Pink Goes Good With Green


Kay – the one who is not my mother – hit the nail on the head. The title of my last post was a pun on a quote from the musical Wicked. The long explanation can be seen on youtube in this video of Kristin Chenoweth as Galinda singing ‘Popular’ to Idina Menzel’s Elphaba. The short explanation – Galinda puts a pink flower in the green girl, Elphaba’s hair, and says “pink goes good with green” – I think it’s supposed to be symbolic of their friendship too (‘scuse my geekiness…) Not a real post today, because I’ve squandered all my time on wine, women and song; oops I mean I’ve been doing uni work and frantically writing my column for Tearaway magazine. And now I have to take off to town even though it’s bitterly cold outside because there is a football game on with The Phoenix, remember them? The team who played David Beckham last December? Anyway, I don’t even have time to make sure this post is actually coherent! I’ll edit this properly when I get home, promise! Au revoir!

Update: We won! 1-nil vs the Mariners who are some team from Australia. They’re in “The League” though, and whatever this mysterious league is, apparently it’s quite prestigious and the Phoenix are the only NZ team on it. I have to say, football is more fun when it’s summer and…you’ve had a couple of red wines. Nevertheless it was a good time, even for a dyed-in-the-wool sports hater like myself.

While I have something resembling your undivided attention, may I direct it Helen Mirren-wards? I saw this post on Go Fug Yourself, a sassy blog dedicated to pointing out the lamentable flaws in celebrities wardrobes, they do however graciously concede when something is worn well. And oh my, how she wears a bikini well. In all seriousness, her cleavage is mesmerising.

Finally in this update…Tim and I have been watching The Johnny Cash Show DVD, it has amazing footage – a ridiculously young Bob Dylan harmonising with Cash on The Girl From The North Country…Tammy Wynette, with mind-bogglingly vertical hair singing Stand By Your Man…and a personal favourite of mine – Neil Young strumming a guitar and singing Needle And The Damage Done. It is a silencingly good performance. We seem to acquire DVDs in our sleep, our collection grows all the time, but I’m glad we got this one.

Next time – I went slightly mad this week and made chocolate cakes, unfortunately the pictures are of dubious quality but that’s what happens when the cakes barely sit still long enough to be photographed…

"So Ya Thought Ya Might Like To Go To The Show"


So; Tim and I went to the Wellington Food Show on Sunday afternoon. By the end companies are practically throwing food at you at drastically slashed prices or even – oh bliss – free. Initial thoughts: Oy with the pesto already! How many over-oily purveyors of this paste does New Zealand need? (and I say that as someone who could drink the stuff.) It was good to see a solid gluten-free presence, and kudos to the wine and beer people being generous pourers! Being the diligent blogger that I am, I brought along my camera and homespun, slightly low-rent business cards (it’s business time!) And I received a lot of quizzical looks.
I thought there might be other local food bloggers there (am I the only one?) Most people either didn’t know what I was talking about, thought I was doing a school project, or that I was some kind of produce research Lindsay Naegle-type person. I am but a meek harbinger of opinion and slowly-improving photographs, all in the name of love for food and cooking. If any of the people who I handed my business cards to are reading this; I simultaneously apologise if, and guarantee that, your product isn’t photographed perfectly. Live a little.
Above: Barkers Apple and Pomegranite Juice. Free samples taste so much better when you ignore the voice in your head that says “$20 entrance fee!? Did they think we wouldn’t notice the price hike?”

Above: Tim and I found this European Import stand which – wunderbar! – handed out samples of the Haribo bears that we had become so enamoured of in England.

Above: We sampled the Orchard Delight jam liberally; it is made the old-fangled way with no dodgy added ingredients and tastes wonderfully, genuinely fruity.

