Tag Archives: Benjamin Law

Out There: Kerri Sackville Book Launch

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In an act of pure genius Kerri Sackville held her Sydney launch of Out There, hosted by Better Read Than Dead, in a bar. Leadbelly in Newtown to be precise. A book on dating in your 40s is obviously best accompanied by wine and plenty of it so this really was the perfect pairing. The place was packed. All seats gone, all tables gone and the bar crowded. I have never attended a book launch with so many people. We can safely say that Echo publishing was right to think that a survival guide to dating in midlife would be warmly received.

The effervescent Benjamin Law lead the conversation. He refers to Kerri as a war correspondent and anthropologist who delves deep into dating, throwing her body on the line to meticulously document the ins and outs of dating. Not all heroes wear capes.

After some deep probing from BLaw Kerri admits that feeling antsy is what lead her to dive into dating after divorce. She tried to join EHarmony but it asked her too many questions and she wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment to an ap … so she downloaded Tinder and was treated to a bunch of photos of men straddling motorcycles or sitting next to sleeping tigers. She swiped left a lot. But she eventually went on a date and Out There is the bounty from her swiping right.

My dear friend Sinead tells me that this is the best book ever and just so relatable. She is new to the dating world and said she laughed out loud and could see herself making the same mistakes. This is a book about negotiating online dating with your sanity and dignity whilst loving yourself. So, take my friend Sinead’s word for it and-

Grab it from host of this book launch, Better Read Than Dead, here.

Find it on Booktopia here.

Actually, find it pretty much ANYWHERE!

Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 7: Snapshot Recap #ABCScreenTime

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Oooooooooboy. Technology and I are not friends at the moment, as such I am going to do a very quick recap and hope that uploads. You may have noticed that I’ve missed a couple of recaps. Soz. Will get back to them. 

First things first. Regular panelist Sami Shah is not there. Or at least not on screen. I usually worry that they don’t let him go home because he’s always on but now I’m worried that they’ve locked him under the desk because he’s not on. Could friends of Sami please check that he’s okay.
Secondly, the panelists are Benjamin Law (BLaw), Marc Fennell (flings spiderman underpants at screen), Nakkiah Lui (swoon) and Zan Rowe (sweet). Host Chris Taylor is there. Possibly sitting on Sami. Seriously, someone let me know how Sami is.
Thirdly they’re discussing Murder on the Orient Express and GoggleboxAu. I’m slightly worried that a tv show about discussing tv shows discussing a tv show about discussing tv shows will cause some sort of rip in the fabric of the universe and we’ll either be invaded by more of those Bernstain Bear bastards or I’ll be forced to go back to high school.

Views on Murder on the Orient Express:

BLaw loved the visuals. He enjoyed that it was cheesy.

Marc loved it. Thought it was bonkers.

Nakkiah Lui points out that it glamourises imperialism. And more damningly… her mother didn’t like it. That’s it. I was already a bit iffy about watching it but now definitely won’t. Said it was a bit self indulgent. It was all about Kenneth. 

Zan couldn’t understand why it was made but liked it. It was pretty but why when it has been done so many times before. It had a large cast but they didn’t get to interact like they do in great ensemble movies. 

And now let’s move onto GoggleboxAu.

BLaw says that it has made him fall back in love with Australia. It lets us know our neighbours and that they’re not that awful… unlike half the panel of Q and A.

Nakkiah points out that they don’t have an Indigenous family on the show and volunteers as tribute. Yes! Make it happen. I will watch it forever!!! She loves that it is diverse.

Zan says it’s a good catch up on the week. Is pleasantly surprised they cover SBS and don’t just cross promote.

Marc thinks that they’ve captured the lifecycle of tv and that’s beautiful. No, you’re beautiful Marc, you are. He says it works because it is set in lounge rooms and lounge rooms are relaxed.

Now it is time for show recommendations.

Marc recommends Star Trek Discovery. He is right. It is great. Might I also recommend Marc’s show on SBS? The Feed.

Zan recommends a doco, The Go-Betweens: Right Here. It’s on iView

BLaw is watching new Will & Grace.  I too love this show. Have all the previous seasons on DVD, will also get the new ones. Might I also recommend BLaw’s show, The Family Law, on SBS?

Nakkiah recommends Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. Might I also recommend Nakkiah’s show Black Comedy on ABC?

And that’s it from me.

Find episodes on iView.

Read past recaps here.

Check on Sami Shah here.

Buy my shit here.

Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 5: #ABCScreenTime

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Screen Time is here and it is rated M. Can we expect some intimate countdown like they had in episode 1? Let’s find out.

 

Chris Taylor tells us that we’re discussing Detroit directed by Kathryn Bigalow and written by Mark Boal (they also teamed up on The Hurt Locker), Channel 7s Instant Hotel(but I don’t wanna talk about Instant Hotel), and a new form of reality television hailing from Norway called Slow TV (and I am here for this). His panelists tonight are Benjamin Law, Judith Lucy, Zan Rowe and of course Sami Shah (because they have trapped him there and will never let him leave).

 


They jump straight into discussing Detroit. Chris is pumped. He is using terms such as powerful and visceral. It’s set in 1967 and based around the uncontainable events that happened at the Algiers Hotel during the 12 Street Riot in Detroit. Read about the events here. White cops killing innocent black people is the summary. Chris says that it makes you angry because so little has changed. Zan adds that it doesn’t just make you angry but it also does a great job of making you scared.

 

Judith says that the stuff in the hotel was brilliant. She also says visceral. If you want a visceral film then go watch Detroit. She talks about how you could really feel for these innocent people, just wanting to be safe, and even having some fun, and then three of them end up dead because of police brutality. (Is it brutality or straight up murder? Do we need to sugar coat it?) BUT she felt that the end lagged. She’d be happy to cut the last 30 minutes. Says the court scene was unnecessary. Chris says it was necessary because people need to know that the white cops got away with murder. Judith says that there are other ways to show this without a full court scene.

 

Benjamin speakeths. He says he is ambivalent. Take that visceral, here’s some ambivalence. Benjamin indicates that it was traumatizing and fear inducing but he kind of got the point ten minutes in and then had emotional burnout and couldn’t be as emotionally present for the rest of the 90 minutes. He also didn’t like the way black people were reduced to victims and not full characters. Chris says that he feels that Benjamin is punishing Kathryn Bigalow for being too good at her craft. In case you have missed it, Chris really likes this film.

 

Sami says that Detroit is made for white people and not people ofcolour. He says that black people know this. Black people live this. This provides no new information for them. It provides no new rallying point. It provides no new understanding. Sami adds that he feels that it actually diminishes what people of colour experience because it almost makes it seem as if the racism is from a few bad individuals and that if you defeat them then it is over, whereas racism is deeply entrenched and systemic. He feels that it is almost portrayed as if the murders are horrific, and that Krauss is a terrible person, but the white people were just doing their job and that the ‘crazy’ black people were being ‘bad’ and overreacting and starting riots, when that reality is far from that. It allows white people to feel angry and scared of bad racists, but because they’re so individualised that white people get to see the racists as others when in fact racism is pervasive and part of white culture and something that needs tonbe dismantled not simply put in the box of ‘others’. Systematic abuse of power is the problem and that this belittles the experience of black people. Chris says that Sami saying that Bigalow is belittling the experience is belittling what Bigalow has done, and ‘even if’ Sami is right and that this film is just for white people, it is still valuable and important as it gives white people an experience to show them that they’ve been wrong. (Cringe.) Sami responds that if they don’t already know that racism is wrong then this film isn’t going to teach them that. (Sami is doing an amazing job of keeping his cool.)

Benjamin says that Bigalow is making us bear witness. And what she does in the hotel is amazing but then it flounders a bit. Sami says that the scope of the film being calledDetroit was too wide. He agrees, and the entire panel agrees, that the stuff in Algiers Hotel was incredible and that the focus should have been narrowed to that. Benjamin points out that this was a time and a city of radical protest and huge groundswell and this is not captured in the movie, for it to hold the title Detroit then it should capture this vibrant element.

 

Chris points out that Kathryn Bigalow is the only female to have won an Oscar for directing. Look, just in case you missed it, Chris fucking lovedDetroit.

