NYWF15 – Friday

Photo by Adam Chandler

Have to do a radio interview at 9:15am. Yesterday I moaned about how early this was. This morning I am already up and am eating muesli in the sun by the time my alarm goes off. At 9:00am I go and sit in a quiet place and wait for ABC Gold Coast to call me. The producer calls to say they’re running late because of “coverage of the shooting in America”. It feels strange that I’ve been in such a bubble that I have no idea what she’s talking about. I do an interview live to air about emoji stories. I think it goes ok but also it seems like they want me to be more Gen Y?

I walk over to the Royal Exchange for Comics in Conversation. I mostly programmed this event because I want Jake and Owen to be friends. They talk in the slightly awkward way that would-be friends do so I call it a success. The crowd is mostly comic artists and illustrators and it feels a little different to our regular crowds.

Women Kicking Arse is packed. I spend quite a lot of the event watching two babies making friends with each other near the door. Afterwards a crowd gathers around Natalie TranSophie and I hang nearby to keep an eye on the situation. We chat to Natalie’s boyfriend to make sure it is all ok and he’s very unfazed by it all. Apart from that one time I was standing beside Lawrence outside a kebab shop while some girls pointed at him, I’ve never really had to do celebrity crowd wrangling.

I go to Good Brother for lunch because last night I wrote EAT! on my schedule at this point. They have almost nothing left (What is there?” Nothing that has chickpeas in itand are making more toasties than I have ever seen in my life. The small bench is invisible under all the slices of bread and cheese. I order bruschetta and feel bad for asking urgently how long it will be. As soon as it arrives, I dash off up the hill.

I make sure that both Erasures and Student Media are all set up. I wonder what Past Alex was thinking when she thought she could set up two events at once but assume she had some idiot reason. Once both are ready to go, I retreat to the Press Room and eat my lunch in a moment of quiet. My brain slows to a quiet hum and I don’t think much at all for a while.

When I go across the road to the Gun Club, I discover that we have used entirely the wrong chairs and, between the event which is about to finish and the next one, we need to change all the chairs for some different chairs. I grab Kate and Tom and Zoe and Finn and some of the Crack team. Kate gets on the mic and asks the audience to pick up their chairs. Together we manage to completely re-set the room in an absurdly short amount of time. The next event starts as planned, everyone seated on basically identical (but correct) chairs. What could have been a real crisis is over before I even have time to worry about it. It is a testament to the feeling of collaboration that pervaded TiNA behind the scenes this year, that we manage the whole thing with so little fuss.

For the next two hours, I sit on a table at the back of the room and listen. Writing in Pictures is an idea I had during my very first brainstorm and it’s incredible to watch it come to life. It is probably my favourite panel all weekend. I watch my brother sitting at the back drawing a comic for his event on Sunday. I am quite dozy by the time Coming of Queerness starts so insight wafts in and out of my brain. I have to dash out several times to take calls. Every time I leap up, I scrap by leg on what looks like a nail. I think about how I don’t have time to get tetanus. 

I leave the Gun Club in Tom’s capable hands and walk down to The Great Northern. I go over very early because last year trivia’s was basically the most stressed I have ever been and I just have a feeling  about this year. Sure enough the room isn’t at all set up. The bar manager, when I asked why the room we are using is empty, says we can use whatever furniture we like if we just move it, as though this is a very reasonable answer. Luckily a bunch of people are drinking in the bar and I rope them all into moving furniture. Soon enough we have a small army, organising and manoeuvring. The bar’s owner is very impressed by how efficient we are and also by how easily I talked so many people into doing heavy lifting for me.

We have our annual John Triviolta reunion. My team gets quite mad at me for encouraging other people to make their own teams and therefore new friends instead of just joining our team. I had planned to play (promised I would play) but in the end I am needed to score. I dash between the stage and my team to occasionally shout whisper answers at them. The questions are extremely hard and one round, a team just writes “fuck off, fuck you, fuck this” instead of any answers. Geoff tells me off for being lenient with marking even though most people are scoring very low. Tom hosts very affably while everyone boos Geoff for how hard the questions are (even though I’m pretty sure Tom wrote a bunch of the questios). 

Photo by Adam Chandler

I dash out early with Tom because he has another event right after this and “ALEX – GET TOM TO PODCASTING” is written very emphatically on my run sheet. As we’re walking quickly up the road, I realise I was moving tables when my schedule had me eating dinner. Combined with the cider I drank at trivia, I am now quite tipsy.

We dash into the Royal Exchange just as the event is starting. Tom walks right onto stage and I flop onto a beanbag. Team NYWF occupy the front row of cushions, lounging tiredly with our feet all over the stage. Luke brings us a lot of pizza. We eat the pizza. Some people tweet to complain that they don’t have pizza. Sophie and I take an exhausted selfie of us eating pizza. We talk in whispers about the pizza we ate in this building at this time last year (one of the best meals of my life). I feel quite rude for exhaustedly eating pizza in the front row of this event but later Kaitlyn tells me it made her feel like she was just sitting in her lounge room and she was very relaxed as a result.

A rush of people arrive from trivia and soon the Royal Exchange is full to bursting. Are Young People Killing the News is very, very funny. It’s exactly what I wanted these debates to be – ridiculous, barely contained chaos. The highlight is probably Chris Knight brandishing a typewriter above his head for reasons?? Eventually, I relinquish my beanbag to help Dave get everything ready for Late Night Readings. The room is packed, so packed that I realise slightly sadly we may have outgrown the Royal Exchange.

I stay backstage for the readings, mostly because theres no space anywhere else. I sit on a table beside the stage and watch from the sidelines. I try and take photos because the world is so sparkly and perfect in that moment but it is dark and Dave keeps needing my iPad to read bios off. It’s perfect though, there in that moment. Just perfect. 
The readings go very late, much too late. We push everyone out onto the road as they finish. I feel tired and emotional. There is a part of me that wants to stay but a larger part of me wants to be home, in bed, stealing what sleep I can before I have to get up tomorrow.We wave goodbye, walk back to the house. 

I make a cup of tea and sit on the balcony. I play Unstoppable as loud as I dare to at 2am. I look out at the moon and the stars and the thick blue night. I cry into my tea because I am tired but I am happy.

Check out more great stuff including a daily comic by Suus, on the NYWF Press Room
Get a sneak peak of this year’s video via Patreon.
Apply now to be a co-director and next year you too could eat delicious exhaustment pizza.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year