Continuum 5 and Ekka 2009 sketches

Request: If you recognise someone in one of the Convention sketches and I haven’t labelled them, would you please let me know? If you want to see more detail, clicking on a picture will take you through to its Flickr page, then you can click on “all sizes” above it.

On Wednesday last week I went to the Ekka (Brisbane Exhibition = Queensland Show = State Fair), and on Friday morning Aimee and I flew to Melbourne for Continuum 5 (had to get up incredibly early – I booked my tickets when I lived closer to the airport).

The loop train which runs to the exhibition grounds was a steam train! Also, I love the boat at top left – it is always moored near the city botanic gardens and looks like the wooden shoe from ‘Winkun, Blinkun & Nod’.

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They are redeveloping the RNA Showgrounds and this is the chairlift’s last year. I took it and it was a wonderful slow ride over the halls and the stalls and the rides.

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Sheepdogs are difficult to draw. If you blink, they are suddenly in the same pose but a different position.

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Lots of dogs! I almost lost my heart to a greyhound. The tiny little dog at the bottom right is from Pompeii. That is Aimee getting stuck into the icecream.

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The Pompeii exhibition at the Melbourne Museum had a number of the plaster casts. The most affecting part of the exhibition for me was looking at a display on the history of the archaeology, and seeing drawings of Victorian (era, not state) children looking at some of the same casts we had just seen. We also saw Phar Lap and the mechanical chicken, from Cole’s Book Arcade, which – according to the caption – “boasted 5 mechanical hens to enliven the shopping experience”. Cole seems to have been the Willy Wonka of bookstores.

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If you want to sketch fast, sketch fencers! These are mid-battle-between-airships. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro was the international guest of honour. Those backs at the bottom right belong to Marilyn Pride and Lewis Morley.

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Maskobalo! I am still twinging from dancing all night (except, obviously, for when I was sketching). I wore the dress I wore to the Regency banquet in Canberra a few years ago and will post photos when I track some down.

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Juggling. Too early. Too much chasing things across the floor. Lucy Sussex has edited a book of Australian travellers’ diaries which should be out later this year and sounds fascinating. Jack Dann set up the direction of the panel to allow Gillian Polack to lower the tone of the panel on history :) Later, Gillian, Aimee, Julia and I saw an exhibition of Regency dresses at the art gallery. Most were of their era, but Aimee swooned when Julia pointed out Colin Firth’s costume from the BBC P&P.

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Rachel Holkner was c0-chair of the convention. On Monday, Aimee went to see a Star Wars exhibition. I went to St Kilda by tram, then back to the city.

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There was a Dali exhibition at one of the galleries, but I didn’t go in. I looked at the collections and found the little Madonna Joan Lindsay wrote about her husband (who was director) acquiring under the Felton Bequest. There were some excellent exhibitions on at the State Library (also, a churros cafe nearby!) including Changing Faces of Victoria, where I saw Ned Kelly’s armour, and Independent Type which had an incredible array not only of Australian books and early editions and paintings of authors, but manuscripts: Peter Carey, Manning Clarke, Ned Kelly, dozens of others, and even one of the “original” Ern Malley poems with the telegram indicating it might be a hoax.

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Weekend in Melbourne

Deb and I spent the Labour Day long weekend in Melbourne. We flew after work on Friday, and just before I left I discovered the CBCA biennial conference was on in Melbourne and the keynote speakers were compelling.

We stayed in the Georgian Court B&B, an old white building with angled doorways and stepped corridors apparently last renovated in the eighties (the furnishings ran to pastel aqua and dusty pink) but warm and comfortable and convenient with a very tasty array of stewed breakfast fruits.

On Saturday I caught an early tram to the convention centre and listened to Shaun Tan’s keynote speech. Then Deb and I watched emus at ACMI and looked at black dresses and Australian art at the Ian Potter Centre, met Sandra, ate cupcakes at Little Cupcakes, bought zines and buttons underground, went to the state library, gazed at medieval manuscripts, stared up at the dome in the reading room, lost my grey Faber Castel Pitt Artist Pens, walked to Bridge Road and had Italian at Spelt, and so to bed.

On Sunday I caught an early tram to the convention centre and listened to Neil Gaiman’s keynote speech. I lost track of time and did not make it to church, so talked to Jane Tanner (of Drac and the Gremlin!) and Andrew McLean, the illustrators installed at the conference, looked at tiny paintings, got Neil Gaiman’s signature, walked back to Federation Square to see if my pens were there (they weren’t), met Deb and Sandra outside Scots Church, had lunch with friends of Sandra’s, walked through the laneways, stopped at Young & Jackson to see the infamous Chloe and sample Little Creatures Bright Ale (even better than the pale) and house-cut chilli chips while Neil Gaiman was at the next table. He mentions the encounter <a href=””>here</a&gt; (with Chloe, not me), ate cupcakes again (they opened the shop again for Deb and gave us free mini-cupcakes as well, so we walked out with one in each hand), watched advertising shoots, walked to Lygon Street, shared a pizza and walked back to the B&B.

On Saturday we shopped in Bridge Road, had lunch at Chimmy’s bakery (almost the platonic ideal of a bakery/cafe), bought shoes and earrings (Deb) and a scarf and cards and chilli hot chocolate (me), took pictures of facades and were back at the B&B to catch our bus to the airport.

It was cold and I wore my leather jacket and tried new methods of tying my scarf at Deb’s instigation. It was a most satisfactory weekend.