Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Face Blind

I don’t see faces.

Well, I can see them, but not in the same way as you do.

As a seven year old, I spent an inordinate amount of time retreating into my thoughts, bumbling my way through awkward social interaction, and somehow irritating everyone I encountered without ever intending to. As a result, I wasn’t considered the coolest 40 cent Paddle Pop in the tuckshop freezer.

My experience of childhood face blindness is represented by a lone memory. On the afternoon in question, I held my mum’s hand to cross the road after school. As we waited, I could feel the sun’s heat on my black leather school shoes which, on my mother’s ill-informed insistence, were about as cringe worthy as my individually initialled retractable crayon set. As we waited for a break in traffic, I heard someone call out my name. I looked around me for a familiar face but, recognising no one, dismissed the call as a misheard “Brendan” or “Breanna”. I went back to wiping the sticky hibiscus sap from my fingers onto my blue and gold spray jacket. My mum got me into trouble for ignoring what, to her eyes, seemed to be a friend of mine calling out from a car window and being rudely ignored.

My first realisation of face blindness was decidedly more significant. I sat in the morning sun in my front doorway, eyes closed, skin prickling with the cool breeze, dozing in and out of a smoke-induced haze while Dr Karl spread his infinite wisdom through the radio. He began talking about a condition called Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, which he’d suffered from his whole life. Suddenly I was snapped into sobriety as the name of this eerily familiar condition etched itself forever into the slate of my mind. As he spoke, I travelled through a montage of realisation – that’s why I thought the two new girls in year 8 were the same person - it puzzled me that the blonde new girl only had an Irish accent half the time. That’s why I was forever stuck in embarrassing situations where I had no idea who I was speaking to, although they obviously knew me quite well. Or why I found it nearly impossible to follow films, why I was constantly introducing myself to people that assured me we already knew each other, why I would obsessively photograph everyone I met at parties so I could learn their face afterwards, and why meeting up with someone in a public place spurred on a sickening anxiety that no one else seemed to experience. Two weeks later ABC’s Catalyst had a user-friendly story on face blindness, and the ensuing online tests confirmed that I had a distinct problem with facial recognition.

People don’t understand. And why should they? If they’ve met me several times, spent nights in long conversation, then met up for coffees and group gallery outings only to be completely ignored or offered a wan smile at our next meeting, they have every right to feel offended and confused. Attempts to explain my condition are often frustratingly misread; people counteract my apologetic and inadequate excuse of “I’m bad with faces,” with the oft-cited “I’m bad with names”. To have my daily struggle trivialised and dismissed so easily makes me want to retreat to the safety of my closest and more recognisable friends, and remain in that warm comfort zone where I no longer have to walk around avoiding eye contact at the risk of offending someone else.

I’ve noticed patterns: Most of my friends are weird looking, by normal standards. Tattoos, dread locks, coloured hair, piercings, and a distinctive face, voice, or style (or, some would say, lack thereof). Their oddities allow me to remember them on our second, third and fourth meetings, so the friendship is allowed to form without anyone getting offended.

I’ve adapted strategies: If I study a face in 2D or photographic form, it helps with recall. If I paint or draw a portrait, I can recognise the face easier. Face Blindness sufferers recognise people not by their face (an instantaneous and effortless system for most), but by consciously remembering someone’s hair, body language or voice. If it were up to me, it would be mandatory for all people to wear a name tag, and to never change their hair style, or for that matter the shirt they wore the night I first met them. Vote 1: Brenna Quinlan for president.

I’ve created analogies: They say that in a bucket of pebbles, all will be different, but our brains aren’t equipped to recognise those subtle differences. Even if you tried, you couldn’t recognise all of the pebbles. We can only recognise faces so well because we have evolved a part in our brain dedicated to this vital skill. In some people, this doesn’t work so well. For me, looking at a face in depth is like saying a common word over and over until it loses meaning. The harder I study a face, the less it looks like the person I know, and the more it creeps toward something distorted and disturbingly unfamiliar. For this reason, no amount of effort makes recognition easier. Furthermore, like a tomato left in the fridge, my ability to recognise someone decays after a few months without contact.

