20 December 2005

Secret site

A couple of times a day I go here, and look at the clounds around Mt Taranaki.
It's kinda cool. Here's this mornings effort. Stormy.


Boss to wife (after a christmas drinks function and a farewell):
"Yes...well, Tinks could make anything sound pornographic, but I suspect you'll know that already"

I doubt it's true, but if so I AM THE NEXT TONI MARSH!

And another piece falls into place on the master plan.

19 December 2005

Noticeboard roulette 3

14. Recommendation: Wardrobe Consultant
Are you in a style or colour rut?
Have you lost or gained weight and need help styling your new body?
Do you open your wardrobe and see nothing to wear?
I can help you develop a wardrobe that suits your body, budget and lifestyle. I specialise in finding colour and style combinations from your existing clothes, plus new outfits at the right price ranging from second-hand shops to designer boutiques.
Wardrobe Consultation $85 - Shopping trip $35 per hour

How fun!

Hair and Skin Trading Co

When I was a kid, growing up in the small provincial heartland, I used to buy NME every week (it was like $2 then), and religiouly hunt down the hottest albums through the Musicman - the local cd store.

By accident one day I ended up with an issue of Volume - one of those Indie compilations that mixed some knowns with some unknowns, and came with a flash book that profiled/introduced the bands. On said Volume was a song by a band called the Hair and Skin Trading Company. I think the song was something about a birthday. I have it saved on the ibook, so I might look it up later. Not a bad song from memory.

Cut to present day, and I was having a really nice Saturday - tasty brunch and vat of coffee in town (yes, it was at a chain cafe, but one that's actually okay and NOT STARBUCKS), playing with art and deciding what a lotto win would be spent on at Tinakori, finally sussed out waht to do with a bike project, did the last of the christmas shopping at Askew, and a pleasant trawl through a few other shops, generally winding down after a somewhat busy year.

Then went for a ride out at Makara peak - the sun had come out, it was warm, windless, and generally lovely. So lovely it felt just a little bit special. Not unlike a birthday...

I was on teh singlespeed, and did the usual loop, a little slower than normal (one gear can be quite hard work the day after the work christmas party), and mae it to the top, and started down ridgeline. Ridgeline's one of those tricky tracks that you need speed to ride cleanly, so when it opens out about half way down, I was going pretty quick. Until my front brake seems to have locked up, throwing me over the bars onto my knees then elbow, then shoulder, then face, then feet, then back (you'll get the idea).

So I paused for a while, took in the view, picked some stones out of my knees, ate soem cashew nuts, avoided going into shock, and dressed the wounds a little using the first aid stuff I've taken to carrying (be prepared kids). The rode home, feeling a little shaky but hard. Like Corian.

There. Full circle. Birthdayish Ride. Hair and Skin Trading Company.

It does raise the question at what age does one get a little old to be renmoving the skin off the knees. My fear is that when you answer that you also unwittingly discover the age at which heart attacks become a bigger risk than the reward of taking a singlespeed up makara peak, so we'll put that question aside for a bit eh?

15 December 2005

Kong Pie

Spot Pies, recovering from a hell week at the Agency.
I really do have to get an office with a balcony. And a view of Courtney Love. I mean Place.
(and cheers Ocky for the pic and building the plane)


I somehow managed to double book for the Kong event last night - a conflicting appointment I couldn't really get out of. Bit of a shame, as the party looked like it was shaping up as a good one on the the late news, but I don't feel too bad that my invitation was lost in the mail.

On an unrelated note, for those that stayed at home watching tv last night, wasn't Old School unexpectedly funny, in that comfortable frat boy kind of way?

12 December 2005


Yesterday, on the way back from the beach, we stopped by one of Cathy's artists and her partner, and had one of those really good interesting discussions about art, artists, culture, and pretty much everything else.

It reminded me of another excursion we made a few years ago to the home of another quite remarkable couple in Taranaki. Of these two, Roger has just released the latest chapter of his life's work: an extremely weighty analysis of Shakespeare's sonnets.

On this occasion we debated art, Duchamp, the right way to train as an artist, the merits of various recent exhibitions, artists, institutions, architectural styles, etc. It made me want to start an institute and dedicate substantial amounts of time to proving or disproving a single idea.
You can read a more recent take on the same story here.

A perhaps unrelated observation - on both visits we were made really good cups of tea.

09 December 2005

Friday night geek

Tonight I'm going home to play with my computer and new scanner/printer. I not at all concerned if that sounds geeky, in fact I'm really looking forward to it. I've been about as close as I ever get to being a social butterfly of late. I mean 3 events last night alone. All nice, and met/remet some really interesting people, and drank some wine, and ate stuff (missed the christmas cake at Tinakori Gallery though - very sad about that).

Normal programming will resume on Monday, with a whole 2 functions to go to. It's okay liver, alcohol's not too far away. ..

08 December 2005

Noticeboard roulette 2

16. Recommendation: Buy A Goat

(it's actually serious)...

Simple. Pure.

About a year ago I got this really basic, cheap, single speed mountainbike. A few people I knew were foprgoing their 27 speeds for the simplicity, purity, and durability of just one gear, and it seemed like an attractive concept.

Last night was one of those magic nights - no wind, the harbour like a mirror, a close fought cricket match on, and about an hour long windo of opportunity, which I seized and took said singlespeed up Makara for a very quick blast.