 

Time for Not on My Watch, a little segment where Chris Taylor tells us about a shithouse show. This week’s show… Instant Hotel. I’ve seen an ad, which was enough to get a no from me. Some clips are shown, Chris calls it an Airbnb version of MKR. Lots of white people and crying over cars…. Sounds good? No. But it got greenlit by someone. What is going on at Channel 7? Not on Chris Taylor’s watch.

 

And now the moment I have been waiting for since the intro, SLOW TV!!!! I don’t really know how to explain this to you except to say you get to watch train tracks or a fire burning and it is very soothing. Chris is showing a clip of a train’s eye view of going along train tracks. It is the best. I could sit here for another 7 hours. But apparently it is not for everybody. Judith Lucy says that the ABC is not paying her enough money to watch this shit. She says that she is too close to death to waste her time. Zan defends Slow TV, says that it is a meditative experience. It so is.

 

Sami doesn’t watch train track Slow TV, he has something even better. Icebreaker Slow TV. A little something you can find for yourself on YouTube. Just ten hours of watching an Icebreaker stuck in ice somewhere in the Arctic. Not my thing, I prefer to have the vehicle’s view, not a view of the vehicle, but I suggest you give it a look.


https://youtu.be/gpW7iYfuGDU 

 

Chris says that SBS is producing Slow TV of the Ghan railway trip. I think I just did an excited wee!

 

And now it is time for some recommendations.

 

Judith: Quarry

 

Sami: Binging With Babish

 

Zan: Joan DidionThe Centre Will Not Hold

 

Ben: Bad Genius (Squeeeeeeee, I have seen this movie it is fantastic!)

 

And that’s a wrap. I have no idea what they’re discussing next week. Oooo the mystery. Go off and watch more TV, or YouTube, or a movie. Whatever floats your goat.

 

 

Catch up on past episodes on iView

Find Chris here

Find Sami here

Find Judith here

Find Benjamin here

Find Zan here

Find past recaps here

Get tickets to the studio record here

Buy my book here

Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 1: #ABCScreenTime

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Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 1: #ABCScreenTime

Today is the day, the very first episode of Screen Time. Chris Taylor, the host is looking excited. Excited and nervous. Excited, nervous, and desperate. You better like this show or ABC will axe even more stuff. No pressure. 


He tells us that we’re here to discuss movies, and television AND Youtube AND streaming and some other stuff. This isn’t just the reboot of At the Movies with the divine Margaret Pomeranz and scrumptious David Stratton, it’s At the Movies on steroids. More panelists, more mediums, more sexual chemistry. More more. But Chris is not just bringing intense personal magnetism, NO, he’s also bringing the smarts. So much so that he’s proving it by  flashing up a whole heap of numbers on the screen. Nothing says smart and sexy like data. If those graphics don’t justify why he gets to have this show nothing will.


Small housekeeping matter: I’m dyslexic, if you hate dyslexia and feel people with dyslexia should be mocked, go away.

Chris is introducing his panel of experts. There’s Sami Shah, Sophie Black, Zan Rowe, and Benjamin Law. Those of you who follow my recaps of The Book Club ABC will know I refer to him as BLaw. BLaw of the bare ankles…. What the deuce! He’s wearing red socks. I’m so confused. I updated his Wikipedia page to include his signature bare ankles and now he’s wearing socks. I’m scared. Hold me. No, not like that. Maybe he’s trying to draw the #sockwatch crowd over from The Book Club ABC? Now that they’ve been mercilessly axed.

But enough mourning, let’s engage with this new show. Chris tells us that they’ll be discussing Blade Runner 2049, which is a nice touch, a movie that’s new but already released so that we, the audience, have a chance to have an opinion too. It’s not a soon to be released with critics talking at us like so many other movie shows. Chris assures us that Ryan Gosling gives his most emotionally dead performance yet and that it was really long. Sounds fantastic. Let’s throw to Sami for his opinion…

… and he loved it. Sami says that he loved this movie despite this movie. He says that Jarrod Leto overacts more than ever, every women is crying and it fails the Bechdel Test, BUT it was cinematographically beautiful. He’s not sure why they seemed to insert a different movie into the middle of it and why so many bad acting choices were made but he loved it and everyone can shut up because it was pretty. Really, really pretty.

