A catch up

Wow. It’s been nearly three months since my last post. Time flies when you’re not blogging. So, how’s things? Nothing much has happened lately. I have a failmate instead of a housemate who won’t pay rent/bills on time, throttles the bandwidth, and pees on the floor. I’ve reviewed Genesis and written a reflective piece on Poh Ling Yeo. My father discovered that I know how to swear and is now disappointed in me…

Anyway, I’ll be doing a ‘Footscray Whitewash’ reading for the Peril launch this Friday. We should catch up. Say 7.30pm at Hares & Hyenas? Maybe wander down to The Lifted Brow launch at The Workers Club afterwards? Don’t worry, it won’t be just the two of us. Christine Priestly who sometimes posts for me will also be there. Her article on microbiologists is in the latest Brow and she’s pretty excited.

So, um, yeah. See you there then?

Stuff that I wrote earlier

…and when I say ‘earlier’, I’m talking two years earlier. My short story ‘The Intern’, was written way back in 2008 and has finally found a home in The Lifted Brow. I know, I know. I wasn’t going to contribute to the Brow, since it felt somewhat incestuous submitting to a journal one interned at, but The Brow seemed the best match for this piece, so, um, yeah…?

The Lifted Brow No. 7 (image courtesy of theliftedbrow.com)

Also, my review of Chris Womersley’s Bereft is now up on the Killings blog, so go read that while I sneeze all over my computer screen. Yes, Sam Cooney, I’m sick again. Boo.

Magazine @ MWF 2010

The good chaps from MWF 2010 have refurbished a shipping container on the river terrace near Fed Square for the purpose of showcasing local literary magazines. It’s a great idea, and the refurbishment is reminiscent of TINA ’09’s Masons club, but a shipping container is not the easiest thing to find, so turnouts to these showcases have been small so far.

But small and intimate can be a good thing; The Lifted Brow felt very much like a family event. The editor(s), intern(s), contributors, readers knew or at least had heard of each other, and there was a bit of conversation between those on stage and audience members.

Half of the literary magazines have already had their turn in the shipping container, but Meanjin, Ampersand, harvest, and The Big Issue will be running fifteen-minute bursts of readings, interviews, and entertainment next Saturday and Sunday, so do drop by for a sticky beak in between other MWF events. For more info on dates and times, check out MWF’s Magazine page.

Meanwhile, here’s some snapshots from yesterday morning’s Lifted Brow:

Review: Ampersand Magazine’s Issue Two (aka ‘Janus Faces’)

I picked up this pocket-sized magazine with its ‘Penguin novel gone wrong’ cover not knowing what to expect apart from ‘good’.

It was better than good: I actually enjoyed all of it, even things I usually fail at like visuals and poetry.

The illustrations peppered throughout the magazine range from outsider art to portraits from military hospital archives to tourist pics of the Mexican-American border. There are various time travel advertisements by Simon Greiner that are interspersed with real ads, nicely complementing the text ‘A Time Traveller’s Guide’.There’s also a particularly disturbing series of ‘found photos’ by Erik Kessels, following one woman over several decades. In each photo, she’s holding the same pose, eying her target while staring down the barrel of her gun.

Erik Kessels' 'In Almost Every Picture: Found photographs of Ria Van Dijk, 1936-2008', published in Ampersand's Issue Two (Autumn 2010)

In terms of words, Ampersand Magazine is mix of non-fiction and the nonsensical. Its non-fiction reflects on fascinating subjects such as interstellar messaging, facial surgery in the early twentieth century, the invention of inflatable costumes, and the Rapture. Sometimes, I felt like I was reading a collection of How Things Work for adults. Of particular note, I thought, was Lisa Pryor’s ‘Twin Cities At War’. Tightly written, Pryor’s reflections, comparing and contrasting Australia’s and America’s insularity and the illegal immigrant situation, overturned my ennui towards ‘travel narratives’: it’s a highlight in a selection of very strong non-fiction pieces. Have I mentioned the review by Christos Tsiolkas…?

Nonsensical pieces are printed in portrait rather than landscape format: some playful poetry, a eulogy written in the first person, and a violent Bollywood soap-opera. There’s also an ‘Adventure Story’ by Jazz Andrews that comes across as veering left of normal. Think penises imprinted into tubs of ice cream.

Throughout Ampersand, there are rewards for the observant reader. Briohny Doyle’s footnotes are not to be glossed over: ‘Check out the Left Behind series of post-Rapture Christian bestsellers by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ and ‘Mum was right! Apart from Hobart, Melbourne is the most irrelevant city on Earth!’

