Category Archives: Aussie humor.

The joy of publishing

A FUNNY thing happened – as it always does – on the way to publishing the paperback of my novel for Australia Day 2013.

All’s well that ends well: let’s get that out of the way.

Someone at Amazon decided that my novel Iraqi Icicle was part 1. It was declared Iraqi Icicle was part 1 of a series. I suspect that someone at Amazon decided it would help me sell my book if readers decided it was part of a series. But what of the readers who thought it was not the stand-alone novel that it is?
I never thought I would agree with anything philosopher Ayn Rand wrote but this was definitely a case of “I don’t want your help”.
The problem was mostly sorted by Australia Day, January 26. The link between the paperback and the eBook is yet to be re-established. The paperback sells for $14.99 so it emphasizes the value of the $4.99 eBook.  I have no doubt the link between the print and electronic versions will be soon sorted.
The responsive crew from Amazon sent me a list of electronic stores from which you can buy.
Canada is not on there, so I presume the Canadians mount their purchase from the US.
India and China are not on the list, so I am not sure what is happening there. Brazil and Japan also missed the cut for the list I was sent. All very confusing but I do not like to trouble the Amazonians with a heap of questions. I will find out what is going on, all in good time.
We in Australia are used to paying top dollar for our novels and I would imagine the shipping from Amazon US would be at least $10.
I am selling my copies in Oz for $25 with a 40% discount for local books shops, provided they pay cash up front. I have stated I am a commercial Luddite, but sale-and-return seems like a nightmare for me. Having to pick up unwanted copies is an “insult to injury” job. I am like that famous model; I won’t get out of bed for less than $9.99.
Below is the list of the electronic stores where you can but Iraqi Icicle for $14.99. Do it now; you know you wanna.
Here is a pic of the book. It is almost 380 pages long. Nothing more to say really.
This Aussie band is doing the theme song for the product launch.

Festive Fun

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

By

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





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.
Cheers
Bernie

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:



Hey hey Paul-eay, how many kids you kill today?


Welcome to Day 3 of my part in the whirlwind blog tour of The Book of Paul.
On Day 1, author Richard Long was kind enough to eloquently answer my questions on his supernatural thriller.
On Day 2, we ran an excerpt from the novel.
Today we return to Q&A, one of my fave media for discussion and robust debate. The questions are from blog-tour organiser Novel Publicity.  In the interests in massaging my ego, I may introduce my own comments. We will see. Let the fun and games begin.


Please enjoy this interview with Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

Tell us about the spark of inspiration that eventually grew into The Book of Paul.
The initial inspiration for The Book of Paul came when I wrote the first line of the first chapter called Exercises “He practiced smiling.”  I wanted to explore a character who had been so damaged by childhood trauma that he could no longer feel compassion, joy, affection, and had, accordingly, committed all kinds of horrible acts. I wondered if such a person could ever regain his emotional capacity and be redeemed by love.
What was the research process like for this book (which can at times deal with some pretty heady and—frankly—grotesque goings-on)? Any horror stories to share?
There are many aspects to the story, so the research was really extensive. I love doing the research almost as much as the writing, so it’s a joy for me to read and learn so many new things. The creation mythology literally goes back to square one and builds from there, tracing the history of Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, alchemy, druidism and pagan mythology–particularly Egyptian, Greek and Celtic traditions. There’s also a strong science fiction element involving quantum physics, artificial intelligence, life extension and what’s known as The Singularity. Other lines of exploration involved Irish genealogy and what I call the pain culture: tattoos, elaborate piercings and body modifications.
I made some gruesome discoveries along the way. The most disturbing was the Extreme Body Modification website I stumbled upon, which is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. I first saw it in the early days of the Internet, which is pretty amazing in itself. I checked recently and it’s still there, though I didn’t have the stomach to peek inside again. I’m actually as squeamish as some of my readers about certain things, which is probably why the horror comes across so vividly. If something scares the hell out of me, it’s easy for me to convey that fear and revulsion.
Tell us about Paul. Who is he and what is his book about?
The Book is a 4th century codex, the only one of it’s kind. How and why it was made and what it contains is one of the central mysteries of the series, so I’m not going to spill those beans. Paul is every bit as mysterious. When he is first introduced you might think he’s a serial killer involved with the occult in some way. As the story progresses you discover some really unexpected things about him. One thing is clear from the outset – he is one very nasty piece of work. I’ve always felt that any horror novel or thriller is only as good as the villain. I definitely aimed for the fences with Paul.
There is a strong tarot undercurrent to this novel. The protagonist even makes his living by reading the cards. Why did you decide to work it into The Book of Paul,  and how does it surface throughout the course of the story?
I actually did tarot and numerology readings when I lived in the East Village many years ago. The tarot led me to a lot of dark occult explorations, which are mirrored in William’s journey. I was lucky enough to pull out of that nosedive and hop over to the Buddhist side of the fence. William is not so fortunate. The reader gets drawn into William’s world through his first person narration as he talks about becoming a collector of ancient occult manuscripts, which leads him to the tarot. Then he gradually reveals more through his journal entries, which contain the meat of the mythology and all the Hermetic and Gnostic lore. Finally, he discovers that the tarot is actually related to an apocalyptic prophecy, which Paul is determined to fulfill by any means necessary, which is very bad news for Billy.
At almost 500 pages, this is not a short novel. From start to finish, how long did it take you to write, revise, and ready for publication?
I’ve written over 2,000 pages for The Book of Paul and the series. The first draft of this volume was close to a thousand pages long. I cut out eight characters and their storylines in the second draft, which netted my first agent. She wanted a lower page count, so many of the narrator’s interior musings were cut. Those were actually some of my favorite sections. Then I moved to another agent and he wanted more of the mythology put back in, so it grew close to this size. After six months he hadn’t sold it, so I got sick of the whole process, wrote it the way I wanted, and published it.
The concept of synchronicity plays heavily in this novel. What attracts you to it, and has it proven a heavy influence in your own life?
I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. I was raised as a Catholic, but the nuns effectively beat those beliefs out of me quickly. Even as a kid, I couldn’t accept the idea of God as the big guy in the sky with the white beard. Science and mythology and my own imagination showed me all kind of possibilities. I first noticed synchronicity when the number eleven kept showing up for me all over the place–addresses, hotel rooms, etc. Someone suggested I get a book on numerology and I discovered that eleven was my “name number” and also a power number. I started noticing all kinds of things after that, coincidences that were just too weird to brush away. Then I read some Jung, and when I got into quantum physics that sealed the deal. Synchronicity for me now is the manifestation of interconnectedness in the universe. There is nothing you can perceive that isn’t connected to you. As the Buddhists say, “no separate self.”
Paul is… scary (we’ll leave it at that). How were you able to effectively become this deranged character, and how did you hang on to your own humanity after the fact?</strong>
I would imagine it’s much the same as when Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter. He was very disdainful of method actors who got all caught up in identifying with their characters. There’s a famous story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman was a method actor and he stayed up all night before their torture scene together and Olivier said something like, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy?”
That being said, I’m not immune to being disturbed by these things. When I wrote the traumatic scenes of him and Martin–well, I cried when I wrote them and they stayed with me for days. So maybe the method is working for me too.
Paul is great to write because it’s like letting my Id out of a cage. I get to play out my most evil imaginings and nobody gets hurt. I also had to find Paul’s humanity to make him really interesting for me. I didn’t want him to be some cartoon monster. Paul is also in a lot of pain; he was traumatized as a boy and his life was changed forever. By the end of the story you get to see many other sides of him. And of course, there’s a lot more to come.
Irish mythology is woven into <em>The Book of Paul</em>, and at one point, Paul even makes a sarcastic quip about the luck of the Irish. Why Irish, and how all does its culture influence the story?
When I’m writing, I go into a daydream state where I imagine the character and what he or she looks like and where they are and what they’re doing. No outline usually. I sit back and watch and listen. If it’s great the way I imagine it, then writing the dialog is like taking dictation. When I wrote the first chapters with Paul, I was surprised because I kept hearing him speak with an Irish brogue, but his accent went in and out – sometimes really thick, sometimes a little lilt, sometimes no accent at all. So I’m thinking, what’s that about?
I come from Irish American stock, but my parents told me absolutely nothing about their parents other than to say they were cruel. So that’s the starting point with Paul. He’s the ultimate bad dad. The more I explored Paul, the deeper it led me into Celtic mythology, Irish genealogy and history. I suppose I’m trying to find the missing links of my own heritage. My grandmother was born in Ireland, so I have dual citizenship, even though I haven’t been there yet. I’m thinking I’ll go next year when I’m writing the third sequel.
The Book of Paul  is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and in that way, it can be difficult to classify. So tell us, who  is your target audience for this novel?
Given the fact that there are some rough episodes in the story, you might think that the so-called target audience would be men who are into horror, thrills and mayhem. But women actually seem to be my biggest, or at least, my most vocal fans. I’ve been getting some really enthusiastic reviews from men, but even more so from women, who surprisingly seem less squeamish than some of the male reviewers.
The Book of Paul doesn’t fit into any neat, tidy genre. It’s very complex and like you say, unlike anything I’ve read before either. There’s a  Pulp Fiction element to it, with quirky characters in a seedy environment. There’s a major religious/mythological mystery for the Dan Brown crowd. It’s very funny, but incredibly poignant. It’s very disturbing, but there are lots of fast-paced action scenes. There’s romance and kinky sex. Something for everybody.
 Why did you decide to self-publish The Book of Paul and how has the journey been so far?
Read above. The traditional publishing industry in general is like a boxer on the ropes in the tenth round. For fiction it’s even worse. Add first-time novelist to the list and sprinkle on an unclassifiable genre for a little seasoning. I had two agents who were well known and successful, and very enthusiastic about the book. But the editors they reached wouldn’t take a chance on it. I could have kept trying, but frankly, I ran out of patience.
How has it been so far? The book is out in the world and it’s just the way I wanted it. I have complete control over everything I do, including the cover art, which is also exactly how I want it. The marketing is a lot of hard work, particularly the social marketing, which I had never done before. But that’s turned out to be a lot of fun too. I’m meeting so many great people–other authors and readers–and getting such a strong response on the book that it feels like a vindication. See? I told you so. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of The Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is visy http://www.novelpublicity.com/whirlwind-tour/paul
 Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity</a></li>
           
