Posted by Zak Hepburn
18. Jul, 2012
|July 26, 2012|
The Bedroom Philosopher, AKA, Justin Heazlewood is returning to the national stage with his band of merry pranksters The Awkwardstra. Dubbed the East Coast Ebook Tour, this national pilgrimage is in support of the new digital edition of his tell-all book The Bedroom Philosopher Diaries.
Milk Bar recently sat down with Northcote’s prodigal philosophical son to talk touring, writing and Ryan Gosling.
MILKBAR: Was there a singular occurrence that was the inspiration for The Bedroom Philosopher Diaries?
JUSTIN HEAZLEWOOD: It was probably in Bunbury. There were these energetic young power-bogan kids trying to psych us out. I started break dancing during ‘We Are Tramily’ and then they retaliated, by swarming onto the floor and doing a kind of ‘battle dancing,’ which I’d witnessed in Launceston as well. (Men swinging around wildly, doing acrobatics.)
I got the band to play some funk and started commentating the battle, eventually awarding the winner to a kid who was doing the worm while his mate back-flipped onto him and smacked his face into the ground. He gave an acceptance speech while bleeding from the face. It was a surreal victory.
Normally I’d write a couple of thousand words for my Ezine, but the ‘Songs From The 86 Tram’ tour came to 12,000 words, so I figured only a book was good enough.
MB: Are you an eBook or print book lover?
JH: I’m yet to embrace the eBook. Although I like the idea of bigger font as I’m pretty blind (drunk, not short-sighted). Technically I’ve read my own book, although it’s not healthy to re-read something 40 times while looking for typos.
I’ve got Tony Martin’s collection of columns on the go. I need a tablet! I’ve got a headache (I’m drunk).
MB: Do eBooks offer you a new way to create and present material?
JH: They’re a pretty tidy way to self publish at little to no cost. They’re also a good way to convince an independent publisher to take a punt on you. The eBook market is only small in Australia, but picking up. Wait till Cadel Evans pedals his tell-all eBook ‘The Cycle of Life’.
MB: Can you tell us about the different performers on this tour?
JH: I wanted to have spoken word performers all the way, for a change. Sabrina D’Angelo, for example is a body poet, which is like academic interpretive dance. She’ll be presenting part of her Fringe show, a light-hearted comedy about North Korea.
In Brisbane there will be Benjamin Law, star Frankie writer and man about e-town. It’ll be a chance to focus on language.
Zoe Coombs Marr is a hilarious female comic/performer, her writing is superb. There’s Candy Bowers getting bootylicious, a barbershop trio in Gold Coast. They love that stuff up there.
MB: Your Melbourne residency is at the Wesley Ann in Northcote, a suburb you often refer to in your work. One of the areas main hubs is Northcote Plaza – do you have a memorable Plaza experience?
JH: The band and I were dressed as tram conductors and busking ‘Tram Inspector’ outside for a photo shoot. This old Greek man was sitting nearby sipping a tinnie in the sun. I think he is there now, and will always there. He was a good sport and got in the photo.
I like those interactions with the ‘real Northcote.’ The one that has been around for decades. I like Northcote Plaza because it reminds me of being back home in Tasmania – it’s a point where my past and present collide and you can get Wendy’s and cheap socks.
MB: Would you ever consider doing an impromptu performance at the Northcote Plaza?
JH: I sort of did once. For a Beyond Blue/Headspace type mental illness video. I played ‘The Heart Song’ between a phone box and some 20c lolly machines. Up above was a Medicare sign. It seemed fitting.
I would feel pretty safe busking there. I think there would be something zen – not being the focus of attention, just watching people drift by. Performance combined with people watching. Ego therapy, and if you’re lucky you can make enough for some Wendy’s and cheap socks. (I’m drunk).
MB: Will you have the opportunity to try out new material during the tour?
JH: I’ll be lucky the have the opportunity to try out old material. The setlist currently contains a total of 0 songs from any albums. That is sort of commercial madness, if anything mattered – luckily it doesn’t!
I’m previewing the shit out of my upcoming album. Learning up the songs, plus the best ones I’ve written in the past year. I can’t play old songs much, I just get too bored. If they’re not musically satisfying to sing and play then there’s no point faking it.
Unless it’s Northcote. I faked that when I wrote it.
MB: In a philosophical realm, who would win in a fight to the death -Friedrich Nietzsche or Ryan Gosling? And would it matter if they battled on the 86 Tram?
JH: So I’m imaging Ryan Gosling in Drive, but he’s a tram driver having to chase Nietzsche in an old Volkswagen Beetle, who’s stolen the formula to the meaning of life (as owned by Wendy’s).
I am happy as my ‘Tram Song’ is synced during a pivotal scene and I’m am awarded $2k worth of socks, which is handy as I’m drunk. SPOILER ALERT: Gosling rolls the tram at Gertrude/Smith and lands on top of Nietzsche’s Beetle and ultra-violence ensues. It’s on Pirate Bay now, you can download it.
In Nietzsche’s final words “too many leechers, not enough seeders.”
The Bedroom Philosopher and The Awkwardstra play the Wesley Anne July 26.
For more info visit bedroomphilosopher.com.