Get yer signed copies of The Long and Winding Way to the Top RIGHT HERE!

Actual picture of the internet being the future of online shopping for my book.

Dear the Internet,

Short version: you can buy a signed’n’personalised copy of the forthcoming book RIGHT HERE!

Longer, APSier version: we all have people for whom we are obliged to buy an Xmas present yet no appropriate gift idea springs to mind. Fortunately this year THAT PROBLEM IS SOLVED because absolutely everyone – EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD THAT IS AUSTRALIA – will definitely not hate a copy of The Long and Winding Way To The Top: 50 (Or So) Songs That Made Australia!

It’s out in stores on November 22 and has chapters on all the songs your dad/mum/auntie/uncle/cousin/sibling/work colleague/neighbour/dog walker/copy editor loves! But why not go a step further and give them a signed and personalised copy?

Yes, thank to the wonder of ecommerce you can order a copy of the book from me and I will sign it, personalise it if you want, and then mail it to you, using nature’s The Post! Just whack the message/name of the person you want it made out to in the notes section at checkout and boom, done!

Books will be posted out after publication, and I’m going to cut off Xmas mailout at Dec 14 just because I don’t want to promise arrival for Xmas if I can’t deliver. Postage is Express Post for both speed and trackability.

Or, naturally, you can buy it in a shop and then chase me down in the street or a café or something and I’ll sign it for you with enthusiasm, unless I’m trying to feed m’son at the time because that’s a job that requires serious concentration.

And just finally: I’m so excited this is almost out. I’m pretty damn chuffed with this book and I think you’ll probably like it too. As will whoever you give it to: GUARANTEED!*

Yours ever,

APS

*Not remotely a guarantee.

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Some events and updates and things

Dear The Internet,

Look, it’s been a busy few weeks.

First up, The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull: the Incredible Shrinking Man in the Top Hat is out through Allen & Unwin, on shelves and being bought by people. It was launched last week at Better Read Than Dead in Newtown and it went very well, thank you.

Every home should have this wall.

My columns are still columning away at the Sydney Morning Herald, trying to make sense os what the hell is going on in politics and the nation.

The Guardian very kindly included The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull in their round up of the best books of the month, along with excellent pals and colleagues including Holly Throsby (whose novel Goodwood is magnificently quirky and fascinating), Clementine Ford (whose Fight Like A Girl is deservedly already a bestseller) and Lee Zachariah – who, as it happens, appears on the new episode of the Double Disillusionists podcast, which is up at Soundcloud and iTunes!

Dom and I talk to Zachariah about his simultaneous coverage of the election campaign and the collapse of his marriage, as illustrated in his very entertaining book Double Dissolution. Which you should read. Also, he’s very funny (so you should listen to it right now, frankly).

On a completely different note, I also fulfilled a lifetime dream of writing a cover story for Rolling Stone – an extensive interview with Jimmy Barnes. It’s in the current issue, andI can’t tell you what a thrill that was. He was a fascinating gent.

Anyway, there are some events coming up this week!

First up, on Friday 14 October I’m speaking at Stanton Library at 1pm: you can book a spot here, and it’s actually filling up remarkably swiftly.

Then on Saturday 15 October I’m speaking at Littérateur: A Festival for Word Nerds at the Old Fitz, talking about the art of politics writing with the Guardian’s Gareth Hutchens. It’s the very first session of the day at 10am, so I’ll understand if you’re hungover.

And there are more events to come. Updates will follow.

Hope to see you at them, if you’re about.

Yours ever,

APS

I HAVE THE BOOK IN MY HANDS IT’S A REAL THING!

Dear The Internet,

In late February 2016 I finally convinced my editors at Allen & Unwin that I should absolutely write a follow up to The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott, on the grounds that a) things were clearly getting very interesting and weird in federal Australian politics, and b) this seemed like a lot more fun than the book I was actually working on.

There ain't no feeling like here's-that-book-you-wrote feeling.

There ain’t no feeling like here’s-that-book-you-wrote feeling.

“More fun” is, of course, a relative term because – at the risk of ruining the tantalising romance of writing – trying to research and write a book on politics, as it’s happening, while also holding down a five day a week column is whatever the opposite of “fun” is.

Still, five months of frantic, occasionally painful effort later, I’m now gazing at my new 90-something-thousand word baby and thinking “OK, when do we start on the next one?”

