Tag Archives: Michael Williams

Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 2: #ABCScreenTime

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Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 2: #ABCScreenTime

Panelists Sophie Black and Sami Shah

It’s time for episode two of Screen Time. The crowd is applauding, montages are flying, gorgeous 70s images and half-naked people can be seen. This isn’t just a convivial discussion of movies, it’s gritty and real. Nothing says that like nudity. Deal with it! 


Chris Taylor appears and is speaking but I cannot hear a word he says for there is an angel at his side. It is the one, the only, Judith Lucy. The crowd goes wild, and by the crowd, I mean myself and my amaretto sour. I cannot even begin to express how excited I am right now. Chris introduces the other panelists, Sami Shah is back, as is Sophie Black, along with first timers, JUDITH LUCY, and Michael Williams. I know that I have a nickname for him from my Book Club ABC recaps but for the life of me cannot remember what it is, so for now, it’ll just be Michael.

Small House Keeping Matter: I’m dyslexic. If you hate reading anything written by dyslexic writers you should probably just leave now. (The changing font sizes have nothing to do with my dyslexia and everything to do with my ineptitude. On my draft everything is uniform, I hit publish, CHAOS. Just treat it as a metaphor for existence.)

Chris tells us that we are getting straight to business. He’s pulling no punches and is going to the most pressing Hollywood news at the moment, Weinstei…. Oh, wait. My mistake. Got to eager. Chris plays a clip saying that Sex and the City 3 has been benched FOREVER.

Nobody seems too cut up about it.
Now they really are talking Weinstein. Harvey or Bob, take your pick. Chris asks the panelists if Hollywood should have seen this scandal coming. Judith gives a great big nope. Nope, they shouldn’t have seen it coming because they had been doing it for so long and nobody cared. Sophie agrees that the surprising and refreshing thing is that people finally care. Sophie says that it was an open secret. Wait, was that just a sneaky reference to the documentary that attempted to expose the rampant pedophilia in Hollywood? I think it was. Good work.

Chris points out the Meryl Streep was one of the first celebrities to condemn it but said many didn’t know of what was going on. On the other hand Anthony LaPaglia says, pigs arse. Okay, he didn’t literally say that, but he is Australian so I’d like to think that those were the words he thought. He says people have known about it for decades and done nothing. Michael says that the very least people can do is refuse to work with people that are, ‘criminal, depraved and monstrous.’ It’s a pretty low bar and everyone needs to step up to it.

Sami points out that he has worked in advertising, which means he understands all things depravity related, and that those behaviours are common there. But they are also common in the Australian media (I am waiting with baited breath to read Tracey Spicer’s article where she will name well known abusers), in accounting, and down at the corner shop. He says that society needs to step up, society is complicit, not just individuals.

Judith says that everyone needs to stand up. Quintin Tarantino has now spoken about it, but where was he before. Why wasn’t he demanding it stopped earlier? (Just quietly same with Kevin Smith? But maybe because men who didn’t come from fancy backgrounds were merely clinging on also. Maybe the dyslexic director who had trouble getting films made to begin with  felt like he couldn’t rock the boat, nor the dude who maxed out his credit cards to make his first movie….)

Sophie calls bullshit on all those men coming out saying that because they have a daughter they now understand. She says they shouldn’t care because they have a woman that belongs to them, but because women are people and deserving of respect. The fact that they only think of women’s rights in terms of if one has been formed from their sperm or not is a big part of the effing problem!!!!

Anyway, let’s get to discussing movies before I pass out in rage.
They’re discussing Good Time. Chris says that it is a heist film with Robert Pattinson playing the lead character who robs a bank along with his brother who has a generalised neurodevelopment disorder. Everything seems to be going too easily, they get the money without too much issue, but when they open up the bags to check for money…… BOOM, burning red paint everywhere. Kids at home, crime does not pay. Pattinson is then forced to get increasingly bad hair styles in order to free his brother.

Sami says that this movie is designed for arty types who wear clothes from the 1800s, have waxed moustaches, and laugh too loudly at bad jokes just to prove that they got them. He felt it could have benefited from adding some robots or spaceships. What film couldn’t be improved with just a smackle of sci fi? Sami, we have so much to discuss.

Michael disagrees. He says he liked Good Times and it had good stuff in it. Take that Sami, it had good stuff in it. A lot of good stuff. He speaks of cinematography and lighting. Excuse me whilst I pause the TV to see if there are any traces of a waxed moustache having been glued to Michael’s face recently…. Hmmmm, I can’t decide.

Judith says it was a nightmare. Sophie adds that the soundtrack was nightmare inducing.
Chris asks if this film will finally give Pattinson cred and drop him from the team idol list. Chris really liked Pattinson’s performance in this. Said he has never been so good. The other panelists answer, maybe. Judith says Orlando Bloom never lost his teen idol status, but it was because he didn’t make brave movie choices. I’m sure that swimming in an ocean of money earned from Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean has helped him come to terms with his choices. I quite enjoyed him in Ned Kelly.
So it looks like Good Times has been rated two nightmares, a good stuff, and a pickled moustache.

And now it is time for the middle of the show segment. Please be Sophie Monk again, pleasebesophiemonkpleasebesophiemonk. It is Not On My Watch.  Essentially Chris will tell us about a show he doesn’t like. Tonight’s pick is Cosmetic Coffee and it is on 7. Oh my goodness, it is hideous. Basically a cosmetic surgeon meets with patients in cafes, then goes back to his office making me wonder why he didn’t just start there, and then draws on them and lets them know what he finds gross about them, then he operates on them. So it is essentially advertising for his business. Chris finishes off the segment by saying advertorial dressed up as a medical show, not on my watch.
Whose watch did that happen on? Seriously! Who greenlit that?  I’ve got a show about a minotaur, a plucky journalist and hot cop uncovering the supernatural sex slave industry just waiting to be made. Call me. CALL MEEEEE! If you can make that shit, why not mine? Not that mine is shit. Mine is awesome and the best….

TV time!  Chris is introducing The Deuce currently playing on Foxtel. It is David Simon’s latest masterpiece. The montage is playing and it is high quality with a star studded cast. People such as James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal are in it. Chris says that Franco plays twins. And I’m laughing. I cannot stop laughing. Does anyone remember that Jean Claude Van Damme movie Double Impact?

