Archive for the I can write stuff as well, you know Category

Night of the Incompetents

Posted in I can write stuff as well, you know on March 29, 2012 by brunswick

Anita and I never did work out what Daniel’s story was – he was lean, blonde and friendly, on pain medication for minor injuries sustained in a recent car crash, and obviously batshit crazy. He probably shouldn’t have been drinking the beer cans which spilled out of his black bags when the bus driver set them down on the platform at Waikanae, or the large Red Bull. Bursting for a slash, he had zoomed off as soon as the doors opened, and when he stumbled out of the bushes a few minutes later, the bus had gone.

The evening had taken a turn for the worse. At first we thought the train back to Wellington was merely late, but then we discovered it had been replaced by a bus which we may or may not have missed while waiting down the other end of the station. Half an hour later in the cold, a bus dutifully pulled into the carpark, and after the grim driver had set down Daniel’s forgotten bags, we tried to get on.

He stopped us. “There’ll be another one along in a minute.” And left.

When Daniel re-emerged, he approached his bags in wonder. “Are these my bags? This isn’t mine,” he concluded, tossing aside the empty cans. Anita gave him a baleful stare, and continued marching up and down the platform to keep warm. He gave me an unpleasantly damp and warm handshake, and all the demons invigorated by the competing substances racing through his veins spilled out happily from his mouth.

He concluded from my hat, beard and diction that I was Scandinavian, and opened one of his bags to show me his gun. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” he drooled. “Ever seen one of these before?” He pulled it out and aimed it right at my leg. “Give me your money” he demanded in a menacing voice.

Well, how else would you say it?

Then he fired.

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Writers and Readers Week schmoozing

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, I can write stuff as well, you know, Shameless Namedropping on March 8, 2012 by brunswick

I spent a pleasant evening at Playmarket talking to Robert Shearman, playwright, Alan Ayckbourn collaborator and Doctor Who writer. He’s here for the Writers and Readers Week, and is nice enough not to be annoyed that everyone wants to talk about Dalek and not the 18 plays he’s written. I also had a good talk with Murray Lynch, who runs Playmarket and enjoyed FB:L4G last year, and finally got to meet Ken Duncum.

That is all.

NaNoWriMo result

Posted in I can write stuff as well, you know, Lovely pictures, Magnum Opus on November 30, 2011 by brunswick

Well, that was useful and not impossible to achieve. Now I’m going to edit it down to 15,000 words and start drawing the fucker.


Posted in I can write stuff as well, you know, Magnum Opus on November 1, 2011 by brunswick

I’m spending this month writing my long-delayed graphic novel script, using National Novel Writing Month as an excuse. The aim is to pump out 50,000 words of unpolished prose in thirty days. I managed just over 1700 words this evening, although this stuff has been sloshing around in my head for so long I could write it in my sleep (and sometimes do).

There’s a bunch of encouraging local social events I should try and attend, although I’ve found writers to not be the friendliest people socially (especially when you tell them that you’re a cartoonist), and I think the regulars know each other pretty well. Graphic novel scripts don’t fit easily into the criteria for NaNoWriMo (technically I should’ve waited until April’s Script Frenzy) but I think I can make it to 50,000 words even though I imagine the finished work will only have about 15,000-20,000 words in it… after editing, that’s about the right length.

There’s a large forum (with 98,000 members online right now, and it’s 7am EST!) but to find other people writing graphic novels I had to go a few levels down to where it gets less reputable, away from the busy fields of steampunk dystopias and vampire fanfiction.

The NSFW 2011 Jitterati Easter Smackdown

Posted in Bloody brilliant observations, I can write stuff as well, you know, Jitterati, Utter Trivia on April 19, 2011 by brunswick

Jaimee couldn’t remember a time when she’d felt angrier – mind you, this was rather like asking a fish to remember the time it felt the most wet.

There were so many things about Fitz Bunny that were infuriating and hateful, starting with the glint in her evil black eyes and the mocking “Haw Haw!” of her laugh, but at the moment Jaimee was transfixed with fury at the sight of her former ponytail crudely affixed to Fitz’s grinning lip with spirit gum.

