And so it’s done. The project in which I’ve been immersed for over a year now, that has taken over my life with ever-increasing intensity. The new Going Down Swinging CD has been sent to be stamped, the book has been sent to the printers. On September 1, we’ll get them back, combined, and ready to hand over to the public for final appraisal.
The launch is going to be something special. In concert with the Melbourne Writers Festival, live at the Toff in Town. Two new commissioned spoken word works from two of the best performers I know. Mantra MC is a blazing lyrical talent, one of the most in-demand rappers in the country. I heard the draft of his commission piece in a quiet lounge room last night, and it’s going to blow you away. And Felix Nobis, the consumate storyteller, who’ll lead you by the hand through the tales he has to tell. They’ll be complemented on the night by three touring slam poets coming to us via the Nuyorican Café in New York – Jive Poetic, Mahogany Brown, and Ken Arkind. Plus actor and doyen of bad taste Zoe Norton Lodge. Spinning discs on the decks will be Good Buddha’s A.N.D. along with the fifth gear of DJ Lazer Ferrari. Hosted by yours truly. Dress sharp, bring your party head.
Unlike most of our events, this needs tickets, but the price gets you:
Going Down Swinging #32 book
Going Down Swinging #32 CD
Going Down Swinging #32 special flipbook/poster
+ the aforementioned shit-hot line-up and show
All four of those things, for less than it costs to just buy the book/CD package in a shop. It’s a no-brainer. If you don’t have fun, I’ll buy you beers and drive you home. Tickets here.
I’ll tell you more on what’s in the issue shortly, plus a few excerpts over the coming fortnight. In the meantime, here’s my editorial.
Editorial: Going Down Swinging #32
Looking around to find myself editing Going Down Swinging has been a bit like suddenly finding myself playing in one of my favourite bands. For years GDS has been there in the eyeline, doing new projects, putting on shows, publishing genuine artists who made me stop, think, shift in my seat. When they first published me, still young and raw, I high-fived myself around the room. Other journals were other journals. This one was something special.
And it has been that tradition of new thinking, of pulling in directions in which others are not, of making a new generation of readers and viewers and listeners feel that we are doing something all our own, that has guided this next chapter of Going Down Swinging. All its life it has been passed like a Chinese whisper from one set of editors to the next. Lisa Greenaway, Ella Holcombe, and Nathan Curnow whispered well.
There are times when you wonder why you’re doing this. When you’re pulling 16-hour days for weeks on end leading up to deadline, wondering what funding bodies would say if you quoted your actual work hours. When you spend your holiday in Queensland gummed to a laptop. When people think you’re ignoring them while your inbox looks like the internet threw up into it during turbulence.
But there are times when you know. When the ideas and language in a Rebecca Giggs essay shock with their freshness like a squirt of lemon in the eye. When Wes Lee and Fred Aceves break your heart with the everyday, Mike Baylis makes you shout with laughter and email your friends, Ruby Murray gets you teary at 4 a.m. when you’ve read so many stories your eyes were already blurred. When Neil Gaiman says he has just the thing for you, while wordsmiths like Felix Nobis and Mantra start work that no-one else has known. When a jam-packed room on a drunken Friday night stays dead silent, locked on to every breath and syllable that falls from Eleanor Jackson’s mouth. When you remember that you’re able to wrap up these gems, and press the parcel into someone else’s hands.
I said at the launch of GDS #31 that however hard one’s work, it can become a joy if friends are lifting with you. My comrade-in-editorial has done just that. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve done. #31 was a new step in Australian digital publishing, something that wasn’t mere text made electron, but a collation of movement, image, sound, and the written word. Something that shifted as quickly as our concepts do. #32, which you hold in your hands, is the distillation of thousands of artworks, and thousands of hours, rendered in text, image, and speech. If I may paraphrase Eleanor, these are the very best stories that we know, and in them, we are young, and old, and whole, and broken, and beautiful.