August 17th, 2009


Continuum 5

In summary, I had a freakingly awesome, fatabulagestic weekend in Melbourne.

I need to go get milk for coffee and food for making breakfasty things and then I will submit my proper con report.


My Continuum 5 Report, by Girlie Jones

I preface this by noting that I was Melbourne for a total of two days and this morning the only acceptable food for breakfast was fried eggs with avocado and chili olives on a fresh, crusty bread roll.

I knew this was going to be a great weekend after the lady next to me on the plane tried to wrangle us each our own rows and the inflight movie was Star Trek. Besides the fact that the plane landed before the film ended (that means we got there quicker, yeah?) and that midflight I discovered that while Benji had been jumping up on me before I left, he snagged the seam in my crotch and I could see my Hawaiian underpants (but noone had noticed so, that's okay, yeah?).

After my hour cab ride to the hotel, I checked in and asked my most feared question: "Have some parcels arrived for me?" When the answer was in the negative, I was in disbelief - but *Star Trek* was the inflight movie! This just cannot be!! I proceeded up to the room, Cat and Rob had checked in but were not around. I changed my pants. Unpacked. Took down TPP books. Registered. Found my table in the dealer's room. Started to set up my table and then sort of went through the hot schvitzs thinking about how I would tell deborahb we had no books to launch. Eventually I mustered up the courage to go back and ask again. A different person this time said, "Oh yes! Two boxes came. They're in 664 I'll go get them." Later Cat and Rob told me they knew the books had arrived the whole time - course they weren't there then and I needed this very harsh lesson to never ever ever cut it this fine again.

So Yay! Books! And A Book of Endings looks gorgeous in real life. I am very very proud of it.

After the drama, people started showing up and milling around and we ended up going out to dinner to a really lovely restaurant in Chinatown. The meal was surreal and very very spicy and the company was most entertaining. After dinner we of course returned to the hotel and got comfy in the bar catching up with people. Late to bed, even later to sleep as I was sharing a room with Cat and Rob and we were catching up. And then I had reverse jet lag and was wide awake by 6am.

Over Saturday breakfast we caught up with jonathanstrahan who regaled us with the news from Worldcon. Was nice to see him again after he'd been gone so long. And was a lovely breakfast down one of those alleyways off Bourke Street Mall. We headed back to the con and I did some time at the dealers table before going off for lunch with stephcampisi and Jono. Japanese this time, still in Chinatown. It was lovely to catch up with then - I learned a lot. Mostly about food :) And then back to the dealers room and not long after that was the BoE Book launch.

I cannot rave enough about the Cabinet Bar. deborahb found them and sent me in their direction. They were helpful online. Everything was just as I asked for and the bar staff knew precisely what was going on. I thought the drinks were plentiful and I hear the food was good. I was introduced to a Lady Lara. And the bar was the right size for our crowd and really really funky. A big thank you to everyone who schlepped out of the con hotel and down the street to come celebrate with us. And also a big thanks to catsparx who went back and directed people to the very hidden away entrance (past the breakdancers, down the alleyway and through the nondescript, unsignposted door and up some vague stairs). It was so nice to see so many friendly faces. And especially thanks to planeterry and Q and thawrecka who came! I was so touched! Jonathan gave a really lovely launch speech about the significance of a writer's first collection in their career. And we had a lovely lovely pile of books for signing.

People stayed a while and then headed off to dinner. I was supposed to meet my cousins for dinner but had one glass of champagne too many and didn't trust myself to hop on a tram and get off at the right stop. I had a quiet dinner with R who had eaten but accompanied me anyway. And then we did the bar for a bit. I found the bar far too loud for the kind of conversations we were trying to have. My voice is still hoarse today. It made it uncomfortable rather than fun. Also my Crohn's was still not settled after the peanut thing from earlier in the week, so I decided to just turn in early and try and get sleep.

Sunday morning I breakfasted with electricant and we had a really productive ASif! editors' meeting, planning the direction of ASif! for the next year in detailed terms and a little bit further out in less detailed terms. We both walked off with healthy to do lists and a once a month check in meeting planned. I really enjoyed hanging with G and I feel really positive about getting a to do list action plan.

