Review: The Story Of The World Cup

The Story Of The World Cup
The Story Of The World Cup by Brian Glanville

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I desperately wanted to love this book: it was given to me by my wife as part of a Christmas tradition where we buy each other a second-hand book that we might not have bought ourselves, but which we think “Of course!” once we open the wrapping. I’m a football fan, a lover of the World Cup (one of our favourite shared memories is of me utterly failing to remain quiet whilst watching Australia v Japan in a hotel room during WC2006 whilst she unsuccessfully tried to get some sleep next to me), an utter football tragic in as many ways as time and money let me be. This looked like a good fit. I really, really wish it had been.

Sadly, the book turns out to be a depressingly mundane read from an author who seems to have been given a word-a-day calendar for Christmas and grown bored with it by about January 5th: every winger in the history of the sport is ‘insidious’ (and half of them ‘little’); every right foot that scores a goal a hammer; every left likewise; and while ‘fulminating’ may be a cool word to pull out and use when you want to impress a girl you like, I hadn’t read it in a text in something like 20 years, which makes the sixteen times it appears in this book so laughable it verges on a drinking game.

More disturbingly is Glanville’s preoccupation with describing players via their skin or hair colour. Three types of players exist in Glanville’s world: those with a mane of blond hair, like Gabriel Batistuta or Luis Hernandez; those who are ‘dark’, like Gerd Muller or Franz Beckenbauer; or most worryingly, those he simply describes as ‘black’. In the early pages, in those first few tournaments where it is quickly apparent that Glanville has no direct experience and is pulling together reports from the time, such a description can be accepted as a yardstick of the modernising effect that black footballers were having on the national aspirations of countries like Brazil and Uruguay. It serves to highlight the special attributes certain players brought to their tournaments, and what they overcame to get there. By the time we get to 1994, an he still insists on singling out players like Aron Winter for this description, there’s only one conclusion that can be reluctantly drawn. There is simply no need for the description anymore. It is Glanville, not the circumstance, who accords importance to the colour of a player’s skin.

It leaves a lingering taste in the mouth, but it’s not the only problem.

Glanville can’t decide whether the book is to be a Wisdenish collation of facts or a more personal, opinionated series of recollections by a man who performed journalistic duties at a long series of the World Cup events, and has been able to extend his research back to cover those that occurred before his time. It leads to a schism of approach between pre- and post-1966 reportage: dry as dust to begin with, and lapsing increasingly into irrelevant asides that do nothing to advance the narrative of each tournament (his constant niggling at, and denigration of, for example, both Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson, is never at any stage backed up with a reason why he feels this way towards an admired player and manager). Ultimately he tries to cover both styles, and falls between them both, coming across like nothing more or less than the boring nerk at the end of the bar who thrusts himself into a passionate fan argument without being asked, and proceeds to bleed it dry by acting like an utter anorak: lacking humour, original insight, or anything approaching an understanding of the passions that drive the argument in the first place.

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TIDBITS TO TIDE YOU OVER

Things are still mega busy at the new Batthome, so just to keep in contact, a couple of thoughts–

ON THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Is the anything funnier than seeing a fat, shirtless, toothless Geordie man crying?

ON POULTRY BEHAVIOUR

So to bide our time while Mum nipped into the shop, Erin, Connor and I sat in the car and told each other jokes. I was still crying with laughter from this effort when Lyn got back:

ERIN: Connor, why did the chicken cross the road?
CONNOR: (Pauses for well over half a minute while he contemplates possible answers. Finally….) Because he’s stupid?

Laugh? I nearly wet myself.

More soon, with added substance!

OH, IT’S A GOOD DAY TO BE RED

Nottingham Forest 3, Manchester City 0.

Babbyyyyyyyy πŸ™‚

That score again: sleeping giant of world football slowly starting to emerge from decade long nightmare of disaster 3, laughable so-called richest club in the world with a history of doing nothing impressive in its entire miserable existence NIL.

That’s right, people. We might not be able to scrape past the footballing might of Doncaster, but if you come from Manchester, you play in the Prem, you dress in slightly effeminate blue, and you’re just a bit more shit than you think you are, you can be our bitches today.

Gloat mode disengaged…

OH GOD, HOW MUCH DO I LOVE FOXTEL?

Sunday night, thanks to Fox Sports Some Channel or Other, for the first time in several seasons, guess what I got to do?

That’s right: actually watch Forest play!

I may have had a sportsgasm. I won’t try to deny it.

The first game of the new season, the first time we’ve been promoted in almost a decade, and thanks to Fox’s one-game-a-week coverage of the Championship, I got to see the boys in red take on the 2nd-level might of newly-relegated Reading. And what a fist they made of it, too: despite injuries to 4 of the 5 strikers in the squad, and bookies odds that had us marginally better value than the return of Jesus, we ran, harried, held and passed our way to a well-earned draw with a team mooted as one of the very heavy guns of the division. What’s more, we did it with style: I had expected lump-it-and-chase football, but we kept it on the ground, maintained possession (over 70% of possession, by game’s end), and apart from one magnificent save from keeper Paul Smith, held our much more fancied opponents to a game of desperate lunges and hopeful shots. Survival football is one thing. Stylish, European ball play is a much finer one, and we played football.

Robert Earnshaw, on whom I had bestowed grave doubts, was a dynamo up front, his constant movement and darting runs a genuine disturbance to the giant Reading centre backs, and young Frenchman Guy Moussi is already looking like the find of the season: if he maintains that kind of imperious form, what chance a Premiership approach come January? Quick message to all Prem teams: fuck off. Young Lewis McGugan was a constant threat, involved in everything until a silly booking…. for a team with all but two players under the age of twenty five, we played with poise and steel, and that as much as anything gives me hope for the long season ahead.

Do I sound excited? Am I babbling? Do I resemble a sad fanboy finally getting to bask in some sunshine?

Picture my happy face πŸ™‚

Swansea next, and on the form we displayed on Sunday, don’t discount us having three points in the bag by game’s end. Come oooooon, you Reeeeddddsss!

HOWAY THE… ME?

Busybusybusybusybusybusybusy….

Not much posting in the foreseeable future. Much working and mentoring and working and I promise I’ll do those edits sally and working and stressing and mentoring and applying for grants and bugger me I’m exhausted….

AUTOMATIC FOR THE (LONG-SUFFERING) PEOPLE

It’s taken a long and painful two years, but finally, we’ve cracked automatic promotion back to the Championship where, sadly, we belong. With all due respect to the passionate footballing people of Tranmere, Cheltenham, Crewe et al, I hope I never have to think about you again. It’s the turn of Leicester fans, now, to weep into their lagers πŸ™‚

But please, lads, my lovely red-clad footballing lads: just for me, if not for everyone who actually gets to go along and see you play, could we please do something to ensure that I never again have to sit anxiously by my computer waiting for news of whether we’ve managed to overcome the might of a footballing colossus like bloody Yeovil on the last day of the season?

No pressure.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Lots of love and wonder to our beautiful daughter Erin, who turned 5 yesterday. We held a joint birthday party for her and Connor on the weekend: there are some snaps below.

I find it hard to talk about Erin in a rational manner. She brings to the surface so many emotions, and so many conflicting feelings that I end up burbling like a deranged emo-monster. It’s no exaggeration to say that she quite literally saved my life– her birth mother died four days after she was born, and had I not had the pressing necessity to get up each day (and night) and care for this helpless, needy little baby, I would have stopped things right there and then.

