Thursday, February 10, 2011

Random Photo Weirdness #2

The missus finally gets to meet her beloved Bono...

Some Fundamental Christians believe this is actually possible.

We live on a hill where there is no duck pond. Why was this outside the house?

Not sure if these are illegal aliens or the gang probing kind.

It's blue of course...

Seen in Coromandel where they really have to explain this stuff...

Friday, January 28, 2011

No Minister

Politics is a funny business. Though the people of Mordor do have politicians, these seem to be just extensions of the common man rather than public school educated tw@ts or lying war criminals. I could be wrong but that is the impression I get from the following few experiences.

The Prime Minister, John Key, represents the National Party. Not “National” in a Nick Griffin/Adolf Hitler kind of way, but more in a Conservative vein and though he is a world leader he seems to be as accessible as the mayor of a small town. You know, which he is…

Evidently Sauron keeps him on a loose leash and one of the radio stations rings him up from time to time to ask his opinions on certain things, mainly the sporting events. To them he is just “John”, and the conversations are always very casual and relaxed with no pandering to him and a fair bit of florid language thrown in as is the Kiwi way. I can’t imagine anyone doing that with a UK politician, unless they were able to beat them with a piece of steel pipe beforehand to work out all of the issues.

He was on again recently in this astonishing broadcast.

A bloke I worked with was at a café in Newmarket one Saturday morning for breakfast. He spotted a family of four at the next table also having brekkie and thought he recognised the guy from somewhere. Only when the guy got up did he realise it was John Key. He then spotted 2 minders at a nearby table, but was amazed that there was the leader of the nation (albeit a nation of sheep and Orc minions) at a café, just hanging out. Crazy stuff.

The wife likes him so much she wants him to be her dad. As her own dad is a lying, thieving scumbag of the highest order anything is preferable I suppose.

I had a run in with one of the members of the new Hobbiton Council recently when he showed up at work. Of all of the politicians I think he is the least respected, looking as he does like the Hood from Thunderbirds. As he entered the control room here I was roped into the party accompanying him (mainly as I just happened to be passing and they needed to make up the numbers as he was so unpopular) and stood by as he started punching buttons for a photo opportunity. I remarked to a colleague in a louder than intended whisper that he looked like an angry midget Voldemort. At this point he stopped what he was doing and looked around at the assembled entourage and I tried to appear as nonchalant as possible, unsure if he heard me or not. He then frowned, which made his eyebrows look like caterpillars doing some weird insectoid samba, swiftly concluded his photo op and left to deal with those International Rescue pricks once and for all.

Hobbiton has a new mayor and his name is Len.

Quite a few people threw their hats into the ring for this coveted role, including the incumbent mayor, several local councillors, a comedian, a former tv star and a local dole scum troublemaker by the name of Penny Bright.

Anyway, after a hard fought campaign Len Brown won the election and became Mayor of the Auckland Supercity (which saw the amalgamation of five Orc tribes into one), and he did all of this in the defiance of my wife.

To say she hates him is understating the matter somewhat (it’s a bit like saying World War 2 was merely a frank exchange of views) and she has often wished for a portal to Hades to open up beneath him and for his gurning frame to be dragged down and torn asunder by the claws of grotesque demons. All the time being anally raped at the hands of insatiable, barbed penised hell hounds and screaming in indescribable torment as the superheated gases of Hell’s unholy furnace blacken and char his hair and skin. Oh, and he’s also forced to watch looped episodes of the Keeping Up Appearances Christmas Specials.

All pretty standard stuff really.

She came to this conclusion being largely put off by his cheesy grin and row of tombstone like teeth but felt that he had essentially sentenced himself to the pit of torment after his famous council speech in June. Len had been under media attention for matters relating to some spending on his council credit card which included items of a personal nature like toys, cave troll prostitutes and a can of Balrog repellant.

At the council meeting where all this was brought up he repeatedly slapped his face and got extremely emotional, leading to intense speculation that his actions were attributable to his use of a Maori act of contrition. True or not, the face thing is a bit odd and freaked the missus out enough for her to feel physically sick when she saw his visage from then on.

Because of this I took every opportunity to seize the remote and turn up the volume when his campaign adverts came on and secrete flyers bearing his crooked grin in her work bag. It’s not that I am a bad husband; it’s simply that I have a strong death wish.

