Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: A new (old) sensation

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  • Islander, in reply to Jolisa,

    Andris made a point of turning up just after ringing to say he was coming (he had already ascertained that we were willing to be part of his project) - no time to dust off the spider webs (me) or get into our good clothing (next door, with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids.) The whole idea was to get people in their homes -
    it was wonderful to see it as an exhibition, not least because several people photographed have left Big O (or are dead.)

    And I'll pass on your compliment to Andris - he's a gun cook himself, and will especially appreciate the chokkie-chip bikkie burning!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    True -- I'm observing what I hope is a phase. And it's useful to hear from similarly motivated readers that they are feeling the same way. The strong nostalgia in this thread for a particular sort of social novel might be useful to writers. Or perhaps not. I don't know where the stories come from; perhaps it is beyond their control entirely.

    I wonder too if, building on Rob's observation, we simply cathect more to novels read at a certain stage of life? Is it like music? In that, what you listen to at a certain point (or during certain events) burrows into your soul, but after that, the rest is noise?

    The short story, on the other hand, is alive and well and interesting, and was ever thus. On my must-read list at the moment: Tina Makereti, Pip Adam. On my to-read list: Anna Taylor, Alice Tawhai. And there are plenty of others - suggestions welcome!

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

  • webweaver,

    *sigh* love those Okarito photos.

    Okarito is my favourite place in the whole wide world - it's completely magical - I love it when you tell us snippets about life there, Islander.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Islander,

    You know what else was heartening: seeing so many kids in the pictures. The demographic shape of the place struck me as really beautiful, archetypally village-like. To mingle with the very young and the very old every day is an increasingly rare privilege in our nuclear-family-focussed society.

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

  • Jolisa, in reply to BenWilson,

    I also blame the blogosphere for stealing my reading time. A dialectic is 100 times more engaging to me than passive absorption of data, either in book or televized form.

    + 1 million, I suspect!

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

  • giovanni tiso,

    I was given to understand that nobody reads blogs anymore?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7364 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Jolisa,

    In that, what you listen to at a certain point (or during certain events) burrows into your soul, but after that, the rest is noise?

    I'm all but certain of it. Some people work very hard to keep their tastes contemporary, but it's hard work the first time you hit a popular genre you just really don't like. My interest in popular music massively declined as hip-hop rose. Intellectually, I doubt it's of any greater or lesser value artistically than previous movements, but I just can't stand the stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I was given to understand that nobody reads blogs anymore?

    Yeah, Twitter is the new hip hop to me. I'll drift backwards in time, chewing over the precious conversations of yesteryear, whilst the next generation finds nothing to recommend in my total inability to find anything worth saying in under a few hundred characters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • richard, in reply to Fergus Barrowman,

    I’m finding this thread somewhat disheartening. I thought being disappointed sometimes was just what happened if you weren’t completely safe in your reading choices. We’ve had a very open publishing environment for the last 20 or so years: publisher hunger for new writers has seen an awful lot of them into print, but it’s as if none of them have made an impression.

    Surely the really important thing is that they buy it? :-)

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to webweaver,

    After last night's dump of rain, it's a bit less than magical at the moment! But - that's part of the place, and we wouldnt have the bush/swamps/lagoon without the wet.

    Just incidentally, the start of the newly-constructed entrance to the Trig Track is a sinuous boardwalk across one of the swamps....

    And the demographics here are interesting, Jolisa: we have a few solitaries, some old people (aue, our oldest resident, who was born at the 3-Mile but schooled in Okarito, is now in a rest home in CHCH - safe, by the by), and families...since I arrived here, 37 years ago, it's been that way. None of the kids settle here (in my experience) but a large proportion return again & again. And new couples arrive...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Jolisa,

    Is it like music? In that, what you listen to at a certain point (or during certain events) burrows into your soul, but after that, the rest is noise?

    +1 plus Ben's.

    @Islander: Your house looks wonderful. (Remembering that you built it yourself.) I was a bit nervous of asking if you had any photos of it, and even though it's just one room I can see, I like it so far.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Islander,

    Oh, I love those photos. And I too felt like waving at you. (Tears in eyes, seeing you looking okay and surrounded by all those books. Your natural habitat.And what a fantastic fruit salad plant you have.) I'm with webweaver. I like hearing snippets about your lives there. And also? What very neat houses everyone has. Spotless!

