Yes, it has happened. As I emailed the Darklings this morning, last night I slid off the moderation wagon and hopped right aboard the booze bus… ouch. Now I remember why I was enjoying moderation so much… hangovers bite the big one. In my defence, Jenny’s signing is a bloody big deal, and good times were had last night as four of the five Darklings made merry in the CBD.
We met at one of my favourite places in town, the Bambini Trust Wine Room on Elizabeth St, opposite Hyde Park and right next to their fabulous restaurant, where we would have eaten had money been no object. But starving writers are starving writers, so we scoffed the free snacks, had a couple of drinks outside enjoying the beautiful night, and then walked down to Koreatown – not quite Chinatown but on the outlying streets – to a restaurant Llew and I stumbled across one night and have been meaning to try ever since. Something has always gotten in the way, but not last night! Last night I was on a mission! I did have a moment’s panic about its precise location, its being down an alleyway off Pitt St, but we managed to will our way there in the end, and the girls immediately gave it the Darkling seal of approval.
After a round of steamed dumplings and a pretty tremendous tofu salad (yes, really – it was one of the highlights of the meal), we loaded up our Korean BBQ in the centre of the table and had a very tasty, very interactive time of it, cooking up first the king prawns, then the marinated chicken, and then the beef bulgogi. Yum yum. Catherine, our official fire starter and keeper of the flame, did sterling service over the hot coals and everything went down a treat, washed down with several requisite bottles of wine. Llew also made a guest appearance just in time to eat… well, just about everything. The only thing missing was the fifth Darkling, but we harassed her by firing off a series of photos taken round the table (phones are pretty sophisticated these days) and she reciprocated from Melbourne, so we got her there in the end. Most satisfying times. The manager, Peter, looked after us like we were family, and needless to say we won’t have any trouble finding our way back there in future. A big thumbs up from this little piggy.
Then we stumbled on our little trotters up to a pub on the corner for one last cleansing ale. As you do. The clock struck midnight and we cheerfully ignored it, or at least we tried to, but sanity and Llew’s busy day ahead eventually prevailed. In a most uncharacteristic fashion, we were the first to leave, and flagged down a passing pumpkin to see us home. I clearly spent the early hours of the morning unleashing a truly majestic wine snore, as my throat currently feels like shards of glass have lodged there for the duration. Ouch and ouch. Poor Llewie – it’s not exactly Sleeping Beauty round here.
In other news, I went to a UTS seminar before meeting up with the Darklings that was fantastically useful for my redrafting. Highly relevant. It persuaded me once and for all (I’ve nursed this suspicion for a while) that there really does need to be a visual component, and there’s a multimodality to the emerging text that I find very exciting and challenging. Of course, it makes my life more difficult, and it makes the book a more expensive proposition for any prospective publisher, which obviously isn’t ideal. But the images absolutely do need to be there, I’m certain of it, and perhaps if I stick to mono (black and white), it won’t be too bad. This is probably all very confusing for you because you don’t know what I’m talking about, but trust me, it’s a step in the right direction. The real problem now is figuring out who is going to do these illustrations for me, because I just don’t have the skills. I might try doing a few sketches and see how I go, but I am not an artist, so I don’t expect to go very well at all! It may help clarify the images I do want, though, so it’s not a bad idea thrashing it out myself before approaching someone to help me. That was the other great thing about the seminar: now I know where to look. And boy, talk about my spiritual home – they were talking about the in-between space between words and images and hybrid literary forms, and these are ideas that not only informed my PhD thesis to a huge degree, but they remain two of my most pressing preoccupations, and are an integral part of this manuscript of mine. I felt so at home. Except, of course, that I stuck out like the sorest throbbing thumb: there I was in my Man Town resort wear, lost in the deep black sea of undergraduate emo…