It was so hilariously badgood. That’s all that I can think of right now. Hollywood, you know that you do actually have actors that are identical twins? You can stop doing the bad copying and disjointed back and forth. Just hire some of them. But enough about me, let’s see what the panel think.

Michael says he loves it. The cast is massive so rewards patience as it is revealed at a slow pace. Judith also loves David Simon and loved the show except for one tiny thing, James Franco. She also didn’t like James Franco as his twin, or as Judith puts it, the same person just wearing a hat. With or without a hat, she’s not interested.

Chris points out that Franco fans will get double their joy and then shows a clip. I’m guessing it is the worst example of his twin acting because I am rolling. Rolling. And yes, I am going to go there, as a mother of identical twin boys (I never thought I’d get to work an as a mother into a recap) this is hilarious. It’s the same guy. It’s the same guy with a different wig. It is not twins. Twins are not the same person. Identical twins are not the same person. If the great Jean Claude Van Damme, renowned across the land for his versatile acting skills could not pull this off…. Actually, now that I think about it I felt that Sam Underwood did a brilliant job plating identical twins in The Following. Such a hypocrite. I also loved the film Big Business which had two sets of twins. Bette Middler and Lily Tomlin were spectacular and I watched it seven billion times.

Michael of course loves it, because he has loved everything. What happened to Michael? He was the snarky one on The Book Club ABC, now he’s the lover? Showing his versatility, his softer side? I should appreciate it.

Don’t wink at me, Franco.

Sophie says she loves the show and she loves Simon because he is an angry patriot. He can give such loving yet searing critique of his country and society. Which is the perfect segue into talking about David Simon’s other work. Gotta hand it to Sophie, she’s profesh.
All the panelists agree that The Wire was fantastic. Sami ads that it is a take on Greek myths, where Gods play cruelly with the life of mortals. In The Wire corporations and powerful people are the Gods.

Chris asks why Simon’s other show, Treme, not take off. Sami says it is for two reasons. Firstly, too soon. It could never live up to the hype of The Wire because nothing could. Secondly, the focus was narrow. It was about jazz, and food, and what people perceived as things not pertinent to them, but he personally loved it.
The verdict is in, The Deuce is an absolute cracker and I want to watch it.

Time for Screen Time’s  Top Five. What will they be looking at this week? TWINS. Top five awfully portrayed identical twin kind of things.

Is nothing sacred?

Speaking of teen idols

This was bad

The king is dead

Knight Rider doing his thing

The list was good, but where the fuck was Double Impact???

And last but not least, the panelists get to recommend something for us to watch.
Michael: Sunshine

Sami: Patton Oswalt’s Annihilation

Sophie: Get Krack!n

Judith: I Love Dick

Robin: Screen Time (Okay, I’m not a panelist, but watch the show.)

And because we’ve all been so good, they’re going to show us a clip of David Hasselhoff fighting David Hasselhoff to end on. Because even David Hasselhoff wants to punch David Hasselhoff in the face.

Catch up on previous episodes on iView

Find Screen Time here

See last week’s recap here

Check out Chris here

Feast on Michael William’s glorious Ropinpedia entry here

Tweet with Sophie here

Buy Sami’s books here

Get tickets to Judith Lucy’s show here. Sydney based people can feel free to buy me a ticket too while you’re at it, I am delightful company.

Learn more about me here

Grab Tracey Spicer’s book here

Read Lauren Ingram’s piece on the issue with Weinstein and facing your abuser here

Read what Australian director Sophie Mathisen has to say about Weinstein and the Australian industry here

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ABC Book Club Season 11, Episode 3: #bookclubABC 

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House keeping matters before we waft away into the sensuous feast that is The Book Club ABC.

  1. JByrne = Jennifer Byrne
  2. Ace = Jason Steger formerly Stegersaurussex
  3. Marieke Hardy = an utter delight
  4. I’m dyslexic, there will be errors. No rewards given for spotting them, I’d go broke.
  5. I’m neither sponsored nor paid for this, I do it for love. But if you want to bribe me I like wine, notebooks, and money. Money is my favourite.

The credits play. Books are dancing across the scene in a colour coordinated disregard for segregation via genre and or alphabetisation. I’ll allow it. JByrne appears. She’s clearly pissed off the wardrobe department, they’ve tried to mask her radiance with beige and muted toned. It hasn’t worked. The make-up department have her back and have lovingly added an extra layer of gloss to her lips to combat this clear case of sabotage.

Marieke is there, clearly on excellent terms with the wardrobe department. She looks like a model for Kitten D’Amour. Next to her sits Michael Williams, director of The Wheeler Centre, the main man, the big dude, the guy who can make or break an author with a snap of his fingers, so I better keep things above board and completely respectful. He really could do with an extra button undone on that shirt. What is going on with his ankle region? Am I just seeing what I want to see? Is he wearing smarties on his socks. #sockwatch Doesn’t he look delicious? I just want to nibble on those ankles. Nom, nom, nom…. In a most respectful and revered fashion, obvi.

Opposite, sits John Safran. If you don’t know who he is, have you been living under a rock? And ooolala, what is Ace wearing tonight? An electric blue jumper to match his electric personal magnetism. Perfection.

https://youtu.be/dgfR3AKCAQI

Time to get down to business. There’s books to be discussed. Paula Hawkins has released her second novel, does it live up to the hype of The Girl on the Train… well Michael indicates that The Girl on the Train didn’t live up to its own hype so why would the second one? Saucer of milk for Michael’s table. JByrne says it had 11 different narrators and so she found it a bit difficult to follow. She suggests she might not be clever enough for it. Jason says he didn’t find it difficult at all. Oh reeeaaaallllyyyy.

Tonight’s classic is chosen by Ace and is therefore sexy and British, just like him. Has he had a haircut? There’s something extra about him this evening. It could just be that jumper, but it might also be the hair. We’ll get to the book later on when they do. As for the new book….

JByrne is practically bursting out of her skin with excitement that she has managed to lure the esteemed John Safran onto the show.  She says she did it by choosing his favourite author’s new book, Moonglow. Safran kinda shrugs nonchalantly and says, yeah he likes Michael Chabon, in a deadpan voice. I snort some Gossip Moscato out of my nose trying to suppress a giggle. JByrne looks a tad heartbroken at his lackluster response. Marieke suggests that his appearance on the show does coincide with his own book coming out yesterday and that maybe, just maybe, JByrne’s ability to lure him wasn’t that miraculous. Cynic.

