Festival time 2: Dog Days

I had heard that the Melbourne Writers Festival was supposed to be all trendy and new! new! new! and trying to attract the yoof this year, but yesterday the crowd looked exactly the same as it always has – elderly and well off. Slightly fewer hats and scarves than usual, but only because it was such a beautiful warm day.

We didn’t actually go to any sessions except Jane Clifton’s late-night panel in the tent (a bunch of authors drinking and yakking – all I can say is I’m glad it was free), but we hung around during the day because Chris was helping Tony Moore hire and set up a projector to show a film about his Barry McKenzie book. So my main job was to look after our new puppy, Loofy (see here for name explanation). Loofy got kissed and cuddled by many, many besotted elderly women (and Adam Ford) who were drinking wine in the sunshine between sessions. The up-side was that I ended up talking about Women of the Gobi with quite a few dog-lovers, all of whom promised to buy it. So I got to spruik at the festival without even being a guest.

Update: Chris insists I have to make it clear that the dog’s name is spelled Luffy (with an umlaut, I suppose, for the long u…). Everyone take note if you’re sending the dog a birthday card. Sigh.

2 Responses to “Festival time 2: Dog Days”

  1. david tiley says:

    Are their dogs in the cultures around the Gobi Desert? What do they look like? This is a serious question.

    I am trying to find the real origins of my dog, which is a Tibetan Spaniel.

  2. kate says:

    I didn’t observe any of the Han or Uyghur people in the Gobi region keeping dogs (which isn’t to say they don’t – I’m no expert). But in Qinghai province, which is south of the Gobi and north of Tibet (and historically part of the Tibetan world), many people kept long-haired Tibetan dogs with big heads. They seem to be mainly trained as guard dogs, and are pretty vicious. In the 1930s, Mildred Cable wrote: ‘Of all the wild beasts which surround us, the one of which we are most afraid is the domestic dog. Among the Tibetan tents he roves at large, a huge, shaggy, dark-brown creature, showing his fearsome teeth.’

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