LOST AND FOUND Volume 7 Issue 2
GUEST EDITOR, BENJAMIN LAW
This issue our guest editor is Benjamin Law, a Brisbane-based (but Melbourne-loving) writer and journalist whose words are regularly published by the likes of frankie, Good Weekend, The Monthly and Qweekend. In his spare time he bakes a lot, reads a lot, swims laps and grows an edible garden on his deck. Benjamin’s second book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East launches in September via Black Inc. Books. He says, “It’s a quasi-gonzoish adventure-type book that’s set in seven different Asian countries (China, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Japan) and looks at seven different queer/LGBT issues.” We found out what Benjamin likes doing when he’s in town.
EVENTS – MELBOURNE WRITERS FESTIVAL
Writers (and word lovers) take note: the Melbourne Writers Festival is just around the corner, offering ten days of events to whet your pen with. Drop in on The Thousands Editor Penny Modra in ‘A Particular Eye‘ as she chats with eavesdropping British cartoonist Badaude. Or grab the ankles of the New Yorker editorial team and don’t let go as they whisk about town for talks. For news about the news, chip in at New News, a series of open conferences featuring discussions with journalists, bloggers, tumblr-ers and tweeters.
23 August – 2 September, citywide.
Melbourne truly is the spiritual home for word nerds like me, and it has the best literary events. Women of Letters is a monthly literary salon run by two of my dear chums: Michaela McGuire and Marieke Hardy. Around five exceptional women get up to read open letters on a theme (‘A Letter to the Night I’d Rather Forget’; ‘A Letter To A Secret’), and all the money raised goes to Edgar’s Mission, a lovely animal shelter and sanctuary. And then of course, there’s the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers Festival and the regular events at The Wheeler Centre and Readings.
RETAIL – THE HUNGRY WORKSHOP
Despite our obvious penchant for emails, we love getting our hands on some seriously debossed letters when we get the chance. Enter The Hungry Workshop – not only do they design and sell aerograms, posters and everything else worth its weight in hand-fed platen presses, they do all of it on arcane Edwardian machinery, and let you watch. The shopfront opens to the public most Saturdays (check online for times), but typography novices looking to learn the ropes should check out Idlewild Press, which runs workshops in letterpressing every other month.
The Hungry Workshop, 461 High Street, Northcote. Tel: (03) 9043 8444.
Idlewild Press, The Compound Interest Centre for Applied Arts, 15-25 Keele Street, Collingwood.
Tel: 0401 409 325.
When I’m in Melbourne, I always get my books from Readings. Lovely bossman Mark Rubbo donates an incredible 10 per cent of Readings’ profits to arts grants (reason enough to shop there alone), but the staff are also always helpful (and ridiculously attractive) and their range of music, books and DVDs is unbeatable. For clothes, my one-stop shop is Somewhere. They stock a lot of clothes that skinny Asian homosexualists like me can happily wear. Also highly rated: Hares & Hyenas in Fitzroy, a queer bookshop that’s been selling books and hosting events for two decades.
CAFES/RESTAURANTS – LITTLE KING CAFE
Most cafe reading materials are only good for wiping soup off your chin. But you’ll want to bib up before scanning the volumes at Little King Cafe – they have their own micro-library, curated by Perimeter Books. Every month, a new armful of handpicked, small press publications are added to the shelves so you can tuck into art, architecture and design books and zines while the chumps at other cafes re-read their menus for the fourth time. Just next door is the excellent window-space gallery Chapter House Lane, which, despite its name, has nothing to do with books at all.
Shop 4, 209 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Tel: (03) 9654 0030.
I seriously can’t think of a time I’ve landed in Melbourne and didn’t end up atJournal, attached to the City Library. My friend Emilio (Nest Architects) designed the place, and I’ve always loved the big communal table where people sit alongside each other. Also highly rated: New Day Rising in Brunswick East. Their CLT (smoked coconut, lettuce and tomato) bagel is rightly famous, and I would choose Nadia’s smoked coconut over bacon any day. Plus it has one of the prettiest damn menus in town. And for whatever reason, my friends insist on taking me to Gaylord every time we do Indian. It’s a great restaurant, but I think they’re also trying to tell me something.
ROAD TRIP – THE FIELD GUIDE TO VICTORIAN PRODUCE
There’s only one thing better than a road trip, and that’s a road trip that ends at food. If you’re planning such an adventure, start with a coffee, a tank of petrol and a copy of the Field Guide to Victorian Produce. In this glove-box-friendly edition you’ll find profiles of hundreds of Victorian growers, suggestions for day trips and farm stays and interviews with the chefs who run the restaurants you’re planning to squeeze your tummy into. It’s all put together by Ewan McEoin (of Melbourne Design Guide fame) and his team at The Locavore Edition – who are also very good with farmers’ market tip-offs on Twitter.
Available at good Melbourne bookshops and
The Compound Interest Centre for the Applied Arts,
15-25 Keele Street, Collingwood.
Tel: (03) 9016 3607.
Williamstown is only a 15 or 20 minute drive away from Melbourne and has proper beaches and wharves: perfect for when Melbourne becomes unbearably, scorching hot in summer. It’s also part of the City of Hobsons Bay, whose mayor Tony Briffa made international headlines for being the world’s first openly intersex mayor. Daylesford is 90 minutes out of Melbourne and great for a weekend away. Think: day spas, long walks, a big arts community and natural mineral springs. Daylesford is also renowned for being packed with festive, artistically inclined and queer folk, which pleases me enormously, quite frankly.
WIN – KILL YOUR DARLINGS
Kill Your Darlings is a Melbourne-based quarterly literary journal featuring some very clever commentary, interviews, fiction and reviews. You can find it on the shelves of some of the greatest book shops in the city, including Metropolis and Polyester Books. They’ve just released issue 10, which has everything from Martin Plowman’s tribute to World UFO Day to an analysis of Ryan Gosling’s mass boyfriend appeal by Estelle Tang. To celebrate the release of this bumper edition, we have one Kill Your Darlings year-long subscription to give away! To enter, tell us which literary darling you wish was still alive – and why. Email us (use the link, don’t reply) by 5pm, 6 August. Conditions apply.
Metropolis, Level 3, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne. Tel: (03) 9663 2015.
Polyester Books, 330 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
Tel: (03) 9419 5223.