Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: A Trip to Canberra with Alan Bollard

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  • andrew llewellyn,

    Nah, James Cagney

    Will Ferrell!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    He just goes: "Fuck me, it's worse than Palmerston North."

    You bastard. Born and bred in Palmy, living in Canberra. Now awash with self doubt.

    The "invade new zealand" clip came from The Gruen Transfer, a newish ABC series which purports to analyse advertising. One of the parts of the show is The Pitch where a couple of Ad agencies are given the job of selling the un-sellable. My personal fave was whale meat. All previous pitches are also available.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 147 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Regarding that metaphor - here's something that my daughter reported to me a week or so ago. It's something that one of her school friends said.

    It makes me sad when people treat me as though I'm stupid because I can't move my body properly.

    She can walk, but she needs a wheel chair for school trips, and for some days when she's tired. The other kids in her class routinely pick her up, without even thinking about it, when she falls over. That happens quite a lot. Because she has difficulty controlling her body, when she's speaking in public, say at a school assembly, her body jerks about a bit, because in that situation her brain can't quite manage controlling her voice and controlling her body at the same time.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1320 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I for one am outraged by our taxpayer dollars going on these kinds of trans-Tasman piss-ups for senior public servants.

    Russell, these people are Central Bankers. They need to assert their monetary independence on an international stage. Health and MSD, they're the ones going on trans-Tasman piss-ups.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I loved this.

    About the "spastic" thing: I defend to the hilt the use of offensive, hurtful phrases in establishing character. You are supposed to form an impression of the fictional narrator from their use of that simile.

    If you were writing gritty fiction set in 1960's Mississippi, would it be wrong to use the word "nigger" in dialogue, to establish that a character is a racist? I don't think so.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2967 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Born and bred in Palmy

    I've heard an awful lot of PN victims (palmers?) say that over the years, and I still can't understand why they think its something to be proud of. The place is a parochial, wretched little hole, that doesn't even have a giant fibreglass vegetable or corrugated iron footwear to call its own. Let alone culture, industry, or a decent cafe scene. Its seat of "higher learning" is most notable for doing strange things to sheep, while its architectural "highlight" is a concrete monstrosity that looks like a beached aircraft carrier. Its ambitions for the future have revolved around, alternatively, a casino (because that's what makes Auckland and Chch so great - the exploitation of people who can't do maths), a fake lake (because there aren't enough real ones), or the expropriation of New Zealand's sole surviving air force base to serve as a "regional transport hub" (good luck, when peak oil will push airfreight even further into the luxuries market). WTF is there to be proud of?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1642 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    <a> "It looks as if Albert Speer had been commissioned to redecorate Ashburton on the cheap"</quote>

    People at the cafe a looking at me funny now from laughing out loud at this.

    Actually Ash-Vegas is looking pretty good at the moment (momentary plug for ex home town). But it doesn't have a building with grass on its roof. Yet.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    Oops, sorry got my html mixed up there.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    WTF is there to be proud of?

    Where did I say I was proud? Which isn't to say I'm ashamed either. I just am (from PN). Yeah?

    It is windy and dull (both insolation and nightlife). Incontrovertibly true. I could list some of things I like, but I'm not sure you are in the mood to hear.

    I think you should leave. Clearly it doesn't suit you.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 147 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    WTF is there to be proud of?

    The bronze of elephants sitting on each other. I like that.

    Well hidden though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    Brilliant. "tastes like normal beer, but with sugar in it" is where I actually laughed out loud though :)

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    i didn't understand that bit about the kangaroos

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Canberra is the worst capital city in Australia and frankly, that's saying something. I recently had some work options there and in NZ. My sister-in-law suggested going to Canberra was the best option; "at least you'll still be in Australia". What was the point however? Flat, sterile and over-flowing with diplomats, the military and, until recently, Liberals!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The bronze of elephants sitting on each other. I like that.

    Actually, yes. I quite like it too. But they keep it very well hidden.