About the author: 
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. 
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of The Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is visy http://www.novelpublicity.com/whirlwind-tour/paul
 Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity.
About the author: 
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. 

Visit Richard at




Here is our celebratory song. Enjoy.
When you buy the Special Edition of the T-shirt 

Evil is loneliness with nowhere else to go 

you get this video with it:





Rich crazies insure their best bits

OMG what can you say
When a loopy has lots of dough
I received this media release from an insurance company today.
I have no comment.
I mean, really, what can you say?
Cheers
Bernie
What do alien abductions, legs, backsides, moustaches and voices all have in common?
The answer is, celebrities insure them!
Here are just some of the fascinating things that the stars are insuring²:

  • Shirley MacLaine has protection against alien abduction for $25mil
  • Model Heidi Klum’s legs were insured for $2.2mil
  • Former Test cricket player Merv Hughes’ walrus moustache for $370,000
  • Bruce Springsteen’s voice for $6mil
  • Dolly Parton’s ‘renowned assets’ for $600,000
  • One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson’s backside for $160,000

Amazing! You could even say crazy. But on the other hand, celebrities recognise what’s most valuable to them and insure against damage or loss of their signature ‘asset’. They do it for peace of mind.
95 percent of Australian families don’t have adequate insurance¹. That’s a lot of under-valued Aussie parents, partners and kids. Now that’s crazy!
For further information or to purchase Ezicover insurance*, please click here.
A reminder about what’s important in life from NRAS Australia.

