Frock n roll

The Auckland Museum had an open day. It wasn’t very well run, and this was evident right from the beginning when a volunteer directed a man to the women’s toilets. Fortunately a member of the public told him where he should actually be heading, but that didn’t stop another slightly confused-looking man emerging from the ladies loos, probably wondering what sort of strange unisex toilets the museum had.

For $10, men and ladies could go on a behind-the-scenes tour. This seemed to involved following a yellow line on the ground. At first I thought the line was guiding visitors to the start of the tour, but then I realised that the line was the tour. Every now and then were printed sheets with various bits of information, but it was hard to tell if the places that the yellow line travelled through were noteworthy parts of the museum or just ways of getting from one noteworthy place to another.

Fortunately the yellow tape eventually lead to some interesting places. It lead me right into the middle of the courtyard (or what is left of it), and in the midst of the construction of the new bit, which so far is like a giant cone that’s been plonked down in the middle of the courtyard. There was lots of metal and concrete, which pleased me because those are my two favourite construction materials.

Eventually the yellow line lead me out the back door of the museum. Apparently they’ve put an underground car park out the back, which is a fairly impressive feat.

Out the back was a sausage sizzle that seemed to be surrounded by more volunteers than public. There was no indication if the sausages were for the public, and if so, what they cost, and the old lady I asked initially couldn’t understand what I was asking, and then finally took a long time to construct an answer to my yes or no question. I bet the Raglan museum’s fund-raising efforts aren’t this disorganised.

I finally escaped the yellow tape and went back into the museum and found the Zambesi exhibition. It was its last day, so I was glad to have seen it.

There was a collection of famous New Zealand ladies’ favourite Zambesi outfits and a little blurb about each one. Bic Runga wrote about how she likes to dress up when going into the recording studio, Fiona Pardington blahed on about Joy Division and a catsuit she wore on a date with her “lover”, but the best was Danielle Cormack’s mid-90s tale of being so empowered by her awesome Zambesi outfit that she went drunkenly skateboarding down Franklin Road, with skirt-shredding consequences.

The other part of the Zambesi exhibition was a collection of various garments from the last 20 years or so. They were displayed on armless, hairless, accessoryless mannequins. Strangely, the skinny-arse mannequins ended up making many of the clothes look too big (sometimes in shops they bulldog clip clothes tighter so they’ll fit the underweight mannequins). They might have been better off using coathangers.

The concrete was good, the frocks were good, but the yellow tape was frustrating.

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