The dramatic recreation is played. Holy crap, I love the music they’re using for it. Gold star for music choice.

John takes things away by saying that he likes the book and it was better than Chabon’s last one. It’s said so deadpan that JByrne has to check that he’s saying that it is even better than the book he previously told her was his favourite book of all time. He nods his agreement that this is the case. John indicates that there could have been a smidge less sex in there.

Marieke thanks John for addressing the ‘grandpa’s penis in the room’ as she felt that this book had more grandfather penis in it than she had ever encountered before in her life in a book. John agrees that he would possibly have enjoyed the book even more if there was less grandpa penis. Jason indicates he is totally fine with the quanity of grandpa penis. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out if there is too nuch or just the right amount of grandpa penis.

JByrne breaks free of the grandpa’s penis and talks about how Moonglow is a book set right at the darkest point in history. It’s about the attempted eradication of the Jewish population.

Michael said that he could have marked every single page for examples of beautiful writing. He reads a quote about the smell of a postage stamp. Apparently Michael really loves postage stamps.

Marieke said she enjoyed it until it became too complex and obviously not true. This bothered her because she felt tricked. She liked the book but just felt lied to and overwhelmed with grandpa penis.

Jason says that the trick is to read it all as fiction. And why does it matter if it’s true or not? Marieke points out that it matters to her and Oprah! She asks why does he sometimes refer to it as a memoir if it’s not? JByrne says, ‘Because it’s fun.’ Marieke lets JByrne know that lies aren’t fun and maybe she should think about her priorities in life.

They start talking about a skinless horse. It’s apparently important. It’s where fact or fiction is decided. I have a history minor and must confess I don’t really know anything about some symbolic skinless horse. I don’t know what’s happening. Hold me. Has Nuckelavee made an appearance? Let’s move on.

It’s time for By the Bed. Woot.

Michael is reading All My Friends Are Superheroes.

Marieke is reading Anything is Possible.

JByrne is reading Death of a She Devil.

John is reading Pop 1280

Ace is reading Reunion

And now it’s time for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It is noted that Ace brought it as a by the bed in 2013. He says it’s a Cinderella story about a nightclub singer with three blokes on the go and a pervy old lady watching on. He says it’s like a glass of champagne that never goes flat. This is coincidentally exactly how I feel about Ace.

Marieke says it’s farce, it’s frolicksome and a whole bunch more f words. It made her laugh out loud. It was hot and sexy and she loved it. She said it was also a very kind book. It didn’t use mean humour.

Michael suggests that it’s kind with a hint of racism. JByrne says not only racist but sexist. She challenges the other panelists as to why it can be considered kind and funny given that it’s deeply antisemitic. John says it’s okay because it’s old.

Michael says the book is just like Jason. Racey, English, and very silly. So if you like Ace, give it a read. I shall be pressing it to my eyeballs shortly.

JByrne finishes the discussion by staring into Ace’s eyes and murmuring, ‘Are you happy, Sweetheart.’ She then plays a montage of Jason and his love of books with British biddies. 

What a time to be alive. A show where panelists love both a book about the horrors inflicted upon Jewish people in the 1940s AND a book that was published in 1938 that is antisemitic. In totally unrelated news, who likes playing connect the dots? 

Next week they’re discussing Lincoln in the Bardo and The Handmaid’s Tale. See you next week.


Read last week’s episode recap here.

Read Michael Williams’ Robinpedia entry here.

Watch past episodes of The Book Club ABC on iView here.

Read about the positives I’ve found in being a dyslexic writer here.

Find the film version of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day here.

 

Michael Williams: #Robinpedia

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Michael Williams ready for a spot of grocery shopping.

Michael Williams…. Michael Williams…. MM CC McWilliams…. the big M. The Mster. Master Williams. What can be said about a man who simply describes himself as Elena Ferrante. A man whose mother thinks he’s cool. A man who has been mistaken for a dead, English actor and lived to tell the tale. A man with a beard. But wait, there’s more.

Michael Williams is either best known as the director of the Wheeler Centre or popular radio host on Radio National. He is both a regular guest on The Book Club with Jennifer Byrne, and a top tier writers’ festival speaker. In short, he excels at everything he does, and he does quite a bit.

The Wheeler Centre is possibly Australia’s preeminent hub for literature and creative conversations. It’s in Melbourne and I’m from Sydney so I may get excommunicated from my state for saying that. Since 2010 The Wheeler Centre has hosted more than 1600 events with more than 2200 speakers. Their goal for 2020 is to be nationally and internationally renowned as a centre for innovative conversation…. job done early. Michael stands firmly at the healm of this proud institution. Unsurprisingly he’s quite the inspiring speaker himself.

You can listen to his dulcet tone at 9am Saturdays on Radio Nation on his show Blueprint for Living.  He talks about food, travel, architecture, and everything you need to live a good life. Apparently he even covers fashion. Is there nothing he does not know? If you miss it on Saturdays it is replayed 6am on Sundays, and you can listen to the podcast anytime.

Prior to this Michael was the Head of Programming at the Wheeler Cente, worked at Text Publishing and Triple R. As such he’s a prominent figure in the Australian book industry.

Find Michael Williams on Radio National here.

Find Michael Williams at the Wheeler Centre here.

Find Michael Williams on Twitter here.

Find me drinking gin and crying into my armpit because Michael Williams and I are the same age and I haven’t even organised myself to brush my teeth today.
If you have information you’d like to add to this entry please leave it in the comment section.

If you’d like to learn more about Robinpedia go here.

[For first time visitors to this blog, read the about section, I do in fact already know that I am dyslexic.]

Book Club ABC Season 10 Summer Special: #bookclubABC 

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It’s here. It’s really here. We’ve emerged from the wilderness and Book Club with JByrne is before us again. I’m so happy I could …

….