As you'd expect with a singlespeed it's pretty demanding getting it up hills. You tend to have to sprint the whole way, so you end up going fast, but lungs and legs burning.

Last night, grinding up Sally Alley probably the fastest I've ever done it, gasping in warm windless air in the low sun, I think it was the first time this year that it actually felt like summer. It was great.

Oh - and the bike has flames on it. Cool.

06 December 2005

Noticeboard roulette

We have this electronic noticeboard that goes round office every morning via email. From this' morning's edition, the enthusiastic shopper could buy:
Cookie Time cookie buckets
An art deco drinks trolley
2 miniature horses
A blue Mercedes
A house in Mt Victoria
A freestanding pantry

And my favourite:
"For a low cost, I can help/assist with Christmas decorations, either at home or work. Phone Glenda ..."

I want that job!

Tinks Drinks

Well, it is the season where we all drink far too often and then moan about how much drinking we're doing and how exhausting it all is.

Last night was the occasion of the good folk at Telecom, gaining some PR brownie points at Nikau. A lot of those sorts of things tend to be a bit dry and joyless, but this was nice.

One highlight was gettign a lift there in Philip's new Peugeot 307 XSi. Lovely it was, purring with it's 2 litres of french goodness, airbags for Africa, and some pretty sharp looking wheels. Can you tell I'm a bit of a car enthusiast?

It would appear you can take the boy out of the small provincial town, but not the town out of the small provincial boy. Or something like that.

05 December 2005

A real mall!

We went on an excursion yesterday to the Valley, aiming to share a final Bambina Espresso with Wanda Harland et al. Sadly they were out, no doubt enjoying some of Petone's many charms.

So we ventured on to the flash new Queensgate Mall, and what a beauty she is. 2 floors of solid retail therapy, glossy finishes, designer everything, shiny pre-pubescent shop staff, the smell of consumerism, the elevator music with a nasty christmas twist, and so much stuff you just want but don't really need. It was great, even if we couldn't find a seat for a coffee anywhere.

Douglas Coupland had this line "the Emperor's New Mall" about how malls and large internally focused buildings sit within their landscape - or without as the case may be. This isn't too intrusive - although that may be due to the angle of our approach, the softer edge of shops, and the multi level parking doing away with the acres of parking wasteland often associated with malls.

We then had a fun drive over to Porirua, for coffee and art at Pataka. More on that later.

02 December 2005


I've always been a bit of a spring cleaner, which is probably why my blog has been redesigned (or rather retemplated) lately. It's been nice to see others' blogs going through similar summer season makeovers - I've noticed a couple, but pointless and absurd is the only one I can remember at the moment.

And remember kids: A clean blog = a clean conscience.

01 December 2005

I don't generally do these things, but was procrastinating this morning by trawling through a few blogs I monitor, and it was on a couple of them (you know who you are). The results are higher than I expected, but then it's summer, and things are good.

Apparently I scored abnormally high on love, so was asked to give advice on why that would then be passed on to someone who scored lowly in this area. Kind of flattering, but kind of self indulgent. Kind of fitting for a blog in some ways.

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

28 November 2005

Queen Charlotte

Last weekend was the annual Vorb pilgrimage to the Queen Charlotte Walkway - 70 km of bushy singletrack, with the odd beautiful view, mad weka, and luxuary resort (see Punga Cove photo above - cheers Moki) thrown in for good measure.

And what a great weekend it was. It rained most of Sunday, and didn't get over 13 degrees, but there were some very cool things from the weekend, including:
  • Beer fuelled bike soccer (so much harder than it sounds) on Saturday at Furneaux,
  • The downhill into Anakiwa - fast with lots of sweet jumps
  • The ferry that carted our bags everywhere so we didn't have to
  • Picton fishburgers
  • The downhill to Torea Saddle - rocky and swoopy through beech forest
  • The merciless piss taking of Owen/Stu/Tom/Anyone from Christchurch
  • The 10 minutes of sun while lying on the grass in Anakiwa
  • A hot shower and nachos after riding 70km in the rain
  • Getting there first, even though it wasn't technically a race
  • The bike almost working flawlessly (and contributing to the Team Giant bike soccer win)
  • The ferry being overtaken by 40 broken mountainbikers telling tall tales

24 November 2005

Ply My Fritters

When I got the first Fly My Pretties CD, Live at Bats, I wasn't initially that impressed. I hadn't seen the live event, and though at the time was pretty heavily into the Black Seeds, coulodn't see through the clutter inherent in any live recording.

A few listenings later and that all changed - it started getting a lot of stereo time, and eventually made it into the car to become an integral part of every reoad trip.

Today I picked up the second album - The return of FMP, and after one brief listening so far, I'm having similar reservations, but I suspect for the opposite reasons. This time I saw the event, and it was great. Will the live recordings ever manage to live up to the real thing, or is my memory of the concert just too fresh?

Time will tell...

23 November 2005

It's New! It's Improved! It's Grey!

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K...
Yes folks, I finally got around to playing with my template a bit, and now it looks like this.

I highly suspect it to look even more different in a short while.

Please hold the line caller.

22 November 2005

Ha ha. Found it.

See post below.
(and for the something New Every Day List, images need to be converted to RGB before the can be added to blogs).