The Ampersand index is often poetic:

life,

as affirmed by points of cruelty, 133

as a train wreck 52

as conveyed through a biopic, 29

as degraded by forms of cruelty, 133

as improved by moving to a first world country, 40-1

as scarred forever by seeing a naked man smoking and holding a knife in the supermarket ice-cream section when you are a kid, 105

that grief makes a warren under it, 51

And I had a giggle when I spotted the note under Abhishek Chuadhary’s bio: ‘Ampersand received this unsolicited submission from Chaudhary and was thereafter unable to get in contact. *Ampersand is not officially outsourcing content* – Ed.’

Anyhow, I am now approaching the 500-word mark. This review is getting hairy. I always preferred short and sweet rather than long and unkempt, so it’s time to cut it.

Ampersand is like a compact Lifted Brow. There’s a wonderful miscellaneousness to it. There’s also a willingness to look beyond geographical borders; the writing isn’t limited to purely Australian concerns or the Australian literary scene, which is rare for a local journal. Three cheers to Ampersand. Or three f@$%s for free, whichever you prefer.

EWF 2010 Photo blog

I have been carrying a camera around with me for the last ten or so days, but have been unable to post them up until now, so I thought I’d do a pictorial recap of my experience of the EWF 2010 festival. Some of the shots are unsalvageable, so please forgive me if your photos aren’t here.

2010 Page Parlour punters pick up The Lifted Brow No.5 at Federation Square. (23/5/10)

Storytime with Lucienne Noontil (centre) and Rusty the Possum (right). Estelle Tang (left) tries to keep mum about the 'happy ending'. (24/5/10).

Homemade 'I Heart Jeremy Balius' tees that failed to dry in time for The Last Hurrah. Boo. (26/5/10)

A.S. Patric reads from his chapbook, 'Music For Broken Instruments', at The Last Hurrah. (26/5/10)

After the gig, the bf made the observation that many of us Black Riders were not looking up from the page, his hero Eric Dando included. Oops. (26/5/10)

Lunchbox/Soapbox: Chris Flynn knows how to entertain with quirky tales about heroic hounds from film and literature. (27/5/10)

You Want Me To Do What? panellists (left to right): Declan Fay, Katherine Charles, Sean M. Whelan, Natasha Campo, and Kelly Gardiner. (30/5/10)

Kirk Marshall (left) and Jeremy Balius (right) discuss the two modes of literary translation at From Here to There: The Adventures of Kaisu and Kalle. (30/5/10)

The Melbourne crew chillax at the end of the festival with Islet editor Anica at the Horse Bazaar. No underaged bar-children working today! (30/5/10)

Live from Page Parlour…

Ronnie’s partner is bored, and icecream isn’t fixing it. He probably needs coffee. Our neighbouring stallholders chew on the lids of their cups. Hints of roast beans and hazelnut in the air, enticing even for a non-coffee drinker like me. It’s getting fresh. A giant dog towers over someone’s child. Kirk Marshall and Liberty Brown are in the stall opposite, selling Red Leaves, their bilingual literary journal. Jeremy Balius is a no show. Rhys, the pink-haired poet has just picked up a copy of The Sex Mook. There are five Atlas issues left. A woman walks past with three red hula hoops hooked around her arm. They match her top. I want to pick up Kalinda Ashton’s novel but there are too many unread books at home at the moment. Someone’s bought the last copy of Things We Didn’t See Coming, another book that I want to get (but shouldn’t just yet). Someone else wanders through the Atrium, staring up at aluminium pot sculptures, ignoring the stalls around her. ‘Who would win: Batman or Superman?’ says the guy sitting next to me. ‘Batman would win. He would use kryptonite. He’d kick Superman’s arse. Bruce Wayne’s not stupid.’

Feeling nostalgic? Read last year’s post on Page Parlour.

Free tomorrow night? 15 Minutes of Fame starts at 7pm at the Wheeler Centre. Estelle Tang will be interview Miscellaneous Voices, Andee Jones, Lucienne Noontil, and Joel Magarey. I’ll probably write about it tomorrow night.

Work Vs. Writers’ Festivals

The Emerging Writers’ Festival starts this Friday (21st of May). I’m working this Friday. I am also rostered this Saturday (22nd), Sunday (23rd), Monday (24th), Tuesday (25th), Wednesday (26th), Thursday (27th), Friday (28th), and Saturday (29th). In other words, with the exception of Sunday (30th), I am working every day of the festival. They’re not nine-to-five shifts, but I usually finish around seven, which means I won’t be able to make most of EWF’s weeknightly events. No Write What You Know or Creative Writing Bootcamp for Thuy!

