My first Readings session saw the launch of Project Elarti, a magazine by the boys of Neohikayat. I was among the earliest arrivals, besides Sharon Bakar and Nicholas. Other highlights of the event included Sharon's forgetfulness, an incident with a recalcitrant wine cork, and my first glimpse of a blook.
The crowd was smart, open and unafraid of the new and unexplored, not to mention much more cosmopolitan, with more Malays and Caucasians. The atmosphere was not unlike that of a penny university where intellectuals gathered to talk shop, split hairs or gossip over a warm cuppa. Frankly, I felt intimidated.
I was very much afraid of yawning or falling asleep during the readings; most of them read their own pieces. Original works. No cop-outs reciting Hemingway, Burns or Tennyson here. Fortunately, I stayed relatively awake during the whole session, which was interrupted by the muezzin from a nearby mosque.
Sorry about the wine bottle, Sharon. I'll practise.
KY's Christmas Eve Party
There was a surprise at the party: the attendance of ex-colleague WildGuy. At a birthday party last year, I found out the KY and WildGuy worked at KLCC, and assumed they'd eventually bump into each other. They did and are practically best friends now.
WildGuy hasn't changed; he's very much that pumped, angry, unrestrained, sexist, misogynistic, ultra-macho xenophobe he was a couple of years ago (still the same bundle of fun). I missed his frank and unvarnished assessments about everything, including myself. I also discovered that his angst remains at the same level, sober or otherwise.
Overall the party atmosphere was quite muted (but still intoxicating), at least up till the Secret Santa session; Fireangel, the Spice of Every Party was elsewhere that night. Though I knew why I couldn't drink, the word "allergy" disappeared from my vocabulary that evening, which was how I ended up being force-fed alcohol from a communal Grail. I also tore my knuckles open bashing the punching bag that hung in KY's kitchen (with some encouragement from WildGuy.
I made it home safe. Thankfully, there wasn't a single police roadblock.