Physics for Poets

I was inspired in part by Arthur Nersesian’s The Fuck Up which catalogue’s in gritty and loving detail the urban chaos of New York in early 80’s.  I loved the way NYC received as much lavish attention as any of the other characters of the book.  I started Physics because I wanted to capture a sense of Durban on the cusp of the nineties, a cultural snapshot of the moment.  I’m not saying that’s what I’ve actually done! But it’s what I set out to do.

Physics is my first novel.  I had a short story published before called Table 18, about an upmarket restaurant manager’s wrangle with a celeb.  I had written scenes for Physics through the years, all very badly.  One night, armed with a South Australian Shiraz and a book of post-its, I plotted out a possible story on the wall. Over 8 months I wrote pretty close to the scenes I had plotted out that first night, until I had 50k words.   And then I edited and edited some more.  And when I was done with that I had someone who knew what the hell they were doing edit the first three chapters.  I submitted those 3 chapters to six South African publishers.  Penguin SA came back about 6 months later and asked to see the rest of the novel.  I still remember the beer and pub where I saw the email come through on my phone.  What a great beer.  So I spent a crazy week fixing the bejesus out of it with my editor and gave him an insulting amount of money in return.  I sent it off.

And every day for the next 6 months I woke up expecting to get the email.  The email that said Yes!  We love your manuscript.  Some days I knew it was going to be a no and others I let myself hope.

When they finally said thanks, but no thanks I took it my stride, going on a three bender, smashing up a 7-11, a children’s shoe shop and a drive through bottlo.  After the trial I decided to publish anyway and here we are.  All up, it’s been 2.5 years since I wrote the first line.  I hope you like it.


I wrote a book

and it got released yesterday.

It is set over 6 months in Durban, South Africa at the end of 1989, during the slow crumble of Apartheid.

Charl and girlfriend spend the remainder of their disintegrating relationship, drinking, smoking and groping their way through their long summer holidays.  Pensive, rash and ultimately lazy, Charl feels like he has little going for him. When Belinda finally tires of his self-absorbed melancholy and dumps him, it looks like he might just be right.
From a school suspension for carving a giant Anarchy sign outside the assembly hall, staggering through a disaster-inducing relationship with the girl of his dreams and dropping Acid in a club filled with lava, to selling APLA T-shirts and meeting Nelson Mandela after toilet sex, Charl’s meandering path cut through the new South Africa seems to have little in common with making choices.

Here’s the Amazon link:

You can also get it from Createspace which actually gets me a better commission but I’m not sure what the postage scenario is.  If you use Createspace let me know if you have any issues.

Thanks for reading!

The good news for me is that now that I have released the book it means I can move onto the next book which I’m pretty excited about. It’s holding title is ABOUT:BLANK, but we’ll see.

Viva La Tour

Some incredible footage take from the 1962  Tour De  France.  How they ate food (ice creams, anyone?), replacing liquids (stop in at the local, run in grab as many bottles of juice you can fit in the back of your shirt. Don’t pay. Jump on your bike again).  Not a helmet in sight.

Its not about the winners and its not about the advertising or the even the race, its about all those that participated. If we think this is a tough race now, imagine what it was like then before race radio and carbon fibre and cleats, or even having your team ride you back into the race.

Sourced from:

Bret Easton Ellis at Melbournes Writers Festival

Bret doesnt get out much.  At least thats the impression you get listening to him tell you how he only does “these things” every five years or so.  Or that he has a close circle of friends in LA who hangs with and when he does go out he still remains fairly anonymous.  I had this image of him opening the front door to a knock, the front room of his apartment a catalogue of filth.  The floor littered with empty packets of Cheetos, pizza boxes, clothes, stubbed out cigarettes.  His agent would say, Its time.  Its been four years. And he would answer, I cant have been that long?  It’s four years he would reply. You need to go on the road again; plug the book.  Bret would back away, saying No, I need more time and next to the agent, outside, pressed against the wall would be a hairdresser, a dental hygenist, a dwarf manicurist and a tailor.

He is very funny.  I have most of the interview recorded and would like to upload if I could figure out how to convert m4a’s to m3’s.   Any idea’s let me know.

The question and answer session at the end was probably one of the high points as individuals from the audiance ask crazed question after crazed question.  If I had of asked one question it would have been something along the lines of how similair does he feel he is to the roll of Jeff Koons.  They’re both snappy dressers, for one.  No but seriously, I think they both mess with the idea of Trust.  Jeff asks us to believe that his work is honest, that when he makes 10 foot high metal balloon-dog he means nothing more than celebrating  a beautiful object. “A viewer might at first see irony in my work… but I see none at all. Irony causes too much critical contemplation” The question really is do you believe him?

Likewise with Ellis, he asks us, the reader to trust that the lifes that seem to close and at times one and the same (Lunar Park) is not actually his.  That its all game and that really he likes nothing more than a relaxing wine on the balcony.  And then he’ll say something to shatter it all and then build it all back up again.

Like one of the last questions which got a laugh from everyone there including myself until I went home and it started to seem contrived or if not then downright creepy.  A faceless woman in the balcony asked: “Do you ever wish someone had killed you at the peak of your career”.  And at the time it seemed like a fantastically crafty question, but afterwards when I contemplated the silence it drew from him, it seemed more like some rougue moment stolen from Imperial Bedrooms, a phantom text while he does coke and watch The Hills.

But stalking and paranoia aside, quite possibly I read too much into it.  In reply he said Yes, first of all and then when prompted about something in private from the interviewer, said “No.  No, of course not.”