Get Up Mum was a ‘chartbuster’ in Sydney this week. Number 7 with a chocolate bullet at Better Read Than Dead! Coolness.
The book continues to be well received. I have had things happen like being contacted by people I went to primary school with but barely spoke to who have revealed they are in the same situation as me caring for a mentally ill parent and do I have any advice for them? It’s kinda powerful.
I’ve also been contacted by the 2-3 organisations that exist specifically to support children of parents with a mental illness. This is after having gone through my own journey with that sort of thing some months ago and despite having a solid google not really finding anything. My book has acted as a distress flare. Only this week I went and gave a talk at a workshop for FaPMI (there is also Satellite & Kookaburra). There were kids there just like me.
The Get Up Mum Melbourne launch was epically special. As promised there were 80s ballads, Tripod and Le Snaks – in a church!
Went along to @justinheazlwood‘s Book launch for “Get Up Mum”. Probably the most entertaining book launch I’ve attended. Storytelling, 90s Eucharist, pipe organ playing (The Never Ending Story theme), @TripodActual‘s harmonies moving us to tears and lots of humour of course.
— Squirrel Comedy (@squirrel_comedy) June 10, 2018
There’s been a splendrous response from media so far. I’ve been hitting the circuit, check out the smorgasboard of links below:
- I make my Guardian debut in this classic interview from fellow only child Elizabeth Flux.
- A tender and compelling chateroo with Myf Warhurst.
- Pseudo counselling session with excellent psychologists on Triple R’s Radiotherapy.
- Lifestyles of the poor and infamous, or eloquent expose by one of Australia’s hardest working artists? You decide as I bare my artistic soul for Kill Your Darlings.
- Another day, another insanely personal interview with Frankie magazine.
- Rigorous yarn about schizophrenia on RNs Life Matters. Plus more radio action with ABC Adelaide & ABC Sydney.
- Sunday afternoon driving home with Mum (excerpt on Soundcloud.)
- Watch the trailer on YouTube.
‘Unfortunately, this beautifully written, evocative memoir will only appeal to anyone who has had a childhood.’ Judith Lucy.
‘A young’uns tentative forage through a thorny scrub of filial love, written as postcards from the nestling.’ Tim Rogers.
“I’m halfway through this book and it’s GODDAMN WONDERFUL and heartbreaking. Justin’s writing voice is so phenomenal, such a perfect combination of funny and whole-hearted without being syrupy, woe-is-me and sentimental. I have a feeling a lot of people will find “oh my god that was me” relief in this book, especially if they grew up with parents who were dealing with any kind of mental illness.” Amanda Palmer.
… [Heazlewood] does evoke what it is like to live in a loving, if flawed, family. In particular, his nan and pop – the latter the closest he has to a father – jump off the page as beacons of stability. Ultimately, if Get Up Mum is about youth, it is also about growing up too fast. Told to be a man while still a boy, Heazlewood feels responsible for his mother. Maybe, then, this is his way of finally letting go.” The Saturday Paper.
“The lows in this tale are always complemented by affectionate highs. Heazlewood displays wonder at the world and its possibilities for delight – in his grandmother’s garden, in salty fish and chips, in swims in the sea. Littered throughout the novel are lines of poetry that almost startle, asking to be read and re-read…Get Up Mum is a warm, humorous memoir about coming of age, and the deep love between two individuals who need each other equally.” Readings Monthly.
“Superbly written… perceptive account of what it’s like to grow up with someone who has [a mental illness]….written with no judgement – it’s just a simple recounting of his life and their lives but done in such a beautiful and perceptive way.” Book of the week, Burnie 7BU.
2017 IN REVIEW
- I had a piece published in the Good Weekend about phone boxes on October 21.
- I played Harry Potter in the Wheeler Centre event Harry Who? The True Heroes of Hogwarts October 25 at the Athenaeum Theatre. I used to get called ‘Harry’ when I worked at the Canberra Labor Club. I was the only bloke with mid-length hair and glasses serving glasses of mid-strength.
