Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, Melbourne?

No, because that would be just plain wrong.  Sure, compared to Canberra, or indeed Antarctica (according to Tony Eaton, who should know), the conditions were nigh on springlike during my recent soujourn there, but I just found it darn chilly.

In all other aspects bar weather, however, Melbourne is my favourite city.  The restaurants, the bookshops, the chocolate (oh, Koko Black!), its easy liveablility, its cultural dynamism, its down-with-the-arty-crowd-ness.  And never has it been more favourite than during Melbourne Writers Festival at funky Fed Square over the past few days, where, with my fellow YA writers, we entertained and were entertained by great hordes of enthusiastic and sharp teenage readers from all over Victoria. 

(My favourite questions were in the Suburban Nightmare session with the fabulous Simmone Howell: we’d been talking about the boredom, violence and drinking that we shared in our suburban teenage lives, and one girl said, ‘If you had fights, alcohol and parties all the time, how come you were bored?’  Another girl asked the question that hadn’t occurred to me at fifteen: ‘Why didn’t you just, like, not go to parties and not get drunk?’) 

I did sessions with Kirsty Murray (and her Bobo booboo) and Tony Thompson (armed robber or writer?), got to meet blogger extraordinaire Megan Burke, and hung with some of my favourite people of all time (you know who you are).  I also got to speak to the lovely and interesting girls at Loreto Mandeville Hall about life, writing, and everything: it was a testament to how switched on they were that I entirely forgot about the fact I’d just got up at 3.30am Perth time to talk to them. 

If only it could be Melbourne Writers Festival every week.  But I have a day job to get back to, and a virginity novel to finish. 

PS  For those of you in the Festival Club gig, this is the kind of performance Mike Shuttleworth was talking about.  The sound and vision quality is crap, and you need to know that it starts with the words ‘See that guy over there?’   But you’ll get the idea.  *daggy content and strong language warning*

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