    (For the curious, its called All Creatures Great - One Whale = Ten Elephants )

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1642 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    vaguely related to NZ/oz relations...

    http://www.invadenewzealand.com/

    They didn't count on the Resistance... :)

    http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=NmNTwKbLHgU

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    They didn't count on the Resistance... :)

    Ha! why didn't i think of that!

    right, 5pm, i'm off

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Robeson,

    classic

    you should do a book of these with just rambling yarns,

    i don't know if its post-thingy, but just have them keep going and not really noticing where one story changes into the next one,

    just one series of things, and then some other guy is talking and drinking something, and

    well i'd buy the book, well I went into the book shop, and glancing at the jacket photo I noticed the the author was there reading his own book, possibly trying to drum up sales...

    he started to tell me about his grandfather, or some special drink they make by mixing Friday with lime and vermouth, which was fortunate because my computer was on the fritz , and I had scrapped together all the money in Mum' s loose change jar but it was short...

    then he looked at me, like a Roald Dahl father figure who has a deep dark secret, tapped the side of his nose, and told me to hold on to my change.

    "There'll be an interest rate rise on Monday, son, just you wait and see."

    I wondered idily if it was the author or if it was an American stock photo, and if the real author was sitting in a Christchurch pub, becoming an icon for the late lamented New Zealand drinking class.

    Imitation in blog comments is the most insincerest form of parody, I think Churchill said, and turned on the Rutles just to remember the days when the Pythons slithered and I was the Elephant' Child.

    burp.

    Since Feb 2008 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Aidan wrote:

    Born and bred in Palmy, living in Canberra. Now awash with self doubt.

    Don't be! I'm originally from Kelston (in West Auckland). Palmie is culturally above Kelston by roughly the same ratio that Paris is above Palmie.

    Also, with respect to Canberra, I really think it's a credit to the Australians that they make such a bad job of their attempts at fascist architecture.

    blindjackdog wrote:

    Comparison of two dissimilar things using "like" or "as" [is] a simile.

    Yes, quite right. I did know that, but clearly had a momentary mental lapse.

    Mark Thomas wrote:

    I didn't understand that bit about the kangaroos.

    When we were driving into Canberra we actually saw this by the side of the motorway (i.e. small dead kangaroo with its head up big dead kangaroo's bum). It looked like the poor old big kangaroo had died giving birth except that kangaroos are marsupial, so such a scenario would be impossible. I can only assume that the scene was choreographed by someone with the famous Australian sense of humour. Although, if anyone has a better explanation than this, I'd like to know.

    Paul Robeson wrote

    You should do a book of these with just rambling yarns...

    Aha! That's an idea... (and liked your take on it as well)

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 987 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Was put off it by ref to bollard - didn't open it for a few days and then laughed so much that I nearly did myself a mischief. Don't really get it, but.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Robeson,

    heh

    Is Allan Bollard the Sam Cash for our times?

    Wasn't there a story about a cheque that went round and round without paying any tax, and another about how to grow your small business by putting a couple of bullet holes in the wall?

    (seems plausibly better than comparing you to Gerry Durrell. feel free to misquote and attribute as your publicist demands.)

    Since Feb 2008 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    As the late, great HST would have said, "That guy is sinister...I like him". Snort...sniff..glug...KABOOM!

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Don't be! I'm originally from Kelston (in West Auckland). Palmie is culturally above Kelston by roughly the same ratio that Paris is above Palmie.

    Hey! Some of us live perilously close to Kelston, you know!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3656 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    Loved it all. And the metaphor.

    It makes me sad when people treat me as though I'm stupid because I can't move my body properly.

    And when I was 9 I hated the fact that the English kids (at school, in England) beat me up because I had a Kiwi accent. But I grew up and got over it.

    Your daughters friend is growing up painfully, like we all do because kids are horrible. But sounds like their intent is good.

    And yes I hate seeing my offspring getting hurt and I get all sensitive and protective etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Hey! Some of us live perilously close to Kelston, you know!

    Ah yes, Kelston Perilous...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    slarty, the reason she said that is because she is crippled. It's not a mere accent, and it's not teasing. It's people assuming she's stupid. Don't trivialise what she's experiencing.

    She's not the only kid I know who has cerebral palsy. My niece does too. She's three. She's learning to walk with a walker. She walked, with her walker, all the way through a mall yesterday, saying "Hey, look at me!"

    Some people looked and smiled. Some people looked and then looked away again, quickly. Some people stood and stared.

    My four year old nephew noticed. He was upset. "Why are all those people staring at my sister. They shouldn't be. They're not very nice to her. Why are they staring?"

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1320 posts Report Reply

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