Does anyone do the viz anymore?

BERNIE’S Best Bet – our fun Twitter tipping service – selects Dash for Viz at lovely Flemington racetrack in Melbourne today.
Dash for Viz is a a 5-year-old gelding by Dash for Cash out of Miss Academic.
The horse is splendidly named, as Dash for Viz  meets the sublime naming criterion of reflecting the monikers of sire and dam.

Viz dashes
Dash for Viz is by the mare Miss Academic and the name reminds me of my days in halls of higher learning.
Academics would dash towards a Latin phrase or word when an English equivalent just would not do. Latin abbreviations were gold.
Entering university, I had barely come to terms with Agatha Christie’s pesky Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and his annoying habit of peppering his speech with French mots. Incroyable!
Reading academic texts, I now had to grapple with a new set of odd expressions, viz words such as viz.
The word crept into the English language in the 16th century.
Viz is the abbreviation of the Latin word videlicit, which means ”namely’’.
The British hoi-poloi long ago punted viz from their everyday lingo. This was as good a reason as any for the academics to hang on to it as a mark of respect for their esoteric knowledge.
            You may recall some of the other favourite Latin shorts: ibid, op cit, et al.
The academics when citing some of their fellow travellers would list authors in the fashion of Dot Kansas, Red Ragger et al.
Et al stood for “and others”. I always wondered if this was done to save space or to tell the reader the als were not of any importance. I would have been offended if I was an al.
Contemporary uni students should be able to tell us whether academics do viz anymore. If the academics have ditched it, we commoners should consider reclaiming it.
‘I am having lunch with the girls today, viz Trudy, Judy, Lucy and Pippa.’
Or ‘I’m having lunch with the girls today, viz smoked salmon and mango jus.’
There is nothing wrong with a dash for viz, as long as we do not all do it at once.

Here is our celebratory song to complement the name Miss Academic

You see, an Australian, a Kiwi and a Russian want to name this racehorse…

BBB -Bernie’s Best Bet for Australia on June 30, 2012  – was at the Sunshine Coast, in the 3-year-olds Guineas:  Sunshine Coast R 5 H 15 Ametsis.
My international tipping service began as a bit of fun and for me to create a few new Twitter followers. 
One Tweeter offered the opinion that, if you have fewer than 100 followers, you are a stalker. They probably said less than 100 followers; as a general rule, people who insult strangers on the internet do not have advanced grammatical skills.
I rather like the notion of victimless cyberstalking, but I decided I would gather 100 followers without using the unwholesome tactics usually employed, such as following-unfollowing, becoming a Hollywood actor and so on.
So I offered my fun FREE tipping service with odd info and links thrown in.
Meet Ametsis
As I said above, weirdly named Aussie racehorse Ametsis was the tip for June 30.
Ametsis is named after New Zealand  owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay’s plastic company and is Sistema spelt backwards.
Now I cannot condone rich people naming racehorses after things they own – businesses, pets, themselves –  unless it has a connection to their horse’s breeding.
Because I like those cute Klip It fridge containers Sistema make I thought I would help them out. The real reason, that I have made up, the horse is called Ametsis follows.

