Cheeseburger Gothic

Banzai for Victory Day!

Posted January 26 into Politics by John Birmingham

Tonkatsu Abbott-san, the first native Ōsutorarian to be appointed a Deputy Assistant Governor of Imperial Nippon’s southernmost prefecture, has lauded the extension of The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere to the Chrysanthemum Throne’s vanquished enemy. Speaking today from the grounds of the royal palace on Yamamoto Harbour to mark the anniversary of the fall of Sydney in 1943, Abbott-san supported Victory Day remaining on January 26, the day the American war criminal Douglas MacArthur surrendered all gaijin forces on the antipodean continent to General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

“Victory Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all of the things we've achieved under the firm but benevolent guidance his Imperial Majesty, and of course his father before him,” Abbot-san told the small crowd of dignitaries, including Her Imperial Highness Princess Ayako of Takamado, the first of the blood Royal to visit Ōsutoraria Prefecture and stay in the Harbour Palace. The Princess was attended by exalted representatives from the Diet in Tokyo and conquered prefectures throughout the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Guests watched a re-enactment of the moment Lieutenant Colonel Masao Kusunose led the 144th Infantry Regiment ashore to crush the few remaining enemy forces which had survived the collapse of the Brisbane Line.

"What happened on the 26th of January 1943 was on balance, for everyone a good thing,” said Deputy Assistant Governor Abbott-san, “because it brought civilisation to this country, it brought Ōsutoraria into the modern world. All of the things that we know and love about modern Ōsutoraria are the lineal descendants of the attitudes that came ashore with Lieutenant Colonel Kusunose on that day back in 1943.”

He bowed in deep abasement to Princess Ayako and Members of the Diet to express the bottomless gratitude of all his countrymen for ending the rule of foreign devils in the great south land.

Cheering crowds later turned the Avenue of a Thousand Years into a sea of red and pink, as they waved banners and flags emblazoned with the Rising Sun, and threw cherry blossoms at the soldiers of the 55th Division, marching from the site of that historic landing under the shadow of the Yamamoto Harbour Bridge, up the grand avenue to Imperial Square in front of Central Station.

Most of the crowds were young families from the Home Islands and Manchurian Colonies, some of them celebrating their first Victory Day in Ōsutoraria after successfully applying for the right to migrate and take up grants of land and property within this vast, underpopulated continent.

The loudest cheers, however, were raised for the small company of white native children, fostered out to decent and honourable Nipponese settler families, who watched on with pride as their wards, dressed in the old-fashioned Pacific War era combat fatigues of the 144th Regiment marched in lockstep to Imperial Square.

There they had pride of place at the execution of dissidents who had dared protest the Victory Day commemoration by flying the so-called Southern Cross flag of the defeated Commonwealth.

The native children’s cries of ‘Banzai’ as the dissidents were beheaded were acknowledged by Her Imperial Highness with a smile.

Speaking to reporters from Tokyo after the executions, Deputy Assistant Governor Abbott-san, was more forthright in his comments.

“Those seeking to change the date of Victory Day aren’t bent on making things better for those less well off,” he said. “They aren’t really interested in what the Emperor’s loyal native subjects in this prefecture actually think. Not a single real Ōsutorarian has ever told me that they want the date changed,” Abbott-san told reporters. “These dissidents are just displaying their hatred of Ōsutoraria,” he said, before leading the loyal reporters in a series of Banzai cheers.​

2 Responses to ‘Banzai for Victory Day!’

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27
Made me think of the obscure 1988 Australia movie 'As time goes by' where the time-traveling alien Joe Bogart played by Max Gillies explains his time traveling shenanigans as "I had to do it, the Japs won the war. You were all eating sushi. And you didn't like it".

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 28
I can so imagine Gillies saying that line.

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'Banzai for Victory Day!'

A prince of men

Posted January 23 by John Birmingham

Sometimes i get tired of writing grown up columns. Then things like this happen:

Finally! Prince William got a proper haircut.

I’ve been urging the bloke to go the number one comb for some time now. It’s been obvious for many years that he was thinning out on top and as I said to him, “Will,” I said, “we’ve got the rotten Frenchies where we want them at the moment, but you never know when the Dauphin or the Grand Constable is likely to start stirring up trouble around Agincourt again. You can’t expect the happy few to follow you into wanton slaughter if they’re distracted by your bald spot.”

At Blunty.

2 Responses to ‘A prince of men’

Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted January 23
When I first saw this news I said to my wife 'there you go! If its good enough for me then its good enough for royalty!'

Respond to this comment

ShaneAlpha would have you know...

Posted January 24
Should have gone the orange comb over, it's apparently so in right now.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'A prince of men'

Ibrahim's Grill and Transmission Vector

Posted January 22 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Not being a foot fetishist, I’ve never dreamed of drinking champagne from one of Jimmy Choo’s finely crafted stilettos. I’ve never thought of drinking champagne out of anything other than a champagne flute, or in a pinch, a coupe; one of those shallow, wide-rimmed glasses reputed to have been modelled on Marie Antoinette’s boob.

I’ll allow that taking a sip directly from the royal fun bags might not be terrible. But there I draw the line. I do not want my bubbly wine suggesting a tincture of athlete’s foot. And there’s no way known I’m drinking soup from a shoe. This atrocity was most recently catalogued by the excellent ‘We Want Plates’ campaign and no words can do it justice.

I’ll simply let your eyes feast on what your tummy could not possibly stomach.

At what point in the accelerating collapse of our civilisation did we agree that this bullshit was not just permissible, but worth a business plan? The story of humanity’s climb to the top of the food chain, starts not with our emergence from the primordial ooze, but with our decision to not slurp that ooze from our cupped hands. Anthropologists speculate that we might have started by using sea shells as our dinner bowls, but it was not long before we graduated to agriculture, nation building and dinner plates. Along the way we experimented with eating off rocks and bits of wood or bark, but the inherently superior nature of plates, bowls and cups is shown by the fact that they are found in abundance wherever human beings leave traces of their fallen civilisations. When everything else has been lost to time, a simple porcelain plate endures.

Wooden platters do not endure.

They split and rot and harbour living filth within their cracks and crevices. The term ‘trench mouth’ for ulcerative gingivitis, traces back to the use of wooden trenchers, or shared serving bowls in medieval times. They proved to be excellent transmission vectors for all manner of exciting infectious disease. Our return to these vessels, and worse, is our surrender to entropy. If human progress is no longer possible, why not stick a plastic cup full of tinned soup in a red shoe with a cheese cruller? Nothing matters anymore.

But! But… all is not lost.

A restaurant in the UK was recently fined £50,000 (or eighty-six grand in dollarydoos) for serving bad food on worse letters. After poisoning a dinner party of fourteen guests, Ibrahim's Grill and Steakhouse was ordered by local government health inspectors to stop serving food on cracked, dirty wooden boards. Of course, in the restaurant biz cracked, dirty wooden boards are so fucking hot right now… so Ibrahim kept right on poisoning those fashion-obsessed foodies.

It would be a shame. I think, if this small victory went nowhere. Wooden platters are not the worst things food has been served on, of late. This big fucking chunk of steel I-beam would be in with a shot...

… Were it not for the horror of meat on a clipboard…

Or, seriously, wasps in a biscuit.

The madness must end.

11 Responses to ‘Ibrahim's Grill and Transmission Vector’

Oldy ducks in to say...

Posted January 22
...but guzzling beer out of the coach's boot after a football championship win is still ok, right?

Asking for a friend, obviously...

Respond to this comment

jl is gonna tell you...

Posted January 22
Strongly agree with above.

One of the most sincerely held desires I had when serving in various unpleasant locales was for normal, won't-give-me-dysentary food served in sanitary conditions with people around me who didn't want me dead. Why would anyone want, short of Siege of Leningrad conditions, a biscuit filled with wasps? Or why eat some repulsive looking repast off of something salvaged from a scrap heap or a garbage dump?

One of the blessings of civilization is readily available, healthy and nourishing food. Damn, people must be bored with life, kind of like those seekers of the Darwin prize who eat Tide detergent pods.

Ennui kills as surely as a bullet. Look no further than the expensive slop on your trendy wooden plate.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted January 24
i'm glad this fad is dying in the arse.

Saw a funny joke about the tide pods going around the traps (disclaimer, funny cause i'm a dad and it definitely fits in that category):
It's easy to deter girls from eating tide pods but much harder to deter...gents

God. That has lost its shine in less than 24hours :(

Respond to this thread

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted January 22
Food served on something that reminds me of a workplace, such as a clipboard (yes, I know, I haven't used a clipboard in decades, but office supplies in general), might drive me to a bigger drinks bill. But I won't go back to that place after the initial unpleasant experience.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted January 22
I think the clipboard is easily the worst one.

Respond to this thread

Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 22
This sort of wankbadgery is down to Gen InstagramFoodie ignoring the bit about function in the whole "beautiful" design process. Steve Jobs would be appalled.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 22
There's something amiss with the comments, again. So I'm posting this one by Jim Kable, who emailed it to me.

I spent many years in Japan - and was served food on some of the most spectacular pottery and porcelain - some the work of Living National Treasures (even of some who had passed away - and I don't want to rework that LNT appellation). Commiserations re the wooden platters, etc. - and the drinking from shoes option. Trying to drink out of glass jars is already bad enough!

Respond to this comment

jason is gonna tell you...

Posted January 23
I put my hand up to take some of the blame for this. I live in hipster central where this sort of frippery was encouraged and glorified. Sipping a short double shot espresso while riding a fixie after eating off a recycled toilet seat on the way to get an ironic tattoo is a way of life here.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 23
You sir, are history's greatest monster.

Dave W reckons...

Posted January 23
I am convinced that this is all a sign of the end of days.

Barnesm mutters...

Posted January 24
If it's not it should be

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'Ibrahim's Grill and Transmission Vector'

Plans for the year

Posted January 17 into Writing by John Birmingham

Five books, basically.

After a shocker last year I just want to get my head down and write some novels. The long awaited Girl in Time sequel. The even longer awaited WW 3.1. Another space opera. My end of the world thingies. And a couple of conventional thrillers.

It would be a nice retreat from the world.

I suspect nice retreats from the world are going to be in high demand for the next few years.

I've written intro chapters and plot outlines for the two thrillers. I'm thinking about selling them locally, but retaining the overseas rights for myself. One thing I've recently learned, publishers are not keen to split print from ebook rights. They're starting to demand audio rights too, for no extra payment. But they're still locked into the old territorial model. So selling a title here, wouldn't preclude self publishing it overseas.

It'd be a bit of a dog's breakfast though. With retail prices of 14.99 in A/NZ and 4.99 globally.

So I dunno. I'll have to think on that some more.

2 Responses to ‘Plans for the year’

jason would have you know...

Posted January 18
I reckon there is a sequel to "How to be a writer" in there somewhere called "How to deal with publishers - without resorting to violence"

jl mumbles...

Posted January 18
Just thinking about the process and its mechanics makes me want to smash my head onto my desk until I see stars and taste blood.

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'Plans for the year'

Travelers, a thing I like.

Posted January 16 into Telly by John Birmingham

There are some shows on the streamz that I have to take a sip at a time. Ozark, Breaking Bad, even Daredevil. There’s an intensity to them that precludes consuming the series in a long binge.

Travelers is the opposite. I have to stop myself watching back to back episodes so that I don’t rush through an entire season and find myself enraged that there’s no more to be had.

It’s on Netflix in Oz, so not everyone will have seen it, but for me it’s one of those shows that makes subscription TV worth the money. This is the sort of show that would've run on the Ten Network when it was cool. And they’d have destroyed it with ads and schedule changes and getting a couple of eps out of order because that’s how they roll.