When my mum was growing up, people thought she was slow because she had trouble reading. She grew up thinking there was something vastly wrong with her intelligence, a self-image that still affects her today. Now, however, people understand dyslexia, and no child is told they are stupid because they get things confused. I hope that when my children are growing up, prosopagnosia will be a recognised and understood phenomenon that sufferers needn’t feel shame about.

Did you know Oliver Sacks and John Close are face blind? I only heard this after I wrote this blog. Very interesting parallels:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A good deed from a stranger

I've had the remaining six works of my Dead Bird Series on display at Milk Thieves for a week now. Today Emma Lee sent me a text saying that two more have sold! When a work sells to an absolute stranger, it's a huge compliment. This is the perfect way to gain that all-important momentum as I begin my Road Trip series. Thankyou stranger, you've made a big difference to this young artist's day.

The top ten fine things of the past fortnight

1. Hello, silver lining. I realised that losing one's job is a licence to call oneself a full time artist.

2. The indulgent anticipation of travel. I woke up on Sunday morning next to the boy that I’m crazy about. He hugged me good morning and whispered, “Just imagine what country we’ll be waking up to in four months”.

3. Trying something new. Spending the night asleep on the floor, just because we could. I woke up feeling delightfully aligned and surprisingly well rested.

4. Inspirational women and mutual admiration. Van Badham: internationally renowned playwright, lecturer, and (as of this week,) successful author. She epitomises all that is young, vibrant, and ever so wonderful about the creative world. I last saw her in London in 2009, but she was back in Oz this week for her packed-to-the-rafters but somehow still adequately supplied with wine book launch in Leichhardt. Last night in Wollongong she reappeared; thin, fabulous, and self-assured (as always) in a gorgeous yellow cardigan and those divine silver tights. With her “low threshold for wank”, she undermined every pretentious hipster in the room (and there sure were a lot of them) with her sharp wit, infallible intellect and natural eloquence. “Brenna is fabulous,” she said to her friends, “journalist, writer, talented artist - and she organises exhibitions.”

5. Being able to let go. My book collection, which has sat neatly stacked in six storage boxes for over a year, has been halved. I now own only the best, most treasured stories, and can pass the others on to new homes. The romance associated with traversing the globe, free of possessions, with no reason to return and nothing to tie me down (you know the script) has outweighed my previous penchance for op shop bargains and darling bric-a-brac which would have otherwise beautified the fictitious home of my dreams.

6. The first day of spring smelled like cut grass, salt spray, jasmine flowers and warm earth – every cliché I had hoped for. Also, the grass is growing faster than the guineapigs can eat it.

7. When experiments just work. Strawberry sorbet and rice milk makes the best non-dairy strawberry milk. And the vegan chocolate cake, which called for silken tofu instead of eggs (I only had firm tofu so I was sure it would be lumpy), the batter of which was so runny that I never thought it would set, was absolutely divine.

8. The excitement and anticipation of change. When all your friends have the same colour hair, it’s time for something drastic. My hair doesn’t define me anymore. It’s high time I cut it off.

9. Define success. My measure of artistic triumph has always been superficial: artists sell work. I concluded that those ‘sold’ dots on the wall would be my only ticket to that painfully elusive club which I had craved membership to since, as a guilty five year old, I secretly and indulgently paged through mum’s copy of ‘Nudes of the Renaissance’. Selling my first works was exhilarating, but I have since realised that I became an artist long before the frames were on the wall. I had organised and executed an exhibition, I had made art for this exhibition, I had filled diaries with sketches, and (may I indulge myself briefly,) I had three exhibitions running simultaneously, at the same time, concurrently, in chorus, and all together at once. I had made art because I wanted to, not because uni declared that I should. I had become an artist without even realising it.

