Schizophrenia Awareness Week

Colour wheel

Ahoy, May 24 is World Schizophrenia Awareness Day.

Be aware. Be very aware. I’m reposting my action-packed article simply brimming with insightful and heartfelt material so that you can better acquaint yourself.

Sometimes I wonder if schizophrenia should not abandon its previous branding and relaunch as Thoughtism.

What do you reckon? Thoughtism.

It effects 1 in 100 people. It is a disorder of the thought organ. It is a sort of misfunction of the personality cortex. See, it’s rather hard to explain schizophrenia without disturbing people too much. We all know what people are like if they are a bit disturbed, they switch off. Unless it’s a true crime podcast – in which case it doesn’t matter how troubling the content is – audiences can’t wait to snuggle down with dark tales before bed.

I don’t know what the difference is.

But anyway – food for thought.

let’s have lunch.

Previously on World Schizophrenia Awareness Day….

To mark the occasion I wrote a letter to schizophrenia. You can find it on the Satellite Foundation website. (I’m an ambassador for them.)

It’s the time of year where you deposit some thought to the gentle complexity of one of existences most cryptic yet vulnerable conditions. Why don’t we talk about schizophrenia more? Ever wondered that? I do, quite a bit. It seems to go under the radar quite effectively. There’s a whole stack of destigmatising to be done – or – to conjure a more handsome phrase – rehumanising.

I mean, I’ve been up close to someone with schizophrenia and honestly, my heart still weeps. I reckon my Mum is brave as all fuck for withstanding the atomic martian wildness of her own mind warping itself to fit through the eye of the needle of life. 

These are real people. On the ground. Suffering. Trying to be good parents. They are gobsmacked by confusion. Their personality has secret mirrors growing like gills. They are x-men and women, able to see through time. Heaven and hell are storybook wonders compared to the cheek scolding heartbreak of disappearing in plain sight from the very people who love you more than anything.

Anyway, big hugs and NDIS support to anyone who is experiencing hard times. 

We can be superheroes, just for one day.

g r o u n d h o g __ d a y ? 


  • Schizophrenia effects 1 in 100 people. The same ratio as autism. 

  • It comes from the Greek word meaning ‘split mind.’ It’s not multiple personality disorder, it’s about the schizophrenic person having a fractured perception of reality. There is the real world and then there is their world. This results in them convincing themselves that they are not sick. Therein lies the paradox of trying to care for someone with this condition. You’re yelling via cup and string to a rogue astronaut on opposites day.

    “I’ll be alright after a sleep tomorrow, I promise.”

    In response to the comments beneath my Sky News soundbite. No, it’s NOTHING like Trump voters thinking their world view is right and everyone else’s is wrong. That is an extreme political ideology. At least Trump exists in our reality (I never thought I’d say that.) People with schizophrenia have psychosis. They experience auditory and visual hallucinations. This is why using ‘schizophrenic’ as an adjective is problematic. Voting for Trump isn’t a medical condition, it’s a personality trait – as much as the ‘hilarious’ jokes to be made would hint at the former.

  • Statistically they are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. The cliché of the unhinged guy on the bus or whatever – it’s a worst case scenario or its comic book fiction mate. When we went to the bank Mum would be very composed, even at her worst. People with a mental illness generally work twice as hard as the rest of the community just to be themselves. Australians love a hard worker, don’t they?

  • They are likely to be conduits of bizarre behaviour. Talking to themselves, nervous tics, agitated, scattered, paranoid thinking; things of the like. One friend said his Mum used to communicate with Jupiter. Another said his Mum would see a little man and woman walking around her flat, an inch tall, shining lights in her face and shapeshifting into animals. My Mum once told me she was ‘on the line’ to Mozart. This level of psychosis is creative at least and makes for a fascinating story.

    Like a creature in captivity, schizophrenia is a lot less threatening when you spend some time up close. There is love in curiosity and I spent a lot of time observing my Mum. She would be laughing to herself as if having a tea party with her voices. I would have liked to have been invited. It’s a malfunction pantomime and who are we to judge the mind unknown and its methods to cope. There are worse contributions to the universe.

  • Schizophrenia is not full-time. Mum was well half the time and sick the other. She was still a wonderful individual with autonomy, functioning as best she could and getting me breakfast while navigating the extremities of humanity. Mum used to be ‘Mother’s help’ and visit my primary school and help kids in my class type their stories up on the computer.

    As a listener to my radio version of Get Up Mum wrote: “I remember a Mum who would take me to sporting activities, cook dinner, have afternoon tea ready for me after school, and take us for swimming lessons at the beach. I also remember a Mum who would sleep all day, yell and scream, and a Mum who spent months at a time locked up in a high security psychiatric hospital.”

    It’s a split world for everyone.

  • Caring is full-time. Two words: hyper-vigilance. Part of Schizophrenia Awareness Week can be devoted to carers who are most likely family members and in the most urgent cases – kids. If someone you know has a mental illness and they also have children – I’m telling you now – that child is a carer by default and most definitely in need of support. If you are unsure about resources, Satellite Foundation is a great place to start. Don’t be shy!

  • Hearing voices is more common than you think. Apparently 10-25% of people will hear voices at some point in their lives. Amazingly, it’s not always linked to schizophrenia. This was news to me when I watched the SBS Insight episode.

    (If you can track down the full You Can’t Ask That schizophrenia episode it’s also a terrific resource).

  • Schizophrenia is devastating. Especially when used in Scrabble. You drop that thing on a triple word score and it’s WALK AWAY RENE!


  • I was interviewed on Sky News during Schizophrenia Awareness Week in 2018, days after releasing Get Up Mum. I don’t get to go on TV much. (Spicks & Specks in 2010 featuring myself and Marcia Hynes together at last and me dressed as a cat on Channel 31 in 2017). 

  • An interview (with fellow only child Elizabeth Flux) in the Guardian from 2018 which is all about my book and lived experience. 

  • I wrote a column about schizophrenia for The Big Issue in 2019.

