From the vault: Hell is Train Travel

This guy has the right idea. Ride tractors not trains.

I’ve been noticeably silent on this blog for the past year (OK, maybe it’s been a bit longer). After moving from Beijing back to Melbourne I found it surprisingly difficult to find my Melbourne “voice” — many a piece was written but nothing seemed quite right. In an effort to rekindle the writing bug I’ve been re-reading blogs that never saw the light of day. Most will stay hidden in the deep dark corners of my hard drive, but I was particularly fond of this one. Over-the-top and manic, it made me laugh and cringe in equal measures. Go on, re-live some China fun with me…

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The Fearless Observer: Christos Tsiolkas on The Slap

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

Author Christos Tsiolkas recently made a stopover in Beijing to promote his latest novel The Slap. E-mails were sent, literary festival organisers were contacted and I was granted a 30-minute interview. I’m going to be honest: Editing this interview was tough for me. In fact, I wouldn’t call this an interview as much as a really interesting conversation. Everything Tsiolkas said was worth discussing over at least two bottles of wine. Of course, me being me, I had to stamp my own brand of clumsiness on the experience. There we were, sitting in a small café that had been transformed into a lecture theatre for the evening, and I just had to sit on the stage. Not on one of the 100 seats that filled the room, no, I had to sit on the floor. Tsiolkas, the lovely man that he is, quickly moved himself from his comfy chair to sit on the grubby stage next to me. I had managed to get a very well known, well-respected Australian author to sit in grime because I couldn’t sit down like a normal person. Realising what I’d done, I apologised and told him that he didn’t have to come down to my level (both literally and metaphorically speaking). But Tsiolkas seemed more than happy to relinquish his comfort for a close-up view of the stage platform’s chipboard surface. I mentioned that my penchant for dusty floors must be an old Melbourne habit developed over years of sitting on tram steps. We both shared a silent moment, reminiscing about our beloved trams, then I fiddled with my voice recorder and began the interview. Continue reading

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