Saturday, January 22, 2011

Woo-Hoo Herald-Sun Review

This is a review of "Catch a Falling Star" written by Cheryl Critchley that appeared in the Weekend liftout of the Herald-Sun on Saturday January 22, 2011:

...Many 40-somethings will see themselves in this gritty tale about 1980s life in Melbourne's inner suburbs.
Nick Walpole is a largely rudderless young muso who grew up in the suburbs and dreams of rock stardom.
But much of his young adulthood is spent chasing broken dreams in rundown share houses with several failed relationships and even less successful attempts to get his rock band off the ground.
The many pop culture references will have readers reminiscing, but also squirming if they made similar mistakes in their 20s. Notable for its absence of technology,"Catch a Falling Star" also shows just how much Melbourne's youth culture has changed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deleted Excerpt - 3

This lengthy excerpt was deleted as it would have deviated too far from the narrative flow But had it appeared it would have been in Chapter 36, page 244:

..Although the signs were very subtle, I had begun to notice that the others were beginning to very tellingly pull away from my influence and assert their own tastes (for want of a better word). The first clue was the sudden proliferation of dull, uninspired and uninspiring bogan musical clods who started dominating our lounge room stereo.
Everyone from that bore from the USA, Broooooce Springsteen, to Bryan Adams with his hideous anthems "Run To You" and "Summer Of '69", and even Mark "Jacko" Jackson with his stupid "Indi-bloody-vidual" novelty hit. Then there was that ridiculous corporate punk Billy Idol, whose lip-curling sneer, and fist-pumping gestures were being aped ad-infinitum by Ritzy, despite my admonishments that a true punk like Johnny Rotten wouldn't even deign to spit in his eye.
Even more irritatingly revelatory though, was the absolute relish with which Ritzy would sing the line about the injustice of "the little faggot with the earring and the makeup" having his own jet airplane in "Money For Nothing (and Chicks For Free)" by the appropriately named "dire straights". The contempt for Bowie and his legion of '80's clones in that dreadful song was palpable.
An album that I did like to play a lot, which also came out that year was "Aural Sculpture" by The Stranglers. Its' big hit single "Skin Deep" contained a lyric that was chillingly prescient to the shifting of the power base that the sharehouse at Longmore Street had undergone.
"Many people tell you that they're your friends", warned Hugh Cornwall, but I wasn't listening."Believe them, heed them, but watch round the river bend. Make sure that you're receiving the signals they send".
There was no misreading the signals my friends sent me the night that a case of the screaming munchies drove the three of us to the local 7-11 for some junk food though. As we piled out of the car and through the front door, Mister "Indi-bloody-vidual" himself, Mark "Jacko" Jackson was exiting the store. Immediately, Ritzy and Shane's eyes lit up.
"Hi-yer Jacko", they both cooed in unison, completely starstruck like a couple of giddy schoolgirls.
"G'day boys", Jacko replied. Then, noting their bloodshot eyes, he added, "Got a case of the munchies have yer"? With a knowing grin. But his grin quickly turned into a disapproving frown when he looked me up and down as I lagged in behind the others.This was because I was wearing smudged eyeliner, and chipped black fingernail polish.
"Geezus", spat Ritzy after his hero had departed."Couldn't you have dived your hands into your pockets, and put your head down"?
"What do you care what Jacko thinks"? I spluttered. "The guy thinks blowing kisses to his opponent, and putting lit cigarettes in club officials pockets at parties is the height of humour. He's a moron".
"Yeah, well moron or not, it's embarrassing to be seen out with you all dolled up like that", added Shane, weighing into the debate.
The three of us argued about it all the way back home.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Federation Square

This Saturday - JANUARY 15th - I'll be at Federation Square signing and selling copies of
"Catch a Falling Star".
And again on Australia Day, Wednesday - JANUARY 26th - Please feel free to come along and say hello.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Deleted Excerpt Two

This latest deleted excerpt occurs when Nick first meets Jemma at a party , and would have appeared in Chapter 2 on page 17:

'Jemma is going to be a famous actress', Tom said, grinning a little patronisingly.
'Is that right'? I replied, suitably impressed.
'Well, I've starred in a lot of local amateur theatre', she said.
'Are you working on anything at the moment'? I asked.
'Yesss Dohlink, I'm starring as vulgar Olga from the Volga', she replied, dropping her voice down to a husky baritone, and slipping seamlessly into an Eastern European accent.
'Who's that'? I asked.
Meeting my slightly bemused expression with her smouldering gaze, she replied,
'Olga is a man-eating femme fatale who is Superman's nemesis in "Man of Steel". It's a comedy version of Superman, a children's pantomime'.
'Oh,so you like performing in pants'? I said cheekily.
'Or out of them', she fired back immediately, without even the slightest trace of embarrassment.
'Vulgar Olga sounds pretty funny', I complimented her, becoming more and more intrigued by the allure of this confident woman.
'Well, amateur theatre's fine, but one day I'm hoping to break into television and film'. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