  • There aren’t that many movies about schizophrenia (I will not watch The Joker but can only imagine it has set the empathy cause back miles) but Sally Hawkins did a wonderful job in 2020’s Eternal Beauty where she portrays a colourful character. (Is it interesting how when Sia cast a non-autistic actor everyone went hyper-nuclear but the fact that an actor without schizophrenia represented this community didn’t ruffle a spacebar. It’s almost as if that particular aspect of the mental health spectrum is i n v i s i b l e .

    Do-gooders be like – we’re championing this cause because it’s SO COOL right now, but that one over there is FAAAREAKING US OUT.)

    There’s an article about how schizophrenia is represented in cinema here.

  • Other fine movies about mental illness include Angel Baby (AU 1995), An Angel At My Table (NZ 1990), Sweetie (AU 1989), Benny & Joon (US 1993), Birdman (US 2014) & Donnie Darko (US 2001). I really enjoyed Girl, Interrupted (US 1999) the other day, even though the reviews are subpar – (who doesn’t love Winona?) I recommend The Sunnyboy (2013 Australian documentary about Jeremy Oxley, lead singer of The Sunnyboys who emerges from a 30 year battle with schizophrenia).

  • I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is a way out film from the 1970s. The book was always sitting dramatically on the bookshelf at Nan & Pop’s. (The girl on the cover gave me my biggest ethereal crush since The Childlike Empress from Never Ending Story.) Anyway, I read it as an adult and it’s a most artistic deep-dive into the psychedelic secret world that I touched on previously. Greenberg writes in the voice of the ‘voices’ which I found thrilling.

I know you’ve got to be in the right headspace for these subjects. Or perhaps you don’t. Maybe there is never a convenient time. Goose step out of your comfort zone, throw some paint around in the studio of understanding and fan your aura to the experimental frequencies of the meek and neurologically diverse.

Schizophrenia is a cause that needs everyone to come together with education, patience and some emotional heavy lifting. Fire up lovely, I know you have it in you.

That’s about it. If you keep scrolling down this page you’ll see some of the soft hitting articles I’ve unpacked in the past six weeks about my own mental health philosophies. I know you’ve got a toasted sandwich on the go and about six kids and animals to pick up from the mall so I’ll save you time and let you jump straight into:
Depress Conference
Liquid Mental
How Do You Talk To A Depressed Person
i Is The Loneliest Letter

Bonza. Take care. x

ps don’t forget to tag me on linkedin

pps if you are still feeling overwhelmed or frustrated that you simply have no tangible emotional construct of what the heck anyone is talking about when it comes to this specific topic with the word which is even complicated to spell… Well, there happens to be a real easy fix to that one (for a change):

📖 buy my book 📖

(It’s 19% off at the minute, much like my mood)

and i don’t cry for yesterday / there’s an ordinary world / somehow i have to find: duran duran, ordinary world

carers: empathy through determination

And now the Schizophrenia Awareness Week dancers 💃💃💃👻 … oh no they disappeared.

Depress Conference

Most of the things I do are misunderstood. Hey, after all, being misunderstood is the fate of all true geniuses, is it not?”

Howard Stern, Private Parts

I have decided to clear up a few finer points about the condition my condition is in by holding a depress conference. This has been triggered by a reverse microaggression on social media in which I share a more experimental, personal creative piece and the only feedback I get is someone asking me if I’m okay.

Oh, don’t think this is the first time. There was a period in the mid 2010s where I was appearing on Dave Graney’s show on Triple R and it would always follow the same pattern. For twenty minutes I maintained my riffing vibe of Bedroom Philosophy central with gags, self-deprecation and kitchen sink kookiness people have expected / tolerated from me for the past fifteen years.

Then I’d fatigue. No longer able to maintain my irony forcefield, I’d open the Trapdoor about how things were hard and how vulnerable I probably felt. In the shadow of such stark honesty my self-deprecation tended to…say…depreciate in value. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be pretty witty – especially compared to the earnest world of online ‘confessionals.’ As far as I was concerned I was just mixing it up a bit by dropping a freestyle monologue from my inner self. I was in control of my domain. I wasn’t blacking out and reading animal poetry in fur voice.


The audience never seemed to hear it that way. Once the segment was over the producer would declare “i’ve just had three people call up asking if you’re alright.”

Sigh. I’m sure this didn’t happen to Dan Sultan. He got like fifty numbers from girls and sold about a hundred albums from sneezing out a soundbite. I was Tony Martin crossed with Steven Wright but with low energy and no one in on the joke.  

I was still a bit cursed from Melbourne Comedy Festival 2oo4 in which my manager forced me to hand out flyers on the street before the show. The display of a withdrawn, round-shouldered nerd scowling at their own leering mugshot on a glossy pamphlet while mumbling ironic reviews of their untested show was enough for ticketed customers to march off to the box office and swap my subscription out for Lawrence Leung’s puzzle flashmob.

Was I alright. Really Triple R?

What kind of alright? Like did I need milk and eggs before popping home? Had I recently experienced a head trauma? Was I aware of the cultural ramifications of my starsign and like to align myself with Cancerians before a live séance at Ceres? Had I been diagnosed with ‘gloominess’ and in need of crisis uppers from the doctor off Channel 10s breakfast show?

Awareness of the nature of these calls coincided with a sharp downturn in spirits. Say, if someone had rung up to pass on that I was hilarious and honest and where could they get tickets to my show or the GPS coordinates to my bedroom, then I guarantee my mood would be emboldened. But no, I was faced with the embarrassing reality that I was (once again) personally responsible for someone’s day being objectively worse than it was due to my double robbery of stealing jokes from under their noses while leaving them with the upturned mindset of having to worry about me.

All those honours in the sick milky afterglow of having just revealed myself in public.

A) I was kinda fine (by my standards).

B) I hadn’t asked them to.

C) I was just being me.

(Christ, imagine if I really WAS out of sorts. Fantasise darkly what manner of entertainment crimes I’d be committing….oh wait, except I wouldn’t – you know why – because I wouldn’t be within like, a 10km radius of a studio microphone which I’d be avoiding like the proverbial emotional plague of depression being ridden out from the safety of my rumpus den AKA the cardboard box with blankets I keep in the garage.)

