...and on Friday, I went to Wellington.
I had a few people I wanted to interview down there, they weren’t coming up my way, so Mohammed went to the Mountain. Or the Beehive, which is like a mountain, smaller and with worse carpet.
As it turned out, one of my Wellingtonians had to fly back from a last minute trip to Auckland to make the interview; another had to delay a car journey to Auckland so they could be interviewed; and the third confided they were moving to Auckland in a couple of weeks because they’re sick of “the Wellington attitude.” It seems I could have stayed put after all, but I’m glad I didn’t.
By way of background, I went to high school at the venerable Upper Hutt College and did most of my degree at Victoria, so I have strong ties with Wellington. This was evidenced when the cameraman picked us up. On the way back from the airport, in Hataitai, there’s a park my girlfriend-of-the-time and I “went to” every couple of days, when we were both in our teens and living at home under watchful eyes.
There’s the building at the bottom of Cuba Street, which even today sports a dark stain running from its fourth floor down to the second. That was my stomach lining, circa 1993. A bleached patch of concrete outside an innocuous flat on The Terrace, Cask of Winegate, 1994. Nuff said. For a pamphlet and more information about Damian Christie’s Bodily Fluids Tour of Wellington, write to Cracker HQ at the usual address.
Having that sort of history with a town always makes revisiting it an interesting experience. Last time I was there it was in a three day whirlwind of Tolkein-inspired hype, so I didn’t have much opportunity to mope around looking for old pets’ gravesites.
This time was different. OK, I didn’t go traipsing through pet cemeteries, but I found the whole experience a bit creepy nevertheless.
Wellington’s a pretty small place, so everywhere I walked I saw people I once knew, or at least once occupied the same lecture with, or bludged a cigarette off on cold mornings in the quad. And everytime I didn’t see someone I knew (or should that be "saw someone I didn't know"?), I was expecting to. So much of my day and a half there was spent vaguely anxious, looking over my shoulder.
Wellington’s a great place to go for a weekend though. There’s an excellent bar scene, the food’s pretty good on the whole and the people are generally friendly, albeit many sport a JAFA-sized chip on their shoulder. I wouldn’t want to reside there permanently though. Sorry Wellingtonians – nothing personal – I’d just prefer not to live in a town that sucks. Kidding.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun, saw Dimmer and Rhian Sheehan, bought some cool records and caught up with old and not-so-old friends. And I wrote a Russ-ku.
What’s a Russ-ku you may ask? Well, it’s a great new form of poetry that’s taking the blogosphere by storm. Read Hard News and/or nzpundit if you want to learn more about the origins, suffice to say it’s like a Haiku, but without all those annoying syllabic restrictions.
[As far as my two pingas go, I do find it a little strange how often Gordy, Craig and the New Guy Who Doesn’t Know his ‘their’ from his ‘there’ refer to Russ. The only analogy I can draw is with Opposition politicians constantly referring to the Government (any Opposition, any Government), which is odd considering they should both theoretically occupy the same position. You don’t find the Dominion Post running front page stories about the Herald every week or two. Anyhoo.]
But I can’t argue with a poetic form of such aesthetic beauty, and so I present:
Wellington, a Russ-ku by Damian Christie.
There were lots of pretty girls when I went to Wellington.
Like most other girls there [sic] age, they wore skirts and dresses.
Except with trousers underneath.
Tune in tomorrow when I talk about the awful 60 Minutes show last night.