Tag Archives: launch

Angie Hart is hilarious

We’re back with more readings from the magnifico Issue 6 launch.

Here is the very very funny Angie Hart discussing her contempt for insects in answer to Ampersand’s ongoing column, Oxford Men’s College Entrance Exam Questions 1957-67 As Answered By Contemporary Musicians – Question 7: Why are there so many insects?


Reading #4: Laura Jean McKay

Laura reads an excerpt from her story ‘Coming Up’, taken from her short story collection Holiday in Cambodia, published last month by Black Inc.

Reading #3: Kate Holden

The wonderful and very pregnant Kate Holden reads her piece, ‘The Door Between: Two Rooms of Love’, at the Issue 6 launch in May.

Reading #2: Helen Razer

Helen reads NOT her piece from the magazine, because it’s “too sappy”, but a revised version on the theme of new love.

Recorded at Ampersand’s Melbourne launch in May.

Melbourne launch videos: #1 Mr Darren Hanlon

Here’s the first of our set of recordings from Ampersand’s issue 6 launch in May, held at 1000 Pound Bend in Melbourne, in collaboration with the Emerging Writers Festival.

Darren Hanlon reading his suite of poems from the issue – plus one extra he wrote in the car on the drive down from Sydney – ‘Signposts Hinting at the Existence of Love’.


Sydney launch!

A truly beautiful night. So many many thanks 107 Projects, and all the wonderful contributors for reading.

Pictures by Two Thousand (full album here) and Anna Chase.

The launch! A blow-by-blow account by Anna Sublet

Ampersand Magazine Issue 6 ‘One Little Room’ launch, with the Emerging Writers’ Festival – May 29 2013 – 1000 Pound Bend, Melbourne

A seriously wonderful night with an incredible line up. Many thanks to the kind folks that came along.

A full photo album can be seen here by Mark Gambino. And to make things easy for us, here is a blow by blow account by Anna Sublet (care of the Emerging Writers’ Festival blog).


Pictures by Mark Gambino.


Ampersand. It’s such a great name for a magazine. Its offer of possibilities, its promise of more. And its format-it’s gorgeous! A little flip book, filled with poems and stories and art essays and drawings. I cannot wait to read it. I couldn’t read it last night, because as I sat in the wonderful warehouse space of 1000 Bend in the dim light, I realised that, yeah, I probably really do need glasses.

Last night saw the launch of Ampersand‘s latest issue, One Little Room. Amp-er-sand. Reminds me of Lo-Li-ta, the way the rhythm stamps itself on a word. To get there, I hobbled down a cobble-stoned laneway, past dumpsters and stencils, turning back on myself to arrive. Turn around, look down the alley ways, sneak up the stairs, said Bill Henson later in the night – ‘seek out the weirdos.’ OK …

The crowd here didn’t look like weirdos. Just a bunch of passionate readers and writers, damn happy to be celebrating a magazine launch while sharing some stories and booze.

The charming Nick Coyle was our MC for the evening. He introduced the editor of Ampersand, Alice Gage, describing her as Gen Y’s Ita Buttrose. Apparently she started a magazine instead of pushing shopping trolleys off an overpass, or something like that. But, why would I believe what Nick said? He had introduced himself to us as Asher Keddy …


Alice gave a big thanks to the Emerging Writers’ Festival for their support, and said how incredibly proud she was of the issue, which is centered around the theme of love.

One little room – ‘the universe that can exist in one room where two people are.’

Such an evocative and moving image. And having dived into my magazine today, with the lights on, I have seen the most intimate photos of lovers and mourners. Some nude blokes, which is a refreshing change, and the most extraordinary portraits of grieving elders. Alice’s introduction explores the way in which her request for submissions on love, had led to her reading many stories about grief. She writes that she was ‘straining not to audibly sob’ during the final proofing of the issue. Poor Alice. But weeping is good too, isn’t it, when it takes a reader to new places?

Throughout the night, we had six contributors read from their work or meander through visual images:

Laura Jean Mackay, Kate Holden, Darren Hanlon, Bill Henson, Helen Razer and Angie Hart.

