It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve updated my blog. It’s true, I’ve been a bad boy and neglecting this space while I went and built up Queermance, and that’s still going. But right now I’m on my way back to Sydney, where you might recognise this wonderful window on Oxford Street. I probably won’t have much time to party through, as I’m off to hang out at Book Expo Australia out at Sydney Olympic Park. I’ve been invited to hang out at the Clan Destine Press Booth (J01 near the food court) by my friend and publisher Lindy Cameron, and I’ll be there to talk Queermance, possibly sell some books and wander around as someone enjoying a book event rather than the crazy guy in the background pulling all the strings. If you’d like to join me visit the website and grab a ticket–they’re insanely reasonable and range from free entry for sprogs up to a whopping $8.50 for adults.
Book Expo Australia
When – 30/31 August 2014
Where – Exhibition Hall 5, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW 2127. 10AM-5:30PM
It’s been a few months since Inheritance was published in Queermance Volume I, and it’s now been released as a stand alone short story from Amazon and Smashwords! Inheritance follows the unlife of vampire Lex Cranbourne, who we first saw in Mr Perfect, and includes the tongue in cheek humour you’d expect from a Matthew Lang story as well as no geese at all. Why no geese? Why would you want them?
Three pairs of new shoes, two old, including one pair that couldn’t be replaced on account of massive feet.
Hong Kong is renowned as a shopping destination, and has everything from the highs of high fashion to the cheapest of outdoor markets. It has midrange shopping malls filled with more H&M, Zara and Uniqlo stores than you’ll find in any of Australia’s major cities. You don’t need my help to find those, or the major markets (any guide book will take you to the Temple Street Night Markets or Jardine’s Bazaar), so here’s a few things you might either overlook, or need to know when you’re there:
1) Buy your pants at Bossini/Giordano/U2/G2000 on the first day that you get there.
This is what a Bossini store looks like. Find one early in your trip.
Although some stores, like Giordano, have made their way overseas, the thing about the Hong Kong midrange clothing chain stores is that they all will tailor your pants to suit your leg length for free. They’ll usually take about 4 days, but if you’re in a rush, they can sometimes do it faster. Still, go in and get your trousers done early. And if you have the choice between going to one of these places, Zara or H&M, shop here. You’ll mostly be getting basics, but it’s a great place to stock up.
2) Most of the good places don’t open until noon—at the earliest.
A lot of the following places don’t open until noon at the earliest. Many of them are best to visit after 3PM. So if you’re going to pack the most into your day, I suggest doing something touristy in the morning, and going shopping in the afternoon. Or you could just sleep in until lunchtime and start your day later. Your call really.
3) Place: Causeway Place, 2-10 Great George Street, Causeway Bay – Urban Fashion
Crazy Fashion in Causeway Place: The best place for men’s Urban Fashion in Hong Kong–according to Matthew.
Causeway Place is two stories of funky local fashion toys and bric-a-brac for men and women. It’s largely for the locals, but you can often get by with English. Causeway place is one of the most easily accessible places where you’ll find trendy urban street fashion that’s years ahead of the west at a lower price than you’d pay for something more generic in Chadstone. For men, I particularly recommend visiting Crazy Fashion, which now has three stores on the second level. Not only can you pick up some great pieces for about AUD $50 each. I’ve been visiting this place for about 7 years, and it’s been around for 8 or so, and it has everything from printed t-shirts to assymetrical tops to subtly two toned pants. Also, the designer, Keith, ensures that there are sizes available for Caucasian men too, as he sells to the US market as well. If you’d like a preview, you can find Crazy fashion on Facebook, or shop at the online store in the US. If you want to bring Crazy Fashion into Australia, Keith is looking for a distributer here, so by all means get in touch with him about it.
Most stores here open after noon, but for best results, don’t bother showing up until at least 3PM.
