Those of you who have been paying attention to my Patreon campaign will know that one of the rewards offered to patrons is the ability to determine which 5 for Friday posts will be among those I blog each month. Thanks to patron Colin Sharpe, this week I’ll be discussing five of my favourite songs by those master of British pop perfection, XTC.

Back in the 1980s, among the Chock Solid Block of Oz Cock Rock on which I was weaned, I uncovered a deep and lasting love for those British songwriters who defined the world in acid-etched clarity and humour: Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, The Clash, the Sex Pistols, Madness and the Specials all retain a special place in my heart. And alongside them, XTC, and three songs in particular that were FM radio staples– Senses Working Overtime; Making Plans for Nigel; and Generals and Majors are magnificent songs that remain close to my heart, and I could probably wax on about them until we’re both blue in the brain. (If you haven’t heard them before, follow the links now, then come back. We’ll wait, ready with a hearty I KNOW, RIGHT? at your return.)


Now, in all honesty, we could begin and end right there, but those gateway drugs of songs were only the beginning of a life-long love. So here are five other songs that hit me right in the frontal cortex, and which I’ll be humming as they carry me to my grave.

Next week, thanks to patron Narrelle M Harris, I’ll be discussing five TV comedies that have influenced my approach to writing, performance, and public speaking. But for now, get out the headphones and sink into 15 minutes of musical bliss as Andy and Colin do what they do best: swan around being brilliant.



Continue reading “5 FOR FRIDAY: XTC”


Back from the air-conditioned comfort of the library, and it occurs to me that I’ve not actually mentioned how my new writing world is coming along: given that the majority of you know me as a writer and not some sort of work experience weight-loss guru for the aged and blimpically-inclined, maybe I should actually talk about the stuff that brings us all together for a moment…



Just your friendly, monthly, reminder that you can enjoy a huge swag of rewards every month by dropping the teensiest pledge of fine Australian dollars onto my bowed head over at my Patreon page.

Coming up on the 1st of March, patrons will receive:

  • Secrets and Masters: a new, exclusive story that proves the old trope that just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you,
  • A writing exercise designed to take you inside unfamiliar buildings, and turn them inside out,
  • A new Vlog post in which I answer questions posed by patrons, and discuss the methods behind giving unique voices to characters,
  • An exclusive cartoon about being careful what you wish for, especially in lose-lose situations,
  • An 1000-word peek into the unfolding story of Ghost Tracks, my current work in progress,
  • An exclusive journal, in which I talk about working in isolation, the unique environment of the Northern Sunlands, and recommend a couple of top-notch literary biographies,
  • An opportunity to vote on upcoming 5 for Friday posts, and set the direction of the very blog you are now reading, and
  • a whole cornucopia of froody, funky, Patron-only goodies.

To get your hands on this swag, and interact directly with me in a way we don’t normally get to do, head on over to my Patreon page and check out the list of rewards.

Come on in, the blood’s lovely and warm!





PATREON: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (Doodle-oo-doo, doodle-oo-de-doooo…)

‘Twas the night before the 1st of February (It was the 31st of January)

And all through the house (I’m currently sitting in Perth airport)

Not a creature was stirring (It’s as busy as all buggery)

Not even a… (All right, this really isn’t working, is it?)


It’s the 31st of January. That means there’s just over 12 hours left until the first batch of Patreon rewards drops into the inboxes of those fabulous people who have become my patrons.

What will they receive? Here’s a taste.
Continue reading “PATREON: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (Doodle-oo-doo, doodle-oo-de-doooo…)”


The Space King Super Love Monkey of all Patreon launches has reached its climax, and how better to take us over the top than to take a glimpse at the King of the Terror Lizards, Peter Dutton, in the mighty Rock and Roll Tyrannosaurus Sex God VIP Room?


This is the biggie, folks. This is for everything: for $50 a month, you can be one of only 12 patrons to receive every reward bestowed upon all other levels. That’s everything we’ve spent the last two weeks revealing– the exclusive novel; the personalised cartoons; the work in progress reveals; the writing exercises; the personalised 5 for Friday posts; the exclusive, personalised story; the Vlog posts; the journal entries; the patron-only stories, cartoons and voting stock– everything. And it will all start to tumble into your possession from 1 February 2018.

Plus, once a year, I will read your novel manuscript, and provide a free manuscript assessment. Go on, take a moment to check out how much you’ll pay an editing company. Yeah, that much. For free. So you’ll get that– which would normally cost you more than your annual patronage commitment by itself— on top of all the other booty. I’ll read your manuscript, and provide you with a 2000-word minimum report distilling my 17 years’ experience into an analysis of  the narrative flow, positives, aspects for further work, and potential next steps. I’ll talk about the overall structure, content and style, plot, character, point-of-view, pace, writing style, narrative, dialogue, presentation, length, verisimilitude, potential readership, and publishing possibilities.

Go back and check out all the other fantastic rewards you’ll receive for your patronage,

  • The Velociraptors of Love
  • Is Troodon, Is Good
  • Today is a Good Day to Deinonychus
  • Air-cooled, totally worked V8 Australovenator, maaaate.
  • It Takes a Lotosaurus to be a Dilophosaurus
  • The Be Allosaurus to End Allosaurus

Add them all up, top it off with the manuscript assessment and the knowledge that you’ll be one of en exclusive dozen-only patrons at this level, and $50 doesn’t seem as much as it did when we got here, no? Why, I bet you spend more than that on medieval sword canes and Lithuanian brandy……

So, there it is. 7 levels of support to help me create writing, art and cartoons over the next 2 years. And in return, to provide you with some exclusive content that will warm your heart and moisten your glands. The first batch of rewards drop on 1 February, so you’ve got a week to get in, make your choice of pledge, and experience the glow of satisfaction that come from being a patron of the arts. Like the De Medici, or Charles Saatchi, or… this isn’t going well, is it? Anyway, to become a patron and receive all this (if I do say so myself) awesome stuff, head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. And while you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

Become a Patron!


