beautiful monsters: March 2006 Archives

March 28, 2006


This site is so cool! Moviemaking has never been so easy!

Here's mine:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

For some reason I couldn't combine the parts. Still, very cool.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 11:44 PM | TrackBack

March 26, 2006

The Band Called Dave

The best kind of gig to go to is one where you have absolutely no expectations. That way you’re delighted, surprised and excited when it turns out to be brilliant.

I went along to Katipo tonight because my friend’s girlfriend was playing. I hadn’t heard her before, and knew nothing about her music, and nothing about the other bands playing. It wasn’t till I got there and read a flyer that I realised I knew half of the headline act. I just haven’t kept up with their name changing.

The evening got off to a slightly confusing start. I was mildly startled when a guy from the cafe came around collecting a cover charge, as I'd been told it was a free gig, and I didn't have any cash. It wasn't that I minded paying, it's just that I'd dragged out my friend, who was broke, for a free night out, and I felt a bit embarrassed when the bucket was waved under my nose, and all I could scrounge together was a small handful of coins I'd been saving for parking. Anyway, I had enough to pay for my friend, and another friend payed for me. But the band didn't feel good about charging people when it hadn't been advertised as having a cover charge... so the next minute the bucket came back around and the money was returned. Which I thought was really, um, integritous. But then the guy from the cafe put the bucket back out for koha, and in the end I went and got some cash out to put back in the bucket, because hell, it was worth it.

Anyway, the music.

Jess Jackson was charming, and did a heart-wrenchingly sweet rendition of Ben Harper’s “Walk Away”.

Christine White was absolutely fab, and I loved the catchy little Wellington number she did. She was edgier and quirkier than I expected (based on meeting her twice briefly without a guitar). I bought her album, which is awesome, and listening to it I swear you can actually hear that she has such a cute grin. Amplifier reckon she has “the energy of a rock band and the sensitivity of a poet”, which pretty much sums up tonight’s set.

Orange Farm rocked... apparently they are breaking up, which is a damn shame, because it turns out that having french horn in a rock band really really works. Still, there will be a nice little EP to remember them by.

The Band Called Dave had another interesting instrument mix, with the lovely Geraldine on clarinet. Dave is/are an awesome band, with a nice mixture of catchy tunes and grittier numbers. They’re all awesome musicians, and they would be great band even if they didn’t have the clarinet, but throwing it into the mix takes things to a whole new level. Also they had the coolest array of funky t-shirts ever worn by a single band at any one time.

The sound lady twiddled her knobs beautifully too.

At this point I could continue to demonstrate why I don't have a job as a music reviewer by spouting various and inadequate superlatives, or, preferably, you could check out TBC Dave and Christine for yourself. They are both playing on Wednesday night downstairs at Bodega. Highly recommended.


Posted by Fionnaigh at 02:25 AM | TrackBack

Nicky Wastson's breasts

Last week (yes, this is a delayed blog, I read the paper late at other people’s houses) the Sunday Star Times ran a really weird piece by Rosemary McLeod, all about Nicky Watson’s breasts. I obviously don’t read the right kind of magazine, because I had to Google Nicky Watson to find out who she was (model and “rugby fan” apparently). The article was accompanied by a photo of Nicky, in an outfit “designed to make other large-breasted women shudder”. The outfit didn’t leave much to the imagination, it’s true, but why would I shudder?

The point of the article seems to be that larger breasted women must put up with the problems caused by bras (which, according to Rosemary, include shoulder grooves, sweat beneath the underwire…) and wear them all day, every day. We are not even allowed to take them off for special occasions, when we want to look a little sexy.

It’s not as though Nicky could have worn a bra under the dress in question. Rosemary suggests a number with black lace and a pink rose on the front, but black lace and a rose would look ridiculous under peach chiffon with a “plunging” neckline. It was a gorgeous dress. It would be a shame to ruin it with a huge bra.

The article could have been about whether there are any bras that don’t cause the wearer such discomfort, or if not why not? And what alternatives are available for large breasted women who want to wear glamorous frocks? And is it really that goddamn awful to go braless, in this day and age? Instead she repeatedly admonished “poor little” Nicky, and quoted two experts saying that if she keeps going braless “they’re not going to stay like that”. It seems to be that they won’t stay like that forever, no matter what Nicky wears to the races. Which, in my opinion, is all the more reason to enjoy them now.