As it is, my memories of our first year and a half together are sketchy at best. It was only once Lyn entered our lives and brought with her an enormous reservoir of love and forgiveness that I was able to enjoy Erin for what she is, and not see in her all the failings and guilt I held over her birth-mother’s death. I never blamed her, understand: that blame too obviously belonged to the doctor that killed her birth-mother. But Erin represented the motivation I needed just to survive, and my concentration upon her was so acute that the rest of my life was in danger of withering into atrophy. It’s hard to explain, other than to say that my personality was so fractured that it needed the most extreme focus to do anything: tying my shoelaces needed just as much concentration as driving or negotiating the million dollar tax repayments which was my job at the time. Erin, as the most important thing in my life, commanded all of it, and everything else, being at the periphery of that focus, was slowly crumbling.

Those who knew me before, and who still know me now, would recognise that many parts of my personality remain unrecoverable. I am quite literally a different person. Most who knew me would say better.

But she’s 5 now, my daughter, and such a complex and vibrant personality that I become entranced around her. She can be snotty, whiny, petulant, and irrational beyond all means to understand. But this is the child who will stand between me and her brother in order to protect him when I go to give him a smack; who will ask us to turn off the kiddie songs so she can listen to Chicago (her favourite song in the wide world!) and who knows most of the words to Ballroom Blitz and We Will Rock You; who has seven favourite colours; who I catch singing to her dolls because it’s the best way to get them to sleep; who sees no reason why dinosaurs shouldn’t be allowed to drive trains…. she’s five years old, and in many ways she is the fulcrum around which the two halves of our blended family revolve. She brought us together: it was she who decided, at age two, that Lyn was her Mummy and that she would call her so, and the rest of us fell into line behind it. Because of her refusal to play the ‘step/half/birth’ game, we have a family of brothers and sisters, rather than a melange or partially related siblings.

I dedicated my first book to her and Lyn, because together, they are my soul. And to see her now, so intelligent, so fiercely independent, and so loving, makes me feel like I might be doing something right in my life after all.

First bath, less than 12 hours old, and not liking it!

5 years old, and so much to come

PARTYPARTYPARTYPARTY

Thanks to everyone who came along on saturday to help Erin and Connor celebrate their birthdays. the kids had an amazing time, runnign between bedroom, toy room, paddling pools, and cubby house, and the house is awash with new toys in the process of being hammered half to death (the Megablocks pirate ship is a real favourite, and the young-uns get to play with it too!)

I’ll put up a full gallery on flickr some time in the next few days, but for now, a couple of snaps for awwwwwww purposes:

Hello? Look, I can’t talk right now, I have presents to open….

It’s a car, it’s Bratz… my God, it is everything I’ve ever wanted!

2 cakes! That’s right, count ’em, 2! And they’re ours, do you understand, ourrrrssss!!!

WHAT THE HELL ARE MY CHILDREN LEARNING?

Ahhhh, Blake. So young, so funny, so damn disturbing.

ME: Well, it’s better than watching a John Wayne movie.
BLAKE: You mean John Wayne Gacy?
ME: No, John. Wayne.
BLAKE: Who’s he?

I’m not sure what’s more worrying: that he doesn’t know who John Wayne is, or that he automatically assumes I’m always talking about serial killers….

GRADUATO!

So it’s got to be something important to drag me away from the final session of the most exciting test match in years.

It was Blake’s primary school graduation ceremony last night. The B-boy and I realised on the weekend that I’ve known him exactly half his primary school life: we met when he was partway through year 4, and there he was on stage, accepting his certificate, class photo, and cup (?)

I missed quite a bit of the ceremony due to dealing with a stroppy non-sleeping Connor, but I was proud to see my Bonus Boy doing his bit on stage: the first signs of the man he will become are makign themselves apparent, in his poise, his maturity and his grace. I can’t wait to see him tackle high school next year: of the three Triffitt children, he’s the one I see acclimitising the quickest, and sucking all the marrow he can from the experience.

Ready to graduate and get his coffee cup!

One of the lovelier moments of the evening came when each of the graduating class came down from the stage and presented their Mums with a flower by way of saying thank you for getting them to this stage in their lives. Between the tears and the head-to-chest hugs, I managed to get this snap of an overwhelmed Mum and her carnation, with added Aiden-Head!

Too proud to speak, with her evil twin head showing….

Proud mother, happy son, the culmination of a beautiful evening

AND LASTLY, BECAUSE I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN HANGING ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEATS

6 points clear at the top of the table after 19 rounds, and drawn against free-falling Charlton in the 3rd round of the Cup.

The future’s looking good for the boys in Red…..

Song(s) of the moment: Songs From The Labyrinth Sting & Edin Karamazov

Reading: The Book of Fantasy Jorge Luis Borges (ed)

A GIANT IS LOST

Ferenc Puskas is dead.

For those not in the know, Puskas is a footballing legend. “The Galloping Major” was the inspirational leader and talisman of the all-conquering Mighty Magyars, the Hungarian footnall team of the 1950s (How good were they? They did England 6-3. At Wembley. England’s first ever defeat at home. They still talk about it.) . He was the rock behind which the all-conquering Real Madrid of the 1960s stood when they won 5 consecutive La Liga titles and 3 European Cups, a record that stands unequalled today.

How good was he? Puskas was a striker. For a striker, a return of one goal in every three games is considered pretty damn good. The really great ones, they might score once every couple of games over the course of their career.

In 529 games for Real, Puskas scored 512 times. His 84 games in a Hungarian shirt yielded 83 goals.

I have some footage of him in action from his Real days. He is nothing short of mesmerising.

He is, unarguably, one of the 3 or 4 greatest players ever to have lived. He is easily the greatest European ever to play the game.

Football is lessened by his loss.

HANDED IN:

The second draft of The Memory of Breathing, to Producermatt. Now to wait for his Producer’s Notes, and research animal liberationists in preparation for draft number three.

And finally get on to some short stories again!

AS COOL AS PRESENTS GET

Earlier this week, Aiden presented me with a belated birthday present. He’d warned me it would be late– he had to hand it in to his teacher and get it marked first.

If there’s anything cooler than getting something handmade from your kids, I don’t know what it is.

So how great was it to be given this weird and wonderful handmade clay head? Very great indeed.

You talkin’ ta me? You talkin’ ta me?

As befits a present so froody, it was made an immediate addition to my Corner of Cool, that section of the office where I keep all my bits-n-trinkets that capture my imagination. As a Bonus Parent, to receive a gift that a Bonus Child has made specially for me is deeply touching. It’s a sign that, to Aiden, I’m a genuine parent. Pride of place on the corner of the desk for this baby, let me tells ya!

Head and friends

BEING A GRANDFATHER IS HARD WORK

One of the finches escaped on the weekend: I was trying to get their water dish out of the cage, and the little bugger flew straight over my shoulder. We’ve promised Aiden a new one (what else could we do?), and thanks to a trip into Joondalup on Sunday, we know where to get it.

There’s a pet shop next door to Bunnings. And it’s open on Sunday.

And I’m not revelaing who it was that suggested we pop in and do some Christmas shopping. For the Finches.

But it wasn’t me.

All I did was choose the ladder with the rough steps to help them groom their claws. And the straw nesting box. That’s all.

I have no emotional attachment to these birds whatsoever.

CAROLE KING IS NORMAL, HUZZAH!


The ABC’s Articulate column contains an interview with Carole King, who is touring Australia for the first time. I don’t know any of M s King’s music, except for a sneaking memory that she was the one responsible for the inane soundtrack to one of the Winnie The Pooh movies my darling daughter has made me watch over and over and over and over……

However, what pissed me off upon reading the column was that Ms King notes that “her greatest achievements include having a ‘normal life’.”
What the hell? I mean, mad as I may be, surely if you want to live a normal life, why become a fucking artist? It’s not like the lifestyle, or the demands of creativity, are unknown. I mean, surely it doesn’t come as any sort of surprise.
And what is so damn special about a normal life? It’s the norm. It’s the base template from which you deviate to add spice to your existence. As if the ability to get up in the morning, wallow in mundanity, and go to sleep at night is cause for applause.
Jesus. Fuck normal. Celebrate anything but normal. Be a bird and fly.
Of course, not having sold umpty-million albums and not having had a way to avoid a day job since the age of 14, I may be missing the vital ingredient in this argument…

MYSPACE?

A serious question: what’s the attraction with MySpace? A lot of people seem to be signing up, and seem very happy at having done so. I’ve looked at the Home/About pages, and I’m not sure I’m not missing something.

Anyone have a MySpace page? Want to tell me about it? Head to the Message Board so we can have a group back and forth on the subject.

MOOFIES
A quick note regarding some movies Luscious and I have watched recently, in lieu of taking the time to think up proper reviews:
Children of Men: Astonishing SF of a type that rarely makes it screen these days- literate, intelligent, thoughtful, and genuinely moving. The performances are routinely excellent, with the usual exception of Julianne Moore, who is as stagey as ever. See it at the cinema so that the sheer scale and noise of the final third is at its most effective.
Serenity: So, in the aftermath of the Civil War, a disillusioned Confederate Captain leads his ragtag group in a guerilla war against the agents of the Union, having to make a run through vicious tribes of Red Injuns and back to deliver an escaped pair of zzzzzzzzzzzz…… unlikeable characters, nonsensical plotting, cartoon performances…. maybe I had to watch the TV series Firefly to get the full gist of this movie adaptation, but then, if I have to do that just to watch a movie, it’s failed before I even hand over my money. The sort of bad SF I have to keep telling people I don’t write.
Lord of War: A sublime black comedy, unrepentantly amoral, with a sense of irony so thick you could serve it with sauce. As surprised as I was by Keanu Reeves in Constantine, I am more so by the normally terrible Nicholas Cage in the lead role here, although, like Reeves, I shouldn’t have been– if you want oily, insincere, and slick as teflon-coated shit, who better than Cage? It’s a comedy about arms dealers, and the blacker it got, the more I laughed.
Hotel Rwanda: Good God. A movie to watch if you feel like hating everybody, especially your leaders. By turns horrifying and heartbreaking, and the usually underrated and ignored Don Cheadle turns in a performance of astonishing range. An amazing filmic triumph, with performances that mesmerised me, and a level of violence and helplessness I would not have believed if I did not remember the real life footage of the Rwandan conflict.
We’re currently in the middle of Battlestar Galactica Season One, an SF series that surprises me with the solidity of its plotting and intelligence. The original was cheesy fun for a pre-teen in the late 70s, and I really didn’t expect much from this remake/extension, despite the fannish over-excitement from the same people who told me how great Babylon 5 and Serenity were. It’s heights aren’t brilliantly high, but at no stage in the first season does it ever drop to the depths of the first season of Star Trek: TNG. A pleasant surprise, so far.
Song of the moment: Museum of Idiots They Might Be Giants
Reading: Officially between books, as I finished the current one this afternoon.

BECAUSE I KNOW YOU CARE

Played 10, 25 points, one game clear of the top of the table. I can smell the Championship already πŸ™‚

OH, IN THE INTERESTS OF FAIRNESS, I SUPPOSE…..

The West Coast Eagles beat the Sydney Swans to win the AFL Grand Final on Saturday. Um, hooray?

And I’m told the Brisbane Broncos beat the Melbourne Storm to win the NRL Grand Final on Sunday. Um, um?

CONGRATUMALASHUNS

…to Stephen Dedman, who has recorded his 100th short story sale under his own name.

Stand still for five minutes and let the rest of us catch up, will you?

HULK CLEAN!

Clean up day yesterday. Hired us a trailer, got stuck in. Took loaded-up trailer to the tip. I don’t know about you, but our tip weighs the car on the way in, weighs it again on the way out, and you pay a fee based on the difference in weight. (And oh, my nerdy interior rang with the voice of Peter Jones intoning “It is vitally important to get a receipt every time you go to the lavatory”….)

684 kilograms of rubbish I lumped into that trailer, with Luscious’ help.

No wonder I’m bloody knackered.

GO YOU RE-EEEEDSSS!!!

Huddersfield Town 1- 1 Nottingham Forest.

TOP OF THE TABLE, BABY!!!!!!

Ahem. I feel better now.

And as a comedy aside, what do I have in common with Torvill & Dean, Ian Paice, Andy Cole, and the Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield?

This.

OVER, ALL OVER….. ONLY FOUR YEARS UNTIL THE NEXT ONE!

Well, I’m back to normal sleeping times now that the World Cup is over, and the Italian National Diving Team have got their hands on The Trophy The Brazilians Didn’t Leave in a Rubbish Bin (Liddle World Cup in-joke for the true believers…). Altogether: Fabio Grosso’s an arrrrsseeehooollleeee………

Truth to tell, I’m kind of disappointed they played France. I was hoping Portugal would make it. Wouldn’t it have been a laugh? 11 players all falling over simultaneously in different parts of the pitch, clutching theiur ankles and screaming as if they’ve just been shot with a howitzer, while the ref stands at the centre circle, holding the ball and trying to tell someone that the game hasn’t even started yet?

Maybe it’s just me…

Anyway, I was pleased to get what I would consider a ‘true’ final: exciting, controversial, and amidst all the hoo-ha, filled with some damn good football, not that anyone seems to remember that, so badly has the Zidane/Matterazzi spectacle absorbed us all. Finals are often rather boring, with both teams determined not to lose, rather than win. The 3rd place playoff is usually where all the action is: 2 teams with nothing to lose, playing like dervishes. It’s usually the best game of the tournament, and it went close again this year. But the final was all I’d hoped for, and of course, we had that head butt.

My opinion: stupid man, that Zidane. It appears that Matterazzi may have called him the “son of a terrorist whore.” Is that worth losing the World Cup over? Your dignity? The respect of your team-mates, your country, and the watching world? His final match, and the possibility of holding aloft the greatest prize in world football, pissed away because a thick-headed Italian defender make a comment about his Mum. Has that never happened to Zizou before? I mean, I loved my Mum, but she’d have kicked my head in

Still, it’s all over now, and we can settle in to watch the great Juventus sell off sale begin. Ahhhh, Serie C never looked so good πŸ™‚

$1.40 A LITRE AND THE IDEA OF DOUBLE VALUE SHOPPING

Petrol prices hit the $1.40 a litre mark during the week, which has made the Luscious One and I re-examine our shopping procedures. All those supermarkets in our local area, offering 4c off this and voucher that… more and more these days, the idea of value-added shopping lies uppermost in our thoughts, what with being skint and needing to stretch everything as far as we can. Do we shop at Coles, get our 4c off petrol plus Fly Buys? IGA gives you 4c, plus they’re part of the Super Savers scheme, and you can get multiples of 6c vouchers if you shop wisely. Action give you points towards a $20 voucher to spend on fruit and veg, plus the obligatory 4c off per litre…

Yesterday I found myself nixing a proposed trip to the Wanneroo markets to buy fruit, because by the time we got there, the cost of petrol would have made the trip a false economy. Because we were only going to buy fruit and nothing else.

