Archive for the A Good Whinge Category

Imaginary Geographies: the deflating conclusion

Posted in A Good Whinge, Grown-up Art, Unwarranted criticism on February 21, 2012 by brunswick

Well, the new Imaginary Geographies panels have gone up in Courtenay Place. I sent in my submission three weeks ago but never received a word of acknowledgement from the organizers, although they added a thumbnail to the website. They also never said when they’d make their selection, although they must’ve done so almost immediately, because those big digital prints take weeks to produce and the whole thing comes down in April anyway.

So I found out by walking past them this afternoon.

They chose four images from three artists, and while three of the images are excellent and look really good blown up to three metres high, the fourth is a low-res screen capture from Google Maps with Street View and is possibly the laziest piece of modern art I’ve ever seen in my life.

But what would I know?

UPDATE: The organizers have sent contributors a copy of the press release announcing the “selected artworks”, a day after it was posted on the website and five days after the panels went up.

Seven things I hate about Auckland

Posted in A Good Whinge, Bloody brilliant observations on December 30, 2011 by brunswick

Auckland gets a lot of things right, but not everything.

The bloody ridiculous snarl of roads which disfigure the city and make car ownership compulsory.

Boring buildings. Nothing built after 1930 is of the least architectural interest or distinction, except for the Skytower.

Ghastly entitled jerks who’ve never done a day of actual work in their lives, who make their living from white-collar fraud and clipping tickets, and who can’t imagine anyone else leading a different sort of life or having different opinions from their own. Rich morons, in other words.

Sour-faced ladies-who-lunch and dull balding fathers in their mid-thirties wearing complex sandals.

The choking fug of a wet summer day.

Shop assistants who remind you of every dickhead you’ve ever met on Cuba Street.

The compulsion to own expensive cars or dogs or some other impractical and unpleasant extension of your ego.

Everything else about Auckland is quite nice.

Election aftermath

Posted in A Good Whinge, Bloody brilliant observations on November 26, 2011 by brunswick

I wasn’t surprised by the election results, but I think the exceptionally low voter turnout is cause for concern. It initially looked as though only 65% of registered voters bothered to participate, although this may rise to 72-73% through special votes. Only 90% of the country bothered to enroll in the first place.

Many countries who have experienced rather harder times than New Zealand respect the act of participating in democracy, but turnout seems to have been affected by voter apathy and the foregone conclusion of hundreds of polls.

I’d also like to hazard the opinion that in trying to capture the middle ground, parties ignored thousands of alienated citizens who saw nothing they liked in any of the candidates or their policies. National have made it very clear that they are the party of winners and the powerful, and the past 25 years have taught us to utterly despise the poor and vulnerable, hence their emphasis on punitive benefit reform at the expense of… well, pretty much every other issue. Foreign policy, anyone? Job creation? Why on earth would National be interested in creating jobs? That’s the role of the free market. Give those businesses more power!

We seem to be adopting the aspirational model of the US, where people will vote against their own interests for government geared towards the rich, because one day they expect to join their ranks.

Whatever happens from now on, it’s what a majority of us voted for*. We only have ourselves to blame for any nasty surprises.

*Well, 48% of 73 % of 90%, so about 32%.

An Election Alphabet

Posted in A Good Whinge, Bloody brilliant observations, Unwarranted criticism on November 25, 2011 by brunswick

A is for Apathy, born of disdain,
B is for Bullies, who win through our pain.
C is for Children, to stick with our bills,
D is for Democracy, with attendant ills.

E is for Economy, sunk like a stone,
F is for Fear, of a future unknown.
G is for Goff, and his dismal demeanour,
H is for Hollow Men, meaner and meaner.

I is for Income, the median dropping,
J is for Jobs, which are ripe for the chopping.
K is for Key, the dead-eyed ex-trader,
L is for Labour, approaching their nadir.

M is for Map, to help Labour find its ass,
N is for National’s inertial mass.
O is for Outrage, at poor single mothers,
P is for Poverty, swept under the covers.

Q is for Questions, of asset sale sense,
R is for Recovery, at any expense.
S is for Smile-and-wave until you’re bored,
T is for Tax cuts we couldn’t afford.

U is for Unemployment, the gravest of sins,
V is for Vote, so the right lizard wins.
W is for Wage gap, increasing with Oz,
X is for Xenophobia, our charming faux pas

Y is for Yearning, for a future less fraught
Z is for Zzz. Sleep now, critical thought.

