Cheeseburger Gothic

Angus Young. For whom Hells Bells toll

Posted November 22 by John Birmingham

Nice piece in The New Yorker about the quiter, smarter half of the siblings at the heart of ACDC.

Up front and hard to miss is Angus Young, the diminutive dynamo of a lead guitarist, wearing the sweat-soaked remains of a velvet schoolboy uniform, duck-walking and thrashing his head like the lightning-strike victim on the cover of “Powerage.” Nearby, prancing bare-chested, is the lewd and mischievous lead singer, Bon Scott. (He’ll be dead by the end of the decade.) But, if you can take your eyes off these two showmen for a moment, you might find your gaze drifting to the left of the drum riser, where a pugnacious long-haired kid (he looks like he’s still in high school), wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, is strumming his Gretsch guitar and shaking his leg in time to the driving beat. His name is Malcolm Young, and you could be forgiven for seeing him as just another part of the backing band, but he is in fact the mastermind of the whole operation, at once its visionary and its taskmaster. He is the soul of the band, its leader on and off the stage.

8 Responses to ‘Angus Young. For whom Hells Bells toll’

jason mutters...

Posted November 23
AC - DC was the soundtrack to a lot of my early childhood, before I was seduced by English New Wave. Their songs still carry the same impact four decades on.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 23
Yeah. I was wondering about this just yesterday, when I was explaining to my son about the dark ages of buying music on tape. It was expensive. And you played the same album over and over again. It cut tracks through your neural pathways. I do wonder if kids will have the same experience in a streaming media world where everything is available all the time.

jason would have you know...

Posted November 23
Both my daughters have grown up in a streaming world and have discovered musicians and genres that talk to them. They tend to make playlists that are the modern equivalent of the mixed tape and play them continually. The great thing is we both increase each others musical boundaries.

Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted November 24
My lads tend to be the same - listening to whole albums etc.. My youngest plays drums, and he pleased me when early in the learning curve he was playing 'Highway To Hell'!

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Rob mutters...

Posted November 23
I have a love hate relationship with accadacca. On one hand I love playing hells bells on my guitar, competently. On the other I hate that growing up it was their asshole bogan fans who stopped their cars calling you a faggot for wearing a Mohawk and beating you 5 to 1, no way you could fight back or defend your self. Obviously those little kiwi boys had never seen that video of Bon Scott in a girls school uniform on Countdown at the time.

jason would have you know...

Posted November 23
I don't think it was an AC/DC thing. Those Bogans did the same thing in my area to a number of different soundtracks over a few generations. They're just assholes.

Rob would have you know...

Posted November 23
This is true, but it really put me off ACDC, and Iron Maiden still give me the heebee geebees. Although I did end up defending my genre of music with terminal intensity , try telling that to your Spotify playlist loving teen keen nowadays. Nope , they won't believe you.

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jason would have you know...

Posted November 27
How far will you go for a book cross promotion Birmo. Too cryptic?

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An End of the World Project

Posted October 27 into Writing by John Birmingham

Having lain fallow for most of the year, I now find myself ready to do A LOT of work. The white board that hangs by my desk has a bunch of projects on on it, probably three years worth.

One is called EOW.

I think of it as my nod to The Stand, the book that got me into reading and, as it turned out, writing.

I had been thinking about what to do with it. Trade? Indie? One massive volume. Lots of individual serial stories?

Now I've decided. I'll write it naked.

Not just pantsless like all of my other books. But out in the open, where anybody can watch. Well, anybody willing to pony up the admission fee.

Some of you have already signed on, and for that, many thanks.

For anybody who's interested, the link is here.

I wont waste Burger pixels explainging the idea. Just hit the link.

For anyone wondering, shit, when is he gonna do all the other books... Answer: right fucking now.

The Four Horsemen, as I'm thinking of this new project, will take two years. WW 3.1, Smith and Cady, even The Dave, they'll all get their moment in the sun first.

12 Responses to ‘An End of the World Project’

jl has opinions thus...

Posted October 28
This is exciting sh*t.

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insomniac asserts...

Posted October 28
I think the opportunity to see the sausage being made is well worth the small amount of money. Transparency is not something to be afraid of. I happily supply complex, or even simple, search strings to everybody. It gives them the tools to replicate what I do, to be able to bypass me, but it doesn't give them the magic, the dark arts of whatever you excel at. You have the magic buddy.

insomniac asserts...