RAGE - By Julie Mac

There's a bit in my book where one of the characters lifts his sister's diary, hoping to treat his mates to a treasure trove of salacious stories, but is disappointed to only find a few study details.
There would have been no such disappointment if his sister's tome had been more like Julie Mac's
"Rage - A Sharpie's Journal Melbourne 1974 to 1980".
Rage - which is based on Julie's own teenage diary, is a hilarious, rough-as-guts account of pashing, punching on, rooting, scrag-fighting, fingering,shit-stirring, riding in "shaggin'wagons" and hanging out at Iceland, BoxHill Bowl, Croydon Drive-In, 21 Flavours and Macca's, all set to a soundtrack of Countdown, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, La Femme, Akker-Dakker, Hush and Skyhooks. Definitely no Sherbet though - ugh!
It's as '70's as wobbling about in platform shoes and shouting,"Hey Charger".
At the back of the book there are remembrances of their own Sharpie youth or run-ins from the likes of Angry Anderson, Les Twentyman, Keith Lamb and - er - Michelle's mum.
Of course I too remember the Sharpie's from my own high school daze.
 There was a time from about '74 to '76 when it seemed like everybody was wearing those two-tone skintight cardies, and chunks of steel-belted radials with strips of woven suede top shoes.
People say that Sharpies were violent, but although I was bullied mercilessly in school because of my shy disposition, I never had a problem with the Sharps. It was your longhairs and garden variety thugs who made my teen years a misery. Besides, the toughest Sharpie in my form, Bruce, who everyone just called "Bowie", had a haircut just like Ziggy Stardust. So that made him pretty cool in my books.

....And speaking of Ziggy Stardust - Happy Birthday to David Bowie, who turns 64 today!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Catch a Falling Star

Catch a Falling Star

Here's an abridged version of Clare-Allan Kamil's original assesment of "Catch a Falling Star" for Sid Harta publishers:
'Peter Haywood's Catch a Falling Star is from the title out, an account of how it is to deal with a life dream that is being slowly strangled and stymied. Overall this is an entirely brave and generous look at the ebb and flow of friendships and what they are based on. The author's attention to detail in unpacking how these alliances are formed, how they deliver us from and to new vista's, how they float and dam and force us through the stages that lead to self recognition and the kind of acceptance required to allow love to form and develop us as people is highly developed and engaging. In parts this is a grim book because it considers and examines the paths to and dangers of disconnection. What happens to Nick as he slowly loses control of his life is a parable of that saying that 'The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.' This novel connects the reader to an often colourful, regularly bleak and consistently darkly humorous recounting of how we reach out and struggle with and accomplish and lose and come to understand the lives we live. The whole thing is anchored to a narrative about growing up in the awakening of an otherwise creatively arid Australia in the late 70's and 80's.
In the end there is something of the deeply spiritual in what happens to Nicky Nova. He epitomizes that truth that in our destruction we may find our greatest source of light - like the stars really. I sincerely wish the author well with this his first novel which is interesting, layered, erudite and entirely entertaining.'

I'd just like to close this post by saying that I notice this blog is getting a fair few hits, but no comments. Please feel free to post a comment, or ask a question. I'm only happy to reply. Please don't be shy. Though some might say that I suck, I don't bite.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Deleted Excerpt One

Here's the first in a series of "deleted excerpts" which are in fact, more like afterthoughts. This one would have belonged in Chapter One, page 12:

...Then there was the time that Ritzy, Shane and I were trudging down Springvale Road on the way to one of our nightly deposit bottle-salvaging expeditions. It was a chilly winter's evening, and we were all wearing matching grey, knee-length overcoats, a fashion item that I had recently introduced to our little group. In the early '80's the knee-length overcoat, dirty mac or "flasher coat" as the mocking straights liked to call them, were worn by pasty, depressive young men in bedsits across the length and breadth of England, having been popularised by miserabilist bands such as The Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Smiths. But, as ever, my source of copycat inspiration had come from Bowie, who bizarrely, had worn one in the arid desert heat of New Mexico in my favourite movie "The Man Who Fell To Earth".
So anyway, we were all walking single-file along the road, when I suddenly suggested, 'Hey, wouldn't it be a hoot if we all simultaneously flash the next car that drives past'? Seconds later we heard the steady hum of a vehicle coming up fast behind us, and on the count of three we all turned around, thrust our hands deeply into our pockets, leaned back, and laughing uproariously, waggled our overcoats at the startled motorist.
We were not literally flashing him of course, as we were all fully clothed underneath the oversized coats. A fact that was lost on the three plain-clothed officers in the unmarked police car who failed to see the funny side of our little prank when they pulled over to the side of the road to give us a proper telling off.