Monday, February 18, 2008

The "Top End" - Australia's Africa

(Warning, this post contains a good deal of shameless self promotion).

In fact, let me be quite honest about this, 2008 is going to be the year of shameless self-promotion, Legion of Fans (LOF), so suck it up and get used to it.

But don't complain too much, because soon I'll be releasing details of how you can get on board the Safari gravy train. Yes, you, LOF, and other readers of my books are in store for a big surprise later in the year... the chance to win a luxury safari in Africa. I am sworn to secrecy, however and can say no more for now.

But now to more immediate matters... my next speaking engagement is going to be in one of my favourite places in Australia and one of the very few that I have actually ever paid money to visit. I speak, of course of the Northern Territory, Australia's "Top End".

I first visited Darwin (capital of the Territory) as an impressionable young soldier in the early 1980s. Back in those olden days, before the influx of half of the army, Darwin was much less... how can I put this without offending my soon-to-be hosts... civilised than it is today.

There were strippers (exotic dancers as we say these days) in the pubs at lunch time, and a drunken free-for-all at the Nightcliff Hotel on Sundays called the 'Rage in the Cage' - so called because it was a big rage, with live music, in a big cage. What more can I say.

There was a sense in the Darwin of old that the rules that applied in the cooler (temperature-wise) southern states didn't all apply in the Northern Territory. In that respect it was rather similar to Africa.

Riding around in the back of utes (bakkies to the Africans among us) was, if not encouraged, tolerated, as was the practice of measuring road distances in cans of beer, rather than kilometres. Tut tut you say, and rightly so. Strippers, unsafe road practices and drink driving are not things to be encouraged (OK, strippers should be encouraged, but only in a non-exploitative forum). But, unlike much of the rest of my home country, it was FUN!

Of course, the Darwin of today is different to the Darwin of yesterday. The rule of law prevails and as far as I know there are no cages and (I presume) fewer naked ladies.

Best of all (and this segue has taken a very long time), there are libraries.

And I, LOF, have been kindly invited to speak at three of them. I will be speaking at lunch time on March 5 at Darwin City Library, at Casuarina Library in the evening, and then at Palmerston Library on the evening of the 6th.

This is the first time that a library has ever invited me to speak, though I give notice here that I will be harrassing many more public lenders around the country to suffer my presence in the coming months.

While I am fairly certain there will be no public nudity or drunkenness involved, there will be wine and nibblies on offer at Casuarina.


Java said...

If I comment first will that mean I will win the trip, just don't have enough money to take my hubby home! Pleeezzzzz.
Well done,what an honour to be invited, I guess by now you can say "you made it".

tonypark said...

Sorry, Java, as I understand it, the competition will involve you actually having to buy a book - which may count you out as you're probably going to get a freebie.

You may have to buy one as well!

Crookedpaw said...

The cage has gone from the Nightcliff foreshore; it's now an entertainment complex with a not unresonable restauraunt.

The strippers are still reasonably plentiful, albeit within the confines of various sanctuaries, ala Krueger National Park. Although I think the Parap Hotel might be worth a look. At least it used to be.

Was in Darwin for 16 years, and I used to live 100 meteres from Casuarina. Spent quite a few hours in the library. Eventually got tired of the constant heat.

My lady works at a bookshop and we were wondering how we might be able to arrange for you to put in an appearance. Any helpful hints?

Live long and prosper,


tonypark said...

Crookedpaw thanks for the update on seedy Darwin.

As to visiting the book shop - I'm there!

Have your people talk to my people. Seriously, how about in early June with Silent Predator comes out? In fact, I'm seeing my people for drinks tonight, so will hit them up for a tour of your state.

ali g said...

Darwin?? didn't it get all blown away back in the seventies??
So,... Tony,... go up there and blow them all away again.
See you and them Zimbabwians here before that though
ps. have changed my call sign back to fat cat as Java thought my last cat wagging it's tail looked like a duck...sigh

Bec and Call said...

Am assuming that any talk in a library will involve gentle but determined agitation against the use of libraries for the actual reading of your books?

I think only of the royalties, you understand.

Java said...

If it's gonna help you become a millionaire novalist I'll buy one too, got enough friends to give it too as a cool pressie. So .. Darwin is not that far from Perth?
What was that date again?

Gargoyle said...

Hi Tony, looking forward to winning my safari...

By the way, my new blog is at:

Java said...

AliG, bwaaaa haaa haaa, I'm so sorry, it really did look like a duck to me, one shaking it's head as if choking on something :-)

Cool Cat!

redcap said...

No ideas of puddling down to Adelaide for Writers' Week? You can help me bail up Ian McEwan and tell him how pants the non-war bits of Atonement were. Caaarn, I'll buy you a Coopers' Pale if you do ;)

tonypark said...

Redcap, you never know. I'll be angling for a trip to SA via the publishers, so will keep you posted.

redcap said...

Excellent, Blackadder. Ian McEwan, watch your back, sir!