Published by: Orion
ISBN 13: 9781409152095
Published: November 2014
Format reviewed: Paperback Graphic Novel
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended
Tim Minchin. English-born Aussie (Perth-based) who is known for his comedic-musical ability. In Australia he’s seen on Spicks and Speck as well as Talkin’ bout Your Generation, and is probably best known for his excellent ability on the UK’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
These days he’s probably best known as the creator of the West End/Broadway musical adaption of Matilda. But all that aside, most of those who love him, love him for his stand-up comedy shows.
Storm is probably old news to his fans – it was a beat poem that was made into a short animated movie that was launched April 2011 and had been part of his stage shows for years before that – and it’s only now that the animated movie, made by D. C. Turner and Tracy King has been adapted into a graphic novel version by the same team. Straight to graphic novel rather than starting with four issues, this could have taken some by surprise. This could have meant that we’d miss out on the four different covers, but not so! They still commissioned the artwork, and it’s included in the back.
But all this and I haven’t yet said what it’s about. Inspired by a dinner party Minchin once attended with his wife, it’s about an encounter at their friend’s place where a rather pretty-yet-hippy also attended, who was full of determined ‘logic’ about the world, how science and medicine is false and how spiritual beings, herbal remedies and the aura are the only truths in life.
Tim Minchin regales the reader with witty retorts in a seven-minute rant as he battles the fifth-guest to this party, trying to point out (though he knows its hopeless) how excellent this world is, how ridiculous and unfounded her stance is, and how – whether you like it or not:
And fine, if you wish to
Glorify Krishna and Vishnu
In a post-colonial, condescending
Bottled-up and labeled kind of way
Then whatever, that’s ok.
But here’s what gives me a hard-on:
I am a tiny, insignificant, ignorant lump of carbon.
I have one life, and it is short
But thanks to recent scientific advances
I get to live twice as long
As my great great great great uncleses and auntses.
Twice as long to live this life of mine
Twice as long to love this wife of mine
Twice as many years of friends and wine
Of sharing curries and getting shitty
With good-looking hippies
The full version of the animated version can be found on their youtube channel and it’s really worth a watch – Minchin is so great at imitating others (also shown in one of his other beat poems, ‘Mitsubishi Colt’):
I really recommend you get the graphic novel however. The artwork is really quite stunning, and they do a damn good job at showing the beat of the storm through word placement on the pages.
Overall? This isn’t for those easily offended – but you probably already know if you’ll be offended by Minchin, he’s quite well known for how opinionated he is on subjects that often get up peoples’ goat. If you give him a listen – even if you have to try and put your own opinions aside for a moment, he’s quite eloquent and masterful with his words – sometimes almost seeming like he’s going in one direction before making it obvious just how ridiculous that stance really is, then turning on its head and renouncing it all. (Such as one of his songs, ‘Cont'[ext]).
Minchin is one of those Australians we’re lucky to have (so almost British, now living in America). Brave enough to say things that many will attack him for, able to show us why the world is so great in so many ways. This review seems to have deviated from the graphic novel somewhat.
The graphic novel, Storm, is utterly brilliant. It has a few swears through it (which is a shame on one hand, otherwise I’d think it a high contender for the CBCA book award this year, that Shaun Tan took out earlier this year), but is excellent on another hand as Minchin is just so good with his swears, really making them resonate.
This is a gift for many, something to give that person you just don’t know what else to get them. This is a book that you keep on your coffee table to show people when they drop by. This is another brilliant piece by Minchin, simply adding to the great work already attached to his name.