Then I was back in the dealer's room for a bit. catsparx offered to mind the table so I could race off to see the Dali exhibition and I am so glad that the rain didn't put me off the brisk walk down to the NGV. OMG. I have seen some Dali works before, and in fact none of them were in this exhibition. But. I love Dali and I just had the best time. The crowds were insane. People moved too slowly and stood in the way and ugh all that stuff. But a while ago I learned that you don't have to spend equal time on every item and you can push in front of people and move in and out. I skipped bits that didn't really interest me - it's too easy to get tired quickly, I find. And I decided early on that I would buy the book in the bookshop so I didn't worry about needing to read everything, I want to spend time on that later.

But. Oh. My. I had actually braingasms looking at a couple of pieces. Total mind fucks and blowing-my-mind type experience. Just the weirdness, and the juxtapositions, and the bold commentary. And the pushing of the boundaries, and the messing around with rules and the integration of media. Just reminded me how important it is for artists to be hooked into the zeitgeist, I guess? I especially loved one piece that was in the nuclear energy section of his work that showed the influence of science on art and vice versa. Reminded me of the difference between an adequate SF story and one that can be powerful and cutting edge. I sat in on the wrong film though - I watched Un chien andalou instead of the Walt Disney collaboration that Rob told me to see. I just didn't find where that was. Nothing was signposted that well.

Loved loved loved it. Bought two posters of pieces that I want to spend more time looking at and thinking about - The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory and Daddy Long Legs of the Evening - Hope! I also bought the book - it was heavy but my luggage was under 23kg flying out and I had sold books so I figured I was good. And I do love Dali. I want to read more about his work. Other works I loved and didn't expect to - the Lobster Telephone and the um ... assemblage of a red shoe and a tuft of pubic hair. It's both shocking and far too much information. And there's no way I would use it dunk sugar cubes into the small glass of milk.

planeterry came and met me afterwards for coffee and a quick lunch before heading back and hanging with me at my dealer's table. Was so lovely to just hang with him. And even though I was very tired, my mind was starting to hum and race. I got a lot out of this weekend - lots of ideas and creative inspiration but lots of nice "just being" in the company of good friends. T helped me pack up my table - so did Justin, there's a ton of TPP books available through Slowglass books now. Had some good "industry" chats with Jonathan and Bill. Last minute book buy of Kaaron's Slights and one final chat hangout with Jonathan and R before I was off.

Did the brisk walk thing back to the NGV with my bags this time. Met my cousin for a coffee and then she drove me to the airport - 1.5 hours but we caught up and laughed and all that stuff.

Plane trip felt like the longest 4 hours in the history of the world. Both flights had a vegetarian option in the general food that was better than the vegetarian option I got. Movie was Rocking the Boat or something? Was good. I was kinda not really watching it but the soundtrack was pretty good. And I might have cried when someone held up a placard that said "We Heard You". I need more sleep.

Benji was very happy to see me and that was really nice.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting narrelle who was such a great guest - I wasn't really at much of the con programming but I got to chat and hang a bit with her all the same. She must have been everywhere all the time! How exhausting! I got an industry development grant to go to Continuum 5 and it really was a working trip for me. I didn't get to much of the programming. Instead - I (think) I bought a book for the 2011 schedule, planned some major improvements to Asif!, met some writers I had not yet met in person, talked over with a few writers their Sprawl submissions, moved 29 kgs of books (that inc the books that deborahb took as author copies and for her second book launch in Sydney), chatted with a few people about Natcon 50 projects, and the Feminist Voices podcast and launched A Book of Endings. I also talked with a few people about details of things - where to send review copies, how different overseas awards work, bookstores to approach to carry TPP books.

I had a really fantastic weekend.

Benji's weekend

Benji stayed with my parents for the weekend. My dad really liked him and was thinking of not returning him, till he nipped him on the finger. Benji's like that.

Amusingly, he was allowed to sleep on their bed - their dogs don't sleep or haven't slept on their bed. My mother said, "As if we had a choice."

She also just told me that the only way to get him to settle down at night was to turn on the television. Yeah, that must be *my* dog. Heh.