Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Keeping it Weird: A Night Out in Christchurch

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  • Danielle,

    oh, Ruby, don't take your love to town

    A murder ballad for the Vietnam vet generation! 'If I could move I'd get my gun and put her in the ground...'

    telling the uplifting story of a young man who stabs his girlfriend to death

    Bob knows 'Knoxville Girl' by the Louvin Brothers, right? Johnny Cash's 'Cocaine Blues'? I think we need to start a thematic 'violently killing your partner' playlist for him.

    (It's not OK, of course. Ahem.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Don't mention William S Burroughs then.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    One of the peculiarities of "first-four-ship-worship" is that they were comparatively late in the play - people had stopped counting ship numbers in Wellington by then, there had been so many over the preceding 10 years.

    I claim no Canterbury ships - but my great great grandmother was one of 6 single women to leave Glasgow in 1839 along with 26 single men (including her husband to be), and families who were on the Bengal Merchant. Other great greats came out on the Gertrude in 1841.

    When I moved from Christchurch to Wellington after University, and sailed in on the ferry, on my own, needing to find a job and a flat, I remember thinking of Elizabeth who had a tent on the beach, and of my grandmother who sailed into the harbour as a war-bride from Bristol, and thinking that I had it much easier than either of them did.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Jamie Anstice,

    WSB:

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I think we need to start a thematic 'violently killing your partner' playlist for him.

    What a great idea. It'd have half of Robert Cray's catalogue on it. In fact, now that I think about it, his 'Smoking Gun' and Maroon Five's 'Wake Up Call' are pretty much the same song.

    Robert Crag is redeemed by having written the line 'tell me a boat full of lawyers just sank'. No offence.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    One of the peculiarities of "first-four-ship-worship" is that they were comparatively late in the play - . . .

    It's a wankfest on stilts. After all, there were over a thousand honkies of all persuasions established in the Canterbury area when the first of the "first" dropped anchor.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3555 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    So first-four-ships is shorthand for old-moneyed honkies then?

    I heard some time after my own brief stint in the flat southern city that in Christchurch it's what school you went to, in Welli it's the suburb you live in and in Auckland it's your job. Or your car, or something like that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16756 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    It's a wankfest on stilts.

    You can consider that phrase stolen.

    And obviously I missed some stuff this morning in a haze of caffeine deprivation.

    When I moved from Christchurch to Wellington after University, and sailed in on the ferry, on my own, needing to find a job and a flat, I remember thinking of Elizabeth who had a tent on the beach, and of my grandmother who sailed into the harbour as a war-bride from Bristol, and thinking that I had it much easier than either of them did.

    That's a fabulous image, Rachel.

    Next term my daughter's class is walking the Bridle Path, and I'm hoping my health is up to joining them. After months aboard ship, my great-great-grandfather fell off his horse on that path and became the subject of Chch's first autopsy. But he wasn't steerage on the Charlotte Jane so it doesn't count.

    Wait, you aren't allowed to ask where people went to school (in cases where they are from somewhere big enough to have more than one) to help narrow the probable pool of people you know in common?

    That's how it works when I run into someone from Timaru, because noone under about fifty makes value judgements depending on whether you went to Roncalli or Girls' High.

    In Chch, the question sort of gets thrown down the way someone with flair and class might throw down a gauntlet. Reaction will be based on the answer.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    There's a chapter from Mary Anne, Lady Barker's hard to find Boys in Peter Hunt's Anthology of Children's Literature that provides a remarkable portrait of early colonial Christchurch. A gun-toting bogan ventures out to the colonies hoping to indulge his boganist tendencies, only to find himself hopelessly out-boganed. 1850s Christchurch is shown to have its present-day bogan underpinnings already well in place, with the gullies along the Sumner road strewn with the wrecks of runaway drays, and drink-addled solid citizens paying five pounds apiece for imported thrushes and blackbirds, while threatening mayhem to anyone who dares take a potshot at their feathered friends. Plus ├ža change.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3555 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    oh, Ruby, don't take your love to town ... didn't someone remake it recently

