To: Me

Potential New Years Resolution:
Avoid anything that claims to be “wildberry” flavour. What is wildberry? It’s just made up, innit?

I’ve done all my Christmas shopping (oh thank God). I went to Real Groovy today and got the last of my required CD purchases. I also picked up another Specials CD ($7! Cheap!). This one had some Fun Boy Three tracks, including “Our Lips Are Sealed”, which is really exciting for an Go-Go’s fan like me.

Actually shopping in Real Groovy was really enjoyable. Other shops try to get all seasonal with their Christmas songs (There don’t seem to be as many carols now. It’s probably so all the balding IT manager atheist-since-university losers don’t get offended), but Real Groovy had some a live version of “Bleed American” blasting. Instead of a bunch of shitty shoppers, hating every minute of it, everyone there seemed to be relaxed and enjoying themselves.

Oh yeah, Teh Flatmate showed me his new undies today. He pulled down his new jeans and shook his booty. I laughed merrily.

Hey: the new Dubious Bros video for the song “Trade Secrets”. They start off in the car park next to the Monkton Trust building on Rostrevor Street, then hoon across the Humpty Dumpty bridge, then down Victoria Street, then end up down by the river and on board the Waipa Delta. Are they really Hamilton locals, cos that’s not really the most direct route? Never the less, I never saw any gangstas in jeeps during the 22 years I lived in Hammo.

Waikato vs Southland

In an effort to get 500 North Islanders down to Invercargill to live and work, a supplement advertising the wonders of Southland was inserted into every North Island newspaper on October 31.

The Waikato Times got really excited and took up half the front page of that day’s edition with articles and analysis of the promotion.

Part of that included a list of five reasons to stay in Hamilton. It seemed like something hastily written (“Quick – what’s stuff that’s good about the Waikato and what sucks about Southland?”). So let’s take a closer look at those five reasons.

1. “Gore”

Gore is New Zealand’s country music capital. Every year it hosts New Zealand’s Country Music Festival. There is a giant statue of a trout in Gore. This is nature’s way of telling us to stay away.

2. “Winter fog. Mmmm.”

I think they are referring to the winter fog in Hamilton, because as far as I know Southland isn’t particularly foggy. Ok, it is pretty choice seeing the Waikato River enshrouded in fog on a winter’s morning, but have you ever driven in really thick fog? That sucks. Fog isn’t a reason to stay or go.

3. “Cellphone coverage, TV3, Mediterranean food and decent cappucino [sic]”

Hamilton and surrounding populated areas have good Vodafone and Telecom coverage, but there are sparsely populated rural areas that don’t. Invercargill and surrounding populated areas have good Vodafone and Telecom coverage, but there are sparsely populated rural areas that don’t.

As for including TV3 on that list, I phoned TV3/TV4 and spoke to a fellow in Engineering. He said that both TV3 and TV4 were available in Invercargill, with two transmission places. It might require an external aerial, but there shouldn’t be any reason why both signals couldn’t be picked up.

So it’s a bad thing that Southland has an apparent lack of restaurants serving “Mediterranean” style food? Look, it’s not like Hamilton has a large Italian or Greek community and an abundance of restaurants with Mediterranean cuisine. There’s a handful of places with risotto on the menu. There’s some really good places with non-Mediterranean food, and a whole bunch of mediocre places. Invercargill is probably the same, and if you really crave Mediterranean food, there’s always the supermarket.

Fact: there are cafes and places in Invercargill that have espresso machines and that make cappuccino. Whether or an Invercargill cappuccino is “decent” or not, is a matter of personal taste. Talk of “decent” coffee is usually the hallmark of an insecure hicktown trying to prove it’s got sophistication. And y’know, it doesn’t make Hammo look too sophisticated when the Waikato Times can’t even spell cappuccino properly.

4. “You might end up talking funny.”

But here the Times gets it dead on. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that people who speak with the “Southland R” sound like pirates. Most New Zealanders drop the r sound if it’s at the end of a word, Southlanders don’t. For example, I would pronounce the month of my birth as “Decembuh”. A Southlander would pronounce it “Decemburr” – just like a pirate! Har har!

5. “Freedom Air”

Air New Zealand’s budget airline offers cheap flights from Hamilton to Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne, which is very convenient. Such a service does not exist in Invercargill, but Freedom does have flights from Dunedin to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, which is not so convenient.

There are some good reasons in both lists, but there are some dumb reasons too. The Waikato is, like Southland, an area that skilled young people often leave for more exciting places. So I can’t help getting the feeling that the “ha ha Southland” vibe of the Waikato Times is all too much the pot calling the kettle black.

Disclaimer: I ♥ the Waikato Times.

Hamilton Rock

Back in the day, when I lived in Hamilton, I used to go out and see bands play and drink beer. There was this exceptionally good month when I saw Captain Higiz play every weekend, four weeks in a row. There were so many excellent bands back then, MSU, The Hollow Grinders, Bwa Da Riddum, Trucker, Dean and a bunch of other ones that I can’t remember.

I then got into the Hamilton BBS scene and started writing reviews of the bands I saw shortly after I staggered home from the pub drunk, or sobering up. Yeah, I was pretty hard core back then, man. Here’s two.

Friday August 2, 1996, 1:32 am

“GUYS I HAVE FUCKED”

or

“RELAX, IT’S JUST A CONCERT REVIEW, DUDE”

Hi. Ok, heat deux of the Battle o’ the Bands was tonight at the Wailing Bongo I was there. I had three handles of Export and it was very nice.

First was Department of Correction. I didn’t see them, but they came second last year, so they might have been quite good, if you’re into industrial stuff.

Handle o’ Export Number 1: Trucker

Jamie, Paul, Stan and Paul II rocked very hard. They had the whole pop/rock thing worked out really well. Jamie’s guitar was chuggin’ along nicely, Stan provided little lead parts that sounded really good, Paul’s basslines were from the Planet of Sound and Paul II’s drumming was good too. They were so good that I symbolically had part of Jo’s beer to show that Trucker were worth more than just a handle.

Handle o’ Export Number 2: Disjecta Membra(ne)

Goth dude one, goth dude two and goth dude three and goth drum machine rocked the stage dressed in black. Goth dude three, the keyboardist apparently joined the band on Saturday, but more importantly, he is in my rock music class at uni. Goth dude one sang like the guy from Bauhaus and did some wheedly bits on his guitar, goth dude two played bass and goth drum machine kept a steady beat. A lot of their music was funeral stuff with scary organ music, but they did occasionally rock out, which caused The Goth Dude to get up and dance.

Handle o’ Export Number 3: Psyclops

Metaller 1, metaller 2, metaller 3 and Dylan the drummer had a big bad rock god thing going on. Every single guitar solo was wheedly wheedly weeeeee! At one stage one of the guitarists got so carried away with the sheer emotion of the wheedla that he jumped up on the speaker stack and let it rip. The thought occurred to me “Just because a person can type fast and accurately, doesn’t mean they can write well”. Oh yeah, Dylan the Drummer turned up at my 21st.

So the fascist judges went away and got pissed then came back and said the usual “it was a really hard decision, but in the end the best band won” which meant that they all suck so Department of Erection won. If the best band had actually one then Trucker would have won, so I don’t like the judges.

The whole gang was there. Sciflyer was there and so was David Hasslehoff, but most importantly, Biff Bangle was there and I was at one stage sitting a mere two metres from him.

And as for the title, there is some significance, somewhere out there. Just don’t start psychoanalysing it.

Party at Biff Bangles House, late ’96.

A thousand and one thoughts are buzzing in my head. They need to be written down.

Johnny Fist and the Horny Mormons were between songs. Someone in the audience yelled out “Play some Bryan Adams”. Another person yelled out “play some David Hasselhoff”. I was standing there thinking, “Hey, I can do that!”. May this whole rock thing isn’t as hard as it seems.

After seeing Biff Bangle drumming I am thinking of becoming a Buddhist, so that when I die I stand the chance of being reborn as the raw materials that might one day be made into a drum kit. I can only hope that Biff Bangle would somehow end up playing me.

I got to the party by following the cars and the music. I walked in and realised that I probably didn’t know anyone there. There were all these people with face paint, wigs and stuff walking around. There were sheets of silver stuff on the walls. I started to freak out. Like I was some really straight person stumbling into a dem of debauchery. Then I thought about it. If I’d known there was a wig thing happening I would have worn one. If I had ample supplies of silver stuff I’d stick that on the walls. No worries.

The party was throughout the whole house. The music people were in the front room with the bands, the happy people were in the lounge, the goths were in the kitchen, the stoners were beyond the kitchen. There seemed to be some action in the bathroom. I was considering going to the toilet, but I thought there would probably be a few people in there with drinks.

When Johnny Fist and the Horny Mormons were playing I caught myself air-guitarring. Not full-on wheedly shit, but my hands were just sort of in guitar-playing position.

And those rock songs were so good. Their version of “Smoke on the Water” was really evilly sexy. I’ve never felt compelled to describe a performance that way before.

What does it say about the youth of today that “Camel Walk” and “Miserlou” got everyone really excited?