t want the girls to point at the craters scattered across his cheeks.

The acne was on his back too. He didn’t mind that so much. The only time he took off his shirt was in the guys’ change rooms, and the guys rarely treated him with the same sneering scrutiny. Nobody commented on his face, not when he could catch a ball and hit a six.

But he wanted to get better, and the GP did say that it would take at least a month before he’d see improvement, so he went back to the pharmacy to get his next lot of tablets. Richard Gere in his crisp white coat was once more on duty. Instead of rehashing warnings on sun exposure, he praised the virtues of benzyl peroxide, speaking from experience. Michael searched his face for signs of scarring and found none. His basket of medication was pushed to one side. The pregnant woman next in line took Richard Gere’s words as a cue to start complaining about her constipation.

This Thursday, [Untitled] is getting launched by Kalinda Ashton, author of The Danger Game, so come along and grab a copy for $12. If acne boys don’t rock your world, there’s a sweet selection of short stories from Sophie Moon, Myron Lysenko, Tess Evans, Ryan O’Neill, Stu Hatton (who’s also performing on the night), George Ivanoff, Lena Pasqua, Mal McClenaghan, Elizabeth Jane, Melissa Ferguson, Laura Bovey, Amy Jackson, and Claire Varley. Whoop. Launch details are as follows:

[Untitled] Launch

Thursday 10 September 2009
Watsonia Library
4/6 Ibbottson Street
Watsonia (Melways ref: 20E4)
6.30 – 8.30 pm
Gold coin donation for wine & nibbles would be appreciated


Image courtesy of [Untitled].

Image courtesy of Untitled.