Monthly Archives: December 2012


A 7 year old child speaks from Manus in words and art

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How much longer are Australians going to allow their politicians to hide behind the three unwise men in recommending this punitive dumping of people onto the most inhospitable, disease ridden, poverty stricken Pacific Islands. Is this the great human rights … Continue reading

Rain of humour among dark clouds

4.0 out of 5 stars 

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Dark Clouds (Kindle Edition)
This is the second I have read in the series with reluctant spy Rudi Flynn at its centre.
Like Weimar Blues, Dark Clouds easily stands alone as Flynn is once more conscripted into the secret service of Britain, and, for good measure, the United States, this time round.
This novel has the 30-something American-born and raised, English resident, Flynn, still pursuing his alcohol and drug fuelled journalistic career. We discover some of the reasons why he is pretty much washed up professionally by the time of Weimar Blues.
The trademark comedy is still here, especially in the amusing thoughts the somewhat aimless Flynn is reluctant to express in words.
At its core, the novel is as dark as the title, cover graphic, and plot suggest. Flynn is enlisted to help his president and her majesty when rumours surface that Islamic terrorists are plotting to explode a nuclear device in Britain. 
There are some quite harrowing scenes in which Flynn is present but either powerless or unwilling to intervene.
The person-in-the-street commentary throughout the book works well though the anti-multiculturalism rhetoric outweighs more liberal voices. It is obvious the views of send-`em-back to-where-they-belong are not those of the author but included to show a common sentiment in most western countries.
The powerful message I took from this book is that authorities from Islamic and Christian nations do evil things while flawed but good people look on.
If you have an interest in world affairs, a liking for bleak humour, and a reasonably strong stomach for violence, this book is for you.

For our musical accompaniment, let’s hear from some clouds which were not dark at all.


Urgent alert – unaccompanied children about to be sent offshore

Message from Manus ” I think tomorrow many single boys are coming to Manus island. If they arrive tomorrow I’ll tell you about it. and about air conditioner, we ask from save the children, salvation army and G4S stuffs at … Continue reading

Start your own anthology for your community of writers

Available HERE
AUSTRALIAN author Frank Hardy was lampooned as a bit of hick when he said he thought there was no such thing as international literature, just a series of national literature.
He might have gone further and got himself into worse trouble by saying there was only a series of local literature.
Why not organize your own local writers’ anthology?

This is how we have done it for the past three years .

    1. We had a volunteer editorial committee of 5-6 people. Two to three editors read each submitted story, first from a print copy, then from email versions as changes were made.
2 2.   We promoted the upcoming anthology through local libraries and writers groups.
Available HERE
3  3. We had an illustrations editor who approached local artists (This was a lot of work and is not necessary for your anthology, but it certainly adds value.)
4 4.    Our local arts umbrella group Arts Alliance PineRivers became co-publisher.
5 5.  We had a business sponsor to keep costs down.
6 6.    We printed through a local short-run book specialist. You could use Create Space or Lightning Source.
7 7.    We asked authors to pre-order copies so organisers did not have to dip into their own pockets and hope for re-imbursement. This year we are calling for payment with initial submissions for one copy and a small charge for membership of our group. Later we will call for pre-orders of more copies.
8 Available HERE
8  8.We organised a launch and presentation of books at a local library.
Email me bentbananabooks@gmail.comwith any questions.
I can also send you a sample copy of out call for submissions, 
though we ourselves are only seeking entries from our local area.
Here is our celebratory song

How you write a book review

WHAT the world needs now are reviews, book reviews; they’re the only things (apart from fresh water, social justice and quite a bit of other stuff) that there’s just too little of: reviews, book reviews.
Please do not ask! I am not volunteering to review your book. After penning, publishing and promoting the damn things, I have no time to review any books other than ones that come my way serendipitously.
But ask any book lover out there and they will tell you trying to decide whether a book is a wise buy is more important than its price. A lousy book is a bad investment even if it is free.
I am unable to come to the party with extra book reviews but if you want to have a go, you will become a servant of humanity when you learn to do a competent job.
Before we start, check out Ionia Martin’s review of my novel Iraqi Icicle. (Whaddya mean that is self-promotion? You expect me to send you to a review of someone else’s novel. Sheesh, you can find your own example, if you must.)
Ionia is a Top 500 Reviewer so she knows what the task is all about. Check out her review HERE  
Ionia is also a pianist so she can play along to out featured video. (Don’t scroll down to see what it is; I am creating a structured piece on book reviews and we cannot anarchic readings of it.)
The rest of this informative rant is a list of my ideas on your writing a half-decent review.
Make it entertaining.  ­ No cheap shots at the author’s expense are needed, but if you are a lover of books, you should be able to string together a few pleasant sentences yourself.

