Cracker by Damian Christie

Absolutely Positively Blah

So it turns out I’m now living in Wellington.


Not wanting to sound ungrateful for all the hospitality I’ve enjoyed so far, I can’t help but feel I’ve been slightly conned these past few years.

Leaving behind a life in Auckland I like to call “very social” (my mother prefer the term “self-destructive”, my GP “terminal”), I sold the move to myself on the basis that Wellington had really come alive these past few years. I’d come and visit every year or so and be taken out to some great places, Chow, Motel, Cabaret.

Turns out I’ve been misled – a word which in my mind will always be pronounced like my old school chum Andrew thought it was, as “mizzled” – they’re all different parts of the same bloody place. And in the past few weeks I’ve been to each of them more times than I care to count.

Aside from that, I feel like I’m in rehab. A cold, windy rehab. But still, it’s winter, and if there were ever a season to be watching DVDs on the couch on a Saturday night, I guess this would be it.

Could be worse I guess. At least I can leave the house if I want to.

I’m not surprised Tim Selwyn’s behind-bars-blog has created as much interest as it has, if a National Party Press release by Simon Power can be called “interest”, rather than a thinly veiled swipe at the Government over a non-issue.

What does surprise me, in this Information Age, is that this is the first time it’s happened. Well the first time in New Zealand. Overseas, prison blogs aren’t uncommon – here’s an example from Scotland and one from New York.

If the prisoner isn’t saying anything he wouldn’t or couldn’t say in a letter, then I really don’t see the problem.

“What’s to stop him compromising prison security by writing about how things work in there?” asks National Corrections’ Spokesman Simon Power, demonstrating his expertise of the inner workings of the prison mail system in which every word is vetted by censors.

If Power didn’t already know about prison censorship, the opening lines of the very blog he was complaining about contained some carefully hidden clues for the observant reader:

Please note my letters are read by the Prison Officers before they can be sent, so read between the lines… He was accused of CENSORED and attacking an elderly lady in Pukekohe.

Did you spot them? Answers on the back of an SAE to:

Simon Power MP
Parliament Buildings

I had a mate in prison once. He asked me to buy him prepaid Vodafone cards, so he could keep using his (illegal) cellphone. He asked me to smuggle in KFC, because while they might have underfloor heating, the Colonel still ain’t standard issue when one is serving time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. He told me there were more drugs in prison than he’d seen in all his time in Auckland’s clubland, at much lower prices.

If Simon Power wants to earn his stripes as Corrections Spokesman, there are quite a few, um, actual issues to focus on.