The long hair of a redheaded women is her pride and joy, and since that fateful morning four months ago when Fitz had passed by with a big pair of scissors and pure evil in her heart, Jaimee’s mornings staring in the mirror with the redundant Mason Pearson brush she’d been given for her 21st had been glum indeed.

While the roseate fiend was distracted by having a good chunky mock, Jaimee swooped down, grabbed her by her long ears, and with a strength that surprised many of the scattering Civic Square observers, spun Fitz around her head several times and up into the Neil Dawson fern globe, where she lodged like a surprised pink tennis ball.

Debbie craned her head up, admiringly. “Effective” she said, “but not the best long-term strategy.”

Before Jaimee could reply, there was a bright white flash and the globe disappeared, along with half of the Council’s windows. Shards of aluminium embedded themselves in the bricks at their feet, and as the white after-image faded, Fitz Bunny could be seen poised manga-like on one knuckle in the centre of a molten ceramic ring, which began making little “ping” noises.

It was at this point that Jaimee remembered Fitz had been named ‘Most Dangerous Non-Nuclear Object Which Can Fit Into A Box’ by the United Nations for five years running. They had eventually retired the award when it became clear that Fitz wasn’t going anywhere and it would be several decades before scientists could develop suitcase-sized black holes.

Nevertheless, this had been coming for a long time, so with a cry of “Have at thee!” Jaimee jumped on the glowering rabbit in a rain of fists and invective.

It was at this point (five minutes late) that Tony ambled up alongside Debbie. They watched in silence for a few seconds with their fingers entwined.

“It’s like that Yoda fight in Star Wars” offered Debbie, as the furious combatants rained blows at or near each other.

“Which one?”

“I dunno, one of the dreadful later ones they expect us to pay again to see in 3D next year. I’m not going, are you?”

“Huh” said Tony, who’d already booked his tickets.

It was becoming apparent that the sides were too evenly matched: Fitz may have had an evil-hardened Bunniculum skeleton and the malicious intent of a thousand parking wardens, but Jaimee was so pissed off that she was proving a rare match. Things were complicated by a lack of weapons: all of the useful stores that actually sold things had moved out to the Northern suburbs, and Jaimee quickly calculated she didn’t have the time or resources to get a $500 Javanese walking stick from Kirks or a $400 Ignite cricket bat from Rebel Sports.

Thinking fast, she dashed through the Adidas Originals store and began whipping Rugby World Cup propaganda at Fitz’s melon with razor-sharp accuracy. Fitz responded by flypapering her with sticky Vacancy signs peeled from central Wellington commercial properties. There seemed to be rather a lot of them.

As they slowed down, winded, they rampaged through an Internet cafe. The fight moved briefly online: Jaimee commented cattily on Theatreview that Fitz’s musical was overrated and in no way deserved to be named one of the Herald’s Top Five plays of the year, while Fitz observed archly on The Wellingtonista that there seemed to be rather a lot of unsold copies of the Jitterati book in Cuba Mall’s Graphic, even at the low price of $12.50.

Dashing down Manners St, Jaimee had a sudden flash of inspiration, and seized a copy of the Wellingtonian. Alertly, Fitz grabbed an Independent Herald. To Debbie and Tony it was apparent that they’d both had the same idea simultaneously. To the horror of onlookers, Jaimee began to read out a worthy local news item which was too dull to appear in the Dominion Post, while Fitz countered with an advertorial. They were attempting to bore each other to death.

Unfortunately they each had to listen to their own voice while reading the items, and the pair quickly succumbed, toppling over gently onto each other like sleepy children. Debbie and Tony paused only to tweet photos of the rather sweet tableau before moving to rearrange limbs to prevent cramp and check for brain damage.

In the end they asked a passing JP to declare a draw.

