Blues Fest Blues

I went to the Byron Bay Bluesfest last weekend.

I make a point of going every twenty years so this is the second time I’ve been. It rained every day in 1999 so we wallowed in a sea of mud, but at least I got to chat to Billy Thorpe.

The site has now changed so mud isn’t quite the problem it was, but just because the Bluefest was outstandingly good, that won’t stop me bagging it.

Other blogs, no doubt, will rhapsodise over the excellence of the organisation and quality of the music. That was pretty good, especially while sitting in the craft beer space with aural and visual access to two tents. But don’t come to this blog expecting gormless praise for that which is worthy.  The Book Hammer will always focus fearlessly on that which is less than cool.

* * *

Byron Bay and its vicinity has long been known as a new age oasis – a hotbed of hippy sensibility where we walk the streets wolfing down veggie burgers while wearing hemp and whiffing hash.

It’s very cool, very laid back, and very, very alternative.

And yet, when the Bluesfest comes to town and provides so much temporary employment, some of the vegan, peace-loving hippies turn into Nazis.

Seriously, I could not believe the number of young women covered in tatts, piercings and rainbow scarves shouting in shrill admonition at those who tried to bring in umbrellas or water, or dared to venture off the beaten track getting into the festival. Give ’em a uniform, they think they’re Hitler.

Then there was the behaviour of the fans.

Every time I tried to get near the front before a show, I’d think: “Cool! I can actually see.” But then the band would start and a sea of arms holding cameras and phones would shoot up and anyone less than six foot four would find their experience totally obscured.

Why on earth can’t people just live in the moment and enjoy the performance? It does my head in!

Then there are the gap-creepers – people who are utterly shameless about pushing into the little bit of space you’ve created for yourself to promote activities such as seeing or breathing. I lost count of the times people would push past me saying they were “looking for a friend” and then just stop in my little bit of space. In most cases they were six foot five and would then hold up their cameras or phones. Sometimes both.

If those people were bad enough, at least they weren’t wearing super-large hats or dinosaur suits that were nine feet tall!


“Look at me! Look how zany I am wearing a sombrero or stupidly obstructive costume inside a tent! What’s that? You think I’m insensitive? Well sorry, but I’m a creative free spirit and my need to express myself has greater validity than your need to see the artists for whom you’ve paid over a hundred dollars a day to watch!”

The very worst though, are the “indulgent” grandparents who think it’s a really cool idea to put one-year-olds up on their shoulders and wade into the mosh pit.

My god! The number of times I saw some irresponsible geriatric hefting a wailing kiddie onto his sagging shoulders and subjecting them to barely repressed violence at five hundred decibels. Are you kidding? When those kids are describing the ordeal (in Auslan) to a trauma analyst in twenty years time, I hope they’ll have been left enough in grandad’s will to pay the bill!

But once you got out of the Tents From Hell and headed for the carpark…good luck. On Good Friday the wait was about ninety minutes. No exaggeration…ninety minutes. It was okay for some as they lucked into the good lanes set up by the neo-nazist traffic controllers. For everyone else it was a nightmare that ended about 2.30 am.

On a slightly more positive note, the music was absolutely brilliant. There were any number of artists of who blew me away – especially Fantastic Negrito, Vintage Trouble, Yothu Yindi, Lukas Nelson, Gary Clarke Jnr, Tommy Emmanuel, St Paul & The Broken Bones, Backsliders and Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf.

Iggy Pop was great but more from a “crossing him off the bucket list” perspective.

Best of all, for me, was the Marcus King Band. My god that was powerful! I saw them twice.

Finally, if I was Peter Noble and wanted the Bluesfest to be a success going forward, I would investigate the possibility of involving Phil Scorer in the administration. Phil, who won Glen A Baker’s RAM Magazine National Trivia Contest back in 1976, is surely Australian music’s greatest fan. The effort he put in to organise and inform his many friends for the festival was nothing short of miraculous and if the Bluesfest team had just a tenth of Phil’s passion and logistical skill there would be no limit to where the festival might end up.

Grandads brandishing toddlers would certainly be banned, and hippies in jackboots would at the very least be told to cool their jets.

Over to you Pete.


