Lower Hutt is strange in that it has this normal main street with normal shops on it, and then you turn a corner and there’s a great whacking mall taking up a giant block. And it’s one of those bad malls that doesn’t want to exist on the outside – just a giant white monolith. They call it Queensgate, and it was in there that we had lunch.
Publicly I’m going to pretend I was disgusted with this shrine of consumerism, but secretly I’m going to revel in the shiny and vow to go back. I mean, it’s the only proper mall the Wellington region has – perhaps it’s best that way.
Then on to Craft 2.0. It’s an indie craft fair, with a distinct lack of tea cosies and doilies. And as the name might suggest, there’s an internet, web 2.0, vibe to it – using technology and online communities to add to the craft experience. These modern crafters sell their goods online on places like Felt and Etsy
I bought a cool pendant of a bird (possibly a robin!) and a brooch from Sue of Supervery, a cool knotted brooch by Caroline McQuarrie, and one of Amy Galvin’s lovely little Russian doll brooches. (In case you were wondering, brooches are so hot right now). Mr Stephen bought a skull, with which he is going to subvert the corporate world.
Taking in the full TheNewDowse experience (motto: “ToiletsToTheLeftOfTheCafe”), we then had a look around at the rest of the gallery. I was particularly taken with My House Surrounded By A Thousand Suns, an exhibition of outsider art – particularly by mentally disabled adults who have been attending art workshops.
There’s some really good stuff in there. Some artists are wild and vibrant, others have a wicked sense of humour, others spend hours painstakingly filling in squares, and others show a brilliant sense of space and balance. It inspired me.
Over-the-counter cold/flu remedies eventually demanded that the outing would draw to an end, but it was, nonetheless, a splendid day out.
On Sunday I decided to go to Johnsonville. One of my plans is to explore more of the greater Wellington region because at the moment my experience of Wellington is limited to central Wellington, Newtown and, uh, Lower Hutt.
Johnsonville was at the top of my list because the Johnsonville train is celebrating 70 of eletrification (hooray!), and I heard there was a mall-type-place there.
So I got the train. It uses older carriages than the rest of the Wellington trains because the newfangled ones don’t fit through the Johnsonville tunnels. The train I was on rattled and clattered and at one stop the doors kept opening and closing, causing the conductor to investigate.
It was also interesting seeing a few of the train platforms along the way had the same seating design as the one I get off at for work. Only these ones weren’t covered in tags, nor did the brick edging have “Question Authority” and “Fuck the System” scribbled on it. The good people of Khandallah are perfectly happy fucking the system on their own, thank you. They do not need a written reminder.
Finally Johnsonville loomed into site. I got off the train and was faced with the Johnsonville mall. I was disappointed. It wasn’t even a good bad mall. It was just a few aisles of mundane shops and a disappointing foodcourt. Across the road was a Warehouse and a supermarket. And there was a McDonalds and another supermarket. I was so disappointed, I think there was even more disappointment than the time Phil from C4 caught me smoking. And that’s serious disappointment.
So I headed back for the train, only I missed it, so I mucked around until the next one came, but I missed that too. (What is up with all these trains leaving on time? Why can’t they be like the Hutt Valley line and leave a couple of minutes late?) Finally the last train from Johnsonville met me at the station and I got out of there.
I think I’ll go to Porirua next. I won’t possibly be disappointed there.