“Gee…” I thought. (Then and now.)

“…if I’m being myself (the real one – as in, the one Joni Mitchell warns you not to show anyone in Both Sides Now) and people are ringing up with a level of concern that feels completely out of step – the conclusion to this emotional maths equation is that I must be…wait for it…(depressed…..NO, something far more permanent with no known cure… misunderstood.)

Shit. Please don’t.

Perhaps I didn’t spend enough on publicists over the years with the press releases I’d written myself prepping people on how to receive my art. And here I thought I was in control of how people saw me. Oh no, wait, that’s right. I did technically spend thousands of dollars I couldn’t afford on publicists and media managers while coming to the slow, creeping realisation that it didn’t really matter how much I yelled and flapped my hands – people were going to stick me in whatever category they saw fit and at times (surely) have little to no idea who I was or what I was on about.

May you not feel the injustice of your myspace genre dropdown box.

Yes, just like Boards of Canada feeling short-changed in the mid 2000s that they were ending up in the ELECTRONICA section of the record shop when they saw themselves as a group that should sit alongside Badly Drawn Boy and Blur – so I saw myself as a legitimate artist who happened to play music, or a writer who told jokes or things of the like. When (and to this day it still rings true) the majority of people saw me as ‘Rodney Rude’ (rhyming slang for funny dude) of Triple J who sang one of two songs full of one liners and caricatures.

A point being that even under the name The Bedroom Philosopher I recorded and released heaps of songs that hinted at a darker, deeper side to myself and laced these sentiments of alienation and melancholy throughout my banter as well. Thing is: this material, exclusively, sat at the bottom of my itunes sales tallies. A macabre metadata diorama of the way in which society judiciously and meticulously edits out, overlooks, bypasses, supresses and ignores any negative references to emotions or anything that might make them sad or uncomfortable.

Fair enough – paying comedy punters and Triple J listeners are well within their rights to be fickle.

In the same way, I, as the independent artist, am obliged to be wilful in persisting with my ideals. In my defence, I’ve parked myself under my own name and regularly release things that have nothing to do with BP and everything to do with Justin Heazlewood. Confused? Compromised? So you should be – I haven’t even mentioned the fact that my own name was a Siamese twin the entire time I was trying to establish a comedy persona under a moniker, a stunt that upset a belt of rusted on gen-x stand-ups who would narrow their eyes and give me advice after the show that ‘perhaps you should start wearing jeans and use your own name and people will warm to you a lot more’ – the only warmth I felt was the defensive puddle of urine I was spraying on their legs in the obligatory post Comedy Festival psycho-sexual anxiety dream. (But who’s counting Charlie?)


Bookers prefer to go through managers and agents rather than deal with the artists themselves. Artists tend to be confused and emotional.

A manager, circa 2010

Hey, here’s a thing. And I know this might sound a bit harsh or controversial but….when people write ‘are you okay’ messages on new work I’ve posted on social media, I find it quite patronising.

Now, I’m not saying for a second that the whole ‘r u ok’ movement isn’t legit. (That particular campaign is problematic for how reductive it is, but I guess it’s a start.) If someone in your life appears to be struggling in their mental health or going through traumatic stuff, then I am literally trying to position myself as an advocate encouraging folks to check in on the isolated and overwhelmed among us. It’s just that, and you might find this ironic or darkly ‘fitting’ or just plain appropriate; high achieving mr so & so here is not immune to having it asked of him – but I have to make the point that it isn’t the message I take issue with but the timing and manner in which it’s ‘deployed.’  

If I did a post that said something along the lines of ‘I’m really struggling with stuff at the moment…’ then sure, ask me if I’m okay. But, if all I’m doing is posting a link to a youtube of some startlingly honest sound art / performance podcast I made as a tribute to my 40th birthday, (c’mon Justin, why didn’t you think to take a photo of yourself every day for ten years and then you could have two hundred million views like this instant epilepsy) well, look, here’s a suggestion – if you feel compelled to give some feedback then perhaps make it about the material itself.

Sure, the lines are blurred when I make something personal and honest, but if you’re a follower of what I do, especially the work under my own name, is it really such a stretch or a surprise or a shock that I would be putting it all out there in this way, with a clear-heartedness I have chosen to watermark my work with for many years?

Exaggerating my mental state for comedic purposes was often my modus operandi. A psychological Cirque du Soleil for someone with ten years of therapy under their hat and an emotional intelligence at a cruising attitude of five years ahead of its time.

not a quote i just don’t know how to turn off the hardcoded marks

A video of me slurring to my belly button with title in capitals (and misspelled) – perhaps a cause for concern and out of character; (says the guy who gave us Pup!) But a nuanced twenty minute audio track with sound edits and guitar laced through? If that isn’t the creative outpourings of a lovingly ‘mad’ larrikin then sure, but an actual, legitimate cry for help – I mean, anyone who knows me (which is last count, about three people. no wait…..two), knows that if I actually did need to or want to reach out for help – the last source of wellbeing, inspiration and support would be Times Square of my anxiety and self-loathing, or as you might know it ‘facebook.’

I’d be just as likely to run to a Fitzroy bar, scrawl HELP IM HORNY and fly a paper plane towards a barrel of hipsters. 

(Don’t worry, I’m getting to the helpful section where I give you examples of things you could write which wouldn’t compromise proceedings) – you could say things like ‘I reckon I prefer your comedy songs.’ Or ‘not quite sure where you are going with this Justin’ – except um…don’t, because I guarantee it will make me feel shit and that’s why I don’t read the comments anymore.)

Sigh. I really felt like we were getting somewhere.

Oh Justin, but aren’t you supposed to be able to handle anything we say once you put your art out there – isn’t that the unwritten contract of artists and audiences that has been going on since Geocities?

