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Entretien avec...

Entretien avec Zam Steepa, cinq mois après la sortie de Ginger The Carrot/Ze Carotte, premier volume de la série Rotten Veggies ("Légumes pourris" nous souffle N.Monfort recruté récemment par Un café, l'édition ! étant donné nos ambitions internationales.)

Qui d'autres que Nathan Gross pouvait bien s'y coller ?

Following the release of the book Ginger the Carrot, Nathan Gross interviewed the author—his alter-ego; the little-man-in-his-head—Mr. Zam Steepa.

Nathan: Good morning Zam.

Zam: Morning? Already? Damn. Who’s idea was it to do this over morning coffee? Late arvo beers would’ve been a lot more civilised…

Nathan: Zam, getting straight into it —

Zam: Hang on, I haven’t got my coffee yet—make mine an Irish Luv! No better yet – I’ll have a Gary Ribald! Make it two! Nathan, you need a bit of personality in ya son!

Nathan: Ahem. As I was saying Zam, Ginger the Carrot—

Zam: Aw yeah—great book that one! Each and everyone of you out there should get your hands on one! Buy, buy buy!

Nathan: Wait—The first question I have Zam, is for this first instalment of Rotten Veggies, a series of picture books for adults, what was your inspiration for the story Ginger the Carrot?

Zam: Ah, OK, straight to the heavy questions. Inspiration? Inspiration…

Nathan: Please don’t say beer.

Zam: Well, to be honest, there was a certain amount of alcohol involved in the writing of the story. But the first inspiration? It was when the very talented Sally Dee was showing us some drawings to see what would well, inspire us to write something. And she showed us some of these nice little veggies. Like, for a kids book or something. You remember those?

Nathan: Yes I do. I really liked them. There was a great kids story to be written there.

Zam: Ya reckon? All I saw were some sweet lil’ old veggies waiting to be debauched!

Nathan: Zam that’s disgusting!

Zam: Sex, drugs, alcohol! Rock’n’roll man! Bugger those little sweet-arse things up! Let’s get rocking on into some of the good stuff!

Nathan: So, some sweet little drawings were the inspiration for Ginger the Carrot? Can you explain how you went from being presented with something so sweet and innocent, into a story that is rough, brusque and unforgiving?

Zam: Well so the idea came to me in the middle of the night. I think it was a Thursday. It could’ve been a Friday. Either way, it was during one of those long hours of insomnia when you just won’t shut up snoring. I was awake and I was thinking how ‘bout if those sweet little vegetables went out and discovered the real world and all things good in it, like sex and drugs, and grog? And then I pictured a carrot, a weird colored carrot. Who the others always picked on—you know, like you were ‘cause you used to be such a sook! So I got up and wrote it. One hit. Middle of the night.

Nathan: Just for the record, Zam, I don’t snore.

Zam: Like a chimney.

Nathan: …hmmm. And from there? Ginger the Carrot is an object as well as a book. What was the process that took the story on into an illustrated book, and the final version as an object of art as it stands, published, today?

Zam: Well after writing it out, from there I threw the story across to Sally Dee and she went into lockdown mode. Said she’d contact me when she’d finished with it. One month she was locked down with it! Maybe longer! Had no idea what she was doing! Thought maybe she was looking for the right approach. Thought maybe she hated it! But then at the end of that month, she presented me with the first ‘maquette’ the first fully built draft of Ginger the Carrot. I was flabbergasted. Amazed! She’d fabricated it. Illustrated it, then goddamn made a whole bloody copy! Class. Pure class that! Needless to say, I loved it.

Nathan: Yes, so did I.

Zam: But you didn’t write it.

Nathan: {sigh} I hear there was blood shed during this process?

Zam: Yep. Sally Dee bled for that maquette. Cut the whole top of her finger off. Needed to have it stitched back on! Class! Respect! Talk about bleeding for the cause!

Nathan: Just for the record everyone, Sally did make a full recovery.

Zam: Oh did she? Geez, I thought maybe she carked it! No seriously Nathan—it was just a bloody cut finger!

