Anne-Marie Shows Us Her Fringe

Another day in Melbourne, another major arts festival. The 2008 Melbourne Fringe Festival was launched last Wednesday – Anne-Marie Peard attended, so you don’t have to. 

The memories of MIFF and the Yalumba Man are fading.  We’ve had a couple of weeks to sit back on the couch in our Wong Kar-Wai slippers, snack on our Dalek bread and catch up with Australian Idol and that thing where fit people ran around a lot and tried not to think about other events that happened in Tiananmen Square.

Some of us prodded out brains into action with a visit to the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, but the thought of another arty-type marathon was too much for me right now. Until – under the festival tree – the Melbourne Fringe program appeared…

Fringe rhymes with whinge – and Fringes do bring out the whingers. “It’s not as good as the Adelaide one”, “I don’t want to go to North Melbourne”, “The shows might be crap”. Every year it’s the same. 

Yes, Adelaide does do a much bigger, sunnier and more diverse Fringe than Melbourne. But this is a different type of Fringe. Of course, there will be some crap – but there will also be moments that may move your soul (in a good way) – and I think I can safely say that some of us find a bad piece of art quite amusing. North Melbourne isn’t that far away, the 57 tram goes there, and if you really can’t read the guide and chose your own shows, there’s a great annual “Pick of the Fringe” list that will appear on AussieTheatre.com  – when I get around to it.

So I found my Doug Anthony All Stars Chesty Bond singlet and headed to Trades Hall for a free drink and the first program off the printer.

The launch was fun. For starters, it was hosted by Saint Julia Zemiro. Is there a better host in this city – nay, in this land? I think not. She should have her own TV show. Getting lost on SBS is like winning bronze – it just isn’t good enough.  

But enough from the Julia Zemiro fan club. What else happened at the launch? We got to laugh at politicians as they tried to be funny. We saw a plethora of dancers in various states of undress. And we heard from the delightful Emily Sexton, Creative Producer of the Melbourne Fringe, as she talked about supporting and developing art and artists.   

I also came away from the launch with:

  • a glass of orange juice (I passed on the morning beer),
  • a bite size tart,
  • a couple of condoms,
  • a cheap hair tie with an orange flower,
  • a three–bite chocolate bar,
  • the 2009 IKEA catalogue (according to the spine it’s a “Complimentary copy. Value $3”),
  • some sample hand creams,
  • the cutest teeniest box of matches from Crumpler,
  • a mouse mat with a picture of an unattractive bus driver,
  • and a channel 10 paper bag to hold the rest of the ‘straight-to-the-recycle-bin’ advertising.

Taking into account the cost of my train ticket, that’s about $3.15 worth of product! For only two hours of my time! So, in terms of income, I’ve done better than most artists trying to earn a living.  

Hang on – who gave me the condoms?  

The Department of Human Services. They’ve sponsored the Fringe for the last five years, and at past festivals we’ve been encouraged to eat well, be physically active, stop smoking dope, and play safe. The result is a Fringe audience who are fit, healthy, not-in-the-least bit paranoid, and getting laid every now and then. Let’s hope they are still interested in seeing some art… 

This year the sponsored health message is aimed primarily at young women. Let’s hear it for Chlamydia! This year’s slogan: 

“Protect you glory box. Use condoms and lube.” 

Well I’m not sure that the lube will be good for my collection of lace, linen and kitchen knick knacks that I’m keeping until I find a husband. However, the condoms are damn fine at keeping my vagina free from STDS. They also come in convenient plastic containers –  that look just like the milk you get at cheap motels.   

But…”glory box”? I would have gone with:  

“Melbourne Fringe – protecting your minge.”

The Age 2008 Melbourne Fringe Festival runs from September 24th to October 12th. Images: The Town Bikes Dance-a-thon 6000, Sammy J In The Forest Of Dreams, Andrew McClelland’s Somewhat Accurate History of Pirates (1550-2017).
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9 Responses to Anne-Marie Shows Us Her Fringe

  1. Dave AA says:

    Kapow! Thanks to that joke I will forever associate the Melbourne Fringe with the word “minge” from now on. I just hope I don’t confuse the two next time I’m entertaining the Governor General.

    On the up side, Outland Institute’s search engine hits have just gone through the roof.

  2. Anne-Marie says:

    I like to think that she’d be in on a good minge joke.

  3. outlandinstitute says:

    Coming soon to The Outland Institute: “Minges Through History”.

  4. Anne-Marie says:

    from beaver to brazillian
    from merkin to muff’

    your hits will go through the roof

  5. Sam says:

    Here’s an unrelated question for your ever broadening readership! I’ve just been reading Anne Fadiman’s collection of essays on books and bibliophiles – Ex Libris – and in “Never Do That to a Book” she claims that bibliophiles can be divided into two camps: those who believe in courtly love (who cherish both words and physical form), and those – like her – who practice carnal love (for whom the words maybe holy but the vessel is very profane – spine breakers, corner folders, under-liners etc). I think I’m a bit of both, carnal with paperbacks, a bit courtly with hardcovers… unless they are work books. Assuming you profess a love affair with the printed page, which are you?

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    I always use bookmarks, even if it’s a semi-destroyed paperback that I got second hand, and am not happy lending to anyone who marks their page in any other way. On the other hand, I underline and scribble in work, reference and text books. I don’t corner fold though.

    I have a friend who doesn’t like reading books from a library (you know who you are…) – cos someone else has read them!

    I further the question with – what do you use as bookmarks.

  7. outlandinstitute says:

    I’ve got to admit I have a reaction against antiquarian book-collectors and the like, as they seem to love the binding and not the content. I think a book is the words, the story and the emotion – it somehow reminds me of when I worked at the National Film Theatre in London and we had certain regulars who would always discuss format ratios and colour-stocks but never talk about the plots or the characters.

    So I have no qualms about breaking spines – however, I hate under-liners. I read a lot of books from the library and I don’t like someone else forcing my mind to give undue emphasis to a particular passage – damn you under-liners! Damn you to hell!

    Bookmark-wise, I’m very keen on the “old envelope” approach…

  8. Sam says:

    I think high-lighters are worse than under-liners… Fadiman talks about someone who buys two copies, one to read, the other to keep on the shelf in pristine condition. I’m not that bad, though must admit, I have a favourite book of poetry, in which only half the pages have been cut… as for bookmarks – anything that comes to hand – movie stubs, train tickets, envelopes (especially good because you can write on them), post-its, post cards – its always rather nice reading a book again and finding you went to see Red Rock West last time you read it, or visited Lakes Entrance.

  9. Janet says:

    I’m in the courtly love camp. Most of my books never look as if they’ve been read (until I foolishly lend them to others less courtly). I pick up bookmarks all over the place. Bookshops on the Amazon Marketplace tend to send them with secondhand books. Those Avant postcards are really handy but I have a collection of bookmarks from everywhere. I’ve even been known to buy them. I have a beautiful delicate blue plastic one decorated with a statue of Bast that comes from the British Museum. I also have a little tapestry one that I think I bought at the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth.

    Anne Marie: Sometimes looking at the books in a library is like looking at the cars in a wrecker’s yard. And some of the substances you find within said books. It’s just not worth it . . .

    As for underlining, I used to say that I only underlined in pencil until I found my much-loved (and now falling apart) undergraduate copy of Dryden’s poetry. It was (shock! horror!) underlined in pen. Having said that, I will exterminate with extreme prejudice any fucker who goes near one of my books with a highlighter.

    So I’d better go now and check in case I’ve done it myself. I may be gone for some time . . .

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