Well, maybe, but I adhere to the principals that suggest the only law I follow is that of my own personal boundaries and what I’m willing and not willing to subject myself to as an underpaid emerging song & dance legend. In this case, as someone who has had a hundred people take a thousand pot shots at them over the past fifteen years – forgive me if I really don’t feel like absorbing another lukewarm, subpar bit of review shrapnel to clog up my spiritual innards.

It’s not that I have low self esteem. It’s just that my high self esteem does an alarmingly good impression of low self esteem, especially while being hypnotised by the high grade anxiety I’m filtering at any given time of my life.

I saw an ad on TV a couple of years ago raising awareness about anxiety.

Phoenix Raei who plays Ash on ABCs The Heights

I was taken aback. I’m someone who thought he was well educated in mental illness. Yet, even in 2017 I hadn’t put two and two together that anxiety wasn’t just about the prickly, electro static in my guts – it was also contributing to the negative self-talk in my head and almost medical grade paranoia that a lot of people, including my own friends, didn’t really like me.

I’ve been battling that for….ever? I have a memory right now of sitting at the lunch table in grade twelve in the cafeteria at Hellyer College and wondering if my cool band of alternative friends would notice how quiet I was. (As in, I was letting them down and the pressure of that mounting like radioactivity from a malfunctioned sun.) I have a similar memory of ‘hiding out’ in plain sight while panicking about my stagnant ocean of worry from say, university until uh, f u c k i i i i n, every year after that. It’s not all the time, sure, but once you experience that level of anxiety it’s not something you ever forget.

Not only do I have this panic-static, which is almost certainly corrupting my world view in its own insidious way (as we speak), for which I am as diligently self-aware and combative of as I can be, but I also have an unfortunate collection of actual, concrete evidence that I have offended people with my art – largely via the great Tall Poppy Backlash of 2010 when everyone seemed to flip a switch from ‘Justin is alright that sexy nerd scallywag’ to ‘Oh look at bigshot hitting the bigtime and thinking he’s so good’ – and even if that was say, a smaller percentage of my audience or friends (and the entire Mess+Noise message board), the loaded arrows fired were so laden with toxic barbarity that my supple, (I assure you) mostly defenceless sensitivities are not only still healing, but will, I must confess – simply never recover.

Q. Never say never!
A. Fuck off!

I wasn’t built for that shit. And yes, a lot of people were mean to me. Online or real life. Ex girlfriends accusing me of being arrogant. Friends accusing me of name dropping. Photographer frenemies painting me as a prima donna. (Oh wait, he’s Asperger’s, scrap the last one.)  

Maybe half of it was true. Maybe half of them were joking. Maybe half of it should be taken with a grain of salt. Maybe I’m half wrong. It doesn’t matter which half. Which half of the grenade blew half your leg off? Hearts are slow like snails. Salt is poison.


When you go on a long rant on your computer now Microsoft word eventually pulls up a dialogue box and asks you if you’d like to save. Awwww, thanks technology – at least someone’s looking out for me.  

When you ask me if I’m okay. Ask yourself, what are you really trying to communicate? Are you sure you’re not saying ‘change your behaviour Justin.’ ‘Don’t post lo-fi abstract recordings of yourself, we only like you when you’re shiny and glamorous and obvious.’ Are you absolutely certain it isn’t you who isn’t completely okay, with me, in that moment?

If your intentions are good and you were genuinely concerned and are now quite taken aback bordering on offended that you’ve elicited such a jovial backlash, then at least sit back comfortable in the knowledge that you are part of the rich tapestry of misunderstanding that has strip-mined the wellbeing and context of thousands of convict descendants, bitter nerds, white types and men throughout the millennia.

And as far as being misunderstood. Are you sure you know who I am and what I’m about?

I think I have a three pronged chip on my shoulder:



  1. I’m a child carer of a Mum with a mental illness. The fallout from the trauma is my baseline emotional makeup. Sure, I’m strong and intelligent and talented and funny – I’m also –  a flat packed house of cards covered in coffee rings and tear stains.

  2. I feel a bit ripped off by fame. Bear in mind no-one is more aware than me of how bemusing anyone complaining about fame is – in fact it’s arguably my favourite genre of documentary – (I think Naomi Osaka is the benchmark, I especially love the bit where she’s just bought a new mansion but can’t sleep because it makes noises.) Thing is, I’m famous enough in certain circles to have this perceived power which makes others act a bit different around me (or jealous of) and puts me on a pedestal I never asked for and can lead to a sense of alienation (let’s call this, the worst part of fame) but not enough to have a huge following that lifts everything I do into the sky and makes me cash money to afford to live in my favourite suburb of Thornbury (let’s refer to this as the best part of fame).

    Just doing a quick life maths add-up  – I, Justin Marcus have accumulated most of the worst parts of fame without virtually any of the best parts. That’s my beef. Organic, sure, grass-fed – but still beef. La beef if you will – (Matt Damon’s Texas Ranger in one of my favourite movies True Grit. (Which is definitely spelt LaBoeuf.) Not that I would ever coat my steak in spelt flower no matter how gluten free I was. (Not that that is the correct spelling of flour even though last time I went to Naturally On High they were charging $8 for a punnet of edible flowers.) *

  3. The third and final exciting genetic anomaly in the Escher staircase Rorschach test of my ouroboros Never Ending Story Being Justin Heazlewood movie within a movie postmodern psychedelic only child Gemini ego freakout? Oh yeah, I can’t really stand the modern world. It’s too bright, too loud and everyone is addicted to their smartphones and I have no meme game and I’m not a dog person or that into hip-hop and that’s before you factor in the fact Melbourne is a bit of a shitshow at the moment I just turned 40 and my knee is playing up.