4) Place: Oriental 188, 188 Wan Chai Street, Wan Chai – Urban Fashion and electronics
188 is a little tricky to get to, but you can either catch a bus, or walk from the Wan Chai or Causeway Bay MTR Stations. It’s a place I discovered late in my recent trip, but it’ll be high on the list next time around. 188 sells a mix of video games, fashion, consumer electronics, anime and collectable figurines. You’ll find some funky duds that aren’t available in some of the other malls, and the staff speak enough English that you shouldn’t have any problems. If you’re staying on Hong Kong Island and are after video games, come here. If you’re on the north side, you’re probably better off going to Golden Computer Arcade in Sham Shui Po.
5) Place: Wan Chai Computer Centre, 130-138 Hennessy Rd – Computer hardware, desktops, laptops and tablets
If you’re looking for a new computer, you’ll probably find it cheaper in Hong Kong. Let’s face it, most of the components that go into the computer are made in China and Hong Kong is much closer to China than you probably are. While you’ll find software and peripherals anywhere, this is still the place to go for the computer itself, and they’re used to tourists coming through to shop. I recommend knowing exactly what you want before you go (down to the processor core, RAM and model number if you’re buying a laptop or tablet), and don’t forget to ask for the best price—in several stores if need be. You can easily walk away with a deep discount on your local retail price if you know how much you’d pay back home.
The first shops will open at 10AM. For best results, come after 11AM. 12 noon is better.
6) Place: Trendy Zone, Chow Tai Fook Centre, 580A-580F Nathan Rd – Urban Fashion
Not as good as Causeway Place or 188 in my opinion, but this is probably the place the go on the north side of the harbour. It’s a bit more mass produced, so expect to find a number of stores with the same clothes—or the same clothes that you might see in other malls in the area. You’ll probably find it a little easier getting through this place than some of the other malls though. They probably won’t look on in shock if you walk in here with a white person (or two in my case).
7) Fa Yuen Street, Yau Ma Tei
Also known as ‘Sneaker Street’, this is the place to go to for brand new shoe designs at outlet prices—expect to pay up to AUD $90 (HKD $600) on the newer models. You’ll find store after store after store here selling Nikes, Adidas, Converse as well as the occasional Puma, Lacoste and other big brands. You’ll occasionally find a few one off shops here, but expect the price to double for more unique brands. Shoe sizes on Fa Yuen street top out around European foot size 45 for men, which is UK 10.5 or US 11, so if you’re a man who needs big shoes, you’re probably going to have to shop in the US, or online. Sorry ladies, but not having travelled with a woman with extremely large feet I can’t help you with your top sizes. I can tell you they don’t make ladies shoes in the double digit ranges (for US and UK), but that’s only because one of my male friends really wanted a couple of women’s shoe designs that they just didn’t have in his size.
Most shops on Fa Yuen street don’t open until at least 10AM. For best results, come around 4 PM.
And…that’s it. That’s pretty much my top tips for a Hong Kong holiday. Hope it helps if you’re planning a visit anytime soon.
Everyone who knows me, knows that food is a giant part of my life. It’s the main reason I won’t be on the cover of men’s health anytime soon, but you know, I can live with that. Hong Kong has a rich culinary history, starting with the local Cantonese cuisine, the food brought in by the British, to the food of the Imperial Chinese cooks who fled the Boxer Rebellion in the 1920s. While the Michelin guide hasn’t come to Australia (we have Chefs Hats anyway), it has gone to Asia, and the most amazing thing I found is that some of the places I liked going were Michelin starred restaurants. And I simply went there for great food at under AUD $20 a head. So here are the top three places you really should visit when you’re in Hong Kong if you want some amazing food.
1) Tim Ho Wan – Central, IFC Mall.
Baked BBQ Pork Buns Pineapple Bun style. Probably the most outstanding dish on the menu. Or the only outstanding dish on the menu according to some. Photo by Daniel Ang. I was too busy eating to take one. Whoops!