10. Staying positive at your worst. Now, I’ve filled out a lot of those mental health questionnaires in my time. There are two questions they always ask: “How often do you feel worthless?” and “How often do you have nothing to look forward to?” I realised this week that I always answer these questions the same. No matter how bad things get, I know I’m special, and that there are always things to look forward to.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Muppet drummers, Paul the Rapist, and a vanishing guitarist. This was MK Round 9.

MK Round 9 – Order 66, Corpus, and Gravity Takes Over

We knew this would be a quiet one, *shakes fist at Unibar Band Comp final*, but with these bands, we were guaranteed a good night.

The rowdy mob up the back shouted mock insults at Ryan Beveridge and his crew, as the Order 66 frontman squinted through the lights and threatened them back, “It’s pretty dangerous saying anything, because I can narrow you down to one of five people in the room.” (The author would like to stress that there were in fact more than five people present, thankyou). The night was shaping up to be a friendly jam with mates over a few beers. “We’re the Howling Tongues,” Ryan said, as Order 66 slammed into their unique breed of oh so hard to pigeonhole off-beat rock n roll.

Now Ryan, in his suave John Travolta-esque collared shirt, unbuttoned to the point of being suggestive, is well known for defying the limits of microphone, guitar lead and stage. He took it to the next level on this occasion when he walked straight out of the band room. The rest of the Order boys exchanged puzzled glances and kept right on playing, as Ryan indulged in a lengthy frolic in the stairwell, beer garden, or possibly in the cordoned off ground level dance floor. He could have gone to the bathroom for all we knew. By the time he eventually came back we were all very relieved that nothing serious had happened to him.

“So last night,” Ryan mused, “I spent 35 minutes and 21 seconds listening to 100 ways to love a cat.” Prompts to “sing it!” emanated from the back of the room, and Ryan treated us to a few minutes of priceless tuneful tips on the subject of platonic feline love. As for their cover efforts, these guys took the song Hit the Road Jack to a whole new level. Ryan’s voice belted out (most of) the high notes, his obvious love of singing written all over his mischievous face. The song started out fast, heavy and dense, before they stripped it right back to a slow guitar riff, and some sparse drumming, providing the perfect platform for Ryan to introduce the band members one by one for some instrumental solos. They somehow turned this old blues number into an Order 66 rock-with-punk-undertones classic.

Jamie Pye-Respondek is an asset to this band, his long hair thrashing about to the beat of the music, his voice impossibly high and moreish in its uniqueness. Bassist Daniel Simpson appeared lost in the music, eyes closed in mysterious concentration for the entire set, while Kuz (I still haven’t worked out his real name) Cozens thrashed out a flawless beat on his kit. Ryan played half a song standing on top of a speaker, the other half with his hand-painted Explorer guitar behind his head, and then ran to the back wall, returning to the mic. breathless and a few words short of a chorus.

Order 66 tick all the boxes of a strong, well-rehearsed, solid rock act. They’ve got presence, they’ve got charisma, and the way that they slam out their heavy riffs and solid drum beats leaves you feeling satisfied. Their songs are so catchy that I’ve had that ‘please don’t change your evil ways’ song of theirs stuck in my mind all day.

When MK sound guy extraordinaire Matt O’Brien told Corpus to “just try a beat”, they offered up a deep, bassy, enticing taste of what was in store for us, that sent all eyes searching the room in bemused approval.

Corpus’ musical style played on the unexpected. Their songs would trip between quiet and suspenseful, where nothing but the odd well-positioned drum beat and resounding note would have us craning our necks in anticipation, before crashing into a heavy assault of drums, guitar and dual vocals screamed into the mic. I have never heard two guys make so much NOISE! More importantly, I have never heard so much noise sound so good! This wasn’t some artsy pile of wank – these were considered and well-written likable songs that sounded more complex and layered than I would have thought possible for a two piece.

