Self Interview (2007)
Justin Heazlewood AKA ‘The Bedroom Philosopher’ appears, positively relaxed when I catch up with him at his Melbourne compound, located in a secret room in the back end of an abandoned op shop. He leans back in an electric vibrating beanbag eating Doritos, dressed in a brown corduroy jumpsuit with an orange helmet (a short lived 1970’s contraption that administers vitamins through the skin). My first question is possibly one that is on the tips of many readers lips – quite simply, where did he go?
Justin takes off his glasses and gazes off into the distance, as if on the verge of tears. It appears that the subject of his BMA column is one that troubles him.
‘No, no I just got a shock from the beanbag’ he assures me. ‘I knew there was a reason these were discontinued.’ For a moment I think I can see wisps of smoke emanating from his sideburns.
‘Look, I basically got to the point where I just couldn’t write anymore.’
I ask if this was due to an existential hunger for inspiration or something more tangible.
‘No, no, a junkie stole my laptop.’
‘I saw it as a sign that maybe I was supposed to take a break from writing and concentrate more on my day to day activities, like remembering to lock the doors and playing guitar.’
Heazlewood is celebrating the release of a new single as The Bedroom Philosopher, a four and a half minute acoustic ballad called ‘The Happiest Boy.’ Like most B.P. songs it is abundant with witticisms and intensely observational lyrics, this time telling the story of being abducted by friendly, bohemian aliens – the kind that look like ‘a cross between Gumby, Bjork and Richie Benaud.’ I ask Justin about the single, and its advancement in craftsmanship and production values.
‘The song has been kicking around for about three years.’ He says, sipping on a tetra-pak of Ovaltine. ‘And for a long time I didn’t play it because I was mainly doing comedy rooms and I didn’t think the song was quite funny enough. And that’s the main reason why I only do music venues now, because if your songs are your children, then it’s depressing to see the same ones sitting on the bench every night, not getting a go just because they’re a little bit introverted and not the zany clowns of the group. I think now especially in context with the new album, The Happiest Boy has become a benchmark for the level I’m trying to strike between musicality and humour and not compromising one for the sake of the other.’
It’s been 18 months since The Bedroom Philosopher played to a bustling Tuesday night crowd at Toast. He recently supported retro-renaissance man Peter Combe at the ANU.
‘It was mental. For a second I thought it was going to be like when Nirvana played there and people were gonna kick down the doors. My favourite moment was when Peter was halfway through ‘Toffee Apple’ and I started hearing a stream of gunshots. I walked up the back of the room and there was a guy playing ‘Virtua Cop 3.’