Olwyn Conrau

Olwyn Conrau has worked as a journalist, public relations consultant, copywriter, go-go dancer, typist, telemarketer and fruit-picker. She holds a degree in literary studies and has been published in short story anthologies and mainstream print media. The Importance of Being Cool is her first book.


IP Picks 2010 Judges' Report on The Importance of Being Cool.


I was busy preparing for a big night out. I spilled the contents of the foil onto a mirror creating a huge pile of white that begged me to devour the salty mass. I sliced it up with a razor, drew a long line, put a straw to my nose and inhaled the lot in one sweeping breath. My friend, Jonny, put two large glasses on the plastic coffee table and filled them unevenly with tequila. The fringes on his suede jacket rubbed over the packed ashtray causing ash to jump into the stale air and land in our drinks. He skolled his tequila and poured another. I offered him the mirror. He grimaced as if disgusted or unsure but then changed his mind and held out his hand. I passed the speed and mirror to him.

The effect had hit me straight away. I wanted to move, get out, but we remained preoccupied with our drinks and preparations that would see us through the evening. A night out without props was like a night on the couch in front of a broken telly, boring and pointless. And just getting drunk only served to shorten the night. It also cost too much money and generally turned you into an uncool loser, something to be avoided.

I lit a cigarette, took a few drags, then stubbed out the half-smoked stem and slumped onto the floor. Cradling the glass, I watched the contents swim around, almost mesmerised. I made a half-hearted effort to clean the drink by sticking my finger into it hoping the cinders would stick. I gave up and tossed the murky substance down my throat. I almost choked on the residue but I didn’t care. Enough shit pumped through my body for there not to be any point in my being concerned.

I tapped my glass on the table hinting for a refill but Jonny ignored me, too engrossed in the artistic manoeuvre of rolling a joint. I scanned the room to see what I could discover about him.

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