Fair dues, review and recap the above trifecta of complexity and perhaps the most warm-hearted and emotionally generous of you will conclude that any ONE of these chiperoos would be enough emotional fuel to power ones angsty disposition and / or make them particularly sensitive to blow-in, deconstructed, thinly-veiled sideswipes and criticisms leeching into the comments field of your internet feed. I mean, I’ve seen how others do on Instagram – one breakfast shoutout and cute husband humble brag and the lovehearts and hand claps are raining down like alphabet soup on LSD. Good ol’ silver fox Heazlewood takes to the stand to offload his perpetual musings from the safespace of his off-grid autobiotocracy and suddenly it’s like a horse and carriage has been plopped into the middle of a Grimes concert. HOW DARE YOU IMPRISON THAT ANIMAL! As I am dragged and chastised in a slightly sensual manner by a sea of millennial girls donned in cullotes and shapeless cardigans.


I cry, backwards.

Being in a popular band, there’s such a lot of garbage that goes with it. People pissing in your pocket and saying stuff they don’t mean. I don’t enjoy that side of it. The bullshit around limited fame is so hollow. It doesn’t even give your ego a boost.”

Andy Kent, You Am I, Juice, 1998

You did that book, the one about where you complain about being famous.”

University friend Deb at my ex’s wedding in 2020, referring to Funemployed

It’s not fair. For your work you have an audience literally clapping and laughing and supporting what you do. For me I have to sit in a dark room on my own with no-one around in complete silence.”

Argument presented to me by a girlfriend, near the tail end of her PHD (and our relationship)

If you don’t know me by now, you will never never never know me.”


* NOTE: Yes, the worst parts of fame as I’ve just mentioned is technically the best part because that perceived power dynamic surely instigated icebreakers that led to every sexy encounter I ever had in my twenties and thirties BUT – um…ok this is going to be a hard sell…imagine, say, I’m going on a date now as my humble writer self and people think I’m this Northcote hipster bigshot and to be honest the last girl I dated was so self-conscious about showing me her book collection because she thought I’d judge her that I became offended because, as I keep telling anyone who’ll listen, I see myself as a bit of a bogan from Burnie who’s punching above his weight. Anyway….this is a postscript to a footnote in a rant about fan engagement, not my hinge profile.


Heckler cogging around my desk in a micro machine. (Also the sound of my anxiety – I think his name’s Glen)


For the next seven days I will be taking questions in the comment fields of all social media with the exclusion of ‘Are you okay’ and ‘Have you seen Nanette?’ You are welcome to email anything through and I shall update this post in time. In the meantime, here’s a couple of easy training questions to get you started.


Q. Yes yes Justin very good but dude, seriously, are you ok?

A. If I can answer a question with a question young buck, I would ask – are you ok with my artistic direction lately? Are you so very anti-war that my truth bombs have you feeling existentially compromised? No wait, don’t answer that with your words, do a meme or gif of Shirley Temple twirling infinitely or Steve Urkel falling down and getting up again or whatever contextless shit you infantilised avoidance enablers communicate in. 😊 xx

Q. Why are you Justin Heazlewood sometimes and The Bedroom Philosopher also. It’s confusing.

A. Here a rule. The Bedroom Philosopher is for the humorous songs I do and comedy material and so forth. Justin Heazlewood is for all my writing and pretty much every single other thing – especially the stuff that isn’t comedy.

Q. Not good enough, I’m going to tear you a knew one like that punk Oliver Mestitz from The Lifted Brow did when he reviewed Funemployed.

“But who is Justin Heazlewood? Is he the same person as The Bedroom Philosopher?

There are at least seven Justin Heazlewoods in Funemployed. First is Justin Haezlewood [SIC]* the “full-time writer” who, through writing, is attempting to “unpack the layers of ceaseless adrenalin and ruthless self-management … to back my memories up”. He’s written articles for frankie and had a long career in the arts and wants to take some time out to become self-sufficient. This may or may not be the same person as the second-year student who, years earlier, “spewed like a volcano of self” in an opinion column for the campus magazine, CUrio (the name of his article was “Being Justin Heazlewood”).

* as in FULY SIC

Next is Justin Heazlewood the comedian and musician, who most people know as The Bedroom Philosopher: when talking about this review with my friends, I told them I was writing about a book by The Bedroom Philosopher. As the introduction states, this Justin Heazlewood “represents the category of ‘mid-career artist’” who has come to think of The Bedroom Philosopher “as a character”. This Justin Heazlewood is obsessed with his career, his audience, and himself. He reads all of his reviews and the YouTube comments on his film clips and agonises over the fact that, as a comedian and a musician, his art is often too cutting-edge for a mainstream audience. He’s the kind of person Steph Brotchie has sympathy for when she says, “if you use your name on stage, then you have to talk about yourself like you’re a bottle of milk”. He’s often reflected upon and scorned by the first Justin Heazlewood.

The other Justin Heazlewoods play minor roles. There’s “Little Justin”, who plays as many open mic and poetry nights and comedy and folk festivals as he possibly can; “Mr Puzzles”, who peddles jokes and word games in the campus newspaper; “Captain Freelance”, who publishes stories in Voiceworks and writes reviews for BMA and MUSE; “Mr Heazlewood”, the self-employed performer’s “boss who doesn’t know what’s going on”; and “Indie Justin”, who books his own national tour and pops a button on his cardigan when someone refers to him as “emo”. Add to these the metaphors that are used to describe an artist’s ego (a “little creature living inside their chest”), depressive moods (“The Black Dog”) and jealousy (“The Black Cat”) and you begin to understand what Jean Cocteau meant when he referred to Victor Hugo as “a madman who believed he was Victor Hugo.”

That’s pretty great Oliver. That might be the most accurate thing anyone has ever said about me since the random online commentator: “He seems a lot more comfortable onstage when he’s playing a character.”

“Heazlewood’s decision to focus on how art is used rather than how art is made paints a skewed portrait of what the book’s subtitle promises: Life as an Artist in Australia. While I was reading Funemployed I assumed that its subtitle was “My Life as an Artist” (I once wrote a song with the same name) and it wasn’t until I sat down to write this review that I realised the mistake. Either way, Heazlewood’s life as an artist is far from the definitive one.”

If I can just say like a couple of things in response to that…..*becomes bob dylan in that press conference where he snaps ‘would you ask the beatles that?’*

Yeah but I interviewed 100 other artists and feature their quotes throughout the entire book.