The Shrieking Parrot

Few things give me greater pleasure than the sight (and sound) of a flock of lorikeets or cockatoos all going off at the same time as they cluster in trees to gorge on nectar. Shouting and bickering and carrying on – the cockies in particular sound like they’re tearing the very fabric of space-time with their prehistoric shrieking.

And speaking of prehistoric shrieking, I was amused this week by the antics of Alan Jones as he once again sought to bully into submission anyone opposed to his own interests (or those of his friends).

His performance interviewing Louise Herron (CEO of the Sydney Opera House) was just disgraceful – saying: “Who do you think you are? You should be sacked etc…” because she dared to take a principled position appropriate to her role and the dignity of a national icon.

I was surprised she didn’t respond by saying: “Who you think you are Alan? Presuming to take a stand on something over which you have zero authority.”

Because that exemplifies the ignorance and arrogance of Alan Jones (The Parrot, as he’s known at the ABC). He uses his platform as a radio announcer to shout his mouth off about everything under the sun, and has no qualms about choosing his targets (or the causes he wishes to champion) on the basis of his own interest.

He was, of course, notoriously busted during the Cash for Comment saga for taking money to make advertising sound like legitimate news or opinion, and to my mind nothing has changed. Jones has racing interests (and friends with horses in the Everest) so anything that promotes racing is fine by him. The fact anyone might disagree with him – even someone with a duty they hold sacred (or the hundreds of thousands signing petitions in support) – just sets him off squawking and spitting his famous vitriol until he gets his way, usually by intimidating politicians.

His performance on TV after the Opera House fiasco was temporarily shut down by light wielding protestors was vintage Jones:

They lost the argument, so they mobilised.”

The ignorance is breathtaking.”

If Jones was compelled to apologise to Louise Herron for his appalling behaviour, and only got his way by scaring the crap of Gladys Berejiklian, how exactly is that winning the argument? It’s like Hitler saying he won the argument over Chamberlain by invading Czechoslovakia.

The irony is breathtaking.

The thing that constantly amazes me about Alan Jones is his popularity with the people you’d think would most despise a man like him. Jones’ constituency is the battlers of Western Sydney – typically lower middle class, lower income, poorly represented in the higher education statistics, socially conservative and those with the most to complain about given the growing north/south divide in the Australian socio-economic condition. Somehow Jones is able to press their buttons and win their support despite being himself everything they’d normally hate. Uber-wealthy, highly educated and famously arrested in London for gross indecency in a public toilet. (There are plenty of other stories about him also.)

How on earth did a quintessential elitist like Alan Jones become the Battlers’ Champion? But that’s his way – he accuses others of the very things he could be accused of himself, and in so doing, manages to convey the impression that he is not elitist, bullying, misogynistic, nest-feathering, power-hungry and arrogant.

The true disaster though of a man like Jones having so much power is his disproportionate impact on elected governments. Both state and feds seem to cower in abject terror regarding his impact in Western Sydney where so many marginal electorates can determine an election.

They say you can judge the strength of a democracy by the freedom of the press – the Fourth Estate. If the press is free to scrutinise the affairs of government and comment in a manner to inform the electorate in their choices, all is well.

However, it is the hallmark of a totalitarian (or at least dystopian) society where the press functions mainly to distort the message and shepherd the electorate towards choices that are not in their interest, or otherwise serve the interests of the ruling elite.

Alan Jones squawking and bickering and terrorising politicians into terrible choices makes it clear that you can also judge the weakness of a democracy by the abused power of the Fourth Estate.

The Turnbull Tragedy

I feel very sorry for Malcolm Turnbull.

The man born to be Prime Minister.

So much manifest destiny – no-one since Hawke/Keating promised so much in terms of a genuinely brighter future for all Australians.

And not just Australians.

The truly transformative epoch Malcolm should have achieved could also have included our region – and anyone else who came within (or even near) our magical circle.


Instead of a Golden Age we have one of the tawdriest shit fights in the history of Australian politics.

* * *

I am one of the 20% of Australians who can legitimately be described as a swinging voter – in that I have voted both Labor and Liberal in my time, but also Green and Australian Democrats (remember them?).

I would describe my politics as marginally left of centre but I am driven more by competence and particular issues than parties. As issues go, most important to me are the rule of law, responsible environmental management and sound financial management. In that order, but they are all so closely related it makes little sense to prioritise.

