Argo’s latest show, Flow, feels like the kinda show that characters in a stylish New York drama like ‘Girls’ might have attended. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means the work is gorgeous, high production-value, and safe. And those are all okay things for a work to be. Because by being those things, what Argo managed to do was bring together the most diverse audience I’ve ever seen in one place in this town, and then let them mingle and shift comfortably together. The success of Flow is a testament, more than anything, to the universal language of live instrumental music, and the gorgeousness of the Spring Hill Reservoirs.Read More
The Moon Men, as a text, is the strongest it’s ever been. But as a performance, and as a full experience, it is not. Where the text is polished, more nuanced, and clearer in terms of its structure and intent, the delivery of this text is harder to follow, and clumsier—and a lot of this comes down to the space the team chose for their performance. The Greaser carpark is grungy. It’s graffitied, concreted, and tucked away. It’s essentially perfect for The Moon Men’s aesthetic—the space feels like an extension of the marketing and that’s a great thing. But the space, in a functional sense, completely drowns out so much of the effect the show might have had. In fact, what this production proves more clearly than anything is that Anywhere Festival’s old ‘Theatre. Anywhere.’ slogan clearly has a few stipulations attached to it.Read More
I got up at 5am to watch the MSG stream of The Life of Pablo/YZYSZN3 back in February. I watched Kanye come down waving to the cheering hordes of people who surrounded the giant tarps in the centre of the stadium. I watched as Ye and his crew bounced to the new record in front of his fabled laptop, celebrating whatever whack shit they’d created together. I saw Jay Z sitting up the back, frowning and nodding.Read More
2015 will be known as the year I went mainstream and I have no regrets about any of it.
I flew down to Sydney about thirty-six hours ago, and I’m writing this post on the airplane back. It’s been kinda wild, and I haven’t really stopped all week (both during my time down by the Opera House, as well as beforehand).
I’ve spent the majority of my time these past days in the Hachette offices, either attending panels, meeting n mingling, or attending the Richell Prize ceremony, which I was shortlisted for, and which was presented ultimately to Sally Abbott, who is of no close relationship to our wounded ex-Prime Minister (or so she says). Her piece is lovely and deserving and you can read the beginning of it here.
The ceremony was a delight. Meeting everyone from the Sydney lit scene, meeting the rest of the (interstate) shortlist, and—perhaps topping the night—hearing Hannah Richell reflect on the nature of the prize, as well as its significance to her, Hachette, and the literary community at large. I never knew Matt, but Hannah’s speech had me as close to tears as anything this year has.
So where to now? I dunno, man/woman/gender-neutral-‘yo’. It’s a wild world, and this has been a full couple days (which I have to keep refraining from referring to as a ‘weekend’) that I won’t soon forget. Opportunity’s come from it, certainly, and being shortlisted as I have is, I suppose, no small feat (though I wear size eleven shoes, for reference, one size larger than Eminem’s). So we will see what comes of it.
But for now, I guess, I gotta keep working. Start book four, which is at this moment titled ‘And The Gods, All of The Gods, Are Nothing But a Rumour’, a title still with a somehow shorter wordcount than my Richell-shortlisted work, which is ‘& (or, The End Is On Its Way It Just Got Lost Is All)’. The title of book four is adapted from TC Boyle’s short story Chicxulub, which was recently featured in The New Yorker Fiction Podcast. It is a very perfect story. Which is why I’m stealing from it, I suppose.
This is a good time to remind myself that I must also stay humble. Remind myself that on the same night I was one-of-five national emerging writers in the Hachette offices, I also lost out in an election in application to play a part on the Executive Committee of the University theatre company. Which brings me nicely to the advice of my best friend Brody Foy, who is over in Oxford right now, doing some contrived shit like researching how to model cancer cell reproduction in lung cancer patients. This man, this great man, gave me some advice regarding success—and that is to never idolise it. To always remember that behind every great success are a dozen great failures. And from my experience, that is very true.
