This Is Not Art (TINA) and The National Young Writers Festival are always on the October long weekend, usually with loads of other amazing entertainment. Everything that appealed to us was on the Saturday this year so we strapped ourselves in for a full and exciting day.
I headed to the first session at The Gun Club, ironically called Love is All You Need. Last year I experienced The Gun Club, as it is known, for the first time. It is really called The United Services Club, and is a gorgeous old terrace on Watt Street, filled with war and gun memorabilia. So not my thing, yet I am somehow very much drawn to the place...in an ironic way.
The panel were great with differing opinions on love and sex. 2 females and a male, some cynical, some romantic, all pretty funny too. The Male writer, a romantic poet, spoke about hearing an Arabic version of Romeo and Juliet when he was 5 and it really affected him, so his decision is to never write anything after a trauma so as not to affect any of his readers similarly. The Romance writer spoke about that community and how supportive it is and also about sex and romance and how erotic romance is not about getting off but part of the character's journey. The cynic wrote about her own experiences and has no restraint with her stories almost always ending in sex. To her romance and sex are codependent. Her stories are funny, awkward, and messy because they are real. The male preferred ambiguity and subtleness and prefers to hint at sex. He says just talking to someone can be sexy (oh I so agree) and to use your imagination, as sexy is random, and he does write with an audience in mind. Whereas the cynic writes what she wants, gives everything away and is as honest as humanly possible about her experiences, often to the detriment of those involved. Her theory is if she writes about the really awful stuff others will not feel alone.
I caught up with A, L, and L at the stunning Staple Manor also in Watt Street for Big Issues: Press Freedom, Whistleblowing, and National Security. This featured Paul Farrell interviewing Freya Newman about exposing Abbott's daughter and becoming the hunted instead. What a remarkable woman, and a Librarian too! How awful it must have been for her during this time but what a coup. There was much discussion on how to protect sources and how bad the law is in light of such exposure.
Then back to The Gun Club for Out of Canberra: The Politics Panel. This was a sheer delight, an amusing look at politics today with Tom Ballard, James Arvanitakis, and Sam Dastyari. Tom and James pressed Sam for Labor Information, and riffed on all the changes in the past five years and the 'disposable' Prime Minister situation. Totally informative and fascinating, and very funny too.
After a lovely lunch at the new East End Hub, and a look at some of the exhibitions at The Lock Up we headed to The Royal Exchange for a few sessions.
First up When The Internet Fails You and then Weird Science. When The Internet Fails You was an insightful and frightening look into bullying on The Net, mostly aimed towards women, the panel spoke of their experiences and how they handled it. Weird Science was a great all female panel riffing on the great things happening in the science world today.
J joined us for our final session back at The Gun Club, It's All In The Family. This was an interesting panel with a range of writers who write about family and how much information they share, what their family thinks or even if they know. Some were very full on with what they write, whilst others were a little more restrained. It was funny and intriguing and helpful to anyone who might want to start memoirs and unsure what to write about or how to approach their subject.
We then had a wander down the mall and had a look at some more exhibits before having dinner at The Crown and Anchor and then ended the evening following HoboTechno's Nomadic Projections around the streets for a while.
TINA is always a great weekend out and we look forward to what 2016 has to offer.