'THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE (AND OTHER SHORT STORIES)' is available for purchase! Just follow the link for an on-line shopping experience that will surely blow your mind.  Upon request, Stuart will sign your copy, either with his name or that of somebody else selected by you.  The book was launched on 28 November 2011 at the Wheeler Centre and is now orbiting the third sun of Jupiter.   In doing so, it has become the first collection of short stories to reach a major cellestial body since Max Walker's 'How to Puzzle a Python' was smuggled on board the Soyuz TM-4 Mir Space Station by one of the cosmonauts.  Also, the first chapter of Stuart's upcoming novel 'GOODSIR' is available in a newly released anthology.  It can be downloaded for free from Amazon by using the following address: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Novel-Anthology-2012-ebook/dp/B009YNMPPW  Frankly, it would be cheap at half the price.

Straight Outta Tyabb

How could I possibly refuse? My brother went right to the point – was I interested in seeing ‘Straight Outta Compton’ with he, his wife and one of my nephews on Friday night? But of course I was. Whilst my appearance may suggest otherwise, at heart I remain a gangsta rapper, ready to bring the rhyme in a microphone fight at nary a moment’s notice. Granted, there are very few gangsta rappers who would use a word like ‘nary’ but there’s no harm in trying.

Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti

Imagine this: aliens land and take you hostage. Spirited away to their spacecraft, you are then dragged to meet their leader; a vile green beast with a glistening fang and one gigantic blinking eye, and are told that you must sum up all the achievements of Western Civilization in a single word or you will either be vapourised by their laser or, worse, forced to become a contestant on Family Feud. Under these heightened circumstances, what word do you choose to try and save your skin? Something naff like ‘hope’ or stomach-churningly turgid as ‘love’? There’s no way an alien leader is going to swallow that. The answer is simple. The word that best describes all of Western Civilization is as follows: Awopbopaloobopalopbamboom.

Apology to one angry dude (wherever he may be)

I’m sorry. Truly. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I’d be the source of such heart-felt angst and misery. It was not my intention. The mere knowledge that I have caused such gut-churning anguish is something over which I am truly remorseful and more than a little embarrassed. It was never meant to turn out this way. I was simply driving along the river towards work. Then I saw you, helmet on, pedalling your heart out. You were doing such a wonderful job. Who could have known that soon you would be shaking your fist at the heavens because of me?

Tips for Surviving a Public Transport Strike

‘Plan your journey’. This advice flashed at me as I set off for work on Friday. In big urgent letters, the sign warned of the impending train strike whilst also offering sage counsel as how to best respond to the imminent crisis. But of course! Plainly, my preferred approach of not planning my journey would no longer suffice. Stepping outside my front door and letting anarchy ensue simple does not cut the mustard in these strike-plagued times. A different approach is called for.

Great Wardrobe Malfunctions of History

I felt sorry for him. As he stood in the doorway for the 7.34 limited express from Frankston to Flinders Street, the young man was acutely aware of the gargantuan error he had made. Although it was next to freezing, he chose to hold his jacket rather than wear it. The reason was simple: in the early morning haste to get ready, he had taken a jacket (blue) that did not match his trousers (black). Had he worn them together, he would have looked like a dimly lit Neenish tart. It’s one of the hazards of getting dressed in the dark.

The Ties That Bind

It’s hard to be ‘the one’. Fate can play some pretty nasty pranks from time to time and, without really meaning to, you might find yourself being held responsible for an absolute disaster. No one wants to be the person who undoes a good idea. There’s not a soul on this earth who deliberately sets out to be the one that sinks the ship whilst simultaneously slaying the golden goose. It was a decade before they could make another Batman after George Clooney was done with him. Poor George. It wasn’t his fault the whole thing stunk like a week-old trout in the sun. He was simply in the wrong place in the wrong time.

The Art of Selling Things

Clearly, anything is now possible. News that Jimmy Barnes has been awarded his own ice cream flavour has completely knocked me sideways and caused me to question everything I once believed. The decision to give Jimmy his own variety is, of course, highly inappropriate for a number of reasons, not least of which the fact that the ice cream in question is a Peters’ ‘Drumstick’ and, to the very best of my knowledge, Jimmy couldn’t do a para-diddle if his life depended on it. Don’t get me wrong; Jimmy is great and deserves to be honoured. I’m just not sure that an ice cream – as tasty and delicious as it may be – is quite the way to do it.

The Sorry Tale of an Arty Latte

There’s no doubt that if Michelangelo were alive today, he wouldn’t be flushing his time down the artistic lavatory by perching on a rickety ladder that would give the folks at WorkCover a conniption and splashing a tub of Taubman’s satin gloss on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. No way. If Michelangelo were alive now he’d be a barista. Worse still, he’d be dressed head to toe in black, have his hair in a man bun with a pencil wedged as tightly as William Tell’s arrow in the apple and would be expressing himself through coffee foam.

Tales of Rock and Roll Excess Baggage

It take it all back; every last word. For years I have poured scorn on anything that looked like a boy band. I have derided their musical output and questioned their artistic integrity. I have dished out piping hot spoonfuls of opprobrium. I ridiculed the way they dressed, danced and the dreadful songs they sang. Not anymore. I have officially seen the light. For I am now convinced that these confected groups are the repositories of the true rock and roll spirit. This change of heart is not the result of a song or even a particularly challenging dance manoeuvre but is all thanks to one man, or boy, if you prefer. Namely, one James McElvar.

I Fought the Lawn (And the Lawn Won)

It’s on. The battle lines have not so much be drawn as they have sprung up, as one of the oldest rivalries to plague this big old round Earth of ours reignites. Conflict on so vast a scale cannot help but shape the course of human history. There will be casualties, without doubt, but ultimately good will prevail over evil. I speak, of course, of mankind versus nature. By that I don’t mean some kind of fauna-troubling Bear Grylls-style gastronomic assault. Rather, I’m talking about one man’s heroic battle against his lawn.