You've been behind the [[bar|bar]] for a few hours, it's where you feel comfortable, and it makes you feel like the host you want to be. People walk through, drawn towards the [[backyard|backyard1]] by the lights and noise, but they still smile and say hello as they pass the bar, they'll be back within twenty seconds, if they don't [[stop first|first]].
It gives you a chance to greet [[everyone|crowd]], to offer them a [[drink|drink]], to tell them where the [[toilet|toilet]] is and to make them feel at [[home|homely]]. It also saves you from long conversations. People know where you are, they'll come chat, but if it gets busy it's obvious why you have to pause the conversation. It's the best way to balance being a good [[friend|friend]] with being a good host.
But that was when it was [[busy|busy]]. It's quiet now, it's just hit ten and you're going to try close [[soon|closingtime]]. At the least you'll have to get everyone inside by eleven. You've done a few laps, played the [[games|games]], met some interesting people and had some good catch ups. Now you're free and everyone has settled into groups, so you take the time to lean against the wall and just [[watch|watch]].
This is the best part of the [[job|job]]. Everyone has had a great time and as the group of friends slowly move their drunken conversation inside you feel a mix of zen and extreme [[fatigue|fatigue]]. Everyone helps pack up, you open a bottle and bring the [[stereo|stereo]] inside with you.
The bar is just a bunch of [[milk crates|crates]] stacked together with a slab of wood on top. It's not much, but we can break it down and use those crates for anything, so it's totally worth it. At the moment the bar is wrapped in multicoloured string, still there from the catnips launch party. We'll take it off...sometime.
When we got here the backyard was a carpark. It was lumpy dirt, concrete fragments, and a grape vine. We put a lot of work into it, and now it's a great venue with a lawn, deck and bbq.
The main feature is the wall of next door's house, also known as the main game wall. It's perfect for preojections, the bricks give a great texture, and it's so visible from everywhere.
And if you leave the gate open during the day, sometimes a vagrant will come piss on your deck and you'll have to yell at them until they leave. I'm putting this in here for you Sof.
There's a few different types of people coming through right:
-people who know me and will stop to chat and pick up a drink.
-people who know someone outside who will walk through and then be back for a drink.
-people who don't know anyone who will wander around with this weird smile which honestly fills me with so much joy it's amazing. Then they settle and come get a drink.
Many people have remarked on the fact that we don't get the same crowd each event. There's a few regulars, but a huge amount of people are new each time. I really enjoy that, I think it's a huge plus for our events.
We also seem to get a pretty diverse crowd, and no one seems to get harrassed, I feel like I've just rolled sixes consistently for two years, like one day it'll come up snake eyes and shit will go down, but honestly I'm begining to think maybe we just create a good atmosphere?
Nah, it's the cheap booze and cute games.
We try to offer a cheap selection, because if you knew how much a beer cost in Perth you probably wouldn't come visit.
We want it to feel like a backyard party, not a club, so we just get out booze from uncle Dan's and sell it for slightly more. It's way cheaper than regular bars, but we still make money, which is my ideal situation.
We usually go for Coopers, because it's a great standard. Then we try give the event flavour with something different. Maybe it's king browns of whatever beer, or maybe it's gin and tonics, or goon. Whatever we choose, it usually reflects the event, and it's different to our other events. There's a [[reason|reason]] for this but it's a bit much to get into.
"It's actually quite nice!" is the classic line, because when people see it's an outhouse they assume it's a hole filled with spiders and snakes. Actually it's some amazing cistern system that runs a tap to wash your hands as it fills the tank. Pretty clever, but people don't get it and they freak out because they can't turn it off. I totally did that the first few times.
My friends love working the bar with me and they don't want to be paid. That's when you know you're doing something right, either making a good bar atmosphere or having good friends. Oh man Ari, you're the best, thank you so much, and everyone who's stepped in to take over the bar while I've gone to chat with folks and probably piss.
It doesn't get super busy, we max at 75, and that's pretty full. The bar gets deep just because that's what bars do. Everyone at the damn show decides they need a new beer at the same time, but that's not something you can fix.