So I’m interested: are we the only ones who are beginning to think this way? Or is it just the poor? The family-burdened? Or are we all beginning to change the way we view our shopping needs?

If so, what are steps are you taking?

SHE LOVES ME, SHE LOVES ME…. NOPE, THAT’S IT, SHE LOVES ME

For no reason at all, just because she loves me, Luscious popped into a second hand bookstore and presented me with a hardback anthology called Analog’s Golden Anniversary Anthology the other day. Poul Anderson, Asimov, Bova, Fredric Brown, SPrage De Camp, Dickson, Heinlein, Oliver, Schmidt, Sturgeon, Van Vogt, Weinbaum and more: 380 pages of golden age goodness.

When you consioder how utterly meh Analog has become as a magazine, it’s sometimes a welcome surprise to be faced with the assemblage of talent it used to collect.

I feel a wallowing a’comin’…..

FALLING OUT OF LIKE

I made a strange discovery during the week: I realised I don’t like someone who I had always thought I liked. Normally I realise when I’ve started to dislike a person, or I dislike them upon contact. But I realised, as I thought “I like Person X, but…” for the umpteenth time in relation to something they said, that I’d been saying this to myself a lot, for a long time, and the truth was, I didn’t like them after all.

I have no wisdom to offer about this. It’s just a weird feeling, is all.

A QUICK STOCKTAKE IN THE INTERESTS OF INSPIRING ME TO GET OFF MY ASS AND FINISH SOME OF THESE DAMN THINGS

So I’ve been doing a bit of kvetching (or in Battersby Household Speak: there was kvetchage. which I add only because I think it sounds funny…) because I’ve got no projects on the go, and nothing in the trunk, and nothing is coming up on the publishing front, so I was a wee bit becalmed. You may have noticed…

Apart from two stories doing the rounds, all I’ve got out is Napoleone’s Land, which sits with agent and publisher; The Ballad of Henry Renfield which awaits publication in the Monster Noir anthology; and Manuscript Found Upon The Body of a Hanged Soldier, a story I completed almost a year ago for the approaching-mythical-status Fading Twilight anthology. None of these have concrete publication dates, so it was anybody’s guess as to when I was going to see print again. What’s more, I didn’t have anything I was really working on, so it was anybody’s guess as to when I’d have anything finished.

SO: Luscious is out tonight, the kids are in bed, and I’ve read all the new posts on the The World Game site. My eyes fall on a stack of half a dozen notebooks I’ve got sitting above my desk. I’ll just have a squizz through them see what’s in there.

What I find, after I’ve transcribed all the pieces into Word, are the beginnings of 30 stories, totalling over 20 000 words!

I’m going to list them, which might bore you to tears because it’s no more than list of titles and word counts. But consider it a public shaming: once it’s written down, it’s in the public sphere, and then I’ll have to do something about them. 20 000 words, and he moans about not having anything…. whining maggot.

So, they are:

The Squire 1259
The Escapees 134
Squall 69
Mr Snopes 4058
Most Divine of Winds 236
Magwitch and Bugrat 892
Lethologica 340
Indian Jim 158
In From The Snow 2672
The Corpse-Rat King 3688
Chirsmast 65
Adding Machines 103
A Good Year For The Roses 2227
Where The Jungle Ends 245
Forever Amen 151
One Last Sacrifice 736
Still Life 209
Six Seconds 122
Building 191
The God of Insects 200
Clones, We’re All 221
Dudley Awesome, Super Guy! 311
Down Amongst The Teensies 264
A Fork In The Sky 1450
Domitian’s Statue 349
Father Muerte & the Bells 82 (Yup, I had the start of a Muerte story, and had forgotten it. Bad author! No biscuit!)
Workbench 459
Playing With Jimi At the Tower of Babel 204
The Undertaker 305
Beyond The Fence 407

There you go. 21 807 words of beginnings. And given I have a second novel to get the hell on with, and I know I have a file full of first pages I should pull out and transcribe, and Iive just been contacted by a newly formed small press publishing company asking if I’m interested in writing a 40-50K novel for them, I really have no bloody excuse any more, do I?

Next time I’ll just post some nice pictures of the family, to make up for getting all angsty and self-indulgent, I promise.

Song of the Moment: Generals and Majors XTC

TICOMPETITIONEROGA!

Ticonderoga Online issue 8 is online, and it features my story Fade. Go, read it, tell me how much you love me.

The issue also features a competition, wherein you can win one of two signed copies of my collection Through Soft Air. For those too slack to get over to TicON and read the details, here they are:

Win a signed copy of Lee Battersby’s debut collection Through Soft Air

TiconderogaOnline has two copies of Through Soft Air to give away, signed and kindly donated by the author.

To date, Lee Battersby has published three “Father Muerte” stories: “Father Muerte and the Theft”, “Father Muerte and the Rain” and “Father Muerte and the Flesh”.
Simply send in your suggestion for the title to an imaginary “Father Muerte and …” story, following the same naming convention. All entries received before 1 August 2006 will be forwarded to Lee Battersby, who will pick the best two entries.
Conditions of entry
1. Closing date: midnight Western Australian time (GMT +0800) 31 July 2006.
2. Entries to be of the form: “Father Muerte and …”
3. Entries to be emailed to: competitions@ticonderogaonline.org
4. Multiple entries are permitted.
5. The judge’s decision is final.
6. By entering the competition you give TiconderogaOnline the right to publish your entry.
So, what are you waiting for?
WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?
Brazil out to France, a team that only scraped into the finals because the team they played in the final round of qualifying had to be home at 3pm to pick up the kids from school? What the flock is going on here?
And as to England, how bloody hard is it to put the ball in the net from 6 yards out when the bloody goal is 10 yards wide and there’s only one Portugese midget between you and glory? Doesn’t the 50K a week paypacket come with instructions? Fuckfuckfuckfuckityfuck.
And a short note to Wayne Rooney: Wayne, if you’re reading (because I know you like to pop over and have a squizz of an evening), GROW A BRAIN YOU MORONIC SHREK LOOKALIKE IDIOT!
That is all.

FATHER, FORGIVE ME, IT’S BEEN 5 MINUTES SINCE MY LAST CONFESSION

Everybody has their guilty pleasures, those inexplicable lapses in taste that help define the inner contours of your aesthetic soul. Rob Hood, a paragon of taste and dignity, has a bizarre attachment to Hawkwind that defies description. Cheshire Noir seems inordinately fond of the Commodore 64.
Luscious married me πŸ™‚
7 months after I got it for Christmas, I managed to have the office clean enough so that I could connect my LP player to the computer this morning, and pulled out the vinyl.
And I’ve been rocking out to my Slade records ever since.
And I feellllll ALL- riiiiii-iiiii-iiiiiggggggghtttttttttttt………………………………….
PAMPERING MY INNER NERD
Just because it still tickles my fancy a month after I took it at Conflux, the following photo:

This is not the Dalek you are looking for…

Song of the moment: Mama Weer All Crazee Now Slade

LAST CHANCE TO ASK

It’s my last day over at the ASiF Forum today, so if you’ve got anything you’d like to ask me, now’s the time.

SCRIPTWRITER BATTERSBY!

The producer is happy with the first draft of the The Memory of Breathing movie, which means I can start work on the second draft once I’ve received his notes. I’m feeling very chuffed right now: after a decade and a half out of it, it would appear that some rudimentary skills remain, and I enjoyed it so much I’m looking forward to further work on the project.

PROGRESS BLOODY PROGRESS

Well, despite never thinking I’d get through anything, I’ve done the script, finished the residency applications, decided to forget about trying to get anything into Macabre as I just don’t have the time, and now I only have to look at grant applications before July 7th and I can get back into the fiction side of things.

The trees are thinning, and I think I’m starting to make out the forest.

Now, the next bit comes with a slight adult content warning….

PENALTY MY ARSE

Fucking son of a bitch motherfucker arsehole bastard cheating corrupt son of a shit wanker bribed out pissturd blind refereee motherfuckkeeerrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!

And that’s all I have to say on the subject.

IT’S A MARATHON…

World Cup fatigue is setting in: the last couple of nights I’ve taken to the couch armed with pillow and blankets, in order to watch the first game of the evening, sleep during the second, and catch the last couple.

Last night, I even set myself to sacrifice sleeping under our brand new duvet set in order to go on my nightly pilgrimage. (Is there a greater pleasure of an evening than going to sleep under crisp, new sheets? I mean, apart from sex?) I didn’t even make half-time of the Netherlands/Argentina game, which had promised ot be an absolute blockbuster. And then I found out this morning that they’d basically just jogged their way through a nil-all snoozefest because they’d both qualified for the sceond round didn’t feel the need to work for table position.
Razzumfrazzumcouldabeensleepinginmybedproperly…..

Things get easier in the second round. It’s the first time I’ve done this with a family to care for the following day. No way I get to take a month off this work πŸ™‚

Lyn, meanwhile, has taken a proactive approach to life as a World Cup widow, taking to bed early each night with all four seasons of Footballer’s Wives to keep her company. As she said, “You have your football, and I have mine.”

Fair enough, really πŸ™‚

ASiF MARCHES ON

We’ve entered the second week of my interview over at the ASiF forum, and so far, it’s been a blast. The great thing about being open to public interview is that anything you say can be taken up and commented upon or questioned by anybody, which means that I’ve got to think hard about what I’m saying, and justify what I mean. I’m enjoying the result, and having a ball discussing the world at large with those who have dropped in to say hello.

I’m there until the 27th, so get on over and contribute.

WIN A SLICE OF BATTERSBY!

Coming up at the frabjous Ticonderoga Online: a competition to win one of two signed copies of Through Soft Air!

All you have to do is come up with the best title for an imaginary Father Muerte story, using the naming convention “Father Muerte And…”

More details once the good Ticfolks announce the competition properly, but get in early and start thinking of titles.

WELLLLL….

I hope bus fare from Germany to Croatia is cheap, because if we play like that again in a few days time we’ll be going through to the second round.

BATTERSBY IN ASIM

Picked up my contributor copy of ASIM 23 over the weekend, in which you’ll find Instinct, a short story I co-wrote with pal Nigel Read. It’s very different to my usual fare, so have a read.

LIKE ASIM BUT WITH AN ‘F’, AND THERE’S A BATTERSBY THERE AS WELL

As of the next hour or so, I’ll be put under the microscope by the good folk at ASiF on their forum. For the next 2 weeks I’ll be answering any question put to me, so if there’s something you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask, take advantage of my recent resolution to engage in nothing in good behaviour, and get over there to ask. I only bite if specifically requested.

CARNIES

Martin Livings’ excellent new novel Carnies is now officially available. I had the honour of channeling Martin at the launch of the book in Canberra (due to extreme Londonny residence on the part of the author) and let me tell you: the book looks gorgeous, reads beautifully, and is, well, fucking good.

Go. Buy. Now.

CONFLUX

I’m in two minds at to whether I’m going to post a long con report. if I do, I’ll post it on a separate page and link it. However, as I’ve avowed to sickness of the heart at the gossip and bollocks associated with being a writer in the Australian SF scene, I’m tossing up whether I want to contribute something else for people to bitch over.

That said: the convention was extremely rewarding for me, mostly on a personal basis. Extremely enjoyable in large parts, I owe a huge debt of thanks to the mercurial Dave Luckett for launching Through Soft Air with a speech that both humbled and energised me in equal measures. And for moments beautiful, or touching, or just downright funny, and occasiionally all three, my warmest thanks and love to: Matt Farrer, for spending the day after the Con showing us a Canberra I never expected to see; Lisa; Llyn Triffitt; John & Jo; Launz; Rob & Kate; Kate again for such a beatiful gift; Ellen; and The Pet Dalek Conversationalists (I’ll post the cartoons here as I finish them). I’m sure there are more: I’m still re-adjusting.

But I’m back at home now, with a renewed focus, determination, and set of goals.

AUSTRALIA

3-1. And now, Brazil!

OH MY GOD, IT’S SO PRETTY

Have a look what my publisher sent me today. Don’t you just want to buy it? I know you do.

Observant, long-time readers may note the change of title πŸ™‚ Really observant, really long-time reders may remember it was the original title when it was first picked up by Prime. I’m grateful that Prime supremo Sean Wallace has decided to go with it: it’s always been my favourite option, and I’ve been a real pain in the arse, agitating to keep it all this time. And it’s led to artist Gary Nurrish creating this magnificent cover.

Happy author.

Buy me. Buy meeee…….

BATTERSDUO IN PRINT, AND PROGRESS ON THE PAGES AT HOME

Borderlands 6 is out. My story The Imprisonment of Marianne sits between its covers, and just as excitingly, Luscious’ The Hanging Tree is in there as well! Read this one: it’s proof that The Memory of Breathing was no one-off.

Lyn’s recent story in the Redback issue of Shadowed Realms prompted Horrorscope to say this:

Starting the issue off is Lyn Battersby’s Edges. Talk about dysfunctional relationships! There are some nice transitions between ‘characters’ here that very effectively resolved my initial feelings of unease into fear. The main character’s terror and desperation are palpable but, in the end, it’s five against one… not good odds for saving a relationship.

It goes on to say that this issue is the strongest one so far, boding well for both SR and my darling, who continues to make Ben Peek look like an idiot.

In good writing news, the lack of a computer in recent days has forced me back to a notebook and pen. With limited time at my disposal due to the current overly-busy lifestyle, I set myself a target of 300 words per day: a modest total to be sure, but one I hadn’t achieved for the entirety of this year. Four days later, I’ve managed it every day, am working on two new stories, and feel like I’m achieving something at last.

Maybe, just maybe, after a few false dawns so far this year, I might be able to get this career back on track. Let’s see, shall we? I’ll drop a weekly tally in to track my progress, and y’all have permission to razz me if I don’t keep up.

IT STARTS

Clarion South 2007 applications are now open.

You have no excuse. Get them in. I’ll be there, tutoring in the 2nd week, and you’ll also suffer at the hands of Rob Hood, Simon Brown, Gardner Dozois, Kelly Link, and Janeen Webb. How can you not want to do this?

Apply now!

HOGE-TOWN!

One of the goddamn best people I’ve ever met, a man of whom I cannot speak highly enough, one of the best pals I’ve made in writing: Robert Hoge has an LJ. Flist him.

