Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A head in seven places

Band of my moment: I'm loving the New Pornographers right now. I bought their newest album, Together, last year coz I had tickets to see them in concert here in Wellington (thanks to a friend who knows what he's talking about).  I got another album, Electric Version (2003) from a different friend a few weeks ago and almost instantly went out and got the rest of their back catalogue. I think what was holding me back is the fact I had two Neko Case albums and never really gotten into them. But yeah, loving the New Pornographers entire ouevre!

(They're Canadian.)



For those unfamiliar with my musical tastes, I'm a Dark Canuck (link, link).


I've been up in Auckland for work. Two solid days thinking about school design from first principles. Really cool stuff. Hopefully I get the chance to send my as-yet-nonexistent kids to a school like the ones that are getting built now and not something stuck in the "cells and bells" mode of teaching... Although there's a place for that I suppose.  I think they call that "parental choice".



I'm locked in for two sessions at the Auckland Writers Fest in May (one called 'Emerging Writers', another about the Commonwealth Writers Prize with me, David Mitchell and Aminatta Forna) and five sessions as part of the Sydney Writers Fest the following week!  Yeah, five. And that doesn't count the outreach events that CWP are planning (school visits, a trip to juvie etc), these are just ones that'll be printed in the SWF programme (though in Australia it'll be spelt 'program' -- can anyone think of any other words where Aus/NZ spelling differs??)

One event is in the Blue Mountains, one's in Parramatta and three are in Sydney proper.  Three are with other CWP regional winners but I'm on two panels, one about 'Bromance: the truth about male friendship' (or something) and another about whether Australia has lost it's sense of humour (me being the token Kiwi on the panel). I like the fact these last two give me the chance to promote myself as a writer with a sense of humour. That often gets lost in the mix with reviews and other media stuff. It's a book of short stories which means it's got a limited audience (why?) so it must mean it's literary (sorta) which means it can't ever be funny (????).

David Geary will always have a special place in my heart (/ego?) because the first thing he said about my book was, "'Fat Camp': seriously funny stuff."

Oh, and I just got asked to appear at the Melbourne Writers Festival in late Aug/early Sept.  How cool is that?  All thanks to my success in the Commonwealth Writers Prize.  I better remember all this good fortune when it's time for Thanksgiving in November...


Note: I've decided never to include an apostrophe in the name of any writers and/or readers festival because the festivals can't even decide between themselves where it should go or if there should be one at all.



This may be my last blog post for a while as we're off to Vietnam on Saturday for our buttermoon (this is an in-joke between me, M. and anyone who read my column in the Dom Post last week, so, like, 17 people).

Taking my new camera (of course). I'll refrain from the full holiday slideshow post when I get back (isn't that what Facebook's for? that, and stalking girls you fancied in intermediate) but may slip one or two in a post when I get back just to make y'all jealous.

Coz that's the kind of friend I am.


David Geary said...

Hey Craig - congrats on the prize and all. Yeah, 'Fat Camp' is seriously funny, as was me trying to get you to talk about the Island of Lesbos angle at the Te Papa interview last year. Glad you've found the New Pornographers - one of Canada's finest. Now check out Weakerthans and Caribou. Cheers DG

Craig Cliff said...

Thanks David.
Too late: I'm already a big weakerthans fan (have 2 weakerthans t-shirts, so I probably qualify as a "fanboy"), and I once spoke with the drummer of Caribou on a train in Bolivia (his two NZ musical touchstones were the Ruby Suns and Flight of the Conchords), but I haven't yet backtracked and listened to the Manitoba records...