Recently I was having a drink in Aotea Square and he wandered past on his way for a coffee. As luck would have it I had a camera handy and gave chase telling him that my wife was a HUGE fan of both him and his campaign and that she would be really impressed if I shook his hand. I then shoved the camera into the hands of the woman he was with (who it turns out was the Deputy Mayor) and the little fella put his arm around me, imparting a “Good on ya, mate” as he grinned for the camera.

He genuinely seemed like a nice guy so I wished him all the luck for the future, apologised for pestering him when he was trying to get his Whorebucks fix and went back to my alcohol. He even waved at us when he left Whorebucks and went off, credit card in hand, in search of champagne bubbles to polish his antique waka with.

When I got home and showed the picture to the missus she made me take a shower and sleep in the spare room for a week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Christchurch: The Irwin Allen Years

Now the fallout from the Canterbury quake has settled, I can at last discuss the merits of this enforced restructure.
I keep having a go at Christchurch in this blog and I must admit that despite never visiting the place I have a very negative image of it through media coverage, police reports and the realistic Lego version of Christchurch I saw. Whereas most Lego representations of cities feature scale models of famous monuments, the Lego version of Christchurch was just pieces scattered on the floor. With mice running over it.
I think this was unfair as there was no realistic representation of the town hall (now overrun with feral cats), the 3000 puddles the city has or the wormhole that goes back to the 12th Century.
Christchurch is sort of a glitch in The Matrix where none of the conventional laws of nature or sense have dominion. It’s a lot like Wales.

Though the quake had no human casualties I understand that several goats were killed shortly afterwards as a sacrifice to the angry UnderGod, and the blame for it all was squarely laid on the triple threat of moral turpitude, widespread disbelief in the aforementioned UnderGod and something the locals refer to as electrickery (a form of devilry that was introduced to parts of the city only days before). The city itself seems to have suffered some moderate structural damage with a few exceptions of collapse. In some areas it is hard to tell and insurance assessors have been scratching their heads and looking at Google Maps to see if the buildings were actually like that to begin with, though it is difficult to tell with mud huts and burned out Nissan Bluebirds.
There was also some sporadic looting of abandoned property, which doesn’t surprise me to be honest. Though a beautiful place when you look at it from a distance (the International Space Station for preference), the city is forever tainted by the criminal elements.
Let me put it this way, if there was ever to be a re-enactment of the Maori Wars and they needed a city to destroy as part of it, then Christchurch should be top of the list as the crims and the quake have already made a decent head start on it.

Throughout the coverage, I saw the Prime Minister nodding sympathetically as he surveyed the tipped over crates of beer but not once did I see the MP or mayor, which leads me to believe Christchurch actually doesn’t field an elected official. This is probably since their first mayor failed to live up to the achievements of his predecessor and is instead represented at the Beehive by a broken stool with a crushed can of Woody’s on top of it.

A few days ago there was a retrospective of the events of the quake and how it is only now hitting home for some residents (presumably the ones who have just sobered up or returned from prison). In this report was an indication that depression and suicides were up on previous years and that mental health services are stretched by the influx. Is this down to the quake or have folk finally snapped after finally realising that they live in Christchurch?

The mood has been further upset as they seem to have had more aftershocks than Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Sarah Harding put together. As soon as they start to do some remedial work on a property, another rumble comes along and sends the mud and hay flying. Shortages in water, electrickery and burglary tools are causing a problem and the area has so many cracks and crevices in it, that when viewed on Google Earth it looks uncannily like Gordon Ramsay’s face.

I once mentioned my disdain for the place at a social gathering, before the person I was speaking to said she was from there. After leaving me squirming for several uncomfortable seconds she informed me that it was an awful place and she couldn’t wait to leave.
That said, she did point out that Christchurch is a place where opportunity can knock at your door at any moment. It’s just that when it finds you aren’t in, it breaks through a window and steals all your stuff.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Queenstown: Bohemian Raspberry

The Queenstown New Year celebrations themselves were interesting. The wife was spoken to by a colleague who reported that the town was “mental at New Year”. Evidently said colleague had never been to any large city square at the last stroke of midnight and had probably only ever spent it with 12 other humans.

The harbour area was comparatively busier with two stages (of sorts), a single burger van with a bored looking purveyor and a modest firework display that lit up the harbour and scared the beaks off the local duck population.

The first stage featured a DJ set playing some poorly chosen dance music as some select locals jigged along like the old guy out of Deliverance when the duelling banjo music starts playing.