21 November 2005

Handbook of highway construction

I've been playing with Google Maps lately when I have a couple of minutes to kill, usually travelling through the American heartland looking for freeway cloverleafs, and other pinnacles of highway design. On reflectio I think there's two reasons I like doing this - Douglas Coupland's Gen X or Microserfs made reference to a book on highway design, and I have this nice small artwork by Danny Landall that is done on a page ripped out of an old highway construction manual.

Here's my favourite freeway find so far - from just outside Phoenix Ar, and if I can find it, the work by Danny.

tra la la la la la la la la

Yesterday was Santa Parade day! What joy!

We bumped into a friend of mine and we stood at the back of the crowd and made cynical remarks about how close some of the floats were getting to the trolley bus wires, so I managed to not be entirely overwhelmed by all the good cheer and random tantrums. But it did make me realise that christmas is alarmingly close.

When I was a kid I'm sure christmas parades were bigger, and shinier, and, well, better (and I used to ride 87 miles to school on horseback with no shoes and only gravel for breakfast).

15 November 2005

Deck the halls...

On Friday night we mixed it with the cool (young) crowd, at Indigo for soulful songstress Hollie Smith. Opening act was Fat Freddy's Dallas, doing a largely acoustic set. Then on to Hollie Smith, and her 'vey own band' for a solid followup performance to her somewhat brief Fly My Pretties appearance.

It was nice - good songs, stunning voice, cool atmosphere. I quite like her EP, but it comes across as muted and overmixed against the live version, but I guess that's not uncommon.

And I didn't even say'Indigo stole my baby' once!
How's that for mature?

11 November 2005

Seize the day (and the wine)

So I'm sitting in Mr Bun eating a chicken and avocado on rye sandwich (result of 5 minute health kick due to watching Supersize Me last night), sitting at a bench that looks out on that wee street outside Askew.

A car pulls up, turning right onto the bigger street with the sushi place on it, and the passengers are all pretty tough looking. The car's there for a bit, which strikes me as strange, as there are no cars on the other st for it to wait for.

Then a woman gets out, walks over the pavement, and picks up a case of wine that is being transferred between courier van and the wine shop on the corner.

Oh the drama - car takes off, wine shop guy shouting, runs after car, bystanders get involved, but I think the car gets away.

Part of me is outraged, that this goes on in central Wellington, and that there aren't police on every corner with guns, like in London.

But a part of me is also going good on them for seizing the opportunity. Is this bad?

07 November 2005

Courting Danger

I went to court today. Well, it wasn't court proper - it was the small claims tribunal. A friend was taking a former client to task over a contract breach, and I was there as a mute support person. I thought this would have been a lot more fun, and had devised a series of physical communications actions that would mean I could communicate vital information and shape the outcome without being un-mute. Kind of like baseball players. Or mimes.

But in reality it wasn't so exciting. Very interesting, but not what I'd describe as fun. It kind of made me want to be a lawyer, which really freaked me out.

All part of life's rich tapestry really.

01 November 2005


I may just well be the last person in the world to see this, but watched Napoleon Dynamite for the first time the other night. I enjoyed it from that quirky low-budget-hip-young-filmmaker makes good perspective, and felt some connection to the central characters, but on the whole wasn't as blown away as I expected to be by it.

31 October 2005

The art of coffee

The intertwining of coffee and art go way back in my experience - back to when Midnight Espresso, DeLuxe, and Insomnia were it in terms of late night espresso destinations. When the entire ceiling of Midnight was adorned with an ever-expanding Debra Bustin universe, and CubaCuba featured sporadic painting attempts by it's wonderfully creative inhabitants.

Cut to present day, and I'm again engaging the art displayed in cafe's and restaurants around wellington - although now because it's just got so bad.

Picture, if you will, a very fine cafe/bar the other night in town - jazz band playing cooly, decor suave, clean and contemporary, food good, wine better, and the walls decorated with a selection of loud and extremely crudely executed Roy Lichenstein rip-offs not only at odds with their environment, but totally at odds with the general realms of taste. So bleak was it that we left after entrees and went elsewher for mains (which sounds really pretentious, but it wasn't).

There's possibly even an opportunity here, for a small company that seeks out lifeless retail situations and complements them with carefully selected works of art, that both add something to the venue and promote the works of good emerging artists. I'll put it on my list of things to do one day...

25 October 2005

Well come home

I'm back in Wellington, and thank goodness that's over.

Not really. If anything it's whetted my apetite for more travel, whipped up wanderlust, and got me planning an escape should the painful contract negotiation process go awry.

It's good to be home - with all our nice things (which I'm secretly more attached to athn I care to admit), and all the nice people we know.

Wellington's not all bad at all. It's just that Florence is nicer.

19 October 2005

Tate Modern. Modern.

The tate modern absolutely blew me away - a lot more than I anticipated. The scale is just phenomenal - they've been brave enough to leave a lot of empty space.

It was good - we're headed back tomorrow to finish looking at the actual art.

18 October 2005

London Bridge. Still there.

London is really just a familiar big city - everyone speaks your language, dresses a little better but essentially the same, and the currency makes sense (even if the sizess of all the coins is screwy).

But it has some pretty cool stuff - generated no doubt by the 8 odd million campers here. Like the national gallery - and standing in front of a Duccio panel that almost made me cry.

My current project is scouring bookshops for the Dada Manifesto. I saw it in Italy, but in Italian.

Fingers crossed.