Posted October 28
Oh, does this mean the Solar Project is dead and buried, or perhaps just long forgotten.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 28
Killed by spam

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Sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted October 28
Top tier sold out already!

jl is gonna tell you...

Posted October 28
Guilty as charged.

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Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted October 28
Done! Although The Dave and Smith and Cady are the ones I look forward to.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 29
They'll be out in January, I reckon.

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insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 30
Are you sure you can wait 2 years?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/30/mystery-of-octopuses-found-walking-on-welsh-beach

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Sparty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 30
The post image is typical Aussie Brit bashing , you can tell the Ashes are coming up ;-)
WHY does it ALWAYS have to be London destroyed.....gives me PTSD about an event which has never happened...

Dave W would have you know...

Posted October 31
Because destroying Taunton will never bother people in the same way?

"Oh no, Taunton is destroyed, can life ever b... oh, look, we can just move up the road to Monkton Heathfield."

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jason would have you know...

Posted November 22
For anyone who hasn't jumped on board I would highly recommend checking this process out. It is a leap forward in publishing.

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Genius art guy

Posted October 26 by John Birmingham

I should do a little gallery one day of all the art work I've had done for me by Will Heavey. I found him via 99 Designs and was so pleased with the early stuff he did for me that I just kept commissioning him. I should really get a few fallback designers for when he gets too busy and famous for me, but the whole process is so easy with Will that I can never quite bring myself to send the work anywhere else.

His latest cover is a great example.

A couple of years ago I wrote a novella for Steve Stirling's anthology The Change. Took Fifi, Jules and Pete, moved them out of the Disappearance storyline, and into Steve's Emberverse. It worked really well.

Decent fellow that he is, Lord Stirling had no probs with me eventually self publishing the story as a standalone. The question of cover art arose and I asked Will if he could give me something that spoke in the design language of Steve's series, while being something all of its own.

I think he did well.

Behold, Fifi, Pete and Jules in the cannibal realm of Sydney.

Most of you will have had the email about the book's release. But if you haven't, it's on sale for 99c for a couple of days.

9 Responses to ‘Genius art guy’

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 26
Hunters & Collectors reference?

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted October 26
sush, spoilers

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 26
Love the artwork - gotta start reading the story though! It's sitting in the iPad waiting for me to finish something else....Which happens to be 'How To Be A Man' which I found at the Bondi markets at the weekend!

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jl has opinions thus...

Posted October 26
It's a good cover- when I first saw it, I thought immediately of the other Change works. Success.

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Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted October 26
Fifi lives!

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted October 26
Such a genius art guy! He really nailed the look of the art of the rest of the series.

Really loved the story too; got a kick out of the cameo from the King of Darwin, your majesty :P

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 26
I will never live that down.

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Surtac asserts...

Posted October 27
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Genuinely LOLed when I realised what the second part of the King's 'commission' was. :)

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Leftarc puts forth...

Posted October 27
Jumped into this as soon as I saw it, and as for the cover, it does look like a Emberverse book. And Pete must have some big cahoolies to take Lucille from Negan and Rick. Why though, can't I get other Emberverse books onto my kindle?

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Back to the Cruel Stars

Posted October 25 by John Birmingham

I spent most of today reading the draft chapters of The Cruel Stars on Dropbox Paper. It had been so long since I'd been able to do any concentrated work on it that I thought I'd better familiarise myself with the story and characters again. I'm glad I did. I really like this story and hope it gets a chance to stretch its legs.

Before I went into shutdown earlier this year I did spend a couple of days just tweaking Lucinda's chapters, rewriting the scenes with a view to emphasizing the character flaws I'd built into her bio. It was just a few lines here and there, but it made a real difference. I'll have to do the same with the others.

I have so much work to catch up on.

1 Responses to ‘Back to the Cruel Stars’

HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted October 26
Never having been a Sci Fi Fant Action bookie reader I've found this FKN BRILLIANT!. CONVERTED and loving it!

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Dark clouds lifting

Posted October 24 by John Birmingham

About three weeks ago the depression which had overtaken me while my dad was dying finally lifted. It felt as though grey and leaden clouds parted to let through a few shafts of light, then broke up and drifted away.
It's been a year, I tell you.
For most of it I'd drag myself to my desk every day and try to grind though whatever work was in front of me. As I failed and failed again at that, day after day, the work piled up. I just kept grinding.
I did a lot of short writing this year. The private column was a left handed gift in that way. It forced me to keep writing, twice a week, every week, whether I felt like it or not. And mostly I did not.
Not at all.
I put on a lot of weight. Maybe ten kilos or more. That started in the hospital, eating shitty food for the want of something better to do. It got worse later, as I was eating for comfort and a sense of control.
I had some back problems too, which restricted my ability to exercise. But I kept exercising. Like the writing, it was a grind, but I did recall from my psych degree that regular exercise was as effective for treating mild depression as any medication or therapy.
So this has been a year.
However, as I said, a couple of weeks ago, my mood lifted and I suddenly found I had the energy to write again, and a renewed interest in doing so. My publishers were very understanding, so my first priority is finishing The Cruel Stars for them. I've given myself a deadline of November 24. For those of you who were beta reading, I'll be adding new chapters as they're written, rather than in longer sections. Thanks for your indulgence as well.
The ladies of the family will be travelling for a few weeks from late November, giving me a clear run to do some concentrated work and get in a bit of extra jujitsu training. (Jujitsu was one of the few things I didn't lose enthusiasm for this year. In fact, it kept me sane).
November/December then I'll be writing The Golden Minute, the next of the Smith and Cady time travel books.
I have a couple of other irons in the fire I'll discuss a bit later this week, but I'm pondering what to do here at the Burger too. I let it lie fallow because most days I had enough of a struggle to get any paid writing done. But I'd like to reboot.
I'll probably start modestly. I might even revisit the early journalspace days and just keep things very personal. I have a new puppy, after all. She's good for some posts.

17 Responses to ‘Dark clouds lifting’

WarDog mumbles...

Posted October 24
Glad you are through the tunnel John. Depression's a bitch and then some. If you ever need a beer, a coffee and/or an ear you have friends both near and far.

Looking forward to more Birmingham to add to my collection.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted October 25
Hey mate. I should pop into town for lunch some time before Xmas.

WarDog has opinions thus...

Posted October 25
Definitely up for that. How about duck dumplings at Madame Fu? Ping me anytime (except Mondays - doing 4 days weeks now :-))

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sibeen asserts...

Posted October 24
Welcome back, JB. The black dog can be a bitch to get away from My old man died 10 months ago and it knocked me around quite a bit, though not at your level. I just hope it is all good for you now.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 25
Sorry to hear about your Dad, Shiv. They do leave a hole behind don't they.

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Sparty puts forth...

Posted October 25
when things are tough I can imagine nothing can be harder than having to be creative on demand - I hope you get your groove back, but in your own time, without pressure.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted October 25
It is pretty tough, yeah.

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happy buddha would have you know...

Posted October 25
The black dog can be a tenacious bugger.
Glad to hear you're getting out from under.

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 25
Great to hear you've come out the other side JB. It hurts doesn't it! I'm over 50 and I still well up pretty much anytime I think of my Dad after 10 years.
Selfishly, I am overjoyed to also hear that the words are flowing again - I've missed it and look forward to getting some reading done on Fraser in January.

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted October 25
Glad things are getting back to normal, or as normal as can be. It will be good to see some words again. I know I've missed them.

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Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted October 25
For Miguel, who died in Kansas City.

For Fifi, who died on that boat.

And for all of the other characters, up, back in the saddle again.

Time to ride for new projects.

Onward.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted October 25
I've really loved the ASB columns this year, and there was no clue to the epic struggle to write them. I'm so sorry you've had to suffer this darkness on top of your loss and grief, but also so glad for you that you are on the mend. Much love JB, baby steps on all the work piled up, we can wait xx

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted October 26
Yes the black dog is a bastard of a thing. That you had some things to enjoy, like martial arts, gives hope for coming through things....I've been there and its not fun. For you, and yours, it's very heartening to hear that you are coming good!

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Surtac mutters...

Posted October 27
I have to admit I did wonder if the black dog had put in an appearance, as I've seen it happen before to other creatives. Props to you for getting through it.

My own experience with depression is vicarious - my Eldest Daughter is a longtime sufferer - but the effects are serious and obvious and very real.


