Peace for the Immortal Sock Monkey

My friend Stevie made the sock monkey – a placid purple chap with chubby limbs and buttons for eyes. He seemed pretty satisfied with existence, but his deeper woes had gone unseen.

Two Student Occupational Therapists from Griffith University pose with their client, an immortal sock monkey

It turned out that the sock monkey was cursed to live forever, and as the centuries rolled by, he was succumbing to despair. Two students from the Occupational Therapy course at Australia’s Griffith University decided to help, using their professional skills to explore ways of reconciling him to a happier immortality.

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Marvellous, Electrical returns

My newsletter Marvellous, Electrical kicks off its second season this weekend.

Last year, the newsletter took us from the fairytale coasts of Portugal to an ibis-themed burlesque show; we met bakers and boxers and bassists and acrobats, spent time with cleaners and inner-city drug counsellors, and even investigated a family history of murder.

In 2017, Marvellous, Electrical will appear once a month so I can fit in a few more projects on the side.

Sign up for Marvellous, Electrical here.

Tabletop Superheroes Revisited

Here’s a blast from the past – the all-ages Tabletop Superheroes game devised during my Reader-in-Residence placement at Parkes Shire in New South Wales.

The game is Creative Commons licensed and adapted from the work of Cory Doctorow – so please feel free to remix it as per the terms of a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.

Our version needs dice, Lego bricks, and a tape measure – plus our print-and-cut-out paper figures and somewhere to play the game (back in Parkes, we took it down the pub).

The paper figures and rules for the Tabletop Superheroes game can be downloaded as a PDF here.

SWITCH 2016, New South Wales

I’m in the coastal town of Ulladulla to talk libraries with people from across the state of New South Wales at the SWITCH 2016 conference.

You can catch up with my keynote “Science Fiction Double Feature” from lunchtime (AEDT) Wednesday – try the #switch2016 hashtag on Twitter – and read the keynote paper on the SWITCH website (PDF download).

The paper will be up on the SWITCH website shortly after the event.

Marvellous, Electrical: …and, kill Hitler!

I visited South Australia last week, so of course I had to say hi to the Adelaide-based creators of Danger 5, one of the most unusual and provocative Aussie TV shows of all time.

The action comedy pits five Allied agents against the forces of Nazism in a warped version of World War II incorporating mind-controlled dinosaurs, a seagull-headed military officer, and the lost city of Atlantis.

In its second season, the show takes a dark and dramatic turn, becoming a serialised revenge epic set in a strange version of the 1980s, ripped from the shelves of a VHS rental store.

The whole project is the brainchild of filmmakers Dario Russo and David Ashby. I talked with them about their surreal brand of action adventure, the need to laugh at Hitler, cosmopolitanism, fascism, and the glorious world of B-movie pulp.

Read Marvellous, Electrical: …and, kill Hitler! here.

Crawford Awards, South Australia

On Friday, I was guest speaker at South Australia’s Crawford Awards for Library Innovation.

It was a chance to explore how Aussie libraries ensure that they create services for and with their communities – and acknowledge the specific colonial history of this land.

It was also an opportunity to celebrate many of the friends and colleagues I’ve worked with during my residency at the State Library of Queensland.

The Award was given to the rural South Australian city of Murray Bridge for a project working with local Aboriginal elders, introducing the Ngarrindjeri language to a new generation through stories and song.

Congratulations to Tim Law, Georgina Trevorrow, and all at Murray Bridge who are working to acknowledge the traditional owners of the Murraylands and support their community.