KISSY KISSY, MY FROG

We had ourselves a low-key Valentine’s Day this year: we’ve bought each other so many things as we moved into the new house that adding something just for Hallmark Day seemed a little, well, over the top. I mean, when your wife can walk through the door and give you a hard-cover graphic biography of Jimi Hendrix drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz and 2 Hendrix CDs for no other reason than she knows you’ll love them, why do you need to have the greeting card industry set aside a day for you?

So we just took the phone off the hook; moved the TV and DVD player into the bedroom and threw Love Actually at it; uncorked the wine; made up a plate of cheeses, dried fruits, and grapes; and simply relaxed into each other’s company for the night.

It was bloody wonderful.

MEANWHILE, IN THE CELLAR….

So Gary Megson has resigned as manager of Nottingham Forest.

About fucking time.

HOUSE NEWS

I know you have a need to know:

We’re down to the bathrooms, ladies and gents. The tilers were supposed to be here in the last couple of days to do their thing, but will soon arrive on Monday after my “Where the fuck were you?” phone call. Once they’ve done, the electrician will arrive to move the power points four inches up the wall so we can fit the new vanities in. Which will be duly fitted, followed by taps, soap holders, towel rails, the showers, the new toilet for the ensuite, and me, having my first non-hand-held-shower-head shower for three weeks, sighing with something approaching ecstacy as the water cascades down my back (don’t think visually).

Everything else is cosmetic: we have a miniskip full of dead plant life, and at least another one to go. The compost bin has been installed into a corner of the garden and is busily, uh, sitting there doing the composting thing. Boxes are being opened, emptied, and folded. We’ve discovered a new Mecca– Bunnings has been replaced in my affections by Howard’s Storage World, (I kid thee not), where today I picked up a bike rack so we can stop using the entire patio as a bike repository. Yesterday it was an eight-drawer movable table for Lyn’s painting supplies. I loves it. It is my precious. And slowly, out of the debris of broken boxes and dust, a home is emerging.

Housewarming invitations are beginning to be discussed πŸ™‚

AND JUST BECAUSE I BLOODY WELL CAN

A gratuitous Connor shot, because he’s so frigging gorgeous.

I can make my Daddy mushy like that


Song of the Moment: San Jacinto Peter Gabriel

FOUR!

Happy birthday to our darling Erin, who turned 4 on Monday, and who made out like a bandit! Although we might have to revisit how often we eat out: when asked what she wanted to do for her birthday, the immediate reply was “Sizzlers!”, so out we trooped on Sunday for massive plates of serve-yourself, ice-cream, and all the cool drink we could imbibe.

What stops Luscious and I in our mental tracks sometimes is the knowledge of the individual ways in which each of our children are special in our lives: in Erin’s case, she is the thread that brought our two families together and made them one. It was the love she showed to Lyn & the Triffkids, and the love she engendered in return, that gave us the platform to become the family we are. She may be a typically stroppy, headstrong and frustrating 4 year old sometimes, but she deserves all the love and goodness that comes her way.

And she even does a good job of cleaning up her room…

All her dreams come true: a present bigger than her entire body.

ON A HIGH

It was a week for being proud of children. Aiden graduated primary school, and we went along to his graduating ceremony on a bitterly cold and windy evening to see him accept his memorial cup and photo. Now every time he drinks hot chocolate he’ll think of his former classmates….

The differences between the boy I met almost 3 years ago and the young man he is rapidly becoming are palpable. Aiden is only 12, but he is a man in the making: strong in his opinions; unique in his likes and dislikes; with a gentleness and maturity I find rare in the adult world, never mind in the milieu of the pre-teen, where such qualities are as often derided as rewarded.

I was overwhelmed with pride to see him take the next step along his path, and Luscious was teary the whole night. My only disappointment was in not being able to souvenir a poster of the boy himself, created by his Year One ‘buddy’ (the school has a great little system where the older kids take responsibility for a teensy person, and help them adjust). Still, we managed a photo, so here ’tis:

Do the right things and one day you may be immortalised in cut-outs

TWO YEARS COUNTS AS A TRADITION

So last year I bullied the wholefamily into sitting down together and creating a Christmas decoration to hang on the tree. This year I got as far as “Shall we make ou….” and they’d started.

Here’s a hint: if you buy a new tree, make sure you take notice of the size. Seven feet is significantly higher than six, especially if you have trouble refraining from singing “Hi Ho Hi Ho” every time you see your family standing together. Guess who got all the high jobs?

The tree is up, it looks brill, and I love watching everyone gather round and put the decorations up. Last year’s stars and this year’s bon bons define what Christmas should be about for me: a sense of reward for seeing your family through another year, and the knowledge that whatever happens, you are together.

But boy we had to move a bunch of furniture to fit the sodding tree in. Thank god the new house is bigger…

Attack of the Christmas Midgets!

EVERYTHING IS MOVING UPWARDS

Walking has been achieved. Walking a lot has been achieved. The C-Train is mobile!

THE WAY THINGS CHANGE

Was a time that paying off my mortgage would have been a big thing. It was the one thing I had pencilled in from the day we started the compensation case. Well, the money came in, we dumped it on the mortgage, the next day all trace of it was gone from our bank records, and….. nothing. No sense of achievement, no satisfaction, nowt.

Things have moved on too far, too fast. This house is a relic of a past from which I am dedicated to removing myself. A new house, and a new chapter of my life, awaits. All my energies, hopes, and desires are aimed towards the future. It’s a good future, damn it, and I want to be there, with my family, my writing, and with all the baggage left in the past where it belongs.

SSSSHHHHH: SECRET SQUIRREL

This is weird: I made a sale the other day, and I can’t tell you about it. It’s my first sale under a pseudonym, and I’ve got a damn good cone of silence going over this name, so I plan to keep it.

Maybe some clues when it’s published….

BRAZIL, CROATIA AND JAPAN

Oh crap. We’re screwed. At least we won’t have to beat Uruguay to get to 2010.

Song of the moment: The Piano Has Been Drinking Tom Waites

REAL LIFE

So: we’ve sold the house. Or at least, we’ve accepted an offer.

Now all we have to do is find a place to live in our chosen area. I’ve transferred up there, so work is assured, and the hour-plus drive is getting old already. All that’s left is getting the Battclan set up in a new house. We’re in a game of duelling offers over a house at the moment, so hopefully the wait won’t be too long.

Oh, and whilst I realise it’s almost a week after the event:

Socceroos. Fucking YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember Iran. I remember Scotland. Hell, I remember Canada. Glee is my right.

With any luck we’ll get drawn into a group with some really weak countries. You know, like England πŸ™‚

Song of the moment: The Honeymoon is Over The Black Sea

A HOUSE FULL OF BODIES

It’s been a loud and hectic week, this past week in the Batthouse. We’ve had the Triffkids for the last week of the school holidays, and it was brilliant. Things may be loud when all 7 of us are in the one place, but the benefits of having a large family make every moment worthwhile. We didn’t do much this holidays, apart from a few activities centred around a bit of news I divulge later in the post, but the act of just hanging out with such intelligent, vibranht, enjoyable kids leaves me feeling froody.

The days after taking them to their dad’s place are always a bit low for us, but it was too good a week to hurt for long.