I’ve lived in my hometown, Rockingham, for almost 40 years. Even when I’ve moved away, I’ve stayed within the boundaries of Perth, the capital city of my home state. To say this is an adventure is an understatement—the last time I perched on the edge of a desert I was 6 years old, having spent 2 years in Kambalda at the behest of my parents, England’s three-day working week, and Western Mining Corporation’s (now BHP’s) ravenous needs for innocent foreigners to feed the maw of the nickel industry.

So it’s a beautiful coincidence that my first day in Karratha should coincide with the first day of this Patreon adventure we’re embarking on together.


The February journal entry– We Work The Red Seam Together— is written, the first three 500 words stories (entitled Resurrection, Creeping, and Harvest Moon) are in various stages of completion, and I only have the Q&A Vlog to complete before all of February’s Patreon rewards are ready to fire into the waiting hands of eager patrons.

If you want to get a taste of these undoubtedly Nobel-prize winning goodies, all you have to do is pledge as little as a dollar a month. A buck a month! You probably spend more on sherbert and Tony Abbott chest-hair bracelets……



Today on our mighty, extended Patreon launch, I’ll be showing you what you can receive if you join me at the level of $20 per month. It’s time to become The Be Allosaurus to End Allosaurus

Over the course of a year, starting from the 1st of the month following your pledge, you’ll receive a patron-exclusive pdf novel in twelve instalments of 5000 words+ each. In 2018, that novel is Counterweight Colony.
Counterweight Colony is an alternative history novel that charts the progress of a group of English settlers who leave Botany Bay and colonise the fabled and unnamed Counterweight Continent to the south of recently-discovered Australia. When the French exploration ship La Perouse arrives at the colony, it triggers a collision between the English settlers, the native peoples, and the supernatural creatures that have roamed the continent for centuries. To give you a taste of what you’ll be receiving, here’s a short sample:

Summer in this new place was vicious. It had been eight weeks since the first boat landed and already the nameless colony struggled against the sun’s constant anger. The noise of industry should have filled the air: the rise and fall of hammers; the sawing of wood; the myriad cries and halloos of working convicts and administrators. Instead, the omnipresent heat beat sound out of the world, layering everything with sweat and torpor. Even the flies lay still, as if those hyperactive insects could not muster the energy to buzz and thrum. The English pioneers, unused to the weather even after months of tropical sailing, collapsed in whatever scraps of shade they could annex.

Edward Montmercy was, by default, Governor of this distant outpost. If he were honest with himself, he felt more like leader of a company of the damned than a man chosen to guide a brave new adventure. His official mission had been to drop supplies at the brand new Botany Bay colony and then track into the unexplored reaches of the Pacific Ocean. He had done that. But then his real assignment had taken over. This island… he took a moment to consider the tightly-knotted forest that stood guard over the little beach… no map had warned of it. Only rumours, and three powerful men convinced of the existence of a counterweight continent that balanced the weight of Europe at the top of the world. When his little fleet had exited the storm and seen it looming on the horizon, his duty was clear. England would own the poles of the world, for whatever good that was likely to do his small band of soldiers, convicts, and uneducated sailors.

He strode across the cleared ground of the landing, hands clenched behind his back. Sweat rolled across his face and into his collar. He ignored it, moving down the slight incline toward the natural harbour at the settlement’s lowest point. Despite the fierce heat, he wore the full uniform of his rank. There were standards to maintain, even in a new enterprise on the other side of the Empire. It was his burden to maintain them, and more than that, to be seen to maintain them. After all, if God was an Englishman, then He could see where the King’s Privy Ternion, that thrice-damned secret council of three, could not. And not even the King himself could see the one thousand and seventy-nine weary souls nestled on this tiny beachhead, not through the heat haze that stretched to the boundaries of the world.

Counterweight Colony will remain exclusive for 2 years, meaning I’ll make no attempt to seek publication while you enjoy the sweet, sweet smell of exclusivity.
Plus, once a year, choose a word length (up to 1000 words) and a subject, and I will write an exclusive story for you and only you. (Available after 12 months).

That’s an entire novel that only you and the rest of your Allosaurus brethren will see for at least 2 years, plus a story that you will never have to share with anyone else ever, even your Mum!

Plus, you’ll receive all the benefits of the $1, $2, $3 and $5 into the bargain! That’s almost 7000 words of patron-exclusive content a month, plus drawings and the ability to choose topics for journal posts and stories and drawings that are exclusive to you alone!

Go on. Be honest. You spend more than that a month on decoder rings and snuff, don’t you?

Check out the previously profiled levels:

  • The Velociraptors of Love
  • Is Troodon, Is Good
  • Today is a Good Day to Deinonychus
  • Air-cooled, totally worked V8 Australovenator, maaaate.
  • It Takes a Lotosaurus to be a Dilophosaurus

To become a patron and receive all this (if I do say so myself) awesome stuff, head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. Patron rewards begin on 1 Feb 2018. While you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

 Become a Patron!