It’s Sunday evening, you’ve just gave reverence to the illuminati goat of destiny, and now you’re lamenting your lack of pickles. Either you’ve just gotten back from the dispensary, or you’re watching Meri Amber on Twitch. A few nights a week, a group of people, who call themselves Sorks, gather to share in laughter, and music, under the guidance of Meri Amber. “Sork is the name of a member of the community that watches and supports my Twitch streams,” explains Meri. “It was originally a typo in chat (I believe someone was trying to write “dork”) and it stuck. I did not choose Sork, Sork chose me.”
Based in Australia, Meri gained a lot of stage time performing her original songs at different Comicons, sharing the stage with such geek heroes as John Barrowman. Needless to say, she has a lot of original songs that celebrate Doctor Who, and other geek culture. You can even take a trip in the TARDIS on her stream. But it’s not all about the geekdom. “When it comes to inspiration for songs, I don’t really limit myself. If I’m feeling inspired by Doctor Who, I’ll write songs inspired by Doctor Who! If I’m inspired by something more mainstream like love/break-ups/dancing, perhaps I’ll write about that. Because of that, I do end up having quite a number of nerdy songs and references in what I do and find that the ‘nerdy audience’ is very supportive and resonates with the songs too [with the exception of a few gatekeeper-y bad apples].”
Thankfully, Meri is able to handle the bad apples with grace. Her original song, “W0nd3rtr0l1”, is a response to all the trolls in the comment section, written to the tune of “Wonderwall”. The song was written in collaboration with the live Twitch chat, which allows her audience to feel more involved. The musicianship, and humour (using the Australian spelling is necessary here) easily shows what one can expect from the stream.
Though not done every stream, it is a fun process when it happens. “Live songwriting is more like live performance art, it’s one of the most amazing things I’m privileged to be able to do as an artist, creating art in real time with contributions from all over the world! Live-streaming allows for exploration of a lot of different creative ideas/avenues/processes that traditional performances do not, and I love playing around with them!” On the February 12th stream (February 13th for Meri), this was done, but the delay in chat highlighted some of the difficulties in this sort of collaboration. With Valentine’s Day this week, the goal was to see how many love songs could be written in an hour, and after watching some videos on how to right a love song (or how not to, as the case seemed to be), we managed to complete 2.5. Happily, I was able to give the title Atlas of My Heart to a love song set in a map store.
The stream is always evolving, and Meri is always trying to learn new instruments, which feature in her stream. When asked what she plays, Meri said “ALL of them! Haha. At the moment I play guitar, bass guitar, keys, flute, alto flute, ukulele, mandolin, ocarina, viola and trumpet. I LOVE learning new instruments and am very open to learning more over time.”
The community helped raise enough money for Meri to purchase what has become known as the “bling trumpet,” because it’s shiny and brassy, unlike the black, “goth trumpet”. Meri brings her audience into the rehearsal process, with her second channel PRACBANG, which is just that. An hour or so session where Meri practices her instruments. “[I]t’s designed to give people a bit of an insight into the practice process, which is nowhere near as glamorous or easy as people may think it is, as well as encourage folks to also pursue their own goals by demystifying the process a little.”
The stream isn’t all music though. Meri indulges in rants, and has other characters that pop up in vignettes peppered throughout the stream. As Meri puts it, “It’s actually funny how much FASHUN (as I like to put it) there is on stream. I think I just enjoy dress-ups! Hats especially, of course. Dressing up flamboyantly with full make-up and ridiculous fits is something I do every day, even when I’m not going to be seen by anyone other than my cats!”
So, what is a stream that’s part comedy, part theater, part group hug, and part platypus? As Meri puts it, “[T]he stream is more of an overall interactive, comedy, music and community discussion experience. At the start, I really just tried to take my live musical performances and put them into the online format, but that has evolved a lot over the years. Having an interactive livestream show is an amazing opportunity to not just share a set programme, but create an entire world and make that world something people can interact with, connect to and visit as an escape. Everything from the overall colour scheme, backdrop, soundscape, activities, chat experience, fonts, language, tone, characters and, yes, outfits worn, plays a role in building the world.”
So, there you have it. If you’re wanting a community where there are songs about starting a GoFundMe for pickles, being a brain in a tank, or celebrating Doctor Who, then Meri Amber might be right up your alley. With three streams (so far) a week, at different hours, you’re sure to find a time that suits you. You can always check her schedule.
To find more about Meri, visit: