28 February 2006

Open letter to homeowners

Dear New Zealand Homeowner.

Enough with the red feature walls.

While I concede that countless home decoration reality tv shows espouse the benefits of a red feature wall to stimulate metabolism and digestion (in fact even last night on Mitre 10 Dream Home the host was heard to state "with that much red paint you'll be on the toilet all the time"), this does not make it right.

Rest assured that red feature walls are not unique, designer, contemporary, or particularly stylish. Red feature walls do not make the end wall of the lounge seem 3 metres further away. They will not make you lose the 10 pounds you have been carrying around since Christmas. And nor will a red feature wall make your open home look like a magazine house and consequently sell for an additional $20,000.

So for the sake of future homeowners, open home visitors, and architecural commentators, please choose wisely next time you're in the paint shop.

Just because the Yellow Team has a red feature wall doesn't make it right.

27 February 2006

Laser Beams Are Cool

I've got one of those cordless optical mice, with the red laser at the bottom. I'm secretly saddened by the fact that it hasn't laser beamed a hole through my desk yet.

I wonder if I'll go blind if I look at the laser too much.

22 February 2006

Uncle Frank

Frontseat are running a poll to find the greatest painting in the land. The hunt is looking for what said painting "says about the New Zealand identity."

Easy, I thought, when I first read about the poll - a McCahon landscape with text, maybe Te Papa's stunning Painting for Uncle Frank. But last night I was reading something that made an interesting point that every country has a senior landscape artist that strayed into abstraction earlier than most, and as such is seen as being particularly important. We had McCahon, Woolaston, Lusk et al.

Australia had it's Sydney Nolan and Heidelberg crowd, which having revisited in recent years and exhibitions, I've gone off a bit. Sure they introduced abstraction to the landscape, but as a standalone painting none are intrinsically that great.

Does McCahon advance our search for a sloganisable national identity (which seems to me to be at the heart of Fronseat's poll) and more than does a Vincent Ward film? Granted his work heavily references our unique environment, and the early influence of religion on society, and he's quite possibly our greatest artist (which is probably what generated this initial reaction) but whether he's the creator of our greatest painting I'm now not so sure.

So is this all something of a wild goose chase? Does a clear and unanymous sense of national identity need to be found before we can find the great painting that best fits this description? Or will finding the greatest painting somehow deliver a magic catalyst that will define who we are wna what our place in the world is?

Either way, I'll be following this one with a greater degree of interest than befits a tv show that is on after bed time on a Sunday night. (/art rant)

21 February 2006

A weekend of Lawn

What a well weathered weekend that was. And what way to celebrate the ebbing of summer than celebrating the humble lawn.

Saturday's celebrations involved lolling with impunity on the lawn at the beach, absorbing the sunshine and thinking of work.

Sunday's celebrations involved drinking good wine, good coffee, and excellent company with impunity on the lawn of one Ms Harland et al. And a particularly lovely lawn it was too.

I think I might turn this into an annual festival, once I get a house with an actual lawn of my very own. Maybe it'll even be in Pet One. The Lawn Festival (festival of Grass?) will start small, but grow and grow until it eventually rivals the Festival of the Arts, and I can make a triumphant exit amid much media fanfare and accolades from people who I've air kissed at previous Lawn Festivals.

I wonder if CNZ will give me any seed capital?

16 February 2006

Highlights in modern television 1

"Coming up on One News: Why shopping trolleys have more germs than public toilet doorhandles."

14 February 2006


Peter Peryer raises an interesting point about what constitutes and who uses the term 'Emerging Artist'.

How cool would it be to establish a set of criteria by which artists are deemed amateur, emerging, mid-career, or established. It could be administered by a new Crown Agency, the National Artist Registration Board. The whole industry will be regulated!

It could be like the university grad/post-grad structure: "Congratulations Steven. You have been included in 6 group shows, 10 solo exhibitions, your work is now held in 3 public collections, and you have sold over 40 works. I award you the status of Mid-Career Artist! You may raise your prices accordingly."

Alternately, it could adopt the Scouts merit system. You have to get your solo exhibition, group show, institutional sales, and knots and ropes badges before you can reach the next level. The dancing around the flagpole and eating burnt damper around a campfire could be optional.

Spare a thought

Valentine's Day!

I once spent a Valentine's day delivering flowers in Central Wellington. I don't think I've ever received so much goodwill from women (apart from a lecture I had to give to 120 6th formers at a girl's high school once. And no, it wasn't some sort of punishment - it was a careers thing).

It was a lovely day. Frantic, but lovely. I got to hang out with Ms Wanda Harland, run all over town, see inside loads of offices and shops, and as a total bonus it led to ongoing employment, and a very cool giggling vibrating monkey (which has since died, sadly).

SO spare a thought for all the wee florists out there.

If I worked closer to Cuba St I'd take Manuela a coffee.

09 February 2006

Lost at sea

Isn't the sory of Norm Hewitt's brother amazing. I suspect it's going to take some beating in terms of feel-good story of 2006 - it had all the elements - heroism, endurance, anguish, and a dose of celebrity. I wonder if there'll be a surge in people joining the Navy now, keen to get the mental and physical ability to cope in such situations.

Also lost at sea seems to be Lost. I followed the last series, but it is just too hard to follow, so maybe it's me that is lost, and not the series. Either way, yay for C4 docos on Nirvana instead.

And a further lost goes to Big Wednesday, which I will openly admit I did not win, so in a sense actually lost. This is a shame, as I was going to give sizable donations to a whole bunch of public art galleries. So really, art is the loser on the day.

The total Big Wednesday prize has gone back to 2 million, plust the Range Rover and the Porsche. It would be nice to see a more interesting (or at least changing) selection of cars. Or a Hotere.

08 February 2006

Speed dating

New Plymouth is getting its first Speed Dating sessions later this year, shameless provincial self-promotion magazine Live reports. Sessions have been extended from the more familiar (and speedy) 2 minutes seen in tv docos on the phenomenon overseas. Maybe this is to reflect the more relaxed pace of life in Taranaki?

03 February 2006

No money = no hamburgers

We wandered up the road to see the Triplets of Bellville at the Dell last night. The screen size was a little smaller than anticipated (much like the very un-giant cow outside of Hawera), but the sounds was kick-arse, which made up for it a bit.

So we sat on our little rug, amidst the massess of overdressed teenagers, overcatered older people, and the glittering debris of Fairy Trina (thanks Martha). We drank our bottle of wine, and ate our lime and black pepper chips, and rediscovered the joys of French animation all over again. I kept discovering a whole byunch of really clever subtexts , but forgot them all.

In other news, I caught up with Iain from the WTO yesterday. He now lives in Melbourne, poor fellow. We had coffee in front of work, and plotted world domination, much like the old days. It wasn't til very late last night I remembered I shouldn't have long blacks in the late afternoon. Weird dreams about getting blogs and interesting-no-work websites banned on my comuter at work - not just banned, but sought out and exterminated. It was a bit creepy.

And I'm going to the Sevens tonight, to catch up with some people, drink a beer or two, and plot world domination. A very big corporate giant is taking me along, which is very nice of them, but I'm not wearing their free polyester polo shirt (they may buy my company, liver, and mind, but they won't get my body dammit!). Then to the beach tomorrow.

02 February 2006

Parade day!

She's not a bad wee town we have here - sure it gets a little breezy on occasion, and there's always the risk we're about to plunge off the narrow hillside terrace into the harbour at the mere hint of an earthquake, but it's nicely compact, dynamic, ever so cultured, and depending on the side of the street you're on, often stunningly picturesque.

And so to the point: I took a roundabout route to work this morning, mainly so I could get a nicer view of the sunrise, and it was nice. And when I got to work there was a golden horse drawn carriage parked in front, gleaming in the milky early morning light. I kid you not. I'm presuming it's for the Rugby Sevens parade today, but in a workplace where people get arrested for driving tractors called Myrtle up steps, who knows.

And so to the real point: Triplets of Belleville in the Dell this evening. Stunning movie. Be there lounging on a rug with a bottle of wine. I will be, smugly relishing the whole cultural capital thing.