Tim Ho Wan is a place I first visited when it was a tiny hole in the wall in Yau Ma Tei on the mainland side of Kowloon. I think the official opening hours were somewhere around the 11 AM to 2PM and then 5PM to 10PM mark if what I read on the shop front was any indication. The gaggle of desperate people around the front suggested otherwise. Also the fact that we rocked up at one and were told we could be waiting two hours for a table. We got in about 45 minutes later, but that more or less set the scene for this Michelin starred dim sum restaurant. When you approach to get a table you’re handed a menu (English or Chinese) with a number scribbled down on it and you choose what food you want to order and in what quantity—personally I highly recommend the baked pork buns. If you’ve ever had a chicken pie at a good yum cha with its pastry soft, short and crumbling with that hint of a sugar crunch before biting into the creamy pie filling, it’s a bit like that, only with the sweet, sticky succulence of amazing BBQ pork on the inside. The restaurant has become a bit of a chain with a number of outlets, but the easiest to find is the one in Central, IFC mall. It’s where you go to access the in town check in for your flight out. There was still a forty minute wait for a table when I rocked up on Sunday, and we still sat at communal tables as the staff tried to squeeze everyone in. And the food still arrived piping hot and tasty about five minutes after we sat down. That’s what I call a la minute cooking. Expect to . . . → Read More: Hong Kong: Food – Top 3
Taken from Wikipedia. As you can see by the story, I’m not really one for photos.
Hong Kong is for three things: Fashion, Food and Fun. If you want to have four Fs, you could very easily add Friends to the list as well. I used to live in Hong Kong when I was younger. My dad got a job there in 1994, three years before the territory returned to China, and I spent all of my high school years there. In the process I gained permanent residency there, and to keep it I have to go back every three years. This year, two of my friends, Kris and Jared, came with me, and well, we spent a week blowing our budgets on really good food, clothes, shoes, Monster Hunter action figures, and the theme parks. Well, okay, one theme park and Disneyland.
Of course, you don’t care about any of that, so if you don’t want to read the rest of my ramblings and just get the travel goodies, feel free to jump straight to the food, shopping, or travel tips posts.
Hong Kong, for me, has always been this vibrant place that’s sort of home, but sort of not. I grew up on the south end of the island, because my mother refused to live in a high rise apartment, and spent my days playing computer games, Warhammer (Fantasy and Elves for preference), and role playing with a select bunch of geeks. It isn’t really until I left, grew up a bit, and went back that I felt comfortable enough to seek out the things I missed while I was there—the tiny shopping malls with the best of Hong Kong’s urban fashion. The best places to get electronics because Australia was so much more expensive—something I didn’t realize at the time. Where was the best food, given that my teenage palate was more inclined towards burgers and steak than the joy that is Michelin starred dim sum at outrageously affordable prices. So without further ado, please check out my top tips for an amazing holiday in Hong Kong.
1) Decide what you want to do.
Cards Against Humanity makes a great travel game for things like ferries and planes. But that’s probably not all you want to do on holiday, right?
It seems silly, but the basic fact of the matter is that there’s far too much to do in Hong Kong, and unless you’re planning on staying there for a few months, you’re not going to have time to do it all. So work out what you want to do, bearing in mind that if you go in the hot season you’ll be sweating buckets and if you’re there in the wet season you’ll be facing days of rain. I also recommend allowing for a rest day or two. You’re going to need it. To be honest, draw up a list of things to do and then use it as a reference of things . . . → Read More: Travels in Hong Kong: Top 7 Travel Tips
Today, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report as experts point out that climate change has the potential to wipe out humanity. Prime Minister Abbott responded with a new slogan “Who fucking cares?”, he was later overheard saying that the people most impacted by climate change were Labor and Green voters anyway.
When a particularly persistent journalist asked if National Party voters had any reason to be concerned, the Prime Minister replied that Australia was a land of droughts and flooding rains and would continue to be so. Political commentators have also mentioned that pandering to the National Party could suggest that the Liberal Party was incapable of obtaining a mandate for its policies by itself and needed to form a coalition with a minor party in order to get elected.
