‘Abbey Normal’ perhaps

Maybe it’s because I’m quite pedantic and a little bit obsessive-compulsive when I blog and put stuff in people’s faces, that I had to take issue with this.

Okay. Here’s the deal.

Belvoir Street Theatre, which has been around for just over a quarter of a century, was established by a bunch (a ‘posse’? A ‘consortium’? A ‘cult’? I don't really know…) of theatre practitioners. It’s a cool place. It’s long been the home of Theatresports seasons. It’s always the home of interesting and engaging theatre. And its downstairs theatre is nowadays often the home of great Aussie comics delivering ‘trial shows’ before embarking on fully-fledged seasons of new work.

So Belvoir Street Theatre have gone and compiled a book to mark their… not-quite-quarter of a century? I’m not sure, because although the book is called 25 Belvoir Street, that is also the address of the theatre.

I knowFacebook is the place to bring lots of people’s attention to your stuff, and it is by now de rigueur to unofficially go about officially making your ‘offhanded, whatever, I just happen to be mentioning it’ unofficial campaign there. But you can’t be half-arsed about making your fully-arsed campaign look half-arsed. Too much effort at being ‘casual’ ends up looking ‘incompetent’.

Let me illustrate:

The Belvoir Street Theatre page announces, “Abbey’s Bookshop have put up some lovely pictures of 25 Belvoir Street” (my italics – so you know they’re referring to photos of the book rather than photos of the building at 25 Belvoir Street).

No they haven’t. Check them out:


Even for a Facebook status update, they’ve overstated their case. These aren’t ‘lovely photographs’. They look more like someone vaguely aimed a camera in the general direction of the book – perhaps during a coffee break, while valiantly trying not to coffee or cake crumbs on the pages – and barely managed to make you feel as though you weren’t peeking awkwardly over their shoulder (though not while standing behind them so much as being suspended above them by the feet from the corner of the room after it had been rotated to an elevation of about 37 degrees from the horizontal) and yet stil managed, in the process of apparent ‘haphazard’ photography, to capture the most enticingly sale-able of ‘lovely’ photos in the book, of Cate Blanchett.

Despite an either excellent campaign to look truly half-arsed, or an utterly half-arsed campaign to try and look not quite completely crap, they do manage to produce one or two pictures that suggest the book might actually be good – and by ‘good’, I mean, ‘sturdily bound with a nice spine and an eye-catching cover with a nicely retro heading font’.

But I guess, in a technological age when everyone wants to download stuff for free, anything that makes what is a digital photograph accessed via social networking software look as far removed from the iPod interface as possible is going to grab your attention. Heck, in the time it’s taken me to dribble this modium of scornful bile I’ve also advertised Belvoir Street Theatre, their book, and Abbey’s Bookshop. So job well done, sloppy photographer and indifferent status updater(s).

How about a ‘review’ copy of 25 Belvoir Street then, so that I may spank off to the yummy photo of Cate Blanchett without having to hang from the ceiling at an odd angle? Although, for all you know, that’s probably my thing anyway, and if I hadn’t let it slip here, you’d not realise until sensationalised news broke of the discovery of my rock’n’roll corpse, some years hence…

(‘Too far’, you’re thinking, right? Why did I have to go there? Look back at the photos. Why are the only two images of actors – rather than images of the book’s spine and cover which, to a bibliophile, could be argued to be just as sexy – depict women in essentially the same leggy, ‘look at me’, sensual poses? Perhaps that’s why they are at such awkward angles – the furtive photographer isn’t balancing a mug of tea or a runny meat pie in the hand not wielding the camera, clearly…)

In conclusion: these are rather ordinary photos of lovely images.

So may I have that review copy then?

PS Dude in charge of updating the Abbey’s Bookshop Facebook page – it’s a ‘sneak’ peek, not a ‘sneek’ peek. But as I have rendered it, it is also a sneak peak.

Get in touch and I’ll give you the address to send that copy of the book…