WHY MY WIFE HATES MY BONUS KIDS

On the other hand, I’m a bit worried about Luscious. Blakey went to a friend’s place for a party mid-week, so she let Aiden & Cassie see a movie. More to the point, she let them see Sky High. A Kuuurrrrtttt movie! And Aiden’s far too young to look at Linda Carter and have rewarding flashbacks.

It could take years for the scars to surface….

HOORAY FOR THE A-BOY

Aiden had his trophy presentation for soccer during the hols. We thought he was in with a real shot for Most Improved Player, given how far he’s come since the start of the season, but he was gazumped by (wait for it) the coach’s daughter. Now, I haven’t seen her play before this season, so I’m not suggesting that the fix was in, but I’m just going to mention that you can read all my entries about Aiden’s progress and decide for yourself whether anyone else could improve that much in the same team…

Anyway, we couldn’t be more proud of him. He loves the game, and the medal he received didn’t leave his neck from the day he got it until it was time to leave. It was a deserved reward for a young man who gave everything to playing a sport he’s grown to love, and I’m a very punch-pleased Bonus Dad. And here’s a gratuitous photo so’s I can show off πŸ™‚

Call him, Hiddink. He’s waiting……

You know, no sooner does the A-boy take up soccer than the NSL changes its name to the A-League. Talk about your destiny!

BEST LINE OF THE HOLIDAYS (or SPOT THE DELIBERATE MISTAKE)

BLAKE (11 years old): Who’s John Lennon?
AIDEN (Much older, and more mature, ie: 12): (In mocking tones) You don’t know who John Lennon is?
BLAKE: No
AIDEN: Duuuuuuh. He sang “You’re The Voice”.

And much Coke was sprayed…..

WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE THE FOXTEL WAY

I love having so many documentary channels. The History of Science Fiction and HG Wells docos last Sunday night gave us enough excuse to invite Martin and Dr Izz over for din-dins and watching. We had a fabulous time, as we always do in their company, and I was especially pleased to learn that Isabelle is fascinated by Wells, something we share.

I find myself searching for ways to catch up with them before they depart for England at the end of the year. I’ve also decided that it’s all a clever plan on the part of Martin to increase his overseas sales– frustrated that he can sell to Australian magazines but not American or British ones (another thing we share…) he’s going to go over there, send stories back here, and they’ll count!

Cunning devil!

BUY MY UNWANTED CRAP!

This Saturday, from 10.30 to 3.30, at the Leederville Town Hall on Vinent Street, Swancon are holding a Geek Trash & Treasure as a fundraiser.

Luscious and I will be there, with the fruits of our book/comic/video cleanout. Nothing over 2 bucks, come on down!

ADVENTURES OF AN ADDICTED BOOK BUYING GUY

Luscious and the kids met me after work today, and we went into Fremantle to have a picnic and play in the park. But we needed to buy drinks, so we found a teeensy little bookstore with a coke machine….

And I found Walking with Dinosaurs: The Evidence and a hardback copy of Tales From Earthsea for ten bucks each. And we bought the drinks and left the shop inside 90 seconds of entering.

I am BOOKBUYMAN!!!!!!!!!!!

PROUD HUBBY TIME

As if it should have ever been in doubt, Luscious’ brilliant story from ASIM 17, The Memory of Breathing, has been picked up for Year’s Best Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror 2005.

In my humble opinion, it’s the best horror story of the year, and if it doesn’t make the Aurealis Awards short list at least, it’ll point out what a load of bollocks that particular award is. I’m an amazingly proud hisband right now, all the more because it’s so obviously a deserved recognition for a wonderful writer who has yet to hit her straps. When she does, nobody will be talking about me any more.

Of course, no one does now, but that’s not the point. Well done, my darling. You deserve it.

ON THE ROAD AGAIIIIINNNNN……

Well, here’s an announcement.

We’re moving.

The house is on the market, there’s a sign out the front, we’re leaving exotic Huntingdale and moving North of the River to facilitate the arrival of Aiden into our midst on a permanent basis. We’re looking at Clarkson, for any Perthites with a road map and sense of adventure. We’ve had half a dozen people through the house since Thursday, and we’ve not had an open house yet! The agent thinks that we’ll be hard done by if we don’t sell the place within 4 weeks.

It’s weird: I’ve a lot of emotional investment in this place, having bought 2 children home here, as well as my late wife Sharon and my darling Luscious. Almost all the plans I’ve made these last 5 years have involved being here, and inside 2 weeks of making the decision, half the house is packed away, and we’re one person from being out the door and never seeing the place again. I’m eager for somewhere new, excited at the thought of finding a house that Lyn and I can call ours from the very beginning, and yet there’s a tiny part of me that’ll want visiting rights. “Please, can’t I just see the patio every alternative weekend?”

On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with an appraisal that gives you a 240% profit on what you paid for the place πŸ™‚

It was either this or a peaceful life. Pictures and advertorial as soon as I upload them.

SNIFFLES AND SNORTS AND LOTS OF HUGS

My poor darling is sick. Sicker than the job prospects of a man who organises a John Leguizamo film festival.

Lemsip and pumpkin soup and chickflick videos abound.

CASSIE AND THE PUPPET TRAIN

The good scientist advances a theory based only upon the observation of empirical evidence as presented within the frame of reference.

Which is why, until she actually met a train driver during the week, Cassie thought trains were remote controlled via the wires above them πŸ™‚

On the other hand, my brother thought Spinal Tap were a real band for ten years……..

HOW TO SPEAK TEEN (FROM THE GENERATION THAT BROUGHT YOU MINTOX, SPUNKRAT, AND NAFF)

Teen stepdaughter word of the moment: Bomb-diggity. Rough translation: grouse, mintox, tops, spiffing, brill, um, very very good.

For those woefully out of the teenspeak loop, let me show you how it’s done.

Take a noun (bomb), follow it with an action (dig), and ad “ity”.

First stagers will soon find their conversations littered with such cool teen phrases as “nosepickity”, “luncheatity”, and “bumsmackity”. SF fans might like to make special note of such favourites as “Hulksmashity” and the ever popular “rollsixity”.

For the advanced teenspeaker, the object is to mix up the noun and vowel to produce as spectacular a visual image as possible. Try “kittensplattity”, “haircookity” and “labiastompity” out for size, and soon you’ll be as tanklickity as any other parent desperately trying to remain remotely in touch with their teenogre.

Gnarly, eh?

GROWING UP

I enrolled Erin in kindy today. Kindy! But she’s still a baby……….

She’s going to be dating a bass guitarist soon, I just know it.

THEY CALL IT RUBBER SUIT MONSTER LOOOOVVVEEEEEE……..

Lee: Hey boys, what movie do you want to watch this weekend?
Boys: Godzillaaaaaa!!!!!!

Okay, so I might love Godzilla, King of The Monsters, and Godzilla Vs King Kong, but I’m a fat hairy middle-aged nerd. Aiden and Blake are 12 and 10.

We still watched them, though. And laughed our asses off the whole time. GVKK (beats AVP, dunnit?) has to be a top 5 contender for worst movie of all time. If you haven’t watched it, I thoroughly recommend you do so. If I can persuade Grantypoos to sponsor a bad movie night at the FTI, I will get it on the bill, I promise. If nothing else, it contains my new all-time favourite bad SF moment: the eminent scientist explaining to his television audience his theory that Godzilla was the product of interbreeding between a T-Rex and a stegosaurus……. Cokespray like the fountains at Versailles!