Singer and guitarist Keiron Steel is a firecracker packaged in skinny black jeans, leather lace up boots, and a shaggy Beatles hair cut. He had more energy than The Who’s Roger Daltrey, his body shook to the music, his scat-sounding vocals were frantic, his eyes wildly focused on something that no one else in the room could see. Meanwhile Jack Bruun-Hammond smacked his drum kit with all the unbridled insanity of Animal from The Muppets, and a look that brought to mind The Gorillaz bassist Murdoc Niccals. It was as if Jack was two people in one. While the song was in progress, Jack screamed backup vocals into the microphone like a creature possessed, his face contorted in pain from his injured wrist, teeth clenched, eyes squinted, sweat dripping. He finished off each song exhausted and utterly defeated, a look of agony etched on his face. As soon as the song ended, he snapped back into his other persona; jovial, friendly, and ripping on the unruly audience at each given opportunity, until the music started up again and his untamed reaction resurfaced. Their long-time supporter Paul served as the comic relief for the night – the boys affectionately lavishing insults on him to such an extent that for the rest of the night he was referred to by everyone as Paul the Rapist.

Their set ended with Keiron collapsed into a crumpled heap of distortion on the floor, while Jack gleamed in exaltation and intense pain from his arm, the audience cheering with all their worth for what was unanimously agreed to be an incredible experience.

A big sorry to Gravity Takes Over - I spent the first part of their set outside on the street talking with Corpus. I did get my EP signed though by Keiron, Jack, and Paul the Rapist, who left independently of the band for questionable motives – something about hitchhikers and dubious necrophilia jokes which may or may not have been inspired by actual events. By the time the rest of us made it upstairs, Gravity was already down a snare and a bass string. Much to everyone’s amazement, Gnarly didn’t break a single string throughout the entire set (refer to MK Round Two Review).

Dave has requested the band be hereby known as Dave Takes Over, since he was substantially more enthusiastic than Gnarly was about putting down his cigarette in favour of playing the gig. Some would say, considering the broken bass string, that Dave’s enthusiasm was somewhat overzealous. Dave would also like it duly noted that the women in the audience went crazy, and there was much hurling of bras and knickers in his and only his direction. In all seriousness though, Dave really does rock that classic bass stance, head banging along to the beat, feet set wide and stable, his eyes obscured by his edgy fringe.

It struck me how far these guys have come since their debut gig two months ago at MK. Gravity now looks like a real band – Gnarly stood out the front, a commanding presence with a wild-eyed breathless slack-jawed lunacy reminiscent of The Vines lead singer Craig Nicholls, while drummer Daniel ‘Rattus’ Radcliff remained composed and in control, the calm in the storm, sporting his enviable Brett from Flight of The Concords sweater. Their sound is tighter than ever, and there was even a new co-written song in the mix. Gnarly’s voice, powerful and rasping, sounded more like the result of a high end effects pedal than anything achievable by a lowly human being. With a heavy finish, influenced more by the missing bass string and broken snare than anything else, the night was sadly over.

Next week, we’ve got Eden’s March, Electric Air and My Little Underground.

Here’s Ryan’s favourite song. It will ruin your life:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesdays in town just ain't what they used to be

I agreed to write an article promoting Hostage's new student night Evill Duck, because that's my job, and mainly because I'd been meaning to have a rant about the state of the Gong's night life for a while anyway. The article was never even used. I had my fun though.
The challenge I set for myself was to make the message subtle. My boss thinks spam works. I disagree.

Now I don’t know about you, but I think Wednesday student nights in town are getting a bit shit.

Sure it’s winter, so a lot of former party people stay indoors, where a chai tea and an episode of MasterChef provide an enticing alternative to the booze-fuelled hypothermia they’d otherwise be risking. And ok, it’s the holidays, so a lot of the Gong’s Glassy regulars are being treated to Mum’s special recipe baked dinners at Wagga, Goulburn, Ulladulla, Bathurst, or wherever they originally hailed from. Hell – they may even be hitting the town in these various destinations: The Duke, Dingoes, The Marlin…and whatever the mind-numbing and trashy equivalent is for Bathurst.

