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News from across the waters

I received notification, today, that A Foreign Country (an anthology of NZ speculative fiction) is now available for pre-order:

Today's notification also gave me the first real insight into my TOC compatriots (my own contribution is a SF piece, called Portia Goes A-Hunting). There are several names I'm not unduly surprised to find among the contributors: Paul Haines, Tim Jones, Juliet Marillier, Doug Van Belle, and fellow SpecFicNZ conspirators Anna Caro, Matt Cowens, J C Hart and Ripley Patton. There are also some names I don't yet recognise, for what is the point of an anthology if not to introduce you to writers you haven't previously encountered? And there were a couple of surprises...

Brian Priestley, Wikipedia would have you believe, is an English jazz pianist, but he is no such thing. Brian Priestley is a former journalist, academic, and TV personality (he presided for many years over a show called 'Fourth Estate', essentially the Television New Zealand equivalent of Australia's 'Media Watch', albeit with a more newspaperly focus). While it would be inaccurate to say he's the last person I'd expect to find myself sharing a TOC with, I am, I have to say, pleasantly gobsmacked...

And Bill Direen. I own several of Bill's LPs and EPs (well, more correctly, I have several of The Bilders' recordings, this being the name of Bill's band(s) of the 1980s and (I think) early 1990s). The Bilders were a staple of the 1980s NZ garage ethos spearheaded by the Flying Nun label, and as with several Kiwi bands of the era appeared more-or-less directly influenced by the mid-1960s US garage/punk movement... I suspect original Bilders recordings would be more than a little difficult to track down, which means I can't find any YouTube clips or similar of the deliciously Velvet-Underground-tinged 'Girl At Night', nor any of the songs off 'Beatin Hearts'. Pity. They're worth hunting out.

As someone who's passionate about yesteryear's Kiwi garage rock as well as speculative fiction, the fact that I've somehow found myself in the same anthology as work by Bill Direen is, to say the least, intriguing. It carries the same inexplicable resonance as, for example, discovering Tove Jansson's reference, in Sun City, to 60s US garage kings The Electric Prunes...

But enough of my misguided musicological meanderings. Why are you still reading this, when you could be pre-ordering your copy of A Foreign Country?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:29 am (UTC)
Congrats on your inclusion in the anthology - I'm really looking forward to reading it!
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Matt! And ditto!
Jul. 1st, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Ha ha. I saw Bill Direen's name and and went "Wow! Bill Direen. I'm in a book with Bill Direen!"

I already knew I was in with you, so, um, that's why I didn't say "Wow! Simon Petrie, I'm in a book with Simon Petrie!" Is that wrong of me?
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Paul, of course that's wrong of you. Search your heart. You know it to be true.

And I've been trying to think, for the benefit of local LJers, who Bill's Australian analogue would be. Nick Cave, perhaps? I can see Nick as the type who might possibly put in a story to a Couer de Lion antho, someday... but then I try to picture a Bill Direen / Kylie Minogue duet, and that's just wrong.
Jul. 3rd, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks for this info.

Of course, as soon as I saw the author list I went on a google hunt to see who everyone was, but it was a bit of a dead-end on many.

Glad to have some historical and cultural context to some names.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )