Saturday, 11 July 2009

any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae." - Kurt Vonnegut

One of the first set of the Bent Books bookmarks, 2004.


Friday, 10 July 2009

im reading a book about David Malangi, the late Australian Aboriginal painter. He achieved a degree of fame when the design of one of his paintings was used on the Australian one-dollar note. This was when the currency switched from the pound to the dollar in 1966 (reverse of the note, lower left); the note has been defunct since 1984, when it was replaced by a coin.

Not thinking that it was the work of a living artist, the Reserve Bank had neglected to ask permission and was caught in a state of embarrassment. It retroactively sent him a thousand dollar cheque, with which the artist bought a fishing boat, and had a special medallion minted, which the artist showed proudly to visitors. He was thereafter often requested to paint the image anew. I have at least dozen versions in various books on my shelf, each of which is different from the others. A quick google immediately throws up two more examples which are both new to me:

I remember being quite fascinated with the design of the dollar bill when I first visited Australia, and roughly copied the turtle from it into one of my pages in Little Italy. This and the other parts of the design were presumably lifted from cave paintings, since no artist claimed them, though, in my experience, artists are too busy spending money, when they are lucky enough to get hold of the stuff, to notice what's printed on it.

Another reason the note fascinated me endlessly was that there was a vertical strip of metal embedded in the paper, in the middle just around the point of the kangaroo's nose (not visible in any scan that I have looked at). But it was never in exactly the same place twice. You could play races with it. The game went like this . You would challenge another person to a kangaroo race, usually with money you had both just received by way of change in a bar or whatever, since it would be unfair to store a sure winner in your wallet. The kangaroo on your note may be anywhere from just about to cross the finish line to having the tip of his nose well over it. For a 'photo finish', a close thing, you would have to hold the notes over each other up against the light. Naturally the winner kept both notes. I do not store such useless information in my noodle, but you could probably get a whole beer for a buck back then.

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Thursday, 9 July 2009

this beastie is the Snooter, as seen on the first page of my 2002 book, After the Snooter.

Someone in comments recently drew my attention to a 'snouter' that existed long before mine, and I apologise that i can't find the comment at present. I must say I had never seen or heard of this peculiar creature before and I like to think that its resemblance to my own is one of those wonderful coincidences that happen from time to time in the creative business. It's perhaps fortunate that the real point of my story was the human version in the suit, which comes about after the insect flies in the window of the famous wealthy playboy, Bruce Wa*ne (this story was full of dodgy coincidences). I said 'existed' above, but in fact this earlier 'snouter' was a fake:
The Rhinogradentia (also called snouters, Rhinogrades, or Nasobames) are a fictitious mammal order documented by the equally fictitious German naturalist Harald Stümpke. The order's most remarkable characteristic was the Nasorium, an organ derived from the ancestral species' nose, which had variously evolved to fulfill every conceivable function.
The snouters were discovered on the main island of Hiddudify in 1941 by the Swedish explorer Einar Pettersson-Skämtkvist. Unfortunately, as a consequence of atomic bomb testing, the islands sank suddenly into the ocean in the late 1950s. Thus perished all traces of the snouters, their unique ecosystem, and all the world's specialists on that intriguing subject — who happened to be holding their congress there at the time.

You can find online pictures of these little chaps, such as stevelewalready's Flickr set, sourced from Stümpke's book, from which this comes:

I think the following photo was taken in the Folklore Section of the Haus der Natur in Salzburg, Austria, by 'curious expeditions' who have a whole Fickr set of such taxidermied curiosities.

My own Snooter recently contrived to appear on film, as hinted at in my previous post on this subject. Following are a couple of stills from it, which will have to keep us for the time being. Campbell has just been woken up in the middle of the night by an odd buzzing sound...

After the Snooter will of course be contained in Alec: "The Years Have Pants," where it will have two pages that weren't included in the original printing. One of these, titled Bastards Under the sea has never been in print before. It was half-finished at the time of going to press in 2002 and I've finished it for this edition. That'll be coming in September and is in Diamond's ordering catalogue right now. And you can click the 'alec2' label below for more excerpts and previews, and when you get to the end of that selection, look for the 'alec1' label.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

long interview with me has just been posted at Forbidden Planet International. Pádraig Ó Méalóid was the interviewer. I love the way my mailing account at the Bigpond site renders his name:


However, it arrives correctly in my inbox. And given my rant about internet browsers the other day, you may have just read two lots of gibberish instead of one. Here's a cartoon I sent to him, recalling a snippet of conversation with Hayley Campbell:


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

In my neighbourhood

the family upstairs were moving their furniture around all through the night. I had words with them on this matter several months ago. In fact they have already been evicted once. But they are a disreputable bunch of scoundrels. Look at the malevolent look in this one's eye.

The above photo and the following both happened during the period I had stopped blogging:
Dame Edna launches cosmetic line-16th January 2009,
The colours of the 17 products in the range are inspired by Dame Edna, with titles like Kanga Rouge and Possum Nose Pink.
“The colour on my eyes is Varicose Violet and it’s inspired by my mother’s legs,” Dame Edna said.

No animals were harmed in the making of this blog. All creatures of the woods were released back where they belong.


Monday, 6 July 2009

it's turned cold down here in the southern hemisphere. Here's a photo of a pair of jeans drying under the fan heater on the wall. You will notice that two cats have found a warm place to sit, one on each jean. I like the way cats' brains work.

Here's a cat in After the Snooter. It has been caught short, on the wrong side of the door.

Knowing the wrongness of fouling the carpet, it manages to stack its poo vertically against the door.

I like the way a cat presents its work for view:

The electric light in the bathroom failed over the weekend. The wife of my bosom gets up so early that she's been showering in the dark at both ends of the day, and it's not something easily done by candlelight. She says she hasn't seen herself for three days.


Sunday, 5 July 2009

wee Hayley Campbell has just had a sojourn on the isle of Skye. Here's my little piece of it:

That's a cask strength special (with the top already knocked off it, as you can see.) Here's Hayley herself:

Isn't that the most beautiful sight ever? And the girl's not a bad looker either.
This is how she looks in one of the previously unpublished pages in "The Years have Pants"

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