August 28, 2005

the sunday morning loud lawnmower*

Gigs coming up next Sunday (Sep 4th) and the following (Sep 11th), at the Cakeshop on Cuba Street, 7.30pm, koha entry. They have an alternating Sunday programme, so the first is going to be on a 'noise' evening and the second on an 'acoustic' evening.

As for this Sunday, it was housework day - vacuuming, mopping, dishes, hanging out washing, planting herbs. Enjoying not having to get up early, having gone to a party in Hataitai last night. Ryan Prebble from Ascension Band was there, having just played a gig at Happy - his instrument was a bowed saw, which sounded kind of like a theremin.

I got a part time job at the Rongotai electorate office, getting the polling stations sorted out for the election. It's actually quite a relief to be working again; since coming back from Melbourne I was concentrating on the Bomb the Space and Word Festivals, and putting my book together (see previous entry). My regular 'artistic' periods do take their toll psychologically after a while, so working for a wage feels almost like a holiday in comparison. I'm now waiting for the next idea to present itself, no point rushing and forcing it. Please just don't let me be presiding over the election of a National Party government...

I've also got a week and a bit's paid journalist work at the Kapiti Observer in September - still trying to figure out if moving to Kapiti for the summer would be worth doing. It'd give me some space, and time outdoors, but would isolation be any use to me?

The other thing I haven't had enough of since getting back from Melbourne is exercise. I was in good shape there from the office relocation work, but now I seem to be getting a bit flabby. It's obvious how to correct that though...

Postscript: Monday

Aargh! Shorthand tests are just as horrible as last year. Only six more weeks to go and I'm still not getting there. Have to bite the bullet and practice outside class.


*another line from a Fall song ('this was going to be called Crap Rap 14 but it's now Stop Mithering') - the neighbour's lawnmower was indeed a loud one this weekend.

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August 21, 2005

the imperfectionist manifesto

scrames front small.jpg

Word Festival was fun, my solo set was a bit of a mess as I hadn't had time to practice a set (too busy running around at photocopiers etc and setting up the venue, ironically), tried to play a new song that I didn't really know and put it all through the PA which just got in the way. So I unplugged and the rest was alright. My music's kind of the ugly duckling of an event like that, though it was amusing how they finished off with some equally rough acoustic instrumental punk/free-jazz from Rick Jensen trio.

I've been wondering about 'imperfectionism' as the name of the artistic movement I'm championing. I could issue a manifesto. On the other hand, beware of anything that ends in 'ism', it's a way of putting us in boxes. The word for this wariness is 'anti-ismisationism'...

The thing I got the most positive feedback for was the extract I read from 'Whin the Autumn Wain Sex Begain to Fall', a story from the book I just put together. I've now got a bag full of them here which I spent a lot of money on making, so I need to sell a bunch of them - a mere $6 each - just to break even [hint hint].

I'll aim to play some more small solo gigs here over the next month to get myself into shape for playing out of town...


"To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare fail" - Samuel Beckett

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August 17, 2005

Word Festival III

I'm playing tonight at Thistle Hall for the closing night of the Word Festival, so come along. Free entry, lots of other good stuff happening. Me attempting to play banjo...

I got my second book of short stories done - spent well over $100 on photocopying this week, so would be really good if you want to buy a copy ($6 ONO). I'm just digging myself into a hole (yet again) otherwise.

It's one of those times for working on my artwork. I finished the new website for - now I'm having technical difficulties getting it uploaded. I've also got to get some more information for the book chapter on the Space, which I've been working on intermittently since finishing the first draft over a year ago - they're at the almost going to print stage finally. And there's a story to write for the Kapiti Observer, and the Ascension Band gig in Paekakariki to organise.

I had a job interview at TVNZ (10 weeks cataloguing election footage) in an hour's time, so that would be a good way of getting some travel funds together.

And then there's shorthand (shudder).

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August 15, 2005

and a hand held the whom?

I just stumbled on a creative breakthrough... did my first painting. It's ugly and probably worthless but it means I've unlocked a door that could potentially/theoretically go anywhere. As a canvas I used an old piece of board, then wrote the phrase 'and a hand held the whom?' on it in marker pen - in shorthand. Then I added a big red hand in the top right corner and a blue/white strip through the middle in acrylic paint, using twigs as brushes. And I stumbled across a technique whereby the marker pen came up from underneath the paint.

I suppose I've dabbled with pen drawings and things on the computer Paint program, but this opens up all kinds of possibilities. And there's so much junk around outside at this flat to play with and make things out of...

The painting's in the Word Festival exhibition which has just opened at Thistle Hall.

I'm going to spend this week working on my creative projects - getting the book of short stories together and the new website up & running. The 'Word Market' on Saturday's my deadline. Then after that I'll have no more excuses to keep putting off finding a job...


By the way, there's a link here to David Lange's speech at the Oxford Union debate in 1985, arguing 'that nuclear weapons are morally indefensible' -,gnza,

With Don Brash champing at the bit to become PM, it could be a good time for people to be reminded of this.

