The adventures of Get Up Mum

💔  Collect the whole set! It’s a matchbox jigsaw cube solved by inspector astro boy. Choose your own fighting fantasy featuring cassettes, caravans, catastrophe, crackups, acoustic noodles and a country practice. Best served in a beanbag.

TAKE ME TO THE TAPES!

Read more about tapes.

Buy the book.

“Strong and fragile and real.”
Anna Krien.

⛔️ Excess consumption may cause gut wrench.
     (Flush effected area with Deep Forest.)
Heazlewood family (FRONT COVER)

The tape orbited smoothly inside a case when docked inside the carriage of a machine. A time machine, with a knack for blasting the past.

Tape pic 1

Each morning I recorded the Get Up Mum episodes on my cassette deck.

Now I have two more tapes to add to my collection.

Thanks TDK!

Tape pic 2

 

Surf City ’93

The Summer of 1993 in Tassie was turning out to be cool. For starters, Uncle Nigel had rocked up from the mainland to visit Nan & Pop for six weeks. He was the family member I knew the least but was growing to like the most. He was friendly, sporty and above all, a crack up. With my own popcorn humour warming up we cackled and sputtered over impressions of cricket commentators and family bloopers while fostering a mutual appreciation for T-bone steaks and Pearl Jam’s Ten cassette.

Meanwhile, come Christmas morn there was a bag of happy spuds at my feet. Santa always left his ‘sack’ in the form of an empty pillowcase which by morning was filled with all manner of toys, treats and trinkets. My 7am ritual was to sit up and savour the radically logoed array of bouncy balls, cricket cards, furry friends and glow-in-the-dark anything. This time there was a mothership in the middle – a hefty box with a flying child on the front. Cowabunga dudes! It was my very own waterslide!

Last summer, a backyard waterslide had meant Pop rustling up a huge sheet of black tarpaulin from the garage while Nan applied a combination lather of laundry powder and hose water. Plusses were Nan and Pop’s naturally sloping keyhole-shaped lawn while minuses included
“scratchiness.” I noted the lack of a backstop – instead of ending up in a pool I tumbled arse-over-head into Nan’s marigolds.

Nah, this was a ramp up. Santa had delivered. A sun kissed, professional fun kit! This was the state of the art ‘Surf City’ waterslide system. Like any board game, you knew it was guaranteed coolness from the picture of the kid getting serious air via the Wahoo Bump™ technology (a long inflatable cushion halfway down the slide.) Liquefying the graffiti-art mat was the Bonzai Pipeline™ sprinkler design. By golly was my pulse racing, and not just from the gold chocolate coins I’d scoffed.

Waterslides (along with computers and fireworks) had always been one of my favourite things. I lived in the industrial township of Burnie on the North-West coast. Half an hour away was the colossal twisty tower of the Ulverstone waterslide. This spiralling tubeway filled my chest with buzzy delight whenever our yellow Beetle approached. I usually went with my best friend Nick. We wore our silky Adidas ‘Enforcer’ shorts for extra speed and went in pairs, slalom style, to get the maximum height in the turns.

With only a few days left of the already memorable Summer holidays, Uncle Nige and I set up Surf City. My fingers met the satisfaction of smooth factory plastic, folded as crisp as Nan’s bedsheets. The biggest buggar was the Bonzai Pipeline, which ended up being a tangle of tiny yellow hoses hell-bent on kinking. The impatience of tangled Christmas lights met the improbability of stretching a water bomb over the fat nozzle of Nan and Pop’s rainwater tank. After busting Nigel’s smokers lungs blowing up the Wahoo Bump, we finally had the chequerboard fluro orange and yellow F R E E S T Y L E slide assembled.

It was officially “Time to Boogie ®.”

With sprinkler mist casting faint rainbows over roses, I removed my glasses and began sprinting for the sleek Hammer Pants runway. This test pilot was wearing nothing but Piping Hot parachute shorts and a squint-eyed smile. I buckled my knees and sailed my arms as tum met warm slippery plastic with a playful “oof.” My face burst the spray like Kernahan through a Carlton banner as my legs floated skywards like a dutiful carriage.

For a moment I was air born. Like my favourite TV helicopter, Airwolf. Justin Marcus! Only child of Mum (still lying on the bed). A thoughtful, clever Gemini, about to start high school. So much worry on those shoulders, but here I was shirtless and sun surfing – just another blond kid on the box. Uncle Nigel stripped off and even though he was a fully grown man with a hairy chest and equally poor vision as myself, he reduced himself to brilliant-kid level, scampering in with the same glee he bowled spin in backyard cricket.