Sophie says that it was masterful and that it will stay with you for life. For life! And not just because of the kidney damage you’ll get from holding your bladder because it was sooooo long.

Zan is a bit more meh. It was pretty but hadn’t advanced enough. And all the mysteries were solved insultingly quickly. I hate it when story tellers insult their audience!

BLaw found it really current with the ecology issues and the cinematography stunning and said it made him feel like he’d smoked a giant bong…. overseas in a country where that is legal I’m sure. Put down your arrest warrants. He does mention that it is a bit whitewashed… or completely whitewashed.

Sami says that as a younger nerd he would have enjoyed Blade Runner 411 even more but now he knows that women are people too so that kind of spoiled it a bit. He credits the doco Born Sexy Yesterday, the Bechdel Test, and learning about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope with helping him develop in this area.

Chris says Harrison Ford was a better actor than Ryan Gosling. BLaw adds that Ryan Gosling is not hot. Finally, the important issues are being discussed.

The panel ponder that Blade Runner 2.0 hasn’t been the best in the earnings. Sami blames Trump and that people are stupid. Sophie says they need to appreciate the slowburn. Like a chilli sub?

And with that quiet pondering, the discussion on Blade Runner 90210 is over. Time for something new.

OMG it is glorious. I don’t quite know what is happening or why, and frankly I don’t care. All I know is that the greatest thing that you see this year is on television right now. It’s Sophie Monk inserted into the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. They have superimposed Sophie Monks’ head over Elizabeth Bennett’s and are using her responses from The Bachelorette instead. Get on iView right now because my description cannot do this justice. It is spectacular. Please do this every week. Can they introduce a Logie for best segment? I need to go have a lie down. But I can’t because the show hasn’t ended yet.

Broad City. Yes, they’re now discussing that quiet little runaway. They’re showing clips and there is nudity and drug use. Oh my. Zan loves it and wants to be BFFs with the main characters.
BLaw says that it is filthy and tawdry. If you know BLaw then you know that means that he loves it. He also randomly reveals that he works in his undies. Hopefully there will be a follow-up episode on this very important matter.
Sophie loves that it is depicting women delighting in each other. Sammy loves that this show is finally giving women what they really want, a female Beavis and Butthead. It’s like Sami looked into my very soul and said, ‘I see you.’
Sophie also likes that it is very much Abbi and Ilana’s New York and not Woody Allen’s or Seinfeld’s New York. Chris ponders on how New York is killing it at diversity and feminism copared to LA. Totes, not like Allen or Seinfeld would be guilty of anything like Weinstein….
They’re showing another clip from the show, it involves pegging and now the panelists are saying pegging. Just start throwing Logies at this show now. The ABC are now across pegging.

They now have to compare the show Girls to Broad City because they’ve both got ladeez and therefore must be compared. Panelists have the revelation that not all things about the womenz are the same. That the shows and characters can be different. Unlike real life where we only fit into one of five personality types: Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte, or dull extra. I’m the dull extra. OMG, that’s such a Miranda thing to say.
Now they’re rating the five weirdest sex scenes. You can imagine the conversations amongst producers to get this segment in.
Exec 1: Viewers love those top five things, maybe we should do a top five relevant to the episode.

Soon to be fired exec: Yes! Finally! Let’s do top five female lead ensembles. Sex in the City, Golden Girls, Xena, Girls, Broad City, Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black, Pulling, Insecure, Daria. I’ve got so much to share with you guys. Picking just five is going to be hard. Or maybe top five sci fi shows…

Exec the third: You know what else people love?

Soon to be fired exec: Feminism?

Exec the third: Sex! Let’s do top five sex scenes.

Exec 1: Best idea ever.

So the top 5 were:

5. Howard the Duck

4. Avatar

3. The Room

2. Return of Swamp Thing

1. Showgirls in the pool. Oh yay, a movie full of abuse and rape is sexually comical.

Next the panelists get to recommend something to watch.