The Labor and Liberal parties have both, in the last 30 years, given regular lip service to the issues that matter to me, but both – in government – have behaved more or less the same. Mostly.

The Liberal party’s record on refugee policy – to my mind – is utterly shameful. But have the Labor Party done any different?

They’ve occasionally made noises about how bad the Liberals are but they draw the line at advocating a different policy and their behaviour in government is arguably worse than the Liberals because they knew they were doing the wrong thing.

Expecting the likes of Ruddock, Howard, Abbott and Dutton to abide by the humanitarian principles of the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees is like expecting a starving Labrador to guard a Big Mac. It goes entirely against their instinct, so fair enough, but the Labor Party knew what they did re offshore solutions was evil.

That’s why I was delighted to see Malcolm Turnbull challenge and defeat Tony “Turn Back the Boats” Abbott.

So many Australian politicians remind me of B grade high school debaters. They’ve (too often) gone straight from university into branch politics – backroom staffers – policy officers – apparatchiks – candidates, without ever having done anything meaningful or real.

The real talent in the country is running companies, universities, law firms, accounting firms, hospitals, media organisations, farms, doing science, creating art or any number of other useful occupations and doing pretty well at it. They don’t have time for politics and they aint gonna take a pay cut either.

That’s what made Malcolm different.

At last we had a man of intelligence and principle at the helm. A statesman, no less, with the competence and vision to forge the kind of future we needed and deserved. As a voter who tends to err on the Labor / Green side of politics I was perfectly happy to throw my lot in with Malcolm and I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am in his time in office.

Yes, he was undermined – torn apart in fact – by the rabid revenge merchants of the right. But the Malcolm Turnbull I thought I knew would have risen above all those B-graders and beaten them anyway.

If he’d appealed to the nation – so many of whom genuinely believed in him – then he might have had the confidence to take on the radical right and insist on the kind of policy program this country desperately needs. Instead, we look like returning to the short-sighted nastiness of the redneck (minority) rabble who want to isolate Australia geopolitically, give tax cuts to companies who don’t need them, prefer coal to the detriment of renewables and destroy the Barrier Reef.

You could have stopped that Malcolm.

You could have beaten the B-grade mediocrities, but instead you let them win by getting dragged into their bloody minded game.

As I said, I feel sorry for you, but I feel sorrier for Australia.

The Taste of Beer

There’s an ad on Australian telly at the moment where people in a pub all admit that they don’t really like the taste of beer.

“I only drink it because my mate drinks it,’ says one.

“I only drink it because my old man drank it,” say a couple more.

The implication is that no-one really likes the taste of beer and there’s some sort of terrible blue collar conspiracy to keep people drinking that terrible muck they secretly hate.

Well, I have news for the advertisers…

I love the taste of beer. I couldn’t give a rat’s whether Big Terry drinks it and yes, my old man drank it too.

But, to be fair…there was a time when I didn’t really care for the taste of beer. That’s when I was fifteen and first drinking it surreptitiously. Someone might have pinched a couple of bottles or cans and a few of us would congregate in the back lane with some stolen cigarettes… (Actually that’s wrong. It was the 1970s and five year olds could purchase cigarettes in those days.) …and tentatively sip at a warm ale.

It tasted like shit, but what sort of pathetic wanker stops guzzling our national drink because of that? I was not to be deterred. I continued to force it down no matter how acrid, insipid or rank, and then – around the age of nineteen – there was a magical transformation.

I remember turning to a mate of mine one evening at my local on the Upper North Shore (back when it was a real pub, before they turned into a soulless drinking barn) and saying: “You know what? I actually like the taste of beer.”

He looked at me like the idiot I was, with furrowed brow, and said: “You didn’t before?”

“Not really. I’ve always drunk it to get pissed…not because I like it.”

My mate just shrugged. He was used to me coming out with rubbish like that, but it was also a profound personal insight for me. I had never quite realised that I was a lotus-eating hedonist addicted to altered states and drank beer to achieve those states despite the appalling taste.

An appalling taste that I suddenly enjoyed.

Because beer is a journey. You’re supposed to hate it when you are young and unsullied. It is a complex tipple which requires a certain jadedness both of outlook and taste buds before it can be properly appreciated.

I have now achieved that jadedness and can discern the multifarious nuances…the deeply profound plurality of beer in its many guises. The bitter crispness of an IPA, the sweet, bubbles of a lager, the sour style of a real ale or the plutonic silk of a dark-heart stout.