22. Try to give the reader a flavor of the book you are reviewing from your get-go.
33. Don’t tie yourself in a knot avoiding spoilers. Of course, you will not be invited around to brunch if you announce you knew the butler did it after chapter 3. But neither will you be doing brunch with a grateful reader of your review, if it is so general, that, at the end of your critique, the reader is none the wiser what the book is about.
44. Talk about whether characters are well crafted and whether the plot works for you.
55. Somewhere around the middle of the review, comment on what you liked about the book and what you did not like. You need not mention what you regard as minor faults in some sort of unnecessary notion of balance.
66. Towards the end of the review, you can say who might not like this book. If, for example, you are reviewing a Gore Vidal novel, you might say members of the Tea Party may not love it.
77.  Next, you say who might enjoy the book.
88. You should finish in your own style but there should be some sort of summary, not of the book so much as of your review. As the reviewer, you are entitled to the last words Make them good so the reader will come back for more when they see your name attached to your next piece of excellent criticism.
99.  If there are too many rules above, just have a go. Always aim to select a quality book of whatever genre you are reviewing.
110.  It is your call whether you submit a negative review. Whatever your reasons, you can with-hold a review, but every review you submit should be honest.
Three reviews
Walter Kerr on the play I am a Camera: Me no Leica.
Dorothy Parker on Katherine Hepburn in the play The Lake. Miss Hepburn delivered a striking performance that ran the gamut of emotions, from A to B.
Leo Robson on Rachel Bradford’s book Martin Amis: The Biography. “spectacularly bad writing — about spectacularly good writing.”
Here is our celebratory song: Cheers, Bernie


Please warn Grandma

Guest Book Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart but great, December 25, 2012
This review is from: Iraqi Icicle 2nd edition (Kindle Edition)

“Iraqi Icicle” is definitely not your average run of the mill crime drama. Oddly, there are very few categories where a book could be listed that I can’t imagine this fitting in some way or another. While this book does have a hefty dose of profanity, there were times when I felt it added to the story and other times when it made me laugh.

This is a hard book to describe without accidentally giving something away as there is so much going on underneath the cover. Steele Hill is a character that I felt had the correct amount of inner turmoil and personality that made him not only fun to read, but memorable. There were some good secondary characters in this book too, but Steele definitely steals the show. This author certainly has a sense of how to keep his reader in suspense. This book deals with some hardcore subjects, but I thought the author did so in a way that made it exciting to read.

This book is gritty and a little dangerous and if you are in for a seat of your pants kind of ride this might just be the thing. Be careful though, I have warned you that this is not your grandma’s fireside novel!

Buy Iraqi Icicle HERE
You can imagine the conversation with Gran:
You: “Don’t read Iraqi Icicle, Grandma!”
Gran:”Don’t bother me, dear; I’m reading Fifty Shades of Grey.”
I thought Iraqi Icicle was only a trifle profane, but then I was brought up on Grandma’s knee listening to her sing her favorite song.
Cheers, Bernie

Guest Book Review

4.0 out of 5 stars
Iraqi Icicle by Bernie Dowling, 22 Dec 2012

Interesting theatrical, musical and political diversions
This review is from:
 I ENJOYED this story and I liked the main character, Steel Hill, who delivers as a first person narrator.

We start in Brisbane, Australia, where the story is focused initially on low-life betting scammers. But gradually we move on through an interesting cast of characters.

The narrator, Steele Hill, is involved with an intellectually enhanced Natalie, whose 16-year-old sister Jane – aka Bub – effortlessly entices him into an energetic copulation.
The genre is set in a low-life betting and corrupt police situation where a dumb Irish and a nasty German pair of cops attempt to frame Steel with just about anything that might jail him. They don’t succeed and as we conclude the devious Hill is winning a huge amount of horse race betting money while a sexy and opportunistic Crystal attempts to seduce him as a criminal collaborator.
There are interesting theatrical, musical and political diversions – and the Iraqi Icicle is a rather attractive white rose that Hill uses to try and seduce the sexy but elusive Crystal.
There’s good dark humour throughout – and I particularly liked the reference to a subsequently defrocked nun at Hill’s school who claimed that her occasionally recalcitrant pupil was in fact a John Lennon lovechild!
BUY Iraqi Icicle NOW
Thanks Kathy for your guest review – Bernie