Above: See? Other people agreed. Just look at all that jam schmeered everywhere. The good people of Orchard Delights gave me their business card; they don’t have a website but send enquiries to or, you know, you could buy some in the supermarket.
Above: While we are in the realm of preserves, the man at the St Andrews Limes stand (I presume the rackish omission of apostrophe is on purpose?) was very patient as I knocked over his sample bowls while trying to take a photo. I do like to make my own curd but if you are one of those “gee, who has the time these days?” kind of people you could definitely do worse than to purchase a jar from these guys. The lime curd, which I tried, was pleasantly zingy but with that marvelously buttery-creamy aftertaste that only real curd affords. You can find them online at
Above: The man at Rutherford and Meyer tried to convince me that there were quality high-res photos of their products online that I could use. And well he might. This photo is awful. I was in a hurry and didn’t have my tripod and the lighting wasn’t good so I couldn’t capture the jewel-like shimmer of the various fruit pastes; nor obtain clarity of colour. Oops. They were delicious, anyway, and could be used in many different ways – although plonking one on your cheeseboard would be perfect… See much nicer pictures and recipes at the Rutherford and Meyer site.
Above: The people at Wallace Harmony foods were very enthusiastic – I hope they weren’t under the illusion that I wield actual clout or something – and gave me lots of pamplets as well as marvelously delicious samples of sausages, bacon and ribs. I’ve said many a time that Tim and I don’t eat a lot of pork. When we do, we try our best to find “happy pig” products, which are few and far between. And this is usually what we go for – genuine free range pork. I can’t recommend them enough – put down that greying, pre-cooked sausage and listen – people like these are the way of the future. I may sound a little high and mighty but if I can be a mere student and support free range meat I’m sure you can. Trust me, bacon tastes extra-crispy with a side serving of righteousness. They don’t have a website but email to find out if they are stocked near to you.
Above: The fantastic people at Orcona Chillis ‘n Peppers gave me 6 plump, glossy red chillis for $2 when I only asked for three, and practically fell over themselves to rearrange the baskets of beautiful chillis so I could better photograph them. Unfortunately this was my best shot. They have an extensive range of products including an intriguingly knobbly variety of chilli and plenty of sauces/relishes of varying heat intensity. Visit their site at if you fancy yourself the “pope of chilli town.” (As Chief Wiggum once said…)
Above: I bought a tub of organic brown rice miso paste from these people, and got a free bottle of shitake sesame salad dressing…and I’m beggared if I can remember what they are called. I must have neglected to nab a business card off them. The label on the bottle says natural organic foods, but have you tried googling that lately? Carnage. I sincerely apologise as the guy was really nice, and soy products have a special place in my heart. Speaking of soy, mad props to the folks at So Good who were verrrrry generous with their giveways of soymilk packs. I think they were just surprised that I was so enthused about the stuff…
Above: Okay, so “sprouts” aren’t exactly the most come-hither of foods, but these were crunchy and delicious and organic and you should know, going by my stance on lentils, how into sprouts I would be. I was given a free pack by the lady at The Wright Sprouts stand, and I couldn’t seem to get a good photo of their logo so by all means visit their website if this sort of thing floats your boat. They know what they are talking about.

