What is better than spending an evening spent curled up in a cosy bookstore eating cheese and drinking wine? Spending an evening curled up in a cosy bookstore eating cheese and drinking wine while people read to you.
That is exactly what You Are Here had on offer Thursday night at Smith’s Alternative Bookshop. Forget having to waste precious energy picking up a book off the shelf, then having to abuse your poor wasted arm muscles by turning the pages, and THEN having to strain your poor short-sighted eyes to decipher the strange symbols on the page: You Are Here saved the day by getting some poor unlucky souls to do all of the work for us.
Scissors, Paper, Pen, lip magazine, and new literary journal, Burley, were asked to pick their favourite local writers to give us a taste of their work, and they did not disappoint. The evening began with host Rosie Stevens serenading us with a theme song for the night, to the delight and laughter of the crowd, and it only got better from there.
First up was Irma Gold, who read us an excerpt from her book, Two Steps Forward. The language captivated the audience from the start: lines such as ‘comfortable silence that settles over them like milky skin’ drew the audience in and painted the colours of her story all over the room.
Next up Anita Patel read us a selection of her poetry. The first two poems stood up and grabbed the audience; ‘Chinese Bowl in a Summer Dress’ and ‘Aunties’ were about feeling the pull of two cultures, which she covered in both a humorous and moving way.
Ashley Orr then moseyed on up to read us one of her short stories. It took the audience a little while to get into it, mainly due to her quiet reading style, but by the end every person in the room was hooked. A cleverly written story about a peacock that teaches an old man to read? How could you not be?
The article ‘Leggings and Pants Are Not the Devil’, written and read by the editor of lip magazine, Zoya Patel, was next. If the title didn’t catch you, the reading of it certainly did, and the audience ate it up like McDonald’s chips after a few too many, erm, beverages.
But the highlight of the show was open-mic poet Zoe Konovolovic. It was less a reading and more an insane performance. The good kind of insane. The old man in your street who throws one hundred dollar bills your way kind of insane.
While Canberra’s artistic side often tends to be hidden from view, that night it was obvious that the capital has plenty to offer. And judging from the fantastic crowd that rocked up Thursday, plenty of fellow Canberrans will be there to support it every step of the way.
Buzzcuts is review writing program for young people. It is an Express Media initiative. For more information head to: www.expressmedia.org.au