And Planet Video have plenty more where they came from πŸ™‚

THE DREAM IS OVER

Last game of the season on Sunday, with everything to play for, and the mighty Bassendean Juniors needing to win to make the finals.

And we lost, 2-1.

I may have cried. It was very dusty, all right?

One thing that hasn’t upset me is the attitude of Aiden. He’s not the quickest runner in the team, nor the best kick, nor the most astute player. But he loves what he’s doing, and he cares so much about playing that he’s always bitterly disappointed if he’s on the bench. Yet he is always eager to get to the game, always happy when he gets a run, and on Sunday, finished the season with his best game yet: 4 kicks, 2 great tackles, and 40 out of 60 minutes on the park. Not bad for a guy with a problem hip who’d never played the game before this season. And while he may have been the team’s least able player at the start of the season, he is by no means in that position now.

I’m very proud of him. Not for playing soccer, although I love watching him play a sport that has been a lifelong love for me. But for his attitude, his enjoyment, and his determination.

And he’s already telling me what he wants to do next season……

Song of the moment: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead Warren Zevon

HERE COME DE JUDGE

Luscious and I attended the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre SF/F Awards ceremony on Sunday, in our capacity as this year’s judges. We had a great time reading for the comp: 90 entries in the Open section and 20 in the junior. Submissions are blind, which meant that we didn’t know the identity of the winners until after we’d chosen them, so it was gratifying to see some good names amongst the crop, some of whom we count amongst our friends. It was also good to see sopme of the authors come to accept their prizes: not many Western Australians copped gongs this year, and I enjoyed listening to those who did attend give their readings.

For the record, yon winners this year were:

OPEN SECTION:

Winner- Happy Now, Peter Frankis
2nd Here Be Monsters, Susan Wardle

Highly Commended-

  • Deadline, Martin Livings
  • Ian, Shane Jirayia Cummings
  • Rentokil Girl, BJ Thomason
  • Hollow, Peter Frankis
  • Boomerang, Joh Gooley
  • The Scent of Milk, Tansy Rayner Roberts

Commended-

  • The Heartfelt Creature, Dominic Lennard
  • Screen Conspiracy, Harold Mally
  • Rings And Things, Helen Venn
  • Leap Year Man, Jim Murphy
  • Crossed Wires, Laurie Steed
  • They’re Selling Postcards Of The Hanging, Neroli Cochrane (Winner of the highly-unofficial Lee’s Vote For Best Title of the Competition award)

JUNIOR SECTION:

WinnerDisenchantments, Briony Davis
2ndThe Feast, Colin Gan

Highly Commended-

  • Encephsystem (TM), Ruth Fox
  • The Tree, Ben Brooker
  • The Clone, Nicola Sanchez

Commended-

  • The Isle, Ruth Fox
  • Waiting For Reality, Huxley Baberowski
  • A Sword… For The Road, Valerie Coscini

There were some fantastic stories this year, and some we’re going to try to snaffle for Ticonderoga Online now the competition is finished and we have no conflict of interest.

And the winner is…

THE SEASON END APPROACHETH

1 game to go, and the mighty Bayswater Juniors lie in 4th place, with a strong chance of making the finals! A brave 4-0 loss this weekend (to a side that walloped us 9-2 in the reverse fixture) speaks of some good form, so it all rides on the final game of the season.

The last couple of games have been a bit hard on Aiden: with the business end of the season he’s getting less game time, which I don’t think is fair: junior sport is supposed to be about fun, not about the coach and his friends reliving their inflated glory days through the kids. I ended up having a row with the coach’s father on Sunday, who is of the opinion the supporting the kids means shouting abuse at them every time they do (or don’t do) something. Ugly parents get under my skin, and had he turned it upon the A-boy things would have become much louder than they did….

Thankfully, Aiden’s still up for every game, and still gets involved- he laid a beautiful crunching tackle on a player last weekend. He’s a much better player than he was at the start of the season, and I hope he continues next year, and keeps having fun.

And we’re already starting to train the next generation. How’s this for goalscoring form?


Mia Hamm is yesterday’s news!

A WELL ADJUSTED CHILD, NON?

Lie down and die, Barbie. You can’t compete with a Batman mask and an imagination. The jewlerry is a nice touch, don’t you think? “I could fight crime, or I could just head out to dinner.”

It’s not a bike pump, it’s a sword! And a trumpet, and a microphone, and a guitar….

The Pink Knight Avenger…

CURRY, METHEGLIN, AND LAUGHTER

Had a great time on Sunday night, when Shane Jirayia Cummings and Angela Challis joined us for dinner after the SF Awards, giving us another excuse to head down to our special little Indian place and grab some takeaway. Dinner started at 7, and it was past midnight when we finally parted, weary from laughter and some of the most enjoyable conversation we’ve had since, well, since the last time we shared dinner. Shane and Angela are just too much fun for words, and anybody who enjoys metheglin as much as I do is always welcome πŸ™‚ Not to mention the muscat, the cabernet merlot, the classic white…….

Oh, and next time you bump into Shane, ask him to tell you about the vespian legetarians πŸ™‚

IT’S BACK, BABY!

The Premier League is back!

Here we go, here we go, here we goooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

SECRET TIJUANA DEATHMATCH…

…has arrived in the mail! How can you not love a game that lets you take failed American businessmen and pit them in masked Mexican wrestler combat to the death? I love Cheapass Games.

And I notice on the side of the box that they have a game called Unexploded Cow. Hmmm…..

UP AT EBAY

Put up our first items for sale yesterday on this fine taking-money-from-Batts-in-return-for-regular-packages-in-the-mail site. If you’d like a massive encyclopedia of motorcycles, an unopened copy of Titus on DVD, an unopened VHS box set of the first 3 Star Wars movies, or a 3-issue The Shadow mini-series, look under Triffbatt and make a bid.

ANOTHER ONE DONE

Finally finished a story and sent it out this morning. It seems so long since I’ve accomplished this simple task. But the story’s a good one, by which I mean it’s unremittingly nasty and makes Luscious’ skin crawl. Which is a fine thing, because Decimated has gone off to Shadowed Realms.

Tentacles crossed.

BOOOOOOOKKKKKKKSSSSSSSS……..

This Saturday, the grand opening of Fantastic Planet Bookstore, 8 Shafto Lane, Perth.

Run by groovies Elaine Kemp and Stephen Dedman, this promises to finally be the decent SF bookstore this city has been waiting for. Elaine and Stephen are committed to showcasing the weird, the unusual, the local, and the hard to get, as well as the usual shel-filling money spinners.

Get your asses down there. Buy something. Support it. Read their weblog. Tell them what you want. This is the best chance we’ve had since A Touch of Strange turned to poo to have a truly first class Speculative Fiction bookshop.

You’ll recognise me on Saturday: I’ll be the large hairy guy telling the short gorgeous woman that I can’t possibly live without any of the enormous pile of books I’ll be carrying. Hope they’ve got a big Waldrop section…

THE DREAM IS OVER

We didn’t attend Aiden’s soccer match on the weekend. His father decided he wanted to watch him for the first time, so we didn’t go. It’s just easier that way.

This meant that Aiden’s lucky talisman, Connor, wasn’t there for the first time. I just looked up the score on their webpage.

They got done. I mean Everton against Arsenal done.

2-9.

2 (1, 2) – 9 (1, 2, 3, 4, oh bugger it, what’s on the other channel?)

I draw no conclusions……