Four years ago I declared “Twitter ate my 2008”, an acknowledgement of the new social media tool’s ability to suck my ability to blog. Well, it turns out Twitter isn’t the only thing that can do that. So can writing about music videos on my other site, and so can taking photos of stuff, adding exotic filters and uploading to Instagram.
Let’s start with a breakfast, just to get the whole “Instagram = photos of breakfasts” cliche out of the way. When I decided I was going to leave Wellington, I went on a tour of some of my favourite places in the city. This was taken at the peculiarly named Chocolate Dayz Cafe in Days Bay. It was an outrageously sunny day and my pancakes looked almost pornographic in the late summer sun.
I really like that in Wellington, it’s possible to jump on a bus or a train and less than an hour later you can end up in a little seaside town with a reasonably good cafe (or a grim coastal suburb with a McDonalds – your choice).
I went to the Homegrown music festival, my second year of scoring a freebie ticket at the last minute. This is Home Brew performing, and I just happened to capture this blissed-out audience member.
I tweeted the photo which caught the attention of Russell Brown who was at the Splore festival in Auckland. Writes Russell:
It was 3.30pm and Tom Scott of Home Brew was due to be Tom Scott of @Peace at 6.30pm on the mainstage at Splore. He’d been onsite overnight, then missed his ride to the airport in the morning. Was he going to make it back?
Yes, he was, pulling off a two-in-one-day extravaganza on par with Phil Collins’ transatlantic Live Aid appearances.
This is Raglan, where I live now. Does this look nice? People tell me Raglan is nice and relaxing – which it is – but here’s the thing: no one wants to be relaxed and chilled out all the time. I haven’t lived in a small town before and I rather like city life. Cities have interesting stuff in them like footpaths and public transport and bookshops. I miss those things.
But Raglan has quite a cool museum, and there’s a cafe that does pretty good Cambodian food. And the sushi joint actually makes fresh sushi, rather than having pre-made packs. And there’s a cool little second-hand bookshop where I found the most amazing old New Zealand book that I will write about soon.
But if I can’t live in a city, I can at least visit cities. This is me and my bro having dinner at a restaurant in the middle of Queen Street Mall in Brisbane. He is using his phone instead of talking to me. It was the middle of winter, which is a very pleasant time of year in Queensland.
We went for a hoon down the coast. All these little Gold Coast towns are like what Brits dream of when they watch Home and Away on a cold, miserable English summer’s day – fit, tanned teens strolling around town. But the reality is probably more like Muriel’s Wedding. Also, Surfers Paradise on a Sunday is kind of bleak.
I also went to Vanuatu. Here’s the thing – Vanuatu is a #thirdworldcountry. It’s even on the United Nations list of least developed countries. But it has really good cell coverage (from multiple providers) that is very popular with the locals, even ones who live in remote villages.
This billboard was advertising mobael intanet. It’s written in Bislama, the English-based creole that’s widely spoken in Vanuatu and is one of my favourite languages. “Traem wetem 50vt nomo” means “Try with only 50 vatu”. 50 vatu is about 60 New Zealand cents – cheap!
The mobile broadband I used was good and cheap. It puts a bit of perspective on those misguided #firstworldproblems tweets.
I went back to Wellington in November for the National Digital Forum, a conference about the intersection of museums, libraries, galleries, archives and the digital world. Held at Te Papa, it offered access to the secret world of the national museum’s conference facilities, including majestic harbour views. It was good. I’d previously attended a couple of Webstocks, both of which left me all revved up but feeling a little empty after a few weeks. The NDF was a lot calmer, smarter and didn’t have speakers running around yelling empty slogans like “Do awesome things!”
Wellington had not changed at all, but it had also changed a lot. The pizza cafe in the old toilet block was open. The city was full of Hobbit advertising. There was a cafe dedicated to artisan cordials. The Moore Wilson trompe l’oeil mural of ’80s groceries had been painted over. But the curious thing – I didn’t feel like a visitor. I felt more like I’d just not gone out much over the previous six months, and now finally I’d been bothered to go into town.
As predicted last year, the world did not end on 21 December and I happily celebrated my 38th birthday. I was going to say that 38 is a weird age – not young enough to be a young ‘un; not old enough to be adult. But then I realised that’s actually every year from the age of 12. Also, I again turned off my age on Facebook and almost no one wished me happy birthday. The ones who did: u r golden.
So, 2012. Quite a good year, full of nice things. I have a smartphone that takes photos, and that’s about enough for me.
And in conclusion: