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Put out your gonads for Mr John Clarke

Posted April 11 into Blunty by John Birmingham

I was very sad to hear John Clarke passed away. A great loss to the nation. An even bigger loss to farnarkling. A tribute at Blunty:

Farnarkling lost a champion yesterday, with the passing of Mr John Clarke. The veteran broadcaster was not just the voice of the national sport, but a much-loved ambassador to the powerhouses of the perfect game as far away as Bad Odursburg and Middlefart.

Play at the 'G in Launceston, where Australia and Uzbekistan contended fiercely for a quarter-final slot in the Far Eastern Cup, was interrupted for the traditional 49 seconds of mumbled Celtic mourning chants in the original Old Icelandic.

9 Responses to ‘Put out your gonads for Mr John Clarke’

WarDog reckons...

Posted April 11
Clarke's passing makes me sadder than I can express.
I will sorely miss him. His interview was the highlight of my week.

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted April 11
Yes, very sad. My formative years watching John Clarke were in his Fred Dagg phase. Later it was his work with Bryan Dawe. Always enjoyable. I had a quiet mumble of the Gumboot Song this morning in tribute.

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Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted April 11
What WarDog said.

And also, isn't it nice to find out that someone whose work I admired was an all-round really nice guy as well, going by the comments of those who knew him.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted April 11
I'd go as far to say the man was a giant - his talent removed leaves a hole that will be very hard to fill. Although i may have to quit working where i do - i heard the news and blurted it out to my coworkers and not one of the philistines knew his name.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11
Very sad news. I too recall Fred Dagg when I was young, and his work with Brian Dawe has been a joy to watch. Who can forget his turn as the voice of Wal Footrot? He'll be sorely missed.

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pi reckons...

Posted April 11
A sad day.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted April 11
My favourite piece of his was 'the great Australian novel'

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Dave W swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 12
Yes. All of the above. Although, is it wrong to ask that when it's time for me, I go as perfectly as Mt Abrupt?

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted April 12
Yep, all of the above squared.

That was a lovely tribute, John. Probably too subtle for most of the BT demographic, sadly.

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BALLS.102 Super Rugby: now 3/18ths less Super than advertised

Posted April 10 into Sport by beeso

In which Beeso and the Doc get into drinking on holiday, learning tracks with Jacques, off-field spending, the Doc's diatribe, words without pictures, lapsed code fans, the Sportress' bad couple of decades, the roles of development leagues, European rugby, poor governance and pay TV in the absolute state of Super Duper Rugby, the other other (other) Tony Martin, the fable of the Brumbies, the tedium of code wars, corporate raiders, one-sport kids, Western Conference bracketology, Billy Donovan's party piece, Spurs picking their spots, DNP-Schedule, the Chris Paul Clause, LeBron wants you to know how much he doesn't care, taking offense at the MVP debate, East playoff matchups, why Fear The Deer?, reintegrating superstars, DPOY CBF, why SEN isn't short for SENsible and how the Ringer is failing Grantland's analytical legacy. After a week off due to biblical flooding, we had a lot to cover.

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Sit Down and hang on: analysing the Game of Thrones S7 trailer

Posted April 3 into Raven On by girlclumsy

Hello, Burgers and Throners! It's Natalie here, your Game of Thrones recappespondent and friendly neighbourhood Jon Snow obsessive.

After HBO dropped a teaser trailer for Season 7 of The World's Greatest and Best Ever Show late last week, I wrote up a piece about it to see if I could flex these old creaky recap muscles ahead of the July premiere. I posted it on my Facebook page, but JB very kindly gave me the go-ahead to post it up here. Enjoy!

*******************************************************************************************

That breath! That visible, icy breath! What can it mean? Is Cersei in league with the White Walkers now? Is it a metaphor for her new “ice queen” reign over Westeros, or was the heating just broken in the Iron Throne room?

And Jon Snow! Sticking with that ponytail but still BROODY AF. Boy I’m glad he’s still around now that winter finally has arrived. He’s so steamy, like the series’ own personal hot water bottle. I’d like to place him carefully on my belly to ease cramps.

And a question – where the hell was Daenarys?

Yes, with 100 days to go until the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere, it was only right and natural for HBO to unleash a fan frenzy via a spankingly good promotional trailer.

After all, if this was a normal year, we’d be gearing up for the actual season, which has traditionally begun in early April. So they’ve got to give the thirsting GoT fandom a few drops out of mercy, if nothing else.

