June newsletter

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Desire Books & REcords shopfront
  Balloon in June  

The Moon’s a Balloon according to David Niven’s first volume of memoirs (currently in the $2 bin out the front of the shop; it’s a cracking read, as is the follow-up Bring on the Empty Horses). But June’s a balloon at Desire, and we’ll tell you why further down.

Meanwhile, this month sees stunning new artwork on the wall with the exhibition opening on Sunday (you’re not working Monday, so come and drink responsibly and buy art recklessly) with additional sculptures on display for the first few days.

While we’re having our first Writers Rumble and second Tell Me A Story session this month, there’s no Burning Desire (if you found this out the hard way this month, sorry, but the easy way would have been to consult either one of the last two mail-outs).

In other news, there are a lot of excellent books in, and, as always, a groovy and often quirky selection of records.

A quick summary of upcoming events is to follow, with more detail, new arrivals et cetera below. And while I will send weekly reminders of upcoming gigs, I will also change the ‘latest acquisition’ information each time.

Speaking of which, since we’re one of the last independent, stand-alone secondhand bookshops in the known universe*, and there’s nowhere else to trade/donate books, we’re all full at the moment. We won’t be accepting any more books to trade until further notice. But the good news is, we have heaps and heaps and heaps (and heaps!) to sell you. Come in, check ’em out, read about them in these newletters.

Or just come to some of our cool events.

See you soon.




*Within walking distance, more-or-less…
Wide Brown Land (Mungo, NSW) (c) Maria Romeo

Maria Romeo


Selections from

Sunburnt Country and Friends not Food
Desire Books and Records.
Opening night: Sunday 10 June
Time: 6-8pm

Note: Sculptures only on display Sunday 10 to Tuesday 12

Artist Statement

Humans are fascinating creatures. I am constantly in awe over how I react to concepts, situations or vistas and how different my reactions can be from the reactions of other people.

My creative practice includes painting, drawing, photography and sculpting (wood, metal and found objects). As much as I can, I look at the ways people interact in the works I create. For example, in recent exhibitions I have explored three aspects of the human
  • Identity and the social masks we wear to protect ourselves in everyday interaction (Who Are You portraits exhibition Sep 2016);
  • The sense of belonging when we are less connected to the environment as travellers through unfamiliar landscapes (Sunburnt Country series as part of Other Worlds exhibition, Jan 2017); and
  • The relationships we form with our pets and our ability disassociate the whole animal from the portioned, packaged animal products that are readily available in supermarkets for our consumption (Friends not Food series as part of Abundance exhibition Oct 2017).
Here, at Desire Books & Records, I present a selection of pieces from both Sunburnt Country and Friends not Food series.

In this cosy and inviting space filled with words, I hope you are inspired to talk about the art works you see. How do they make you feel? Do you just want to look at them? Do any of them remind you of somewhere you have been before or how a place made you feel? Do you hate any of them and want to tell me about that? Do you hate the old-fashioned frames? Did you come in to look for a particular book or have any of the things I have said piqued your interest to find something new to read?

I hope that art in general, and my art works specifically, give you a reason to have a conversation with someone and be connected with other people whether you know them already or not.

Wide Brown Land (Mungo, NSW), above;
Wilbur, below.
Both images and original artworks (c) Maria Romeo

Wilbur (c) Maria Romeo

  Coming Up  

More info on each of these events to follow below
  • Sunday 10 June (evening): Selections from Sunburnt Country and Friends not Food Exhibition featuring the work of Maria Romeo
  • Tuesday 12 June (evening): Writers Rumble - our writers group returns
  • Friday 15 June (morning): new regular event Tell Me a Story – story time for 3 to 5-year-olds and their mums (or dads or grannies or nannies or au pairs or pops or memaws or governesses or fairy godmothers)
  • Tuesday 26 June (evening): Bonfire @ Desire – Open Mic Night. This month’s theme: Balloon
  • Tuesday 3 July (evening): Burning Desire – Shamanic Healing Practices with Louise Gilmore