WTF. They’ve got a desk. They’ve got a news panel style desk. Oh no, no, no, no, no! How can I perform #sockwatch now? ABC, I implore you, get a clear cutout on the bottom. We need to see Jason’s woolly socks. What if BLaw is on? How will we see those magnificent ankles? Is that why you’ve introduced the desk? It was bloody Ben wasn’t it? Benjamin Law and his sexy nude ankles requiring a nudity warning. Deep breaths. Just listen to JByrne’s mellifluous voice and forget the ankles.

[Do remember I’m dyslexic so there will be typos, spellos, grammos, and just plain wrongos]
JByne tells us that they’re doing a 5 of the Best special. Each of the panelists gets to choose the best book to discuss that they read this year PLUS they’ll reveal the top 5 books as voted by the Book Club viewers.
The guests are introduced. Be still my beating brain, it is the beauteous Michael Williams, anonymous Italian novelist, dead British actor, and most importantly, my muse. C.S. Pacat is also on. I am so excited. She was brilliant last time she was on. And of course regular panelists, Magic Marieke and Jace the Ace Stegersaurussex, complete the panel. You complete me, I whisper to my television.

But before we can listen to these Gods of Australian literature we’re hearing from the gatekeepers, booksellers, on “what sold its socks off.” Too soon, JByrne. Too soon. We’re only just getting used to the end of #sockwatch. Have some sensitivity with your language choice, please.

Book sellers tell us that debut, female, authors are the hot trend this year. So glad having a vagingo is hot right now. Hannah Kent is apparently part of this trend because she’s put out her second novel this year. I’ll just let that sink in and move on. Lianne Moriarty is also hot right now. Girl on a Train is still hot. Girls are hot. Who runs the world? Girls! Something I didn’t catch the name of was also hot. The description left me wondering if the bookseller knew the difference between high and low fantasy. I was already questioning someone putting out their second novel being considered a debut author…. But the general consensus is in, girls and escapism are so hot right now.
And now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. What books will the panelists be discussing?

My Muse Michael is the first cab off the rank. He’s chosen The Sellout by Paul Beatty. A controversial book from the controversy loving director of the Wheeler Centre / anonymous Italian woman / dead British actor. He’s going to say something naughty and we all await with anticipation. My glass of moscato is positively beside itself and my semi-soft blue-cheese is hanging on his every word.

He opens by saying it isn’t an easy or comfortable read. There’s slavery. There’s racism. There’s a whole heap of big issues and humour is used to convey them. The humour makes it “spikey” but Michael says he believes Beatty “doesn’t care if you like it or not.” Those spikes are part of the point…. What have I become? I’ve come up with a Jace the Ace Stegersaurussex level pun.

Interestingly this book is the first American book to win the Man Booker Prize. It’s surprising because not only is the style a tad jarring but the book is not just American but overtly and unashamedly American.

Marieke says that The Sellout was a “book of ideas in search of a narrative.” What a poetic phrase. I’m stealing it. She says that it had so many big and interesting ideas that it seemed to overwhelm any attempt to wrestle it into a narrative.

Michael says that it echoes Catch 22 but isn’t as well actualised. But he chose The Sellout, shouldn’t he utterly adore it? He says that it has a great setting but character arcs are weak.

Jason puts it simply, “the parts are greater than the sum.” This is why Jason and Marieke are the regulars, throwing out sentences of gold.

C.S. is finally permitted to speak. My wine, my cheese, and I cheer. She says that the experience was like being on social media. It was very contemporary and you were being hit with lots of ideas and snippets. She appreciated the fresh approach and the perspective given. I love her so much. She’s so smart and articulate. Hearts are literally coming out of my eyes right now.

JByrne says that the message was that “it was ever thus.” Boom! That’s why she’s on the big bucks, people. Four words and she has utterly nailed it.

Michael concludes that he admired The Sellout more than he liked it and urges people to read it.

Next up is C.S. Pacat and she has brought The Cursed Child by a little known author called J. K. Rowling. There’s the customary dramatic recreation that I’m the only person on the planet that doesn’t love. You’ve got zombie thespian Michael Williams on, get him to perform them! Sweet merciful cheeses, did Gollum emerge from Middle Earth just to say “Harry Potter” in that recreation. That was terrifying. What next, clowns? I need a hug.

C.S. says she chose it because J. K. Rowling is a genius at world building and she really missed the world and wanted to visit again. She acknowledges that she doesn’t like “zombie franchises” but wanted to read this. For people unfamiliar with what a zombie franchise is, it’s those long series of books which have totally lost their way and continue on an on and at book 10 you’re questioning what the fucking point is anymore and screaming, “why won’t you die” at characters that you once loved. Spec fic and crime fic fans know what I’m talking about.

C.S. liked that it was about a bad father. Segue to Michael. That’s a bit rough. Michael was also keen to step back into Harry’s world but he’s not as eager to go back in after hanging out with the Cursed Child.

Marieke was not super jazzed about it. She’s not a Potterhead and says she felt like she was at a party where everyone knew each other except her and she was just lingering by the dips table all night. Somebody give this woman a raise immediately. She is throwing out soundbites all over the place. She tops it off with, “Who the fuck is Hagrid?”

Jace the Ace Stegersaurussex talks about how he read the Harry Potter books to his children. My ovaries are tingling. He then jumps to the heart of the matter and says that it works very well for theatre script, which it is, but to make it more accessible to novel readers, which Harry Potter fans are, more details needed to be added.

Jace, JByrne, and Michael start chatting excitedly about the Potterverse, you can see Marieke travel back to that dips table in her mind. I can’t help but wonder if C.S. has been muted. She brought the book. Where are her words?

A producer must have noticed this also, C.S. is permitted to speak again. She notes that it was interesting to go into a plot driven series through a character  driven script. She’s slayed it again. You know what, she doesn’t need to speak as much because she bloody kills it every time she opens her mouth. More love hearts come out of my eyeballs.

Marieke wasn’t impressed with the logic flaw in the manuscript in regards to time travel and multiple realities. Michael quotes Terry Pratchett at her in response. I am always happy for a Terry Pratchett reference.

And now it is time for Jace the Ace Stegersaurussex’s choice. Music and Freedom by Zoe Morrison. Ace loved the use of music. JByrne also liked the music and said it was one of the two pillars of the novel. The other pillar was domestoc violence.

Marieke liked the book but was not a fan of the structure. Whereas both Michael and Jason liked a bit of muddling of the structure because it mimicked the loss of control.

