He Died with a Felafel in His Hand

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He Died with a Felafel in His Hand
Author John Birmingham
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Comedy, auto-Biographical novel
Publisher The Yellow Press
Publication date
1994
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
ISBN 1-875989-21-8
OCLC 221745424
Followed by The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco

He Died with a Felafel in His Hand is a novel by Australian author John Birmingham, first published in 1994 by The Yellow Press (ISBN 1-875989-21-8). The story consists of a collection of colourful anecdotes about living in share houses in Brisbane and other cities in Australia with variously dubious housemates. The title refers to a deceased heroin addict found in one such house. The book was subsequently adapted into a popular stage play and, in 2001, was made into a film by Richard Lowenstein, starring Noah Taylor, Emily Hamilton and Sophie Lee.

In 2004, to celebrate the book's ten-year anniversary, Birmingham approached comic artist Ryan Vella to produce a graphic novel of the book. The pair met in April of that year at Artspace Mackay, for the opening of the Headspace exhibition. The comic was published in September 2004 by Duffy & Snellgrove (ISBN 1-876631-95-3).

Synopsis[edit]

While the book is not written in a linear fashion the order of houses (and house mates) John lives in is as follows:

1st Place - The Boulevade

  • Tom lived in the garage
  • Mel lived upstairs. Her boyfriend Warren moved in some time later. When they moved out, replaced by
  • Andy the Med Student (Dr Death) moved in

Tom moved out and is replaced by

  • Derek the Bank Clerk

2nd Place

  • Tom and John got a new place
  • Derek the Bank Clerk (lived in a tent). Replaced by
  • Martin the Paranoid Wargamer. Lasted three weeks and was replaced by
  • Taylor the Taxi Driver

3rd Place - King Street

  • PJ
  • Milo
  • PJ moved out, replaced by
  • The 7 ft Nurse, replaced by
  • Ray, replaced by
  • Malcolm and his Charlie Brown bowls, replaced by
  • Victor the Rasta, replaced by
  • McGann the American in his mid 40’s with a fondness for prostitutes, replaced by
  • Taylor the Taxi Driver.

Taylor at the time was having personal issues. He ambushed his fellow housemates with a toy gun after hiding for an hour. He told them if it was a real gun they would all be dead. John saw this as good reason to move out

4th Place - Duke Street (Brisbane)

  • Thunderbird Ron
  • Macgyver the Mushroom Farmer
  • Neal the Albino Moontanner
  • Howie (Neal’s friend)
  • Satomi Tiger (via Tim the invisible flatmate)
  • Brainthrust Leonard
  • Jabba the Hutt
  • Mick the English Backpacker
  • Colin and Stepan

John moves out for reasons not made clear

5th Place - Melbourne

  • Stacey the Who Weekly fan

John moves out when her loud sex sessions became too much to bear

6th Place - Fitzroy

  • Brain the Electrician
  • Greg the Gay School Teacher
  • AJ
  • Satvia who starts going out with John
  • Nigel moves into the house and moves in with Satvia

As a result of the fallout from this new relationship Greg moves out and John follows suit

7th Place - Carlton

  • Ernie
  • Martin the Canadian Phd
  • Dave the Smoker moves in with his washerwoman girlfriend
  • Four other Daves move in

After trying to freeze out the Daves from the house by cutting off the gas and electricity John gives in and moves to a loft in Fitzroy

8th Place - Fitzroy

  • Wendell the Londoner

After Wendell’s threats to kill him, John moves out and sleeps round friends

9th Place - Auchenflower in Brisbane

  • Wayne the Santanic Vet
  • Danny (the Decoy)
  • Margot

10th Place – Brisbane Goth House (not clear how this move came about)

  • Kevin the Carpenter
  • The New Slovenian Art printer
  • Bald Goth who lived in the back
  • Luke the Musician

All the goths run away after the bailiff came round to collect unpaid rent. John keeps the house on and in move

  • Dirk
  • Em the Banker (however at the start of the book it is stated that Emma moves in when Nina moves out)
  • Crazy Nina

Nina move out to live with her friend Tanya

  • Tanya then moves in after Nina sleeps with her boyfriend

The whole house up sticks and moves

11th Place

  • Dirk
  • Em the Banker
  • Tanya (possibly)
  • New Girl moves in to replace Nina but leaves because she is "diagnosed as schizo"
  • Taylor the Taxi Driver moves in

The book then segues to

12th Place - Band house in Darlinghurst, Sydney

  • Hooper
  • Tammy
  • Jeremy moves in to escape his former psychotic housemate
  • Keith the drummer moves in downstairs

13th Place - Kippax street

  • Gina
  • Harry the Doctor, replaced by
  • Kim the Vet, replaced by
  • Melissa the Junkie (aka Rowan Corcoran), replaced by
  • Duffy the Computer Programmer, replaced by
  • The Dutch Guy who lasted 2 weeks, replaced by
  • Giovanna who lasted less than a week, replaced by
  • Mosman who no one ever saw, replaced by
  • Jimbo who moved in with one of the girls leaving his room free for
  • Veronica the Proto Hippy who was replaced by
  • Jonathan, replaced by
  • Downstairs Ivan
  • Uptight Martin moved in at the same time

Downstairs Ivan and Uptight Martin move out within 3 days of each other and are replaced by

  • Paul the Quiet Journalist and
  • Homer the Air Traffic Controller
  • Yoko San moved in and last three weeks, replaced by
  • Jeffrey the junkie