  What’s In Store for You  

The Adventures of Marlon Bundo

Not sure if you’ve been following this story…
The family of US Vice President Mike Pence have a pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo. Author Charlotte Pence, the Veep’s author daughter, and Karen Pence, an educator and artist who also happens to be the Second Lady of the United States, collaborated on a children’s book about Marlon Bundo entitled A Day in the Life of the Vice President.
Inspired by the book about the Pence bunny in addition to the Veep’s propensity towards homophobia, John Oliver unveiled his own take on the book with a new tome entitled A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, in which a similar bunny rabbit meets, falls in love and marries another boy-rabbit. Oliver revealed this masterpiece, written by Marlon Bundo himself with Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller, on his show, Last Week Tonight. It was available the day before the Pence book. And A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo significantly outsold A Day in the Life of the Vice President in no time at all. Selling out its original print run of – whatever it was; 160,000? – it topped the Best Selling Children’s Books and the Best Selling Adult’s Books lists.
Why am I telling you about it?
Because Desire Books and Records was onto it from the outset.
“I was watching Last Week Tonight and got online before Oliver had even finished talking about it,” Julia said. “I got some for the store.”
If you have been in during the last week or so and not noticed the book, there is a reason for that.
Following trend, the books were on display for only a couple of days before Desire sold out. But it was a pleasure to watch customers walk in, spot the book, give it a bit of, “Oh my god, you’ve got a copy of this!” and proceed to regale their shopping companions with the backstory before snaffling a copy.
But why are we telling you?
Because we’ve already got a bunch on order before the next print run sells out.
Pop in and reserve your copy by placing a deposit on it. Or be lucky enough to come in if and when the non-reserved copies make it onto the shelf, and give it a bit of, “Oh my god, you’ve got a copy of this!” yourself.

Psychology Books

Some of the psychology primary texts I was learning from in my undergraduate uni days – and a lot more of the ones I should have been, had I not been too busy majoring in extra-curricular activities. The difference is, this lot are earlier editions with their distinctive – and often times much, much nicer – cover art.

Quite a collection – if you have the time come peruse our psychology shelves.
Spiritual / Theosophical Books

“When I realized that [ancient wisdom] … had been handed down … from generation to generation for thousands of years, and yet had reached our day almost unchanged …. I … regretted having begun too late to give the legends of antiquity the immense significance that I now understand that they really have.”
– George Gurdjieff


“In 1907 I found theosophical literature, which was prohibited in Russia–Blavatsky, Olcott, Besant, Sinnett, etc. It produced a very strong impression on me although I at once saw its weak side. The weak side was that, such as it was, it had no continuation. But it opened doors for me into a new and bigger world…”
– Piotr Ouspensky
Sure, I’ve heard of these intrepid intellectuals who journeyed to the east as the journeyed within, to question the traditions of psychology, philosophy and religion, bringing back ancient knowledge and building upon it. But I never really read much of their work. And now there is a whole trove of it, along with other esoteric works that transgress those borders of science and spirituality. What a gorgeous collection. I’m gonna pretend it’s my personal library – until they’re all sold. Until then, I hope to absorb some of the extensive knowledge by osmosis.
A Novel Way of Telling a Story…

Oscar was in the store the other day, picking up books seemingly at random. But it wasn’t random at all. No, Oscar told the story of his most recent 24 hours. Through the titles of books. The story is full-on. But the concept is cute. Come on in and ‘write’ your own. (And the please return to books as close to the bits of shelf you found them on as possible.)
Writers Rumble (in the Jungle)

  Writers Rumble Returns  

Writers Rumble is a group for aspiring writers of all levels and genres to come share, discuss and review each other’s work.

We aim to provide a safe environment for valid criticism while supporting your creativity and growth as a writer.

Writers Rumble is hosted by Desire Books and Records at the shop, 3/3 Whistler St, Manly, on the second Tuesday of every month.

Our next session will be on 12 June at 7pm.

Bring 6-8 copies of something you're working on, and the group will kindly-yet-thoroughly polish your work until it shines like the moon.

If you’re coming to the next session, please email Kiah Daly so that we know how many we’ll have.
More info here.
Story telling - by Olivia

  Children’s Story Time  

Our next Children’s Story Time takes place Friday 15 June and continuing on the third Friday of each month thereafter. This is specifically designed for the kids who aren’t at school or kindy, to attend with their mums (or dads/grannies/nannies/au pairs/pops/memaw/governesses/fairy godmothers), with stories, sing-a-longs and some audience participation.

If you’ve got a child, or know someone else who does, who’d be interested, please let them know. (And let us know if they/you are coming.)

More info here.
Balloon in June Bonfire @ Desire Open Mic - graphic created by Demetrius Romeo
As you know, our Bonfire @ Desire Open Mic Night always takes place on the last Tuesday of the month. This month it will fall on 26 June. Which just happens to be the 224th anniversary of the first attempt at aerial reconnaissance. By hot air balloon. So why not make our theme for the night ‘Balloon’? It’s been said that a balloon’s not a balloon until you let the balloon go (by one of the characters in Ivan Southall’s Let the Balloon Go). But you don’t have to base a whole children’s novel around it. Take it any direction you like – from flight, to partying, to prophylaxis. It’s your call.

Anyone can perform, or just come and watch.
On the night: show begins 8pm sharp.
Performers: arrive 7:30pm even if you intend to be on in the second half.
Entry by gold coin donation.

More info here.
Burning Desire 3rd July - graphic created by Demetrius Romeo
More info here.
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