Archive for the Utter Trivia Category

Listless in the Western suburbs

Posted in Utter Trivia on February 4, 2012 by brunswick

I walked to Wadestown today, which unfortunately meant walking the length of Courtenay Place after the first night of the Sevens. The entire street smelt like the floor of a Palmerston North student bar, soaked in pretty much every liquid that can be squeezed out of a human being while they’re having a good time. At 10am there were still dehydrated husks stumbling home, like zombies dressed up by bored children. There’s nothing wrong with having a party, but I don’t think the A & E staff saw much of the $15 million injected into the local economy.

I took the opportunity to detour through Kelburn, and discovered things had changed for the worse at my old flat. I didn’t go too far up the path, but observed that the thin layer of white paint they coated everything in back in September in hopes of a quick sale was not weathering well. I saw in a recent ad they’ve added $35,000 to the asking price, up from $500,000 when I moved in back in 2003, $600,00 when they tried again in 2010, and $650,000 a few months ago to $685,000. Yeah, that’ll work! There must come a point where property investment crosses the line from terminal economy-distorting nuisance to pathology – has greed ever been recognized as a mental illness?

It probably wasn’t the best day to visit Kelburn, it looked sullen and dingy under the grey skies, with recent layers of half-hearted graffiti and a worrying number of ‘For Sale’ signs. It probably looks great in the sunshine, though.


Posted in Lovely pictures, Utter Trivia on January 22, 2012 by brunswick

Recent updates

Posted in Graphic Novel review, Unwarranted criticism, Utter Trivia on January 6, 2012 by brunswick

Scarlet by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev

Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen & Jonathan Case

Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales adapted by Seymour Chwast

The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B.

Baaa humbug

Life with Mr. Dangerous by Paul Hornschemeier

The authentic voice of the streets

Mr. Murder is Dead by Victor Quinaz & Brent Schoonover

Zombies Vs. Robots: Undercity by Chris Ryall & Mark Torres

Seven things I hate about Auckland

Auckland Art Gallery

La guerre des Post-it

Posted in Lovely pictures, Utter Trivia on December 8, 2011 by brunswick

Spotted in office windows above Capital on the Quay last week while sketching with Martin Doyle. This was the big thing in Paris this August, with bored office workers conducting La guerre des Post-it, as detailed in this Grauniad article.

Back to the old house

Posted in Utter Trivia on November 6, 2011 by brunswick

Today I crept up to my old flat in Kelburn to collect mail… only to find that the mailbox has now disappeared. And the long path has been properly graveled, eight years after promised. The builders appeared to have completely finished – there’s a brand new shiny deck, and the entire house is now a rather dull shade of brownish-cream, like a glossy coat of varnish on a rotten chocolate, or a desperate last-minute rider on an unattractive piece of legislation.

The new front door stood invitingly open. Dare I go up the path and have a look inside? Well, we all know what would’ve happened – it would’ve snapped shut, and that’s the last anyone would see of young Grant.

Courtenay Place Live Site Fanzone

Posted in Utter Trivia on October 9, 2011 by brunswick

At least two of the words in that official title are redundant.

Walking around the Courtenay Place Live Site Fanzone™ before the match yesterday was interesting – I haven’t walked down the middle of that street since the LOTR: Let’s Win All the Oscars premiere in 2003, and purposefully paused in the middle of the intersection of Courtenay Place and Tory Street – nice view!

They dismantled the Lightbox installations to prevent them blocking the view from the giant screen at one end* – there were supposed to be two, but the second turned out to be the disappointing little digital-watch-sized screen mounted on the front of the Embassy Theatre. At about three in the afternoon an interested crowd was already forming, corralled in by the bars who positively owned the sidewalk, swallowing it up completely like greedy little boozepushers with their branded fencing. It was amusing to see that The Mermaid was included in the Fanzone. Well, let’s be honest – it fits right in! They should’ve been allowed to expand out into the sidewalk as well – surely there’s room for a few poles and giant fishtank?

