The Stand-Up by Rory Ewins


The Stand-Up has been online since mid-1999, but the novel itself goes back a bit further. It was written between 1992 and 1996, and a few passages are even older.

All along, I was trying to write something timeless—as opposed to the endless parodies of TV shows that make up so much of Australian comedy these days. I think I managed it, although the 1990s touches date it already. But hey, I liked the 1990s.

Building the web version was my first attempt to make something personal and public for the web. I didn’t want this to be just any old personal site. I wasn’t aware of many other attempts to do this sort of thing; now I know of a few, but they’re still relatively rare, and none of them do it quite the same way (though some come close).

The original version was even webbier. The chapters were full of hidden links throughout the text to other pages and sites. They added an element of surprise and some extra comic touches: a nice idea, but the links started breaking almost immediately. After a longish run, I’ve now taken them out.

The Canberra Times gave me a couple of good plugs, which led to an appearance on ABC radio 2CN. Thanks to a friend’s suggestion, my press release even made it into Living Abroad Magazine of London, of all places.

The best result, though, was that the entire site was archived in November 1999 by the National Library of Australia as part of their PANDORA project. It’s pretty amazing to think that people will be able to read it long after I’m gone.

And read it they have. Quite a few have read the whole thing—60,000 words’ worth of staring at the screen. Thanks, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

And if this is your first encounter with The Stand-Up, I hope you enjoy it.

Rory Ewins
March 2000

P.S., May 2001: The site has now had its second make-over, and its first substantial visual changes since it went online. Here’s what it first looked like (along with its splash page).

P.P.S., August 2022: After many years, I’ve updated the main pages and archived the second incarnation.

The Stand-Up, Chapters