Imre observed at one point that one day he would make a map of the world - similar to those political maps where different political groupings are illustrated by colour - in which those areas where Murnane's books were more widely read would be illustrated by colour. Nice idea, I thought - and immediately put me in mind of a map of the Melbourne Writers' Festival, where the different contingents were illustrated by colour.
So, without further ado, I present - as a kind of homage to the writers' festival, and a kind of homage to Imre and Gerald, my Geopolitical Map of the Melbourne Writers' Festival.
KEY TO THE GEOPOLITICAL MAP OF THE MELBOURNE WRITERS' FESTIVAL
RED = Left-wing delegation. Tend to dominate the writers' festival. They take up the central position in the room, but also have substantial contingents in other parts of the festival as well.
BLUE = Right-wing death beast contingent. Far fewer in numbers than the Reds, but gather in decent numbers when one of their own (ie, Andrew Bolt, Salusinszky) is speaking. Tend to stick to their own in a corner of their room (see above) drinking alcoholic beverages (except for Chardonnay) and grumping at the elites.
GREEN = The hippy and environmentalist collective. They're not sure whether they should be there at all (writing involves so much destruction of paper, don't you know!) so they stick to the back of the room and hope no one notices them.
BLACK = Professional beatnik class. They go to all of these festivals, look very trendy, and smoke/sniff/drink/ingest-by-other-means all the fashionable drugs, but if you ask them what the festival is actually about, then they won't have a fucking clue.
ORANGE = Writers. There are a few of them at the writers' festival, after all. They tend to drift in packs of one or two, looking lonely and confused until their manager tells them to go to an event, go have some fun, or go home.
So there you go; it's almost as bad as if you were there yourself!