2022… all my ducks in a row


Ducks are my new favourite animal. (Soz cats.) I love them waddling about with their handsome metallic green necks and feathery brown pelts. It turns out Burnie has a large, healthy population at Romaine Park. I adore how they travel in pairs and huddle in groups. They are not afraid of people and snooze out in the open. It’s so trusting and meek, my heart melts.

Apparently ducks rest in groups for safety. The outside duck has one eye open to keep guard.

The quack community.

Little duck bums.

They generate happiness in me.


Well, it was a year. Chalk it up to experience. Downgrade my heart from spectacular. Surprise my mind.
Beautiful reluctance. Transcendental views. Average dates – (I’m looking at you October 7).

Dogs barked, muesli was eaten. Spotify playlisted and rage guest programmed.

Joy. Content. Heartbeats.

Dreams about…wriggly jigsaws and friendly abandonment. How am I here? Where am I there?
State hopping, spoken word performing, mental health monologuing, man about house.

I’ve had it all – a lifetime of moments. Set to the soundtrack of an infotainment hotshot cathedral.

Dress right. Knuckle down. Buckle up. Take off.

REFRESH refresh, INFINITE scroll.
Poker machine high school reunion.
Get up close to what troubles you.
Keep clawing at the glass.
Go handheld.
I’m certain
there’s a
foothold
on
the

h
o
r
i
z
o
n

WHAT I CHOSE TO WRITE ABOUT:

Mental health mainly. My opening gambit i is the loneliest letter was partly inspired by trawling through my musical archive. I found a stripped back version of my song I’m So Lonely, written in 2008. Just another patented Saturn Returns soundtrack to a suddenly bottomless life. I was impressed. If nothing else, it’s comforting to be reminded that you aren’t some alien version of yourself, just a boat rockin’ riff on previous themes.

Then I suppose after that it was How To Talk To A Depressed Person.

I’ve never liked the question how are you.

Asking someone about their mental health is a confronting and private matter. It needs to be given the gentle, conscientious forethought of an orienteering operation. There’s strategy, tact, respect and craft. Instead, we get r u ok – (a high brow advancement on what r u lookin at?) – the grammatical nature of which is enough to simmer my inner harmony.

Never fear, my well-meaning diatribes are here.

This year was marked by the premiere of my one man show Get Up Mum in March. It was epic. It was profound. (It was quite long, to be fair). I hope to perform it again mid next year in Burnie and Melbourne. I was interviewed by my new friend Helen Shield. If you were wondering, one of the most uncomfortable aspects of broadcasting such personal work is seeing the inappropriate tags and disclaimers clogging up the footer. It’s bemusingly ironic that mental health is either cloaked in euphemism or clownishly signposted in bureaucratic overreach.

I had surgery. An ulnar nerve transposition on my right arm (as you do). I’m past 40 and abstractly vulnerable. Well, to be fair, I was once described as ‘intensely vulnerable’ by Fiona Scott-Norman in an article about stand-up comedy in 2007. So, artistically, I’ve worn my brain on a chain. Only now is my physical self catching up to the costume. What could go right.

I wrote an article titled Liquid Mental. It was sparked after walking along Romaine Park and seeing a teenage boy wandering along the fields. His head was lowered, having mastered the art of walking and scrolling. I was haunted. I had to write something and incorporate Terminator 2 and the music of SBS Chill regular Eric Hilton. It was fun.

I packed up my place in Melbourne to return to Tasmania. As I was sorting everything it occurred to me that it was twenty years since I became “The Bedroom Philosopher.” Oh well, said the diligently private person to themself, I guess we could use this as motivation to launch a light to moderate assault of content – I mean – art, on the unsuspecting consumers – I mean fanbase. I rekindled pleasure in reimagining my first album of light-hearted folk songs, cultivated during my accidental dream job of being the weekly songwriter for Triple J’s Morning Show in 2002.

It was a nice time in the archives. I liked who I was at 22. In a not dissimilar creative time travel to the way I hung out with my 12 year old self in Get Up Mum – I had a beer or two with my 22 year old self in the Living On The Edge…Of My Bed release and subsequent memory lane / cassette digitising sessions. I even cut together my own radio documentary on the origin story of how I went from winning ABCs Heywire to scoring the gig of a lifetime, without having performed a single comedy spot.

Beauty.

It wasn’t all beer and skittles in that career. Sometimes it was sarsaparilla and quoits. I love nothing more than bemoaning the clusterfluff of riding success while being a share-household name in Australia. I feel like I’ve had so many backward compliments and subtle cracks at me over the years I wear a technicolour raincoat in a fickle bid to thicken my skin. Anyway, blow off steam I must – it felt fitting to hold my own Depress Conference.

And so on and so forth. I had two pieces published in the mental health themed poetry anthology Admissions. I wrote a letter to schizophrenia, gave a talk at a mental health conference and rereleased / reimagined my first ‘proper’ album recorded on a four track at the end of Hellyer College, 1998. (Peppered with lil’ somethings recorded on my cassette walkman).

I was nominated for the most underrated book award in 2015. It was a relief to lose.

Birthmark by Phonze!


It was nice to receive a kind letter towards the end of the year. Thanks Lucy.

Thanks to like, anyone who has read my self-published dalliances and gained any insight into the cosmic beauty of our abstract depressions. Power to thee.

The key is to….keep going (apparently).
And try hard not to ask anyone if they are okay.
And if you’re talking to me, try and avoid the sentence “I found some of your posts worrying.” It’s sort of patronising, sorry.

Bonding on that private channel requires you to have prepared an application with a backpack full of context. Put thought into what you say – as opposed to the industry standard of little. Do your interpersonal homework. Like a good essay, support your statements with evidence.

If you are truly, lastingly concerned about them / me, just be brave and ring them up. Have a friendly chat.
Talk about the price of weather. Remind them they are cared about. It’s far too easy to forget. (If you are a bloke and can drop the ‘L’ bomb – well, good luck with that.)

Why the human heart is designed with affirmation amnesia I am uncertain. Perhaps we are animals after all; fitfully aware of the perilousness of our circumstances – the energy reserves required to survive in this befuddled bio-matrix claptrap of a bush doof. The casino of soft knocks and hard streams. It could not be more unnatural if it tried. One puts ones blinkers on. One runs ones own race. 🏇

He’s going the distance.

CAKE

Get human. Stay wobbly.
subscribe/unsubscribe
in/out/in/out

Love from planet Justin. 🪐

I’ve just signed up and wanted to let you know how I’m enjoying all of this. You’re writing is so entertaining – love the fast-paced, psychedelic imagery and invented words (autobiocracy!). I also dislike of the question “are you okay?” – not just because it’s a bit patronising but it is also such a non- question, it lacks real curiosity and just leaves you to reassure rather than reveal. I think if the asker really wanted to know, it wouldn’t be a closed question.

I also wanted to let you know how much I loved ‘Get Up Mum.’ I cried many tears for 12-year-old Justin, but found myself equally in awe of the creative, intelligent, sensitive and resilient kid he was too. I work with therapeutically with children and have on occasion with child carers and so this resonated strongly for me. Thank for for undertaking such creatively courageous work. Digging up and reworking childhood trauma can be therapeutic but it’s also painful and can’t go back to being unseen, which comes with its own complexities.

Your stuff on loneliness has been so inspiring and helpful for me at this particular time in my life, so thank you! When is your next book!?

Forgot to say before, the free-associative flow of your work is really enjoyable to read. I’m not sure how you feel about Helen Garner, but I love her autobiographical stuff for the same reason. The way she layers little snippets and details from daily life that sometimes almost seem random, but in accumulation hint towards an unbearable/unknowable emotional truth lying dormant in the background.

Looking forward to reading more Justin.”

FROM LUCY, BY EMAIL

If this article has concerned you then please sit back and tinker with that tickly feeling of being emotionally stimulated. Cultivate a sleep routine, turn off your phone by 9pm and seek out the help of a good psychologist.

You are always stronger than you think.

You are always stranger than you feel.

Schizophrenia Awareness Week

Colour wheelHi there. Today is 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 ? 


AT A GLANCE (STAT!): 

  • 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!
     

A FEW LINKS TO PAST THINGS I HAVE CONTRIBUTED: 

  • 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.

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. 

FOLLOW YOUR HEART OR PULL IT APART

Cliché

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….

GET UP MUM LIVE SHOW = 2022

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.

Cats are in lickdown

A new study by James Cook University has found about half of cat owners reported feeling their cats were "put out" by their increased presence during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns.

The study surveyed nearly 400 people living alone during lockdown and looked into how pet ownership interacted with reported levels of mindfulness, depression and anxiety.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-08/study-cats-felt-owners-were-invading-their-space-during-lockdown/100275392

A right royal commission

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System launched today. I gave a statement and interview for it which can be found online. The intention is to build a whole new system from scratch, which could inspire universal change.

The damage has been done, but hope is pretty cool.

I’m honoured to be able to contribute to this brave new world. I hope the report can make waves from butterfly wings and pour light on the darkest hours of the human mind and the systems that govern our hearts.

In the spirit of the vibe, you can carouse a package of my mental themed columns here (there) everywhere.

IMG_8578

 

IMG_7020

That’s good Justin how are you going?

Oh alright I think. The usual baseline of atomic stress endurance and a horizon line of potential difficulties to high jump over.

Yep.

I have a lot of dreams where everyone is sitting down and participating in something like school or a gig but I’m unable to participate as there is some huge dilemma like a conflict or haphazard preparation and I’m in a total panic.

Gotta love dreams.

At least dreams tell it how it is. Honesty overrides platitudes.

Did you like high jump as a kid?

Not so much. It’s a bit like backstroke in that you can’t see where you’re going. Still, I fared better than javelin. There was one day in PE where I threw it and the back of the pole smacked me in the head.

Did everyone laugh?

They’re still laughing.

I’m so glad you could make it

I’m up and about and ready to stop. Stop collaborate and listen, that is.

200928_Vic Mental Health_Justin_025

Photo courtesy of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

There’s news afoot and updates aplenty, providing you haven’t been paying attention – which is okay because I’m on the ball / having a ball (a wrecking ball, that is). Knocking over walls and kicking goals and shifting goal posts and not posting on social media. Are we cool? “Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!.” Here we go (again) for the first time (in a long time).

  • The latest issue of my rebooted mailing list Justin Heazlewood’s Fuzzy Logic.
  • An episode of RNs All In Your Mind podcast which I recently contributed to.
  • I’m an ambassador for Satellite Foundation. They’re an organisation based in VIC who help kids of parents with a mental illness. They’re running a six-week online program for people aged 17-23 (living anywhere in AUS). If you know anyone who might benefit from such connections, there’s info HERESelf-care-alphabet
  • A newly separated, individual, lowly tailored social media page, to dwell the nature of my own intellectual property within.
  • Some quiet reading (about reading) for you.

A dedication to my artist brethren who might be doing it tough at this (or any) time.

Hear the Funemployed EP in its entirety HERE