Books, Donal Trump, Exclusive, North Korea, World domination

Two families, both alike in infamy

Donald Trump is a notorious misogynist, bigot and liar who stands accused of sexual assault and was caught on tape bragging about vile and abusive behaviour. He met Kim Jong-un in a landmark summit today, but we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking they are equals.

It came to pass, the world’s two worst hairdos faced off and the fat men shook hands. The grotesques who have the power to forge peace or ruin the world sized each other up. Twelve red, white and blue flags (six of the United States of America, six of the Democratic People’s Republic) above the red carpet showed not only how far North Korea has risen with the aid of nuclear weapons, but of how far the US has fallen. If you’re reading this, it means we’re not all dead.

For all the US President’s ability to tarnish his country and drag his office into the muck, his North Korean counterpart is a serial murderer who rules a nation of 25.4 million as a criminal empire. Lest we all fall for the idea the thirtysomething Kim is a cuddlier and more modern iteration of the despots that came before him, we should remember he had his uncle and half-brother murdered in stunning, public fashion to cement his authority. He rules over a virtual prison, and while some economic gains have been made under his leadership, the average North Korean has few freedoms and lives under the very real threat of being sent to gulags or executed for slights (real or imagined) against the regime.

Trump might wish he had such power, and his unhealthy enthusiasm for strongmen is well documented, but doesn’t. Yet.

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Books, etc, Exclusive, metalmorphosis, Star Wars, World domination

A Game Of Clones: A pitch to publishers everywhere.

Looking for the next Song of Ice and Fire? Well, fret not, you’ve found it. Here are the forthcoming dozen violent, sexy and confusing time-travel thrillers starring the Tempus Fugitive himself, Justin Thyme. They’ll be written as soon as a publisher gets in touch and waves a massive advance my way.

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Books, etc, featured, Oscar Wilde, Words are important, World domination

A few uncensored thoughts about Dorian Gray…

Dorian Gray was blond with blue eyes, not that you would know from this book cover.

The Picture of Dorian Gray has always been, for me, a disappointing novel. Oscar Wilde is one of my favourites, and his importance should not be under-estimated, but there is a distinct dearth of great works from the man. (There are reasons or excuses for this, and he did die young, I know, I know. Still, what has he left behind for us to enjoy? The equivalent of a few tweets compared to PG Wodehouse, Henry James, Tara Moss.) Dorian Gray was the one novel, and there were gems of brilliance set in a flawed, malleable ring of barbed wire. For every glorious page or passage there was an equal and opposite piece of shit elsewhere. Exaggeration? Maybe, but for years I haven’t been able to look at the book on the shelf without that mixed, bitter and slightly heartbroken feeling usually reserved for love letters from old girlfriends. Yes we had some good times, but it ended badly and you took too much time out of my life reading you twice when I could have been reading other, younger, books or just hooking up for yet another one night stand with the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.

But that feeling of disappointment is no more. Thanks to Nicholas Frankel, who has brought us an “uncensored” version of Wilde’s original manuscript, it’s an enjoyable and cohesive read. It’s a lot shorter, at 13 chapters instead of 20. The crap’s been left out, frankly.

Me just lying around the apartment in Bangkok, dressed for the weather, thinking about writing and shit.

Much has been made of the inclusions and the restoration of the romance between Dorian, Basil and Lord Henry. But for me what makes it work is the absence of extraneous chapters involving James Vane, opium dens and whatnot, not to mention a few tedious social set pieces. I’m the first to bitch about Wilde not having written enough great works to deserve his overblown reputation, but in the case of Dorian Gray, less is more. It’s a better read for the exclusions. And, yes, having the romance more explicit and excised passages restored does add to the enjoyment.

So I can stop bitching. At least a little bit. Thanks to Frankel, finally, 120 years later, Oscar Wilde has published a decent novel.

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#mwf, Books, etc, Melbourne is cold, Melbourne Writers Festival, Words are important, World domination

By the bar at #mwf …

Mohezin Tejani

Quite a few of the free Melbourne Writers Festival (hereafter known only as #mwf) events are at Feddish, awkwardly located in part of that awkward part of the city, Federation Square. Plonked, I found myself this afternoon, on an unfortunately shaped, and disconcertingly high, wicker chair by the bar. Soda water with a hint of ginger ale carefully laid to my left, pen handy, knowing not what to expect from Mohezin Tejani, in conversation with Angela Meyer (@LiteraryMinded).

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Blake Morrison, Books, Cancer, Christopher Hitchens, etc, Financial Times, The Drum, Vanity Fair, World domination

Without a Hitch …

Hitchens SMH

Of the Hitchens photos on Google image search this one from SMH was among the least terrible.

To coincide with the launch of his memoir, Christopher Hitchens appears to be dying. For publicity purposes, this is something of a masterstroke. All things considered, however, being diagnosed with metastasized esophageal cancer is not a good thing. And not just for Hitch, either. Truly.

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apocalypse, Books, Covers, etc, John Birmingham, Melbourne is cold, Words are important, World domination

The Birmingham issues …

A publicity shot. To be used solely for publicity and promotion. Apparently.

Without warning, the rain fell as I was on my way to the designated target. The Wheeler Centre, to see John Birmingham on a cold and bitter Melbourne evening. But my wimpishness was only reinforced when, having braved a bit of winter rain on the arduous trek up the hill, the man otherwise known as @JohnBirmingham spoke about tough action heroes. Action heroes who happen to be women. So the fact I cared about having wet, oily hair just seemed, how do I put this nicely, weak.

Do not misinterpret this as a sexist comment, please. Well aware that there are many women who could roundly and soundly kick my arse, the talk of Buffy, Ripley, and Birmingham’s killer characters Jules and Caitlin made me feel just a little, teeny-weeny bit like a girl.

UPDATE: Now with link to Wheeler Centre’s video!!!

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