Sami: The Expanse

BLaw: Ali’s Wedding

Zar: Terrace House

Sophie: Tiny Kitchen

And that’s it. See you next week for more awesome talking about movies and stuff…. But not before a quick confession. I was in the audience so this is more of a director’s cut recap, has some things in it that hit the editing room floor. But the Sophie Monk / Pride and Prejudice mashable is definitely in there. Get on iView and watch it now. It will make your week!

Catch up on episodes on iView

Find Screen Time here

Find Chris here

Find BLaw here

Find Sophie here

Find Sami here

Find Zan here

Learn about the Bechdel Test here

Read about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope here

Watch Born Sexy Yesterday here

Find out about me here

ABC Book Club Season 10 Episode 9 #bookclubABC

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I’ve managed to make it to another live recording of the show, so it’s not just me and my wine, but me and the peoples this week. AND just quietly, sitting in the row in front of me is author C S Pacat. I turn to the person next to me and say, “Is that C S Capat.” My neighbour looks at me like I’m an alien and I realize that I have mispronounced the name. It’s like some sort of weird thing that happens in my brain every dang time I try to say Pacat.

JByrne appears before us. I have no time to correct myself and ask again because JByrne is here and fabulous. She is excited. She tells us that she has a book about 19th Century whaling that is “100% guaranteed to knock your socks off.” That’s a 100% guarantee people, you can’t really get better than that. And 19th Century whaling? What doesn’t scream excitement about that? Who doesn’t love a little Moby Dick?

Michael Robotham, AKA Robo-Tham, is allowed to introduce the classic being covered. He is obviously feeling a little nervous because he simply says the title, The Other Hand. He has to be coaxed for more details. You can sense the dread in his soul that his beloved classic will be savaged. But by whom? Will it be Marieke or Jason this week? Or JByrne herself? When she goes bad she goes all out. She makes dark-side Xena look like Rainbow Brite.

JByrne then moves on to note that Benjamin Law, AKA BLaw, is also on the panel and that he has bare ankles.

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OMG! I am completely losing my shit. She know that his ankles have become an obsession with book clubbers. JByrne has listened to our comments, she is here for us. I crane my neck to get a look at Stegersaurussex’s ankle region. He is wearing bright yellow sock. Oh, this is heaven. We’re on sock watch people. #sockwatch.

Oh, it’s dramatic recreation time. This is where they’ll show us clips that they think are representative of The North Water by Ian McGuire. I’d consider grabbing a cup of tea if I were home. It’s not my favourite part, nothing interesting ever happens… What in blueberry fuck am I seeing? There’s a whale being cut apart. I’m going to be sick. I’m dying. Somebody pass me my salts. The horror, the horror. This recreation is way more full on than usual. I was expecting some whales jumping about, instead I got blood and blubber. I need a bath.

Stegersaurussex says he loved The North Water. I’m still heaving and he’s talking about the novel. He says, “I loved it from the first paragraph.” The writing was electric, the characters were awful and it was fantastic. Noted, more awful people and electrical goods in all of my future writing.

Marieke says it was absolutely disgusting and she loved it. Doesn’t she know that she’s supposed to disagree with Steggersaurussex? Marieke says that it made her want to join a ship and then stab someone. That’s a lot of feelings right there. She says it was so deliciously bloody and disgusting that she felt like she needed a shower afterwards.

Robo-Tham raises her one shower and says he needed many showers during it. That it made The Revenant look like it was written by Beatrix Potter. I’m so intrigued by this book right now yet terrified. Can I handle something that makes The Revenant look like cuddly bunnies?

BLaw says, imagine if Ridley Scott’s Alien was set on a 19th Century whaling ship. I’m scared, hold me. I don’t even know if I can watch this episode about it let alone read it. But it sound so utterly brilliant that I want to be brave enough to try.

Robo-Tham only has one criticism of it, he wanted a goodie and the book is utterly lacking in the good, it just has the bad and the ugly. The lead character, Drax, is described so vividly as evil that the panelists actually start using his name as a descriptor. If someone is becoming very Drax, I gather it’s really not a good thing. To be described as being Drax is like being called the pinnacle of evil brutality. That’s such high praise for the book. That the panelists have engaged with it so much that they’re coopting words from it and giving them added meaning.