I like our capacity, it's decent, yet the place doesn't feel empty when there's only fifteen people, it's all in the setup. (segmented spaces, lots of decoration, background music, that will do it.)
We have a pretty good relationship with our neighbor, but part of that is us striving to get drunk folks inside by a reasonable hour. You can turn off the games, turn off the stereo, but people's voices are louder than all of that. Especially after a heap of beers.
It's the number one problem with the office, it's in a residential area. If we were somewhere more central we could be open later, but we'd never find somewhere as amazing as our office/house. It's tough right?
Oh man, how many different games have we shown at the office. Like...a lot? But the selection is always something I'm happy about. You know you've done it right when people don't ask for any other games, no one says "how about we put x game on?".
It's been hard to define what we look for in an event game. It used to be all about local multiplayer, but then I found too many amazing things that didn't fit that mould.
My friend Yann told me his opinion, which I immediately realised was my own, which is that he has no interest in being "good" at a game. The notion is not important, yet so many games encourage it, and so many people strive for it.
Sure, try to figure out the systems, learn the controls, but accept that no one at the show is good at this, and if you win or you lose or you draw no one cares just play the damn game.
Watching people is the best thing to do in any situation. It's why we invented tv. If we could have people as pets we would. No wait, that's too close to slavery, you know what I mean.
I really like looking over the backyard, watching the interactions, watching people play, enjoying a drink. You need to chill when you do this stuff you know, there's a time when you need to enjoy yourself, otherwise why do it?
I mean I say it's my job, but we don't make money from this. I don't know what we make money from. I'll tell you when I find out.
I used to work in a bar. Mostly in the kitchen, but bits behind the bar, it was good work, fun work. I think my first bar work was at my folks company shows when I was a kid. Learning to pour a beer at 14, and oh man, those keys they use to open electrical boxes on mine sites are the best bottle openers I've ever used.
Once I got so stressed that I spontaneously bruised my leg. Like, I didn't bang it, this bruise just appeared, like my body was shutting down. I decided to chill and take a day off. Then it went away.
But it's a problem, and not something to be trivialised. If you're running events you need to delegate. You need to allocate time to chill, time to step back and time to leave all together. You'll know what you need, but the main thing is to ignore all the voices that say "you're weak for needing time off, you should be working" because that is bollocks, take days off, mornings off, any time you need off.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Another great topic: what music do you play?
It's...tough. Especially as I know no one like 90's punk and hardcore, so I have to go to my more palletable music tastes. Blues is nice, but I usually go for a decent mix, stuff like the Bronx, the Hives, Silver Lizard.
Then it gets late and it's anyones guess. The nights usually end up with us dancing to whatever someone puts on, usually the Doors or Nick Cave if Sof is around. Although I have fond memories of dancing to Iron Maiden at our exhibition in Melbourne. Good times.
I mean, the place is an old house. It's so obviously a house, people comment on it all the time. It has positives, like it's so comfortable and cosy, but it also has negatives, like the office Sof and I use doesn't have any power sockets, we bring a cord through from the kitchen.
Plus it gets hot in summer and cold in winter, but I can't imagine a better place for us. Our parties are more like house parties just by virtue of it being in an actual house.
Does anyone ever legally obtain milk crates? I saw some food franchise the other day had faux-milk crates made from wood, but really, why bother?
I remember chiselling off the logos and branding on a bunch, but no one cares, milk crates and pallets are basically public property. Use them in weird and wonderful ways, then tell me so I can copy you.
So, there's this writer, Hannah Nicklin, who's doing a piece on archiving videogames. It's an expansion on this idea that a lot of videogames are being lost to time and there's a million problems with archiving them. Like, maybe they require servers full of people, or maybe they require old hardware, or maybe the devs just don't send you the source code because they don't have to and they woke up this morning and decided to be a cunt.
I'm interested in Hanna's approach because of her background in theatre, which shares some of the same problems. I'm trying to preserve these events, like she's trying to preserve theatre, but both seem to defy preservation.
This is why we theme nights, why we change drinks and decor and posters. We want you to remember these events, because that's where this knowledge is most important. We film and all that, but really, we want people to remember each different show, although if that's true why do we serve such cheap shots... yeah.