Wot I did on the weekend

On Saturday, Craft 2.0 was on at TheNewDowse gallery (Motto: “OurSpaceBarBroke”) so I met up with Stephen and experienced the novelty of getting a bus to Lower Hutt.

Put your woollies on

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.

Take the lol train to Johnsonville

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.

Johnsonville is for lovers

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.

14 thoughts on “Wot I did on the weekend”

  1. I’m forever calling that bird the robyn robin now 😀

    also i recommend poruria on august the 19th or 16th, it’s the weekend pataka are having their fair, which is a bit like craft2.0 😀

  2. I really enjoyed this tale of your romp through Welly’s northern parts, Robyn. We went to the Dowse the other week to look at the Antarctica and dress model exhibitions.

    Enough said about the Johnsonville mall except that I am very glad Wellington City has not allowed an Auckland-scale mall, as it means the city centre is alive in Wellington and full of shops and shoppers.

    was so disappointed, I think there was even more disappointment than the time Phil from C4 caught me smoking. And that’s serious disappointment

    Tell me you are just joking with that photo, smoking is as yuck as those ads say.

    recommend poruria on august the 19th or 16th, it’s the weekend pataka are having their fair

    Pataka is an interesting place with lots of changing exhibitions and a decent cafe. And the Saturday morning market there (midnight to 10am) is a sight to behold.

  3. Poneke: If you look closely, you’ll see the cigarette isn’t lit. Notorious Flickr-ist Solid State and I were out one night in Auckland when we decided to mock those anti-smoking ads. Smoking is wack!

    And thanks for the recommendation for Pataka – I’ve heard good things about it.

  4. aww cmon now robyn, j’ville is a fine place to live near… i’m just up in newlands i wouldn’t go back to living in the city for anything. granted, it’s probably a lame place to VISIT but when you only want a supermarket or booze store it’s pretty badass and you can find a carpark!

    i think the trick to these places to know people who live in the area so you can lounge in the comforts of their homes..

  5. Porirua has it all. A tradional mall in the North City Plaza, old school outside shops selling crap in Cobham Court, and the Mega Centre, a strip mall with the usual consumer electronics/furniture behemoths & Warewhare. Also the Porirua Denny’s will serve you a full course meal any time of the day or night.

    The greater Wellington area includes Paraparaumu too. You’ll want to save that for summer time so you can go to the beach after you check out Coastlands.

  6. Lisa: I must admit, from the train, the glimpses of the suburbs on the way to J’ville did look rather lovely. And the lack of “Question Authority” graffiti is a bonus. Perhaps a return visit is in order…

    Joe: Porirua is becoming more and more enticing. And there’s the Canopy Connection! Worst name ever! And the photos illustrating it look like they’re from the ’70s.

    D-A-W: Road trip!

  7. Is there really a “Saturday morning market there (midnight to 10am)” at Pataka? That rules hard. Wants.

    Not at Pataka. Around the corner in front of the Porirua shopping centre. I wrote that unintentionally ambiguously.

  8. My sister lives in J’Ville and I have found that it is one of the better Greater Wellington suburbs if you are children inclined. I also find it shit to get to from town on the train – the bus is way easier, and quicker!

Leave a Reply