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Lost Sydney Patches

December 15, 2014


Lost Sydney Patches Set

I’ve been working with the excellent Katy B Plummer of the Felt Underground to make these Lost Sydney souvenir patches. They’re inspired by my work at my Sydney blog Mirror Sydney, and feature four of Sydney best past attractions: the Marie Louise Salon on Enmore Road, the Kings Cross Waxworks, the Magic Kingdom Amusement Park and the Sydney Monorail.

The patches are available in limited quantities, so if you’d like to order one check out either the Felt Underground etsy store, or my Vanessa Berry etsy store.


Women in Clothes

November 10, 2014

Women in Clothes

I’m one of the 639 other authors of Women in Clothes, and this means a few slivers of my opinion on this complicated topic can be found inside this lovely book. It’s based on a survey that was open to anyone to fill in, with questions like “Do you remember a time in your life when you dressed quite differently from how you do now?” and “What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had with someone on the subject of fashion or style?” The survey is, indeed, still open if you’re the kind of person who, like me, enjoys a good questionnaire.

One of the things I do with my time is teach writing, and one of the things I often say to my students, when they can’t think of what to write, is: think of a time when you really wanted to read something about a particular topic, and you couldn’t find anything. Then write that story. Good stories, I continue, often start their lives as a question. In the introduction to Women in Clothes Sheila Heti writes of the moment when she came up with the idea for Women in Clothes, and it was through a similar desire. She’d decided, after a lifetime of not thinking very much about clothes, to figure out how to dress. She rode her bike to a bookstore to look for the book that was about what women thought as they dressed and shopped. There was no such book.

Now this book exists, and it’s full of stories in all their candour and strangeness. Some stories I can relate to, such as Sadie Stein’s tale of transformative clothes that, whenever you wear them, something changes. I’d met a few powerful dresses in my time, an evil wig, a squirrel brooch with magical powers. Other stories make me think what utterly different creatures other humans can be. There’s photos of collections of unworn necklaces and striped shirts, navy blazers and lipstick blots. It is a little like sitting in a new friend’s bedroom, cross-legged on the bed, while they show you outfits from their wardrobe, trying to decide what to wear. Your eyes roam around the room, taking in everything.

There’s a clothes-swap launch for Women in Clothes at the Sydney Story Factory on December 2, and details of other events at the Women in Clothes website.

After reading the book I got to thinking what I might have written about clothes in the past. I’ve written plenty about op shopping but the one story that came to mind was this story about dresses and kisses. 50 shades of polyester… here is some of the story, originally from I am a Camera #11, from 2007, a long time ago.

Dress 1


Dress 3

Dress 4

Celery Girl

August 31, 2014

Looking through my papers the other night – and “my papers” is not one concertina file of neatly organised documents, let me tell you – I found the Schreurs celery girl.



She has long been my favourite produce box mascot, I with her beauty spot and crest of hair. I’d imagine her to be very healthy, with her diet of celery. I was pleased to find her in a cardboard envelope of otherwise unrelated papers (though what would be related, a collection of fruit and vegetable mascots carefully cut out from boxes? If only). Because a few months ago I noticed that her diet of celery had transformed her into another girl altogether.


schreurs 2

21st Century celery girl, I know times change, and it must be nice to give the bikini a rest, but I do miss the old you.


My Imaginary Musical Career

August 1, 2014

Recently I was asked if I had ever been in a band, and in the way of the longtime memoirist I thought “I’ve written something about that”. I dug through the big pile of zines I’ve made over the years until I found a newsletter I wrote in 2007 which answers this question.

Bands I've Been In

While I guess I would have liked to have been in a band that released records and played shows, my musical life has continued in the hypothetical. To the above list I can now add Lolly Cake, from 2010, a duo of Simon and I that sound like the White Stripes if the White Stripes had been teetotallers from Dunedin (named after my favourite NZ sweet). The debut and only Lolly Cake 7″ is Atoms and Evil b/w Albatrocity. I put the 7″ art we fabricated into a plastic 7″ sleeve and it looked remarkably authentic. Just add music!

Lolly Cake

That brings us up to date. Things have been quiet on the imaginary band front over the last few years – perhaps now it’s retrospective time and a Pack of Fags needs to get back together, even though we never got together in the first place.

A Mix for The Lifted Brow

July 10, 2014

I have made a mix for the excellent Australian literary journal and bunch of raconteurs The Lifted Brow. It includes such Vanessa favourites as the Shop Assistants, The Clean, and a wild version of “Get Off My Cloud”. It’s a good accompaniment for most activities, ones I have identified include going on travels, getting things done, staring out the window, and dancing around the kitchen.

Vanessa Berry — A Mix for The Lifted Brow by The Lifted Brow on Mixcloud

Everyone Drives a Used Car/Boiracer and Mazdabator split zine

July 7, 2014

everyone drives

The excellent Alex Wild and I have made an award-winning split zine about the perilous world of used cars and our adventures with them and the dubious characters we met along the way. There’s crime, romance, mystery, chance and sensible hatchbacks, in Auckland and Sydney. An ocean separates us but we have curiously parallel experiences.

Read a review of the zine at the New Zealand Zine Review and you can buy copies at Sticky in Melbourne, or on Etsy.


I am a Camera 17

May 26, 2014


It has been a while since I’ve made an I am a Camera but it has risen again, this time with a story about Sydney. I’ve been doing a lot of writing about the city on my blog Mirror Sydney over the past few years. The city that I know is different to the one that most often gets written, so that’s the kind of story you can find in this zine. It’s about three eras, the 1980s, 1990s and the present, and includes maps I’ve made of these times.


The zine made its debut at the Other Worlds zine fair and is now listed on my Etsy shop if you’re interested in buying one, I will also be stocking it with distros and stores soon. This zine was written and drawn painstakingly over the last year, printed on The Rizzeria and put together in the living room of a fibro house in the inner west of Sydney while half-watching monster movies and drinking Earl Grey.



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