Marieke goes out on her own, she didn’t love the music but found the story of domestic violence incredibly effective.

Michael reasserts the importance of music because it represents control. Ace and C.S. (who has finally been allowed her voice again) says that music actually represents freedom, but is of course important.

In the end the whole panel agree, they would recommend the book to friends because not only is it important but it was artfully written.

Okay, the panel are now recommending books.

Michael recomends The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Marieke recommends The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese

JByrne recommends Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Ace recommends The Return by Hishmash Matar

C.S. recommemds Swing Time by Zadie Smith

JByrnes now gets the spotlight. She goes a little bit rock’n’roll with Jimmy Barnes’s memoir. She loves Barnesy, she loved the book. She even got Barnsey himself to do the voice over for the dramatic recreation…. I’m still backing Michael performing this as being better. Just sayin.

Spoiler alert, right up front they reveal the end, it ends with Jimmy Barnes leaving his family in a van with the band. It does not end with his current life. That’ll come in like volume 3 apparently. Fingers crossed Cold Chisel makes it into volume 2.

Marieke was expecting a rock’n’roll memoir but got Angela’s Ashes. She says it was very important but staggeringly difficult to read. It was about immigration and displacement. It was about child abuse and resilience.

Acec was skeptical at first but was won over. He notes that there were some bad puns but in the end he became a Barnsey fan. Michael was okay with the bad puns because he felt that the humour was a coping mechanism.

C.S. liked the gaps. Such hideous abuse was depicted yet there were still stories that clearly went untold. It meant that Barnsey endured even worse child abuse than depicted.

Michael acknowledges that the known future of the writer is an important driving force. Even though the book doesn’t get to Barnsey making it huge, the reader knows that he did. The contrast of the staggering success with the horrific abuse is important even though it goes unsaid.

Looks like another unanimous reccomendation.

Marieke is being a total rebel and chooses an older novel, Terms of Endearment. She claims that she has replaced JByrne with a new literary life coach, Aurora Greenway. What the actual eff! Replacing perfection with that selfish, narcissistic, meanie??? I don’t even know how to feel anymore. I started this season saying that Marieke was right about Wuthering Heights and JByrne was so terribly wrong, and here I am at the end saying Marieke is wrong and JByrne so very right. It’s like I’ve come full circle but finally remembered to put my underpants on the right way. I just can’t even.

Marieke imagines flipping off everyone who doesn’t agree with her love of Aurora. I think JByrne and Marieke may come to blows. I’m scared and excited all at the same time. Ace is trying to be diplomatic. I can tell he is also scared.

C.S. doesn’t vibe on the book. Marieke declares that she doesn’t care with such emotion cracking in her voice that you know she does in fact care and her heart is being ripped out of her chest. C.S. soldiers on, she doesn’t like books with characters that are so awful that you’re supposed to feel smuggly superior to them. She wants to be in the world not looking down on it. That’s so beautiful, more love hearts. Marieke externalises her flipping off of everyone.

Michael talks about the structure of the book echoing how little space the daughter is given. Aurora is so all consuming that very little is left for her daughter

Michael says that the men in Terms of Endearment range from dissapointing to criminal. Marieke likes this because it’s just like real life.

And my kids are up yet again so I’ll have to finish this recap later. Will “edit” in the end shortly. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! It has been an interesting night. Random fireworks, yelling drunken neighbours, increasingly grumpy trio of children. Not that I blame my neighbours, I’m excited for Book Club too. If I had fireworks I’d be letting them off too.

The top 5 books as voted by the viewers were:

  1. Clementine Ford’s Fight Like a Girl
  2. The Dry by Jane Harper
  3. Man in the Corner by Nathan Besser
  4. The Good People by Hannah Kent
  5. Insults About Age Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner

And now there’s a quiz.

Marieke is so excited…. she is not at all excited. The M Team vs Ace and C.S. Who will win, who will be victorious, who shall sob and who shall cheer? In short, the M Team won. C.S. somehow missed a quote from Tolkein. I have no idea how because I screamed the answer psychically at her. TOLKEIN. IT’S IN THAT LETTER GANDALF WROTE THEN BILBO SAYS IT. IT’S A REOCCURRING MOTIF. IT’S ACTUALLY IN REVERSE IN MERCHANT OF VENICE. I AM OF NO HELP ON ANY OTHER QUESTION!

And now they’re wrapping up for the year with Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen performing. They assure us they’ll be back next year in the weekly format.

But don’t forget to vote for the Book Club ABC in the Logies.

Catch up on episodes in iView.

Michael Williams will be my next #Robinpedia entry. Keep an eye out on Thursday.

The Book Club ABC, Season 10, 5 Top 5s: #bookclubABC

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Well it’s happened. The Book Club ABC’s 10th season has come to an end. It was glorious! I for one have never felt so exhilarated by a season. So let’s reminisce about some of the best things we experienced this season with my 5 of 5, before I can bring myself to write the final recap of the season. I need time to grieve.

The Five Best Episodes:

1. Episode 7 Gaudy Biatches. The biatches were flying thick and fast and Toni Jordan and Virginia Gay became bffs. Michael Williams had the flu so was extra bitter. Heaven.

2. Episode 1 Wuthering Loins. Teenage JByrne came out to play as she lusted after Heathcliff but Marieke was having none of her shit.

3. Episode 11 An Extra 13 Stories of Hatred. Gorgi Coghlan possibly needed therapy after being forced through the classic text.

4. Episode 12 The Sexy Plague. Ace and JByrne reckon plot doesn’t matter, mood matters… a mood so sexy you’d risk the plague to get a packet of frangers.

5. Episode 5 A Titanorak By Any Other Name. Rosie Waterland lost her shit because she loves the Titanic so much.

6… yeah, I broke my own rules. I’m a rebel. Episode 9 The Naked Elephant Returns. Marieke wants to join a whaling ship and BLaw’s ankles are completely naked.

The Five Best Moments:

1. In episode 7 Marieke Hardy called the characters in Gaudy Night a bunch of “disparaging biatches” and Virginia Gay in turn said maybe Marieke was the disparaging biatch. If you play it in slow motion you can see when Toni Jordan’s heart literally breaks as Marieke savages her favourite book.

2. JByrne referenced BLaws ankles in episode 9 and how wild they had driven the viewers. She listens to us!!!

3. In the very first episode of the season JByrne screamed, “but can you imagine having sex with him?” in regards to Wuthering Heights‘ Heathcliff. Marieke threw up in her mouth a little because she hated the book, apart from the vaguely amusing dog attacks. Meanwhile an erotic montage of all the actors who have played Heathcliff over the years, appeared above Virginia’s head to the soundtrack of Kate Bush’s famous track.

4. Toni Jordan’s socks. Oh those heavenly socks. Toni Jordan had listened to what the people wanted, more ankle related coverage, and wore glorious library card socks in episode 11. She truly is the people’s panelist. I have even started a pinterest board dedicated to her ankles.

5. Virginia Gay broke protocol in episode 7 and squealed “me to,” when Toni Jordan did the initial introduction to Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers. She was then locked under JByrne’s stairs and forced to wear muted footwear for daring to talk out of order, until the final episode. Worth it.

6. Gorgi Coghlan said that Wake in Fright gave her an anxiety attack and she cursed JByrne for her ever having to read it. I love that a panelist was so affected by a book that they cursed JByrne’s holy name. You NEED to get her back on. Marieke said a book inducing an anxiety attack was high praise for the writing.

The Five Best Books:

1. The North Water by Ian McGuire. It made Marieke want to join a ship and stab someone.

2. LaRose by Louise Erdrich. It was so good that Virginia Gay literally kissed the book. No tongue or anything. And such a gorgeous premise.

3. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. Not only did it challenge concepts of gender and humanity in the novel but it also carried on into the panelists’ real lives. It made them question how they thought about others and their own subconscious bias.

4. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. Hilarious tale about an out of place academic lecturing in history who ends up getting drunk and making a speech.  It’s fun, it’s witty, it’s just too good.

5. “Arseholes at Night” by Kent Haruf. That’s what I heard when JByrne said the title. Apparently it’s actually Our Souls at Night. This book made Marieke cry.

6. An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire. It made the male panelists go all #notallmen. Which means you know it must be quite challenging to patriarchal thinking and therefore a valuable read. We need to value the experiences of the “other.”

The Five Best Guests:

1. Virginia Gay. Actress extraordinaire and passionate book lover. She wasn’t afraid to say when she loved a book. Her looks of utter horror when fellow panelists didn’t share her passion were priceless.

2. Michael Williams. Director of The Wheeler Centre. His snarky comments and insights into the book industry, and not just the books, were delicious.

3. Toni Jordan. Novelist of goodness. In her first appearance of the season she was so sweet and loving. Marieke then crushed her soul. A new Toni returned, one that had built a whole new level of hatred and laughed at the cruelty inflicted on protagonists. Her character development was sublime. Someone should write a novel about it.

4. C S Pacat. Fantasy author of the people and for the people. Brilliantly articulate.  Able to back up all her insights with reference to classic literature. She was like a modern day, gangster, Shakespeare.

5. Margaret Pomeranz. She’s the queen. End of story.

6. BLaws ankles. Oh myyyyyyyyy.

The Five Best Future Guests:

This is the bit where I get to go into the realm of fantasy and pretend I’m a producer.

1. Walter Mason. Author of Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia. Writing teacher. Inspirational guru of fabulosity. I would go watch this man clean his toenails because he would somehow make it interesting.

2. I’m going to cheat. I’d like to see a father daughter combo. John and Kitty Flanagan. Yeah, I bet some of you were surprised that comedian Kitty wasn’t in my top 5 guests, I’ve cheated by putting her in here so I could get an extra extra one in that category. It was hard. I wanted to choose every guest. John Flanagan is the author of the extraordinarily popular Ranger’s Apprentice series for those wanting to know.

3. Laura Jean McKay. An author who says muses aren’t dead because they never existed. She would no doubt say something controversial and funny.

4. Speaking of funny, Steven Oliver. I can just imagine him responding to Jason’s analysis with, “What’s this then, Slut?” It needs to happen!

5. Kaz Cooke. She knows what The Book Club ABC is all about, pyjamas and wine. She’d sit there in some glorious fluffy slippers, sipping away at a chardonnay and tell it like it is.

6. Robin Elizabeth. In fact, fuck those other fucks. Me, me, me! Nobody knows more about reading on the toilet than me. Plus, you put up a clip of me asking you a question about Sally Morgan’s My Place last year. It was under my “real” name, Robin Riedstra. You said it was a good question, JByrne.

“JENNIFER BYRNE: Actually, just like to drop in here. There’s a video comment which goes to that. Her name is Robin Riedstra and this is what she said.

ROBIN RIEDSTRA: Hi, I’m Robin. When I first read Sally Morgan’s My Place I found it really accessible and it made me want to read more and more texts in that genre. But other people have criticised it as being too accessible and so that once people had read that they felt they knew the Indigenous story and didn’t need to read any more. What are your thoughts on the matter?

JENNIFER BYRNE: I thought that was a really good question, actually. I mean, because you read it and… It’s got these three stories within the story of the mother and the grandmother and the grandmother’s brother, all of whom talk about how they were stolen from the family. And you read that and you feel that you’re across this idea.”

See, I can be insightful, I just know I can do it again. You and me JByrne, all the way. Forget those other clowns. Pick me.

Well, until the Christmas Special, I bid The Book Club ABC adieu. The rest of you can find me lurking around here on my blog. I’ll be doing Robinpedia entries for Australian authors who don’t  have Wikipedia entries yet. A fact I plan to remedy once I learn how to do the appropriate coding to create new pages with the correct layout and referencing. I’ve already experimented by adding a little to Virginia Gay and BLaw’s Wikipedia entries.

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See, I know real stuff too. I added the Calamity Jane stuff, not just “ape shit.”

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And do keep an eye out for the release of my book Confessions of a Mad Mooer which recaps my time in the psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression. I’ll blog about it closer to the release in December.

Don’t you, forget about me.

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And yes. I’ll put out the recap of the season final soon… just let me finish crying first…. here it is.

My Date With Jennifer Byrne #bookclubABC

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Okay, I confess, I used a click bait heading. I did not have a date with Jennifer Byrne BUT I did get to meet her. And long story short, she was every bit the divine, glowing, Goddess of radiance that we see on our screen. But what kind of blog entry would this be if I went with the short version, so let’s do the long story long.