The Russian Museum, based in St Petersburg, across that nation, has Virtual Branches information and educational centres with the partnership of Sistema Finance Investments One of these branches is in Kirov. 
Russian conglom – while I am making stuff up, conglom is a more expressive word than conglomerate – Sistema is one of the 10 largest business enterprises in that country.
Australian racehorse Sistema is out of the Zabeel mare Kirov Dancer.
From now on trainer Russel Cameron and owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay can tell owners Ametsis’s mother’s moniker led them down a serendipitous path to naming the colt after their NZ company.
If you have any tales on racehorse names, please share them either through here, My Twitter a/c https://twitter.com/bentbananabooks or email bentbananabooks@gmail.com
As a reward for supporting my fiction about the name, grab a big bowl of popcorn  and a flask of coffee and let’s watch the Kirov Ballet perform Swan Lake. It goes for a tick under two hours, apparently, so it will be fun. Enjoy.
Cheers & Happy Punting 
Bernie

Reviews roll on

REVIEWS are coming in to Amazon for Bernie Dowling’s non-fiction work 7 Shouts:The Best of My Shout.
Gleaned from seven year’s of his My Shout newspaper columns, the book establishes Australian humour at the off-centre of the Universe.
The first two reviewers each gave 7 Shouts four stars.
Here is what they had to say.

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, June 10, 2012
By baggy
This review is from: 7 Shouts (My Shout) (Kindle Edition)
Bernie Dowling has a unique voice that really brings his columns to life. I highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys Australian humour. Even if you don’t laugh you will be entertained and informed. My favourite is the Slanguage chapter. For the record I say ‘marown’.

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun book for the person who loves journalism!, June 7, 2012
By Heather Marie Adkins
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 🙂

Reviews are also at Google eBooks for the Kindle-less lovers of lit.
Visit Amazon 
or Google Books http://goo.gl/DxFCc
Give yourself a giggle.

That is why they call him a bookie


That is why they call him a bookie
BOOKMAKER Tom Waterhouse is at again.
The son of leading Australian racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse is fresh from betting on the Sotheby auction of the Edvard Munch pastel The Scream.
Aussie author Miles Franklin

He follows up with a market on the prestigious and time-honoured Australian literary award the Miles Franklin which carries a winner-take-all purse of $50,000.
The Franklin is more than 50-years-old. An even older wordy institution The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper could not resist a comment on the bookie’s sideline from wagering on reality TV shows, The Voice and Brain Surgery with the Fishmongers. I apologise; I believe the latter one is called Dancing with Stars.
The SMH or the Herald – Sydneysiders are the only Australians who call it that, as there other Heralds in Oz – wrote about the betting on the books in one of its online entertainment stories.
The Herald wrote, ‘The day after the shortlist was confirmed, bookmaker and celebrated literary critic Tom Waterhouse released his list of odds on who would win…’

Oh yes, that bit about “celebrated literary critic” was definitely taking the piss, having a go/ dig at the bookie or having a lend of him. (Alright, you pedants technically that should be the noun loan, not the verb lend; but Aussie slang is what it is.)
The irony – bonus points coming for my using the term irony correctly – is the Miles Franklin yarn would probably have never made it to the SMH entertainment pages if it was not for the quirky gambling angle.
SHE: Darling, there is a story online about the Miles Franklin short-list
HE: Franklin, my Dear, I don’t give a damn.
Five Australian novelists have been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and Waterhouse tells his punters what the race is all about:
‘…the $50,000 prize for the novel judged to be of the highest literary merit which must present Australian life in any of its phases,” said Tom Waterhouse, Managing Director of tomwaterhouse.com.
Tom or one of his agents copied the description from the Franklin website
http://www.milesfranklin.com.au/
It did not seem to trouble Tom or the many entrants what exactly “Australian life in any of its phases” is meant to  mean.
I automatically thought of the eight phases of the moon but the aim of such an allusion eluded me.

Judging this year was further confounded by the trustee The Trust Company formally authorising the five-person judging panel to use their discretion to ‘modernise the interpretation of Australian life beyond geographical boundaries to include mindset, language, history and values’
Crikey, when you add the fact, the winning author does not have to be Australian, the five Aussie scribes are bloody lucky Forrest Gump was not published last year.

