On Friday night, after a panel at the QWC’s One Book, Many Brisbanes program, I got the opportunity to go hang out with Cat Sparks, Trent Jamieson, and the elusive Ben Payne. There was beer and chatter and hot chips with tomato sauce. The true value of this experience probably doesn’t sink in unless you know Cat and Trent and Ben, but fortunately for me I do, so I got to be there (although, given I had to drive home, I elected to drink coke. This seems to keep happening when I find myself in pubs; somehow I seem to have lost the ability to get my drink on).
Should you not know Cat and Trent, the short version goes something like this: one is the author of Death Most Definite and Managing Death and more quality short stories than you can poke a stick at, while the other possesses a resume similarly stacked with quality short stories and recently took up the position of fiction editor for Cosmos magazine. Should you come across them in bar, they may look remarkably like these two:
Should you not know Ben, you will just have to imagine him, for he’s not among the photographs on my phone (such are the perils of being an elusive gentlemen). I can point out that he edits a zine with one of the quirkiest titles in Australia and he’s known for his damn fine taste in writers.
– ahem –
Er, sorry, the spokesbear gets snarky when I sneak that sort of thing into blog posts. He also points out that I should publicly thank Cat for coming up with the title Horn back in 2007, back when TPP and I were stumped in terms of possible titles that would work for the weird little noir novel about unicorns. My original title, and many of the replacement titles that followed, were awful and far less pointed than Cat’s suggestion.
A friend of mine from uni pointed out that the Motel I was talking about in yesterday’s post is still in existence, although there’s no real reports on whether it’s still got its alien-abduction motif going or there’s a motley crew of long-term residents in addition to the visitors using it as an actual motel. The website does feature the graphics from the gloriously kitsch signs they used though. I lived in the one featured on the left-hand side of the header.
I recently bought Amanda Palmer’s new album, and one of the surprises on the album was a duet she did with a member of the Jane Austen Argument on the song Bad Wine and Lemon Cake. After three or four days of listening to that song, over and over, in the car I finally broke down and went searching for the band’s website.
Turns out they have an EP out.
Ordinarily this wouldn’t be much of a story – roughly once a month I’ll find myself going to a band website and checking out their list of albums and such. I tend to listen to a lot of music, after all, and it’s really only the limitations of my budget and the rapid closure of CDs stores in all my favourite shopping centres that keeps me from spending as much money on music as I do books.
Despite these limitations, I’ve been highly resistant to buying music in electronic formats. I like the tactile pleasure of having something physical to play, and I like album art and liner notes, and I generally just like CDs and cassettes and LPs before them. Plus I have the kind of luck with computers that says backing up daily isn’t actually one of those things you ought to do; it’s a necessity that keeps me from wailing and gnashing my teeth. As a general rule, I don’t buy MP3s.
It would appear I can’t make that claim anymore. And, well, I’m not entirely sure how it happened, only that it did. It’s one of the things that always leaves me envious about music – it’s much better at beguiling us than fiction is, if only because it takes far less effort on the part of the audience on the receiving end.
I still miss the album art though. And the liner notes.