With Nan watching on and yelling gentle encouragement from the swing seat, we tag teamed the backyard strip and became the undisputed champions of radical water sports. Only when our slap-happy stomachs could take no more did we stroll in under the translucent blue afternoon. With feet cooling on bathroom tile, I towelled off the goose bumps. It was the end of holidays and I’d had my fill of play.

Justin Nigel waterslide

Ulverstone waterslide!

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Published in The Big Issue #603, Jan 2020.

GRAMMAR ADVICE: ‘Blond’ VS ‘Blonde’
The word originally came into English from Old French, where it has masculine and feminine forms. As an English noun, it kept those two forms; thus, a blond is a fair-haired male, and a blonde is a fair-haired female.

 

Decades of the decade (2010-2019)

1. The 90s (Millennial girls dress like my friends’ Mums in high school.)

2. The 80s (Stranger Things / Glow / Arpeggiated synth bonanza).

3. The 60s (Never left! 50 year mooniversary & The Beatles on Spotify mate).

4. The 70s (Influenced the 90s so get a double comeback. Ariel Pinko yacht rock whippersnappers like Drug Dealer sound like 10cc).

5. The 00s (Thanks for reality TV (you can have it back now) / BoJack Horseman’s 2007 episode) Let the Myspace nostalgia begin!

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Weekend of Reading Hobart

JH Backyard shot 2019 LO RES Shannyn Higgins

photo: shannyn higgins
  • Get Up Mum is discussed at length in this Readings Bookshop podcast.
  • I’ll be yarning up a storm with good pal Elizabeth Flux about mental health and Get Up Mum biz at the Weekend of Reading festival in Hobart Oct 12.
  • I’ll make a cameo at the Mental Health Week Comedy Roadshow Oct 11 at the Hobart Brewing Company
  • Get Up Mum is discussed at length on cool new 90s TV Show THE BOOK ZONE! Cool dude.

Life Flux

 

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  • There are signed copies of Get Up Mum + Funemployed available on my shop.
  • Following the success of the Get Up Mum radio show, it may be developed into a one-man theatre show. 12 year old me will be played by me or Shane Jacobson.
  • I’ll be presenting the book at a forum for Mental Health Carers Tasmania in Glenorchy, as you do.

You know, completing a project as dense and intense as Get Up Mum sure does have you falling into a light to moderate ‘empty underground carpark’ of self. Also, for much of this year I’ve been in Burnie caring for Mum who has rheumatoid arthritis. Suffice to say, I arrive back on the mainland a little light-on for personal infrastructure.

Now I’m on the road for an abode in Melbourne. If you happen to have any tips on a spare room / holiday shack / granny flat / mountain villa for a weary writer to dwell – feel free to electronic mail.

While I’m there (here, everywhere) – I am also interested in some 2-3 day a week work activities. Perhaps your swingin’ online hydroponic brewery / nursery / children’s organic zine workshop is seeking additional funky gen-x’s to write the world’s tightest copy for your social integration platforms. Or, I can make a mean iced milo with almond milk and no milo.

CV
MODELLING
VOICEOVERS
UNLICENSED COUNSELLING

Finally, my exquisite, delicate goal in the forthcoming future is to pursue my ‘Sensitive Beck’ esque songs. I’ve been writing them since I was 16 but recorded zilch. Nick Drake, Radiohead, Kings of Convenience et al – If anyone is interested to record or (stop) collaborate (and listen) and has a mean set of fingerpicking / vocal harmonising tendencies – or digs on a particular open mic / songwriter variety showcase to get the ernie ball rolling, make yourself known to staff at my reception counter.

WATCH THIS SPACE (message to self).
*Stares into middle distance. Assumes best*

SEE MORE AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY LATEST EZINE

 

Mum’s been listening to the series

🔴 She tunes in for a 4:30am repeat I didn’t know about 🔴 She laughed when we laughed at Pop’s polka dot pyjamas 🔴

🥄🥄🥄Mum had a very specific way of stirring her coffee. This is the only time it was captured on tape. Taken from ‘Nan gets back from South-West walk. GOOD’ – January 1993.

 

I dug my chat with Taylah on Perth’s RTRFM. A dude wrote after “It’s good that you reiterated that schizophrenia is not a full time illness. I remember a Mum who would take me to sporting activities, cook dinner and take us for swimming lessons at the beach.”

Nan Pop Justin swingseat 92

Me & Nan & Pop & Jody, Nan & Pop’s, 1992. Transferred from Kodachrome slide. Shot on self timer. Note: fluro green laces in my Lynx.