If the memoir was just my voice for 60, 000 words, then ‘my life as an artist’ would make heaps of sense. I conducted 100 interviews for the sole purpose of getting other perspectives and voices in the mix. Okay?

Well, cool beard and how is the girlfriend now and I hope your band The Finks is going okay and honestly, I’m pretty honoured by how thorough your review is, even if I don’t understand most of your arguments and would probably dismiss it as overly pedantic which is the skinny white inner-north of Melbourne equivalent to walking up to you in a bar and shoving you and saying ‘what did you say c_nt?’

Last week I dreamt that my girlfriend left me. In the dream she said that Neil Young had convinced her to do it. To be a great artist, he’d told her, there has to be great heartbreak.”

Oliver Mestitz reviewing a book while leaving his ego at the door


But now it’s just another show
And you leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

Joni mitchell, both sides now

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

Red hot chili peppers, give it away


If we’re going to take the ‘media’ element of social media seriously, then the audience are by default, citizen journalists. If the artist (or as some might call them these days, the truly dystopian ‘content creators’) are going to buy into the perceived right that by putting themselves out there they must then be prepared for whatever ‘constructive’ criticism blows back their way, then so to the fans or ‘consumers’ may want to uphold a certain respect and integrity for the dialogue box of the comments field – in the same way that journalists have certain morals and ethics which they must abide by.

Remember in school when you’d be just sitting there and you’d have ‘sad resting face’ and someone would bound up and go ‘What’s Wrong?’ and they would literally make you feel a bit worse by even asking that? Truth is, nothing was wrong, you were just doing a bit of contemplative day dreaming, utterly disconnected from the vanities and self-consciousness of your facial muscles for a few delicious seconds.

Phonze! – Birthmark ’22

This is an album I made when I was eighteen and my nickname was Phonze! I’ve reimagined / remixed it with never released tracks and field recordings from the era.

Suss it out on Bandcamp

Kurt Cobain, Shane Warne, stoners and skaters – girlfriends and god references – it’s a rough and tumble time capsule from the late 90s by a dude right into Beck and Radiohead exploring his own internal cosmos while honouring friends and Volkswagens with whatever means necessary. Brought to you by Sony Walkmans, Washburn guitars & Windows 95. 



💀 Liquid Mental

quote from Melbourne street art, circa 2010

These are complicated times.

These are over-simplified times.

These are times.

These are times tables.

The tables have turned.

Perhaps, the main problem is the glut of media being consumed via the super television we carry around for breakfast. Therefore, there is less opportunity for deep thought or reflection or gazing into space – byproducts humans have subscribed to for thousands of years. These pastimes are almost certainly a strategy to monitor and manage the jet trail of our fleet-footed psyches. An adaptable, amorphous cauldron of old-world ideals…

…bombarded by the artificial new-world.

Humans need a certain amount of s p a c e to digest their own emotional discord. There’s a war raging for our attentions. Brains are not combat weapons. (They are squishy, really.) There is an intelligent jellyfish of neural pathways in your gut, bottling tiny lightning to power your dreams and juggle subconscious patterns into the wax-poetry blood-hologram of a serviceable, manageable human being.

It’s epic. There is still a lot scientists don’t understand about what goes into the ecosystem of a conscience. It’s sophisticated.

Light the newspaper on fire.

Run amok at high speed.

* Look at us!

Self-care is a smug joke for those rich enough to indulge in mystical cures for an existence that can feel cruel above all else for folks scrounging around the third drawer of opportunities for .Success .Based .Happiness sold to them as religion by the Wizards of Id editing out the grimmer elements of Grimms fairytales.

.ti od ot srehto eripsni nac uoy taht flesruoy erahs dna maerd a eveileb dna hguone drah kroW

For some reason lately, the hard work I notice is that of people mastering walking and scrolling.

‘That looks like hard work,’ I think. I am being polite.

I’m sure they’re fine.

I imagine being fifteen again and having to carry a computer around. It would be cumbersome. I doubt it would fit in my backpack along with the walkie-talkie and fax to dial internet. 💻

The human attention span is like the villain in Terminator 2. It consists of liquid mental that is self-aware and from a time and space so complex and perfect that our mammalian / reptilian primitiveness can be forgiven for lacking the capacity and discipline to reconcile and respect what god-grade technology we have at our disposal.

Who needs a clairvoyant when your aura is the colour that wakes you in the morning?

The liquid mental melts, pools and reforms into the shape of us. Lately, it has been exposed to starbursts of electro-magnetic carcinogenic compounds which cause it to freeze, distort and fracture. In this sunken state it is shot with bites of information from specially designed media canons. Aura piercing bullets. Sense shrapnel.

Drawn to alarm like insects to a bulb, the attention span shatters.


It is as if an electric witch had distilled the muscle-memories of a thousand life-threatening surges and distilled the slick into a smart-paint pantomime – a sizzling, radioactive shadow to accompany the new human on their segue into behavioural drone in the settled technotropolis – their fears steered and imaginations quelled by a humanoid menagerie of inflated instincts and masticated conversation.

Rather than reform, the isles seem to have factionalised lately. They pool together in smaller groups, perhaps adapting to the volume of information ammunition. In this defence, they can swiftly reform, albeit into smaller versions of their former selves.

i is the loneliest letter

Are you feeling lonely? You’re not alone.

*laughs maniacally*

Wow, that’s gallows humour.

I was about to do anything within my power to stop myself from writing this article as I figured it would be career self-harm to advertise potentially stigma-laden, conversationally icky, street-cred sapping factoids such as the inconvenient truth about my present emotional state – but then I remembered I’ve already released the song “ I’m So Lonely ” as The Bedroom Philosopher. Well, when I say released I mean left a CD sitting on a bus shelter in Canberra and slowly tip-toed away with fingers crossed behind my back assuming there would be some miraculous, inevitable groundswell in exponential interest for my niche style of pseudo-earnest comedic folk-rock after some local ANU tastemaker pocketed the diffident second album and rushed home to burn copies for her mates.

