Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Have a Merry Christmas and a happier New Year and here's The List.

I decided for a Christmas wrap up I’ll list the good the bad and the ugly in no particular category or order. I will stress that this is all my own personal opinion so if you disagree, that’s your right and I will not argue it, but I won't publish your comments either. :)
This is the sixth year of my total indulgent blog and thanks to all those who have visited. I will continue in a more diminished capacity next yer. D
PS: if you get to the end there's a little gift, especially if you like Alan Moore.

 Best new novel: The Girl with all the Gifts - MK Carey. Great Sci-Fi thriller about a young girl trying her best to save humanity after an apocalyptic event.
Best old novel finally getting around to reading: Perdido Street Station: China Mieville. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this, I’ve read other Bas-Lag novels like the Iron Council
 as well as Un Lun Dun and enjoyed them immensely. So I wasn’t surprised that this would be the masterpiece everyone said it was. Fine novel that takes way beyond what you expect when you start. Like all great books it is a great journey rather than a great read.
Comic series -International: Walking Dead- It kept me interested, so it wins.
Comic Series- Australian: The Deep. Tom Taylor is a gifted writer. This story of a family of Maritime Scientist is soon to be a TV series and deserves it.
Also Dean Rankine's Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candyland. A hilarious immature adults only tale of Tyrone and Phil, two sweet litle maniacs who have the craziest adventures.Just read it.
On Line Comic – International. Crossed-Wish You were Here. The Crossed series can be dismissed as ultra violent crass splatter fodder. This series (which ended this year) was a well paced and executed story of love and regret.
On line comic- Australian: Kranburn. Nobody has Ben Michael Byrne’ skill as a story teller/artist or sickness of humour.
Best Movies – Interstellar, Snowpiercer, The Railway Man
Worst Movies: (Due to massive hype and higher expectations) Guardians of the Galaxy, Godzilla and The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug.
 Best TV show, True Detective, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, In The flesh. Derek.
 Best comic series (that I hadn’t read yet): Preacher.
 Best documentary: The Outer Circle Line – Melbourne’s Forgotten Railway.
Best Aussie comic: Decay. 
Best Album: The Smith Street Band- Don’t fuck with our dreams , Group LoveSpreading Rumours and 21 Pilots- Vessel (I really haven't listened to a lot of new music this year)
Best Blog: Dangerous Minds. Fun and informative.
Best Magazine: SiFi Now

Biggest disappointment. The ability of people to shoot themselves in the foot when announcing projects and then never producing. This in itself isn’t too bad, it’s the complete communication shut down when they find they can’t deliver and pretend it never happened that is the biggest problem. I know now not to be part of any Kickstarter or presale of Australian comics in future because of it.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Melbourne’s Forgotten Railway: a TV documentary about the Outer Circle Line


Melbourne’s Forgotten Railway: a TV documentary about the Outer Circle Line

Melbourne’s Forgotten Railway: The Outer Circle Line is a soon to be released documentary about an abandoned rail line that existed between 1890s and 1930s in my home town of Melbourne.
ts existence tended to melt into obscurity but its trail was still there to trace for any budding historian. With Melbourne’s rich history going through a renaissance, the Outer Circle Line is exciting the memories and imagination of young and old alike as they wonder how Melbourne would have evolved if the line was still in existence.
 Ron Killeen and Andrew McColm have taken this fascination and with the money raised by the Fund sourcing Pozible website are producing a fact filled show for television. Along the way unearthing many pictures and film long thought to be lost.
The documentary should be aired in 2015 but meanwhile click on the link and explore the social media pages of wonderful old photography that many supporters have also helped to contribute to the project.   PREVIOUS POST ARTICLE

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


I once had a Hobbit Hole fascia on a brick wall in my backyard. It looked nice but I couldn’t open up that door and step inside. Because it was exposed thus susceptible to bad weather it eventually had to be pulled down.

 You see I have this thing about JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, not so much the books these days. I discovered better written and more exciting sagas years ago but the movies. Their design and production impress me no end.
 So one of the items on my bucket list was to one day have a real Hobbit Hole in my back yard. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet but I believe I now have the next best thing a Hobbit House. It took several years and some really nice people but it happened.