The second stage was an eye opener and was populated by a series of covers bands, including a delightful group of three ladies who were butchering some 90s tracks while dressed like an unholy cross between some Geordie slappers and the women from the "Sheila’s Wheels" adverts.

As they “performed” their unique renderings of the songs, they wiggled their bodies (one of them was a bit rotund so had little choice in the matter really) and played up to the dumbfounded crowd of slack jawed yokels.

Looking off to my left I spotted an Eastern European gentleman I had seen earlier that day asking for directions. He was filming the entire thing on his camcoder, with a huge smile on his face so it was obviously the best form of entertainment he had seen since they banned dancing bears in his homeland of Kazakhstan.

The only down point was the wine tour we went on earlier that day. Though it was pleasant and the driver was very nice and informative, the wines weren’t that fantastic and the mood was ruined by the know alls behind us.

I don’t mind the Bohemian types who like to drink wine and talk about art and literature, having met many of them in some of the circles I have moved in. Ok, you wouldn’t trust a lot of them to wire a plug or remember to feed your cat, but they generally mean well for a bunch of harmless loafers.

What these seemed to be, however, is arrogant mature students who have graduated from the school of life with a double first in bullshit and f*cktardary and the world could do with a lot less of them.

Everyone else on the trip seemed ok, from the cool looking French pair and the camera happy Americans to the ubiquitous Brits and the weird German couple (he looked like the bastard offspring of Arsene Wenger and Pam St Clement and she couldn’t go more than a few steps without lighting up a cancer stick), but these guys were a pain in the arse. So much so that it prompted the missus to declare quite loudly that she was glad she had left her encyclopaedia behind as it evidently was now redundant. When she gets riled, I know things are bad.

Starting the journey with a sort of one-upmanship foreplay of interesting facts the know alls pointed out that the mountain range known as The Remarkables are so called because they are the only range in the world that run truly North-South. Utter bollocks as The Rockies have the same aspect and the naming is rumoured to be down to the fact that they looked so spectacular to the original settlers. Score one for Wikipedia there.

When we passed a church they pointed out that all Churches must point to the east as it’s some kind of religious law. Though I don’t know much about churches, I think it is mainly the Anglicans that do this and have been in churches that certainly don’t follow this convention. Having visited St Peter’s Magic Castle (for the Vatican City is like a Catholic Disneyland, full of imaginary characters where the devout go to escape from reality and they hire people who like to spend far too much time with children) I am fairly sure that the chancel is on the west rather than the east.

Which reminds me, if churches are built to face east because Jesus is meant to return from there, then east of Queenstown is a place called Cromwell. In which case, Christianity is in serious trouble as the Messiah is going to be either a sheep or an inbred mutant.

As the journey progressed and more tastings were had, they couldn’t seem to hold their drink and the gibberish just got worse, with them sometimes forgetting what fact they were meant to be mis-representing. One of them even reported putting one of the winery people straight as apparently a painting done by her grandmother hung in the winery and the winery people simply were not aware of this fact. Boo f*cking hoo.

Toward the end of the trip we stopped at "The Winehouse" which is near the mentalist magnet AJ Hackett bungy over the Kawarau River. As we did so, the most annoying of the know alls (the one with the little known painter grandmother) spoke up to her comrades…

“Oh, we’re not going to look at the bungy are we? Oh dear.”

Rolling their eyes at the tackiness of it all, the gruesome threesome trudged off the bus looking ashamed to be there.

However, once off they were the last ones getting on as they were still watching the maniacs hurl themselves off the bridge, probably exchanging true facts like “the ancient Greeks invented the ipod first” and “Noah’s Ark almost certainly had room for two of every species of dinosaur”.

Thereby proving that they weren’t just know-all jizzbats after all, they were in fact hypocritical know-all jizzbats.

While back in the safety of Auckland airport, I was standing next to three Americans at the carousel. I don’t know what it is about Americans, but they seem to behave strangely in places of transit. I was in Venice some years back and a fairly young American family were there as we were getting the train to Lake Garda. As the woman and child headed off to conduct some important business, the bloke on his own started to go a bit mental in the middle of the crowded station.

His shortish, portly frame resplendent in his pink polo shirt, yellow shorts, white socks and trainers, he popped one arm of his sunglasses in his mouth and began practising his golf swing with an imaginary club and looking into the distance as his imaginary ball sailed down the fairway. He did this for about five minutes.

