The Week That Was: In Pictures and Words

It’s fair to say that I’ve been a hermit since the Year of the Grant began. January and February have flown by in a whirl of words, chapters, stories… and very little else. Sure, I’ve emerged from the oubliette once or twice — for provisions, say, or to reassure my friends that I’m still alive — but I think I’ve been storing up my energy all these months, stockpiling my non-writing time, so that I could spend it all in one massive exciting hit this week. My computer has grown mighty lonely since Adelaide’s festival season began, and this is why…

Last Friday, we spent the evening outside in Elder Park with Ennio Morricone and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The show started right before sunset (see pic on the left) and because I’d booked the tickets about six months ago, we had excellent seats. The weather was glorious — in fact, the breeze was in tune with Morricone’s outstanding music: early on in the concert, when the orchestra was thrilling us with pieces from The Untouchables and Once Upon a Time in America, the wind would gust just as the violins crescendoed, catching the ladies’ hair and tossing it about dramatically in time with the chorus. At least, that’s how it seemed…

Night fell slowly, dropping a luminous navy curtain behind the stage in increments, the clouds hanging low and beautiful above the white dome. Morricone led the orchestra through pieces from Cinema Paradiso, Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dynamite, and when the first breathy notes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly sounded, the audience broke convention, whooping and clapping long before the end of the set. It’s mean of me to say that you had to be there to appreciate how magical the night was, how perfect the setting, how memorable and moving the performance… How, when ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ from The Mission began playing, people wept. But there you have it.

Saturday morning kicked off Adelaide Writers Week, which ran until Thursday, and I can honestly say that this was the best Writers Week we’ve seen in years. The program was under new direction this year, and it showed: the tents in the Pioneer Women’s Garden were new, the venue’s layout updated, and the guests included a healthy smattering of genre authors — Kelly Link, Robert Shearman, Margo Lanagan (to whom the entire week was dedicated), Garth Nix, not to mention authors of crime fiction, such as Jo Nesbø and Megan Abbott.

And since there was such an attractive program, lots of awesome authors from around the country came down to Adelaide Town to take part in the fun. The Brains were reunited when Angela arrived on Saturday morning — and we were prompty whisked away to the Garden, where we caught up with so many fun friends, it was like a mini-con designed just for us. It was so nice catching up with Rob again, finally meeting Kelly and Gavin, having dinners and lunches and long chats over coffee with everyone; going to Ian and Rob’s Doctor Who event on Sunday; getting to see Margo chat with Michael Crummey (highlight of the week’s sessions!), whose novel Galore has been one of my favourites ever since reading it back in 2010. (In fact, you may recall me gushing like a schoolgirl when I talked about it here soon after I’d finished reading it…)

Most of the crew had returned home by Wednesday evening (wah!) so I spent Thursday attending sessions, seeing Sean and Garth chat about YA fantasy, sneaking off for the best tofu burger ever with Dr Nick, and then being moved to tears by Robert Dessaix’s closing lecture. Thank god I was wearing sunglasses because, honestly, his passionate, erudite, articulate, incredibly sad and wonderfully performed lecture completely messed up my mascara… (If you’re interested in reading Dessaix’s lecture, it will be published in next month’s ABR.)

Thanks to Cat Sparks, ubiquitous photographer, for snapping a lot of great photos during the week, including the two I’ve posted here: a bunch of us eagerly awaiting Kelly Link’s session on Day 2, and Rob S signing autographs for masses of Dr Who fans at the Picadilly theatre on Sunday evening. You can see the whole set on Cat’s Flickr stream.

On Friday, I managed to get some work done for the first time in almost a week, so I rewarded myself by heading to the Garden of Unearthly Delights that night. (One day of work offsets seven days of fun, doesn’t it? Yeah, that’s what I thought.) We had tickets for an incredible performance of Soap: The Show so we headed down to the Garden early, soaked up the atmosphere, then were wowed for over an hour by wonderful feats of acrobatics — in bathtubs. OMG.

I have drooled over acrobats on this website before, and I will continue to drool over them as long as they continue to come to the Fringe Festival. I can’t resist beautiful people balancing their beautifully sculpted bodies in beautiful and bizarre feats of strength. And this time they did so with water… I dare you not to be captivated:

And for those of you who can’t get tickets (either because you’re not in Adelaide, or because you’re in Adelaide and you’ve realised that every performance is sold out — which is, unfortunately, the case) here’s a clip of one of the acts in the show (not from Adelaide, alas, since our acrobat was the guy they’ve used in the promo clip I posted above, and something about his performance was more compelling than this young guy’s… But still. Water. Acrobats. Music by Tool. Not too much to complain about…)

And now it’s a long weekend. Phewf! I think I need it, after all that fun and relaxation… 😉



  1. Great recap of Adelaide Festival wonders. I am sure Ennio would have been amazing – we had his music played by our flautist friend during our wedding ceremony.
    I too had a fantastic week at Adelaide Writers’ Week and just wish it was 7 days and not 6 as it is never enough for me.

    1. It’s kind of a misnomer, isn’t it? I’d love it to be 7 days, too. It’s over much too quickly! (Though I’m sure the AWW Committee doesn’t think so — LOL!) 🙂

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