12 October 2005


We're staying in this really cool little Tuscan town just outside of Lastra a Signe, just outside fo Florence.
It has 2 bars, a pizzaria, the smallest bank in the world, a bookshop in someone's lounge, and the best deli I've ever seen, stocking pretty much only local food and wine.

I could stay here for quite some time.

08 October 2005


5 observations on Singapore airport:
1. Sushi.
2. Cool tech toys.
3. Warm and tired.
4. Compressed by airline seats.
5. Means to an end.

06 October 2005

One more sleep

Tomorrow we depart these fair shores for a fortnight of art, culture, coffee, catching up, chianti, and other global experiences. Florence for a bit, then Venice, then London, then home again, just in time for a long weekend.

Things have been a bit busy of late to get too excited - what with that election thing, an opening at the gallery tonight, and lots of people about to take off on bigger journeys that we've had to catch up with before either they go or we go, and a couple of minor side projects in the art and mountain bike industries to keep mentally occupied.

I have managed to get excited about Singapore airport and it's duty free opportunities. And seeing Renata again before she buggers off to Rio, as you do. And the Venice Biennale - mostly to see the NZ pavillion, but also to see what else is going on. And the bike show in London. And if we can swing it the Frieze art fair also in London.

There may be updates, or not.

(And Ms Harland - I haven't forgotten the tyres...)

05 October 2005

Outrageously Fortunate

Last night was the final of the series of Outrageous Fortune. It's a shame, as I'd come to look forward to it's weekly insight into the demonically alluring West family, almost as much as I looked forward to some good locally made telly. But the good news is there's a second season in the pipeline.

I've been watching a bit more tv lately - C got me a Soduku book, which has been robbing me of evenings with an almost maniacal regularity, but I'm almost finished it, so hopefully that and work calming down a little, will enable me to reclaim a life, and do a bit more biking, go to a few more openings, and see a bit more of friends.

But back to Outrageous Fortune - I really enjoyed it. Gold star for all involved.

04 October 2005

[Maybe Spam] You can decide right now to develop the same libido.

A silent mouth is sweet to hear.
The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.
A little wonton money, which burned out the bottom of his purse.
Youth is something very new: twenty years ago no one mentioned it.
In difficult and desperate cases, the boldest counsels are the safest.
I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.
After the greatest clouds, the sun.

Honestly. I'm supposed to buy viagra after reading that?
Not even ow!
(Yay for bro town series 2!)

03 October 2005

[Maybe Spam] Evil-wishers are always around to spread rumors.

M I C ... K E Y ...

Today is the second mornign in the last week I have woken up with the Mickey Mouse Club theme song in my head.

It's scaring me. Please make it stop.

30 September 2005

Do it.

Discovered on the E-Flux site this morning - Manual - a guide to recreating art from a whole bunch of international performance, conceptual, and situational artists. It's good. Do it now (from artist Franz West):

  1. Take a broomstick and tightly bandage both the handle and the bristles with cotton gauze so that the bristles stand on end.
  2. Take 35 decagrams of plaster and mix with the appropriate amount of water.
  3. Distribute the plaster over the entire bandaged surface.
  4. Take another strip of gauze and bandage the plastered work again.
  5. Apply another layer of plaster to totally cover the work.
  6. Repeat this procedure once again and let the "Passstueck" dry completely.
  7. The result of this procedure is that the object can be used as a "Passstueck," either alone, in front of a mirror, or in front of guests. Deal with it however you feel suitable. Encourage your guests to act out their intuitive thoughts for possible uses of the object.

[Maybe Spam] Johnny Depp prefers ROLEX

How do they know these things?

28 September 2005

Maybe Spam

Work has one of those email filters that cleverly decides what is Spam, and drops a little (Maybe Spam) in the subject line. For a while there I was getting quite a few of these, courtesy of a couple of websites I was working on.

I was initially outraged, but then grew to love receiving these random, raunchy, ramblingly titled messages every morning. I took to writing them down, with a view to one day turning them into some sort of digital art work that comments on the nature of technology, sales, greed and seduction. Or hacking into those ticker boards that the stock exchange has, and enriching the lives of those that pay attention to such things by dropping in random one liners.

Then they tightened up the security settings, and my spam supply dried up. Now all I get is stupid financial stocks and cheap Rolex watches. It's not as fun.

I'll post up some of them one day soon.


I got to visit some very cool empty 50s office spaces this morning, that are about to be redeveloped. It made me want my own office space,from which to hatch all manner of cunning plans. But this isn't the first time I've had these thoughts.

In 2002 Chris and I were going to set up a working office with a street frontage, and staff it in cheap polyester suits between 5pm to 8am, toiling away writing a novel on Post It notes, as part of the Taranaki Festival's non-existant Fringe fest. We ended up not doing this, but I got to know the local arts reporter really well as a result.

In 2003 I was poised to convert a very cool wood panelled office space in central New Plymouth into a minimalist apartment after my car blew up, making central city accommodation somewhat necessary. I ended up borrowing my sister's car, so the communte into the city remained manageable.

In 2004 I was eager to start my own agency in the upstairs office space of a turn of the century office building, conveniently located above my favourite bar. Contracts were tentatively lined up, brands were designed, prices sought (researching dreams...) , but then I got a job offer in Wellington and followed this. It was safer and easier. I suspect this might still happen some day.