Above: And now for something completely different – Hamilton-based Donovan Brothers Chocolate. I purchased three dark chocolate blocks (80%) for $10 which was rather thrilling as it means I have a solid supply to bake with. One thing I will say though is that their blocks are an awkward 210 grams each. Now, when most recipes call for round figures – 100g, 250g, 200g – what made them decide to make it this size? Anyway, I’ll forgive the dubious looks I got from the guys at the stall for taking my photos, because the chocolate is very, very good.
Above: Doesn’t this look incredible, like a jewel-studded pile of gold? (Just me?) The Original Smoke and Spice Co. were hugely friendly and good grief their gourmet salt was fabulous. Smoky, complex, flavoursome, I could imagine it being very useful in the kitchen. Check out their website at
Above: I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of this stall at all, but it was displaying a whole swag of compelling kitchen gadgetry. The guy who seemed to be in charge was in fact the only person who actually understood what I meant by food blogging, in fact he has his own blog (about sailing)…which makes me feel worse that I didn’t commit the company name to memory.
Above: Lots of shiny, shiny gadgetry. I had to hold myself back. Last year I was overtired (Tim and I had been up since 5am doing essays) and bought lots of ridiculous things, including a (surprisingly useful) mini tartelette tray and a large bottle of Creme de Peche.
Above: Finally, we paused to “ooh” and “ah” over the display cakes. Beautiful…
Above: Our haul. Amongst the exciting bargains – three bags of bagels for $5, 2 packs of real stock (I got fish and beef) for $5 (normally $10 each!) a LOT of free soymilk…and Tim got a whole ton of beer. Everyone wins! As long as the price doesn’t go up again, I can’t wait till next year’s show. Thanks to all the tireless workers (emphatically not the ones who packed up at 5.15 though!) and to everyone for being so obliging as I took photos of everything.
As I said in the last post, it was going to be a very busy weekend. I caught up with the Lees, (extended family of mine from home) and we had a fabulous meal at the Black Harp pub on Featherston St. I would normally give some kind of review but I need to rest my weary head; if you are ever in Wellington you should absolutely go there for lunch. It’s much better than its not terribly promising exterior looks. Kieran (ex-flatmate) was also down for the weekend and I’m pretty sure we got very drunk at some stage. I also studied, read 2/3rds of Samson Agonistes, and…haven’t managed to get started on my next photography assignment. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a dim one…

"We’d Like To Do Our Hit…"

Day 2 of Rock2Wgtn: Poison, Whitesnake, and Ozzy Osborne. Title quote courtesy of The Folksmen. Hot Cross buns soon, I promise. And gluten-free brownies.

First up: Poison. Because it was Easter Sunday, the supermarket was closed and so I had to glean our dinner from the largely ransacked Starmart before the show. So twisties and a muesli bar it was. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to cooking dinner again tonight. In my last post I wondered aloud if Bret Micheals was as bloated and orange as he looks on reality TV. In a word: yeah…

Above: It felt right to be eating twisties while watching something so orange, y’know?

All snarking aside, (and it is a cheap shot), Poison put on a seriously great show. Bret sounding like Mr Schneebly as he waxed lyrical about the spirit of rock music, or something. The most important thing to me was hearing Unskinny Bop (a song I really like), which they played with aplomb, and I have to admit I was looking forward to Every Rose Has Its Thorn, not because I even like it that much, but because it’s nice to be in the crowd for those singalong moments. Paul and I were discussing that all those Eighties hair metal bands – Poison, Europe, Def Leppard – should have joined forces and created, well, not a supergroup, but a group with more than one or two notable songs. Plus you wouldn’t have to worry about telling them apart.

Above: I knew absolutely nothing about Whitesnake. I soon found out that they are British, judging by David Coverdale’s accent, and lots of fun. Also turns out they do that “here I go again on my own” song, which the crowd loved. Almost as much as they loved how he told someone in the audience (female, one presumes) that he would like to compliment her on her “bosoms.”

Tim and I both were struck, however, by his resemblance to dishy ginge actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, who was the lovely Mac in Green Wing.

Above: On top, David Coverdale, and below, the marvelously named Julian Rhind-Tutt. Exhaustive wikipedia-ing revealed they are in no way related, but you know, you never see them in a room together… I still remain convinced that Coverdale is his uncle.

Anyway, after a lot of mic-stand-as-phallus posturing and a rendition of Crying In The Rain, Whitesnake were gone and it was time for Ozzy.

Above: There was a beautiful full moon last night. No doubt, as we noted, Ozzy was underneath it before his set, stripped nude and sacificing a goat. “Unicorn tears” was Tim’s contribution when asked what he thought kept Ozzy going.

Above: Ozzy’s stint began with a lot of rather clever movie and TV clips with Ozzy digitally inserted into them. Lost, Pirates of The Carribean (wherein he bit the head off a parrot), The Office, etc. If you are curious as to why the above photo of Ozzy supposedly dancing in OkGo’s music video is funny, see the original here.