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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted November 23
Don't know if its depression or grief. And grief is normal under the circumstances you faced. Grief is humanity at its rawest. I've suffered depression on or off for years , since I was about 11. But I found the treatment for it lately is worse than the depression, and its grief or the inability to feel it that lead me to this conclusion. After a person I knew died of suicide, I felt nothing, I had known her for 20 years, I felt nothing because of the little white pills I was taking to combat my depression, they just flat lined me. I've got rid of all the medication at the moment, I'd rather feel real sadness, grief and melancholy. The stuff of being human.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 23
I'm pretty sure it was depression and some anxiety. Mild, but still debilitating. The grief was raw, howling sadness. It would slam into me without notice and I'd burst into tears, say, driving down to the shops to get some bread. The depression was a heavy, damp blanket, soaked in novocaine. There was no getting out from under the thing. The blanket went on forever. But then one day, it lifted, as though blown away. The grief is still with me.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted November 23
either way its normal to feel depression and grief in these circumstances, and you have come through the other end.(which is great for us, because we get to keep reading new JB books) I found my anxiety ended up crippling, like fucked up, eye pulsing , sheer panic, gotta get out of this pub/room/party and run crippling. Now I'm off the pills, everything has improved. Even odd little things like planning new art projects which now aren't being started and abandoned on a whim. Clearer head, sunny days for all of us. The best description of depression has got to be in Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoos nest. The Chief's description of the little machines and being stuck in the fog, seeing and hearing everything but unable to interact is probably the best thing I have ever read describing depression.

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The maximum playboy goes to the hot tub in the sky. Or Hell. One or the other

Posted September 29 by John Birmingham

Yeah. I went there.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the Bunnies crying with a sexy saxophone. Silence the eight-track disco, and with a muffled drum, bring out the tiger fur-lined coffin, let the mourners come. Let the Playboy Jet circle overhead, scribbling on the sky the message, Hef is dead.

The alpha perv is no more.

So glad they turned off the comments on this one.

13 Responses to ‘The maximum playboy goes to the hot tub in the sky. Or Hell. One or the other’

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted September 29
So I take it that you now own the crown for the largest collection of bunnies.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 29
I am the King.

insomniac mumbles...

Posted September 29
It does appear as if Hef was the wan King.

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jl ducks in to say...

Posted September 29
I owe the Hef. The first naked woman I ever saw was due to him, in some 1970's issue of Playboy that my older brother found somewhere.

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Dave W swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 29
What about your part in his success? Did you sell any of your early scribblings to playboy?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 29
Lots.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted September 29
Before Playboy the only perv material I guess would have been pictures of half clad lasses in National Geographic. I wonder if that magazine's subscriptions declined when Hef launched his titty mag.

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Bernie reckons...

Posted September 30
Apparently, this is the stiffest he's been in the last decade....

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted October 1
Perhaps indicative of the circles I frequent, but there was much gnashing of teeth over the Heff's passing, essentially laying the exploitation of "thin pretty women" and the subsequent creation of Rape Culture at his robe's hem.
I thought it a touch over the top.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 2
Lucky you had this Safe Space to which you might retreat, then.

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girlclumsy mutters...

Posted October 2
JB!!!

I don't like to claim "great minds" necessarily, but this is the "tribute" I wrote to Hugh on my FB page last Thursday:

ATTENTION: A "Tribute" to Hugh Hefner, Pre-eminent Pornographer (with apologies to WH Auden).

Stop all the cocks, cut off testosterone
Prevent the dog or you playing with a juicy bone
Silence the jacuzzis and with ruffled bum
Bring out the Bunnies, let the mourners come

Let centrefolds open moaning over head,
And dribble on their thigh the message He is Dead
Put silk robes round the fake racks that he so loves
Let the lonely Playmates wear white latex gloves

He was my North, my South, my East and West
My perky cheeks and my Sunday breast
My wang, my willy, my shaft, my schlong
We thought we liked him for the articles, we were wrong

His pipes are not wanted now, put out every one
Pack up the poon, watch the nipples grow dun
Pour away the lotion, and timber the wood
For the Mansion now has lost its Manhood.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 3
There was an... inevitability about this. No?

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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted October 16
I have to admire Hef, not for his treatment of doting, blonde females that rummaged around his palace or anything like that. But for the way he paid for Bettie Page's lawyer and agents to recover royalties owed to her after her mental health collapse in the 70s.

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