Meanwhile, in completely unrelated fashion news, I have new glasses. Yay! Glasses! Note the zebra stripes.


Posted by Fionnaigh at 02:18 AM | TrackBack

March 16, 2006


Robert Hass took my breath away, not for the first time, but this time from only a few meters away. I think his poem, one of his more famous ones, Meditations at Lagunitas, is perhaps the most inspirational and influential poems I have ever read. In terms of my own writing, that is, and how I think about writing. It’s one of the first poems that made me gasp, not because of the subject matter, but because of the way he uses language. The unexpectedness of words. That one line, the way her hands dismantled bread, has often been on my mind as I write. Are my words as perfect and as unexpected as that dismantled?


I have felt a little wistful at this year’s Readers and Writers festival. As though I am on the outside, looking in at all the Real Writers and their editors and publishers. I’m not talking about the guests so much as the usual Wellington Literary Crowd who show up to these things.

And I felt vaguely annoyed that on the opening night the VIPs who were allowed to go to the after party were all given red ribbons to wear – exactly like the AIDS symbol. They were red because that is the colour of the sponsor NZ Post’s logo. It just seemed kind of wrong, to use something that is known to be the symbol of such a serious cause, to use it to denote who the in crowd were at a party.


Tuwhare was a great gig, and so much more. The musicians suited their chosen poems so well, and the poems seemed as though they were meant to be sung, as though they were always part of the songs. It was touching to see people of so many different musical genres, different ages, different ethnicities, coming together to create such a beautiful tribute to this amazing poet.


Over the Rhine were awesome too… I just wish I’d been able to go with someone. It’s always a bit lonely going to a gig and then having no one to share it with.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 09:16 PM | TrackBack

March 13, 2006


I’m back in Wellington. Life at the clinic just seemed to be getting weirder and weirder. After being told several times that I haven’t separated properly from my mother, and that is the cause of a lot of my problems… and that getting on so well with my parents, considering them friends, is weird and unhealthy… it got too much. No one insults my mother and gets away with it! The great relationship I have with my parents is one of the best things in my life, and I don’t want it to change. Meanwhile I never got to talk about the issues that really are problematic for me, because everything came back to my mother and my childhood.

I felt like no one heard anything I was trying to say. Everyone seemed to have preconceived ideas about what was going on for me, and so they projected those ideas onto me instead of listening to my own experience.

I was also extremely concerned about the way that other factors, such as chemicals imbalances, genetics etc. were barely (if ever) mentioned. You’d think that serotonin had never been discovered. The assumption seemed to be that everything was caused by suppressed emotions. When a woman was dropping off to sleep in our small therapy group the therapist kept probing her about the emotions she was avoiding by falling asleep. I suggested that maybe there was some physical cause, as she’d been unwell for a few days. The therapist pushed my concerns aside, and turned the conversation around on me, wanting to know the emotional reasons why I slept in and was late for the first meeting of the day. Anyway, the woman’s condition continued to deteriorate, and the staff continued to think that she was indirectly expressing her emotions by physically shutting down. After more than a week though she was taken down to the public hospital, where she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. But even after this happened staff continued to insist that everything was based on feelings we were denying or emotions we had buried.

The whole time I was there I felt like my experiences were totally invalidated, because everything I said was “challenged” and if I tried to say how I felt people argued with me. Instead of suggesting that there might be a different reality other than what I felt, it was stated as a fact that could not be argued with. To pick a random example, when I wanted to have lunch with a friend on the weekend, one of the nurses said he was “very concerned” about me eating away from Ashburn. I said I wasn’t worried, as I had been eating really well, and keeping to the plan I’d been given by the dietician. The nurse said “Well obviously you haven’t been eating well, because you’ve put on weight this week.” Ok, I’d put on a couple of hundred grams since the previous week’s weigh, but a) I had my period so it was probably water retention, and b) scales aren’t that accurate, and can give different readings depending on air pressure, temperature and humidity etc. What annoyed me was that he could have said “do you have an concerns about the fact that you weight 200 grams more this week?” or something like that, but instead he jumped straight to assuming I’d done something wrong. That was what it was like all the time.

