What’s it all about?
Joined by a high-country farmer, a businessman, a photographer and a shoestring traveller named Blanket Boy, the amateur sportsmen take to the streets of India to face off against kids who can bat and bowl like demons. Amidst the sledging and inappropriate jokes, the Black Craps, as they name their team, learn about life, love, death, compassion and the fascination of India.
A book about travel, humour, mateship and the love of cricket that unites people whatever their age, race and station, Bowling Through India is an endearing and affecting read.
What do readers say?
Kit Packer (Amazon review)
If you’ve ever fancied going on a road trip with your best friends, this story will only make you want it more! Though the road trip has cricket as its central theme, the real story here is what happens when friends escape their ‘normal’ lives and get the chance to go crazy, lots of laughs.
Sasha Naryshkine (Amazon review)
Great fun, well written, loved it. In fact loved it so much that I wanted to organise my own team to head off to India to do the same!
raveburbleblog (Amazon review)
Justin Brown describes India in words I never would have thought of and had me cracking up all the way through. I’m only giving him four stars though, ‘cos he went and made me homesick for the place, the rotten sod.
I’ll admit I may have been rocking on the back of my heels pre-show but there was no need. City of 100 Lovers kicked off with a thunderous bang. Brilliant and funny with a tuneful crew, this is a show for Kiwis from all backgrounds, with a few un-pc and inappropriate moments biffed in for good measure. I may have had a tear in my eye during the final song.
I am one of 158 people in the show. What a bloody privilege. Kia Ora! (Ps. 100 Lovers is a resident show at Sky City Theatre for 9 months. PPS. Thanks for all the beautiful comments and support on opening night.)
In the not too distant past, I was approached to write an original story concept for what was to become a live musical comedy about Auckland. Where to start! Exactly. In my opinion, the story needed to encompass love, travel, the city itself, and most importantly, to showcase NZ to the rest of the world. The City of 100 Lovers was born. Since then I’ve been closely associated with the show and rehearsals are looking all G. And just today, Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote to me and said how much he loves it.*
Opening October 12, Sky City Theatre, Auckland.
My publisher sent me a bottle of plonk to celebrate the launch of my new book today.
I’m very grateful. I’ll make a dent in it later, maybe sooner.
This new version of ‘Kiwi Speak’ is upsized and updated. The original (with a grass-green cover) came out ten years ago and somehow wrangled its way into homes all over the country. And it fits nicely inside your handbag, which I’m told is a bonus.
It’s a book you might read in the bach, or on the bus, or when you emigrate to New Zealand when you need to know the difference between a ‘manu’ and a ‘manus,’ ‘hamu’ and ‘hungus,’ or the ‘wop wops’ from ‘Whack City.’ (All of these gems just popped up as ‘unknown words’ on spellcheck which is bloody enlightening.)
A lot has changed in our little country in the past decade. Along with the chapters ‘Mum Speak,’ ‘Dad Speak,’ and ‘Nana Speak,’ are newbies ‘Skuxx Speak,’ ‘Street Speak,’ and ‘School Speak.’ Like many Kiwis, I’m inspired by Taika’s movies, Lorde’s songs, random youtube clips posted by downhearted skaters (‘Nek minnit’) and loveable hooligan country kids (‘Eat some ice creams do some bombs!’).
This time around I dedicated the book to the late Murry Ball and John Clarke, two Kiwis who shaped our country with their words and ideas. If it weren’t for your gumboots where would you be?
Chur, New Zealand!
Orrgh, ace buzz!
Who knew this book would survive two Rugby World Cups and be celebrated ten years later with an upsized, updated edition. Might have a hoon on my durrie to celebrate. At the blue light disco.
If you want to speak with the author (ME) please get in touch with Jerome JBuckleigh@penguinrandomhouse.co.nz who is taking care of publicity for the book.
Meanwhile, here’s Kiwi Speak’s intro.
New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote. It’s also the only place on Earth where builders eat pie sandwiches for lunch. This land of plenty invented the jet boat, spreadable butter and the electric fence. It’s also the only place where jandals and shorts are considered ‘semi-formal’. This is the home of tiny bathroom basins and 20 million traffic cones, where courgettes are zucchinis, flannels are face cloths, cling film is glad wrap, a dairy is a shop, swimming shorts are togs, sweets are lollies, and where homes are insulated by a solitary heated towel rail.