The premise is cool. Time travelers are sent back from a doomed future to change the past. But they can’t return in corporeal form, only their minds can make the journey – into the host bodies of people already living here in the 21st century. (Or simply The 21st, as it’s known in the show). The transfer overwrites the original mind, effectively killing the host. Travelers are thus inserted into hosts who are about to die before their time.

It’s a neat narrative ploy which unfolds into ever more complicated origami forms of story telling as the show goes on. Characters can be ‘killed’ simply by overwrite. It’s a great screen writer trick.

Eric McCormack (Will, in Will and Grace) leads the ensemble cast of travelers in his team, and does a great job. I never watched W&G so I had no trouble imagining him into the role of a very straight FBI agent—his relationship with his wife after overwriting is a key driver of the series. The other cast members fill out a Joss Whedon-style ‘band of five’ and every episode sees them even some new mission by The Director, to save the future.

It sounds dumb, and it is magnificently, compellingly, addictively dumb and enormous fun because of it. Season One was a good set up. Season Two is much stronger, with real character development inside the team, a solid meta-narrative setting up a worthy nemesis within the mythology of the series, and lots of splodey goodness.

There’s always lots of splodey goodness.

I only have a couple of eps left and I’m already feeling pre-emptive withdrawal.

9 Responses to ‘Travelers, a thing I like.’

insomniac reckons...

Posted January 17
It's on my list but I'll never get to it because some people in the house have an aversion to anything 'time travel'.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 17
Overwrite them.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted January 18
What house are you in, is it the chinese government?

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 19
Those lotus leaves? If only.

Respond to this thread

Barnesm reckons...

Posted January 18
I am really enjoying Travellers looking forward to your thoughts after you watch the final espisode of season 2. So far the haven't confirmed a season 3 yet. Manly because I think they like to see me suffer.

Respond to this comment

Vovchara has opinions thus...

Posted January 20
Travelers is truly remarkable. Avoiding all usual cliches of timetravel. Suspenseful and very human.

Respond to this comment

Oldy puts forth...

Posted January 22
This is absolutely my favourite thing on TV (is it still TV if it's Netflix?) I love the characters and the group dynamic, and yes - the second season kicks the show into the stratosphere.

It would be my second favourite thing, except they cancelled Sense8.

I'm not surprised you like it, it's got a lot of the same qualities I go to the Birmoverse for. Time Travel, alternate What If stuff, and cool characters who talk to each other like real people.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

Posted January 24
they are doing an end movie for sense8 - there was so much backlash they decided to round off the story line in a movie . . . that hasn't changed has it?

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted January 24
Nope. Still happening.

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'Travelers, a thing I like.'

ASB extracts

Posted January 15 into House keeping by John Birmingham

I've been meaning to spool up the Burger again, and have decided to run a few old bits from Alien Side Boob here this week as a subscriber drive, and a way of reminding myself to come here every day and fucking post something.

I had a Hell of a time of it last year, and the Burger suffered for it. I'm hoping and planning to be a lot more productive in 2018 and it'd be nice to get the clubhouse repainted and a couple of freshly stuffed beanbags here and there to spruce the place up.

Last week I submitted the first draft of THE CRUEL STARS to Random House, or Random Penguins as they now are, I guess. Or maybe Penguin House. This week, I'm having a planning session to lay out my deadlines and get all my various workflows in balance. Item one: take fewer media commissions, do more book writing.

I'm not sure yet how to program regular blogging time in the schedule, but that's part of what I need to work out.

5 Responses to ‘ASB extracts’

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted January 15
JB, if you do find the time, some more Burger blogs would be enjoyed. They are a delight,

Respond to this comment

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted January 16
the burger is a good spot to chew the fat in between books.

jl puts forth...

Posted January 16

Dave W puts forth...

Posted January 17
True dat. I'm a simple person with simple social media needs. Just drop us a little taste every now and then.

Respond to this thread

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted January 18
'Random Penguins' at least you aren't involved with angry penguins, didn't work out well for that other Australian writer.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'ASB extracts'