Stegersaurussex says he loves how McGuire describes odours. Everyone groans and clutches their noses. They’re having real, physical reactions to this novel. It must be excellent. He talks about the “roaring stench.” A simple, yet powerful description.

BLaw is utterly impressed with The North Water because it set up a world that he didn’t think he’d be interested in and sucked him right in with the evocative language and brutal characters. JByrne agrees, she says it’s like a historical fiction but far more visceral than anything that has gone before. Robo_Tham says that there isn’t enough fake blood in Hollywood to make this into a film. I can hear executives in Hollywood screaming CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

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Well, in a rare Book Club moment, it’s unanimous, everybody loves The North Water. It’s clearly a winner. Buy it if you dare.

 

Now it’s time for a little By the Bed, where the panelists talk about what they’re reading and we all imagine what Steggersaurussex’s bedroom looks like. Or is that just me?

JByrne is reading Katherine Carlyle.

Steger is reading Moments in Time.

Blaw is reading The Sympathiser

Marieke is reading My Name Is

Robo-Tham is ordered by JByrne not to talk about the book he is reading until later. He looks confused but obeys. He saw what happened to Virgina Gay when she spoke out of turn. She hasn’t been allowed back for weeks. WEEKS! Rumour has it that she’s going to have to wear a muted shoe colour when she comes back as punishment… I just made that rumour up then.

 

Now a fun section on how important covers are. BLaw being the expert answers the question, with very. Robo-Tham says yellow is big at the moment. We must start a show us your #yellowshelfie thingy. I shall take a picture of Jason’s socks for my next cover, it shall be a smash. Marieke says that she avoids anything with champers and heels on the cover. Marieke, you simply must download my free ebook, I think you’ll love it. We can discuss it over lunch.

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Love me!

 

… No? A little too pink? Whatever.

JByrne decides to test the panelists on their knowledge by holding up book covers and asking what the genre is. Jason is the first cab off the ranks, he accidentally says arse instead of ice in his answer so Ben is still laughing when it comes to his turn. Because accidentally saying anything bottom related is always funny. ALWAYS! Forget #sockwatch, we’re on #arsewatch now. Robo-Tham gets women’s fiction and answers correctly. Marieke gets a very obvious fantasy cover and asks if it’s for teenage boys who want to get erections. Coincidentally it’s a cover from the Rangers Apprentice series, which is written by Kitty Flanagan’s dad, and she’s rumoured to be on next episode. I did not make that one up.

Robo-Tham introduces his classic The Other Hand by Chris Cleave again. He’s saying he likes it, but after the passion oozing out of everyone for The North Waters it just feels flat in comparison. Ben says some nice things, but again they’re falling flat. It’s as if a void has been left by The North Water. My guess is that it must be a perfectly good book, but no The North Water.

Marieke, doesn’t like it. She says it’s Chick Lit dressed up as something important. I just know she’d love my ebook. But even though she’s saying that she doesn’t like it, it isn’t with as much vim and vigor as books that she’s previously hated. There is definitely a passion vacuum. I think everyone just needs a nap after thinking about blood and puss and stabbing each other in the face. Marieke even says that one of the characters may as well be Balky from Perfect Strangers. It’s meant to be a stinging insult but who doesn’t love Balky?

Robo-Tham is allowed to finally reveal his bedside reading, it’s another Chris Cleave book.

We then cut to the audience member who read a really long book that JByrne gave him weeks ago and we’ve all forgotten about… he liked it. But I’m too busy losing it because you can see C S Pacat in the shot in front of him. That’s a writer celebrity siting!

And we’re done.

Next week is about books that transport you. It is featuring my favourite comedian Kitty Flanagan, Noel Pearson, John Birmingham, and C S PACAT. SPECULATIVE FICTION AUTHOR C S PACAT. I am so excited. Spec fic authors are rarely allowed to interact with other authors. So that’s why she’s here. She’s casing the joint.

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For last week’s recap go here.

View previous episodes on iView here.

The Book Club ABC S10 E3 #bookclubABC

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Jennifer Byrne enters. The crowd goes wild. The queen is here and she’s back to using a glossy lipstick instead of matte like last week. Now her lips will shine just as much as her honeyed words.