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August 08, 2005

after the 'Revolution'

Has anyone seen this ad on Cuba Street recently? There's been a bit of media coverage - I'm going to buy a pizza there this week just to reward them. They're onto something - it occurs to me the Antichrist very likely would be someone who sees himself as carrying out God's mission...

hell pizza ad.jpg


Highlight of the past week, apart from playing with Ascension Band on Wednesday, was Friday night. The punk gig at the Caledonian, 1 Adelaide Rd, was good fun - and great to see a new live venue. Big room, good sound system, though maybe overdoing the smoke machine a little. Ian Goldsmith's getting his Dope Smoking Wizard act together (named after a song by yours truly, which I recorded in 1999 for the album The Marion Flow and which sounds nothing like Ian's krautrock project), Ditzy Squall sounding noisier than I remembered, and some good hardcore bands. A guy outside demonstrated for me his hardcore vocal style - I'd always been curious how they do it, as I would have thought it would lead very quickly to a dry throat & coughing. Beer for lubrication probably helps. But it's not a matter of screaming or shouting (he did it fairly quietly), rather a particular mouth/throat technique for modulating the voice. I could probably get it with practice.

It was a big week for music/arts overall, with the Bomb the Space Festival - five nights of music, 4-5 hours each; the audience seemed noticeably fatigued towards the end of the Saturday night. I did feel a bit distanced from the Happy scene, so only went along for bits of the festival, but great to be a participant.

There was also a dinner with the Word Festival people on Saturday night. That looks to be a good event - I'm helping organise the closing night, and I'm also trying to come up with a painting to put in the exhibition there. I've never tried painting so it'll be primitive art. It's the Word Festival so my idea is to come up with a phrase and make a piece of calligraphy out of it - in shorthand.

So there's Word Festival to look forward to at Thistle Hall from August 18-20. Then I'm organising an Ascension Band gig at the Memorial Hall in Paekakariki in September - our take on the 'Concerts by the Sea' series perhaps. And looking towards further recordings, touring, Fringe 06, and taking (a version of) the band to Australia next year. I did a bit of 'networking' at the gigs - looks like Ascension Band in this year's Punk Fest could be a goer, then playing in Oz could be doable (though likely to run at a loss - but a good project for those of us going there anyway). There are also a couple more offbeat possibilities - the band doing a gamelan piece at Vic Uni, and having a night of big bands with the 10 Acre Block guys in Auckland.

The real highlight of the week though was that I got on well with a girl at the gig on Friday. I didn't sleep with her, kiss her or even get a phone number (she seemed to have a girlfriend chaperoning) but when it was time to go home I touched her hand and she gave mine a squeeze. Beautiful warm moment, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I had the Beatles song 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' running through my head as I walked back to Newtown...

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August 05, 2005

I got to Happy for the soundcheck on Wednesday and the first thing Jeff Henderson said to me was 'so did you find out if you've got AIDS?'. What a drag - that's what I get for keeping a record of my life in public, starting from its tacky nadir in October 2003. He's apparently not a regular reader or anything since his next question was 'how was the South Island?' - ie not having picked up that I'd been in Melbourne the last four months. But it shows a few people know about my dirty laundry and the word gets around. As I've said before, the blog's just here for the sake of not keeping secrets.

Gig went pretty well - I love playing in a band, something I've wanted to do for the last decade or so. Maybe I'm making up for lost time by making it a 14-piece?

I went to the Kapiti Coast District Council yesterday to find out about hiring the Paekakariki Memorial Hall - venue for the annual classical Concerts by the Sea series. It's $9 an hour to hire (plus $250 bond and a fair bit of paperwork), so looks pretty feasible for us to play there. I'm pretty sure I can get us in the newspaper anyway.

At the moment I'm tired - late nights & early mornings with the Bomb the Space Festival on. I went along last night mainly to see my friend/mentor Paul Winstanley from Auckland (and New Plymouth before that) play - of course he was on last, finishing some time around 1am. There was a lot of good music, but it's kind of a long-haul event.

Anyway the point I suppose I've been alluding to is that in Wellington there's almost an overload of music etc in a small place, so it becomes locked into a scene and people get jaded. Whereas playing in small towns a gig can be an event...

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August 02, 2005

We're back!

AB photo shoot 2.JPG

Ascension Band is performing this Wednesday night at Happy, as part of the Bomb the Space Festival.

If you're new to this blog, Ascension Band is a 10-15 piece 'galactic punk chamber orchestra' which I started in 2003, and with who I did a show in the Wellington Fringe Festival earlier this year - to my own surprise we got a great response and won the best music award for the festival.

On Wednesday we're doing a new piece with a new lineup including three trumpets, assorted electric and acoustic guitars, two keyboards, two drummers, bass, violin, vocals, computer, and myself making my Wellington debut on electric banjo.

It's a preview for a full-scale show which we're aiming to do in September, and then take on tour if possible - the big band format presents a few logistical challenges but that's all part of the fun.

Also performing on Wednesday are Will Guthrie (Australia), Misha Marks (Wgtn)
Rick Jensen Trio (Wgtn), and The Fingers (Wgtn) w/ John White.

Hopefully see you there...


And the series of dreams I've been ahving recently continues - six nights in a row now. The last one was disturbing - a mysterious ugly female ghost-like being by the name of Veruca Salt (obviously taken from Roald Dahl) floating into my left kneecap. I'm not sure if she's still in there. I woke up as if from a nightmare, but then it occurred to me that she might not be malevolent in any way - I should try and communicate with her.

Wednesday morning: And another dream last night, makes a full week's worth. Unfortunately I can't remember anything about it. Damn, dropped the ball...

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