Random Play by Graham Reid

Silence is Golden

Well, the builders arrived at 7am again and within minutes they were banging on the outside wall right beside our headboard. It’s now 8am as I write and the saw has just started on the other side of my office wall.

Every now and again I see the end of it pierce the Gib-board just above my (now empty) bookcase. On the weekend we cleaned the house top to bottom of accumulated dust -- and then on Monday I came home to find one of the guys grinding the cement on our doorstep. We opened the front door and there were clouds of fine dust billowing up the stairs. It was so thick we couldn’t see the top.

This is life in a leaky building. And it’s been a nightmare since December 17.

It looks like it is going to cost each of us in the block about $60,000 -- but that doesn’t include those little extras like interest paid on the loan (another $5000), storage bills for stuff that had to be moved out ($1200), and repairs to various household appliances like dishwashers, stereos etc which get screwed by power surges and spikes ($500).

For the past few weeks we have had no cladding on the outside wall so it has been freezing. There is just a fine wall of Gib-board between our couch and the cold world outside. Last night we went out and it was warmer in the courtyard. Our power bills are going to be horrendous -- and there’s no compensation for any of these additional/unseen costs of course.

I have this idea for a really powerful reality TV show: you arm responsible citizens like me with a handgun and a Taser and we go in search of the builders who put up these shitty apartments. We get to run them to earth in California (where my guy is apparently, still putting up cheap buildings), stun the shit out of ‘em then bring them back to put them under house arrest in one of their buildings while the works are going on. Every day they have to flush a few hundred dollars they’ve borrowed from a bank down the toilet.

Oh, and we don’t give them the earplugs and industrial strength ear protection headphones that I’ve been having to wear this past week -- on the days I haven’t simply fled.

You do the sums on what these repairs will have cost us (and how do you compensate for lose of a garden, light and having to listen to the builders’ classic hits radio choice?) and tell me that ain’t a great programme.

So what with all that going on, logical and coherent thought has sort of flown through the dust-covered window.

Here then are some random things.

The other night -- last night? -- one of our very serious and responsible news bulletins at 6pm reported on that teacher who has been heroically over the limit to the tune of about 28 glasses of wine before she got behind the wheel. The woman acted with great dignity I thought as she ‘fessed up to her problem and counselled all with a similar addiction to get help.

Pity the scriptwriter for the voice-over hadn’t been as responsible: as they flashed up that notorious photo of the woman getting of her car carrying two bottle of wine the voice-over said she was “brandishing” them.

Okay, I know we need our news to be a little excitable (“He was a hero to his friends but now he’s in jail for defrauding them of their investments …” etc) but really: “brandishing“?

Hey! Bulletin! Update! They are now taking the front door off.

In other news: Eden Park and its redevelopment?

This is what will happen: it will go ahead -- Trevor Mallard as Minister for the Rugby World Cup (?) has said as much, that it don’t matter how much you object it will be built. (So who put the mock in democracy, sir?)

So those couple of hundred residents who are now going to lose the sun an hour earlier as it goes down behind the huge new roof will just have to lump it.

But here’s what will also happen: after the Cup is over they will not be able to find big enough events to keep repaying the loans on this massive white elephant, they will suggest rock concerts (family concerts is how they are describing them already) but local people will strenuously object (change of use for the venue) and will win. They will default on the loan and the government/Auckland City Council will have to bail them out. This is just kind of obvious.

In effect some people, like my neighbours who are ratepayers stung to pony up the original funding, will be hit twice. (And they/me/we are already paying for the leaky building saga because council officers were remiss in their inspections of these cowboys who put the damn things up and did a runner or folded Fly-By-Night Apartments Co Ltd).

Think about it: just what events could fill that new stadium on a regular basis. The Blues?

In other more important matters: consensus on e-mails to me is that whitebait fritters are just fishy omelettes despite what my friend the venerable David Slack had to say. We felt he was somewhat over-egging the praise for a food that looks back at you.

And penultimately : I may be going to Gujurat and/or Vancouver soon. (Anything to get away from Classic Hits all day). If you know of anything offbeat/unusual/odd/interesting in either of those places let me know. I’ll factor it in to my plans.

Righto, we’re off to the bank to see how we are going to further fund these on-going repairs. If you haven’t checked out Music From Elsewhere this week and the sounds posted there have a look and remember, only if you are a subscriber will you get the special deal on the new Bob Dylan album CD/DVD.
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Hey, they’re playing the Eagles!