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Jacqui - it even stays up in earthquakes! I am so proud of myself when not even a book falls off a shelf! (Errrm, thus far-)
    The octagon is the major room - there's an upstairs (couple of token beds, but majorly 2 24x12feetwalls of books) and a downstairs - my bedroom (poetry & fishing books) and the bath/washroom (hmm - no books? We'll have to remedy that!)But those parts I dont permit photography in-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Jackie - that fruit salad plant was a gift from my big (as in physically & -hearted) cousin John P - to my mother on the occaision of her 2nd wedding. She gave it to me when I shifted over the hill to Greymouth. It's 3rd move was to Big O. It keeps putting out new leaves each year. It is now -at least- 47 years old...

    Hey! Andris kindly didnt show the rest of the octagon! Not spotless! However, there are many really beautiful homes in Big O. And a couple of extremely ugly ones...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Loved the photos. Everything and everyone seems so 'real', which of course they are, but maybe 'unforced' would say it better.

    I wonder too if, building on Rob's observation, we simply cathect more to novels read at a certain stage of life? Is it like music? In that, what you listen to at a certain point (or during certain events) burrows into your soul, but after that, the rest is noise?

    Yes. Arriving in Wellington at 21 I read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum while lying on a mattress with damp seeping through the walls from the moss covered terrace, bronchial to the point of near pneumonia, and went trawling through the second hand book shops on Cuba mall for extra reading on the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucian conspiracy. Tried to re-read it last year, and couldn't get past the third chapter.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Jolisa,

    Also, a secret library door, and the ultimate bibliophile’s staircase.

    A secret bookshelf door which leads to more books! I think I just exploded from squee-ness!

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to recordari,

    Andris normally does landscapes (in my humble judgement he is ANZ's best landscape photographer ever.) He learns his landscapes, and learns when it is best to show them at their best.

    I think he has a similar humility & waitingness with people - although he doesnt usually 'do' people.

    There is one photograph among the Okarito gallery which was taken by another (and also amazing!) photographer - it's obvious which one it is - but can you pick any difference?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Fergus Barrowman,

    Kia ora Fergus – I’ve just seen an article in the SST with a breakdown of “Arts Funding By Type” – guess which arts form has been funded least?

    Yep, “language arts (whatever they are – all literary performance pehea?) and literature.”

    Let no-one say that ANZ officialdom doest take lit stuff seriously, I mean seriously eh?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Islander,

    Andris normally does landscapes (in my humble judgement he is ANZ’s best landscape photographer ever.)

    Thank you for introducing his work. I’ll add him to my favourites in the ANZ photography category. TBH, I couldn’t tell the odd one out. Loved them all.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    Following this discussion with interest (and looking at the Andris Apse photos).

    If it wasn't for the afore-twitter-mentioned burnout (well, Jolisa will know what I mean!) I would even try and make an intelligent comment too...

    As it is, I'll just leave it up to y'all at the moment. :)

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 173 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Ngaire BookieMonster,

    If it wasn’t for the afore-twitter-mentioned burnout

    It's better to burn out than to fade away.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    The photo of Andris Apse & Lynne Bond was taken by David Alexander (who does have a site, which I recommend heartily: David & his wife Rachel(originally from Tokyo) have had both their home & their business hardhit by the 22/2 earthquake.) David was a photojournalist with the CHCH "Press" for 30 years - until Fairfax got
    rid of all their senior experienced really good staff...love 'em both-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Islander,

    The photo of Andris Apse & Lynne Bond was taken by David Alexander

    Umm, doh! On my part. Thanks again. Have heard of David Alexander. Nice photos on his site too.

    Now, about those books...

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Nice pic of David in there too. Does he still have a place at Okarito? Good to get away from Chch...

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1571 posts Report Reply

  • Fergus Barrowman,

    I'm just back from a seminar in which Harvard folklorist Maria Tatar argued that fairytales are flourishing in the digital age because they're short and depthless (which is not a criticism per se; she was very persuasive on the power of Little Red Riding Hood), and that we're losing the ability to read deeply, especially as required by long form fiction. Sometimes it's hard not to feel like the evidence is all around me...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2009 • 28 posts Report Reply

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