The assorted writings, ramblings, ravings and misc of multi-award-winning writer Mat Blackwell. Old stuff, new stuff, linked stuff, and stuff that I really should've thought harder about before posting. Welcome to my internets!
Much excitement and delight were experienced at discovering our little black comedy series Bruce being featured stark raving first on C J Johnson's and Jim Flanagan's new movie-based webseries "Watch This". Woohoo! Although Jim thinks our dialogue is both a) mostly improvised (it wasn't) and b) mostly shit (well, that's a matter of taste, innit), I think we won him over in the end. And C J seems like a true fan. Huzzah!
High tones meet white noise washes meet laser-pointer sinewaves in blocks of articulated precision, courtesy of Todd Anderson-Kunert. Review scribbled for Heathen Harvest, editorial assistance by Sage Weatherford.
"The changes between one segment and the next are sometimes gradual as
one set of textures sinks away and is gently replaced by another, but
more often than not, the changes are abrupt, like the flipping of a
switch, one ultra-minimal section of almost unhearable, low subwoofer
tones suddenly replaced with a buzz of warm hiss, or a tonal bath of
purified sine waves, or a set of super-high frequencies that are so
beyond normal hearing that they are almost like a taste in the air, a
three-dimensional flavour in the air that can only be tasted by the ear.
And, bugger me, I actually like it."
An interview about Beef, in which I basically break down and writhe about on the floor complaining petulantly about the gruelling horrors of marketing (and also talk about writing, creativity, and persistence).
Read it in all its self-indulgent whingey glory here:
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure here, let me just firstly say that Xtian and I have known each other for many years, and continue to make strange art together (see here, here, and here for examples), both in physical forms and in an ongoing digital Exquisite-Corpse-style mysterious-swapsies-type-art-piece/game/distraction known as the Infinite Collage (or "With Uninhibited Fingers for the Unfathomable", to give it its proper title), which is perhaps the longest piece of art in the known universe, and is viewable here. So, point is, he's no stranger - in fact, we like each other quite a lot. So you can take that as meaning that this review of his is meaningless or whatever, but I don't see it that way at all: after all, I never asked him for a review, and even if I did (which I didn't) he didn't have to do it, and even if he did do it (which he did), it didn't have to go into as much detail as it does, nor did it have to be so wonderfully positive and/or expressive about the coolness of my novel.
TLDR: it's still unbiased, and still totally awesome, and I'm very very stoked about it.
Read the full excellence right here! And then buy all of his artworks and books and so on to help him save up for his moon-home, he'd really appreciate it.
Left to right: Tim Harris, Xtian, Mat Blackwell, and Dan Kelly, at our four-way collage exhibition a few years ago: "The Wrong Head: 4 Men, 100 Collages".
Well, Bruce is going great guns! Seems to be making some small sort of impact, which is nice: just this week I've done two phone interviews about it with various media folk, exciting! This is the first one: Wok and I were invited into the Southbank ABC survival bunker to chat with the very encouraging CJ Johnson, talking about the long development of Bruce, the mottled history of Australian historical comedy, and the future of online entertainment. The interview is available in its entirety as a podcast here:
Filthy disturbing sludgey blackened depressive metal atrocities from my favourite Netherlander, the mighty Gnaw Their Tongues. Sorry, I gush a bit in this one, but I do so love Mr Tongues' horrifying aural vistas. Review scribbled for Heathen Harvest, and not very edited by the everloving Sage Weatherford. "The art I love most of all comes embedded with a very specific kind of
unavoidable challenge, namely: The art I love most of all is art that
surprises and/or shocks me in some way, giving me something that I have
never experienced before. The unavoidable challenge of such art is,
once I’ve been surprised and/or shocked by a project, how can it ever do
that again? When a huge part of a band’s appeal is its ability to
pioneer new ground, can it still do that for a second release—or a
third? Or, in Gnaw Their Tongues’s case, a fortieth? Well, gosh darn it and blast me to heck, but I do believe it can."
I can't believe it's taken me so long to mention this! Clearly, I am a bit lame when it comes to promotional stuff. Eep!
In August, the wonderful naturalist and nature-writer and all-round Aussie treasure Tanya Loos dedicated an entire post to writing about Beef, delving deeply into the story itself, but also discussing the power of literature as activism. It's great for me to see just what people get out of it, which particular aspects of the book touch people and what they think I'm saying, and what resonates and what doesn't. And I really think Tanya gets it.
Regarding the activism at the novel's core, she mentions that "our modern civilisation’s dirty secret is the true cost of cheap meat", and goes on to say "[b]ut Beef explores an alternate reality, the sort of world where the
treatment of animals in this way is morally repugnant, and it reflects
on the past in a very light-hearted and easy to read way. Without
lecturing!" Exactly what I was after!
Her review includes lovely little summations like this:
"Royston is going through the motions of life in his eccentric family,
and happy with his wife Lena and his daughter River. Until BAM! Gene
enters his life. Royston falls head over heels for this luscious
embodiment of womanhood and the two strike up a very close friendship
that oozes with sexual tension and causes a fuckload of consternation
for Royston. I say fuckload because if you don’t like swearing you are
in for a challenging read."
(I do love a good swear. In fact, I have an in-depth piece about swearing on this very blog.)
"I think it works equally well as a love story or as science fiction, or
speculative fiction, indeed Beef reminds me very much of one of my
favourite authors, Margaret Atwood, just with more swearing!"
High praise indeed! :)
Thanks Tanya! The entire review can be read on Tanya's website, here.