The new Sunday Star-Times and all that entails

Posted in A Good Whinge, Deep Thought, I can write stuff as well, you know, Unwarranted criticism, Utter Trivia on February 20, 2011 by brunswick

The Sunday Star-Times redesign may not be as dreadful as some people were expecting, but neither does it fill one with hope for the future of New Zealand’s print media. I speak as a trained graphic designer, a cartoonist, an accidental writer, and someone who is getting slightly sick of newspapers and local institutional mediocrity in general.

The layout is clear and pleasant, and considering the deadlines their graphic designers face, the articles are well arranged. There’s a tendency to fill the top half of the pages with oversized photos, and the headers and headlines are also unusually large, but this may be in consideration of the failing eyesight of the average newspaper reader.

Some of the headers, sidebars and information boxes have an unpleasant lizard-coloured background, which is almost exactly the same greenish-beige as Futurama’s Kif Kroker. To make the surviving columnists seem more like human beings instead of mere, uh, respected names, their columns are accompanied by full-length portraits. The women columnists are in sassy poses to show they are modern. Rowr! Grant Smithies wears a white T-shirt, like the rebel he is. The business guy has a suit and tie, but his jacket is casually draped across his shoulder, because he has attitude, see? There’s no way the Man will tell him to put on his jacket and tuck in his shirt properly and do something about that moustache.

This is unfair to Rob Oram, despite his moustache, because his column this week (about NZ cultural characteristics which are hampering our economy) is the most interesting piece of writing in the entire paper.

What is this trend of showing us what our opinion journalists look like? It’s a cliché. It’s rarely flattering, except in the case of rival publication Your Weekend’s restaurant reviewer David Burton, who wears a dark suit and stands like Captain Awesome. Frankly, it makes everyone else look like a bit of a tit, especially when you put all the photos side by side. Either they aren’t to the same scale, or Amanda Midgley is seven feet tall and Richard Boock habitually levitates a foot above the ground. Maybe that’s true? I’ve never met them.

The smug aspirational tone of the Sunday Magazine liftout is largely unchanged, except now they use a dreadful serif font for the headers which puts me in mind of packing-crate stencils. The section editor assures us that “we try not to change too often – we wouldn’t want you to feel flustered on a Sunday.” This, I feel, speaks volumes. After reading the interview with Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music I got ‘Avalon‘ stuck in my head and it wouldn’t budge, because that’s exactly the sleek, superficial aesthetic this newspaper emits. It’s good-looking, but the content is thinner than skim milk.

Unlike the Weekend Herald, an Auckland-based newspaper with a national circulation, the Sunday Star-Times has no specific base and has to appeal widely without regional attitude. This gives it the same “nice” aura of North & South as opposed to Metro’s confident bitchiness. There’s twelve pages of local news (7.75 pages without the ads) and six pages of world news (just over three pages without ads). The meatiest article is about local food prices and is three pages long – but that would be a single page of text without the large photos and ads.

The cartoons! Two large colour political cartoons by Al Nisbet, which seems a bit greedy. One I just don’t “get”, and the other I get, but it’s not funny. At the very bottom of the puzzle page and just screaming “space filler” are two syndicated American comic strips, Non Sequitur and Cul de Sac. There must’ve been a special on the ones with French titles. These cartoons are inoffensive, mediocre, funny only in a “meh” kind of way, blandly drawn and coloured, and utterly fucking culturally irrelevant to a New Zealand newspaper with their white, white characters and their yawn-inducing solid Midwestern values. Calvin & Hobbes, Footrot Flats, Bloom-sodding-County, where are you now we need you?

Unfortunately it seems there isn’t a single comic strip artist in New Zealand who could provide something exponentially better that might make people want to read the newspaper, instead of making them want to shove their head in the microwave until it goes “ping”.

There’s also a review of Posy Simmonds’ Tamara Drewe, which says “You wouldn’t really know that the film derives from a graphic novel, because it doesn’t have a cartoonish vibe”, and it was at this point that I shouted “Fuck off!” and flung the ‘Focus’ section at a wall, where it exploded in a shower of pulp… and the music swelled…

Much communication
In a motion
Without conversation
Or a notion
When the samba takes you
Out of nowhere
And the background’s fading
Out of focus
Yes, the picture’s changing
every moment
And your destination
you don’t know it

NZ Herald’s top five plays of the year

Posted in Bloody brilliant observations, Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, I can write stuff as well, you know on December 31, 2010 by brunswick

Upon reflection, to be named in the top five plays of the year is pretty fucking good as well. Especially as it’s one of the only two NZ-written plays.

