The Great Tawari Hunt

Gisborne beekeeper John Foster loved his honey as much as he loved his bees. John specialised in tawari honey.

pooh with ballon and bees

He sweetened his tea with it. His wife baked tawari honey into his cookies to go with his honeyed tea. Given half a chance he would have run the stuff through his hair with a honeycomb.

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Bordeaux Red


Red wine and bicycle by Ralph Steadman
Red wine by Ralph Steadman

A small bottle of red wine is administered as a tonic to patients each evening at Bordeaux’s Hopital Saint-Andre.

Those not in the mood give it to visitors.

I visited my partner each evening; I collected my miniature, and her room-mate’s.

Ca va? I said to the room-mate.

She half raised her hand. Ca va, she said.

Her husband did not treat her well, my partner said.

The French wine-growing region’s sun-lit hospital had big white corridors with white arches. Nuns glided down the white arched corridors.

Corridor of Saint Paul Asylum in Saint Remy
Corridor of Saint Paul Asylum in Saint Remy, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

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2016. Day one. 0400

The Rhythm and Vines festival was still going off with a pulsating end set in the hours before day break on New Years Day.

I wanted to spend more time at the festival, particularly to see Scribe and P-Money on New Year’s Eve, but other commitments came up.

So I got up early on January 1 and drove out to the site for a last taste. The new year was four hours old, and it was still dark, but the pop-up city’s shops were open and party people danced like there was no tomorrow because tomorrow had already arrived.

The air was warm and moist and the streets were solid mud but front of the Vines stage, a crowd of stripped down bodies heaved in the nuclear light to Australian duo Sweet Mix’s big beats and digital pyschedelia.

Rhythm And Vines -

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The Swimmer

THE yellow soup we called the piddling pool at the McRae Baths was where my brothers and I learned to swim. When we got the hang of it, we joined Comet Swimming Club and graduated to hours of lane-grazing in the big pool.

With its corrugated iron, barbed wire perimeter and its barrack changing rooms, there was something of the prisoner of war camp aesthetic to the McRae . Even so, it is number 10 on my hit parade of 10 memorable swimming pools.

Comet Swimming Club member Diane Newton dives in front of the McRae Baths barracks changing sheds. Gisborne Photo News, 1968.

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My Five Year Old Can Do Better Than That

ONLY a handful of people knew my conceptual art-work, My Five Year Old Can Do Better Than That, featured in two 2012 art awards shows.

One of them was the 21st annual Wallace awards at the Wallace Arts Centre.

My text-based piece was installed in a modest salon some distance from the main galleries. It was modestly visited and a digital video took top prize.

The other big show was the Walters prize at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Auckland Art Gallery. Picture

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Sad story

The Sleeping Dog. Remrandt. 1633

It rained a bit and a sub-tropical wind rustled in the stalks as I buried Toto in the sweetcorn paddock but he was already cold because the old man put him down at lunchtime except the injection wasn’t strong enough and the dog crawled under the house to die and the old man phoned me to ask if could come out and crawl after him, Toto, I mean, except it turned out he wasn’t under the house but was laying on the damp earth in the shadow of the villa and hardly breathing so I carried him into the sun and the old man came around the side of the house with a sack and a freshly loaded syringe but then he couldn’t find a vein in Toto’s leg so I rolled him over and he aimed the needle at his liver but he was too fat so we had to find a bigger needle to reach his heart which was a bit ugly except the he was too half dead to feel pain although he hyperventilated for a bit as I watched him fade away because I wasn’t going to put him the sack until he was gone then I said see y’later bae and slid the sack around him and carried him into the sweetcorn paddock and dug a deep hole so the dogs wouldn’t dig him up then went and washed my hands in the bathroom and rinsed out my mouth except my hands still smelled like shit and the beer we had afterwards didn’t taste too good either.