Mr Abbott later reiterated that he was focused on implementing this big policies, including funding maternity leave for rich executives by cutting welfare to single mothers and bailing out mining companies with proceeds from cutting the carbon tax. When asked how reduced funding from the removal of the emissions trading system would allow him to prop up wealthy mining companies Mr Abbott nodded his head for five minutes and then told the journalist he’d received the answer ‘he deserved’.
Yes, this is a work of satire. — Matthew Lang
Giving Birthg – The Art of Getting Published at Queermance 2014. From Left: Alison Mann (Silver Publishing/Rooster and Pig), Jacob Coates (Jaffa Books), Lindy Cameron (Clan Destine Press), and host Nicholas G Frank
So I’ve been neglecting my little website since November (sorry everyone), but I’ve been doing it for a very good reason – I hope. I’ve taken on the task of Festival Director for Queermance 2014, which is the first of hopefully an ongoing series of events celebrating Queer fiction and Queer Romance. We’re up and running this weekend, and I’m writing this from the back of the room actually. There’s been a fantastic turnout for the conference so far and we’ve already launched our Anthology, including my second footnoted Lex story, called Inheritance. The Anthology is available for gold coin donation for the next two days at our evening Queermance events, and you find can find our full program at the Queermance website. I personally recommend coming along to the Sunday Night Queerbaret, and we also have a sex toy workshop running which I highly recommend.
It’s just about that time of year where we lock Matthew in the basement and make him subsist on a diet of grilled cheese sandwiches and black coffee while churning out 50,000 words (it’s okay, we have paramedics on standby). Although he did announce plans to write interactive fiction, he now looks set to start work on a sequel to Dragonslayer, the book he’s currently pitching to a number of different publishing houses.
We are, of course, busy trying to get video footage from OzmmMeet 2013 up on youtube, so you can all see what happened, and we’re still a few videos away, but you can view the current uploads here, and we’ll add more throughout November as soon as our ancient machine finishes rendering the video. We’ll also embed a few here throughout the month for everyone who’s as lazy as us.
Matthew’s also updated his rebel scorecard for NaNoWriMo, although we understand the changes consisted of replacing “2012″ with “2013″. We think you could have done that yourself, but it’s here for the downloading if you like. You can also use it as a normal scorecard, but it’s here for rebels like Matthew–he’s already started writing Moonchild, which is against the NaNoWriMo guidelines, but he wouldn’t listen when we said the muses wouldn’t be impressed. He muttered something about his muse being wonderful, understanding and hot, but didn’t elaborate further.
More on that as it develops, hopefully.
Download the NaNoWrimo 2013 Rebel scorecard here
So it looks like The Bookshop in Darlinghurst has a new window display for OzmmMeet–and I’m in there. Woo!
Don’t forget, you can still register for OzmmMeet and get that 15% discount!
Matthew will be attending AQRM’s OzmmMeet 2013. That’s a lot of letters, but it’s basically a get together for authors, aspiring authors and readers interested in the writing process to hang out, chat and discuss all things writing and the future of the M/M Romance Genre–or even if M/M Romance is actually the correct genre to describe the writing we do, read and love.
Registration costs $100 for the three day weekend, and includes all panels, and discounts at The Bookshop to the tune of 15% on all full priced books and 20% off all full priced DVDs. Stock in the upstairs saleroom or on the AQRM sale table will also be discounted by a further 20% when you show your conference ID. Currently panels will include discussions on what goes into a book published in the M/M fiction genre, publishing and editing discussions and marketing tips. There will also be a sex toy workshop, featuring an appearance by Dick Savvy (Mr Sydney Leather 2012). Other conference attendees include author Isabelle Rowan, Silver Publishing Editor Alison Mann and SX Columnist Barry Lowe.
There is also a free party at the Midnight Shift open to the public on Saturday the 12th of October:
Where: The Midnight Shift, 85-91 Oxford Street‚ Darlinghurst, Sydney When: Saturday 12th October, 6:30 PM Cost: Free
For more information, join AQRM on Facebook to find out about future meets.