 The Hobbit house frame and interior was originally built bylocal artist  Jamin Swaneveld over five years ago when he ran Willowwoods just outside of Belgrave in the Dandenongs East of Melbourne.
 Jamin planned to set the frame into the bank of the creek that ran beside the property where Willowwoods had its gardens and little hexagonal shed/store.
Willowwoods sadly folded for various reasons but providence favours the brave and talented and Jamin went onto establish Last Frontier Tattoos in Upwey and gained for himself a successful business and a reputation as a masterful inker with a waiting list of up to year.
The Framework as originally built.
The unrealised Hobbit house followed Jamin to Last Frontier with the hope of maybe completing it as a more basic version and use it as the counter for the shop.
But where Willow Woods was a gentler more whimsical place. Last Frontier –which Jamin has designed and built himself- is more steam punk with a tilt towards the strange and mythical. The shop having an atmosphere of a 19th Century Apothecary and Curio Shop, so the Hobbit house didn’t ideally fit the shop theme. So it was put out the back because Jamin really didn’t want to get rid of it with all the work he had done on it.
Jamin's original inside work.
See video

From the side.

 Around November 2013 I paid a visit to Jamin at Last Frontier to see what marvels he had added to the shelves in his shop and especially to see a new display cabinet he had made to house his lovely old medicine bottle collection. As it does talk returned to the old Willowwood days and the “what ifs” and “could’ve beens” and Jamin mentioned the Hobbit house was still around the back of the shop. Still in excellent condition hidden under a large cover and buried under other bits and pieces that needed sorting or disposal.
 It was then that he offered it to me if I was willing to take it. What would I do with an incomplete Hobbit house? Where would I put? Did I know what I was doing?

 It didn’t matter. I said “Yes and thank you.”

A couple of days before Christmas I organised with my step son Kris to hook up the trailer and pick up the frame and plonk it in my shed. I spent the next couple of weeks telling friends and family “Look what I got for Christmas”.

It was during the Christmas break that I had to sit down and think exactly what my opinions were. My goal was to finish the original idea of setting up the Hobbit house in situ to the best of my abilities while showcasing the interior and enhancing its qualities.
The new site for the Hobbit House.
Originally the Whomping Willow

Though the Hobbit house looked just like a wooden crate from the outside, inside Jamin had built a lovely panelled room complete with fire place. Because the frame was being into a bank and the widest part was to support the fascia, Jamin inserted a mirror on a 45 degree angle to create the illusion that the room extended into the bank but was in fact running along the front behind the front door.
 Though Jamin had created a wonderful interior it still needed a  list of items before installation such as a viewing window, to seal off an open end that was the access to the interior, water proof the unit as well as  install lighting for illuminating and effects. All this and creating a complete fascia and roof to make the whole structure come alive. Whereas Jamin’s original idea would have become a Hobbit hole I would have to build a Hobbit house similar to what Samwise Gamgee lived in at 3 Bagshot Row.
  In other words it would be a free standing house.

Before I could start I had to remove
the rest of the tree and the trampoline.
 I didn’t have a creek running through my backyard or have a large fall on my property to cut into I did however have a spot under a nice tree that when levelled looked like the tree was  growing out of the top of the house. But before I started that there was fun to be hd with the design of the outside. Having been made redundant from my job only weeks before I was given the frame I was not in the position to throw lots of money at the project so I needed to budget and not get too carried away with plans in case I couldn’t buy food or the wife killed me. Whichever came first. Luckily I have a garage full of bits and pieces and the initial layout for materials was minimal.
It also meant a lot of pick and shovel swinging to prepare the site where the house would eventually sit.

 I spent the rest of the summer planning, building, rejecting, planning and building again until I felt I had the right feel. Jumping from inside the shed to work on the frame and outside to level and prepare the area where it would sit. This was usually interrupted by a day trip with the missus where no matter where we went I found some other little inspiring titbit to enhance the house whether it be a certain colour, texture or garden ornament. It was on one of these outing that I found brass candelabra that with a bit of modifications became the chandelier.


The Fire Place with LEDs.

Working Lights
When I was happy with the inside arrangements I made another trip to visit Jamin to show him what I had done and how it was going to look.
It was on this trip that he reminded me of an idea he had for the end of the hallway where he had a door partially open and back lit to give the impression that there was more happening further back in the house. I had totally forgotten this and had already spent a considerable amount of time and effort making a neat little door but fixed in position. But the idea was too good to ignore and I redesigned again. The door aside Jamin was quite pleased with the progress and was impressed by the little fake flame burning away in the fireplace with the use of LED lighting. Come the start of autumn it was time to test the structure and I placed it outside to test its weatherproofing and durability.

Getting ready for winter.
Kris doing the electrics
Nice and dry

By August I was content it was sturdy enough after some winter storms that where so strong one took out my shed when a large tree fell through it and the shopping centre down the road flooded. The Hobbit house neither fell apart nor leaked (unlike the shed) so it was time for the final stage the electrics, window dressing and garden.