Those who have not traversed this journey are not fit to call themselves men (or women). There ought to be some form of white feather we can hand out to those who don’t drink beer because genuinely liking the taste of beer means you’ve overcome a massive obstacle – like fulfilling a sacred quest, or stepping up out of a trench to charge a machine gun nest. Those who don’t make the grade – who do not drink beer – are lesser than the rest of us and do not deserve to be counted among the true heroes of our epoch.

And yet, there are advertisers out there who do not get what it really means to become an Australian man. They peddle alcoholic soft drinks as a means to a consciousness altering end, but what they fail to understand is that overcoming the taste of beer is the real achievement.

Because, in the end, it’s not how you get there…

It’s the journey that matters.

Life Theatre: Breaking the Sixth Wall

When we go to the theatre, both cast and audience know it’s theatre and know their separate roles. Occasionally, however, an actor will acknowledge the audience – which is called breaking the fourth wall; ie, smashing the glass in front of the stage through which the voyeuristic audience is gazing into the actors’ private world. There are many varieties of such interaction, ranging from the full-on participation of pantomime to a simple glance at the camera in film or TV.

Dramaturges of the C21 will now also refer to a fifth wall – ie, the wall between critics writing about a performance or even the wall between audience members able to (potentially) communicate with each other in real time regarding their thespian experience.

But I would suggest that there is yet another wall – a sixth wall which is the wall between ourselves and other individuals in the real world. For, as Shakespeare suggested, is not the world a stage and all of us merely players who come and go as our parts require? Do we not (sometimes) seem to watch ourselves from another vantage – playing out our lives as both actors and observers?

I have always been very conscious of what I call “life theatre”. I frequently find myself in little vignettes ripe with context or rippling with repartee. There are billions of examples I could use but here’s just one (which happened over 20 years ago):

A friend of mine was having an affair.

I was the only person in whom she’d confided (which was both an honour and a burden). The homme fatale was known to my friend’s husband and was an occasional visitor (with his wife) to my friend’s house.

Soon after the affair commenced my friend threw a large party and the homme fatale was in attendance. My friend advised her paramour that she had told me of their dalliance (because she just had to tell someone) so when I arrived that night I was collared at the door and led into the bedroom…where I was introduced to the homme.

We nodded, guardedly, both of us probably wondering why our mutual friend had wanted us to acknowledge the reality of their illicit liaison.

Later in the night (which was one of those amazing balmy nights that only a Sydney summer can produce) I found myself sitting at a table outside with seven or eight people including the friend’s husband and the homme fatale. As a drama merchant from way back, I couldn’t help myself… I drew the conversation around to infidelity in marriage and very quickly the homme and I were throwing barbs at each other – reflecting on one level the ordinary moral debate on staying true to the past versus how you might feel right now – but on another level the drama playing out between he and I, vying for (very) different aspects of our friend’s affection.

At the time, I couldn’t help but think: this ought to be a movie! This ought to be recorded for all time because it was just spectacular drama – both of us rising to the occasion and throwing thunderbolts at each other as our unwitting audience cheered our every word.

Just imagine how it would have gone down if I’d broken the sixth wall and said to those listening: “He’s only saying that because he’s trying to subtly justify the fact that he’s fucking our hostess!”

A different kind of drama would swiftly have ensued, but of course…I kept my mouth shut.

Thing is though, I am an author. Back then, I was unpublished so not to be taken seriously. But now I have several books on the shelves and have been read by tens of thousands. People ought to know that when they interact with me, they might be giving me ideas for scenes and characters.

Which leads to an important ethical question… What are the rules for authors living in the real world and brushing up against characters with foibles we might want to use?

Am I obliged to issue warnings – especially to dickheads with alarming opinions – that I am an author and they are giving me A-grade material?

In all seriousness, I wonder whether authors should be issued with special badges that we can wear behind our lapels and flash at appropriate moments in social situations. Our various interlocutors might then cease their rabid support of far right (or far left) causes; refrain from trying to sell me something; or desist in their evil attempt to apply neuro-linguistic programming techniques to change my mind or get into my pants.

It would also be a really good circuit breaker to smash down the sixth wall between all who are merely players in the seven acts of their lives.