- Ten Melbourne writers were asked to write about ten locations around Darebin for Writing This Place. I was given Northcote Town Hall. For my piece Stella & the Elders I wanted to reflect on disability advocate Stella Young who performed her show ‘Tales From The Crip’ there. I also included some Aboriginal Dreamtime figures. It’s the first fiction I’ve written in ten years.
- I’ll be reading my own writing at Justin Heazlewood: Selected Readings at Bella Union (Trades Hall), September 24 from 2:30pm. I’ll be joined by special guest Elizabeth Flux.
- Four of my columns are featured in Frankie Magazine’s anthology Something To Say.
- A piece I wrote was featured in the book Letter To My Teenage Self published by Affirm. It’s been collated by a 13 year old Melbourne schoolgirl to confront bullying. It includes contributors such as Maggie Beer, Peter Alexander and Kate Ceberano. Icecream, PJ’s & Bedroom Eyes.
- I also have a Funemployed related piece included in Copyfight, released last year.
- Funemployed was nominated for the Most Underrated Book award. (It’s a thing.) I presented Funemployed: The Sequel at last year’s Bigsound feat. Jen Cloher in scintillating form.
- Crazy Bastards was nominated for Best Performance at the Online Video Awards & an AWGIE in the ‘Drama or Comedy’ category.
- My ditty ‘I Hate Myself’ was recently featured on RN’s Earshot during mental health week. Still got it.
- Here’s a clip of my Ode to Melbourne inspired by a John Bracks painting at the NGV.
- Funemployed LP is out on Bandcamp and iTunes. You can hear the RN Podcasts.
- I recently appeared at Margaret River Writers Festival, Music NT’s Intune conference and the Smith Family’s ‘We Mind Be Kind’ anti-bullying campaign in Tasmania.
- Funemployed has gone into a second (de)pressing. I continue to get lovely emails from fellow artists including this one from Karen:
“You have no idea what it means to me to have someone voice so beautifully & honestly these experiences – that so reflect the story of my little unsuccessful independent 25 year career! Every page seems to reflect my own experiences,.. Every pages shines a little light on my most excruciatingly difficult ‘artist moments’ and draws conclusions I painstakingly took years to come to. In a very difficult ‘semi retirement’ stage of my career, it has been wonderful to see that I wasn’t alone all this time,.. That I did not experience these things because I am a failure or a ‘little bit shit’,.. Just someone who was not so good at playing the game! It’s a great book, well done!”
- My wee ABC series Crazy Bastards has been remembered through a series of recently published stills.
- A piece I made for ABC’s The Mix.
- Amanda Palmer has given Funemployed a thorough plugging on her blog. “Perfect for artists who have been at it for years and want to read the story of someone who’s telling it like it fucking is.”
- Funemployed was featured in Melbourne Writers Festival director Lisa Dempster’s Top 10 of the year. (Grug and the 3-D Printer narrowly missing out)
- Funemployed also scored a touchdown on ABC’s Book Club. Marieke Hardy says: “It’s a wonderful, sad, beautiful, interesting memoir and anyone that’s working in music or art in Australia should definitely read it.”
- Funemployed Book and EP are out and about! You can read a sample chapter The Black Cat. Here is my Eight Things They Don’t Tell You About Being An Artist. Plus a self-interview with Three Thousand and a tell-something interview with Broadsheet.
- I made a Mix for The Lifted Brow – songs for artists.
- Art Day! was a ripping success. I read the whole book. It ran to time. There was palpable warmth emanating from the generous hearts of Australia’s creative brethren. Ultra thanks to my wing-readers Sabrina D’Angelo & Oliver Clark. Plus resident artists Yvette Coppersmith, David Blumenstein & John Pace. Love to The Awkwardstra and Fluorescent Organs. Two thumbs up.