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She’s wearing white and as we’re Australians we don’t even know if it’s after Labor Day nor if it’s allowed. We’re just happy to see her and her regulars. We enjoyed last week’s show but how we missed Marieke and Jason.

JByrne introduces her guests. First there is Omar Musa, a DJ, a writer, a philosopher poet. Everybody claps enthusiastically. Secondly is Benjamin Law, non fiction writer and creator of the television show The Family Law. Everybody loves BLaw because he’s just so…

… What in the world am I seeing here? BLaw has no socks on. His ankles are completely nude. The emperor has got no clothes on.

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JByrne is saying something but I cannot hear her over how loud BLaw’s ankles are. And oh no, oh no no no no no, what is going on with Jason’s ankle region? Is it likewise naked. I know Jason likes the sexy books full of sexy sexing but is he also a mad ankle lover too? BLaw appears to have a vulva in his pocket yet for some reason Jason’s possibly nude calves are what is surprising me the most.

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I’ve got two bare ankles and a vagina in my pocket.

Is he trying to out Ben BLaw or does he love BLaw so much that he wants to be ankle twinsies. Look at me Ben, we’ve got matching ankles we can be BFFs for life. Or maybe they’re just beige socks. I have so many questions. The socks JByrne, the socks, you need to address the sockless elephant in the room. I need to stop thinking about sockgate or I’ll miss the show. Let sleeping socks lie.

Jason introduces his choice, Mothering Sunday by the incredibly versatile Graham Swift. It has lots of sex and nudity so of course Jason loved it. This is not the first time he has championed a sexy book. It’s kind of his thing. He reads the opening line, “Once upon a time before all the boys were killed…” and the audience melts in their chairs. What an opening. So simple, so elegant, yet so evocative. It’s a Cinderella story all set in one day.

All the panelists agreed that they loved the shortness of it. Take note authors, some readers when faced with a 700 page tomb want to die. Not Fantasy readers, we call that a prologue. But readers are increasingly busy so the return of the Henry James style serial or novella is ideal for the modern life style. Get that story in with maximum impact and minimum words. Marieke refers to Mothering Sunday as a moist towlette of a book. Refreshing. She likes that term, she uses the descriptor refreshing frequently for books.

Musa is a slight dampener on this already moist book. He says, “It was alright.” Jason clutches for his metaphorical pearls and faints.

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Musa found it a bit cliché. Jason returns from the dead and points out that the cliché is ruddy well deliberate because it’s meant to express the naivety of the main character and reflect the fairy tale concept. Somewhere in the world Doctor of Fairy Tales, Kate Forsyth, has fallen into a psychic coma. Jason returns to sniffing his salts.

Ben peps Jason up by indicating how much he loved the book. BLaw particularly liked the constant nudity, as did Jason, it’s his thing after all. BLaw oozes over the deliciousness of being nude in a library. Everyone agrees that does seem fun. I think they all need a nap. I don’t want people’s moist towlettes all over my precious books. I’ve got a few simple rules in my life, no nudity in a kitchen or in a library is one of them. Words to live by. You’ll thank me later.

Omar is undeterred in his quest to give Jason a heart attack and delivers a killing blow, “deft but forgettable.” He says he knows that it’s forgettable because he only read it two weeks ago and has already forgotten half of it. Jason somehow manages to survive. I’m relieved. Book Club would be far less sexy without him. Omar also found the book far too polite. Translation : completely white and British. So very, very, very, British.

BLaw enjoyed the politeness. He found it quite exotic because the concept was so foreign from his own up bringing. Watch The Family Law and you will definitely understand this.

In the end everyone agreed Mothering Sunday was well written, full of moistness, and beautifully short. They really liked the shortness. Like, really, really, liked it. Please write shorter books.

Onto what everyone is reading:

Omar is reading Beauty is a Word. Read it, it is amazing!

Ben is reading The Healing Party. I haven’t read it but if BLaw likes it then that’s good enough for me.

I’ve worked it out, yes Ben has naked ankles but Jason does not. He’s just wearing unfortunately coloured wooly socks. Glad I could sort that out for everyone.

JByrne is reading Julian Barnes’s latest masterpiece. If you haven’t read any Barnes before, might I suggest you start with A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters?