As for my friend in the story above? Did she leave her husband and run off with the homme fatale? I could take the moral high ground and say: none of your business…

Or I could be an author and say: watch out for my next novel!

What About Shannon?

I dislike celebrities.

More precisely, I dislike the cult of celebrity with its arrogant entitlement on one side and its fawning sublimation on the other. I would even go so far as to say that the cult of celebrity is fundamentally responsible for most of the modern world’s ills. We are all constantly bombarded with messages about how wonderful it is to be rich, famous and young – and if you aren’t at least two of these things then there must be something wrong with you.

But if you can’t be famous, be infamous! Hitler was a rejected painter; Jihadi John, the ISIS headlopper, was a failed London DJ; and any number of American mass murderers had various frustrated artistic pursuits on their CVs before shooting into the history books. If you can’t make the world love you, then force it to hate you! It’s all good in the bizarro world of fame.

Which brings me to Shannon Noll’s latest outburst.

Apparently, he’s very upset that Simon Cowell brokered a deal to have some other reality TV “star” record a song that Noll had previously recorded himself. What About Me? – a song originally written and performed by Moving Pictures back in 1981 – was covered by Noll in 2004 and then covered again by Shayne Ward a couple of years later.

As Noll concedes himself, he didn’t write the song, so the evil Simon Cowell went back to the original creators and sneakily dealt with them instead to enable a new recording of the song.

Which was precisely the correct thing to do, both legally and ethically. On what weird copyright planet would Simon Cowell have been obliged to come to Shannon Noll to purchase rights he didn’t own?

‘I didn’t write the song,’ said Noll, ‘so he cut me out of the deal!’

If you didn’t write the song Shannon…how on earth could he ever have cut you into the deal?

But those who’ve sucked too long at the teat of celebrity don’t bother themselves with questions like that. Noll’s epic sense of entitlement trumps trivial matters such as copyright law and goes straight to grieving over what he’s missed out on. Simon Cowell is therefore (according to Noll) a “fucking idiot” and just one of those “rich pricks getting fatter”.

Clearly Noll has taken the song’s lyrics to heart:

I guess I’m lucky, I smile a lot, but sometimes I wish for more than I’ve got…

What about me indeed?

The Mind’s Eye: Getting Inside The Story

So, The Fighting Man has been out for a few weeks.

It’s already had a number of reviews and ratings on Goodreads but the thing that pleases me most is the number of people who’ve said: “I really felt like I was there…in the story.”

That’s the best feedback of all because it is exactly what I hope to do every time – transport the reader inside the story.

But how do you do that? What is it about mere words on a page that can convey images and spark the senses – make the reader feel like they are actually there with the characters and see the action as it unfolds?

Obviously, I can’t answer that question definitively – not least as everyone is different and multiple readers will respond differently to the same words/style etc. But those for whom it can work…what are the triggers? What are the stylistic tricks that open the story portal and make the reading experience more like a real experience happening inside the reader’s head?

I’ve never really thought about this before so what follows is a series of guesses. As usual, I’m making it up as I go…

First off, the reader mustn’t be conscious that they are reading. The writing needs to cast something like a spell over the reader so they live the story as the pages turn. It takes a lot of careful work to set the spell and it’s easily broken. Awkward prose; anachronistic words or concepts; characters out of character – any of these can jolt the reader out of the story flow – make them conscious they are reading.

A story spell starts with the set up – an opening which engages the reader immediately and sucks them into the world you have created. The Fighting Man introduces the reader directly to the main character’s (Brand’s) world and the main philosophical force that underpins it. The idea of being tested by God was a powerful compulsion in the C11 and is crucial to my story.

Of course, you can’t labour a point like that with explanations or the story will get bogged down and boring. The readers need to know about it (and occasionally be reminded of it) but they need to know it via something they can feel rather than something they have to think about.

The other way I quickly introduce readers to Brand’s world is by engaging their senses – especially smell. One of the biggest differences between the medieval world and the modern world is how it smelled. Modern first world readers would be assailed by the stench of Brand’s world – open sewers, tanneries, wood smoke, rotting meat and fish, animal dung everywhere – and yet the people of the time would have noticed it no more than modern people notice the smell of traffic or hospitals. Brand, however, hates the smell of shit – one of the first things we learn about him – and instantly the modern reader identifies with Brand and his shitty world. We can smell it also and share his disgust.

