Tag Archives: cats

ode to a bar

Wow. Last week was exhausting but in the best way possible. I ran an intro zine workshop for the Freeplay festival, and then appeared on a panel with another poet, and both of us got to chat like mates on stage/streamed from ACMI! On poetry and video games!

This time last year, I was nursing a moderate heartbreak (the main bits of it had begun at the beginning of the year), and was preparing for a non-ECT hospitalisation. An interstate ex-housemate was trying to bully me into putting a utility bill under my name because she was being hounded by debt collectors. Not my problem. I felt lucky to have the excuse of impending hospital admission as well as rehearsals for Emily Johnson/Catalyst’s SHORE to say that that would not be useful to either herself or the current household.

So this year, my emotional and professional mind landscape is vastly different to last year’s, and definitely for the better!

zine: Backyard: number one by Backyard SK collective (various)

beer: KRUSH! tropical pale (4.7% ABV, 375mL can) by KAIJU (Dandenong, Melb.)

It’s been far too long since I had a KAIJU beer, for whatever silly reason (I didn’t really go to any events for Good Beer Week or GABS, I know, should hand in my membership badge stat), which is stupid as I love their beers (their Cthulhu and Betelgeuse are my kind of flavour country <3) and they’re a staple at Bar SK. As soon as I open my can, the tropical notes waft up, and it gives the beer a subtle, balanced fruit kick. I do tend to ignore drinking this in favour of beers I’ve never tried, and I enjoy it during the heat, but damn! What the hell was this doing, languishing in my bar fridge for so long, so neglected?!

If someone wanted me to recommend beers to someone who didn’t really know where to start with craft beer, I’d definitely name this brewery in a top five list.

To the zine, which I can’t actually flick through right now because my cat has decided to sit on it. I don’t have the heart to push her off! She has been and is a kickarse companion in my countless times of psychological distress which is why I tend to be pretty soft on her loving to sit on my paper-anything. The zine looks like a document to a game that perhaps was part of ‘Delete’ or an unfinished prototype – it’s kind of hard to tell, but I did see a Trello board screenshot photocopied, and a few diagrams with character attributes, possible text responses in certain situations. It looks like it’s set in someone’s bedroom for part of it.

Piecing it together from what I remember gives me an inkling to what reading a poem and trying to record an extended analysis might be like – poems are very rarely literal and it’s not often obvious whose ‘voice’ it’s told/narrated in. I’ve been thinking a lot about poetics after Saturday’s panel, and more so about what poetry and video games do have in common. I’ve also played a shitload of Pokémon GO today, because there’s one special research task that asks you to evolve 20 Pokémon! I had a job network appointment, then went to pick my mail nearby, and trying (unsuccessfully) to be in a raid alone forced me to enjoy the sunshine. A looooot of my electronic buddies fainted, whoops! Autumn has been fantastic in that it’s crisp and cold and bright by day, but you feel justified having the heater on as soon as the sun sets.

I also wanted to use this post as a way to point out others’ work I either forgot to mention, or did not mention enough of during my panel chat. I feel really fortunate that my first ever conference experience was such a welcoming, positive experience – at no time did I ever feel like an annoying not-tech creative: everyone really wanted to learn about video games and their intersections with other creative media.

So anyway, thanks Jini for asking and pronouncing my last name correctly! That shit always means a lot. They do a FUCKTONNE of work, so much so that they wrote in The Saturday Paper about the unpaid labour of arts workers. It’s not an easy read – it’s not meant to be, but it’s commendable to go on the record with a lot of what they’ve said in that piece. Jini is also a member of the PlayReactive collective.

Many a fistbump to my co-panellist Rory whose future Pokémon poems I eagerly await! Would you believe, we’re also Rabbit Journal buddies! If you like either of our work (which I hope you might!), please pick up a copy of this journal, and definitely subscribe to Rory’s Tinyletter. Can’t wait to see what future work my Oulipo comrade comes up with!

Thanks so much to Alex for even giving me the notion that video game ekphrasis is a thing! If he hadn’t asked me to submit something for Bonfire Park, it’s no exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t have pitched Writers Vic at all about that fab WWOC commission. For some odd reason, it sounds too hard (in my head) to write poems honouring visual artworks, but that’s exactly what happened when trying to write them about video games?! A blindspot banished, huzzah!

And oh my goodness, so Ian Maclarty‘s game ‘The Catacombs of Solaris‘ won a freaking award at Freeplay! I’m not sure if you still can, but it was also playable in a space set up in ACMI during the festival and conference. We met properly at the festival, though I think we’d met when All Day Breakfast was still around. I was having a fair bit of ECT when ADB still existed and hadn’t actually remembered we’d met, whoops!

This is much longer than anticipated. My cat has fallen asleep on the zine! <3 I’ve got a good beer to finish drinking. Check out the above creatives’ work and tell your mates about it!

 

 

 

2016 book and beer chums

I’m sipping a Sparkke apple cider and finally compiling a list of all the books and beer I’ve matched up so far for Froth mag (please subscribe and tell the editor – hey boss! –  I’m worth keeping to continue to natter about these two major loves in my life) in an attempt not to get too sad about how the fifty-something books I’ve read this year are languishing in boxes. You don’t even want to know about the state of 2016 and 2015’s read piles.

