Monday, 25 January 2016

You don't have to ask permission

Have a bright idea?

Stop waiting for someone to give you permission to do it, and dive in.

Over the last 18 months or so I've found myself working with people from various branches of the arts.  It started with Allsorts Open Mic and from there branched out into all manner of weird and wonderful stuff from local festivals to reading poetry in an art gallery.  (Where I ruined the decorum of the event by doing an impression of a pigeon.  Sorry about that.)

Quite a few times, I've encountered people who are waiting for someone to give them permission to start doing whatever it is they want to do.

They don't think of it that way.  They think in terms of needing to do another workshop, or find a mentor, or that there isn't a suitable place to perform or exhibit or sell their work.

But often, you don't really need any of that.

Not sure how to do a grant application, pitch an article, or approach a venue about a gig?  Hit the googles, do some research, ask around, and have a go.  The worst that can happen is they say no.

No galleries or venues that support the kind of art you do?  Put together a pitch to bring the existing places round to your way of thinking, think outside the box (Allsorts' first show was in a vegetarian cafe, which isn't exactly stand up comedy's usual habitat), or even start your own.

That's scary.  It means potential rejections, failures and disappointments.  It means doing things outside your skill set and comfort zone.  It means taking more responsibility than you might be comfortable with.  It means a lot of work, with no guarantee it'll pay off.  It means taking risks.

But we live in a world where the sum of human knowledge is as close as our phones.  You don't have to wait until you've done a workshop or got a certificate or until an agent or a publisher approaches you.  You don't have to ask permission or wait for someone else to endorse your dream.

You can get right out there and make it happen yourself.

Sunday, 17 January 2016


Freshly sliced and diced for 2016, it's time for the monthly wrap up of new projects, great things and upcoming events we call...

AWESOMESAUCE: now with 100% more aquatic pineapple

Specul8 is a new magazine of speculative fiction produced right here in CQ.  I'm devouring their first issue at the moment, including a beautifully layered horror tale by local author Greg Chapman, set in and around Rocky's old cemetery.

Speaking of Greg's work, his latest novella The Eschatologist is out now in digital formats and coming soon as a physical product.  Here's the trailer:

Brass is another local publication which also has its debut issue out now, with an emphasis on personal profiles and nonfiction features.

Want to win some great local writing, music and other goodies? Allsorts Open Mic has a competition running: sign up here by Feb 4, and you'll be in the running to win a prize pack of great stuff from our local arts community - and a private gig from some of Allsorts' top comics and musos.

Late Night Originals is a new project to give CQ songwriters a place to show off their work.  Contact Sophie Rose to organise an audition or find out more.

Know of something awesome that I've missed?  Shout at me in the comments, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Allsorts Open Mic: a beginner's guide

Allsorts Open Mic is a monthly event in Rockhampton.  It's CQ's only comedy-centric open mic, but it's open to all kinds of acts from stand up comedy to poetry to music of all genres.

woman playing guitar and singing
Sophie Rose wraps up our last Allsorts show on January 7.
If you're looking for a place to get started on stage, Allsorts is about as gentle and newbie-friendly a venue as you're going to find.

But that doesn't mean it's not still pretty daunting to get up in front of people - public speaking is, after all, one of our most common fears.  So, I headed to the Allsorts Facebook group for performers and organisers to get some tips from people who've done it before:

Proceed like you do this every other day.  Works for me probably because I do stand up in front of my cat and he thinks I'm fabulous!
Preparation is important, and while audience appreciation is nice mistakes can be educational. Besides, if people can tell you're having fun up there, that's what they'll remember most.
So, how do you get started?

Allsorts acts are short, and there's no minimum time.  That means you can get up and do one joke if that's all your feeling on the night.  (If you're feeling more bold, the maximum time is 10 mins for spoken acts like poetry and comedy, and 3 songs for musical acts.)

Our acts come from all ends of the spectrum, from semi-professional acts to people just having a go once to cross it off their bucket list.  Our music has ranged from ukelele Marilyn Manson covers to traditional folk tunes on the mandolin.  We tend not to get a lot of poetry - there are plenty of poets, but not that many up for reading their work in public - but of the poetry we have had, anything with humour goes down well.  Extra points if it rhymes.  I'm all for experimentation, but you can't beat a good ballad to please a crowd.

So, work out what you're going to do, put your name down for a show, and turn up.  It really is as simple as that.

Want to find out more?  Visit Allsorts Open Mic on Facebook, or drop me a line.

Allsorts next show is on February 4 - see you there!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Come at me, 2016!

Happy new year!  Today is beautifully drizzly, there's a honeyeater nibbling in the tree outside my window, and another year ripe with possibilities stretches out ahead of us.

Honeyeater not shown.  He's a fast little bugger.
I have lots of plans for 2016.  That's not to say they'll all come to pass; I'm still learning not to take on more than I can handle.

Here's the general idea:
  • More solo gigs, without the protection of Allsorts or a posse of other comedians
  • Step up my writing, and be more strategic about competitions and pitches
  • Expand the trivia empire.  Wednesday night trivia at the Berserker Tavern is a hoot, and it'd be nice to get more regular teams playing there and maybe another venue on board
  • Expand the Allsorts empire as well, and loosen the reins so the bright young things can take more control and responsibility for it
  • All the healthy eating, exercising, mindfulness and general self care that got a bit lost in the chaos this year
How about you?  Do you have plans to take 2016 by storm?  Or is your resolution to not make any resolutions, and just cruise along taking each day as it comes?

Monday, 16 November 2015


It's been a while since we did a round-up of clever and interesting projects by clever and interesting people, so let's get this week rolling with...


Sophie Rose Raymond is launching her new EP Sunflowers at the PA Hotel on December 10.  Get the details here.

ABC Openeer and life coach to the stars Brad Marsellos caught up with Bundaberg business stalwart Kent, face of the Busy Bee for 47 years and counting.

This Thursday (19/11) get to The Workshop in Rockhampton for ROCK paper scissors, a Spicks and Specks style music quiz show from 7:30pm.

Still in Rocky, 4RO has awesome local musicans playing live in the studio every Friday at 8am.  Coming up are Vegas to Vancouver this Friday (20/11) and next week Chenai Boucher (27/11).

Sproutlings, an Aussie anthology of creepy short fiction, was successful on Kickstarter and is now taking pre-orders.  I contributed a short piece to this book, and it's fantastic to see it come to life.