In any event, the song pertains to themes of loneliness and doesn’t shy away from naming names and kicking concepts into high gears of truth and revelation – as much as any largely pun-based alt-country song not played to a click-track can.

I think it does an okay job. A fan once wrote it was her favourite as it had “clever lyrics.”
It’s true. It does.

The other memory from the release of this 2008 era song is an unfortunate incident in my sharehouse kitchen. My best mate was crouched down, looking for some plastic bottles for the homebrew ginger beer we were ensconced with. I nudged upon the subject of some of my edgier new material for the forthcoming album Brown & Orange. He did something he was prone to doing every now and then. He ‘called me out’ on my more self-indulgent artistic tendencies. He told it how it was, eye of the tiger / final countdown style, ensuring all terms would be free from any skerrick of uncertainty for the remainder of our days.

“No one cares that you’re lonely.”

To be fair, to my friend’s credit, I’ll now muster every ounce of generosity that my twelve-odd years of distance can afford and extrapolate some context to give you an idea of what he meant by that. I’m compelled to include a sudden thought that he may have actually worded it as “we don’t care that you’re lonely” which isn’t exactly any less harsh.

To him, like several other serious kinda snooty male art friends – The Bedroom Philosopher project was executed by a comedian who happened to play music. To me, it was the other way around. I was a songwriter who took advantage of the fact I could be lyrically amusing, to compensate for any shortcomings in skill while drawing as much attention towards my craft and arming myself with a tractor beam of charisma to win over live audiences in slumped universities and dodgy bar situations.

Please note that when I receorded this song I was still making endearingly naive syntax errors. For example, I actually thought it was ‘euphanism’ for some reason, and committed the error to tape. (If you want to really drill down, I was also corrected for using ‘excrete’ instead of ‘secrete’ on Swan Song when referring to ‘mothers milk’ – in this case the lifegiving fluid my dream partner was producing to nourish our newly sprung swan offspring. as you do. (as you were)

To me, I’m So Lonely was a perfectly good song that did have a bunch of jokes in it already (especially compared to What About Me.) I suppose what threw those closest to me was the eroding line between my in-song persona being serious and (wink-wink) funny. Jeepers, from certain angles a dude could construe I might be l i t e r a l l y trying to convey something quite heavy to the audience – or worse, revealing something deep and personal, trudging along the broken cobbles of thousands of troubadours before me. In this instance it seems I could be interpreted as being in some kind of genuine emotional (*vom*) anguish – the kind that couldn’t possibly be expressed, except via the economical goldrush of three-chords-and-the-troof.

How insipid.

Thing is, it was true. I was doing this. I was writing a song no other musical comedian would go near. Because, well, I wasn’t like any other musical comedians. I wasn’t (in this instance) parodying earnest folk musicians crying woebegotten tales (that would have made more sense and been a bit more above the belt) – no – I was – (for some reason) – genuinely delivering a serious statement, albeit wrapped up in more glib, darkly comic wordplays than I knew what to do with.

The results were, well, at best commendable, on average, confusing and at worst….according to my best friend and comedy partner in crime since we’d bonded at university….kind of…(as far as my interpretation of what his vibe was at the time)…pitiful. Srsly chocoblock with PIT.  

Jus’, Mate. What are ya doing?

“No one cares that you’re lonely.”

By that I’m quite certain he meant: “People only like The Bedroom Philosopher because he’s funny and we come to listen to the jokes and that is what you need to give the people and while it seems that you are trying to circumvent this transactional relationship with an offering of deeply personal, authentic sentiment, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that as a currency it doesn’t really have any value whatsoever compared to the skyrocketing arrow of your predetermined hilarity.”

Gee thanks. I could have gotten that advice from my Nan. How surreal when it comes from those closest to you; fellow edge-meisters and taste balloons with your favourite face drawn on.

The face that sent the stripey shirted indie nerd babes wild in 2007 – the same couldn’t be said for my best mate matt who was all like ‘why so serious?’
As an aside I hung out with Sarah Blasko in 2007 after she sidled up to me at Purple Sneakers – (this was in response to me scuttling up to her and giving her a copy of my album ‘In Bed With my Doona’ backstage at Falls Festival Marion Bay – she was on her way out but was gracious on all fronts. We ended up having a drink and a chat for half an hour and then she went off. I’m glad I didn’t go on about the column I’d written about the big crush I had on her which was published in street press, to which her PR team at the time wrote to say ‘we don’t normally encourage stalking, but we think you’re pretty funny.

This wasn’t the first time we had softly butted heads over my creative philosophy. When my promo photo came out the year before featuring me in a cardigan, western shirt and tie doing a smouldering pout to camera (which I dubbed ‘my best Sarah Blasko impression’) my friend was quietly appalled. ‘How are people going to know you’re a comedy act?’  

You might say my friend was in a conservative place when it came to what my act was. It was funny or it was nothing.

Meanwhile, I was in a psychedelic, experimental, warcraft of wildness, trying to make art that was nothing like my last offering. I wanted my next album to be an over-the-top magical mystery tour. Lots of emotions – angst – self-reflection – trumpets and, well, you know…sitar.

Matt’s ( – oh yeah – there’s his name – and chill out everyone concerned he’s not even the only problematic friend called Matt I had at the time) comment was presented as a piece of constructive criticism about my art. The problem was that as an only child who took most things deeply personally – he had (surely, purposefully, on a subconscious level if not conscious) managed to assemble a verbal fuselage that made it impossible for me to localise it purely as feedback on my songwriting and/or relationship with my audience and not as a general attack on my personality at a most fundamental level that would almost certainly reverberate through several semesters of forthcoming counsellor subroutines.

A shrapnel bomb, delivered like a packed lunch.

There were the ego injuries sustained at the initial point of impact, but, more insidious, was the cryptic, below the radar spread of nano-damage as the loaded sentence slashed its way through the protective shell of my cocoon and nestled its needles amongst the membrane of my supple, unformed wings.

