It was like cool jazz.
The grip of an FBI agent paid to surf.
The secret handshake of slacker Ted.
The touch of saviour Neo.
And the gesture of one of Hollywood’s most interesting actors ever.
It was the day I shook Keanu Reeves’s hand at the Sydney Opera House at The Matrix Revolutions launch in 2003. Then a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald, I had found myself in the VIP section along with co-star Jada Pinkett Smith, producer Joel Silver and Reeves. I spoke to Smith about her Matrix video game (I enjoyed it), saw Paris Hilton at the bar … and then it was on to Keanu.
The meeting was remarkable for several reasons.
Firstly, Keanu looked almost EXACTLY like he does on screen. Having met a who’s who of Hollywood in the flesh, I can tell you just how rare that is. He looked handsome and healthy, his eyes penetrating and full of secret depths.
I congratulated him on the movie and thrust my hand towards his as he lay on a couch. His grip was soft yet strong. Looking into his eyes, I sensed he was a man of deep humanity – an impression only furthered later by learning more about his incredible life and times.
For a second I felt like his bro. I felt like Bill from Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Bodhi from Point Break; Morpheus from The Matrix.
Every meeting one has with an interview subject – particularly a Hollywood star – involves a type of energy exchange. After a killer interview one is left with a type of high, not only if the star has delivered great quotes, but also from the contact with the extraordinary individual themselves. It is almost a type of osmosis: as if we temporarily absorb some of their luminescence, their star power, their charisma.
With Keanu I felt all this and more.
I was recently reminded of our meeting – and his hands – after seeing John Wick 2, seeing those hands in action, striking down bad guys in close-quarters combat or shooting his foes in an excitingly fighting style not seen in recent cinematic memory.
John Wick is the action franchise the world needs right now: the spiritual successor to the Bourne films, a celluloid kinetic explosion of action and intrigue.
“Have you ever walked out of a film so struck by awe and wonder your skin is abuzz?” wrote critic Angelica Jade Bastien.
“Has a film ever left you so joyful and drunk on adrenaline that it made you more hopeful about the world?”
Wise words and true.
Particularly if you’ve shaken the star’s hand.

My new military thriller Game Of Killers is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

The nation’s peak white-ant body has called upon the Canberra press and both sides of politics to cease their vilification of its members following talks of a tumultuous Liberal party spill.

Incensed by media references to Tony Abbott’s alleged “white-anting” of Malcolm Turnbull, Ben Insectivore, chairman of the National White Ant Support Group, says it is time for all concerned to put aside their “speciest” behaviour and casting white ants in a dastardly light.

“My members are sick and tired of the Canberra press gallery referring to the perfectly natural behaviour of white ants as something underhanded and cynical,” said Insectivore. “Casting aspersions on our perfectly legitimate habits undermining structures to gain access to the juicy timber inside only serves to demean white ants everywhere.

“Our constant underground tunnelling in the search for new food sources has nothing in common with the Machiavellian cut and thrust of federal Liberal politics.”

Insectivore called for understanding from the human world, threatening to take the matter to the Anti-Discrimination Board if the anti-white-ant slurs did not stop.

“It’s not fair to vilify the hard-working mothers and fathers of the white-ant world,” he said. “My members often work 23 hours a day putting food or dead leaves on the table for their larvae. At the end of the day, your average, true blue, salt-of-the-earth white-ant is too busy scouring Canberra’s infrastructure for tasty morsels to care about poll results, whether the Liberals are heading for electoral oblivion or what another Tony Abbott government might mean for Australia.”

Insectivore added: “To suggest that we’re some kind of secret agents agitating for change is, at best, speciest, at worst, a form of insect blood libel.”

Asked about his own opinion on the Liberal leadership battle, Insectivore said that white ants are by their very non-human nature apolitical.

“Mate, we’re too busy locked into a brutal Darwinistic fight for survival to care about who is PM,” he said. “I’ve already got 1000 kids: try looking after them for a day and just see how much time you have left to watch the 7.30 Report or Tweet questions to Q&A.”

My military thriller The Spartan is out now on Amazon. The sequel is due out in 2017.

“It’s the perfect time to go live on the Moon”, Gen X-Y told

The Federal Government has introduced a bold new scheme to solve Australia’s housing affordability crisis – and it’s literally out of this world!
In a daring response to the crippling double-digit prices rises pushing entire generations out of the market, first-home buyers will now be exclusively eligible to travel via spacecraft and rocket ship and purchase homes on the Moon.
The Australian Government has secured prime real estate on the lunar lava plain known as the Sea Of Tranquillity. Held specifically in reserve for young families, Gen X and Y types not “on a good wage” and those in marginal electorates, this location is now available for bold astronauts and terraformers who find the real estate market on Earth too difficult to crack.
The Government has teamed up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to transport the first bold new adventures to their prospective new homes.
Each interstellar homesteader – to be chosen by government ballot – will be able to purchase Moon homes from $100,000. Space tradies are already busy constructing the first homes, which range from charming one-bedders, two-bedder starter homes, multi-domed delights, “Moon McMansions” and many more.
The Government is expected to announce further details of the “first Moon home owners scheme” in the upcoming Federal budget.
“We have heard the struggles young people are having cracking the increasingly competitive home market, particularly in the thriving capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne,” said the Minister and Lead Astronaut for Homes, Gene Spock.
“This initiative will allow prospective home owners to get a first, virtually gravity-free foot into the housing market.”
Mr Spock denied that entire shuttleloads had been lost already due to unspecified forces.
“There is also no truth to the rumours that the alien ‘greys’ have objected to large-scale human colonisation and have taken numerous human captives as sex slaves to live with them in their underground Moon chambers,” he said, eyes darting side to side and beads of sweat forming on his brow.
“We continue to work with all existing stakeholders – both human and, errr, ‘other’ – to make the ‘first Moon home owners scheme’ work.”
Nevertheless, Mr Spock admitted there would be teething problems at first. Yet he said that those keen enough would “pull up their socks” and overlook the gravity problems, lack of greenery, the risk of shuttles exploding mid-flight, the crippling isolation from the rest of humanity, the lack of wi-fi and cafés and the occasion “alien predation”.
“Critics have complained too long that this government is doing nothing to solve the housing crisis,” he said. “We remain to see the Opposition suggest such an innovative scheme.”
Mr Spock refused to rule out that Moon homes could be negatively geared or that “Moon land banking” could potentially be a future issue.
When further questioned if this meant that the Government had found the Earth housing crisis too hard to solve and had simply given up, he played the pre-recorded noise of a shuttle blasting off into space, silencing all further questions.

My ebook military thriller The Spartan is also out of this world.