The other key part of the set up is introducing the reader to the main character’s central problem. Brand has two – the need to avenge his family and the pursuit of Valla – and within two chapters the reader is already anticipating the journey ahead. All the writer has to do after that is to (at least) fulfil the reader’s anticipation and if possible exceed it. By exceeding it I mean gradually broadening the scope of the story so it becomes much bigger than the reader’s original expectation. If you can carry that off you will surprise and delight and that is what readers most enjoy.

After the set up, the story has to flow. My stories typically follow the journeys of multiple characters – which is a gamble. Extra story arcs can enrich the reading experience, but they can also overcomplicate and confuse. The secret is to keep the additional journeys as simple as possible so the reader isn’t distracted by too much information or too many agendas.

The main character’s journey need not be simple but it should be easy (enough) to follow. And all the other characters’ journeys must add to the climax in some way. The pace of the story has to really speed up as the plotlines converge and push each other towards the finish.

The plot is a major part of the flow that sweeps the reader along. The Fighting Man is built around the events leading up to Hastings in 1066, but the plot is essentially generated by the fictional characters interacting with the historical characters. Brand, Valla and Malgard are the key fictional characters and it is their motives that drive the main plot. What this means is that while the readers know how the story will end on one level (the Normans win), on a different level they have no idea which makes the book gripping for the reader as the plot winds towards its heroic/tragic/bittersweet conclusion.

The subplots are mainly for the historical characters and the way I interpret their actions a thousand years later. I find Harold and Tostig Godwinson fascinating. Aelfgar also, and Edward the Confessor is an intriguing fellow. The Conqueror, of course, must have been one of history’s greatest gamblers and the Bayeux Tapestry is full of holes and riddles. I had a lot of fun interpreting the Tapestry (including the upper and lower borders with their many mysterious figures and symbols). Much of it trickles into the story and gives it some of the (hopefully) authentic medieval flavour.

In some ways, flavour is the hardest part.

Giving the reader an authentic feeling medieval experience is not easy. As noted above, I started with God and smell to link the reader with Brand and his world, but that won’t be enough. You have to use words and concepts throughout that would have been recognisable to the people of the time, while simultaneously entertaining a modern reader who wants insight into the past while inevitably processing that past through a sophisticated modern prism.

Some of this is easy – use of weapons for example – Brand has to use the weapons of the time, but what about other things? Like food, technology, transport, architecture, music, relationships, drinking culture, sense of humour? These, and any number of other matters, are major challenges. Get them right and they deepen the ambience and keep the reader under the spell. Get them wrong and the reader is irritated and bumped out of the flow. Some (like food) can be easily fixed with research but others are much more of a challenge – like sense of humour for example, how can we really know what the people of the C11 found funny? I always have some humour in my stories but sometimes the temptation to add a funny line must be resisted because it doesn’t seem like the sort of thing a C11 person would say.

Finally, and possibly the hardest ingredient to describe, is technique. There are the simpler things like ensuring the rhythm of your sentences is just right – excess syllables pared back and a little tasteful alliteration here and there – but the really hard thing is this: to put yourself in the story.

This is perhaps the core of successful story telling – actually immersing yourself in the story and describing the atmosphere, action and dialogue without conscious effort. When I am working well it’s almost like going into a trance where the words pour out of my fingers into the keyboard. I am so oblivious to what has happened that when I open the laptop for the next session I read back over my latest work and can’t remember any of it. For me, this is the best part of being a novelist – it’s as close as I can come to not being me and experiencing the story as a reader.

But how do I do it?

I can’t say exactly how it works because I don’t know. I’m guessing that the imagination is like a muscle and the more you exercise it the more powerful it becomes. Anyone my age with the same interests as me will have seen countless images and actions of medieval people. Add to that the vast amount of material I’ve read about the specific period and incidents and I can literally see – in my mind’s eye – Brand and Harold and Valla et al, and everything that happens to them.

It really is like watching a movie in my head, and if I can somehow get those visuals (and other senses) onto paper then I know I’ve done a good job.

In the end (of course) whether I’ve done a good job is up to the reader. But the reader will never feel themselves to be inside the story unless I’ve already been there myself.


The Fighting Man is available in all good bookstores or Booktopia. Ebook also available through all the usual sites.