Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Dancing, reading and meeting a soulmate ... I think ...

Susie and I are aching: last night, reinforced by beer from happy hour at the pub over the road, we did two belly dancing classes in a row. It's interesting to experience how different teachers have different dance styles and teach techniques in slightly different ways. We're learning to perform with gold and silver canes, but not in a Fred Astaire way - no, we go through our usual hip-swivelling routines but with additional points made by swinging the cane. For part of it, we have to carefully balance them horizontally on our heads - it's surprising, you can be stepping and rotating from the shoulders down as long as you hold your head still.

Laptop hassles continue: ex-boyfriend kept the CD burner. Have borrowed Pete's floppy disk drive to enable me to save work, but this is not really the best way of transferring articles. I love sitting with a mug of coffee, looking out at the garden for inspiration and typing away, living out my Carrie Bradshaw fantasy, but it's little things like my lack of technical knowhow that let me down and make me seem unprofessional!

And I found out today that DB's wonderful music editor, Nina Bertok, is leaving the magazine. This is a real shame - not only is she a great writer and interviewer, but right from the first time I walked in to the office, she always made me feel like my opinions were worth hearing. She taught me how to fix a mysteriously paused cassette recorder, the two questions you should NEVER ASK in interviews* and sharpened my writing skills immensely. Sometimes you need a person to come along and say "Hey! You're not bad at this!" to give you the confidence to continue.

A weird sideline - when I knew I'd be going "read dating", I posted a question on the BookCrossing forums asking what book people would bring along, and what they thought I should bring. I've been without internet access for four days and during that time speculation on the thread has reached fever pitch. I'm a little startled at what people assumed must have happened to me:

"We've been speculating as to how it went: I think you took your piratical book, and met up with someone with a"Spanish for Beginners" book, and went off for a game of bowls together. A verrry long game of bowls, with no computers nearby for updating curiousBCers as to your adventures...."

Covert reckons "She encountered a snaggle-toothed gentleman carrying a copy of Memoirs of a Buccaneer, by "Half-Arse" Le Golif (said to have lost a buttock to a cannon ball). The blackguard swept her away to his barque, at anchor in the harbor. They're on their way to the Solomon Islands, winds permitting."

"But in case you took the spy novel instead, "She was cornered by a lantern-jawed gentleman in sun-glasses who was carrying a copy of Point Blank, by an-author-who-shall-remain-unnamed. The blackguard swiftly and unobtrusively clamped an anesthetic-soaked handkerchief over her face and bundled her off to his waiting black sedan, claiming (charmingly) to their hostess that she'd "over-indulged a bit". Their whereabouts are still to be determined."

Incidentally, my article on the WORD writing festival (and read dating) is published here - and I'm amazed that my sympathetic editor let me include the last sentence! I've also written about Ethiopian music in this issue - Dereb Desalegn is a traditional musician and Nicky Bomba is a Melbourne percussionist who works with all kinds of bands.

* "So, how did you guys meet?" and "So, where did you get your band name from?" Nina rightly states that these questions will have been asked of groups hundreds of times before by lazy journalists "which you're not, cos you write for us."

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