You have the right to remain informed. Any action you choose to make in future of this message shall only reflect directly upon your ability to interpret its core structure as a warning. You present yourself as someone at risk of committing serious damage to your social rapport within the community. Should you continue down this course of wantonly self-aggrandizing, emotionally manipulative time-wasting we will no longer be able to offer you the protection that our goodwill currently affords.
There are very few people who can generate and sustain as much humour as you. To cannibalise this for garden-variety navel-gazing, even if it is presented in a self-knowing or light-hearted way, strikes us as a flagrant violation of the social codes for which much of our affirmation and support for your career is conducted (in the good faith you will abide). How else can we trust that as a performer you have our best interests at heart? How else can we spare you from the wrath of our pass-angst as we try you for the greatest of all Australian blue collar crimes – self pity.

A message from the universal Australian populous to one sole citizen Justin Marcus H

Well, I did what anyone else would in that situation. I took it to heart and quietly stewed for ten years.

I’m kidding – as if for a hyper second I could entertain the notion that any element of this is even remotely transferable. Gadzooks, it seems I had shimmied, crab-walked, tip-toed and side-swiped my way into an absolute evolutionary cross-roads for the artistic and personal development of myself as a whole.


I was 28. I was Saturn returns.

I was 20 years overdue counselling. I was heavily in debt.

I was unstable. I was growing darker by the month. I was drifting as an artist. I was wobbling as a boyfriend. Crucially, most emasculatingly, it appeared that in the petty court of sharehouse kitchens, I was now tanking as a bloke. Alienating my fellow Aussie larrikins with my sheer-bloody-minded outlook, deference and resolve.

I went on to record I’m So Lonely. (Part of the I’m So quadrilogy: post modern, over girls & hungover). Look it up. Borrow it from Blockbuster on laser disc.

I’m So Lonely gained positive comment among some serious music journalists. It felt like a comforting addition to my newfound repositioning from comedy rooms to music venues. But how the song was received by industry isn’t really the point, is it reader?

The point is…sharp.

A needle – not of the knitting variety.


I know loneliness. I feel it in the ashes of my past lives.

I can be lonely in a crowd – I can by lonely on my own.

I can be lonely in a relationship.

Now I sound like a cancelled Dr Seuss.

Loneliness doesn’t discriminate based on how well you are doing or how talented you are. Amazingly, neither is it particularly concerned with how many people you have around. (Or is that melancholy? I get them mixed up.)

It’s just, well, there. Along with oxygen and water and sun and reality tv and biscuits and time-stretched songs on youtube. Loneliness isn’t a special occasion. It’s not a pamphlet in the doctors waiting room. It isn’t a capital ‘L.’ word. It isn’t any word. Not one in our language. Loneliness doesn’t get said aloud. It isn’t part of conversation. Loneliness is a secret. One you don’t even know you’re keeping

you’ve been keeping it so long.

So whateth the deal?

I’m lo*ely. So wha? ( l o v e l y )

I was lonely then. I’m lovely now. Most of the time it’s comfortable, enough. An itch you scratch with a kind, furious thought. A beautiful familiar longing, as your child self gazes out to sea – transmitting a conversation with the clouds only an ocean can answer.

Is there a crime being committed? Have I trespassed upon any of your personal freedoms? Will my frank admission contribute to shortcomings in your day?

Have I enormously fucked everything up by not only experiencing this foible but also having the deranged audacity to share it with my social peers? Surely I am not already aware that such unsavoury, ungainly, corrupt and corrupting truth-sabre-rattling should be done only under the close supervision of professionals in a secluded setting.

I n c o n c l u s i o n

Loneliness isn’t a world that gets shared often (enough).

It’s a fantastic, desolate, magical mixed bag of thought coma and silent dance.

It’s not a house built with a door. Only an escape slide and a half-roof to park the occasional rocket ship. But it’s there and it’s real and it’s yours to warm your spine on if you wish to nestle for a second in the curvature of my beanbag.

There’s a loneliness epidemic, you know. It’s interesting to see it on the public agenda along with depression and anxiety. It’s like watching your favourite punk bands sign with major labels and have chart-topping hits. I’m not sure if it’s liberating or alienating. Isn’t it ironic? ZOMBIE ZOMBIE ZOMBIE


Brown & Orange is out now in 2009.

shoutout to ratcat

downtempo daryl & ossie

Whaddaya get if you cross my favourite childhood duo with my most revered pair from adulthood? A friendly ghost mash of Hey Hey and Boards Of Canada, naturally. This was whipped up live in Triple R studios a decade or so ago at five in the mornin.’ DJ dickie knee pluckin the vinyl and mixing up a melodrama.

get up mum is a play 🎢

Yeesh, not long to go now till the super dupe Get Up Mum show at Theatre Royal Hobart. There’s a piece in TasWeekend in the Mercury today. As well as an interview situation on ABC HOBART i guess.

Check out the ad below.
Disclosure: I am a brand ambassador for Ansett and received a promotional trip to 1992.

And what else – the latest version of my gazette!

Enjoy the full Get Up Mum promo video playlist series….


Forgotten what it’s like to be twelve? Hey hey it’s a-ok – Heazy’s remembered for ya.
It’s not back to the future but we can fast forward the past. Climb aboard the cassette space machine as it rewinds an ocean of time. It’s 1992 and Mum’s up and down like a yoyo. The problem is ” Justabout ” can’t do tricks and his getaway skateboard’s caught in the gutter. Oh well, guess it’s spag bol & Beyond 2000 in the beanbag while patting Blossum.

A one of a kind, twice in a lifetime, triple-threat theatre show is watersliding to a dreampool near you. Premiering in Hobart in March. Based on the acclaimed memoir and radio series. This is the show and tell extravaganza where a never ending story finally gets the beginning it deserves.

Get set 🥉 it’s gonna be GOLD !!!

Stay tuned for updates via the fuzzy logic gazette.

“It’s not a bad sort’ve day.” Pop

“Don’t put your cards out in the wet, that’s what ruins a pack.” Nan

Get Up Mum – Brought to you by Microfreeze Thickshakes.