Nathan: {extended silence} Your choice of language in writing Ginger the Carrot, Zam. It is rather coarse, unforgiving even. Was this a premeditated decision to target an adult audience in particular?

Zam: Nathan, to be honest with you, I don’t know what all the big deal is in regards to swearing. Swearing is a part of life! It’s a great way to express yourself! I mean fuck, I don’t know why people get their knickers in a knot about it! The words are there to be used! I say use them!

Nathan: Sure Zam, but do you think the use of coarse language is appropriate here—in a book where the illustrations are naïve and could easily endear themselves to a children’s audience?

Zam: Look, those illustrations that Sally Dee did, they are full of adult themes and double entendres! Anyone can see that!

Nathan: But to a child—

Zam: Jesus Christ Nathan! Kids need to be educated on good language, on drugs, on alcohol and on sex! This book is a coming-of-age story, a process which every decent normal kid is going to go through! It’s full of sex and drugs and alcohol and blood and guts! I say, damn it, it is a kid’s book! A good kids book that adults can get a laugh out of as well! Fucken’ hell! Swearing? Get over it everyone! Stop demonizing all the good things in life!

Nathan: So you would recommend this book to—from what age would you recommend Ginger the Carrot to?

Zam: I’m saying this book is for ages two and up.

Nathan: Oh come on…

Zam: TWO AND UP! Kids need to be aware of the potential dangers of all the great shit in the world! They need to know how they can get the most out of all these experiences before they’re thrown in the deep end! Get ‘em read up on it early!

Nathan: You mean—

Zam: No Nathan I don’t mean feed ‘em alcohol, let ‘em smoke your weed! Not at two years old, are you crazy? Wait till they’re eight years old at least! But start reading ‘em up on it now!

Nathan: {extended silence} Zam what books or authors have influenced your writing?

Zam: {drops his coffee into his beer to form the Gary Ribald, drinks and spurts it out of his nose} Bloody hell! Good Gary, that one. Authors? Roger Hargreaves, the dude who wrote the Mr Men series. Man, they were classics! In fact, Rotten Veggies are like a modern-day, vegetable version of Mr Men.

Nathan: OK, and who would your favourite character be?

Zam: Mr Happy.

Nathan: Thought it would have been Mr Rude.

Zam: Fuck off Nath.

Nathan: Do you ever suffer from writers block?

Zam: Never! I’m always thinking, coming up with great ideas! Problem is, most of the time you’re just never listening!

Nathan: Do you have any ideas yet for the three volumes of Rotten Veggies that are to follow Ginger the Carrot?

Zam: Ideas? Nathan! Come on! They’re already written! You really don’t listen to me much, do you? Next in the series is Randy! Randy the Runner! It’s about a bean who wants to be a bad-ass and take down the drug lord beetroot Bertie. Then there is this disgusting one about a pea who gets contaminated in loads of awful shite and transforms. And the last one, well, Cool as a Cucumber, to be honest, that’s gonna be so goddamn rotten I don’t want to even go there!

Nathan: How much of Zam is there in the series Rotten Veggies? Is there a little bit of Zam in Ginger?

Zam: Nath, that’s fucking disgusting! You’ve got a dirty mind! But to answer your question, yes, there is a little bit of Zam in Ginger. There’s a little bit of all of us in Ginger. And you know what that means don’t you?

Nathan: What?

Zam: It’s getting pretty crow—

Nathan: OK I got it.

Zam: —ded—

Nathan: Please don’t finish that sentence.

Zam: OK…

Nathan: Thank –you.

Zam: …in here.

Nathan: Fuck Zam! In fact it’s getting rather crowded in my head right now so I think we’ll bring this interview to a close.

Zam: Always a pleasure having you on, Nathan.

Nathan: It’s always…disturbing… having you around Zam.

Zam: Fuck you Nath! Go get me a beer!

Nathan: {puff of exasperation}.

Voilà, voilà... Un café, l'édition ! se félicite des bons débuts de Ginger et remercie à nouveau Nathan Gross et Zam Steepa pour leur interview.

"J'ai rien compris"

Oh, ça va, Nelson ! A quoi ça sert qu'on te paie ?

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