Don’t forget to vote!

“Old dunger” transformed

Posted in A Good Whinge, Lovely pictures on November 17, 2011 by brunswick


I’ve just found the walk-through page for my old flat in Kelburn. They’re basically painted everything white, stripped out the carpet underlay (we never had carpets) and stained the floors, built a deck and whacked $150,000 on the sale price. So, basically what Steve Jobs would’ve done, except I bet Steve Jobs would also have put in underfloor insulation and ceiling insulation, of which it has none.

Love Sun? Love Views? Love large section? Love Kelburn? Love Character? Love Trees & Birds? Love Gardens? Love Space? Love to make your own memories in a lovely home? There’s a whole lot of loving to be had at this address!

They seem to have left out “Love Pneumonia?”

And now, the Rugby World Cup News:

Posted in A Good Whinge on September 6, 2011 by brunswick

First up, the Rugby World Cup! Overseas teams are arriving in NZ… Ha ha! They have funny accents and they’re not very articulate when they’re jetlagged! Now something about our noble All Blacks, and the sacrifices they’re making for the Rugby World Cup. Here’s some excited children who love the All Blacks! Here’s some excited middle-aged men who love the All Blacks! In business news: all this hypothetical money sloshing about for the Rugby World Cup is making people a bit greedy! Not enough tickets are selling, and we need to GETINBEHIND and STEPUPOURGAME! And here’s a very, very old All Black talking about… the Rugby World Cup!

Now for nationalworldpoliticsentertainmentChristchurchHappyFeet.

Now sport! Annnnnnd…. it’s the Rugby World Cup!

I’ve very nearly stopped moaning now

Posted in A Good Whinge, Bloody brilliant observations, Utter Trivia on September 1, 2011 by brunswick

It’s been just over a week since my nightmare flatmates moved out, and I’m still appreciating the improvements. I’m still doing a lot of cleaning, but things are staying clean, so the flat is slowly returning to the level of cleanliness it was at before they moved in and dragged everything down to their squalid level.

It’s also nice to be in a flat where the dryer isn’t being run every evening, the dishwasher isn’t constantly full of teaspoons, plates are there when you need them instead of being shut in someone’s room… oh, dozens of little things which individually are inconsequential and not enough to complain about or mention, but add up to one big, constant headache.

We have a flat kitty requiring $5 per flatmate each fortnight for consumables. Every now and then we’d use what was left over to pay bills. One of the couple was reasonably diligent about paying this, but the other one – the doofus – never paid a red cent over six months. A few days before they left, I actually lost my temper at having to clean the kitchen for the third time that day, so I filled in his blank boxes on the flat kitty chart with S W E E T F U C K A L L, which was not my proudest moment, but immensely satisfying.

It’s my aim in life to minimise contact with infuriating and useless people. I’ll never be totally there (logically to achieve this you’d have to either stay in a box your entire life, or alternatively be so infuriating and useless that you just wouldn’t notice it in others), but I’m getting closer.

A rather complicated day

Posted in A Good Whinge on August 30, 2011 by brunswick

The painters appeared to have finished, after three months. There’s only a few cosmetic bits to touch up, which they’ll probably do when they come back in a few weeks for the interior. Unfortunately, no peace and quiet – the landlady has turned up with a sodding great weedeater.

Oh, and she said after considering things, we can stay.

Except a few hours later her husband called, and we most definitely can not. He was quite snippy about it as well.

Suddenly, all the minor inconveniences we were expected to put up with during the renovation, such as having the bathroom and kitchen torn up and rearranged, and the house full of builders with no sense of personal space, have become insurmountable obstacles. That is to say, the builders have told them they can get it done faster and cheaper if the house is empty. And money, after all, is king.

So, a year on and off the market, four changes of mind over three weeks, and a fortnight’s notice. I’m fine, but my flatmates have two weeks to find somewhere else to stay during the height of the fucking Rugby World Cup.

They’re still not going to sell it once it’s renovated, you know. A horrible great lump of ordure does not shed its nature even after a coat of paint. And it serves them bloody right.


