Category Archives: J K Rowling

To sex or not to sex


THAT is the question: to sex or not to sex.
A lot of websites are saying no to sex.
On the first page of a Google search of mine, six websites had this exact same bait line: ‘American Playwright David Mamet explains why no play or movie he writes or directs include explicit sex scenes.’
Oh! Calcutta! you are so quaint

To a writer, the funniest thing  about  the websites all having the same sentence is they have it wrong. Re-read the sentence. It should not be “include” but “includes”.

It seems the only “ism’’ the www believes in is plagiarism and sometimes malapropism.  
I stole that plagiarism quip by the way.  While I am on a role, I will paraphrase another jest coined by someone else. Say no to promiscuous sex? We were brought up better than that. Say no, thank you, to promiscuous sex.
Mamet is a playwright and he was saying explicit sex on the stage distracts people.
I would have thought than in the bedroom or outdoors, it tends to focus the actors and even an audience if there is one. Apparently not so on the stage, but books might be a different fetish of fish.
An erotic novel without sex might not sell too well. I am no expert on an erotic literature but some writer in the genre must have come up with a novel without copulation. I wonder how it went.
I am likewise unfamiliar with the ups and downs, the ins and outs, of romance titles but they tell me intertwining bodies are all the go on certain pages.
I do know about detective novels. Sex and greed are pretty much all she wrote is those.
At least, in one Raymond Chandler, Marlowe, despite his fondness for hard liquor, did not bed the femme fatale until she had left her husband.
Dashiell Hammet’s  Sam Spade, on the other hand, tells his faithful secretary he can only relate to women through sex.  Note to author Dash: decline that invitation for a guestie at the Jane Austin Book Club.
In my novel, Iraqi Icicle (2ndedition due out shortly) I have added a funny sex scene. It made me laugh anyway. It’s the longest sex scene in the novel  unless my editor, who has the manuscript in his hot little hands ATM, decides we need some more hanky panky.
Iraqi Icicle has only a smattering of four-letter words, in contrast to J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.  In all other respects our novels are eerily similar and should sell about the same number of copies.
The point is it is the writer’s call on sex, violence and four-letter words. The reader is the ultimate arbiter but some of us recalcitrant writers believe there is more to writing a novel than maximising sales.
Sing-along time, me word-loving maties!

(warning: nudie bit)


An apostrophe a semicolon and a hyphen walk into a bar

STAND-UP comedian Lenny Bruce would read transcripts of his obscenity trials towards the end of his career. It was embarrassing rather than funny. Literary jokes are thin in the air.
“J. K. Rowling is writing a contemporary adult novel; what’s that all about?” is not in the comedic handbook as the intro to a gig. Yet, with so many funny books out there, the world of literature should be a fertile field of frivolity.
Let us see if we can create a few immortal literary jokes – even a few timely ones will do.
This one is supposedly true though I have embellished it to a joke format. American artist James Whistler is holding a dinner party in London in honour of his mother Anna. Among the guests are French writer Guy du Maupassant and Irishman Oscar Wilde. Du Maupassant delivers a bon mot before dessert. “I wish I said that,’’ Oscar Wilde says. Whistler replies, “You will Oscar. You will.”
A very old man knocks on heaven’s doors. From the other side St Peter growls, “We’re closed; come back tomorrow.’’ The old man wearily protests he has been looking everywhere for his son. St Peter asks what is his son’s name. The old man replies, “I don’t know what name he goes by now but he has nails in his hands and his feet. The gates open wide as St Peter says, “Jesus, get out here, someone to see you.” Jesus rushes out to embrace the old man. “Father,” he says.  The old man warmly returns the embrace. “Pinocchio,” he says.
An apostrophe, a semicolon and a hyphen walk into a bar. That is all I have.
How does this joke end? You tell me. Send me the ending or a literary joke you know. Respond here or email bentbananabooks@gmail.comYour joke will be available for publication, so please supply a name of some sort.
Buy 7 Shouts HERE.

