A while back the first Kiwiana Goes Pop album was released featuring my song Good Keen Metrosexual. Kiwiana Goes Pop 2 is out now and features Billy T James, John Clarke and Tim Finn’s little known song ‘Runs in the Family.’ The old TV ads on the album are a good laugh. Fiona McDonald (Columbine pantyhose), Annie Crummer (Soda Stream) and Hugo Said You Go (KFC). Not to forget The Miramar Chess Club with this brilliant Rugby World Cup song. I snuck onto the album with my song ‘Great Place To Bring Up the Kids, a satirical (sometimes acerbic) look at life from my book Myth New Zealand. Random, weird, nostalgic collection. Enjoy!

PS. Brilliant artwork by Lester Hall

Writing a novel is akin to solving a Rubik’s Cube. With vaseline on your hands. Underwater. Blindfolded. But it’s also FUN. Sometimes you just need a final push to get you over the line. Perhaps visualization could work. When my daughter struggled with high jump at school she imagined a knife-welding pirate was chasing her. (Violent class).

Here are some tips I often use to get the job done:

Ask yourself – what is the worst thing I can do to this character, then do it.

Download the Freedom app. Sure, you’ll miss out on baby photos and recipes on Facebook, but you’ll get a whole lot more done.

Find the weakest scene in your novel and DELETE IT. Don’t hold back. You’re not a scene collector, you’re an author. Find the next weakest scene. Are you brave enough to REPEAT? Ultimately you are trying to fit a lake into a cup without spilling a drop. Only you will know what was (and wasn’t) left out.

Introduce a new character halfway through who makes things worse.

Short paragraphs are easier for the reader.

Switching between Word and Scrivener helps with perspective.

Enjoy yourself.

If you’re lacking spark or confidence, listen to what Ricky Gervais told Time magazine.

None of that helps? Perhaps imagine a knife-welding pirate is chasing you. Or do what the masters do: drink.

Turning 40 has me in a contemplative mood, so here are a few things I’ve learnt in the past four decades.

1. Yelling at the TV does nothing for the outcome of your favorite sports team

2. Arseholes get promotions

3. Once you’ve been burgled, you’ll never arrive home and think you haven’t been

4. Tequila is Satan

5. Girls come and go. Friends go and get beer

6. Aging doesn’t just happen to other people

7. Persistance isn’t sexy

8. No one knows what they’re doing. Those who look like they are, can only explain it by looking back

9. You’ll never stop writing ‘Yes please’ when a form enquires about your sex

10. Any funeral will set you off if you have formerly lost someone close

11. Don’t offer to write on the whiteboard if you don’t know how to spell

12. You will cry at the birth of your first child. Or any child for that matter

13. And probably at your wedding

14. Nothing beats learning a musical instrument or a language.

15. Crazy socks matter

16. Bad smells can bring good memories. Sewerage for this author = Barcelona

17. Sleepwalking can be dangerous

18. That hipster over there likes Huey Lewis and the News but can’t tell anyone

19. Everyone is facing their own battle

20. Eating green leaves gives you energy

21. Mechanics confuse you on purpose

22. Even Hawaiians have Mondays

23. Your parents knew where you were every goddamn second of the day

24. ‘Two sides to every story’ is a cliche until your friend ends up in the shit

25. Instead of giving us time to relax, modern technology just makes us do more

26. Life speeds up mainly because, unlike kids, adults do the same dreary stuff every day

27. You can have crap days on holiday

28. Just because the title says ’40 THINGS’ doesn’t mean you need to write ’40 THINGS’

Set your own rules. Use the force. Have an awesome life.