Tis good to read at the HorrorScope that Brimstone Press’s Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror #3 is on its way to bookstore shelves and cyber shops. The ‘best of’, which has suffered some delays in production, collects the editor’s pick of Aussie stories published in 2007, which I’m chuffed to say includes my story ‘Kadimakara and Curlew’, which first appeared in the excellent Daikaiju #2 Revenge of the Giant Monsters. Being accepted for the Daikaiju collection was a real buzz — it’s pretty cool getting a giant monster story into print, especially one that includes a swipe at our treatment of Aboriginal Australians, my memories of Uluru and the childhood experience of having the curlew’s cry curl the hairs on the back of my neck … Anyway, it’s awesome to see this yarn given fresh legs, again sneaking its way into the company of some very good writers indeed.
I’ve been sidelined of late thanks to a major meltdown at my ISP, Optus, who sure dragged the chain sorting their gear out. But for now, at least, I’m back in the cyber game :)
Haven’t got much to show for my absence except an article for the Courier-Mail providing a vague update on Brisbane’s goth scene. The article was spawned when some suit in admin noticed the amount of goths/emos hanging around in the mall and wondered how they could bear to wear all that black, coats and all. So I, for some reason :P, was asked to write something about it. I felt like asking if anyone had ever wondered about all the businessmen in their suits and how they handled the Queensland heat and humidity, but I figured that probably wasn’t as interesting …
Anyhoo, the result: a yarn slashed to fit a standard CM tabloid page — but at least a *whole* page :) And here it is, with a neat rundown of the core clubs playing gothic music for a predominantly gothic crowd.
Which is a nice segue into a mention of having seen Dandelion Wine play their last Australian gig for the forseeable future, at Faith night club’s Love Cats night a couple of weekends back. Fans of Lisa Gerard/Dead Can Dance should enjoy this duo’s music, as it often involves medieval and world music elements played with synths, flute, guitar and dulcimer. I’m told they used to have a percussionist, too, which I think would round out their sound beautifully.
Dandelion Wine are off to Germany to pursue their creative career. Cool, eh?
And finally, kudos to Faith: the new venue in Mary Street is really something else. Spacious, decent dance floor and brilliant set lists (IMHO), with a nice long bar, lots of gorgeous sofas, a chill-out room, Korean restaurant next door … it’s a superb venue. Faith is running every Saturday now, rotating through its various theme nights.
Playing catch up after a six-day outage thanks to a spanner in the works at Optusnet HQ … but here’s something fresh, and exciting, and inspiring. Check out the bumper crop of Queenslanders scoring some publicity for having their debut novels published in 2009. Not all the stories are necessarily my preferred cup of coffee, but worth drinking to :)
Krissy Kneen, Belinda Jeffrey and Chris Bongers are among the selection, and I’m happy to say they’re folks I’ve had the pleasure of running into, even lifting a glass with, and their stories sound well worth the price of admittance.
Comedian Adam Hills brought his Inflatable act to the Brisbane Powerhouse at the weekend. And it was good.
Hills is a thorughly likeable chap and has a big following thanks to his hosting duties on ABC’s Spicks & Specks music quiz. Plus, no doubt, the fact he’s one of the country’s most accomplished comedians.
Hills came out firing on Sunday night, his sixth session in three days as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival.
The hour-plus long show was anchored around the loss of two friends last year, both of whom he described as ‘inflaters’ – people who have the knack of making others feel good through a positive outlook.
It sounds like dark material, but not in Hills’ hands. He himself is an inflater, even when tackling issues such as religion and disability.
His act was a fine remedy for a week of gloomy news: economics, oil spills, school massacres, electioneering.
Hills is taking his Inflatable routine on tour. Catch him if you’re feeling down. Or even if you’re not.
Here’s a taste of part of his routine, from a few years ago.
I guess it makes sense that someone with a blog called ‘vampires in the sunshine state’ would have several friends direct his attention to this story about a ‘vampire’ discovered in a plague grave in Venice that has been doing the rounds on the net for the past couple of days.
It reminds me of the excellent, if slow, movie Vampires in Venice starring Klaus Kinski.
Which further reminds me of the plague imagery in his remake of Nosferatu.
Mention of the shroud reminds me of the band, The Shroud, who do a lovely cover of Alice, the Sisters of Mercy song.
Now, Alice sparks name recognition with my mate, Alice Henderson, who has just released what I believe is a pretty neat book called Voracious, given Alice is right at home camping out in all weather in the mountains, and her book draws heavily on that experience. That and the fact that she’s written Buffy books. Way cool.
All of which is a highly convoluted way of suggesting you check out Alice’s book. :)
Unfortunately, Gary Numan’s triumphant return to Australia, playing Brisbane’s Tivoli on March 2, coincided with my losing net access, hence the late post.
Suffice to say, Numan was superb. Brilliant light show; deep, timber-rattling bass that didn’t make the ears ring; hot young dudes on guitar, bass, keys and synths; and Gary, ah Gary, turning 51 next week, so clearly enjoying his renaissance since making such a profound impact with his Tubeway Army back in the late 70s (when he last toured Oz).
The two-hour gig concentrated on his most recent album, Jagged, recently released as a two-CD remix called Jagged Edge. But the crowd — and it was a pleasingly but not uncomfortably large crowd — also thrilled to the early hits including Cars and Are Friends Electric?. A blue-washed rendition of Down in the Park went over a treat.
The gig really did showcase how far electronic music has come, and Numan’s role in it.
The set unfolded almost continuously, and there wasn’t much chitchat from the man. Which was a pity. But Numan was a charismatic presence, stalking, sometimes a little meandering, and flashing a grin during those older tracks as the crowd responded.
It was a sign of a great gig that I had his Haunted running through my head the next day.
Flashback: my interview with Numan is here.
Palmer, with support from uber-capable violinist and cellist, and Brisbane’s own Danger Ensemble, wowed and wooed a comfortably full Tivoli tonight on her Who Killed Amanda Palmer? tour, supporting her debut solo album of the same name.
The theatre’s old-world charm was the perfect complement for the bohemian charm of the Boston performer and her support cast, supplemented by an excellent light show.
Palmer is a honey, sassy and friendly and witty, and just a little dangerous. You know you’re in for a treat when she rises from her piano stool to give the keys her all, and showing a generous flash of well-formed cleavage in the process. Palmer is not shy. You just have to read her blog from her recent Sydney show to see that. Better yet, listen to her music.
Ampersand is one of my favourites, though it was Oasis — blacklisted in Britain for its ironic take on date rape and abortion — that got a huge ovation. And there was a good-hearted singalong for Dresden Doll hits Coin-Operated Boy and Girl Anachronism.
Palmer possesses a distinctive voice, low and gravelled; she puts her emotion into every song, whether upbeat and rockin’ or so slow and maudlin; and she knows how to play a crowd. She clearly loves performing — the interplay between her and her band was a joy — and appreciates that her music is making a mark. When was the last time a singer stopped the show to take questions from the audience? Or promised to move the signing session onto the street if need be, to make sure everyone got their chance?
I was impressed, too, by the Danger Ensemble; I was afeared the use of an acting troupe would detract from the music, but used sparingly and for effect, it was not only a way to enhance the show and the songs, but to break down the barrier between performer and singer. Clever.
The good news is, Palmer is hopeful of spending a solid couple of months in Australia, maybe in our summer. She’s certainly one peformer we’d like to see more of. ;)