Titled “The Long Walk”, it’s the first “new” content since last year, and features three of our favourites striding slowly but determinedly towards…. well, chairs, essentially.
It’s also set to a rather menacing yet oddly comforting version of Sit Down by Manchester rock legends James.

In researching the song I discovered that there was an original longer version that was cut down for a radio-friendly release back in 1989. From that, GoT producers have cherry-picked these highly appropriate lyrics:

Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they're touched by madness
Sit down next to me

In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate

Oh sit down Oh sit down Oh sit down
Sit down next to me
Sit down, down, down, down, down
In sympathy

As those words ring out, we see Cersei stalking the halls of the Red Keep, Jon pacing through the recaptured Winterfell, and Dany….. where the hell WAS Dany?



The array of tree trunks positioned behind her throne reminded me a touch of the Eyrie, but having last been seen at the head of an armada, we can’t imagine her turning up anywhere inland. The best I can guess is Dragonstone, her birthplace. We never really saw Stannis Baratheon in a large throne room on the island – he was mostly in his map room, often shagging Kate Bush on the strategy table. So it’s possible there could be a grand hall for her to set up her alternative court while she makes her final attack plans for the mainland. Dany is definitely somewhere colder – for the first time ever we see here rugged up in dark colours as opposed to her usual bright, light, skin-revealing garb. But I’m still not entirely happy with this answer.

I feel there’s also some symbolism in the fact that both Cersei and Dany actually SIT in their thrones; Jon merely stares at the high table at Winterfell, the place where his *cough* father *cough* Ned sat.

Cersei and Dany believe with every ounce of their being in their innate right to be Queen. Their intentions may differ, but their desire to rule is the whole purpose of their existence. Jon Snow was feted as the new King in the North at the end of last season – but nobody would wear a crown more reluctantly (perhaps Viserys back in S1E6).

The weight of leadership sits heavily and uneasily with him. Unlike the others he’s seen the face of the real enemy, the White Walkers, and knows no crown, no throne, no sense of power or entitlement will save anyone from that. He’s had power thrust upon him, as much as I would thrust upon him etc etc you get the drift.

As the song kicks up a gear, and the women take their seats, there are close-ups of their eyes closing as a wind blows out all the candles in the Red Keep. Cersei then breathes out a visible burst of cold air, and the camera pulls back to show us the eye of a White Walker (the Night’s King by the look of it).



t’s not too hard to decode the cold change/winds of change/cold shoulder subtext.

But it’s interesting that the final moment was given to Cersei, an ice queen who’s always made Grace Kelly look warm by comparison. Cersei has never had any interest in the White Walkers – her motivations have always been about preserving her family’s dynasty and elevating herself above the weak men that surround her. The White Walkers were fairytales, mystical creatures far from the realpolitik of the capital.

Could there be some deeper allusion to a potential link between Cersei’s New World Order and the White Walkers? Or is Cersei asserting her own power, and defying you to consider her LESS of a risk than a bunch of undead blue-eyed forever monsters? In the usual Game of Thrones binary, Daenarys has represented fire, and Jon Snow ice. Is Cersei now greater than the sum of both of them?

Is the clue in those last words “Sit down in sympathy” - that all three are facing a crucible and only together, in sympatico, can they defeat the bigger threat?

Or is in face Cersei just cold and doing that thing where you breathe out hot air and pretend to be smoking?

Questions, questions.

One final point.

In my research of Sit Down, I watched the video clip for the 1989 release. Given that it does contain the phrase “sit down” repeatedly, it’s not that surprising to see a bunch of chairs in the video clip. But one in particularly caught my eye. Tell me, Beloved Throners, does this not look familiar to you?!?!

Coincidence? Almost certainly. But still, it makes you think.

Valar Morghulis!

4 Responses to ‘Sit Down and hang on: analysing the Game of Thrones S7 trailer’

Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted April 4
Fine words, now the waiting umm....continues

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted April 4
Much appreciation having you back recapping.


I will just sit here and wait for your next recap shall I?

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted April 5
Ok. So I've got nearly 100 days to catch up with all my dvd sets (I'm at least 3 series behind)?

I better get started tonight then.

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Maddoug would have you know...

Posted April 5
The real problem is the unstoppable bad-ass warrior that the Night King just acquired, should be able to give Zombie Clegane a run for his money.......





