Monday, June 02, 2008

Return of the cool school

That's right - it's time for the first Titus Books launch of 2008. Titus veterans Jack Ross and Bill Direen will be joined at the Alleluya Cafe by young gun Jen Crawford. Jen will be reading from bad appendix, which is her first full-length collection of poems. Jack will read from EMO, the final instalment of the postmodern sci fi trilogy that began when the late Alan Brunton published Nights with Giordano Bruno through his Bumper Books imprint back at the beginning of the noughties.

2000 was also the year that Alan Brunton published Comrade Savage, one of the last playscripts to come from his prolific pen. Brunton's typically madcap interpretation of the life and ideas of the first Labour Party Prime Minister includes a suite of songs which Bill Direen has been busy recording for an album that will soon be released on Powertools Records. Bill will playing a few of the songs on the 19th, as well as reading from Enclosure, his new collection of short stories.

I'm intrigued to learn that Bill and Jen have spent the first half of the year in the chilly Northern Hemisphere - Bill has been tucked away in an Althusserian district of Paris, while Jen has been shivering in London. Now they're returning to the Land of the Long and Increasingly Chilly White Cloud: Bill, who always has to be the extremist, is settling in Dunedin for most of the winter, while Jen has at least had the sense to choose Auckland.

When I was a kid I used to read Richard Hadlee's accounts of how, as a professional cricketer, he endlessly 'chased the summers', moving between Australasia at its warmest, Blighty in June, the Carribean, and a parched Indian subcontinent. Hadlee hadn't seen a winter his whole adult life, which I thought was pretty choice.

I wonder, though, whether a permanent summer would be good for writers. Bill and Jen, at least, seem to be 'chasing the winters': perhaps the cooler temperatures and inclement weather are as important to them as long rain-free days and hard bouncy wickets were to Hadlee? In his account of his life as a wannabe-professional writer in London, Paul Theroux confessed to feeling intense joy every time winter rolled around, the pea soup fogs rolled in, and sitting inside scribbling by the fire became the only sensible human activity. Bad weather was good for Theroux's discipline.

I'm supposed to be MCing on the 19th, so I think I'll ask our returning Kiwis whether they, too, belong to the 'cool school' of writing...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey it's so cool a small New Zealand company is publishing Jack Ross.
I've read his books in Canada where they are big.
Kudos to you for getting such a huge author.
How did you do it?

9:46 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Hadlee was possibly the best fast bowler of the 70s - he was incredibly accurate...firing balls like a snipper ["How to Kill"- lol] - Chatsfield had a slower pace but would place the balls - but more "eccentrically" - so after a few bowls by Hadlee (veering right or left, or low and straight on a or the odd vicious bouncer)) Chatsfield would make it hard as he bowled pretty straight to the wicket, and the batsmen would go out having got tensed up for Hadlee... ... together they worked well...

There was an Aussie fast bowler of those times was pretty great also... no great spin bowlers until
Shane Warne - Daniel Vettori is rated highly in the world on one I just saw Blog BTW

I play better chess if I am actualy cold - I sit at my computer with no heater - maybe a coat and a blanket to save power!! (I believe my grandfather was a London Jew ..but I never met him as far as I know!) - but may be it's an erroneous distortion that Scots, Hindus, Jews are tight bastards but a lot of Hindus and other ardent curry munchers are a miserable lot I've noticed BTW...but they are bloody good cricketers (and the present World Chess Champion And is from India)...the Chinese are all very open and mostly quite happy - except the odd mad poet amongst them!!

11:07 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Typo - Viswanthan Anand from India is the present World Chess Champion

But I don't know if he plays cricket!

Cricket is a great game - just don't seem to have time to follow it as much these days...

11:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who did Hadlee hit out at?

Was he a violent man?

9:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'a lot of Hindus and other ardent curry munchers are a miserable lot I've noticed BTW'

Is this really necessary Richard?

1:34 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:13 pm  
Blogger Dr Jack Ross said...

I can't help feeling that anonymous, above, has got me confused with that other Jack Ross, the one who wrote the detective novel Requiem (2008), and who lives in Scotland.

Fuller details can be found at the Fantastic Fiction website []. fuller details about me and my publications can be found at my NZ Book Council writer's page []

1:04 pm  

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