Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Catch a Falling Star is available online at:


For those living in Melbourne, it's also available in the following stores:

Basement Discs
24 Block Place
Melbourne Vic 3000

Polyester Books
330 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy Vic 3065

Metropolis Book Shop
Level 3, Curtin House
252 Swanston Street
Melbourne Vic 3000

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Honey, I Forgot To Duck

My train pulled into Blackburn Station at about 4:30pm. Every evening at around the same time, Shane, Dad and I converged on this spot from our daily routines, and Dad would drive us home: Me from my studies at Melbourne State College, Shane from screwing together tricycles in the stockroom at Toyworld, Camberwell and Dad from on the road, arriving from whichever factory he was fixing machinery at on that particular day.
I sat on the platform and watched Shane's train arrive. He suddenly appeared through the disembarking throng as the doors hissed open, looking as uncomfortable as ever in slacks with an ironed crease, and a pressed white shirt as he made his way towards me.
'Hello, how was your day?' I screeched in a high-pitched feminine trill, ignoring the disapproving looks of the shuffling commuters as I slipped into our "Mavis and Ethel" routine.
'Good, good how was your day?' Shane screeched back, joining in our well-worn game.
'Oh, great, great', I replied in my regular voice.'I had this child psychology class today, the lecturer was droning on and on about Noam Chomski's "Acquisition of Language" theory or something, it was dead boring, and my mind started to wander'.
'So what happened?'
'That Eno song "The True Wheel" started going round in my head, and I tuned back into the lecture just in time to hear the Professor ask what I should do to get the kids' attention if the class was being unruly. And without thinking, I said I'd jump up on the desk and shout, "oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-here we go." (A line from the song.)
'That would've gone down well', laughed Shane.
'You're not kidding', I replied.'The guy looked at me like I'd taken a piss on the Bible'.
'Yeah, well do you remember me telling you the other day how my idiot manager was organising a promotional tie-in for the store with the Camberwell Football Club?' Shane asked rhetorically, as we headed for the underpass.
'Hey kids,come and follow the players into the store for autographs, prizes and giveaways', he chortled, suddenly becoming animated as he mocked the details on the poster in a "Golly-Gee" voice.
 'Well, it was today'.
'So, how did it go'? I asked.
'It was bloody hilarious. The manager sticks the players in a trailer on the back of a Ute, tows them down Riversdale Road, and drives them into the store, and not one single kid follows them in. So they're all standing around for half an hour, pens in hand, looking at each other, really embarrassed, it was excruciating. Then they all just leave'.
'God, what did he expect'? I laughed.'They're just a second division VFA side. It's not like they're Collingwood or anything'.
'I know. My manager is so clueless', said Shane.
As we emerged from the tunnel, blinking into the daylight I saw Dad's car parked up ahead. He had the radio turned up really loud to compensate for his failing hearing, that had been ruined by the constant ear-shredding grinding of the metallic cutting lathes he worked around all day long. A big news story was breaking as we slid into the car and said hello.
'U.S. President Ronald Reagan has been shot', the newsreader was saying.'The President has been rushed to hospital in a critical condition after being shot by a lone gunman who sprayed several bullets into the Presidential entourage'.
We sat in stunned silence as we drove home to Donvale. America seemed to be going slowly insane at the moment, I thought. I was still just getting over the senseless slaying of John Lennon just a few monthe ago, and now another nut with a gun had gone on a shooting spree.           

Sunday, March 6, 2011

John Morrow's Pick Of The Week

This is a review of "Catch a Falling Star" in John Morrow's "Pick Of The Week".

From an early age, shy Nicholas Walpole wanted to be a rock star. Although he couldn't play the guitar like the now deceased Jimi Hendrix, at the age of 12 he became entranced by David Bowie.
David Bowie's thin figure, draped in shiny jumpsuits, with bizarre make-up entranced the world, and no-one became more entranced than young Nicholas. David Bowie became Nicholas's fantasy figure and even started a new trend in hairstyles at Nicholas's school - rat tails and feathery cuts were mandatory for those kids who were cool.
Like Bowie and Marc Bolan, Nicholas craved stardom. Forget about those who hated Bowie's style and called his music and appearance gimmicky, to Nicholas, he Bolan and others of that ilk were heroes.
Nicholas lived in Donvale, a satellite suburb during the late 70s and 80s. It was here that he first met Shane and Phillip. Nicholas's parents were ten pound Poms who had migrated to Oz, while Shane's parents were from New Zealand. Shane was 15, two years younger than Nicholas. His parents were whiners, often referring to NZ as the only place to be, but Shane was okay.
Phillip's parents were from PNG and his father had re-settled in Australia to get the family away from the political turmoil and unrest his country was going through. Phillip, known as Ritzy, was 13 years old and the youngest of the three mates. In those days, the three boys were into The Police, Cheap Trick and Led Zeppelin.
As the years moved on, life changed for Nicholas when he met the beautiful and eccentric Jemma, who was determined to become an actress, even though she had missed out on a place at NIDA.
By this time, Shane was into film-making, and Nicholas was contemplating dropping out of Uni where he was studying a Bachelor of Education. It was on one of their nightly explorations that they came upon the idea of filming a rock video, with Nicholas miming songs, Ritzy doing something strange with make-believe model guns, Jemma spread-eagled over her VW and Shane playing imaginary air guitar.
When Jemma showed Shane's video to "someone important", Shane decided to chuck his job at Toyworld and pursue his big dream.
To find out if Nicholas really did become a rock star, if Shane did become a highly regarded film director, if Jemma did become a world class actress and if Ritzy went on to bigger and better things, you will just have to read the book.
By the way, the book is a great read - smooth, flowing and entertaining. With Peter Haywood's background and talent, it's no wonder this is a novel that is well worth a read.

"Rock stars, fame and fortune - this is the story of some Aussie kids who wanted to live the dream."