Yes, it was a close run thing since The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull: the Incredible Shrinking Man in the Top Hat goes onto shelves on Monday, but now I have my own copy and feel genuinely relieved that I don’t have to photocopy a bunch of them for the launch.

Which, incidentally, is WEDNESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER at Newtown’s Better Read Than Dead – it’s free, but you’ll need to register here and I’ll be signing whatever anyone wants me to sign: my books, other people’s books, small animals, slow moving vehicles, whatever. Please note that there will also be wine.

Said launch will be hosted by my friend and fellow Double Disillusionist Dom Knight – and, speaking of the podcast, we did a new one just the other day with the amazing, entertaining and wonderfully gossipy Alice Workman, BuzzFeed’s Canberra-based politics wrangler.

I really hope you enjoy the book. I’m genuinely proud of it.

Hopefully see you at some book-related thing soon, friends.

Yours ever,

APS

PS: Why not read a little excerpt from the book all about the plebiscite?

The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull is ALMOST HERE!

Dear the Internet,

If you have been looking at the current nightmare of bad policy, internal discord in the Coalition, Liberal backbenchers openly contradicting their leader amid upper- and lower-house embarrassments and thinking “how the actual hell did Malcolm Turnbull manage to go from record high popularity to… well, this… all in twelve short months?” then I have some good news!

9781760294885-1The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull: the Incredible Shrinking Man in the Top Hat is mere days away from release, once again through the good people of Allen & Unwin!

It lands on shelves on Monday 26 September, which is… good god, that’s soon. Very soon.

And you can order it from Booktopia RIGHT NOW if you fancy it: here’s a link! Also, how beautiful is that cover? Robert Polmear, you’re a staggeringly talented human being. I think we should run off some posters and/or beach towels.

And if you’re thinking “heavens, APS, how did you write 85k words in the space of a few months while also holding down your regular column and that other writing you seem to do?” then know it’s because I love democracy, this nation and, most of all, you. And also because I’m a bloodyminded bastard with easy access to caffeine and a playful disregard for living a balanced life.

ALSO! There will be an In Conversation event happening in October at Gleebooks on Tuesday 11 October, where I shall be chatting away with the charming and erudite Rebecca Huntley, she of Radio National and the ABC and book-writin’ and generally being an exceptional brainbox. I shall put details up as we get ’em.

I’m really proud of this book (and the last one, I should add). I hope you enjoy it too – or whatever the equivalent of “enjoy” is when you’re getting more and more frustrated about parliamentary inaction and find yourself yelling “seriously? What say you just do your damn job, you muppets!” at a book.

There’ll be more events, hopefully in non-Sydney locations, that I’ll rattle off as we lock ’em down.

Please pop along and say hi. I’ll write something illegible in your book, if you like. It needn’t even be one of mine, I’m not fussy.

Yours ever,

APS

Election time – and some book/podcast news!

Dear the Internet,

Sure, this page’s less-then-stellar update schedule makes things look like they’ve been quieter than they’ve been. But there’s some stuff to talk about! Honest! No, really!

Podcasts! They're the future (of talking things).

Podcasts! They’re the future (of talking things).

To start with: if you’ve been thinking “I could really do with hearing APS rant straight into my ears” then be advised that m’self and Chaser/ABC radio alumnus Dom Knight have just begun The Double Disillusionists, a weekly election podcast that’s better than all those other weekly election podcasts from less caffeinated people.*

It’s at Soundcloud right now, at PocketCast, and will be up at iTunes shortly!

Also, that Australian music book that got mentioned a little while ago has been gently put aside for a little while in order to focus on a completely new book. Oh, Australian politics: I keep trying to get out, and you just keep sucking me back in.

Yes, there’s going to be a sequel to The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott, focussing on the Turnbull epoch and taking us up to the election, because I am a sucker for punishment.

And while that’s being written at a rate of knots, View from the Street is still happening five days a week at the Sydney Morning Herald, of course.

It’s going to be a busy election campaign, basically, and I’m going to spend it neck deep in federal politics. What the hell have I signed up for?

Yours ever,

APS

*Probably.

…and we’re back for 2016!

Dear The Internet,

IMG_3181

A very rugged up APS beside Crick and Watson’s model of the DNA double helix at the British Science Museum, for which they were to win the Nobel Prize. Not shown: both men stealing Rosalind Franklin’s data in order to do so.