1. Cabaret, October 29-December 18, recreated the Kit Kat Klub at the Spiegeltent, Viaduct. Bedazzling, political and provocative.

2. Biography of My Skin, Miranda Harcourt and her husband, Stuart McKenzie, played themselves in Biography of My Skin at the Town Hall Concert Chamber, September 21-25. Technically and conceptually clever and amusing.

3. When the Rain Stops Falling, Stephen Lovatt’s tour de force performance in Australian playwright Andrew Bovell’s unrelenting When the Rain Stops Falling flooded the audience with horrified adrenalin in the Herald Theatre, June 5-July 3.

4. August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, Maidment Theatre, September 2-25. Under Colin McColl’s guidance, it featured innovative direction, superb ensemble and a brilliant performance by Jennifer Ludlam.

5. Fitz Bunny: Lust for Glory, ATC Young & Hungry Festival, The Basement, July 9-24. Utterly original, totally bizarre Kiwi theatre.

…Even if it is number 5!

NZ Herald’s ‘Best of 2010’

Posted in Bloody brilliant observations, Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Graphic Novel review, I can write stuff as well, you know on December 30, 2010 by brunswick

FB:L4G has made the Herald’s ‘Best of 2010’ theatre list:

For original work by New Zealand playwrights, the triumphant return of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show (The Civic) set an impossibly high benchmark.

But the Young & Hungry Festival (ATC/The Basement) showcased a wildly imaginative piece of Kiwi madness in Grant Buist’s Fitz Bunny: Lust for Glory. The show is so weirdly original it’s easy to imagine that, had it opened in London, it might have transferred to the West End and gone on to world domination.

From December 18th’s NZ Herald.

Boy, did I read that with mixed feelings. Yes, if only it had opened in London. Still, being mentioned here is nearly as cool as being reviewed by the Listener.

I’ve also discovered that if you review any graphic novel published by Fantagraphics and make it relatively easy to Google, it’ll appear (in heavily-edited form) on their website before you can say “gratuitous plug”.

Please no not the shorts

Posted in I can write stuff as well, you know, Utter Trivia on August 11, 2010 by brunswick

I’m still having a bit of difficulty with our estate agent’s concept of truth and reality. He called at 2pm to say he wanted to bring a couple of builders around to examine the boundaries of the property – in 15 minutes. Ohhh-kay, said I, expecting this visit to be an examination and adjustment of a fluorescent orange rope which has been strung around our domain.

Sure enough, 15 minutes later the agent trundles up in an extraordinary pair of shorts, with eight people. Eight. Obviously not builders either, these are property developers, and because they aren’t just turning up randomly for an open home, these are a different class than Sunday’s crowd. They seem more intelligent and less venal. Some of them even apologise for the intrusion. Class!

The agent asks if he can borrow the ladder to show them the view, and then asks if they can walk through the house… please? Well, I’m not about to throw a tanty, am I? I don’t let them into the bedrooms, but I still let them into the property. I think this is a good thing because it impresses on the agent that we’re not unreasonable, but it might backfire, because now he may think he can bring around large groups of people with no notice and we won’t mind. I know that if I hadn’t answered the phone he would’ve brought them around anyway.

I’m not putting our Sexual Innuendo magnetic poetry kit back on the fridge for a while, but I photographed the good ones before I took it down:

Advice, please.

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, I can write stuff as well, you know on June 24, 2010 by brunswick

ATC (Auckland Theatre Company) are putting together a programme for the Young & Hungry plays, and asked me for a bio and “playwright’s note”… which I’m doing in cartoon form, BECAUSE I CAN.

What to write about? The musical’s origins? The process of creating the script? The performance in Wellington when Real Fitz heckled the actors and then tried to strangle James the director at the afterparty? Hmm…