For instance, I submitted the same manuscript to the Richell prize as I did to the Queensland Literary Awards. If I had only submitted to the QLA, the perception I have of my own literary competence right now would be very different. But I submitted to a couple places instead, and I got lucky—or I was well-liked, or I found a snug and coincidental fit, or something. And this is where statistics come into it. Those dozen failures for every success I mentioned?—they’ve gotta happen. Statistically speaking, your ratio will probably be worse than that. I think mine is. But the more you try, the more you’ll fail, and the more likely you are to succeed, because that’s how life is, maybe. Shoot a thousand arrows and you’ll probably hit some sort of target at least once. That is, so long as you are trying truthfully with all your strength and both your eyes to hit the target in the first place.
Self-aware comment: I sound like I’m giving the obligatory coach monologue from every sports movie. I guess I really am Gary Gaines or Billy Bob Thornton.
All the same. Things are coming together. I’m not sick, I’m not in Singapore, I’m not in Sydney, my flight’s just begun its descent back to Brisbane. I’m almost warm and sleeping and okay. True, I have a trio of exams waiting for me on my return, and they are each ill-prepared for, and are all for subjects I don’t care about in a degree I don’t intend on continuing. But I will get through.
Because that’s what I’ve been doing, am doing, and will be doing until one day maybe I—
I like the song because the violins sound like screaming and reaching and the guitars sound like crashing. It sounds like empty streets and breezes hard enough to move paper over concrete but not hard enough to feel. It sounds like the last birds before sunset. It sounds like a beggar on a suburban street because the city already fell down, and the telephone pole she sits beside carrying no signals but the fuzzed beeping when you pick up a disconnected receiver because no one, no one is listening. It sounds like a military convoy on a mountain road. It sounds like we are watching that convoy from the top of the hill, shaking--it is cold and we are scared--and the song sounds like everything warm forever is gone. And the sun goes down.
The Martian finds Matt Damon in his second space-genre film role in twelve months after Interstellar, which was Christopher Nolan’s disappointing 2014 follow-up to the conclusion of his Dark Knight trilogy. This time things are different: Damon’s playing the lead role, and things are the same: he’s found himself again under the direction of Nolan’s fellow hit-or-miss director, Ridley Scott.
But unlike Interstellar, the key thing to know about The Martian is this: it’s good. Really good. What Scott achieves here is a tense film that probably, overall, is the best film yet in the recent 2010s trend of one-high-budget-space-film-a-year. Sure, both Interstellar and Gravity were more gorgeous films, and I would still hold that Gravity’s first 40 minutes is the best space film to come out this decade—but overall, taking into account the blunder of Gravity’s second half, The Martian comes out on top.Read More
And The Gods, All of The Gods, Are Nothing But a Rumour
A delicious pile of research I get to go through prior to November. Giddy.
I have been described as 'fresh', which, up to this point, had only been done by my friend Cinnamon Smith, and she says it to everyone anyway so I didn't feel all that special.
What's interesting about my shortlisting is two things:
1) I thought I submitted a different manuscript than has been shortlisted
2) I submitted the same manuscript to the Queensland Literary Awards around the same time and was not shortlisted there
Each of these points tell us many things. Most significantly, the following: first, that luck is something that happens to stupid people. Second, and most significantly, that art is subjective, and that not every panel will look upon you with the same warmth in their gaze. And that's okay, too.
Submit widely, submit broadly. If it costs nothing, then you must submit. Get eyes on your work, so long as you truly believe in it. Submitting things you do not believe in are a different story--and it tends to be different for each person.
See you in October.
I guess I had a good ol case of the Brisbrain for a while there. That's all I can put it down to. Brisbrain is a serious neurological sickness that involves: getting stuck in ruts of saying 'yes' to everything, repeating routines and failing your priorities, being needlessly dispassionate.
So I've kicked down to Melbourne for a while. Didn't really tell anyone. Just sorta fucked off on the cheapest flight I could find and began kicking it down south. Reminds me a bit of last year back when I was researching &. Had more money to spend back then, though.
Also this time all I've really done has been sleep, see friends, and make my way about the Melbourne Writers Festival. I haven't been so de-stressed in months.
And as a result my head is back in order. The world is back in its oyster, which is mine. The world is my oyster, the world is mine. Mine for the taking? No. For the sharing.