Certainly the Waterhouse favourite for the Miles Franklin Anna Funder’s All That I Am, is only fleetingly grounded in Australia because one narrator Ruth Blatt is spending the last years of her life in Sydney around the turn of the 21st century.
Funder’s is a “factional’’ novel, a term the author may dislike but then she is unlikely to be reading this yarn.
The novel is about five Jewish-German opponents of Hitler who flee to London and later one to America.
Tom Waterhouse says the new rules are among the reasons he made Funder favourite.
‘(The new authorisation) is significant given that Anna’s highly acclaimed debut novel is set across three continents and several decades.’ (A note for future reference, Mr Waterhouse, it is not Anna. We in the writing game refer to authors and artists by their family names unless we regularly enjoy soy latte with them, a fact we need to disclose.)

The 2012 Miles Franklin winner will be disclosed on June 20 so we have lots of time to place our bets.
In my next yarn on the topic, I will discuss the form of the five finalists.
For more quirky looks at Australia’s place in the universe my book 7 Shouts is available from Google Books, Amazon and affiliates.
Cheers
Bernie

Munching on $80+ million

AUSTRALIANS will gamble on two flies. crawling up a wall, they say.
Aussie bookmaker Tom Waterhouse is currently betting on how much Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream will fetch at a Southey’s auction this month.
Waterhouse has previously wagered on the winners of reality shows such as Dancing with the Stars and The Voice to add a bit of zest to mundane wagers on political elections and Academy Awards.
Waterhouse’s mother is leading Australian racehorse trainer Gai and the bookie regularly reports on Monday how punters cleaned him out on Saturday backing Mum’s horses such as great mare More Joyous and unbeaten 2-year-old Pierro. It is always “Mum’s horse” though it is a surprise the trainer does not say, “When I am in a professional capacity, it is Ms Waterhouse to you, sonny boy.”
Tom Waterhouse needs to bet on an exotic event such as the Southeby’s auction to recoup some of the damage Mum’s ponies have reeked on the bottom line. It does not hurt that weird bets attract media attention, something London bookie Ladbrokes worked out decades ago.
I do not know how much Tom and Mum know about art but I would like to think it is a lot. It is comforting to believe wealthy people might slip a few stray bucks the way of artists.
Here is Tom’s analysis of the race to buy The Scream or Le Cri, in the land of the Oo-La-La.
“Sotheby’s in New York is auctioning one of four versions of The Scream created by Edvard Munch and, as the only version owned privately, tomwaterhouse.com is betting $1.90 that it breaks the US$106.5 million record set by Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust two years ago.
“Of the four versions of The Scream, the one that’s up for sale is the most colourful and the only one whose frame was hand-painted by Munch to include his poem detailing the work’s inspiration.
“Sotheby’s has listed The Scream at $80 million, the highest pre-sale value that the auctioneer has ever put on an artwork but even that figure looks somewhat conservative given the level of interest in the famous painting.”
So here’s the market.
The Scream sale price (including the buyer’s premium)
$5 Less than US$80m
$10 US$80m to US$89,999,999
$9 US$90m to US$99,999,999
$4 US$100m to US$106.5m
$1.90 More than USD 106.5m
I am sure my gambling anti-hero Steele Hill would have a wager after consultation with arty girlfriend Natalie and polymath-bookie mentor, the Gooroo.
As a punter and an art fancier, I think Tom and his crue have got the market way wrong.
Tom admits there are four paintings of The Scream though he fails to mention the brace of Munch lithographs. This contrasts with one Picasso Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.
The prose-poem embedded in the frame is Munch’s reflection on how he came to paint The Scream.
I am not sure how many millions it is worth.
I was walking along a path with two friends –
the sun was setting –  suddenly the sky turned blood red –
I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence –
there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city –
my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety –
and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
That is my versification, BTW. I am not sure how Munch does it on the frame.
I reckon the best bet is the $5 shot, less than $80 million, though I would make sure the bookie wrote the ticket as fewer than $80 million.
Check out this blog shortly to see who is right.
If you wish to smile about the place of quirky Australia in the Universe buy my book 7 Shouts from Google eBooks or Amazon.

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