OS: Welcome to Lindsey Black, author of Fishy Riot! Thanks for stopping by and talking about your new book today!
Boys and their Utes
In Fishy Riot there’s a few mentions of cars, so I thought I would talk about Utes. I really have no idea why. I blame it on an editor’s random observation—AHA, I knew it, a Ute is a Utility! Um…I’m real sorry, it is but it’s also so not… I’m going to attempt to explain.
In Fishy Riot Taylor and Clay each have the same new 2016 model Toyota Hilux. A pretty good car. Don’t believe me, go watch Top Gear try and destroy a Hilux. If you live in the outback, a Hilux is a pretty good choice of car (notice how I’m using car as though it’s synonymous with any type of four wheeled vehicle? That’s because in Aus it is. I get it. That’s weird.). Or if you effectively need some kind of indestructible tank that’s legally permitted on Aussie roads. It’s a good, stylish choice, if you’re a Riot Squad officer and want people to know it just by lookin’ at your choice of wheels. It’s a Ute…
Ah, the good ol’ Aussie Ute. This is a hard love affair to explain. Partly, because I’m not male, so I’m not completely certain what it really feels like to be physically inspired by my vehicle, phallic-ally speaking. But also partly because I just don’t like cars that much. But Aussie boys do. Aussie men do, too, but this love affair begins when they are boys (it should be noted that some Aussie women do too, I’m just focussing on the guy side of things right now). It’s engrained in everything that makes up Australian masculinity. It’s indoctrinated from bogan-esque birth.
First, allow me to point out that while Ute is short for Utility, it’s not talking about ye old pick-up truck. It’s not really talking about a utility vehicle at all, and I think that’s what causes a lot of the confusion when this love affair is viewed by ‘outsiders’. When I say that I mean anyone not of the Australian male variety, because honestly I don’t really get it either.
It begins with two little cars in a rally race. It’s Red Vs Blue. It’s Holden versus Ford. It’s arguably the longest running argument in recent (as in the last hundred years or so) Aussie history. Just to be clear, Ford has been selling cars in Australia longer than Holden, starting with the Model T back in 1925 (the original ute)…or so I believe. I really could be wrong, I’m not that in to cars. But things really got out of hand in about 1967 when the infamous falcon (now tragically discontinued, a mournable if you ask my husband) became a V8 powered XR and the GT badge was introduced. And that’s really where the fun starts.
On a wee lil’ mountain in the boondocks out behind some big blue mountains. I can say that because I grew up way beyond said boondocks. I’m talking about Mount Panorama in Bathurst where the biggest race in Australia takes place annually; the Bathurst 1000. Ford won the first victory back in 1963 and the two car brands have basically been at war ever since. Subsequently, so have all the Aussies who drive the two brands of car.
Suffice to say over the last fifty years a lot of crappy things have happened in Australia, most notably the ‘recession we had to have’ back in the 80s. A lot of broke, uneducated folk with nothing better to do than argue about which car was better resulted in an entire generation who were pretty happy to die doing little else but arguing the point. There were riots, street gangs, violent outbreaks…all over arguments about which car was better. Let that sink in; an entire generation based their masculinity on what car won a race each year. It settled down in the 90s…sort of.
When I was younger (note: stupider) a boy’s coolness was entirely dependent on whether or not he owned a ute (I didn’t actually know this, but I recall being told endlessly that the most repugnant kid in school was hot as because he had a commodore now, and then a few months later it was all about Nathan because he had a Ford…you get the idea, I was easily led astray). What sort of Ute depended on who had won the Bathurst 1000 that year. Simple as that.
Even today, with the death of the car industry in Australia, the war rages on, once a year for about a week leading up to a stupid race, and then for about a week after. I married a Ford man. I have no clue what that means, other than I should nod my head and smile whenever anyone says ‘Ford’. I did like the character Ford on Seaquest DSV growing up, but I also really liked the dolphin. I still really like dolphins, cars not so much.
The point is Ute’s are V8 hooning vehicles in Australia, not pick-up trucks, though they are used to pick up. Girls, not…stuff. Or boys, if you’re that way inclined. I think one of the Aussie-est things in Fishy Riot is Ash trying to explain the destruction of the car his Dad forced him to buy in his late teens (his first car) and later his delight when he replaces it with an obnoxious new Ute. It’s hard to explain his glee, just know it’s all consuming. It’s the equivalent of him finally becoming a man. At least in the eyes of some.
So that’s cars. Or Utes. Or something. As I said, I don’t really get it either. But I hope you pick up a copy of Fishy Riot, and that it gives you a laugh.
Release date for Fishy Riot: April 24th
Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press / Amazon / B&N
Most people think riot squad officer Taylor Jameson is an asshole. Little do they know his apparent indifference stems from having a meddlesome family always butting into his business. And little does Taylor know he’s about to stumble into a situation that’ll make indifference impossible.
When everything goes horribly wrong at a political rally on a harbour ferry, Taylor encounters Sietta Salisbury. The son of a wealthy politician, Sietta is a revered—but presumed dead—musician, and an enigma who is so strange, Taylor is compelled to look into his background. What he discovers draws him into a bizarre mess of prisoners, politics, and attempted murder that makes him realise what he’s been missing.
Falling in love isn’t hard. Trying to convince someone else you’re worth loving despite your crazy family and the people trying to kill you? That’s a whole other can of worms.
About Lindsey Black:
Lindsey Black lives in Darwin, Australia, where the weather report permanently reads ‘humidity at 100%, only going to get worse’ for ten months of the year and ‘monsoon at 4:00 p.m. for exactly fifteen minutes’ for the remaining two. Between teaching and studying full-time, she escapes this oppressive environment to bushwalk for weeks on end wherever the mobile phone reception has zero bars for as long as possible and the weather report reads something along the lines of ‘blizzard likely.’ She enjoys martial arts, music, and mayhem, which explains the untidy state of her home where she attempts to write while splitting her minimal amounts of spare time between her incredulous husband, lazy Chinchilla cat, and crazed Siberian husky. If you expect her to sit and have a chat, it’s best to have a matcha green tea latte with almond milk on hand and your hiking boots within reach. Oh, and be sure to bring a guitar for impromptu jam sessions.