Posted in A Good Whinge on August 25, 2011 by brunswick

I’ve travelled on a lot of planes in my life, but I’ll never loose that inner “Wheeeeee!” feeling on takeoff. When you’re on a plane with a load of tired commuters who do this every day, it’s hard to resist asking them what died inside so that they’re no longer even mildly enthralled by the concept of hurtling through the troposphere at 800 kph. I counted twelve colloquial rugby references in the cringeworthy safety video, which may be a contributing factor.

This is a fairly well-deserved break from my ludicrous flatting situation. Three hours earlier I signed the lease on a warm and dry flat in Mt. Vic* with one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. Two hours before that, my landlady had casually informed us that we have to be off the premises in eighteen days.

This didn’t emerge as a direct statement. She had made one of her unannounced visits to attack the garden with a weedeater, and when I went outside to investigate the unholy racket, I took the opportunity to introduce her to my English flatmate who wishes to stay in the flat rent-free during construction for the month before he leaves the country. We were told earlier this month that this was an option, because the house sale had fallen through and there was no longer any reason to move out by September 12th, but it would help if someone was still living there so the power was connected for the builders.

“Of course you can stay!” she trilled. “For a reduced rent.”

We exchanged glances.

“Reduced? We were told it would be free.”

“Well, I’m not expecting you to pay for the empty rooms.”

“So… we’d be paying the same individual rent that we are now?”


“Except we’d have a full building crew working inside the house from nine to five every day for at least two months?”

“Yes… it wouldn’t go up.”

I had to leave the room at this point, and when I returned I could tell by the creases in my flatmate’s handsome face that things weren’t going well. Some internal switch had flipped inside our landlady’s brain, and she suddenly remembered that she’d had a chat with the head builder, who had assured her that the work would go a lot faster if the flat was completely empty.

So that was it, then. Eighteen days notice (3 weeks is the legal minimum), and nothing we can easily do about it because we received written notice a few months ago – and when we were told we didn’t have to leave after all, it wasn’t in writing.

Which shows that just because someone has the emotional empathy of a packing-crate doesn’t mean they’re not super cunning.

* I live in a Grove now. Groves are cool.

The flathunt continues

Posted in A Good Whinge, Bloody brilliant observations, Unwarranted criticism on August 18, 2011 by brunswick

There seems to be two strategies for flathunting in Wellington. You can only target the most suitable places, apply, and then wait to see if your application is successful, or you can see as many places as possible, which can be a bit depressing and tiring, but gives you a much more realistic idea of what’s available.

The places in the rent-range we’ve been looking at vary quite widely in quality. Sometimes you feel like taking aside the agents and pointing out some basic things: if the current tenants are students you’re unlikely to shift the place, because the kitchen will be in a horrid state, with enough protein encrusted on the surfaces to make a substantial (albeit terminal) meal. If the first thing that hits you when you enter the flat is a wave of dampness and mould, you can forget it. Blackened ceilings: not good. Bubbling walls: not good. If the second bedroom is actually a dank cupboard-sized “study”, that’s also something of a dealbreaker.

The attitude of the agent also contributes to your impression of a property – visibly wincing doesn’t inspire confidence, not does cheerfully admitting that you don’t know how anything works in the house, or bringing along your special-needs teenager (who promptly disappears to the lavatory to perpetrate god knows what), or sulking when any fault from the previous paragraph is pointed out.

How many cities are there where the only liveable housing is constructed before the eighties and after the nineties? Can we blame Roger Douglas? Full credit to the Art Deco architects who decided to construct really good solid houses which also look quite nice, but is it possible to travel back to the 1940s and slap everyone who decided to point the bedrooms away from the sun and put windowless walls on the sides with the best view*, then travel to the seventies and slap everyone who decided to rip out the chimneys and replace them with bar heaters, then travel to the eighties and slap everyone who decided to save money by deregulating building standards, then travel to the nineties and slap everyone for designing such bloody ugly exteriors, then travel to the present day and slap everyone who hasn’t insulated their old house yet?

Or would it be simpler to go back to the 1890s and say “For fuck’s sake, just because you’re living on an island doesn’t mean it’s not bloody cold and wet, and just because you’re from Scotland doesn’t mean you have to live like a miserable freezing bastard. Make the walls nice and thick, put in some insulation, and make it waterproof. I know that suffering brings you closer to God, but there’s no reason to speed up the journey.”

* A modern concept, especially if there wasn’t anything to see out the window when the house was built except for sheep and Protestants.