Wednesday, July 11, 2007

ownership of story ideas - excavating the past

Steely Dan are peeved with Owen Wilson for playing Dupree in in You, Me and Dupree saying the plot of the film was ripped off from the song. It's ancient history now but I came across it and thought it raised fascinating issues - can you base a movie on a song?

Steely Dan to me are drawing a long bow. The Dupree in the song and film is an archeytpe. The Dupree mention in the title? Homage/pop culture reference.

In the interest of fair dealing here's the plot from IMDb
For newlyweds Carl and Molly Peterson, life can't get any sweeter as they begin anew to settle down into married life. With a nice house and established careers in tow, nothing seems to get in their way. However, Carl is about find out just how much friendship means when Dupree, his best friend has been displaced from his home and fired from his job because of attending their wedding. Taking his friend in, what Carl and Molly are about to experience is that the fine line between a few days and whatever else is after, can be a lot more than they bargained for. Especially when their friend overstays his welcome in far too many ways than he should. Written by mystic80

Carl Peterson, an architect, has just get married with Molly, and it seems that they're about to begin their happy life together. Everything is going fine, until Dupree, the best man and Carl's best friend, shows up to invade the couple's intimacy. Carl's disposed to help his old friend, giving him a shelter in the couch, thinking that the whole thing will be for 2 or 3 days. Despite Dupree has promised Carl that he'll look for a job the very next day, the immature and lazy bloke spend the time playing with the children from the neighborhood, or dating with a mysterious librarian girl. Molly begins to get tired of Dupree, but Carl must deal with another problem, his malevolent and overprotecting father-in-law, who has warned him that he wants his daughter keeps her maiden name and that he doesn't even think about having children with her. Apparently, Dupree has came to stay with Molly and the stressed Carl, who doesn't know how to get rid of him, becoming paranoiac because the charismatic Dupree is starting to take his place in the household.

And here's the lyrics from


Well I've kicked around a lot since high school
I've worked a lot of nowhere gigs
From keyboard man in a rock'n ska band
To haulin' boss crude in the big rigs
Now I've come back home to plan my next move
From the comfort of my Aunt Faye's couch
When I see my little cousin Janine walk in
All I could say was ow-ow-ouch

Honey how you've grown
Like a rose
Well we used to play
When we were three
How about a kiss for your cousin Dupree

She turned my life into a living hell
In those little tops and tight capris
I pretended to be readin' the National Probe
As I was watchin' her wax her skis
On Saturday night she walked in with her date
And backs him up against the wall
I tumbled off the couch and heard myself sing
In a voice I never knew I had before


I'll teach you everything I know
If you teach me how to do that dance
Life is short and quid pro quo
And what's so strange about a down-home family romance?

One night we're playin' gin by a cracklin' fire
And I decided to make my play
I said babe with my boyish charm and good looks
How can you stand it for one more day
She said maybe its the skeevy look in your eyes
Or that your mind has turned to applesauce
The dreary architecture of your soul
I said - but what is it exactly turns you off?


[End of song]

Now you can judge for yourself (and let me know what you think). Nice lyrics though.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


FSC is a standard for environmental paper accreditation and FSC Australia was launched last night - conveniently just down Gertrude Street at Dante's - to a packed room. (There were two Peruvians among the official presenters - and I wasn't even aware that Peru had extensive forests - so it was quite interanational.) Harry Potter was printed on FSC paper in the UK but there wasn't enough certified paper here to print the Deathly Hallows on it. It was an exciting development that will help us to do something about the paper we use.

The language of certification is heavily beauracratic and laden with anacronyms - which I think we will all become very familiar with over the next few years. And I'm hoping Matthia's coming article in the B&P will help sort our way through the maze. An alternative certification scheme is PEFC and here is a link to a comparison of different schemes.

And we could end "sale or return" - that would help too. Waterstones is looking at doing so, when it's new distribution centre is up and running in the UK.

smoking banned at Frankfurt!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I'm reading the Bloom Report and I came across the comment that people didn't participate in the survey because the different publishing sectors have so little in common, which is something I disagree with - strongly. And its a view that has always irritated me. And it was a topic that Maree raised at the APA roadshow - that industry was bunkered down in its silos. (aside - I'm guessing that 'silos' might be the new business word of the next few months, replacing road/mud map). In children's publishing we're very close to the educational sector and any good children's publisher knows that half the sales of many of our titles comes from schools. I've bounced around between the two sectors in my career and found enlightenment and ignorance on both sides. And I don't see tertiary, academic or professional as fundamentally different to what I'm doing as a children's publisher.

The industry has in common that it iis about gathering and packaging and selling information both in the forms of fiction and non-fiction and for now and into the forseeable future it will be done mainly in the beautiful and efficient form of the book.

… now I can hop down off my electronic soapbox.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

promoting books and reading

Juliet Rogers and Maree McCaskill have been running a roadshow around Australia promoting the APA and its doings to stakeholders. It's a terrific undertaking and thanks to Julilet and everybody for being prepared to put so much time and effort into it. My comments that follow are in parts of the fruits of that progressive and democratic initiative.

Last Wednesday was the Melbourne meeting and, as the press was there, I'm sure its discussions are not confidential. In fact it was the press in the form of Andrew Wilkins who raised the point I want to blog about. Why in the list of objectives in the strategic plan is there nothing about promoting the book and reading? And that's a point that resonated with me in my children's publishing silo - I can here it echo.

Promoting books and reading is one of the core tasks for me of the APA and the Children's Committee of the APA, and a major reason I joined. It's what we're all about as publishers - more books, more readers, another generation. Its like the Age promoting newspapers to schools - it's guaranteeing a future, that we will be around for another generation. And I thought the promotion of the book and reading would resonate with the education publishing (especially primary education publishing) silo next to me.

Maybe it is something that comes first to the minds of children's publishers, since we're not relying on an existing generation of readers.

Books Alive is a great beginning to build on.

Promoting reading and books was always a hot topic for Agnes Niewenhuizen. Let me quote: "There isn't a reading culture. We don't have any kind of concerted national program. Our promotion of books is very poor. [Im interpreting book in a generic sense.] Reading is not valued in schools. We are losing librarians, And with very notable exceptions, I think things are slipping."