Adelaide – a bizarre mix of colonial architecture, malls, chain stores, guerrilla art, cops, and the almighty Fringe Festival. But it is also home to some amazing underground writers, photographers, filmmakers and artists. We arrived on Saturday morning greeted by a lovely 35 degree day, except for the fact I dressed for Melbourne weather – black jeans, black t-shirt, black shoes – not really that suitable. We headed to Format Collective laden with copies of Issue #2 BOYS to sell at the zine fair. There was a good contingent from Melbourne when we arrived – including Sticky, Death and Sex Mook – and we also met some interstate zine makers including Kami who is part of Paroxysm Press and a long-time zine maker himself. The Format Collective incorporates a great mix of ventures in the creative arts, and the zine fair was indicative of this – stalls included photography, jewelery and sculpture.
Saturday night was great fun. It was the closing night party of the Format Festival with bands (Per Purpose from Brisbane were awesome!), cheap beer and lots of meeting and greeting. When the clocked ticked over to about 1am, the time had come to put a lid on the long, tiresome but very fun day, so we went home to rest up for the Academy of Words the next day.
The Academy of Words began with the first of several panels ‘How to Sell Out Without Losing Your Cred’ with Lisa Dempster, then moved onto a general discussion called ‘I write therefore I am…’ which bought forth some very interesting opinions including one important point: how do you actually classify a writer in the first place? Honk if you’re in the Publishing Industry (run by DOAS contributor Shane Jesse Christmas) then analysed the role of the publisher in today’s market where self-publishing is increasing rapidly, traditional avenues of production are breaking down, and online outlets are running rife.
Will Write for Food then followed with the discussion of ‘selling-out’ in your writing – is this always the main concern? The classification of ‘high literature’ being the only form of credible writing is not always case – writing can be used to make a living in many ways, especially magazine writing – sure the content will be dumbed down a little, but this in itself is a difficult art-form to master. It was also interesting to note that the rate of pay for writers has not increased with inflation over the past several years and writers are still well-underpaid, however, there are writing jobs that exist and pay well.
Last but not least was Activism Smells. This was a very interesting topic as it related to DOAS well – it involved realising that being active in doing something, anything (at any level) was being an activist on behalf of literature (or other art form). And that was the main thing – being active and providing opportunities for yourself and other people to promote art and literature in any way possible can lead into myriad possibilities including funding, acceptance and wider public appreciation (and personal appreciation). Overall it was a fantastic couple of days – we met so many inspiring people, learned so much and look forward to the next Format Festival.