I aren’t afraid of May 2013.

image by adam thomas

Look what’s been happening: I’LL TELL YOU. Last week I performed at the second instalment of the variety show In Canberra Tonight, the brainchild of those charming makers of magic Meg O’Connell, Chris Endrey and Bec Taylor. They let me do a spot of poetry, a privilege I abused by stripping naked and instructing the 10-year olds in the front row in the finer details of pegging. But it was lovely, and BMA Magazine called me a ‘quiet genius’ and said I ‘stripped naked in the pursuit of magnificent empathy’, which is a very nice way of putting it.

Last night I got to perform at the Now Hear This storytelling evening, curated by Melanie Tait. I was part of a pretty phenomenal lineup of storytellers (Shé Hawke and Chris Kimball, my god) at the Belconnen Arts Centre, telling tales of Canberra. I told a story entitled worst scavenger hunt, in which I unfolded my journey through the worst scavenger hunt in this city’s wretched history. If stories are your thing (what is your thing?) maybe you’d like to visit the Now Hear This soundcloud and have a listen?

Also this week Scissors Paper Pen summoned me in to take part in their Something Else event, to stand alongside fellow members of Team Skywhale Hannah McCann and Sam Townsend and talk about our city’s blessed new overlord. Adam even quoted me in his new Torque Converter series (the below pic) and I definitely said that ‘Gungahlin Marketplace was built for the lovers’. So that was nice.

image by adam thomas

Meanwhile, Sydney director Augusta Supple decided to produce a three-week festival of plays entitled Mayday, and among the sparks and brushfire she herself directed my script World Creates Itself, with performer Alex Bryant Smith. This is one of my most favourite of my own scripts, because (a) it’s about the earth and the moon and (b) it’s completely true. So the Crikey blog theatre review thing said this about it:

World Creates Itself sees Alex Bryant Smith perform David Finnigan’s script, directed by Augusta Supple. By way of Smith’s character, Finnigan affords us an intergalactic overview of space-time. In a way, it carries the same message of urgency, the same call to another’s arms, as Shooting Hoops. But by vastly different means. Rather than drawing us in to a claustrophobic relationship, between people and drugs, this play jettisons us into deep space, eternal mysteries, chaos, grit, dust, rock, ice and gases. Perspective is what it’s all about, releasing us, for a moment, from our arrogance, sense of dominion and entitlement, our collective Earth-centric ego, to remind us of the truth, the brutal reality of our speck-sized, flash-in-the-pan place in the universe. Like Hoops, it’s sobering and Smith relates its dense energy engagingly.

image by adam thomas

Last of all, this month has been Word Play month. Word Play is the fourth full-length production by my ensemble Boho, and while I haven’t been a key creative in the making of this (Muttley and I were overseas working on Modelling Play while Jack and Mick made Word Play), it’s still been a pretty incredible experience. Maybe even more so, getting to see your own company’s work up close and personal whilst being an audience member. Highly recommended, if you ever get the opportunity.

Anyway the show is great and the audience and critical response has been lovely. Checkit:

In spirit of centenary celebrations Boho Interactive has seemingly taken to heart the implied theme of the year: go big or go home. Thoroughly researched, ingeniously implemented, this part cinema, part video-game, part lecture, part theatre piece is not to be missed. (Alice McShane, Scissors Paper Pen)

image by adam thomas

Finally, in not quite May but nearly enough news, myself and Chris are about to launch our debut album, FINNIGAN AND BROTHER SPEND A MONTH IN COLOMBIA. This is happening next Tuesday 4 June, 6.30 – 8.00pm at Smiths Alternative Bookshop, in the company of musician Paul Heslin and poet Amelia Filmer-Sankey. The gig, like the record, will be free, and AAHHHHHH general excitement.

Ah and I’m presenting a workshop in Melbourne on Sunday 2 June as part of the Emerging Writers Festival entitled Writing and Interactivity. It’s at a place called the Abbotsford Convent, and it’s gonna be, I believe, awesome.

Now that’s probably enough sketchy html and incorrectly resized images for a Friday night.

my take on the skywhale debate

it’s a pretty special week in canberra
I’ve thought a lot about what I’d like to say
how best to put forward my perspective
what I’d say to rebut critics
but I’m too busy to get involved in the debate in a critical academic sense
and anyway there’s great people out there already fighting the good fight
so I’m just gonna say this:






skywhale cake by leader of the skywhale army hannah mccann

PS I just committed to performing a cycle of Skywhale poems at This Is Not Art later this year. I know. I know.

everything I’m saying is hers

A few weeks ago I performed at the Front Cafe as part of a night entitled CJ Bowerbird and friends. The excellent CJ Bowerbird is the current Australian National Poetry Slam champion, and he was launching his new selection of poems before touring them to several literary festivals round China. Also on the bill were Omar Musa, Yes/No and Julia Johnson, and all round it was a fucking good night. I don’t honestly have words for what CJ pulled out, but I will say that he convinced me that evening of the value of a good extended poetry set. I think the slam / short readings showcase format is fine, but it’s like musicians only ever being able to play at open mic nights – sometimes you want a good 40 minutes to settle into someone’s groove.

image by adam thomas

I did the opening set of the evening, a collection of all new material. The highlight, judging by crowd response, was my mash-up of Omar and CJ’s winning poems from the 2008 and 2011 National Poetry Slam championships. But one of my favourite pieces from the night was a short new poem I performed at the end of the set, presented here more or less without comment:

but everything I’m saying is hers
everything I’m saying is a quote
one way or another

she said well done
you’ve done really well. residency overseas, grant, congratulations

I said thanks
I wish you’d got – some of that

she said I don’t want it
I didn’t really want it that much
I had other priorities
like life stuff
I didn’t want to be always doing this arts thing
I didn’t want to be the one behind the mic
I wanted to be the girlfriend

I said you know you deserve this as much as I do

she said no of course I don’t
you deserve it
there was no-one else who tried as hard as you
no-one as smart as you
no-one as creative as you
no-one who gave more generously of themselves
no-one who got overlooked because they weren’t pushing their own agenda
no-one who got overlooked because of their

I said I didn’t ask for this
I didn’t ask them to give this just to me
but they didn’t offer it to you
and there wasn’t enough to share
what good would it have done to turn it down?
I can’t fix the whole system by myself

so I didn’t turn it down

and then I grew a beard
because I had everything else I needed to make it in this country

A list of discarded ideas for the new Finnigan and Brother film clip

image by adam thomas

Ah, so Chris and I are releasing an album in June
it will be our first album
it was written last year at the beautiful Campos de Gutierrez in Medellin, Colombia
recorded and mixed by the inestimable Nick McCorriston

The film clip for our first single* Move To Canberra
is being recorded by Jordan Prosser and Sam Burns-Warr
aka Jordan and Sam of numerous things

Tonight we had a production meeting to talk through the clip
and a number of my video ideas did not make it in to the final script
so, here are the things you won’t see in our upcoming video:

  • A handful of snakes
  • A martial arts class for kids aged 5-8
  • A disgraced general being executed by firing squad
  • A bird in a small room flying madly around a girl’s head
  • A couple dancing in their underwear in the freezer section of the supermarket
  • A kayak rolling in heavy waves
  • A schoolteacher firing an arrow at a moving target
  • A wave of 40 or more kisses

The challenge for me is, is it possible to film a 3:53 video without including one or all of these elements? Sam and Jordan think, yes. So stay tuned.

*what is a ‘single’ in 2013, I don’t think I fully understand.