ZOMBIE HODOR!!!!!!!!

(Stalking through the snow with a wooden door stapled to his back by the embedded cutlery of a thick covering of wights like so many fleas on a junkyard dog...)

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Yoga with Goats

Posted April 3 into Funny by John Birmingham

It's a thing. Seriously. And it's a thing I dicuss in today's Alien Side Boob.

You are receiving this email because you are a bro who needs yoga in his life. Or you know a bro who needs some yoga in his life. And all bros do, so that is why you received this email.

Before you stab viciously at the delete button, examine your feelings right now. That sick sense of dizziness which came out of nowhere when you opened this email? That sudden free floating rage? That pain in your arm and crushing weight on your chest? That’s the absence of yoga silently screaming at full volume in your chakra.

5 Responses to ‘Yoga with Goats’

jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3
ASB is always good for laughs. Just like goats are.

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insomniac asserts...

Posted April 3
I prefer my goat in curried form, perhaps with a dollop of yoghurt.

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Oldy mutters...

Posted April 5
I did Bikram Yoga once, and it was entirely for the reason you mention in the column - that unbearably, heartbreakingly gorgeous (and ridiculously flexible) hot white chick who conned me into doing it.

I'm a 6'2 120kg former footballer, a year older than you are, so me doing yoga of any kind is always hilarious. But I totally would have done it three times a week if I could be guaranteed the mat next to that unbearably, heartbreakingly gorgeous (and ridiculously flexible) hot white chick.

Pathetic? Whatever. I'm not ashamed. Getting through life enjoying the view is half the battle, I reckon!

jason mutters...

Posted April 5
I hear you. I hadn't played squash for a long time but pulled on the runners again in order to have a reason to be around a certain hot blonde that I had fallen for. Luckily for me I didn't hurt myself too badly and ended up marrying the hot blonde. Worth every pulled muscle and painful morning.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted April 5
As the Buddha teaches, the love of hot white chicks is the root of all suffering.

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Book schedule changes

Posted March 28 into Writing by John Birmingham

I've been looking at my sales figures and my schedule for the year and have decided to tweak the order in which I work on this year's titles. I'm deep into The Cruel Stars at the moment and will kick on with that for another five or six weeks.

I had intended to then start WW 3.1, but I'm going to push that back to second half of the year to concentrate on The Golden Minute (or Girl in Time 2, if you prefer) and then a mass market thriller called Sleeper Agent.

Why?

The numbers. I'll make a lot more money off Golden Minute, and have been accepted into a box set deal for Sleeper Agent, so they get priority.

I'm still doing WW 3.1 and Stronghold (Dave 4) but they'll be released for Father's Day and Christmas respectively

And I'm still looking for fan fic across the the various storyworlds if people are interested.

22 Responses to ‘Book schedule changes’

NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 28
I'm a little surprised the spooky blue AI allows such fripperies to influence scheduling.

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jason puts forth...

Posted March 29
JB,

Is there a word length limit for the fan fic stuff. I just figured if it goes to far we cant list you as a primary author so lose some visibility.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 29
Hmm. Interesting question. I guess about 8000 words if you got that in you.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted March 30
Sounds like you have a plan there John. And after all, you're the one writing for food.

Me, I'll puchase and read anything you want to publish when it's available.

Btw, I found/ recovered the AoT story I wrote for the original fan fic festival on Journalspace all those years ago. Is it ok to polish and resubmit that one?

I do have a follow-up story in early development too. Must get cracking on that.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 30
Yep. Happy to take pre-loved fanfic

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted March 30
Like Surtac I'm happy with anything! Although the next installment of The Dave would be nice....but The Golden Minute would be cool too.

As I'm rereading the AoT books at the moment I am moved to ask: has any cash rich folks talked about movie/TV treatments of...well...anything? Mind you, any of your stories would be bloody expensive and special effects laden. Hence the 'cash rich' thing.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted March 30
All sorts of movie and tv people have expressed an interest at various times. But movie and tv people are infamous bullshitters.

Rob has opinions thus...

Posted March 31
TV people are the worst (I'm shooting some TV on Monday, this sentence is bought to you by ironic detachment)

Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted March 31
Yes there is that BS factor in the televisual game...I seem to recall Harry Harrison had sold the movie/TV rights to his Stainless Steel Rat books several times. People bought the rights with a time limit to make something, they would then NOT do it, rights went back to Harry who flogged them off again. I understand he was quite happy with this arrangement!