The last few days I felt so under attack. I really believe I’ve done the right thing for my own recovery, but it was upsetting to be told that I was running away from my problems, and rejecting treatment etc. I wasn’t rejecting all treatment, I was just choosing a different programme of treatment, one I feel will be more helpful for me. We’d been having lots of farewell parties for patients who were “graduating” to the day programme. The night before I left one of the newer patients said to me “oh no, we didn’t have a farewell for you,” and one of the longer-term patients said “that’s because it’s not a good leaving.” The next day one of the nurses asked how everyone felt about all the changes, and said “we’ve had good leavings, like X and Y, and then there are leavings like Fionnaigh…” ie bad leavings.

But enough complaining. I am back in Wellington now, and very happy to be here. I’ve got a few tickets to events in the last week of the arts festival, and the readers & writers fest. I’ve made an appointment with an art therapist I saw a few years ago, and of course I will hook up with my counselor, psychiatrist etc. I will be doing a few bits and pieces around St Andrew’s for a while, but I’m also going to go back to Pablos Art Studio to do some painting. I’m really excited about it! Also pursuing some interesting possibilities regarding Atypical Depression and chromium supplementation, but more about that some other day.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 03:50 PM | TrackBack

March 01, 2006


The runaway salmon farm has been the highlight of my day. I especially loved the image of dozens of seals trying to get at the salmon. And the tugboats, chasing the farm. And wondering what went through the minds of the 16 people who were on the farm as it made its break for freedom. Hee!

Is anyone else really disturbed by the Mazda ads? Who wants to picture their cars logo melded into their DNA. And the implication that after just one drive you’ll undergo some kind of spiritual transformation. It’s so sick. Also the song is annoying.

I don’t think I’ll be here much longer, but I’ll see how it goes with my therapist and psychiatrist over the next couple of days.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 08:52 PM | TrackBack


I have been here for four weeks now, and the only big change I can notice in myself is that I’m becoming more bitter and cynical.

I feel as though the approach here is quite unbalanced. Sometimes you would think there’d never been any evidence that depression could have biological components. There seems to be an insistence on finding buried feelings and suppressed meanings behind everything. It’s not that I don’t think that past experiences shape us, I just expect some acknowledgement that genes might come into it, not to mention all those crazy new ideas about things like seratonin.

I don’t see a point to a lot of the things we do here. I mean, this afternoon, we had art therapy, which did seem like a useful thing to be doing. And we had “community cleaning,” which is fair enough. Apparently housework has therapeutic attributes. But the rest of the day not much happened. Some people played board games. This morning we had community meeting. There gave beeb ongoing discussion about towels. Apparently it is unreasonable to order more towels so that people can have one to dry their hair, or to use as a bath mat and reduce the risk of spreading tinnea etc. Also some towels and pillowcases appear to be AWOL. And there are food issues. Some people are taking two pieces of fruit, or taking fruit AND yoghurt, and as a consequence the people at the back of the line miss out. Another woman brought up the issue of how much it costs to come here, so I am not the only one worrying about it. I mentioned how much more it costs than say a nursing home. Apparently the cost is mainly for staff to run the daily programme – therapy groups, scrabble etc. Apparently this place is very cheap compared to other private hospitals, and money is very tight. So we can’t afford extra towels. Or bananas. It is more important to talk about the feelings that come up (frustration, feeling like we’re competing for resources, deprivation, entitlement) and talk about where these feelings come from, what they say about us and our problems and what our mothers did to us.

Oh yes, mothers. Apparently mine is “unemotional” and this is the cause of some of my problems. I must feel unloved, because she doesn’t express her feelings towards me. Excuse me, but I have always known that both my parents, and my grandparents, adore me. My mum may not burst into tears at the drop of the hat, but that doesn’t make her cold or distant. Just level-headed and down to earth. Excellent qualities in a mother.

As a result of the way that my family of origin dealt with feelings, I am “guarded”, apparently. And coming out at 14 is unhealthy, it’s wrong to be thinking about one’s uality at such a young age. I need to “deal with” and “work through” my uality. And I need to learn to express my emotions. I don’t open up to people enough. My art and writing don’t count out, cos that only uses my head, not my heart. Etc.

See what I mean about being too cynical? How is this going to work if I think that half the things they say are bullsh*t? I don’t have any faith that their central philosphy will work for me, even if it does work for some people. I don’t really know what I’m doing here.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 01:28 PM | TrackBack