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– by Kira Omernik

The Record Store

Friday March 20

If you were looking for a low-key, intimate experience last Friday night then Lisa Sampson’s Listen In would have been right up your alley. The event invited guests to share a piece of music that had meaning to them.

The Record Store was transformed into an ambient chillout space with a selection of old couches facing each other in a circle. Pink and purple lights reflected onto a large projector screen where the stage had previously sat. The space provided a great canvas for this type of event, the low lighting in the room and the artistic surrounds creating an easy, intimate feel.

People straggled in and sat down on the couches where they were greeted with a casual “How you going?” and warm smile from Sampson. The air was filled with little sparks of nervousness and anticipation. How do I connect songs to literature? Is sharing personal stories my thing? Will this be enjoyable?

Sampson was effective in engaging everybody and encouraged people to express themselves freely when discussing their musical tastes. The group consisted of young creative types, with most participants having a similar taste in music. This created a relaxed and coincidentally banjo-themed playlist!

Sampson got the ball rolling with an Oh Mercy classic and with a retelling of a school-aged anecdote about Shakespeare. The group slowly unravelled from their nervous coils and fell into a relaxed, comfortable mood.

Any remaining anxieties were officially dispelled when one participant gave a language warning for their upcoming tune, using the phrase “curse words”, to which another replied with a Harry Potter reference.

It was an interesting idea – a group of strangers coming together to share tea, music and literary experiences. Sampson explained that she had spent one late night spontaneously doing this with friends, inspiring her to produce this event. She also mentioned her plans to start a new trend of listening parties around Canberra, saying that she would like to continue this event monthly. This suggestion was met by some excited “Can I give you my email?” responses as people left.

The tone of Listen In was dependable and nice and reflected the participants’ tastes. Its success was not dictated by the event format or the effort that went into planning it. It proved how variable an experience can be depending on its contributors. Listen In matched its environment and target audience well and was enjoyed by all.

(Photo credit: Yasmin Masri)


IMG_0807Kira is a coastal export living in Canberra. She writes everything from critical essays to purple poetry and spends most of her time laughing. She currently writes articles for university of Canberra’s Curiuex magazine, as well as writing and singing songs to her dog Hazard. Kira explores all the colourful facets of being in your twenties and faking it till you make it through her blog, articles and notes stuck on her friends walls. You can find her blog here: http://wurdss.weebly.com/1/post/2014/09/the-cheshire-trees.html

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