23 September 2005

Eat Cereal

It's been one of those really sifty days where I should be doing a lot of little things. Instead I sat in the sun and watched the Wearable arts parade go past (not sure it captured the polished spectacle of the actual event, but great to see so many colourful happy people getting involved). Sun is good.

Since then I've been sifting through friend's blogs, and clicking random links. And found this via Chris's blog. Cereal bar [and cafe].

I think she may have discovered the coolest place in the world.

22 September 2005

Et Al et al

I went to a really interesting lecture/forum tonight, on a bit of a whim really. It was at Te Papa, and was one of those last minute, bump into someone while heading home, and find out about it kind of things, that usually reward through sheer unexpectedness.

I'm not exactly sure what the forum's main brief was, but the outcome was a detailed analysis of New Zealand's presence at the Venice Biennial.

First up was CNZ chair Peter Biggs, delivering a good performance on the importance of supporting art, and the need, as a creatively focused economy, to place cutting edge New Zealand art in the global arena. And a bit about the technical aspect of the exhibition's associated marketing and promotional campaign. So far so good.

Then to John McCormack, Et Al's Auckland dealer and StarkWhite lynchpin. I was kind of hoping for an insight into being the dealer of the innovative collective, and a reflection on the commercial benefits of promoting NZ art to a global audience. Instead we got a commercial viability report, worthy of a Select Committee grilling, and in a strange but nice twist, something of a diatribe on the exodus of NZ's older curating talent - namely Greg Burke and Robert Leonard. This was great - recognition of a strategic issue about to hit the institutional art world here. So so far still good.

Then on to Fundamental Practice and te Papa curator, the thoroughly lovely and well dressed Natasha Conland. Natasha again looked into the technical delivery, the importance of geography, and the vitality of our entry against the global opposition. Sadly she missed a key topic that I had hoped she would nail - the actual art itself. But as I said, this may have been precluded by the event brief.

Then on to arts journo Josie McNaught, who to many presented the initial public aspect of the whole campaign. Josie raised some interesting points, but seemed a bit confused as to whether or not she a)supported the biennale focusing on contemporary art, and b)approved of taking a media managed, marketing savvy approach to the whole campaign.

A brief bunfight almost broke out at the end, mostly between Natasha and Josie, but this was cut short and the event wound up.

But the coolest thing of the night was getting embroiled in a potentially huge debate upon leaving about whether Et Al was the right or wrong example of NZ art to thrust upon the world, and the role CNZ and taxpayer funding played. I got all excited, and in a strange way all nostalgic for New Plymouth. Then went home and had pizza.


18 September 2005

Darlings to Demons

I'd like to propose a new amendment to this current plethora of reality TV shows that focus on making nasty little children nice. My proposal is to take nice kids and make them evil. Darlings to demons, if you will.

We take little Frankie (6), of sound upper middle class stock. We then pump him full of sugar, and sow dastardly ideas in his malliable little mind, through repetitive exposure to some less than savoury mass-market messages.

As wee Frankie goes postal in the renovated suburban villa, the cameras focus on the parents, who by now are approaching hysteria. Do they reach for the self help books, replay taped episodes of Demons to Darlings in order to find out where hey went wrong, book him straight into state care, or become convinced he's posessed y the devil and attempt a DIY exorcism (oooh - there's another idea for a show...).

All the while a panel of experts pass comment and judgement.

Anyone got Julie Christie's email?

The fat lady's warming up now.

What a nail biter that one was then, complete with our own quaintly scaled airplane and tall building drama.

39 : 41.7. Some star performances, some less-than so, and some outright shockers.

Still a wee way to go, but thankfully that bit's well out of my hands (he said hungoverly from work on a Sunday afternoon)...

Fingers crossed.

16 September 2005

I went to lunch at one today, drank lots, and wandered back at 4 ish, only yo move into another 2 rounds of drinking before dinner.

Yeah, I could so work in advertising.

Radio version

I'm going to write a song that comes pre-packaged in a commercial radio firendly lyrics format. It'll contain no 4 letter words whatsoever. It'll be a triumph of musical story telling - maybe a love story (I haven't decided yet) - using only really big and really small words. It'll be so radio friendly that radio will have to love it, and I'll become a star.

I'll try not to resort to musical charades (is this dance?), but can make no promises.

Presence and absence. It's everywhere.

Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

Fly My Pretties last night. Frankly, it ROCKED. Proper rocked, in a not-so-much rock and roll but still extremely cool kind of way. Good mix of Album 1 material and heaps of new stuff, some new faces (and stunning voices) and great stand-up interaction with what was (at times) a fairly tentative audience. And someone must explain how my sister was in all the credits. Remarkable girl.
All this preceded by Katsudon and Pinot Gris.

And as a nice touch, in the first 2 minutes Sam invited anyone voting National to leave.
I love NZ music. To quote the femmes: Good feelings, won't you stay with me just a little longer.

Preferably another 3 years or so.

15 September 2005

I think I Can

I may or may not have indulged in a few wee projects over the last few months, squeezed into the brief happy space between work and sleep. Some of these have gone on to great things, particularly one I may or may not know anything about which might have fallen into the hands of someone far more mischieveous than I.

On a perhaps unrelated note, it was very cool to see tins of Don Brash brand Baloney and Corned Beef appear on supermarket shelves in the greater Auckland region this week, grace the pages of the Herald, get discussed on TV and radio. Check out the action shots, including the guerilla installation mission here.