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted March 31
should be the Dave for fathers day.

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Dave The Siberian Hamster mumbles...

Posted April 3
Have you thought of doing them as a Manga Series?

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Dave The Siberian Hamster puts forth...

Posted April 3
Have you thought of doing them as a Manga Series?

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Dave C asserts...

Posted April 3
Plan looks good. Am intrigued what a JB mass market title will look like? Pretty sure there'll be less swinging demon junk and waking up with gladiators. Mental note to self, gotta bludgeon my keyboard to squish out my next twisted fan mash...

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Elie Abitbol puts forth...

Posted April 13
Hi John,

I'm a big fan of The Axis of Time and Stalin's Hammer. I just finished reading Paris and i can't wait to read WW 3.1 ! You ended Paris in quite a dramatic cliffhanger and i really want to know what happens next.
Please keep me updated on the release date.

Kind regards,

Elie

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 14
Hey Elie. If you're on my newsletter you'll hear all about it.
You can sign on at jbismymasternow.com

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 14
Elie, be forewarned- JB's scheduling can be described a "fluid," "dynamic," or perhaps even "mercurial" in so much as He promises explodey Space Opera and delivers, well with all due respect, a pair of old coots rabbiting on about sport, music, booze & artisnal cheeses.

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Eric Willhelm has opinions thus...

Posted April 20
Fair enough and understandable. I eagerly await WW 3.1 but in the mean time, I'll just keep using the Without Warning setting for my table top Role Playing Game.

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Jack S is gonna tell you...

Posted April 20
I just want to know what happened to poor old Buster Cherry. Re-read the books recently but couldn't find his specific demise. Probably killed in Hawaii?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted April 26
Hmm. I was pretty sure he died in Hawaii. I'll have to check.

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted April 26
I seem to remember Buster taking up with Rosanna & a 12 gauge shotgun, then coming undone in a techno colour manner.

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Unpossible ducks in to say...

Posted May 9
Hi John;

Maybe I already mentioned before, but I'm working on a Super Dave fan fiction. Its set in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, and draws a bit on old Dayak legends about monsters, magic swords, heros, super powers, and other stuff from the old days. Hope its welcome. M

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Don Bagert has opinions thus...

Posted May 10
Y'know, it never occurred to me until I re-read this message that Father's Day might be on a different date in Australia than in the U.S. And it is - September 3 in Australia rather than June 18 in the United States. (September 3 is Labor Day in the U.S.) Ten-and-a-half additional weeks of waiting for WW3.1!!!! :(

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No, I wasn't trolling. Why would you imagine that?

Posted March 28 into Blunty by John Birmingham

Just because I mocked the hardy frontier image of hardy frontier Queensland in Blunty:

There's nothing tough about refusing to evacuate in the face of a cyclone.

If you survive the winds and roaring storm surge you were just lucky, not resilient.

Cyclone's path: 'please leave'

North Queensland residents in the direct line of Cyclone Debbie should "take this seriously" as emergency crews prepare for "significant damage". Nine News

If the eye turns away and looks for somewhere else to destroy, same deal.

But if you live on the coast and you simply wait for the blast front and the tsunami because some pissweak little storm isn't going to scare you away, you're living in denial at best.

At worst, you're a selfish idiot who will endanger the lives of everyone who has to come to your aid.

I'm sure Lord Bob has all the feelz about this issue.

5 Responses to ‘No, I wasn't trolling. Why would you imagine that?’

WarDog would have you know...

Posted March 28
But it's a fake storm!
And besides Australia doesn't exist anyway.
You're just a figment of my imagination.

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted March 28
There will be some moron out there looking for a monster wave.

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pitpat ducks in to say...

Posted March 28
A master class in the dark art

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Lulu mutters...

Posted March 29
There are the people who refuse to evacuate, and then there are the ones who decide it would be an excellent time to ... kitesurf.

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AKM. mumbles...

Posted April 3
Same thing just up the hill in Lismore. Last big flood to put the CBD under 9 foot of water was in 1974- they built a levee in the 90's, which saved us from several knee-to-waist deep floods, (Last time June last year) but this time went over and filled the city like a blocked dunny from a bucket flush. River hit 11.65 m, major flooding.
So many folks forgot the lessons, ignored the SES, council and BOM warning, good mates amongst them.
Complacency bit them on the arse, big time......

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