Cracker by Damian Christie


I've started writing a book.

I say this for a few reasons. First, it means from this point on, people will casually say to me "how's your book going?" Of course, it won't have progressed any further than it has to date (1 chapter, 6 pages) and so I'll be guilted into writing more. I don't have a conscience of my own to speak of, so you're it. I have a few friends who have publicly declared their great works underway, and while none of them has yet finished, I'm sure they're just around the corner. Isn't that right, Evie, Rachael, Jen?

Second, an alarming number of my blogmates have books either out this week, next week, or sometime in the near future. One of them even has his own book-making company. Pricks. And as I’m making an appearance at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival next week, I’d rather it was not as a Reader. Aspirant Novellist sounds much better.

Third, I wanted to get the title out there, so if anyone else hears about it and steals it, I've got proof it was my idea first. In as much as the Internet is proof of anything, of course. But it's easier than that old (albeit kinda true) theory people have about writing your ideas down and sending them back to yourself as a registered letter.

So it's called Pirates! I don't imagine there are going to be too many actual pirates; it's more of a metaphor. An allegory. An apologue, figuration, metonymy, symbolisation, typification.

Yep, I also bought a thesaurus to help me out. The favourite word competition last month – and the entries are still coming in – only helped to prove (affirm, attest, authenticate, bear out, certify, check, confirm, convince, corroborate…) that there are many, many words I don't know how to use in a sentence.

Anyway, Pirates! (possible subtitle: "A Metaphor") is underway. Six pages underway. I'm not sure that it'll be particularly readable when it's finished, but I'm hoping the title alone will sell it. I mean, what's not to love about a book called "Pirates!"? I'd read it. Hell, I'm writing it.

I've started keeping a notebook next to my bed. I got really annoyed at having all these great ideas just as I was drifting off, assuming they'd be there in the morning, only to wake up blank. The other night I was feeling particularly inspired. I don't know whether it was the ill-advised party pill, or the bottle and a half of whiskey, but brilliant ideas were coming thick and fast. The next morning I fished out the notebook, knowing my precious ideas were safe:

“You know the thing about toothbrushes? Those electric ones, you can swap the heads off the cheaper models onto the expensive models and they work fine. What’s that about – you think they design them that way?”

Needless to say, that little gem won't be making the final cut.

Seriously though, what’s with that new razor that has an AA battery in the base? Guys, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not an electric razor, because the blades don’t seem to move. It’s not a manual razor, because it’s got a freakin’ battery in it. "Micro pulses raise hairs" my arse.

Is it a gimmick? Will I be tricked into upgrading? Do any PR companies want to make me a convert? It reminds me of one of my favourite Onion articles.

I’ve been to see a bit of comedy the past two weeks, and it’s all been pretty good. Danny Bhoy, Charlie Pickering, Lawrence Leung’s “Sucker”, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) last night.

I have to say though, because no-one else is likely to, Taika, the jig is up. You’re a funny man, dare I say it a good looking man, and clearly quite talented. I’ve been quietly championing your work for some time now. But if you’re going to do an hour of stand-up, prepare something. Don’t recycle a few tenuous gags from last year, make jokes about padding for time, and rely on your winning smile. People can tell, and they talk. You’re better than that.

It must be something about Wellington that encourages this sort of slackness, because as Russell mentioned, Fat Freddy’s Drop have just released their album. Great too, as long as you like that Fat Freddy’s Drop sound. But it’s a sign of that Wellington attitude that Hope, a song first made available (on the Radio Active 25th anniversary CD) in 1998, is on the album released seven years later. Joyce’s Ulysses took less time to put together, although I’m sure it doesn’t go down so well at parties.

On a musical tip, my nominee for most disturbing song/video this year: The Greenskeepers, "Lotion"

That’s it for me. Not long now until I’m once again burdened with a genre and the responsibility of writing something sufficiently inspiring to make two dozen actors and crew jump through all manner of hoops for 48 hours. Full report next week, but in the meantime, if you’re approached by a bedraggled film crew (the chances are high, there’s a couple of hundred teams around the country), be nice to them, do what they want, and offer them a cuppa if you can.