13 September 2005

A sign

Work stood still for 3 minutes this afternoon, which made for a nice change.
Sunlight from yet another stunning day outside was casting long shadows across the state of emergency that is my desk. I drew a picture of this in illustrator.
I hope it's not a sign...

12 September 2005

It's all about the people

As I delve deeper into blog-life, I discover a whole bundh of firends have super-cool blogs, including Wanda Harland and the Bambino Espresso team. One day I'll suss out how to include links on the right hand side, and link to them all and sundry, but sadly we're not quite there yet.

10 September 2005

Work. Life.

I've been at work for a couple of hours, and done so little it's not funny.
I blame the fact that it's a rather stunning day out, and I'm just so excited about the sun being available. Time to go roll about on the lawn in front of work I think.
We'll try again tomorrow.

Rediscovering books

On a roundabout sort of amble in the sun on the way to work (on a saturday, arse) I popped into capital books, and managed to spend waay too much money. This used to happen with a degree of regularity in record stores, magazine stores, clothes stores, and more recently bike stores, but i've been pretty good lately.

I spent an hour or so immersed in the design and architecture series, variably speccing the interior of some house or other dreamt up in the dopey still hours of the morning between waking and going to work, or appropriating graphic design ideas for some inevitably successful business empire I might get round to building one day.

Then detroured through the car section, trying to find out what the insanely cool old-school looking super car parked outside was (a Morgan Aero. Hot), then hit the travel section.

A quick stab of excitement about impending visit to europoe later, and I have a learn Italian kit, a very kitsch popup map of London (with heaps of galleries listed) and finally a decent street map of Wellington with which to find a house to buy.

I love credit cards.

08 September 2005

Diversity. Maharvellous.

At the top right of your screen is a little button that says Next Blog. I've taken to clicking it occasionally of late, from any one of the handful of blogs I monitor healfheartedly. It's a great way to kill a few minutes, and a brief insight to the massive diversity of the information superhighway.
Go there now...

06 September 2005

Invest in artists.

I'm going to develop a tiered art work pricing structure, so it can be traded on the commodity market as a non-emotional investment.

Works will be graded on 3 criteria: size ($ per square/cubic meter), execution (reflection of material costs) and artist stature (a national grading system will be established to grade artsts at early/mid/late career).

This will ensure that all artists are able to be paid fairly, that the value of art can be truly appreciated and fairly measured, and that the purchase of art can be better taxed, providing money for tax cuts for other sectors of the market.

This concept aligns perfectly with the Arts Policies of 3 of our smaller political parties, as outlined on FrontSeat last weekend. And I'm not even going to get started on the National Party's 5-point plan for the arts.

03 September 2005

Fly my pretties, fly

Yeah - got tickets to the second round of Fly My Pretties from Pet. Mildly excited - the last concert I went to at the Paramount was Kristen Hersch, and that still ranks as one of my all time favourites. Top 5 concert list of the moment as follows:
  1. Kristen Hirsch, Paramount, Wellington, c. 1994
  2. Blur, Auckland, c. 1998
  3. Beastie Boys & Helmet, Wellington Town Hall,
  4. WOMAD, Taranaki, 2003
  5. Tie between: Billy Bragg, wellington, 1992/Dana Eclair and Virgil, Bodega, c. 1998/Polly, Palmerston, c. 1996/Pavement, Vic Uni, c. 1995/ Irish Rovers, Palmerston North, c. 1988 (yes, really).

30 August 2005

Humankind. Be both.

It's been a day of hearing from old friends - one from accross town, one from Florence Italy, and one from Phoenix Arizona. All are doing remarkably well, and it's been great to hear from them.

The title to this post comes from a post cdoerr made in her blog - which has inspired me to start populating my own with a lot more pictures. I deal in visual content in both work and play, so it's about time I extended that to the information superhighway.

Please hold the line, caller(s).

14 August 2005

Evolution of the bike

I've been into mountain biking for years now - getting my first real one about 14 years ago now. I've had some amazing rides, with amazing people, to amazing places. And I've had soem pretty amazing bikes too.

Since the Bauer (extreme system 2! - now Martha's) of the early 90s, I've upgraded bikes every 3 or 4 years - first building up a Marin Pine Mountain hardtail, then splurging on a very orange Kona King Kikapu, then deciding I wanted to race some more, so selling the Kikapu and going back to the Marin, then getting a full sus Marin Mt Vision, selling that last year as the pivots wore and the hardware became obsolete, to fund a Giant NRS1, and then supplementing that with a wonderfully basic Specialized Hardrock Singlespeed. I'll post photos some time soon, as it makes a nice history note.

The current NRS is a great bike - it's stupidly fast, as you'd expect from a short travel race bike. It goes up, down, jumps, lands, and is a really nice, good bike, that didn't cost a stupid amount. The singlespeed was a bit of an impulse to provide something I could throw into stair jumps, be fast on shuttle downhills, and generally piss about on. It's proven so much fun, and no doubt really good for the legs, that it's gettign all the ride time at the moment.

The master plan was always to have one really good versatile mtb, and one good road bike. That plan kind of goes out the window every other week, but I usually get back to it in the end, after a bit of indecisiveness, dreaming, and investigation. I'm thinging I might redo that though - and move into the Jono/Owen style 1x play bike, and 1x race bike.

So now I find a 4th bike in brogress, living in a corner of the lounge as I ship in parts from across town and around the world to piece it all together - a DMR steel hardtail. I'm quite excited about this bike. It was originally intended to fit between the Giant and the Specialized - offering simplicity, raceablility, and really good components, in order that I could sell the other two and not lose much in the way of functionality. But now I'm not sure I can sell the other 2.

It's looking increasingly likely that I'm going to end up with a garage full of bikes, each with a narrow function. Fun for the moment, and we do have a garage with some space left, but an expensive way to do things.

Maybe next year I'll sell them all and put together a single do everything bike - a cross between Marin 1, Marin 2, and Kona. Maybe...

This mass indecisiveness does provide a nice antidote to work though.

08 August 2005

It's a sunny day but rain is forecast

I caught an interesting photographic exhibition yesterday at Pataka yesterday, amidst a thoroughly pleasant visit to the Kapiti Coast. Titled Protest and Celebration it showcased 50 or so works by some of our top documentary and media genre photographers. The themes covered were, unsurprisingly, protest - hikoi, land occupations, and marches - and celebration - sporting achievement, royal visits and returning unknown soldiers.

What I found most interesting was the ratio of protest and celebration images. It was roughly 10 protest to 1 celebration (contrast this to the website which features 1 protest to 2 celebration...)

I'm wondering to what extent this is a curatorial identification and response on a national tendency towards the negative - a commentary on that disturbing aspect of our culture that likes to prune tall poppies, tack a but onto every positive statement, and (contrary to Saatchi's old ad campaign) eliminate the positive.

Or was it merely a reflection on the quantity of images available to the curators. Anyone armed with a camera can encounter a yelling waving street protest, whereas only a handful of New Zealand photographers were able to capture Sarah Ulmer's stunning achievements in Manchester and Athens.

12 July 2005

Speaking of Art

There's been a growing trend at exhibition openings at public institutions I've attended lately to have unbelievably bad speeches. Last night's opening was no exception, with 4 speakersthat made a veritable plethora of mistakes. Each.

We had the host gallery director, lending gallery director, principal sponsor, and local mayor - all of whom got up with almost rehersed syncronicity, read the speech notes that I suspect had been prepared and circulated well in advance by the gallery's marketing manager.

Reading from notes is fine, particularly when you're a new sponsor coming on board, or a mayor with 80 other public events in any given week. But all 4 spoke as though they were addressing a room full of art world imbiciles - a total misreading of an audience that was one of the most substantial gatherings of art world names, faces, and figures I'd seen in years.

All 4 introduced the show - particularly Trekka - as controversial, substatial, and thought provoking. In repetitive monotony that made me think it was more futurist repetitive sound poetry than a reflection of the sponsors, gallery staff and supporters, and concepts that had made the show come together.

And the mistakes. There's a golden rule about public speaking that dictates that even if you're only getting up to say thank you - reherse it. Clearly this had been somewhat overlooked by all. Even the title of the exhibition was ballsed up by at least one speaker - not exactly a stunning look or reflection on the validity of the argument presented by the show. And these are the leaders of the art world?

All of this picks up on a crusade New Plymouth based artist Peter Peryer is on regarding art writing. His argument is that art writing has degenerated to the lowest rung of the New Zealand literary ladder. I would add that art speaking - in an introductory/opening capacity - is buried somewhere well beneath that ladder.

On a plus the food wasn't bad - the show was pretty good in places (although made me think of Dream Collectors at the old Te Papa, and WHY THE HELL DOESN"T TREKKA HAVE IT'S OWN EXHIBITION!), and caught up with a bunch of great people.

05 July 2005

Redeeming the press

Caught the World Press photo exhibition in Shed 11 last night, at a sponsor's function. As far as those things go it was good - great food, brief and interesting speeches (as you'd come to expect from one of NZ's most celebrated speakers), a good group of people, and running into old firends who are doing great things.

There were some stunning images there, dragging out emotions from the horrifying to the ecstatic. I found the presentation lacking a bit, on 2 fronts - the venue is looking tired, which I think is a real shame, but probably more of a result of limited funding and its inability to be reserved as an art only space, and the actual presentation of the works was a little underwhelming. I concede that this is a touring show, pulled together from people who aren't in the exhibition business, and on little money and much goodwill (from generous sponsors like tonight's hosts), and that the native environment of many of these images is a glossy A4 magazine page, yet I was expecting a lot more scale and the associated impact. I was expecting more of a Magnum type display, that better reflected the substance of the works.

Another thing I got to thinking about was the need to read the captions to get the most out of the works. Again I think this is a reference to the magazine/newspaper environment in which these will be delivered, but it brought up a question about the strength of the images when judged by purely artistic criteria - and whether we're meant to look at them in this way, being documentary photography.

An interesting point was raised by Biggs in his speeches - move up the left side and be depressed, and move down the right side and be revived. The left side showed real life - the right sports and arts. When real life gets you down seek solace in art and activity. I like that.

And being an ad agency event there was, of course, a bar in the middle.

15 June 2005

Work Life Balance

It's been a weird couple of days. Work's moving up to warp factor 6, so I'm rediscovering tired. I've got a new assistant at work, so having to juggle the training aspect with the doing of actual work - as long as I keep viewing it as an investment it's okay. She's cool, which is good - a reminder about how active and involved tertiary students and the recently graduated can be (or maybe how little I was).
Out of the Blue I get a text from a friend I haven't seen in far too long, telling me that our former employer has quit his job and is skipping the country. This guy was very interesting to work for - remarkably driven and focused on achieving, but often at the expense of a lot of the factors that are generally favoured in the workplace, like balance, trust, leadership. He's off to do great things offshore, but I can't stop thinking about the legacy he's leaving, and the doors this variously closes or opens for so many other people in one way or another. NJo doubt there'll be more on this one surfacing over the next wee while.

12 June 2005

Venezia 02

So the plan has now evolved somewhat - since we're travelling half way round the world, we thought why the hell not go a bit further, and check out the motherland, so we're heading to London for a week as well. Should be nice to check it out again, and see what's new and exciting in the world of art over there. I've just read a pretty scathing (and at times poorly written) diatribe on the damage Charles Saatchi has done to contemporary art through his SuperCollection (no relation to SuperFlex, sadly) so am very keen to check out the infamous Charles Saatchi Gallery.
I think I'll plug The getaway into the PS2 and settle down for an evening of familiarising myself with the London streets.

02 June 2005

Venizia 01

I've just booked a ticket to go to Venice, with the aim (read justification) being to go to the Biennale. It's taken on something of a pilgrimage status, in many ways - strangely much more so than getting to the last Sydney Biennale. Not sure if this is the culture, the scale, the personal associations with the NZ project or what, but it should be a good trip. More later >>

01 March 2005

Writing on art (or other art historians)

I've been reading a lot of art writing of late, in one form or another. Most of it sort of skirts around the issue of a national identity, offering tenuous links between the past and the present. Some of it succeeds in making this connection, and some really doesn't.

I have noticed a frequent reliance on beginning with a quote - a tendency to kick off with someone else's views, statements, opinion - and then building an argument about that, and linking it back to the work on occasion.

Yes I concede this is the academic way of writing, and yes I concede that there is a market for this, but in an industry where we are constantly striving to increase access, increase participation, and most importantly increase understanding, isn't this lunacy?

In writing press releases we're constantly pushed to include the key information in the first line - to get the salient points in before the attention expiry point. Why the hell would you want to hand this opportunity over to someone else?

21 January 2005

The art of commodification

I've just been poring over a bunch of Webb's Fine Art Auction catalogues from the late 90s and early 00s. It's really interesting to see who has 'made it' and who is still deemed to the lowly moniker of 'emerging'.

I've noticed a lot more contemporary work in the recent editions of the catalogues and far far less of the traditional landscape works that defined New Zealand art for a good part of the last century.

Maybe we're moving away from the landscape in our search for a collective national identity, instead looking to our thoughts around, and responses to contemporary art works as they distill not only the landscape, but that elusive 'kiwi' factor.

Although, it could well be that the market has moved to contemporary art as it searches for a higher return on investment than the 'masters', who I suspect by now are all firmly ensconced in the lounges of the baby boomer generation (who are the only ones outside of dot com millionaires who can afford such things) biding their time until the market goes through the roof again.

It's a funny thing buying and selling art.

Healing the world

I've noticed a series of sticking plasters stuck to the footpath in random places around town and the country. I doubt they're related, and suspect they have fallen off the blistered heels of sandel wearers, but maybe - just maybe - they're part of a symbolic project to heal the world.

In a similar kind of vein, there's a series of small mirror sections stuck to the pavement near the Prime Minister's residence. They seem to form a trail of sorts that runs for 30 or 40 metres before disappearing. An invitation to reflect as you walk past the PM's house??

I think I prefer the sticking plasters.

18 January 2005

The street returns

Shortland street started again last night. I've taken to following only one story line and muting out the others. I find it enables me to do stuff and not get too sucked into the tv vortex.

Last night I followed the Chris Warner thread - his house was nicer.

06 January 2005

Les Triplets (deux)

Thinking more about the Triplets of bellville movie, I wonder if there's an element of mocking the Americans, and particularly the dominance in recent years of Lance Armstrong in the TdF. Belleville itself has a decidely american feel to it - it's citizens moreso, although the limo's in the final chase scene are madly imbalanced stretched 2CVs...

3 is the magic number

We arrived back in town a couple of nights ago from an extended holiday in Taranaki. In that kind of post-vacation daze we sought out entertainment, and on the vague recommendation of Sam Hunt's column in the Dominion-Post sifted along to the Paramount to see the Triplets of Bellvue.

To be honest we weren't expecting a whole bunch - sure it had been nominated for an award or two, and it was cool that it had a Tour de France reference point, but beyond that we were really only attracted to the Tuesday night cheaper ticket prices. But shock horror, we stumbled across a stunner.

Years ago I was a paramount refugee - seeking out any vaguely offbeat film on offer, and camping out for days on end around the incredible and incredibly strange film festivals. I've seen numerous animated masterpieces - mostly from the pre-CG era, and have always been entranced by the incredible potency achieved in the drawn world, just by tweaking the real a little bit.

The triplets is no exception. From the opening moments through to the final credits (where people were left sitting to the end in hope of more) the film captured the imagination, bound it with an entire roll of duct tape, and poked needles into it for good measure. I could go on about plot and the likes, but that's all available elsewhere.

But it was lovely. Just lovely.