Kris , who you may remember helped me moved the frame back home also designed the lighting. Being a 4th year apprentice electrician and working in 3 watt LEDs using a 24 Volt transformer I was confident that the house was safe and not liable to catch fire or blow out any fuses. Actually Kris’ design and installation brought the project a whole new life by using the mirror to highlight low areas and the false perspective of the door look quite realistic. The winters rain and spring sunshine had given the path and surrounding grass a chance to settle in and with the fitting of the synthetic grass, chimney and fence the house was taking shape. Ideally it would have been nice to have a larger front garden but I was restricted by the gate way that links next door house and I wasn’t quite prepared to block that off as we have a great relationship with our neighbour.

When the local newspaper rang and asked if they could send ‘round a photographer, the wife and I went into overdrive to pretty up the garden and add some wildlife to the lawn roof.

It made us work quickly and use our gut feeling about what looked best. All up I’m quite satisfied with the result.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Art to my Scripts: Mr. Simon Sherry

Over the last few years I have been blessed to have some incredibly talented artists take my writing and transform it into something beyond my expectations. Over the next few posts I'm going to upload some of these artworks with links back to their respective artists.
Simon Sherry.

Simon created the project Game of Kings and managed to gather a heap of artists to do his bidding. A tough job and eventually near the end of the project took on a larger amount of work than he wanted to. Luckily it was all top notch.
I worked on a few ideas with Simon but the Game of Kings is the most colourful and exciting.
These are some of the sequentials he did for the GoK project. All with the exception of the last picture happen at the climax of the story.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

DECAY Issue 18 Review

Dark Oz DECAY is Australia’s longest running independent horror comic.
Those unfamiliar with DECAY, it is the brain child of South Australian resident Darren Koziol (The DK in DECAY) who, as well as writing and creating themes, tirelessly edits, publishes and travels around the country to various conventions promoting the comic and its contributing artists. This means he can put out at least two editions a year where others falter. This hard work has come to fruition when one of the DECAY stories was picked up by SciFI/Fantasy icon Heavy Metal.

DECAY caters to the gore hounds, slasher fans and horror buffs but in a distinctly Aussie way. DECAY is full on mature reading fun that revels in its unrestricted format. Koziol has created recurring characters such as The Sisters, three ageless sexy vampires who have a long history of mayhem and carnage and the Oz Zombie themed stories telling stories of the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse in an Australian environment and other artist are free to explore and build on these stories.

The latest edition of DECAY, (Issue 18) was released to coincide with the Sydney- Brisbane Comicon double header. It is an A4 sized comic in both colour and black and white and printing is high quality. At $8 a copy it is great value when compared against the monthly mainstream imports. Its front cover prepares the reader for what's in store and the first story Sister: Class of 2014 leaves them in no doubt the cover was in any way a false advertisement, all in vivid colour. With 27 writers and artists (check the screen grab below for more details) making up the contributors list and there is plenty of variety in story and styles. Colour is used to great effect in the stories Sisters: Harvest and the Oz Zombie based Papa gone a huntin’ just as the modern gothic of The Lazarus Box and the patient revenge of The Forgotten Patrol are as effective in black and white. A favourite would have to be Adoption. Katrina Young’s artwork with the gentle colour wash is a brilliant accompany to Brendan Crates story. The animal characters expressions reminded me of Frank Quietly’s art in We3.
The Selkie and The Cure are other stories that stand out for a short sharp shock.
 DECAY deserves your support because it offers something other Aussie comics can’t. Consistency, in quality and delivery.
A great read for a good price and worth it just for the great Chris Wahl artwork on the back cover.
Danny Nolan

Gorgeous artwork from ADOPTION


Sunday, 14 September 2014


Is it possible the eagerly awaited  virtual rock band with the potential to knock Gorillaz of their non productive perch. Pusher Jones keep boasting and Gorillaz keep saying it's all too hard. There is a massive hole in the cartoon music genre at the moment we'd like filled.
This piece below was originally reported and posted by BUBBLE BLABBER 


Way back in March of 2013 I reviewed the debut EP for the rock super group, PusherJones. You guys remember, right? Dave Kushner from Velvet Revolver, Dave Warren from The Simpsons…I know, I know, it may take a minute to remember them because we really haven’t heard much from them since. Their Facebook page sends out Birthday wishes to famous musicians both alive and deceased. Their website hasn’t really seen much of an update either. As a matter of fact, the last thing in the news section was a link to my review of the album! (Thanks boys!)
That was, of course, until a few days ago…
Yup. That’s Titmouse Studios in good ol LA. And that’s the Daves.
Could we finally be seeing this band in motion? There’s gotta be a bit of expectation for a follow through if your band is featured on a major motion picture soundtrack. Do you think we’ll be seeing the animated PusherJones any time soon? 