Welcome to Kiwi Speak, a book that toasts the way New Zealanders yarn. It celebrates the vowel-flatteners and noun-nasalers among us. There are sayings we used to say and sayings we shouldn’t. There are put-downs, pick-me-ups and things you can yell in the pub. You’ll discover how Kiwis lose their rag on the road, in the bach and up over the backblocks. The little toerags have their own lingo too. (When they’re not wagging, that is. Or is that bunking?).
Maybe you’re new to New Zealand. Maybe it fits like an old pair of Stubbies. Whatever the reason, why not pull on your ugg boots, jump in the La-Z-Boy, grab an L&P and check out a few of these beauties. And don’t sweat it if you’re not a big reader — you’ll knock this bastard off in no time. PS: Though these sayings aren’t all exclusive to New Zealand, they are used in everyday speech, often having been passed down generations. Some youngsters born after Helen started running the joint won’t know some of the old ones. Conversely, your nana probably reckons the ‘Street Speak’ section sounds as ludicrous as fart tax. One thing’s for sure: New Zealanders, we’re different. So let’s have a shandy and celebrate.
Good news! If you have an avid short(ish) reader in the house, I have a signed copy of my middle grade novel Shot, Boom, Score! to give away. 10th person who emails me will win.
Here’s what the book is about:
“Toby, if you get twenty wickets and ten tries before the end of the year, Mum and I’ll buy you a new GameBox V3.’
Can you believe it? One minute I’m in trouble for double-bouncing my sister and the next Dad is telling me I’ve got the new GameBox V3! And it’s not even Christmas. Shot!
Toby thinks this will be easy — after all, he gets Player of the Day all the time. But he hasn’t reckoned on Malcolm McGarvy. McGarvy is one of the biggest kids in the school and he’s got a huge scar which he got in a shark attack — he wears one of the teeth around his neck. You know McGarvy is near because you get goosebumps up your arms. And he’s going to make sure Toby doesn’t get that GameBox V3…
A hilarious story about a boy who is promised a Gamebox V3 by his dad if he scores 20 wickets in cricket and 10 tries in rugby, but is foiled at every turn by the class bully.
This opportunity, offered to me by a boy named Kit at a school talk in Nelson, sums up why I write for kids. They have no fear and no filters. Their heads aren’t clogged with mortgages, work woes or what to cook for dinner. So they’re not allowed ice cream for dinner, or to stay up past ‘X-Factor,’ but nothing tops climbing trees, licking the bowl or having a fist fight with your best mate.
For the past ten years I’d focused on writing non-fiction travel (UK on a G-String, Bowling Through India) as well as humour (Kiwi Speak, Rugby Speak). In truth, I wanted to write middle-grade fiction, like my hero Roald Dahl. But first I had to meet someone who knew what they were doing. That someone was Joy Cowley, who I accosted one day at the Story Lines festival in Auckland. A few days later – when she’d read my stories – she agreed to be my ‘Yoda.’ She is a very generous and smart lady.
Then one day I had the idea for Shot, Boom, Score! It came while on the sideline at my daughters’ soccer match. Like many kids, sport played a major role in my childhood. As did rewards for doing well. Many a parent has bribed their kids with a ‘pie for a try’ or ‘movie tickets for a wicket.’ With Toby in Shot, Boom, Score! I wanted to take this theme to a new level. Here is a boy who struggles with school, but excels at sport. When his father sets him the GameBox V3 Challenge Toby thinks he’s hit the jackpot. Sadly, he hasn’t accounted for class bully Malcolm McGarvy – who does his best to ruin the party.
Kids can be ruthless critics. If something stinks they’ll let you know. So it was with a certain amount of relief when my nine-year-old daughter Sophie (who was having Shot, Boom, Score! read to her class) came home and said, ‘Dad, even the bullies love this story – and they never share their feelings!’ Here’s hoping many other kids enjoy the book.
P.S. I did end up dedicating a novel to Kit, but as of yet haven’t seen any money.
Bowling Through India was a was one of those trips where something happened almost every five minutes. Which of course became perfect fodder for a travel book. Stephen Singh of Birmingham wrote to me today and asked: ‘Have you ever feared for your life during any of your travel writing stints?’
There was the car crash in the game reserve in Namibia. (Our car had to be lifted from rocks by 15 burly locals.) And I seriously thought I’d end up in A and E boogie boarding down the Zambezi River.
This question, however, took me to the place where many others had lost their lives: a cemetery in Varanasi, India. Our cricket team, consisting of five New Zealanders, decided to challenge the local village to a game. It was a bizarre, beautiful experience.