Been a busy couple of days in Melbourne. The city has turned on some good-ol-fashioned sunshine, so I have been out enjoying it and some of the amazing stores, pubs and cafes that dot the streets and laneways. Places I have visited so far include:
Collected Works: Quite possibly the best poetry and ideas bookstore on the face of this (or any other) planet, run by one of the world’s true gentlemmen, Kris Hemensley. Located on Level 1 of the Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston St., this store is a must visit for poetry lovers. Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Kris at length and I know the store is facing some tough times, so if you are on the lookout for poetry, make sure you do your shopping here. You can ring up the store and order over the phone (no online store as yet, but keep an eye out in the future for this) and believe me when I say, this is the most comprehensive collection of poetry you are ever likely to see assembled in a retail outlet, so they are most likely to have what you are looking for! I can also recommend checking out the Collected Works blog, poetry & ideas.
Missing Link Records: Very cool independent music store, boasting sections as diverse as psych/folk/drone (now that’s a genre I can get into!). Great place to find out about local, independent bands or get your hands on that hard to find import. Great vinyl section too!
Sticky Institute: This is place is a treasure trove of zines and independent writing. There are zines covering just about every topic you could dream up… some are printed on squares of toilet paper, some are printed on high quality glossy stock; there are titles like culture slut and all my friends are dead because I killed them. You can lose yourself in this place for hours!
Mag Nation: if you dig magazines, this is the place for you! Again, you can lose yourself in this place for hours. Great range of music, art and literature magazines as well as some pretty cool t-shirts and other bits and bobs.
Readings (Carlton): Last night was lucky enough to catch a reading there by the delightful Nick Powell (who will feature at the final SpeedPoets gig on Sunday December 5), Bonny Cassidy and Melbourne favourite, David Prater. Great store with a comprehensive Australian poetry section.
The Brunswick Hotel: Had the immense pleasure of featuring at their fortnightly poetry gig, Passionate Tongues last night with Tiggy Johnson. Tiggy’s work has that hit of authentic domesticity that makes it immediately accessible. Her sets last night featured poems from her debut collection, First Taste as well as a number of new poems, inspired by her recent trip around the country. We in Brisbane are very lucky as Tiggy and her family are about to make the move north! I also performed two sets last night. In the first, I read a number of haiku and longer poems from Ocean Hearted and then a set of completely new work. Michael Reynolds as always was in fine form as MC and kept the night rolling along. Good times indeed!
Degraves Espresso Bar: Melbourne prides itself on being a good coffee city and Degraves Espresso Bar serves up one of the best coffees you will find. Their menu is simple, but tasty… the homemade spicy beans on toast is a great start to the day!
And tonight I am off to a wonderful event called ‘Haiku & Soup’ at Myron Lysenko’s place and then tomorrow I am being interviewed by the ever smiling Alicia Sometimes on Aural Text. You can tune in to the radio live at 12:15pm Melbourne time. Details about how to live stream the show are here.