In the night air

October 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I was early.

I was also, I have to say, pretty damn excited.

Sitting in a cafe with a strong coffee and an open notebook, I rolled the pen between my fingertips and tried to write. But I couldn’t take my eyes off the building opposite, watching everyone who came in and out.

The day before I headed off on holiday in August, I got an email from a producer at the ABC, asking to record four of my stories for Radio National. I packed this little nugget of joy in my suitcase and at times in Mississippi, Louisiana or Tennessee, I’d reach under the red pencil skirts and gingham halterneck tops in my luggage for a quick stroke of this delicious news; truly something to look forward to on my return.

And so I finished my coffee, closed my notebook, and headed across the road into the ABC’s Southbank studios.

I’m fortunate enough to have recorded my stories for the ABC before, in Sydney last year. This time, I’d well and truly rested my vocal chords in preparation. After three hours in the recording booth last November, I’d come out sounding like Marianne Faithfull after a night of moonshine. And Cuban cigars.

This time, I was put in a tiny booth with a cup of water, a microphone, and headphones. I knew to remove my jangly bracelet and pull my stories, edited to within an inch of their little lives, out of their noisy plastic pocket. And then down the line from Sydney came Lea, the producer, and Phillip, the sound engineer, and we were off and running.

I leaned into the microphone and spoke of sinister puppeteers lurking on the cobblestone corners of a Czech city, of an obsessive compulsive disorder involving an ink stained tongue, and a carnival where the fairy floss turned black and withered on the sticks, one by one.

And let me tell you, it was SO MUCH FUN.

Two of the stories, ‘The old man with birds for hands’ and ‘Swallow,’ will be broadcast this Sunday (October 28th) on ABC Radio National, as part of their Night Air programme. It’ll also be replayed the Friday the following week (November 2nd) at 8pm, and will be available as a podcast on the Radio National website soon. If you’re in Melbourne tune in to 621AM, with different frequencies for other Australian cities. If other parts of the world greet your feet each day, it’s available to be streamed live on the Radio National website.

So if you’re home on Sunday, curl up on the couch, uncork a bottle of red, and let me tell you some bedtime stories.

And if I mispronounce the name of the Czech church the old man loiters at, please don’t tell me.



  1. gretchen cello said,

    i will forever travel any length to hear your voice. thank you for the invitation, divine woman.

  2. inkymouth said,

    Whenever you want to hear it, my love, you know to call. Love you, and your ink.

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