What can I say though. Ozzy Osborne clearly does sacrifice goats in the nude and drink unicorn tears- the man is a firecracker. He went NUTS and managed to squeeze even more noise out of a near-hoarse crowd.

Above: Look at him go!

He was more than ably backed by his band, which included this engaging fellow:

Above: He gave an awe-inspiring guitar solo. I swear, it was about half an hour long. Just enough time to get Ozzy pumped full of oxygen again.

Above: Ozzy is without a doubt, absolutely fantastic. He did War Pigs, Suicide Solution, that one that goes “maybe, it’s not too late, to learn how to love and forget how to hate” and more besides. Mama I’m Coming Home was the rapturously received encore. It was a glorious, on yer feet, hands in the air moment. Then, at the insistence of the crowd (who am I kidding, he was always going to play it) he launched into a thrilling rendition of Paranoid. The crowd basically wet themselves simultaneously. He is pure class.
My only disappointment: Not one band did that classic, drop-the-melody-keep-the-beat-going thing with the audience singing the chorus. I definitely expected some of that from Whitesnake, Poison, and Alice, but not a sausage.
So that was my Easter. When I wasn’t whooping it up at rock festivals, I have been writing essays and trying fruitlessly to create a concept for my next photography assignment. So, next time you hear from me I will be considerably more frazzled. “People think I’m insane because I am frowning all the time…”

For Those About To Rock…

Above: Alice Cooper. He angry.

Food blogging very temporarily on hold. Through my work, I managed to pocket free tickets to Rock2Wgtn, the two-day music festival with some muscular headliners – Ozzy Osbourne and Kiss. These tickets are exceedingly pricey so Tim and I were rather stoked. I realise my list of pet sounds on the right hand column of this blog don’t exactly display bogan tendencies, but – and I don’t want to come off all David Brent here – some of my favourite music errs on the side of ‘heavy.’ I count Metallica’s ‘Fuel’ is one of my (admittedly million) favourite songs, and Motorhead’s album Ace of Spades gets high rotation on my iTunes (and how could it not, with such ditties as Love Me Like A Reptile?) To be fair though, my knowledge of all the bands headlining is mostly gleaned from various reality TV shows, 80s compilations, and Top 40 Guitar Riff countdowns on C4. Despite, or perhaps because of this, we had an amazing time.

Last night was Alice Cooper and Kiss:

Above: Alice Cooper is absolutely mental. He has to be what, 97 years old? Yet in the course of his set, he threw out ropes of pearls into the audience, attacked a dummy replica of himself, engaged in a glorified display wife-beating with his backup dancer, sacrificed a baby (doll, don’t sweat), had three costume changes, (who is he, Kylie Minogue?) got put into a straightjacket, was hung from a noose (it looked pretty real), flung fistfuls of money about and attempted to run for President. A Troubled Man for Troubled Times, was his pithy slogan. (Your move, Obama…) Listening to a lot of Radio Hauraki in my late teens meant that I ended up knowing a lot more of his songs than I anticipated, and so I was able to have a good singalong. His face is just fascinating though. He looks like a Quentin Black illustration. It is just begging to be doodled.

Above: This. Was Kiss. Blissfully ignorant of the definition of “carbon footprint,” these platform booted nutters sent off jets of fire, sprayed confetti everywhere, and punctuated their singing with fireworks displays. The lead singer (the one that’s not Gene Simmons, the drummer, or that other guy) rode a flying fox across the audience. They were excessive and excellent – truly, truly entertaining.

Above: Ah, the tongue. You better believe this happened a lot. He did not disappoint. It’s funny, a lot has been made of Gene Simmons’ many er, conquests, but while he was strutting about the stage I couldn’t help but imagine him chuckling: “My rhymes are so potent that in this small segment I made all of the ladies in the first two rows pregnant.” (I know, quoting Flight of the Conchords is now passe, but here in NZ we tend to always get the memo later than anyone else, and besides, just click on the link.)