First to read was Laura Jean Mackay, welcomed to the stage by Nick with the announcement: ‘She has dengue fever! Come on down!’ This added a tropical feel to the evening, which was fitting as her story is set in Cambodia. Laura read beautifully from her piece, even though she had to admit that her ‘enthusiasm had been dampened under a layer of mosquito saliva.’ Mmmm, tropical diseases. Get well soon, Laura.


Kate Holden was introduced by Nick as Kate Ford-ha ha! I have only just realised the joke. Or was it a joke?

I liked that Kate stood heavily pregnant before us as she discussed how, at the time that Alice had asked her to be part of this issue about love, she had just broken up with her partner. But Alice was so charismatic and charming that Kate was powerless to say no to her. At this point, Alice was coming across as an intuitive and sensitive editor.

Kate’s piece ‘The Door Between: Two Rooms of Love’ explored the divide between the concept of passionate love, passion inchoate, and the sober daily existence that comes with the marriage contract.


Darren Hanlon read from ‘Signposts hinting to the existence of Love, in Three Parts.’ Despite warning us that he had been told he had a monotone singing voice, his pieces definitely leapt off the page. Or lilted, as in ‘The Moon over Cobar’ which he read from his phone. How very modern and spontaneous-he had just written it in the car on the way to the launch. Its gentle repetition of the phrase ‘the moon over Cobar ‘ held the piece together. ‘The moon is every other moon, on every other night.’


After a short break, Bill Henson, photographer of blurry, beautiful, dark and evocative images, spoke of a ‘lost Melbourne.’ His images, Untitled, 1980-81, take up the first 15 pages of this issue of Ampersand. They are images that contain glances, that suggest elsewhere, that evade, and in some cases, confront us. To me, his talk was very visual. I walked through old Melbourne laneways, and sought out the underground or the sixth storey of buildings. He spoke of ‘the invisible city, the lost domain that we carry inside us’ and he likened this to childhood. That is some love affair.


Melbourne to him ‘is a place of infinite layering and space.’ His message: Go sniffing around. ‘Always snoop around, go up the stairs, down the alleys, search out the weirdos. Interesting people are all hiding. You have to find them. You can find them!’ This seems like good advice to an emerging writer, because don’t we all want to say something original about things that we may or may not know? Writers must snoop and sniff around.


Then. Woah. Helen Razer. She is razor sharp, isn’t she? Helen decided that her piece ‘was too sappy to be read out loud.’ So she read something else, about – surprise, surprise – herself. She tackled narcissism, that self love which leads to death, that ‘prison of self-regard.’ It was fast, it was impassioned, and yet it offered us some sort of little revelation. ‘Sometimes I see beyond myself and I can see something a bit nicer, ‘ Razor said. ‘We will have to look into that, Alice Gage.’


Angie Hart’s piece asked ‘Why are there so many insects?’ Angie contended that ‘the number of insects has grown in direct response to my fear of them.’ Her piece explored fear, which can be a huge player in the field of love. In Angie’s case, a ‘spider in a car’ incident led to her ‘thrashing at my crotch as if it were ablaze.’ Not a great place for a story exploring love to end … or is it?


On that note, it was time to wrap it up. It was nearly midnight! As we stepped out into the night, the cobblestones shone with water. Bluestones are such a hard substance, but with reflective qualities too. Somewhat like a book. And that is why I love a hard copy literary magazine. Reflection, substance, images and words, all in a package, like in ‘one little room.’ But it’s in my hot little hand.


Follow Anna Sublet on Twitter: @subbie

Tonight! Our international premiere.

We’re very excited about the big night tonight, and if you are in Melbourne please do come along!

With Bill Henson, Angie Hart, Helen Razer, Laura Jean McKay, Darren Hanlon and Kate Holden, hosted by Nick Coyle.

1000 Pound Bend
361 Little Lonsdale St

TheFade2These turkeys will not be in attendance. They are from Sydney. They are merely a prop to illustrate how much fun might be had at an Ampersand launch. Also, good fashions.

Melbourne Launch – Facebook event now up

We’re getting very excited about the Melbourne launch of Issue 6, it’s going to be a bonza night.

Join the Facebook event here and get the details.

Ampersand Magazine


Issue 6 – One Little Room – Melbourne launch – 29th May