It was a chilly July morning, I woke to the gentle thump of my daughter’s warm rump landing on my chest, and the caress of her hands against my face as her tiny fingers tried to softly pry my eyes open. “Wake up, Mummy,” the words floated from her lips like dandelion threads on the breeze. #blessed. I murmured back to the angelic creature perched upon me, “Wha?” And shortly thereafter got out of bed and let the two year old twin terrors out of their cots, before they started getting their own ideas of getting out of bed and learned that they are more than capable of escaping.

It was an ordinary day, just like any other Thursday. My daughter refused to wear any clothes that were weather appropriate. The twins used a couple of dinosaurs as light sabers and attempted to kill each other. My husband spent a long time on the toilet. I drank tea. I had to try out some mixed martial arts moves in order to subdue my boys for nappy changes and my daughter eventually settled for dressing like a fairy on crack. My husband got out of the bathroom and went to work, and better yet, he actually took the kids to preschool with him. Not every day is a preschool day, but that fateful day was.

As the glitter of childhood laughter and dreams settled I sat and drank coffee in my pyjamas. I tweeted about how excited I was to go watch a live recording of The Book Club ABC. I tweeted about how much I desired to see one Benjamin Law’s ankle region. Last time he had been on the show he had done it utterly sockless. I dared but dream that he would do the same again. As you can see, I was awfully excited. The Book Club is my not so secret addiction. I write recaps, I watch it religiously, and I probably tweet about it every day.

After I finished my coffee I realized that I should probably do some vacuuming. So I did. I then cleaned the toilet. These events were no doubt symbolic of great things to come. I even had a shower. I didn’t want to take my pyjamas off because it was so cold, but The Book Club was worth it. I was going to shower. Warm water trickled down my face and onto my shoulders. Water gently beaded against my alabaster skin. I reached hesitantly towards the razor to shave my hairy pits, but at the last minute rethought it. It’s fucking freezing, I’ll need the extra warmth of my furry covering. It was all happening. After the gratuitous shower scene where I was completely naked and wet I layered myself up with a pair of thick black gym tights and green cargo pants over the top. I then put on a grey long sleeved top, a pink ¾ length top, a black t-shirt AND a yellow jacket. It was very cold. Don’t get too excited, I was not sans underpants. I was wearing bra, undies, and rainbow toe socks as well. This is a celebrity meeting, not erotica.

It was now time for me to make my entrance into my new life. A life of fun and whimsy. The world of Book Club. I entered the ABC studio. It wasn’t as easy as you might imagine. It has a giant automatic revolving door that you must negotiate to enter. Timing is everything and half of the entrance was partitioned off so the window of opportunity was even narrower. But I took a deep breath and launched. Yes, success. I made it through the door without falling over and being pushed around repeatedly by the revolving door like a crumpled piece of garbage. I enter the lobby. A TARDIS to my left immediately caught my eye. I moved towards it, like a Rose to a Timelord. I thought about trying to open the door but in the end didn’t. I didn’t want to be responsible for breaking it.

I saw a crowd of people waiting behind a thinly roped off area. I went to them and asked, are they the clubbers. They were. So I joined them and sat and waited. I waited and tweeted about the fact that I was waiting. If a tree falls in the forest but doesn’t tweet about it, has it really fallen? Yes, but who cares about it? If that tree wants someone to care about its death then it should ruddy well take a selfie of itself whilst doing so and then slap on some sort of trending hashtag, #FreeTheNipple. Finally the tweeting about waiting was ended by us being called into the studio. We were checked for contraband before entering. I had none. I was allowed in.

On entering the studio the floor manager tells us exactly where to sit. A few brave souls decide to defy her and tell her they don’t like the view from where they are. She tells them that they’ll ruin her shot if they don’t sit where they’re told and to just sit we’re they’re darn well told. This continues on for quite some time. People wanting to rebel against the control of creating an audience shot and the floor manager wondering why they’re Book Club fans if they’re so sassy. Shouldn’t book nerds be easier to manage? I simply sit where I am told. The spirit of rebellion does not burn inside me. We’re told to turn our phones off, I do so. Again, no complaints. No last minute selfies. I just turn it off.

And then BAM JByrne appears before us like some kind of bioluminescent angel. I start clapping. I manage to catch myself before leaping from my seat and throwing myself around her ankles and screaming, “I love you.” If we can’t sit wherever we like, then I’m pretty sure that actually touching the Byrne is right out. So I sit and simply watch. The guests are introduced and Benjamin Law and his naked ankles are there again. They’re so different and out there in comparison to the covered ankles of his colleagues. Warmth starts to rise from my own thoroughly layered ankles, up my legs, past my hips, into my heart and penetrates my brain. A fire is lit. That fire of rebellion. I will speak to JByrne this very day. I shall make it happen!

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The show begins, I can’t give any spoilers away for it is yet to screen, just keep an eye on my blog on Tuesday night and all shall be revealed in one of my breathtaking recaps… or you could watch the show at 10pm on ABC Tuesday nights… and then read my recap.

The show ends. The audience files out. I start to edge towards the stage. The floor manager sees me. She is frowning. But those bare ankles have given me courage so I press on.

“Jennifer,” I call out. My voice breaks with nerves. The nude ankles have evidently given me some courage but no grace.

“Who are you trying to speak to?” The floor manager is approaching me from the side. I can see her hand twitching at the ready to call down the gods of security to subdue me and drag me out whilst I scream and thrash.

“Jennifer,” I say timidly. Then I remember those ankles and some steel sets into my bones and I call out loudly and firmly, “Hi Jennifer, I write recaps of your show and I just wanted to say I love you.”

JByrne swings around and I am hit with the full force of her twinkling eyes. They are glorious. They’re actually more dazzling in real life than they are on the screen.

“You,” she says enthusiastically, “you’re the one who writes those recaps? They’re so funny.”