Hot Cross Buns and other Easter baking to come (sandwiched between frantic essay writing and photo-taking) and I guess we will find out tonight what Ozzy Osbourne has in store for us, and if Bret Micheals from Poison is as bloated as he looks in Rock of Love.

"A Mighty Win" or, "All Your Bar Tab Are Belong To Us."

Just a brief note to let you know that with our pooled knowledge of “German wine, turpentine, Gurtrude Stein,” Tim, Paul and I won ANOTHER pub quiz. We came first at this one (held at the fairly lamentable student bar at uni) and won the slightly unsettling prize of a $100 bar tab (yes, another one), a couple of used looking CDs and bumper stickers from Kiwi FM (is that thing still going?) and…a large box of Watties Cup a Soup Chicken and Corn sachets. I’m surprised they didn’t give us a pallet of loo roll. But seriously, all free stuff is great fun, and we were amazed that we’d won again – that’s $200 worth of plonk in six days. I’m not so crash hot at maths but I’d say we were running at a profit!

Erm…since we decided we never really wanted to go back to that particular bar, we finished the tab last night. Let me tell you, $100 goes a loooong way between three people. I’m feeling alright this morning, but no less terrified about my 4 hour photography class at today – the teacher makes me very, very nervous. Did I mention she was humourless? Rigid? And I still haven’t managed to tell her that Aperture is completely over my head – and yes, I’ve read the instructions for the camera!

In other news, spare a thought for Emma, who has fractured an elbow (her dishwashing elbow, apparently) while falling down one of the many precarious staircases that grace our city. We smirked at the time because she fell over while txting, but it really isn’t a fun thing to happen to anyone.

More food soon! Including the first casserole of the year – the weather here is suspiciously Wintery…

A Weekend In The City Part 2: Whereat we “…Have General Run of The Town.”

Okay, so apart from seeing Rufus Wainwright and pestering local celebrities, we ate stuff…and apart from eating stuff we actually did things too.

I have a head cold at the moment (guess who I caught it off?) so I really just want to go to bed, but I have to get all this out otherwise it will take forever. You don’t need me to tell you how sucky a blocked nose is…although it’s funny, no one gets any sympathy for having the common cold because it’s, well, common – yet once you get it, there is nothing quite like that awful trapped-in-your-own-head feeling you get when unable to breathe out your nose. And I have to eat standing up or my nose shuts off completely and I can’t taste anything. It’s not as bad as last time I had a cold…You know, that’s probably about as much as you need to know about my nasal passages, so back to Auckland…

One thing Tim and I noticed about Auckland was that there were three trillion minimarts/convenience stores. They are EVERYWHERE, and I am only barely exaggerating about the amount of them. Tim and I tried to go into every one we saw, but we just couldn’t do them all. Simply couldn’t. I think if you gave yourself a week, and only went into minimarts, you might start to scratch the surface. From one of said minimarts we bought some bread and some expired peanut butter (only a dollar!) to have for our breakfasts. The kitchen at the hostel was really clean and spacious and well-appointed – we have seen some seriously grubby ones in our time, so this was quite a relief. And the “Free Food” box was bountiful to say the least – we got a bag of couscous and a whole pack of fettucine!

Above: There is no Wendy’s outside the Auckland region. I’m not talking about Wendy’s the icecream chain (I have no idea how two companies ended up with the same name in the same country, explanation anyone?), but the burger place with the really annoying guy on their ads. Annoying or not, their burgers are seriously good- the buns of which are rather magically delicious, I’m guessing because they are pumped full of sugar. Tim and I had dinner at Wendy’s on Queen Street on Sunday night, before going to see the movie Juno. Which was very sweet, if a little talky. Apparently sales of hamburger phones have gone up 759% in America since this movie (the sassy protagonist owns one.) Frankly, I craved a rich, smooth orange tic-tac after seeing Micheal Cera’s character chomp through them – I wouldn’t be surprised if their stock begins to rise, too.