    Wellington Int'l Ukulele Orchestra - my two girls (1 and 5) love that song. And while it's not quite a murder ballad, their absolute favourite song is "Zvezda Rok-n-rolla" by Leningrad, as covered by the Klezmer Rebs (Wellington's premiere klezmer band). It's got a great tune, with lyrics in Russian. Which is good, because the lyrics are utterly, ludicrously filthy; just the sort of stuff you want the preschoolers to break out into. But, y'know, in Russian, so we don't get any funny looks from the rellies.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Great Emma. Puts a new slant on the seemingly ordinary Christchurch. I will be there on Sunday. I will look for thee by the bridge, I'll come to thee by the bridge, tho' hell should bar the way.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Sumner road strewn with the wrecks of runaway drays, and drink-addled solid citizens paying five pounds apiece for imported thrushes and blackbirds,

    I seem to recall that Chch had a phenomenal number of madames and bordellos back in the goldrush days, when the panners and miners came to town for a bit of r & r. The toffs wouldn't have partaken of such sinful delights, goodness me, no.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    tho' hell should bar the way

    He means The Strip.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I heard some time after my own brief stint in the flat southern city that in Christchurch it's what school you went to, in Welli it's the suburb you live in and in Auckland it's your job. Or your car, or something like that.

    One version I heard in the 90s: in Auckland it's what gym you go to, in Wellington it's how you have your coffee, in Christchurch it's which of the first four ships you hail from, and in Dunedin it's what band your flatmate played bass in.

    As luck would have it, I'll be in Christchurch tomorrow, so I'll avoid any stripy shirts that might have crept into my wardrobe by mistake. Though I'm not sure that the floral World shirt I had planned to wear will be a good idea, especially as I'm planning to travel into the central city via bus late tomorrow night.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    In Chch, the question sort of gets thrown down the way someone with flair and class might throw down a gauntlet. Reaction will be based on the answer.

    Ugh. I don't suppose innocently answering "Canterbury" works?

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 457 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Genius, Emma. It's David H in a bottle. [Laughs nervously, in case the rest of us are next].


    So Bob's ditched the uke for the banjo? That's totally bad-ass.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    "When the going gets weird the weird turn pro" Hunter S Thompson

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    In Chch, the question sort of gets thrown down the way someone with flair and class might throw down a gauntlet. Reaction will be based on the answer.

    Surely one just lies depending on the reaction you want to provoke.

    For this audience...I spent many a happy year fagging at "His Royal Highness' High for Incredibly Rich and Boorish Boys".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    For this audience...I spent many a happy year fagging at "His Royal Highness' High for Incredibly Rich and Boorish Boys".

    I see no problem with lying. You just run the risk of someone in your audience also having gone to St Andrew's.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    You just run the risk of someone in your audience also having gone to St Andrew's.

    Good ice hockey school.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I seem to recall that Chch had a phenomenal number of madames and bordellos back in the goldrush days, when the panners and miners came to town for a bit of r & r.

    It still does.

    Surely one just lies depending on the reaction you want to provoke.

    I got in trouble once, when I asked an old school friend where she was living these days (how very Wellington of me).

    She drawled, fen-DAAAAHL-ton. And you?

    Apparently my response of Ric-CAAAAR-ton was overly sarcastic.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart,

    I see no problem with lying. You just run the risk of someone in your audience also having gone to St Andrew's.

    [Waves]

    After over two decades in Chch starting with my time there I still don't grok the whole schools thing. Perhaps fortunately it has yet to arise in any significant context.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    St Andrew's

    School or University? by the sounds of it, they probably both cater to the same crowd (I know nothing of NZ schools).

    Truth be told (you decide), I spent my teenage years being dragged through the UK's Comprehensive system which, funnily enough, also suited boorish boys.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    One of the peculiarities of "first-four-ship-worship" is that they were comparatively late in the play - people had stopped counting ship numbers in Wellington by then

    It is rather curious. Though they started arriving over a decade before Ch Ch's first four ships, most Wellingtonians only think of Tory, Oriental, Aurora and Adelaide as being the names of local streets (and a bay). The most likely reaction in Wellington to hearing that your ancestors arrived on one of these ships is likely to be "huh?".

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    School or University? by the sounds of it, they probably both cater to the same crowd (I know nothing of NZ schools).

    Someone, possibly Robert or Megan, might be able to explain to me why Chch has both St Andrew's (College) and Christ's, because for humour purposes they do both seem to fill the same role, and I've never been able to work out what the difference is. I went to a school that, had it been in Chch, would have been Aranui, except without being good at rugby.

    She drawled, fen-DAAAAHL-ton. And you?

    Cracks me up every time, the Chch fake-upper-class accent. I'm more of the 'SnAlbans' breed.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

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