A good Irish name like Kathy Hennessy deserves a song such as this:
And here is a bonus, one more in keeping with the tone of Iraqi Icicle


Another warrior lost.

i have been informed that we have lost another warrior from the tent embassy in canberra. gungalidda elder wadjularbinna nullyarimma has passed on. she was a staunch supporter of the tent embassy and her real passion for social justice issues … Continue reading


The no advantage test

This table can be used through the silly season when the GUTTER PRESS are likely to start running stories of asylum seekers living the lush life in order to drum up hate and bitterness among those so inclined. Yesterday we … Continue reading


LONDON – Julian Assange speaks from balcony of Ecuadoran embassy marking 6 months.

Julian Assange marked 6 months circled by British police in the Ecuadoran embassy by speaking from the balcony of the building last night (Dec 20th.) Those gathering in solidarity adopted a festive theme with carols, candles, sharing food and wine. … Continue reading


Gun Violence, Massacres, and “Other Developed Countries”

by David Rovics One evening in the spring of 1993 I took a bus across San Francisco, leaving the troubled, largely impoverished neighborhood of the Western Addition, populated mostly by the descendents of African slaves, in which I lived (representing, … Continue reading


Jagera elder supports Sovereignty

In today’s society there’s far too much value placed on the dollar, our culture is dying at an alarming rate and everyone is looking for a hand-out rather than demanding a hand-up from the Gubba (the foreign invader). The Gubba … Continue reading

Festive Fun

A shout-out from my favourite witch
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fun book for the person who loves journalism!


This review is from: 7 Shouts (My Shout) (Kindle Edition)
Bernie Dowling has compiled years of journalistic endeavors into one compendium, along with pictures (some of them quite funny), and has thus given readers “7 Shouts”.
For the individual with a love of journalism, an open-minded viewpoint on all things living, and often insightful blurbs on life, I highly recommend this book. 
Love, tragedy, success, and history – it’s all there in the funny, intelligent, and sometimes satirical voice of Dowling.
Definitely a getaway read for the nonfiction crowd 🙂
– Heather

It’s Bernie here now. 
I need to say Heather formats many of the Bent Banana eBooks.
That’s disclosure and it is a good thing.

I experimented with links in 7 Shouts. I have the usual rock video links and also links to Wiki and news stories. These are common enough in blogs and internet articles but I was looking to do things in an eBook that you can’t in a static print book.
Anyway as Heather says, you will find it pretty funny, and living up to the BBB promise that our books are different.
Buy 7 Shouts HERE or from Google

Here to celebrate is an Aussie r’n’r classic


Coco Wharton in defence of sovereignty

[Editor’s note: This speech by Coco Wharton given at the sovereign tent embassy in Musgrave park on 12 Dec 2012 was broadcast on PShift [Fridays at noon on 4ZZZ fm102.1 – Many thanks to KC for the transcription.] This was … Continue reading


PShift: Anarchist Summer School – what, where and when?

This discussion with organisers of the Brisbane Anarchist Summer School (BASS) was broadcast on the Paradigm Shift [Fridays at noon  on 4ZZZ fm 102.1] on 21 Dec 2012. What The Brisbane Anarchist Summer School will be held on 12th – … Continue reading

Aussie thriller sings and zings

Brother reviews brother. Oh, Brother!

4.0 out of 5 stars

THIS novel is an epic detective story of more than 400 pages.
Private investigator Steele Hill is a larger than life character who has the happy knack of being there when the action is happening.
His world is peopled with crooked cops and shady types in the gambling and horse racing industries.
The book describes some of the events happening in and around Brisbane from 1986 to 1992, including the music and musicians of that time.
It also gives the reader an insight into the political events which were occurring around the globe at this time.
You expect a number of surprises in a detective story and this novel has many including the basis for the title name.
If you like a long entertaining story, with plenty of salty language, this is the book for you.

Dennis Dowling, Brisbane Australia.
Mr Dowling is the brother of author Bernie Dowling.
You know you not going to get 5 Stars from your brother and I am kind of glad.
Readers are rightly wary of books with heaps of five-star reviews but with a sprinkling of most plausible one-star reviews as well.
The biggest challenge for eBooks is reliable curation or critical gate-keeping.
Personally I think you should take my word for it that Iraqi Icicle is a good book. That way, you can buy it and write your own glowing review.
You, on the other hand, may be looking for a different path of decision making.

Iraqi Icicle Second Edition is out now!

Buy Iraqi Icicle  HERE

No for our celebratory song, dedicated to my brother for his critical skills. And of course, it is the season of hollies:


“Three weeks people, three weeks!” — one year on from Occupy Brisbane

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[Editor’s Note: It is timely to remember our struggle at occupy of one year’s past – especially since people are trying so hard to keep the sacred fire alight in Musgrave Park. This is a defining speech at Brisbane Occupy … Continue reading


Police arrest Jagera traditional owner defending the sacred fire

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“This is a country very concerned about making things seem to happen without actually doing anything. They like to talk about progress, but that comes at a cost, and the cost is on us” — Kevin Vieritz at first Sovereignty … Continue reading

Community of Authors Shine

THIS anthology follows on from the critically acclaimed debut volume The Writing on the Wall.

Writers from the Moreton Bay Region of Australia present 24 short stories, each one illustrated by an accomplished artist in Can you believe it…

This is the middle volume of a three-year Arts Alliance Pine Rivers project to showcase the writing and artistic talents of a local community.
This second anthology add a smattering of poetry, ranging from the comic through parodies to the lyrical.
In both words and illustrations, contributors range from people who earn or have earned a living from writing or art to those being published for the first time. The age range of the authors is from 16 to writers in their 80s. At least two of our authors do not have English as a first language. Two of the contributors are 16-year-olds, Sarah Hewitt-Howell and Maddi Mitchell.
Ken Armstrong digital art for Kay Curran’s Brilliant Colours about an artistic boy who learns about life from colours 
The stories range in style from humour to dark tales.
In this volume darker stories dominate, perhaps attesting to a bleak house at the centre of today’s world But even sombre stories have the power to uplift.
Michelle Caitens art for Maddi Mitchell’s
Too Late for Heroes 

Some of the illustrations are from award-winning international artists which is a huge bonus.
Elena Ventura illustration for Anne Ollson story 
Best Mates

This volume and its sequel Sweet and Sour combine for the perfect gidt for someone with a keen eye for a literary, albeit with some flaws, among the genres.
Buy Can you believe it… HERE 

Here is our celebratory video

Iraqi Icicle excerpt

The comic detective novel Iraqi Icicle is being released at Pine Rivers Art Gallery Queensland Australia on December 20 in a multi-art event as part of the world-wide A Big Project.
Here is an edited excerpt. 

It was a week before I saw the cops again. They tried to kick down the door of my flat, which is on the floor below My Cucumber Natalie and not 800 metres from my beloved Brisbane racetracks. I was listening to the latest Go-Betweens album, 16 Lover’s Lane, and letting the sound vibrate through me as I sat in my armchair. Unfortunately I had to get up, or risk the two detectives breaking my door down and claiming I had assaulted their feet.

The next track playing on the sixth Go-Bees album was The Streets of Your Town. They had released it twice –once the previous year when the album came out, and more successfully in June of that year of 1989. The band, which had started in Brisbane in the late seventies, was signed to the major US label Capitol, and fans were saying that the guitar-based pop rockers were going to grab the world recognition they deserved. Clouds inevitably darkened any rock band’s horizon and now, by December, rumours had erupted that The Go-Betweens had broken up. If the rumour of a bust-up was true, it was an inopportune time, when even a deeply unhip copper like Mooney could recognise the chorus of the band’s disturbing but radio-friendly single.
Round and round, up and down
Through the streets of your town.
Every day I make my way
Through the streets of your town.
‘That’s that slag’s song,’ Mooney screamed at the record player, his fleshy lips quivering. ‘That drummer, what’s her name, Morrison. Fucking bitch stole my watch.’ Mooney’s great sausagey fist feigned to slam down onto my record player, then recoiled. ‘I’m not listening to that crap any more. When you’re done, Schmidt, I’ll see you in the car.’ He stormed out the cracked door.
Schmidt looked all around the room, like a Teutonic landlord determined to retain a rental bond, before he approached the record player. ‘Congratulations, Hill. You play the only song not recorded by Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or Kenny Rogers that Mooney knows. And now I have to hear about her stealing his watch for the rest of the day.’
‘What’s that about? If Mooney’s been to a Go-Betweens concert, I’ll have to throw out my entire record collection.’
Schmidt moved away from the stereo and began to rummage through kitchen cupboards and drawers.
‘It was way back in 1978, before Lindy Morrison was even in the band, as far as I know. You remember, the Premier at the time, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, banned street marches as a form of civil protest.’
‘Vaguely, I was only thirteen or fourteen at the time. The nuns in the orphanage weren’t big on breakfast-table discussions of the political news of the day.’
‘I wasn’t much older myself, but the old coppers tell me the uni students and their crackpot mates would call a demonstration at the drop of a hat. After a scuffle at one demo, Mooney charged Morrison with stealing his watch.’
‘And did she?’
‘From what I gather, his watch came off in a melee and Morrison held the watch in the air as if to say, “Who owns the watch?” And Mooney pinched her. Anyway, she got off at the pre-trial committal stage. But Mooney swears black and blue she got away with trying to nick his watch. If you ask me, he probably only charged her because he did not want to be grateful to a twenty-something girl for returning it.’
Here is the Go-Between’s first single, a deceptively fun song with a lot of depth.