Above: I’m not sure whether or not Tim will appreciate me putting up this picture of him but I wanted to illustrate how enormous the Wendy’s cups are, in a scratch your head, “Is that legal?”‘ kind of way. (Also there is a photo of me with the cup but I was having an unphotogenic, er, moment.) Look closely. That cup is about as big as Tim’s head. It’s more vessel than mere receptacle. I’ve seen spa pools smaller than that. Et Cetera.

On Monday morning we took a soujourn through town; stopping at Real Groovy which is indeed much groovier than the Wellington branch of this shop.

Above: It even proclaims its own grooviness with a big lit up sign! I have nothing bad to say about this place: Tim found a White Stripes single with heaps of live cuts, I found Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man DVD for $15 (!!) I finally found the Rent OBC recording including its original booklet (!!!!), we got a CD from 1998 featuring a Rufus Wainwright radio interview and live performance, and they gave us a tour poster for free. Which we left in the airport terminal. But if we send them a self addressed envelope they’ll send it back to us! In the end that free poster will be pretty expensive.
We visited the Aotea Centre, where I used to go to see a lot of ballets and shows. They have a giant feather and giant paua shell sculpture that I used to love looking for, so it was fun to see them again after so long. There was also a photography exhibition in honour of the Beijing Olympics downstairs, so we got some culture with our shmoozing. I have to say though, the place is looking a little…shabby. That eighties decor was pretty exciting to a six year old in 1992, but however many years later…at least vacuum the place.
The Art Gallery also featured on our itinerary, where there was a rather awesome portraits theme going in the free area. Some were gorgeous, some were thought provoking, some, (the ones by Yvonne Todd) were seriously sinister…There was a mini-exhibition of Tony Fromison, someone who I had never heard of, but who certainly made some great artwork (I hate talking about art, to be honest. What use are the words “interesting” and “good?” And as I have found out, writing Art History essays, there are only so many times you can get away with the word “juxtapostition…”)
Above: We lunched at Wagamama… The only thing Auckland has in more abundance than minimarts is places to eat. It’s daunting. It’s downright mindboggling. How do they all get customers? How do people know which ones to go to? We had been wanting to go to Wagamama for a while, as we had gone there while in London and absolutely loved it. Of course when it comes to NZ it doesn’t go to Wellington…anyway everything they do is crisp and fresh and flavoursome and fast. I had a ginger chicken noodle salad and Tim had something similar but with pork. It was so delicious, and a breeze gave us merciful respite from the often overpowering heat of the city.
Above: This is a metaphor for…actually it’s just a photo of our rapidly emptied plates.
Tim and I played a lot of air-hockey during our stay in Auckland. Now, generally I hate those video game places, like Time Zone, because they are always so seedy. The only game I like to play is air hockey…incidentally the only computer game I like to play is Tetris. So after every big meal, Tim and I would hit the machine and play a couple of rounds (as if it was going to do us any good, although I did have a bit of a sore arm after playing.) Normally I’m not that bad, but I was just awful this weekend – half Tim’s goals were scored by me.
We walked down to the waterfront in the afternoon, which took forever – Queen Street is pretty long – and passed many a Starbucks, occasionally dipping in to various shops we felt like browsing through. On the waterfront we paid a silly amount of money to go to -5, the bar that is…made of ice. You put on this puffy coat and gloves, and go in and get a cocktail. You have 25 minutes. It was pretty cool, get it? Seriously though, it was truly made of ice and had lots of ice sculptures – Ed Hillary, an eagle, a lion – all very awesome stuff. We paid another silly amount of money to have our photos taken within the shroud of ice, which I will have to scan and post here at some stage. It was definitely fun, although it might have been a bit more fun if the gal behind the counter hadn’t been so surly. I realise it was 2.45 in the afternoon and we were her only customers but come on! We are your bread and butter!
It was hotter than ever when we got outside, thanks to the contrast in temperatures. We headed back to the hostel to relax but not before paying a visit to K Road’s most overpriced op shops (admittedly, cheaper than Wellington’s ones) where I heedlessly bought quite a few things – a glo-mesh handbag, a Sass and Bide top (nothing flash though) a shirt dress, and a silk scarf with horses on it.
And you all know what happened next…
I figured I might as well upload another video of Rufus. It would be a shame not to share this talent (which is such a pale word for what he has) with people who weren’t there.
Disclaimer: Don’t hate me for it, but my petulant voice takes up about five seconds of this video – I’m asking Tim to do his cool whistle (he grew up on a farm, and hey, he can whistle really loud.) Also you can hear Tim singing along sometimes. Hee. The lesson here is kids, never say anything you wouldn’t want to have commited to video and put on the internet. (But really, his whistle is pretty impressive.)

