Earthquake weather

 

According to a story passed down from father to son in these parts, Gisborne’s first tailback was caused by the introduction of traffic lights. Long queues formed as locals drove down after tea to watch the lights switch from green to red to amber to green then red again and so on.

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Tramp dread

The second time I met British novelist Martin Amis I was on my knees under a table in The Elgin in Ladbroke Grove. Amis and a dark-haired woman were seated at the table.

Amis was writing his novel London Fields at the time. He trawled Notting Hill Gate‘s underbelly, its Portobello Road and Ladbroke Grove pubs, for material for his novel.

The Amis-like narrator of London Fields is Sam, one of three men murderee Nicola Six attracts to herself. The other two men are a toff and a toe-rag. Nicola Six attracts all three. She messes with their heads and precipitates her end.

She is a femme fatale to herself.

nicola six new

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My chemical detention

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I called it my chemical detention.

Forty-eight weeks of combination therapy with a less than 50 per cent chance of clearing my blood of a virus that was only identified in 1989. The 48 week (call it a year) treatment for hepatitis C involved weekly redipen injections of pegylated interferon and twice daily doses of ribavarin.

I saw the treatment as dues for the recreational use of intravenous products when I could have been building something good.

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The Notebooks

A beached as sheep carcass, a ship in a storm at sea and a Chinese fishing net on the Taruheru River feature among sketches in the 3BI notebook I carry with me while walking my dog.

They’re not Leonardos or anything but a selection of sketched scenes from around Turanganui a Kiwa – Poverty Bay are exhibited below.

 

4. Sheep carcass, MIdway Beach 5.10.15
Sheep carcass. Midway Beach. 5.10.15

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Bootless at the Gates of Hell

The leather shoes that turned out to be not-leather lasted less than a fortnight on Waiheke Island rock. The red-brown aggregate made from ground-up island and used for paving shredded the shoes’ not-durable soles.

Not-leather boots 2

There are no men’s shoe shops on the island; I was a step away from bootlessness – a human condition defined as useless, pointless or meaningless.

A step lower and strangeness creeps in, says existential philosopher Albert Camus. Read more

Krupp Gun No. 4

An iron war trophy shipped from South Africa to New Zealand more than 100 years ago was little more than a ghost in Wanganui by the 1970s.

1 KG in Cooks Garden

The fast-loading, German-manufactured field cannon known as the Krupp gun was used by the enemy in the Boer War. When British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand and troops captured the gun, General Lord Kitchener had it shipped to New Zealand.

The state-of-the-art feldkanone was met with marching bands and speeches, garlands and fireworks. A century later it was a rusting relic from a forgotten war. In 2005, two men – one an amateur antique gun restorer, the other a lecturer in preventive conservation – set about restoring the Krupp gun.

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The Armed Man

Only one work would befit the Anzac Day opening of the rebuilt War Memorial Theatre. That work was The Armed Man, Soft Machine rocker turned classical composer Karl Jenkins’ modern mass to peace.

1 Peace dove

“I see a mind-blowing, possibly multi-media production of The Armed Man that involves the Gisborne Choral Society, Boys and Girls High choirs, and full orchestra, with maestro Gavin Maclean on baton, and Mark Peters as production manager, at the new, acoustically-improved War Memorial Theatre on Anzac Day next year,” I pitched to Gisborne Choral Society conductor Gavin Maclean in May 2014.

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