…in fact I no longer want to watch any TV3 or engage with any mediaworks outlets – having just given up watching the travesty they are making of their coverage of the memorial event in Chch …
I'm not watching it. I feel that while the majority of us are still unable to comprehend or experience the damage done to the CBD, and while there are still buildings we know and maybe love that will be demolished, it is far too soon to be memorialising the event. Surely six months would be more appropriate? I'm not cynical about the political will behind it but if I was, I would say that the Pike River Memorial worked so well for Key and the Mayor of Greymouth that Key and the Mayor of Chch wanted a sequel.
Thousands of people are there but yet everyone I know in Chch feels it's too soon. I feel like I'm still in the immediate aftermath, within a day after that has lasted almost a month. As though the event has only just happened.
As for boycotts, I would urge you not to boycott all Fairfax products! Speaking personally, and not as a Fairfax employee, I cancelled my (partly discounted) SST subscription about three weeks ago, when I realised that the only things I really enjoyed each Sunday were the columns by Finlay and Braunias, both dropped. Grant Smithies alone was not worth it to me, nor were Barney McDonald's film reviews (I think Barney's gone too). I discovered I can get a sub to the London Review of Books for exactly the same price as my partly-discounted SST sub. So one sub replaces another.
Regarding the various discussions here (SST, Askew etc), I highly recommend tonight’s Media 7, where Our Russell gives the editor of the SST a right bollocking, and Len Brown a lighter bollocking.
Looking forward to that. Also, speaking of things TVNZ 7: the current season of The Good Word is, er, good too. All three critics this week (Braunias, Ward-Lealand, Bill Hastings) gave Bret Easton Ellis' recent Imperial Bedrooms a bollocking also.
His long-form pieces in North & South on various “small towns” in New Zealand were often so funny, sympathetic and strangely revealing that I was reminded how much I missed his work in the Listener. Jane Ussher’s too, her photography for those pieces was equally evocative. He really should anthologise those articles, they’re among his best writing, which is saying something.
I have a feeling they might make up part of the book on New Zealand he's working on, the one he got a Copyright grant for last year -- something like 22 observational essays about NZ. Yeah, they were fantastic.
Imagine a Christchurch that only had two- to three-storey buildings, and the church spires and domes sitting above the skyline, and the trees sitting above the buildings. When you looked from the Port Hills you would see the spires and you would see sculptures and you would see tree cover, and the houses nestling under it. A very different city.
I'm hearing a lot of people talking about the appeal of a low CBD; people are going to be very wary about going back into tall buildings, even new ones. Our heritage Press building was ruined on Feb 22, with one casualty, and there is an even sadder dimension to it -- we were less than two weeks away from moving into a new building around the corner. I imagine that's months away now for us, even if the new building has been unaffected, but the group I work with will be on the seventh floor. To say that there will be some nervousness on day one is an understatement. I've been more concerned about the failures of buildings like Forsyth Barr, CTV and Pyne Gould than the more predictable problems of heritage buildings.
IN ALL disasters, the rubble attracts rats. Whether it is physical and fatal, like the Christchurch earthquake, or metaphysical and mystical, like the Paul Henry affair, there are always ferals prepared to feed on the misery of others.
The Paul Henry affair was "metaphysical and mystical". Do I want to know what he means?
There is poetry.
And then, there is this stuff.
Gary McCormick does write the shit.
That is not a compliment of any kind.
True, but that poem is The Waste Land compared to the one he wrote quickly after Pike River. Did you ever read that? Here it is (link):
(In memory of Joseph Ray Dunbar and all those who died in the Pike River Mine.)
Joseph Ray Dunbar was just seventeen.
One week ago - turned seventeen.
No doubt had a few drinks out
with his mates.
He'd been through a rough patch, someone said.
A boy from the Coast, even-eyed.
But he's gotten a job now.
The making of him, someone said.
You get a lot of respect with a job.
Probably had his lunch packed.
The unlined face, the big smile.
Probably had a way with the girls.
The local girls.
The local girls are wearing black.
Mothers and sons and husbands too.
He probably ran the last hundred yards....
Joseph Ray Dunbar.
Climbed aboard and headed on down.
A smile and a wave and a joke amongst men.
The biggest day of Joseph's life.
You caught the train, Joseph.
You took the train too soon.
You caught the train before your time.
It shouldn't be allowed.
Philip Matthews is not only alive, but writing as beautifully as ever. Philip, if you get the chance to read this, please send me an email. Those are some great photos.
Thanks Matthew. The photos were taken on a mobile -- I wasn't sure they were going to work.
I'll drop you a line.
More than once I've left empty handed at the first attempt. There's nothing there I want to buy.
I know the feeling. Last year I was given a $30 Whitcoulls voucher and spent an hour going through their biggest store down here (Cashel St) looking for something I might actually want. I ended up with a Geoff Dyer book that I'd already read but didn't own.
This is sad given the long history of Whitcoulls here but as many others have said, they lost their way as a bookseller years ago. Where possible I try to support Scorpio, our independent equivalent to Unity and a very good store, but for things published in Britain by smaller presses and coming in in small numbers, it has to be the Book Depository.
Trailers for Never Let Me Go have been running for a couple of months in cinemas. Rialto is talking about a March 17 release date:
Simon Wilson of Metro reviews on Nine to Noon, link through here: