“Ah, festival conversations.”

Posted on 14 June 2011


So said a friend who, like me, has had many festival and conference experiences. She’s in London and I was telling her all about the fantasticness of the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

When you work on an arts festival you spend every waking moment  with the same group people for a concentrated period of time and you tend to have a lot of random and awesome conversations.

At EWF this year, I seemed to have those kinds of conversations every day with different people. Here’s a sample*.

Walking between EWF office and Rue Bebelons

Me: You know that lingerie place in QV?

Emmyrose: I think so.

Me: It’s closing down and everything is half price.

Emmyrose: Oh cool! You know, I need some more pretty undies.

Me: Yeah, I was thinking the other day that I should have all pretty undies. I mean, there’s no reason you have to have granny undies.

Emmyrose: Oh my god, me and my flatmate were saying the same thing the other day!

Me: Oh cool! So do you want to go on a shopping spree this week?

Emmyrose: Not sure, I can’t think of any spare time I might have.

Me: Yeah, good point.


Me: You know, we should start a movement.

Emmyrose: Huh?

Me: A social movement. About pretty undies.

Emmyrose: Yes! The pretty undie movement!

Me: prettyundieseveryday.com

Emmyrose: Totally. Just imagine the Twitter stream.

Between Dirty Words and trying to find somewhere that was still cooking at 11pm on a Wednesday

Alan Bissett: Everyone seems to love me. What could I do to screw it up?

Me: Act like a wanker.

Alan: OK, I’ll look out for that.

Me: But we’ll probably tall-poppy you before it comes to that.

Alan: Yeah, I get that impression.

Me: Anyway, we mostly like you because you brought Kirstin.

Alan: Was that tall-poppying?

Me: Maybe.

In Rue Bebelons sometime after midnight sometime during the festival

Me: You’re Ryan Paine?

Ryan: Um, yes.

Me: Oh my god, I’ve had you quoted on my Facebook profile for months!

Ryan: Wow. That’s…So what am I saying on your Facebook profile?

Me: Something über profound about how we think we have our shit together but we don’t… it’s from a blog post of yours I think. A friend tweeted a link. I think. Hang on, I’ll see if my phone knows.

Ryan: Cool. What’s your Twitter handle?

Me: @sarahjansencom

Ryan: Oh, are you the one whose Twitter profile says you’re a “corporate-arty hybrid”?

Me: Yep.

Ryan: What exactly do you mean by that?

Me: Well, corporations own and run the world so clearly they know how to get shit done and I think we should use their strategies and processes to make arts projects sustainable.

Ryan: That’s what I hoped you meant! I’ve been thinking that for years. We should talk about this some more.

Me: Yeah, some other time when there’s less wine involved.

Ryan: Done.

Me: Oh here you go, my phone finally loaded my profile.

Ryan: Cool. [Reads.] Yeah, that is pretty profound.

[Chuckles all round.]

* This is how I remember them. They’re almost definitely significantly paraphrased.

Posted in: Festivals, Melbourne