While stepping carefully down Queen St the other day I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.
“God, I thought you were dead!” he said and, quick as a lad, I replied, “Really? So did you ring Megan to see if she was okay, or call a cop?”
He looked a bit taken aback so I quickly made light of it by telling my now threadbare story of how I killed a man in my first month at the Herald by referring to him as “the late” -- and then he rung up.
But my friend’s sentiment -- he said it was because I hadn’t posted at publicaddress or heard me on radio lately -- was pretty accurate.
In the past two months I have been as one of the dead.
After I came back from the wonderful Outback (see previous post) I was immediately into a bout of writing to earn a living and then my website underwent a major overhaul and relaunch courtesy of the excellent people at gardyneHOLT.
It looks terrific (but then I would say that, huh?) and now has about 700 albums posted with sample tracks (the new Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan and Grace Jones among the more recent), many dozens of travel articles, interviews, essays and much, much more -- including video clips.
(The Lou Reed interview is as funny as the Benny Hill clip).
Have a look. It’s a very different but much improved (search function! tags!!) Elsewhere
To get the music up for all the albums however (and I still have a couple of dozen to go) meant what I have called “back-filling” which was a time-consuming task -- and indeed it consumed me for almost two months.
Which meant I sort of checked out of publicaddress, but also figured I wouldn’t be much missed.
After all, not much happened - unless you count the whole Winston thing, whatever it is that's happening in the US with that worrying woman McCain has picked, the whole economic crisis, the forthcoming election, New Zealand’s Got Talent and so on.
Hell, what could I have added to the discussion: that Winston is unworthy, Key untrustworthy, Clark expedient, Palin dangerous, we don’t have much talent ?.
My point is that after a couple of weeks not passing my opinion into the world it became harder and harder to catch up with the fast-passing game, and increasingly unnecessary.
Instead I got on with my life and over the weeks started to read the news with less and less enthusiasm, often changed the station from Morning Report, watched even less news on television (New Zealand channels I mean, I have despaired of them what with Duncan Garner telling us what certain politicians are thinking, or worse, telling us what to think . . .)
Life went on.
We went to movies and saw bands play, had dinner with friends, complained about the weather (or went for walks at Mission Bay on fine days), read some very interesting books, lingered over lovely dinners in restaurants or at home, saw a couple of plays, partied with people, did the shopping, went to the movies again, had a long weekend up North at Megan’s parents’ place, back-filled at Elsewhere, sent e-mails to people, vacuumed and tidied up, spoke with my kids in London . . .
I began to feel irresponsible not following every nuance of that Winston/Helen saga, started to care very little about Wall Street (which seemed to be the great passion and preoccupation of people who’d never discussed economics much until that point) and bleakly considered stabbings in my city and suburbs before turning the page to find out who was coming for the Big Day Out. Looks like a good line-up.
And so the days go by.
My friend was probably right.
By not engaging with these great events of our time sent to test or divert us, I was probably dead.
It just didn’t seem like it from where I was standing.