Above: This is an excerpt of Rufus singing “California” – isn’t he jaunty on the guitar!

On Tuesday morning we had a bit of time to burn before our flight, so we decided just to wander the streets lazily, with no agenda whatsoever. We went into Smith and Caughey’s, which is (ha!) not as good as Kirkcaldie and Staines. I did, however, spend a good few minutes in their ‘foodie’ section, and bought myself some Savoiardi biscuits for making Tiramisu or something. The lady behind the counter called me “ma’am” about five times, I didn’t know whether to feel grown up or haggard…

Above: I ended up buying two packs because they are rather hard to find and because the more I spend the more reckless I get, it seems.

We had lunch in the food court by Borders, and ended up having enormous slices of pizza with wedges. I told myself it was like when Carrie and her friends on SATC would get similar huge pizza slices. …Afterwards we had one last Air Hockey for the road, before getting our shuttle to the airport. Auckland feels so different to Wellington (not least because it was raining when we got back to the capital), it’s hard to put my finger on what it is exactly.

Right, well I’m going to do my Ruby Gillis best to conquer this cold, before I am back again- as Jilly Cooper would say, I’ve drank so much herbal tea I’m going to turn into a bouquet garni.

A Weekend In The City Part 1: "Can’t Sleep In This City Of Neon And Chrome…"

Never mind the food. That’s right, you heard me. Well, never mind the food for now, anyway… all photos by Tim.

Above: We were THIS close to La Rufus. It was almost unbearably wonderful.

Above: Zing! Went the strings of my heart, let me tell you!

You may have noticed I’ve been a little thin on the ground lately (one of the few times I could use the word thin to describe myself) – or you may not have, judging by the fact that my mother is the only person who has commented on my last post! Well, either way, Tim and I took a mini-break up to Auckland to see the fabulous Rufus Wainwright in concert. We paid the whistlingest of whistle-stop visits to Mum and Dad, before getting on a bus to the Big Smoke. I realise this may sound funny coming from someone based in the city themselves, the capital no less, but Auckland is a lot bigger that Wellington, and, unfortunately, it is where a lot more stuff happens.

If that wasn’t enough – guess who we met (read: forced ourselves sweatily upon) at the gig…

Above: Pascal and Loretta from Outrageous Fortune! Now, you know we feel about this show. I must have plugged it, oh, a squillion times on this very blog. Our entire flat went into a decline when Series 3 ended. Tim and I bought the first two seasons on DVD when we really couldn’t afford it, and then went on to watch the whole lot in one weekend, even though we really should have been doing other things. We even went and logged in to all those online NZ magazine polls so that Robyn Malcolm would have a better chance of winning. That’s right, we are boffins, and so to those of you who haven’t heard of Outrageous Fortune, this was kinda a Big Deal.
We were all, “Should we? Shouldn’t we?” Until we settled on the fact that we’d never be cool anyway, so there was no need to be like all the other people milling round with their shields of ennui. So we went up to them, and said hi, and that we were enormous fans of the show and we were sorry to bother them but would they have a photo with us? Now, the above picture is admittedly pretty awful: Photographer Tim’s face is chopped off, I really hope I don’t look like that in real life, even Siobhan something-or-other and Antonia Prebble (they have names!) look kinda shiny, and on the whole the photo is haplessly bungled. But still: SQUEEEE!!!
I know I tend to gush over things, “exaggerate,” some might say, (although I’m really not exaggerating! I just like a lot of stuff!) and I do use the word ‘ridiculous’ a lot… But Rufus was just bafflingly excellent, ridiculously talented, and completely charming. His voice is staggeringly beautiful. It soars. The concert felt really special, it was just him, a pianny and a guitar. Nothing else. He talked to us between songs in a surprisingly nasal Canadian accent – about how he always loved Kiri Te Kanawa…”but I hear she’s a bitch! We grew up with her music…I loved to think of her practicing Strauss…on the beach…” and performed a haunting song from Brokeback Mountain, hinting at the added significance of this song but breaking the tension afterwards by saying “it was, of course, filmed in New Zealand…just kidding, ha!” And then he put on his guitar with a red-sequinned strap and said he was going to sing a song about America…not the one from the new album that everyone is expecting – “but it’s still negative anyway, so don’t worry! Here we go-” and launched into California, one of my favourite songs of his. One of my favourite songs of anyone, really.

He was supported by – speaking of Outrageous Fortune- Madeleine Sami and her two sisters, who are seriously lucky: as well as being completely gorgeous, having wonderful voices and a knack for writing kicky but bittersweet songs, they got to open for Rufus. Some people… but really, they were great, they didn’t give themselves a name but they were light years better than most of the crap on the radio these days.

Above: This was the view out the window of our room…with a view…Did you know that K Road is seriously noisy? Distractingly so; Tim and I got to our hostel on Sunday afternoon – a Sunday – and at 12.30am there were still voices, cars, music, sirens…it kept us awake and made me realise how serene our little neck of the woods in Wellington is! But still it was kind of exciting, in a Spongebob Squarepants kind of way, to a country gal like me – I’m being kept awake by sirens and yelling…in Auckland…

I’ll write about what else we got up to and what we ate tomorrow, I just couldn’t hold all this in but I didn’t want to subject you to the whole darn thing in one enormous post. As a parting shot though, here is a video that Tim took from last night. Don’t, don’t for goodness’ sake judge Rufus’ voice on the really pretty awful sound-recording capabilites of Tim’s aging camera, he sounded clearer than the clearest bell could ever hope to sound. But isn’t he good on the piano?

PS: I also found the Rent OBC soundtrack at Real Groovy on Queen Street…Result!!

"Up With My Tent!"

…so spake Shakespeare’s Richard III before launching into battle with Richmond, he of the perfectly coiffed hair and charming Welsh accent – at least in the BBC version.

It is also what I would have been saying today had it not been raining intermittently, followed by an icy blast of clattering hailstorms tonight. It is still bucketing down now. We managed to find a brief patch of sun in which to claim a patch of ground at the campsite, in the manner of the Outrageous Fortune Christmas Special – but in this weather I fear for the state of the tents which we left behind as a marker of our territory. Nevermind – being damp and uncomfortable is part of the many joys of camping.

In other news, I spent Boxing Day eating leftovers and reading the charming Anne of Green Gables,wishing resentfully all the while that my eyes were at least half as starry as the titular Anne’s are constantly made out to be. I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas. As at least a third of my readership spent Christmas in my company, I know I can reply fairly confidently that yes, it was a great day. Actual blogging will ensue shortly, with lots of pictures of the “flesh and wine” that was consumed in enormous proportions.

I am, however, still stinging at the $80 that Pacific Blue charged me in overweight luggage fines…

Slings and Arrows

Just a quick post to say IT’S OVER…We just finished watching the season 3 final of Outrageous Fortune, there was so much drama that I got muscle cramp from being so tensely clenched. Loretta had a bairn and Van delivered it! Judd and Cheryl talked! Munter finally got out of prison in time for his wedding! Gary is Rita’s son! And Wolf is still sinister!! How will we cope till season four starts?

Actual cooking tomorrow, I promise.