My position is casual/part-time. Usually, I don’t mind working weekends and the extra odd shift, but when all of the full-timers decide to take time off during the week of a festival (for non-festival-related activities), I start to mind a lot.

I managed to wheedle an early night out of one of my bosses so I’ll be able to go to Monday’s 15 Minutes of Fame with Estelle Tang, and I’ll be Page Parlouring on Sunday the 23rd at Fed Square, selling Brows and buying the journal equivalent of several rain forests—

I was going to give a lowdown on the rest of my EWF schedule (plus bitch some more), but my internet browser just crashed, and I lost most of my post, and it’s twenty-one minutes to midnight, and I have to grab some sleep off the shelf. So, how about we rendezvous on Sunday evening? I’ll tell you how my day of Page Parlouring went, and you can tell me what events I should go to, or something like. It’s like totally a date you guys. Like totally.

Why go out when you have the interwebs?

I had planned to go to Footscray today. I’ve been wanting to write about Footscray ever since I saw someone dangle their toddler over the gutter. Unfortunately, it’s already nearing ten and I’m still in front of my computer, playing on the interwebs.

It’s hard to leave home when there are so many links demanding one’s attention. There’s The Lifted Brow’s upload of some of its sixth issue material. Someone had one too many bongs and uploaded a fifth of the content, which is shit but kind of funny at the same time.

Lisa Dempster has been forthcoming with ‘Money: how much I earn’ about how much she actually earns. She’s also followed up with a more reflective ‘Mo money, mo money’. I really hope someone from NYWF throws her onto a panel about mullah. *bangs her head against the desk for failing to submit an NYWF application*

Black Rider Press has released its April 10 issue of The Diamond & The Thief. April 10 features my story ‘Renovations’, which I have been pimping at Read You Bastards and Storytelling. The Diamond & The Thief always showcases a surprising amount of poetry, so I’m too intimidated to review it, but maybe I will bribe some poetically-orientated person to do it for me.

Island has created a beautiful home for its online journal Islet. They have also developed blog-like setup at Conversation.

And Twitter: I have finally succumbed to peer pressure and got myself a Twitter account. Follow me at msthuylinh and I’ll try not to spam you.

March 1: What’s happening, Melbourne?

I told somebody I was Tom Cho-ing the other day; they laughed and said Tom would be pleased to find out that he’s now a verb. (Tom Cho-ing – v. 1. going out to see Tom Cho at the Wheeler Centre on 1 March 2010 for Debut Mondays.) Other writers who might also be turned into verbs today will be Lisa Dempster, Andrew Croome, and LK Holt.

Read You Bastards is getting Lifted this Wednesday at the Empress. (Lifted – adj. 1. Lifted Brow-ified and therefore awesome.) Guest readers will be contributors from The Lifted Brow’s Atlas issue, including Nicolas Low, Angela Meyer, and Lorelei Vashti. No Atlases on sale this Wednesday (sold out), but there’ll probably be some back issues available at the door or you can preorder an Atlas reprint at www.theliftedbrow.com. I will also attempt to encourage/bully open mic newbie Christine Priestly into doing another reading.

Sketch is launching their second issue on Thursday night at Chaise Lounge. After hearing them talk about their lack of (wo)manpower at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, I volunteered to help proofread their second issue. I haven’t seen the final proofs yet, but hopefully Sketch 2 will be good. There’s this amazing story by new writer Clare Kitada in it and I’m looking forward to seeing it in print.

Friday will be Domestic Rock ‘n’ Roll night for Sospeso Readings. Derek Motion and Nathan Curnow will be performing, along with a whole lot of open mic peeps. I won’t be able to make it because OHMIDOG I AM SEEING RICHARD DAWKINS, but I really really liked the last Sospeso and I think you should like totally go to this one, like yeah.

Signing off for now, lots of photos soon,

TL.

Lifted Brow’s Atlas Launch

Atlas liasons at Bella Union Bar:

gaijin geishas and short shorts ninjas

suicide bombers who can’t be farked after a beer

tie skirts and kilts and (hopefully) underwear

Angela Jolie with a basketful of babies

and fur stole translations

on a bright blue sea.

England represent (Laura Smith). (22/1/10)

Norweigan (Angela Meyer) and gaijin geisha (Lisa Dempster) at The Lifted Brow's Atlas launch. (22/1/10)