It's the official census night when Justin Heazlewood, alternatively known as the Bedroom Philosopher calls for our interview. In light of his satirical take on the young, hip residents of the so-called arty suburbs of the inner-north, I'm interested in Heazlewood's assessment of that demographic as it will be represented in the Census results.
"They'll be a designer, musician or artist," Heazlewood laughs. "Everyone's about three things - I think 'slashy' is the term."
Heazlewood's come a long way since his days as a geeky youth in Burnie on Tasmania's north-west coast; his occasional visits to his home state are interesting. "I think I've got home town wanker status," Heazlewood laughs. "When I go back I try not to judge the shit out of people. Coming from Burnie, I don't really fit in the Melbourne art scene; I didn't fit in Burnie. I try not to fit in anywhere I go."
Heazlewood's journey included a number of years in Canberra; a natural topic for Heazlewood's astute satire. "There ain't no apathy like Canberra apathy. Canberra audiences seem to have had their soul removed. The whole place is full of like-minded people who keep raising the debt ceiling of their low expectations," he laughs.
Heazlewood has been in business long enough to know the potential for negative reactions to his occasionally provocative style. In Darwin recently at the perversely titled 'Bogans', Heazlewood found himself gonged off the stage by the venue owner. "That was huge!" Heazlewood laughs. "We were making a quirky art house film about a regional touring musician, and that happened. It was off my weird scale to be gonged!" What was even stranger was the subsequent Darwin media coverage, in which the owner suggested Heazlewood had been racist. "That was just completely bizarre," Heazlewood says.
Heazlewood's latest touring venture is the Head Sex And Bed Socks show, which has seen him tour throughout Australia. Heazlewood's topical focus has switched from inner-city hipster culture to contemporary male identity, a topic he intends to make the prevailing theme of his next record. "Most of the songs are about being a man in a post-metrosexual age." While exploring male identity can easily degenerate into a series of specious pop-psychological platitudes, Heazlewood sees it as a fertile subject for his musical satire. "I feel like we're in an interesting phase when the old labels of gender identity have worn off. The whole game has become a lot more equal - you've got men who spend hours styling their hair before they go out, but you've also still got Lynx ads featuring chicks in bikinis. I'm trying to break down some of those old ideas about masculinity."
Heazlewood recently played the Thornbury Theatre in his adopted home neighbourhood but is also open to the idea of playing Thornbury's much maligned entertainment venue The Croxton Park Hotel. "I'm hoping to," he laughs. "Maybe I'll get a Thursday night residency, but I'll only come on at about 3am and I'll play a bunch of surreal Syd Barrett covers."
The Bedroom Philosopher's Head Sex And Bed Socks tour reaches The Toff In Town Saturday August 20. Tickets $15+bf from thetoffintown.com.