It is kind of nice knowing that some of this year’s book-and-beer match-ups were completed in spite of truly appalling Melbourne sharehouse situations…they seem far away in the past to be faintly amusing, and I also seem to have more than just coincidentally bad luck with junkies.

Anyway, the fucking list. It’ll include 2016 as well (most of which I can’t remember anyway because it was unadulterated shit. My psychiatrist and I were joking about that just this week!*).

issue #3 (Jan 2016)

BOOK: Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski

BEER: Doctor’s Orders (Sydney, AUS) ‘Prescription 12’

notes: am especially fond of the fact that this brewery refers to themselves as a cuckoo brewery (rather than using the racially pejorative term ‘gypsy’ to indicate roving/using no fixed premises) <3

issue #4 (Feb 2016)

BOOK: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

BEER: Mikkeller (Denmark) ‘American Dream’

notes: Froth wunderkind designer Clint (o hai!) illustrated this column and I can only think of one other Froth-related thingo that tops this (it’s a good story, honest! but later).

issue #5 (Mar 2016)

BOOK: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

BEER: Prickly Moses (Vic, AUS) chardonnay IPA

notes: Pretty sure I matched these two just so I’d have an excuse to read this novel (it’s taken this long in my lit wanker career?! don’t tell the ghosts of cultural studies/lit undergrads past!), and ‘chardonnay’ attached to the suggestion of any IPA sounded…fan-cee.

issue #6 (Apr 2016)

BOOK: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

BEER: Moon Dog (Melb, AUS) ‘Perverse Sexual Amalgam’

notes: Inventing reasons to drink ace beer by envelope-pushers-to-flavour-orgy and smash through titles on Boxall’s 1001 Books To Read Before You Die with which I have a love-hate relationship. Not even anywhere near 10% through that list, pout.

issue #7 (May 2016)

BOOK: Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

BEER: La Sirène (Melb, AUS) ‘Praline’

notes: Am a staunch believer in not knocking shit till I’ve earned the right to make an opinion on it, which sadly my partner at the time did not share. His ill-informed comments were the catalyst to making a break for greener pastures. ‘Praline’ is such a special beer to me. It was probably the only thing that got me through James’ average prose and the apparent pop cult regurgitation of kink/BDSM culture – a topic that’s pretty hard to render boring, but perhaps that’s where James’ literary finesse lies…?

issue #11 (Oct 2016)

BOOK: Carrying the World by Maxine Beneba Clarke

BEER: Bacchus (Qld, AUS) ‘Kraken’ IPA

notes: hmm…so the gaps in columns occurs for a reason – a stint dancing naked on stage with a hundred other women (!!!), a large stint in hospital straight after while my parents were overseas in Canada, then getting asked to leave the sharehouse of supremely high functioning alcoholics on the basis of what genitals I happened to be born with meaning I apparently was too emotional (unwell, yes, emotional…not quite but I can see how when surrounded by people devoid of ethics, by relative comparison, yes, I possessed emotions). My copy of Maxine’s poetry volume (which had been out of print prior to this release) is SIGNED. You have to cling onto small victories where you can get them. This was my fucking torch through those dark times.

issue #12 (Nov 2016)

BOOK: Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

BEER: Birra del Borgo (ITALY) ‘KeTo Reporter’

notes: this is a bittersweet update to have to write because while my copy of Solnit’s book is annotated TO ITS DEATH, I don’t remember much about the time I read it, or about the beer I drank to accompany – which I’d chosen because this brewery has a beer called ‘My Antonia’ which invariably is made in tribute to Willa Cather’s novel of the same name (which I’ve yet to read! but want to! I think it’s listed on Boxall’s bastard list!). I spent a lot of 2016 hospitalized for major depressive disorder, and the memory lapses are specifically due to having been prescribed quetiapine (an antipsychotic, used as a mood stabiliser, and for anxiety/PTSD-type symptoms), and voluntary unilateral electroconvulsive therapy. Look, there are perks: general anaesthetic is fucking awesome and actually knocks you out, and you don’t remember feeling woozy – it just happens.

Sorry, that all sounds way more hardcore/srs than it was supposed to, whoops. Anyway, the shining light in all of this was a beautiful long-haired cat who latched onto me while living in the Coburg high-functioning alcoholic house – Ms Fancycat Truffles de Pantaloons. I call her Fance for short. She’s literally saved my life – just by being there. If you’ve met her, or seen the photos I incessantly post on my personal Instagram account, you’ll know how ace she is and how lucky I am to be loved by her. Whenever I feel like crap, a hug from her makes things feel like they’ll be okay.

So far, she’s been right.

I swear I’ll do this year’s (2017) list soonish.

 

* however, bad mental health isn’t a joke – if you’re distressed, or know someone who is, pleasepleaseplease don’t be afraid to get help or tell someone. There’s Lifeline or Beyond Blue or CATT. If you’re reading this and you know me, or don’t and want to talk – I’m on Twitter a fair bit (really: don’t be shy to slide into my DMs!).