Despite the full stadium I don’t expect the fanzone would’ve been too crowded – the weather was too awful. A different story tonight, obviously – I can hear the drunken carousing from Mt. Vic right now. And it’s a school night tomorrow!

*How’s that for a metaphor for sports vs. the arts in the past few months?

Brideshead Revisited

Posted in Sound & Vision, Utter Trivia on September 28, 2011 by brunswick

Anita is a Jeremy Irons fan (who isn’t?) but has never watched Brideshead Revisited, the 1981 TV serial which made him a star and became something of a benchmark for quality British TV serials in the ’80s, along with Edge of Darkness, The Singing Detective and a few other small-screen blockbusters which have recently been remade into concise but awful movies starring Americans.

I was determined not to get sucked back into Brideshead – the first few episodes, especially the 100 minute premiere, are exceptional, and have inspired several generations of university students to ponce about with floppy hair and a teddy bear, like the anti-Rocky Horror, bless. After that it gets a bit murky… the book by Evelyn Waugh is only 330 pages, while the entire series is a bum-numbing 11 hours long. By comparison, if you filmed Harry Potter at the same rate it would be up to Part 30 before Neville got his own Sensemayá moment. As a basic rule of thumb, the film of a book shouldn’t take longer to get through than the original book.

Anyway, we’ve watched the first two episodes, and may well continue. The last time I watched it was in Moscow on videotape in 1987, and it looks great on DVD, with only a few technical wobbles betraying its TV budget origins. The older stars (especially a sleepwalking Gielgud and Olivier) were marketed more strongly than the younger unknowns, and ironically the same thing seemed to happen with the 2008 film adaptation, with Emma Thompson’s face everywhere. I haven’t watched the film yet, but I might after finishing the TV series, like finishing a big dinner with an expensive sherry that isn’t as nice.

The drink you have when you miss sucking on old bar mats

Posted in Utter Trivia on September 23, 2011 by brunswick

Petone remains the most convenient way to get the hell out of Wellington for a day, and the cost of the train ride is actually reasonable. The length and back again of Jackson Street is a nice long walk, with such not-available-in-the-central-city delights as the Dutch Shop, decent op shops, and rather too many shops which seem to sell second-hand everything except what you’re actually looking for. Although if you’re after, say, a paper towel spindle and book of French sporting cartoons it’s your lucky day.

Many of the stores in this street were hoping to reap the economic benefits of the RWC, but apart from slightly-fuller buses going into town, it’s business as usual. This has has obviously been disappointing for places like the UK Goodies store, but if you’re only in NZ for a week you’re not likely to develop a craving for jaffa cakes strong enough to want to pay three times their original cost. I did buy some Ben Shaws’ Bitter Shandy though, a soft drink “made with real beer!” which is less than 0.5% alcohol and subsequently something of a gateway drug.

The advantage of being practical

Posted in Utter Trivia on September 22, 2011 by brunswick

My new flat is in extremely good condition, although it’s slightly battered around the edges from previous occupants moving furniture. Our lease is hypersensitive about fiddly cosmetic stuff like Blu-Tack – we have to use that 3M stuff to attach anything to the walls.

Nevertheless, today I filled in, sanded and painted several dents left by the painters when redoing the lounge. Because I can.

Moana Road -The Return

Posted in Utter Trivia on September 20, 2011 by brunswick

Like a fool to his folly, I returned to Moana Road to pick up mail, and retrieve a rather nice ice cube tray I’d left in the freezer. After spending three months buggering around outside with a simple paint job, the builders have accelerated unbelievably fast. My first clue was the churned-up path. My second was the bath on the front lawn. Every fixture has been pulled out, every wall stripped back to the wood – I even got to see the original 1890 canvas described in a book about architect Chapman-Taylor. The bathroom looked like a crime scene photo. Heartbreakingly, the table tops I left behind (the famous kidney-shaped ones which used to be in Victoria’s Student Union) are now being used to saw wood on. I wordlessly retrieved my tray and slipped out.