These arguments aside, student nights just ain’t what they used to be.

Remember the glory days of the Cooneys beer garden, so packed with like-minded loud mouth boozers that you’d have to camp there over night just to find a seat, and where the signature cheer “Taxi!” was guaranteed to accompany the sound of breaking glass every ten minutes or so. Or what about when The Illawarra was more about belting out falsettos and novelty dance moves to your favourite 80’s hits than standing in line for two hours before hailing a cab home in frustration. Remember when cheap drinks at The Glassy actually meant that they cost less than normal, and you’d be able to spend more than an hour on the dance floor before realizing the ‘Guest DJ’ was just a Ministry of Sound album on repeat? And when the Ox still cared about supporting the local music scene(now I’m all for the ban on smoking in pubs, but some have argued that once the thick veil of smoke cleared from the Oxford’s interior, the previously obscured shabby décor was enough to kill the soul of our former music Mecca).

With return business essentially guaranteed, even the kebab joints stopped caring. Last week, my falafel with the lot consisted of two hard, stale falafel balls, lettuce, the one remaining slice of wet, soft tomato, and a distinct lack of sauce, onion, olives, hummus and jalapenos. To add insult to injury, I was subjected to a half-hour lecture of the value of owning a kebab joint which doubled as a restaurant on certain weeknights, and would I like a flyer, and a loyalty card, and did I want a drink or baklava with that, and that would be $12.95, please.

Where was the love, Essen? When did you, too, turn to the dark side, and begin viewing our socially-ingrained drunken loutery as a commodity to be exploited, rather than treasured.

I sat at home last Wednesday - TV guide in hand, bed socks on feet, and a friend’s snuggie wrapped conveniently around my shoulders, its disturbingly naff shade of blue clashing with everything I have, do, and will ever own. I sat there, my arms toasty warm in the snuggie’s ingenious sleeve system, and prayed for an answer to my reluctant cynicism.

After Masterchef, I was compelled toward my laptop, lest some vital occurrence had happened on my Facebook account in the past hour and a half. There was a drunk photo that I untagged myself in before too many people noticed it. Crisis averted. There was also friend request, from someone called Evill Duck. Toting themselves as “New Wollongong Uni Night: Coming Soon”, I felt warm and fuzzy that a ‘night’ would be named after the biggest student in-joke in the Illawarra. We will have to wait and see if this new event is in any way different, innovative, or exciting. I have high hopes. Will it deliver on its promises? You’ll have to wait for part two of this article.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Work’s Got You Down?

The evolution of my job at Hostage X Nightclub

For those school-aged hopefuls who aspire to one day reach University, the real work-your-knuckles-to-the-bone world seems conveniently distant and gloriously irrelevant.

During the five years of my degree, I felt on numerous occasions that my heart had in fact stopped beating altogether. This usually ran parallel to thoughts of the future. In the absence of bite-mark neck wounds, I was able to conclude that the lack of pulse and pale complexion stemmed not from vampirization as I had hoped, but instead reflected a deep-seeded fear of life after study.

I was scared of becoming a journalist; scared of meeting people all the time, of commuting to Sydney five days a week, of job interviews (what would I even wear?). I was scared of the unknown, of being locked in to a career that put me out of my comfort zone, and that I wasn’t sure I could handle. Yet when people suggested I stay on at Uni and learn to teach or lecture, I cringed. I didn’t want to be that person still studying after fifteen self-obsessed, ludicrously indulgent, alcohol-fuelled years. No, I wanted to take the difficult path, and begin the career that I knew would challenge me. The extent of the challenge was what I was afraid of.

Post-graduation, I began applying for jobs. The beauty of hindsight is that I can give the impression that this was a time consuming and indeed frequent process. In actuality, I applied for jobs on two or three separate occasions, with an unnecessarily thorough resume, and motives that stemmed more from one Centrelink employee’s impatient tone than from any real want of employment.

My tactic was to aim low.

With my distinction average, my double degree, my outstanding references, and my extensive media and artistic experience under my belt, I sent out email after email for everything and anything brainless, mind-numbing, and most importantly non-stressful that had to offer. This included applying for bar jobs, wait-staff vacancies, café jobs, ‘in need of pet shop clerk’, as well as the Kmarts, the Bunnings, the Coles and the Office Works employee pools. I would have even applied for the children’s party face painter position if it didn’t involve the stress of phoning up the employee.

And eventually I got a response. From a nightclub. Look out Wollongong – there’s about to be a new (and, I fantasized, generously tipped) bar tender in town.

The night before my interview I re-read my entire RSA and RCG booklets, and looked up cocktail recipes online, as well as bar tips such including standard measurements and customer etiquette. I went to that interview with my Dunlop Volleys on, dressed in black and ready to start then and there. My only response to being painfully underprepared for any job interview was to overcompensate and expect any situation. Oddly enough, my new boss asked if I could help man the club’s Facebook accounts, write their newsletters, and get some articles in the Mercury. Bar training would come later he said, having cottoned on to the fact that my two years experience behind the bar at WIN stadium may not have been as informative or, indeed, true, as my resume had led him to believe.

This was in early February. By May I was a different person. Hundred-dollar op shop sprees were frequent. I shouted people drinks, dinners, tickets, petrol, and, with no living expenses, had a wad of cash accumulating in my drawer as the odometer ticked up on my Centrelink bloated bank account. Ah, to earn money – a novel concept at the very least. My $15 an hour was going damn far, albeit damn far short of the $23 an hour legally entitled to a 23 year old casual employee.

There was a darker side, however. The flexible hours of promotional work led to a situation where I was on call at all hours of day and night. Coffees with friends and attempts at painting were frequently cut short. The monotony and moral guilt grew as I was asked to email more people, update more statuses, post more flyers on the cars of my friends, and push the nightclub onto more unsuspecting and unwelcoming people.

There were the instant messenger regulars, who sent frequent friend requests to my personal Facebook account, and stalked whatever profile information my then-liberal privacy settings afforded them access to. There were the freaks – David Berry who would begin each conversation with “I want a girlfriend. You own a club, get me one”. There were the haters, who would come online and offer such useful and uplifting insights as “Hostage is shithouse”, to which I would be, under some intrinsic duty to do well by my boss, suckered in to refuting at the expense of my own emotional energy. And finally, there were the idiots. You know the types – their profile pictures are typically high-angle shots, generally involving a semi-naked torso, accompanied by a thumb pulling down hard on a belt loop, and possibly even a ‘seductive’ pout. Those God damn status misspelling, Facebook for mobile-extorting, exclamation mark-abusing, monosyllabic word-abbreviating, punctuation molesting, Winnie-Blues smoking, racist and homophobic, bleached tanned and straightened teen pregnant and proud douche bags that find it somehow necessary in their attention-starved lives to update the world with the most menial and soul destroying details of their disgustingly uninspiring and disturbingly ignorant daily routine. “omg u r such a fucken bitch slut dog. U look like a dog slut. Leev mi man alone u slut or mi cusin will b ova ur house with his nyfe.”

For some reason, I began to feel unfulfilled.

On one hand I had my Uni friends, who reveled in the safety net and socially-sanctioned excuse for laziness that is the tertiary education system. On the other hand, I sat quiet and envious while my more conventionally successful friends spoke of salary increases, Christmas bonuses, weekly travel cards, designer stilettos, French manicures, casual Fridays, after-work drinks, coffee breaks, fixed rate mortgage repayments, $347 baby shower gifts, weekender vacations, Armani hand bags, net gains, board meetings, term deposits, market influxes, taxable incomes, and everything else grown up and all the more impressive for the fact that I hadn’t achieved it yet.