Jason is reading My Whole Life which has very little sex in it. We’re all shocked!

Marieke is reading Fates and Furies, she loves it so of course JByrne hates it and calls it over hyped domestic fiction.

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Omar runs for cover, he’s not used to such brutality in the mild mannered hip hop scene and Marieke tries to tempt Jason onto her side saying that there’s sex in her book.

Onto a classic. BLaw has selected it. He’s been a naughty little minx and gone off book with a graphic novel, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. It’s an unconventional choice in every sense of the word. It’s a graphic novel not just text, it’s queer, it’s got a funeral home, it draws on literary giants like Joyce and Fitzgerald with as much ease as pop culture. It’s an intriguing choice and an intriguing book. Everybody loves it… except Jason who merely likes it because graphic novels don’t allow you to use your imagination in the same way as just text and can’t help but say he’s glad that the references to classic literature were done visually otherwise people would have found it too difficult to understand. Oh the condescension, it burns.

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JByrne says fare thee well by telling us that they’re looking at An Isolated Incident next week. I squee and jump up and down. Yes it’s past my bedtime but I am a huge Emily Maguire fan so am dancing about in my pjs. So happy. No pressure or anything but if any of the panelists say anything even remotely not glowing about this book next week, well…

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Don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry #bookclubABC.

Episode 2 recap here.

Episode 1 recap here.

View past episodes on ABC iView.

Emerging Writers’ Festival Roadshow: #NSWWC #ewfsyd

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Yesterday New South Wales Writers Centre hosted the Emerging Writers’ Festival Roadshow. A day of all things writing and emerging. Walter Mason instructed us to let out our inner fanboy/fangirl, Robert Watkins introduced a new level of clashing patterns with a sublime ensemble of a forest print shirt with a striped bow tie,  and Benjamin Law created a sense of excitement about accountancy and taxation. But I think the main emergence, apart from writerly stuff, was the emergence of fear…. as we lined up on the hill of death there were several near accidents. I nearly toppled into Walter Mason,  I’m sure he would have been impressed that I’d taken his advice on being a fan so seriously that I literally threw myself at him, Claire Zorn nearly fell into me, as a fan I told her it would be my honour to catch her if need be and then Robyn Ridgeway almost came toppling down and I got to assist her down the hill. All in all very exciting stuff.

Now I don’t want to give away too much of the content of the day, because then those who didn’t attend would have no burning desire to attend other festivals because they could get it all in the comfort of their own computers,  and I like meeting fellow fledgling writers so I selfishly refuse to give it all away. But I know if you’re reading this you want to know more than just how we all nearly experienced death by desire for burritos. So I will compromise with you, I’ll give you a few highlights from the 5 x 5 Rules of Writing seminar,  the very first talk of the day but that’s it. If you want to know more you’ll have to check out my twitter feed @RobinRiedstra.

Tom Doig (AKA- The Most Writiest of Writers)
1. Seek out books that move you and then reread them again and again until you can imagine yourself doing it.
2. Write what you know unless you know nothing… then you should probably go learn something.
3. Work harder than you think you can, then work even harder.

Delia Falconer (AKA Zen Writer)
1. Don’t get too stressed, it’s just a story.
2. Break your work into doable parts.
3. Play to your strengths.

Benjamin Law (AKA Business Time)
1. Writing works your brain really hard, so make sure you also work your body really hard to let your brain go dead every now and then.
2. Get a good accountant.
3. Marking on your calendar daily ‘write big thing’ is not the same as planning.

Laura Jean McKay (AKA The Muse Killer)
1. Don’t wait for a muse to inspire you because she’s not real.
2. Write first, talk later.
3. Your first ten years are your apprenticeship.

Walter Mason (AKA Mr Charisma)
1. Be terribly nice to people.
2. Be enthusiastic.
3. Entertain new ideas because YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

Now you might notice that the talk is 5×5 and wouldn’t that indicate five points. How very astute,  but I’m not that type of blogger, I won’t just give it all away. I’m a lady blogger, sniff. So please, next time there is a festival at New South Wales Writers Centre,  do come along,  all us aspiring authors are terribly nice and would love to meet you. You are not alone.