Vision gets even better

5.0 out of 5 stars Harper Fan December 7, 2012
By Ruth G
Amazon Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book possibly more than the first. 
The short stories are easy to read and Vision II: The Reluctant Psychic Returns takes the reader on a great journey.  
Even though I know the main characters of the books, each of the short stories can stand alone but written so that they can be read one after the other in a way that does not detract from the continuing storyline. 
The way the author is developing the character of Trudy Harper and her special abilities gives a greater range of how her physic gift aids in each case. 
You never know what is coming up next and I look forward to the next book. Keep up the great work Jane.

Trudy Harper, did you say?

Laughs amid the turmoil

Book Review by Bernie Dowling

Weimar Vibesis a most humorous novel on a very serious subject.

Anti-hero Rudi Flynn is a former tabloid journalist, reformed cocaine abuser and practising alcoholic.

Under normal circumstances, he would not be first choice as an operative of Her Majesty’s Secret Service but here he is enlisted to thwart a takeover in Britain by the extreme right.
No one seems to quite know what Flynn is supposed to be doing, least of all the man himself. During his service for Her Maj, he does manage to cover his neighbour’s wife and encounter women who want to have sex with him, kill him, or both.
The novel operates at many levels and to appreciate its full range, the reader would best come armed with some knowledge of European history from as far back as the first world war, at least.
That being said, great slapstick and comic word-play will engage any reader. As a bonus, you receive the elevator pitch on Plato and Socrates, in case you thought they were Greek soccer players.
At the centre of the story is a discussion on social and political reactions to questions of immigration and refugees which most countries around the world are having right now.
This novel won a gold star and was rated as a ‘most popular’ novel on HarperCollins Authonomy emerging-writer’s website.
It is a part of the Rudi Flynn series but stands alone quite steadily.
There are a few typos and a couple of formatting glitches, but I did not find them overly distracting.
The story moves briskly and it is certainly refreshing to see humour at the centre of a thriller.
Any reader who enjoys this novel will probably back up for more tales of the engaging scoundrel, Rudi Flynn.
Today’s video song is a sweet way to end the review


The 17 Group – Alienation

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The June meeting of the 17 Group will take place on Wednesday the 6th of June at 7 pm in unit 6 at number 20 Drury St, West End and will be addressed by the writer Lesley Synge, who will … Continue reading


PShift: the story of coal and land rights

“Whose land is this land is it for you and me who knows, who knows this land better than you and me. The spirit of this land is strong for you and me; to understand this land is up to … Continue reading


Save the Sacred Fire in Musgrave Park!

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“That relationship between (us) and that tree and that water is what gives us our respect, the law has been given us by the spirit… it is a law of sharing and caring it is a law of respect, a … Continue reading


Byron Council’s Double Standards

[Editor’s note: This is a letter sent by one of our readers to the Byron bay newspaper ‘The Echo’] Dear Editor (of the Echo), During the 2011 Writers’ Festival I parked my Free Palestine trailer on a safe patch of … Continue reading


Update from the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy

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Update from the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy The Embassy remains in Musgrave Park and the Sacred Fire continues to burn strong. IMPORTANT COMMUNITY MEETING This Wednesday (December 12), 10am Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy Musgrave Park 121 Cordelia St, South Brisbane … Continue reading


Don’t Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas

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Don’t Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas PROTEST THE PRESENCE OF ISRAELI COSMETIC PRODUCTS MADE FROM STOLEN PALESTINIAN RESOURCES IN AUSTRALIAN SHOPPING CENTRES Join this protest as part of a National Week of Action around Australia to highlight the plight of … Continue reading


Protected: The Uprising

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PShift: The Story of Coal – beauty and the beast

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Anna came to this country and now she is left alone Her man had so much sickness he left some in their home It was just for a while until they got on their feet but the mine was a … Continue reading