While a worthy adversary, I quickly realised I had a much less impressive cook as a nemesis: Steve Braunias.
Like many, I initially knew of Braunias through his page in The Listener. It was brilliant. I had no reason to do anything but enjoy him until he and I were finalists for best non fiction book at the New Zealand book awards.
He Tweeted, so I believe (I wasn’t on Twitter at the time), that my book was “scarcely readable”. My editor told me it was probably tongue-in-cheek. But full of booze I bristled when I met him on the night of the awards. I liked the bastard immediately.
Apparently that night he Tweeted that I was a ‘good cunt’. Surely the best thing he’s ever written. The latter of those words I borrowed to describe Cameron Slater on the night of the last Canon Media Awards, albeit it with a different emphasis. The man is a master of satire. Braunias, that is, not Slater: he’s a master of fuck all.
I’ve heard that Braunias got fired from a rag for calling somebody a cunt. Whether or not that’s true, all of us should aspire to that.
As you might have guessed, he won best non-fiction book. And despite my chest thumping that evening, I was privileged to be in his company. But I’m not even the best writer in my relationship, so that gives things perspective.
Then Braunias did something special, and by that I mean something I was immediately jealous of. A brilliant series detailing the 2014 election campaign. The most believable stuff he invented, the rest was pure gold. It struck a cord with everyone, except publishers. Nobody wanted the book he wrote. Ha!
At that point, you might think I would be celebrating the misfortune of my nemesis, that slightly misshapened-faced man named Steven Braunias. I was not. The bugger just up and published it himself. The thing made the bestseller list and is now on its fourth print run and undoubtedly entertaining people up and down the land.
Madman: Inside the Weirdest Election Ever may be better than anything I ever do, almost certainly anything better than anything you’ll bloody do, and possibly better than all things our kids will do. That and he did it all in a matter of weeks. Fuck Braunias the talented cunt, I can’t help but love him.