We are back!

Sorry for the extended silence. I was taking one of those “break” things that people used to take back in the days when our then-strong unions went “what, work all the time until we die in order that others may profit from our labour? Nah.” I recommend such things, as it turns out that not-working for a bit is pretty awesome and inspiring.

This break was not only wonderful, but also incorporated m’delayed honeymoon which involved Europe and seeing all sorts of incredible pieces of art about which I’d read since I was a kid, getting teary in front of the actual fossils that Mary Anning dug from the cliffs at Lyme Regis over two centuries ago, riding many trains, seeing lovely friends and family, getting colder than I’d ever been (cheers, Berlin!), and drinking in some superb bars. And I got to hang out with my wife for three uninterrupted weeks, which was the actual best.

And now we are back in Australia, feeling refreshed and ready to do stuff again – as perhaps indicated by this Daily Life piece I wrote pretty much upon touching down, regarding Australia’s mighty blindspot regarding non-English speaking visitors – but that is not even remotely all!

First up, View from the Street is back for 2016, providing all your lefty ranty column-sized needs at the Sydney Morning Herald and the rest of the Fairfax family (and it is a family) Sunday-Thursday at as close to 5pm as I can manage.

Here are the first two of the year: a bit of a catch up on the dumbest things that happened over the break, and how Eric Abetz confirmed that the government have no intention of respecting the idiotic plebiscite on same-sex marriage, regardless of the result.

Secondly, with The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott selling out of its first print run – I’m as surprised as you, frankly, but utterly delighted – it’s possibly not a huge shock that I’m now working on another book for Allen & Unwin.

This one’s about my other great love – music, specifically Australian music, and even more specifically some of the weirder things about Australian music that haven’t been given their due. I’ll give more details as things develop, but suffice to say it’s going to be nice to dig deep into something that doesn’t involve legislative breaches of human rights agreements quite so much.

So the ground has been hit running, friends. And if this is the sort of pace that will characterise the rest of the year, maybe another break is in order. Hopefully involving spending even more time at the Science Museum…

Yours ever,

APS

Sydney book launch, another lovely review, shameless attention-seeking

Dear the Internet,

So the Sydney Morning Herald have reviewed …Captain Abbott – more specifically, they ask the author Anson Cameron to review it – and he was very, very kind indeed.

In fact, the review is both glowing, and also really beautifully written: I wish I’d come up with a metaphor as strong as “politics is a black swamp that breeds this type of animal, a place from which another Abbott will soon stumble, breathing his repetitious dreck. The Captain was just the latest political reptile to dig his way to the sun from the depths of the compost in which those eggs are, even now, incubating.”

(And yes, I do write for the Herald – as you probably realise, and which they acknowledge in the review. However, I don’t write for the Weekend Australian and they also reviewed it positively, and with great style, so th… hold on, am I the thing that News Corp and Fairfax agree upon? ANDREW P STREET, UNITER OF WORLDS!)

APS, earlier

APS, earlier

Also, if you’re in Sydney on Tuesday December 1st and would like to enjoy the pleasant experience of watching TV’s Marc Fennell – you know, the author, broadcaster and genuinely lovely human being that’s on SBS, Triple J and loads of other things – have a chat with me at Gleebooks, you should book yourself some tickets because I’m assured they’re selling at a healthy clip. And yes, I’m as surprised as you.

In case you’ve not read the acknowledgements/blame chapter at the end of the book, it was Marc that very kindly convinced me that I could write the thing when I was first approached by Allen & Unwin and was certain that I couldn’t possibly do it. So he’s significantly culpable, really. Indeed, on the night I’m basically going to accuse him of being Accessory to the Book.

I will also be signing copies the book, so bring it along if you already have one and want me to deface it, thereby significantly diminishing its resell value.

And not that I’m wanting to bring a venal, commercial element into this discussion, but Xmas is coming up and my publishers have inexplicably rejected by suggested advertising campaign “The perfect gift for the lefty in your life, or the conservative type that you’re obliged to buy something for and want to annoy”.

So instead I will quote Peter Humphries’ review at Amazon: “it is well crafted very funny and all the things in it can be referenced as fact , this will make a great CHRISTMAS Present.”

You make a strong case, Peter Humphries on Amazon. A very strong case indeed.

Yours ever,

APS