Here's hoping.

Friday, 5 September 2014

The Code. A sneak preview review

The Code , the upcoming mini series on the ABC has been tantalizing viewers via promos for a couple of weeks now , constantly being plugged before and after Dr Who, Utopia and Father Brown with its promise of high production values, top talent and BBC type techno thriller plot. I’ll admit I was looking forward to it, especially with the barrage of Reality television hogging prime time Sunday viewing till the cricket starts. So when I jumped on Facebook just before 4 PM on Friday to see that a sneak preview of the first episode was available for the first 300 viewers from noon, I was gutted. Having missed out on the iView guerilla preview of Chris Lillie’s Jona.
 I resigned myself to missing out on another golden opportunity to jump in early and catch some quality viewing then spend the rest of the week ruining the show for everyone else who would listen or couldn’t escape. So imagine my surprise when I followed the link clicked on the screen and got the first 55 minutes of The Code streamed on to the computer just before knock off time.
 Well, first recommendation, I worked unpaid overtime today.

The Code is a locally produced thriller that puts its value on the screen. Jumping from small outback town to the corridors of Parliament house in quick succession as the characters and the plot are introduced.
And I'm telling you this role will bury all memory of Diver Dan.
 David Wenham who sets the scene early as Deputy PM Bradley, a man who instils fear upon those around him and when he hands a folder of photographs to his chief of staff Randall Keats played by Aden Young, the scene is set for deep political intrigue when a junior Minister is sacrificed to fill the rabid news cycle and bury any hint of what may be a major scandal.

The hard drives been wiped . Wonder how that happened?
Meanwhile we are introduced to the Banks brothers. Ned played by Dan Spielman a young journalist struggling for a story while hamstrung with mentally ill brother Jessie played by the brilliant Ashley Zukerman who made the final episodes of RUSH a joy to watch.
I learnt this on TERRA NOVA.
Their problematic relationship is set up early when an incident outside Parliament house drags Ned away to diffuse a situation that involves a package, Jessie and several heavily armed Federal Police. The tension really doesn’t let off after this point for the entire episode. Hints of a connection of the death of a young girl in an outback town and Canberra when Ned is given the photos from Sophie Walsh (Underbelly’s Chelsie Preston) to run in the aptly named Password an on line news site, a scoop that will give Ned's  career a boost and the Government enough distance from the leak. Ned finds a misplaced note with the name Lindara sandwiched between the incriminating photos given to skewer the out going Minister and quickly links it to the out back town where school teacher Alex Wisham played by, and it took a double take to realize- Xena’s Lucy Lawless. Who, thank goodness has left all her female Hercules histrionics well in the past and really shows us her acting chops.

It was this or audition for Wonder Woman. You do the math.
 Ned begins to investigate the car crash that involved two of Ms Wisham’s pupils, one fatally and finds a deep connection to Canberra. From here we discover Jessie’s “hacking” prowess and computer smarts when he discovers a virus planted on Ned’s computer. While at the Password the same virus is attacking their computers planting seeds of Government interference in Ned’s head.

So when the episode finally wraps with Ned on a plane to Lindara and Jessie bundled into a van it’s a severe case of “You bastards ABC. Now I have to wait another three weeks to catch the next show and I’m no better of than every other Joe.”
So basically I’m writing this to spoil the first episode for everyone else by giving away key scenes and gloating that I got to be one of the 300 (subtle Wenham link there) to be privileged to watch some excellent Aussie drama that will no doubt, judging by the first screening also have a huge international audience.

For the rest of you The Code premiers on Sunday Night 21st September at 8.30

Great stuff ABC.

Here's the trailer to make the wait even more annoying.

I wasn't mentioned in this review.

Danny Nolan


The Missus bought this new butter, I'm too confident with the contents after seeing this on the cover. Subliminal art or a warning? I'm going back to the old brand. I sent an email to the product manufacturers Goodman Felder asking if they were aware a member from the Dairy lobby may be active in their Marketing department. I'll keep you posted.  #olivegrove

UPDATE 10 Sept. 2014 Received a call from GF. A young lady who didn't give her name asking what I was referring to in my post? I said isn't it obvious, she then said that others had pointed it out. She thanked me and that was it.
What? No exorcism, no free spread?