I was stagnating. I was underutilized. I imagined my precious God-given talents, my “gifts” as Mrs. Meredith had called them in year three R.E., slowly dissipating like cool air from an open freezer door. While my friends’ workplaces helped them to became stronger, smarter, more experienced and more worldly, I was slowly sinking towards giving some female rival the proverbial bitch slap on the Hostage X home feed.

I began job searching in earnest. I subscribed to on my RSS feed. I strutted in to JobFind with a new vigor and a job sheet that was, for the first time, filled out with integrity. I was somewhat taken aback when the JobFind staff, with their ridiculously excessive and disastrously strict commitment to a terrible green and purple colour scheme, appeared decidedly underwhelmed by my new found honesty and enthusiasm. I spent my days at work daydreaming of the new me – saving for a trip to America, then Europe, then…who knows? Most importantly, the new and properly employed me would spend my days expanding my mind. I applied for research jobs, events coordinators, editing positions, and journalism placements in ludicrously specific niche trade magazines despite not owning a campervan, nor adhering to the Scientology belief. Anything remotely associated with my extensive and malnourished skill set was fair game. I even spent five hours watching YouTube Excel tutorials, before waking up at 4am in order to keep a job interview in Martin Place at 8.

You can only handle so many rejection letters before your enthusiasm and efforts begin to feel like a waste of time. Why did I want a full time job? I was less stressed than ever before. My diary was getting the attention it deserved, and I was drawing every day. I had begun to cook again, and my dresser was forever crowded with a new clutch of diverse and informative library books, exchanged once a fortnight following my Centrelink appointment. Part-time life was good. And anyway, things at work had begun to change.

Since I began working at the club, I was distinctly aware that I did not fit in. A red haired artist in pastel-coloured tights, a woolen chequered kilt, black-rimmed glasses and a lace camisole could seldom be found at home among the head-to-toe white Adidas clad lads, with their caps on indoors (and generally at night), sporting rats-tail mullet cuts and chunky gold bling; whose hands spend an inordinate amount of time around their crotch region, who take pride in pronouncing every ‘th’ diagraph as ‘f’, and who speak about women as if they were Elastoplast bandages – good for one use, upon which they become contaminated and repulsive, relegated to the garbage heap. Despite the heavy presence of these Hostage Regulars, the boss felt a band night may improve the club’s image. A pin point of light emerged in the darkness.

I am now the Midnight Kamikaze Thursday weekly band night girl. People want to know me. They track me down on Facebook and request my approval. I know the names and (incredibly for me,) faces of dozens of band members in Wollongong and the surrounds. When people come to my band night, I take their money, stamp their wrist, and with each free drink card handed out, cement my reputation once again as someone notable in this community. I’m not the graduate nobody, pushed aside by the new crew of third years, with their exhibition openings, new bands, and parties I’ll never hear about or be invited to. No, now I am one of the recognisable names on the Wollongong It List. I’m the female equivalent of “You know Aaron?”, “You mean Aaron Monster Rock n Roll Murphy? The guy behind the Monster League gigs? I wish I knew him.”

The best part, and possibly the reason why I’m typing these words right now, is that I’ve began writing again. Band night reviews. It started out with plans of a trip to the U.S, a few chapters of Kerouac, and an invitation to heavily edit a friend’s blog. It’s turned into a full blown obsession, and a majestic realization that I’m not just a promoter, I’m not just highly organized, I’m not only good at meeting people, speaking well, or being out of my comfort zone. I’m not just an artist, or a loser who couldn’t handle the responsibility that non-student life involved. I’m also a writer, and I always have been. I love it, and people are telling me they like to read it.

When a form says ‘occupation’, I was able to write ‘student’ for the first 23 years of my life.

For several months I wrote ‘artist’ (note: some have said they include that question to weed out those that write artist. But I still believe that being a real life artist is a really, really cool job). Now, however, I will write Events Organizer, and be proud of it. This is my job for now, and it’s going pretty well.