7 Celebrities cultivated in 7 Shouts


YOU know actor George Clooney personally and regard him as the nastiest person on earth.
You are invited to a dinner party with the traditional girl-boy/girl-boy seating. You are placed next to George Clooneywhom you cannot stand the sight of. You cut your eyes out with the fish knife and the soup spoon rather than look at Clooney.
The paramedics arrive and ask why. You reply: ‘if you knew George Clooney, you would do it too.’
This dinner-party anecdote drills to the weird core of the phenomenon we know as the cult of celebrity.
I have at least seven celebrities embedded in my book of anecdotes, musings and stuff-made-up, 7 Shouts. I may have put the celebs in for a nobler reason than wanting to sell more books. I probably did.
The cult of celebrity does not upset me as much as it does other, particularly male, critics. Still, I find it a worthy topic of discussion at dinner parties or elsewhere.
The critics mundane gambit against the thrust of celebrity is to rail against the idolised who are famous for being famous. I do not have to mention names such as Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton but I will. It would be a shame to waste a column on celebrity without frequent name dropping.
I find fame for fame’s sake to be the most elegant expression of the cult of celebrity. To me, the most troubling part of the fame of Ms Kardashian and Ms Hilton – Kimi and Paree, as I like to call them – is they do stuff. To be and not to do; that is the answer for the ultimate celebrity challenge.
What does annoy me most about the cult followers is when they express undying love or eternal hatred of someone they have never met. I doubt Mr Clooney is a nasty person at all and he would certainly be far from the nastiest on the planet but part of me wishes it were true. I could use it as evidence against anyone who says he is so gorgeous. Ooh, and a really nice guy, too.
I am in the room when you are saying this. Am I not gorgeous and a really nice guy? Well, no! I am just your average citizen of the world with good points and bad – just like George Clooney, I suspect.
At the other end of the celebrity spectrum are the cultists who say, ‘I can’t stand him/ her’ when a celebrity face appears in the media or on a television screen. You know the critic is a cultist as they use the exact same words every time, ‘I can’t stand him/ her.’ Again,  I’m here in the room. Why can’t you can’t stand me?
I will explain the context of some of celebrity drop-ins throughout 7 Shouts.
Russell Crowe is there to illustrate the Aussie habit of claiming a famous New Zealander as their own.
Celebrities can lose their Australian nationality if they behave badly. Russell Crowe might lose his place in the sequel to 7 Shouts. He has fewer than 400,000 Twitter followers, compared to Kevin Spacey’s 2.2 million. What’s going on there, Rusty (as I like to call Crowe)? I do not wish to threaten a character in my book, but Rusty, I am expecting a better performance. No, Russell, talk to the hand about that Academy Award; we are on about celebrity in the real Nirvana of fame, Tweetyland, not Hollywood.  For the record, I have 21 followers on Twitter and I would like to thank every one of them for their support and all that sort of guff.
Pop duo the Veronicas I used in 7 Shouts to illustrate how media based in State capitals appropriate celebrities from outside their borders. Twins Lisa and Jess Origliasso grew up in Pine Rivers shire, north of the Queeensland capital but Brisbane media claims them as their own. Lisa has 204, 000 Twitter followers and Jess 195, 000. If we can spark some sibling rivalry, those numbers might increase before the release of the sequel to 7 Shouts.
Performer Delta Goodrem – 173,000 Twitter followers; come on Del (as I like to call her) lift your game   is in a fun piece about buying a Christmas present for an impoverished teenage boy by trying to line him up for a date with Delta.
I needed sports celebrities in 7 Shoutsand two of them are Australian Olympic swimmer Jessicah – I really do call her Jess – Schipper and Ethiopian middle distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj. It was a privilege to see Schipper rise from a humble hard-working schoolgirl to an Olympic Gold Medal winner. For the El Guerrouj story, I was able to work in Rastafarian hero Haile Selassie and I was pleased about that.
Two children’s authors were literary celebs: Aussie Colin Thiele and Brit J. K. Rowling.
I am pleased Australian political celebrity Kevin Rudd is making the news everyday with his challenge to become Prime Minister again. All I need him to say is ‘I’m not challenging; if I were, it would be in 7 Shouts’. US president Barrack Obama visited Australia so that he would appear in the book.
The cult of celebrity may appear to be based on delusional connections with fantasy figures. But at heart, it bonds real people around the water cooler, on a corner of Twitter, in the collective readership of a book. It also sells almost every commodity on earth, including 7 Shouts.
Buy 7 Shouts HERE.