I melt onto the ground and start crying in pure ecstasy. The floor manager moves away. I’m clearly crazy but as long as it isn’t bothering the talent then she’ll accept it. JByrne actually stays and speaks with me for over five minutes. I am blown away. She asks me what my intentions are towards her Michael Williams? Is it true love or is it just lust. I tell her it’s true writerly love. He’s my age and the director of the Wheeler Centre, how can I not admire him. The guy is a complete genius. It’s the purest of all love and there is not pants action in it. I promise that he won’t find me in his cupboard rifling through his underpants. She accepts this and doesn’t take an AVO out on me for now. I tell her that my Uncle Paul is OBSESSED with her. We talk about Ben’s bare ankles and how wild they have driven me. She calls my recaps funny and clever a few times and I respond with words but all the while I’m thinking, “Someone who I think is funny and clever thinks that my stuff is funny and clever, this is so overwhelming I need to go have a lie down.” The floor manager finally says enough is enough and JByrne needs to be able to go have a life. We part ways and I feel so excited that I can’t even remember the next half hour of my life. I know that I called my Aunty Donna and shrieked about how much I loved JByrne and how I got to speak to her. She’s excited for me. She knows how much I admire Jennifer Byrne.

So there it is. My “date” with Jennifer Byrne. I got to speak to her, she is so lovely, I got really excited and she managed not to call security on me to drag me away, which I found quite touching, and she said nice things to me about my recaps. Funny and clever! Who doesn’t want to be complimented like that? And who gets to be complimented like that by one of their heroes? I have been walking around on cloud nine ever since. It’s three days later and I am still excited. I dare say I’ll still be excited next week. Happy!

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Me losing my shit because I am meeting the one and only JByrne.

ABC Book Club Season 10 Episode 8 #bookclubABC

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First things first, last week was the best episode ever so this week has a lot to live up to. Secondly, I’m dyslexic, grammar nazis you have been warned, flee now if this shall be too much for you to tolerate.

Jennifer Byrne appears. I clap, I cheer, I woot, but very quietly because I don’t want to wake the kids. I can see that regulars Marieke Hardy and Jason Stegersaurussex are there, which is always lovely. Jennifer introduces her guests, Rosie Waterland, who lobbed a book grenade the last time she came resulting in literary carnage, so I’m quite excited to see what she’ll do tonight. And be still my beating loins, Michael Williams is back.

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He is 36 and beautiful, not in that other worldly Kryptonian way, but in a more knock-around Fitzroy way. He is brunette and brunette at the roots. He is sitting, but only with the help of a chair. He is from Melbourne, in order for you to understand him you have to understand what that means. Melbourne is like Sydney 50 years ago, if Sydney was 50 years into the future 50 years ago. It’s cold and frosty, a real snowback city, which is why you go there, for the snowback people. In other words, it’s just like Sydney but a bit colder, with better food but weirder shoes. When everyone here is awake… everyone there is also awake, because we’re in the same time zone and the same country.

Michael is permitted by the Supreme Being, JByrne, to say he has chosen Love in a Cold Climate for the classic before the clubbers move onto discussing the modern text. We’ll all be unshocked when Jason likes it because it’s very British with sex in it.

The first novel to be discussed is Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. It’s a tale of the rich, the famous, and the soon to be dead. A dramatic recreation is shown…

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Trust me, my version was just as good. Theirs had more moody music and mysterious questions, but mine cuts to the chase. Enough with the recreation, we all just want to know one thing, how did Titanorak Rosie feel about it? We know she loves ship crashes, are boat crashes close enough? Is the crash in and of itself enough or must there be a gigantic ship involved?

Rosie could not put it down. Question answered. She loves a good crash in the water, plane, train, or automobile, not just Titanics. Rosie points out how beautifully it’s structured to mimic a television show. Jason wanted more quirks. Michael appreciated it but felt there were too many episodic cliffhangers.

Marieke is a bit meh on Before the Fall. She calls it good but not great. And that it needed a good cut. Jason agrees that there are too many red herrings, and a few of those bad boys could have been cut. Marieke said cut the body building stuff. JByrne shrieks no. When Marieke asks why. JByrne’s blushes and I can’t hear her “reason” over the sound of her thumping heart.

Rosie liked the ending of this mystery, Jason did not. Michael said it was a “swift trick” and he found it satisfactory. JByrne thought it was a clever ending. She recommends reading it on the beach smothered in oil. Slip, slop, slap, JByrne! Marieke said there are better books to smother in oil on a beach.

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Now for a little By the Bed:

Marieke is reading Patience. A graphic novel.
Michael is reading The Hate Race. Out in August.
Rosie is reading Live From New York. Marieke loves it too.
JByrne is reading The Horse. It’s for people who like horses… oookay.
Jason is reading Up the Junction. It has lots of sex. Colour me shocked.

Now for Love in a Cold Climate.

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Michael says it isn’t exactly plot driven but he loves it any way. Marieke adored it and describes it as sexy and cheeky and funny. I bet she wanted to oil it up. Jason unsurprisingly loves it. It’s sexy and British,  just like him…

… Rosie hated it. She says it was so bad she could barely finish it and it was, “not to my taste.” Rosie says she was expecting Jane Austen and she did not get it. Oh goodness, now I have to think mathematically. I’m not good at maths, but wasn’t Jane Austen dead a century before Love in a Cold Climate came out?

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I’m not going to push it because remembering dates isn’t my thing so I’m probably wrong. Jason admits that the first chapter was a bit rubbish but the rest was fab.

Michael loves the fact that in the novel a gay character is celebrated by other characters. The character is endearing enough that Rosie admits that she even liked him. Marieke says that the women are punchy and vibrant. And that she found it fresh, sexy and funny as hell… I now want to read Love in a Cold Climate!!!

JByrne talks about the new trend of adult colour in books of a very adult only nature. Jason suggests getting lots of pink crayons. It’s a vagina joke people. Jason Stegersaurussex made a vagina reference. Take a drink. Michael says he can’t be contained with his adult colouring in and rarely stays within the lines. I pour my chilled wine directly into my lap to tame my heated loins.

Ooo la la, BLaw and Robo-Tham are on next week. Last time BLaw came with completely naked ankles and a vulva in his pocket. I did clutch at my pearls. Robo-Tham did not reveal any cyborg tendencies on his last visit so I am hoping there is a big reveal next week.

Check out Rosie’s last appearance here.

Check out Michael’s last appearance, in THE BEST EPISODE OF ALL TIME, here.

To view past episodes check out ABC iView.