As I stared at him incredulously, I caught the eye of one of the many locals who were also jaw agape at the antics and we both shook our heads at each other in a brief moment of European unity.

Anyway, at the carousel there were two blokes in their 30s and a woman in her 50s or 60s. As one left to use the bathroom, the older lady moved in and started giving the other one a back massage remarking that “Gee, your back muscles are really big”.

As my brain struggled to take in the relationship I figured either that…

A) It was a gay couple on holiday with the mum of one of them, in which case she shouldn’t be massaging either of them.

B) The bloke who had gone for a slash was her son and this was his mate who she was secretly nailing. In which case, eeeew.

C) It was her son. And they are from Appalachia and had travelled to Auckland instead of Invercargill where this sort of thing is a regular occurrence.

This is just the sort of lapse in judgement that lobs in a frag grenade during a hostage rescue.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Queenstown: A Kind Of Tragic

Queenstown is the NZ capital for adrenalin junkies.

I know this because on the way in our pilot decided that simply landing at an airstrip that is situated with mountains on three sides while being criss-crossed by helicopters and other light aircraft simply wasn’t enough excitement for his terrified passengers. Instead he decided to come in at way above the normal speed and bring the plane to a screeching halt with metres to spare, probably while wearing shades and waggling his thumb and little finger out of the window shouting “Awesome, bro!”

After sobbing and kissing the tarmac for several minutes we headed into the town itself via the shuttle service. This was also an interesting experience as our driver was apparently so bad that they had to have a back up driver on board telling him where he was going wrong. As the bus lurched and careened to our hotel, the back up guy offered such helpful bon mots as “just start off in second gear”, “don’t bother with the handbrake” and “watch out for that Mumakil”.

Disembarking the vehicle as it thundered down the hill to the town centre mowing down everything in its path we elected to check in and then head off to explore the delights of Queenstown. This would take about 40 minutes, including check in time, the conversation with the receptionist from Kirkstall and the five minute walk into town. Had the place been a Freddie Mercury style themepark (as I had earlier feared) I feel the situation would have been improved.

A small town by anyone’s standards, Queenstown is the home of the bungy, which was invented by a suicidal bloke who wanted to keep his options open when he realised he was living in Queenstown. It is also one of the few places you can stand on a plank on top of a tipped over cylinder and try to balance. This is genuinely one of the attractions on a small funfair that is situated near the cable cars and wouldn’t look out of place at the Craggy Island fair. Idiot pointing is also popular and I indulged in a spot of this while watching the luge track on the nearby mountain.

The first thing I noticed was the scenery. It is simply stunningly beautiful.

Lake Wakatipu (despite drowning a couple of Frenchman last month) is clear, blue and inviting. The mountains surrounding the area look straight out of Lord Of The Rings and the town itself looks clean and well maintained, especially the park where you can play Frisbee golf. No, really, Frisbee golf.

The second thing I noticed were the car pricks. Boy racers took great delight in revving their souped up bangers up and down the hill into town all the time forgetting the golden rule of vehicular style…

It doesn't matter how low your car is, how deep the bass goes, how piercing the headlights are or how shiny your rims may be, if you are a white guy with 50 Cent pumping out of the stereo then you may as well just cut your losses and kill yourself.

Like the commonly stated fact about rats, you are never more than 10ft away from a Brit in New Zealand. They are everywhere, having fled the hellholes of the UK (Preston, Leeds, Penzance, Crewe etc.) for a better life in the fires of Mordor.

Queenstown is full of them, mainly in the bars and cafes, all of which seem to be constantly hiring. In fact, I am almost certain that the entire serving staff resigned and were replaced in the 40 minutes it took us to eat our pizza.

Despite this short relationship, the people of the town seem genuinely friendly and inquisitive about visitors. Much like the people of Birkenhead only without the unpleasant end result of a mugging and subsequent hospital visit.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rod Serling Presents...

I've seen some weird random stuff recently. For instance...

A Korean Christian Rock band singing to an enthralled crowd of their 12 friends from the church. Their cultural legacy will live on to the end of this sentence.

A bloke in a full and uncomfortable looking snowman costume dancing to Eminem in an empty car lot on a very humid day. This was while the sun beat down on a Monday afternoon.

Two blind, elderly Chinese ladies doing some Tai Chi in front of a huge sign that was raising awareness of the persecution of blind people in China. This was news to be as the only blind Chinese people I have ever seen or heard of were all hardcore Kung Fu masters who were revered and respected. Ok, this is probably a western conceit but despite being blind these two ladies were in perfect synch so I reckon they could go all Pai Mei on someone when they need to.

A bloke at the beach who I assumed to be dressed as a superhero, clad as he was in an all in one bodysuit with a pair of trunks over it. As he got closer I realised this wasn’t the case and I can honestly say he was hairy enough to carry C3PO on his back and hang around a Mos Eisley cantina looking for work.

A sign in the Bay of Islands advertising “Home Kill Butchery”.
Much like “Epileptic Blunt Vasectomy” or “German Peace Initiative” these are three words that surely don’t belong together in any sane society.

The (NZ) famous TV ad personality Levi Vaoga. Levi, is the poster Uruk Hai for Mitre 10 (a sort of B&Q with the “&” removed and replaced by another “B”) and is what I can only describe as a f*cking brick shithouse. We bumped into him at the opening of a new Mitre 10 Mega when we were shopping for gardening crap. Levi and his posse were showcasing the new store and holding a strongman competition (for he is NZ’s strongest man) involving the lifting of housebricks and the smashing of Hobbit skulls.

A sign for a local church saying “Google doesn’t have all the answers! GOD!”
At first glance you think this is saying that it is the Almighty and only the Almighty who knows everything (except apparently how to create a planet that doesn’t try to kill the inhabitants on a regular basis) but the sentence is constructed like the church is just having a go at Google for not knowing what they asked it and then shouting “GOD!” at the end of it like some sort of spoiled teenager.
Still, when you follow a religion free from the shackles of logic, common sense and scientific evidence, you can’t expect to get the grammar right. Except if it’s about putting people to death for working on the Sabbath, of course.

Four mimes of varying ethnic backgrounds doing their artistic best as the rain pounded down outside Britomart station. They were accompanied in their misery by Dvorak’s New World Symphony. For the record, I f*cking hate mimes, and come the Apocalypse I mean to kill as many of them as Xenu sees fit to deliver before my rifle.

Mr Ed translated into Maori. Seriously messed up shit.

The (Oceania) famous singing sensation Altiyan Childs. It’s hard to quantify Altiyan.
One minute he seems to be a sensitive rocker with a history of disappointment behind him belting out cheesy Bon Jovi covers like there is no tomorrow (which very well may be the case for him) and the next he comes across as a crazy eyed mental defective blubbing his way through an interview and throwing homo-erotic glances at a worried looking Ronan Keating.
As the missus is a huge fan (and Facebook friend of his) we queued up for 2 hours at the Warehouse (a superstore- real classy move there, chief) so she could press the flesh with the great man. When the steady procession of slavish yokels went up to get something signed he seemed genuinely touched and excited that so many people had come to see him. My guess is he is either far too nice to last in the music business or it is all a highly impressive act and sooner or later he will flip out and take a bus load of nuns hostage.
I declined the invitation to shake his hand as my mouth can’t be trusted in situations like that and I’d have doubtless caused “an incident”. Instead I opted for taking a snapshot of him hugging the misses, a photo she will treasure right up until the day they find his car abandoned near a popular suicide spot.

The number plate TRFC, bringing back terrible memories of my youth.

A bloke playing a small guitar outside a run down row of shops in Glen Innes while dressed as Optimus Prime.
Bruckheimer! *shakes fist*

NZ’s ugliest child. As I stood waiting for the missus outside of the local Belgian Beer bar, the beautiful people of Mission Bay went about their business on a hot and sunny evening. In the café next door a young couple played with their toddler, which was pestering a dog belonging to the woman on the adjacent table. The parents of the toddler were both attractive, blonde haired, tanned and athletic looking. The child, on the other hand, was some sort of half human/half warthog abomination that wouldn’t look out of place in Clash Of The Titans. I suppose the important thing is that it seemed physically and mentally healthy but all of this leads me to conclude that either good genes cancel each other out or a Jeremy Kyle-esque paternity special is on the cards.

Lots of families smiling, pointing and waving at me as I ascended two escalators. Only when I got to the top of the second one did I realise that the geezer right behind me was dressed in a full Santa suit.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Off The Buses

I’ve been getting the “Loser Cruiser” to work on a regular basis. The buses in Mordor are a lot like those in the UK except for five very important differences…

1- The buses run late. Now, I know that buses in the UK run late too. It’s just that here it is kind of expected here and the timetables are taken as a rough and wildly optimistic guideline. Because of this, people don’t get that narked by it and start smashing the bus shelters or complaining loudly to their fellow stranded passengers. They know the bus will turn up when it turns up (or maybe it won’t) so just accept it. It has taken me months to get used to that attitude, and I’m still not there. Much like the 770 that never arrived last week.

2- Some of the buses are a health and safety nightmare. Devoid of cameras, dimly lit at night and driven by madmen, you need your wits about you to get up, pull the bell cord and make it to one of the doors without serious injury or death. I got on a bus recently that (I shit you not) had a mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel’s famous neck strainer. I don’t know why it was there but the sceptical part of me suggests it has something to do with taking your eyes and mind of the lousy driving.

3- I’ve yet to see a bus with an empty Lucozade bottle rolling about the floor.

4- People are friendly. At the bus stop one morning, I got into a conversation about bus timetables and then music with a huge Pacific Islander lad who worked at the Vector Arena. Disturbingly though he was a teenager and dressed like a member of Slipknot he said the best gig he had been to recently was Robin Gibb. His final reminiscence being underlined with the statement…
“That Robin Gibb put on an awesome show, bro.”
As the bus journey ended at the Newmarket terminus, the driver got up out of his seat and as it was a Friday wished everyone a cracking weekend, waving to us as we alighted.
If that had been the UK, the incident at the bus stop would have been a punch up over which Gibb had the best voice and the only waving the bus driver would have conducted was the two fingered variety.
The only exception to this is the Filipino bus driver who said to me in excellent English as I boarded his bus…
“Hello. I remember you from yesterday as you look like a member of the 1990s UK pop sensations Right Said Fred”.
I almost killed him.

5- Bus mentalists seem to be few and far between. The ones back in Leeds were especially plentiful, including the colourful character who liked to quiz people about their favourite films before revealing his was popular 80s scapegoat “I Spit On Your Grave”. Possibly for the artistic direction, but more likely for the graphic sexual violence.
I have only had one run in with such an individual here in Mordor and this delightful episode only occurred as I boarded the bus one morning and failed to disengage my nutter magnet in time.
As we stopped at the bottom of Symonds Street, a bloke got on. With his shaved head, shorts and army boots, my howling moonpig detector went straight into the red and I shifted along on the seat to take up as much room as possible while he explained to the driver exactly what stop he was after, what the distinguishing features of that bus stop were, his ultimate destination for the day’s business (a hostel) and his God given purpose for doing so.
He lumbered down the bus clutching his ticket and dropped into the seat opposite the aisle from me.
By this point I had plugged in my earphones (which were switched off in case I needed to hear a steady build up of mentalism prior to him going postal) and carried on reading my book so he wouldn’t talk to me. My subtle plan failed spectacularly as he looked over and started his jabbering…

Mental: Are you Major General Fitzroy?
Me (pulling out earphone): What, mate?
Mental (looks right and left): Major General Fitzroy. You’re him, aren’t you?
Me (jokingly): Ha ha. No, I just look like him. He’s my twin brother.
Mental: I need to talk to him about that business today. 160,000 British soldiers dead in Kabul.
Me: Oh…
Mental: 1000 Centurion tanks destroyed. Don White will be a long time paying that off.
Me: Don White being?
Mental: The Prime Minister. I’m just off to see him in Western Springs.
Me: Isn’t the Prime Minister called John Key? And why would he need to…
Mental (stares with his head cocked to one side like a dog): …
Me: Okaaaaay….
Mental: I was a Colonel in the Falklands War and won 4 VCs, including the one that belonged to Freaky Frank.
Me: Right. Yes. Hmmmn. Good one.
Mental: I’ll tell Don you said. 160,000 dead. He needs to be told.
Me: Yeah, let me know how that goes…

He got off further up Symonds Street, walked in the direction of the hostel and then turned on his heel and started walking back towards town. I wonder what Don White made of it all.

Though not in the mental category, I do regularly get the bus home with a couple of Chinese ladies, one of whom sings on the journey like a demented Mogwai having its nuts pushed through a garlic press. I’m not sure what it is all about, but if it’s a love song it makes me wonder how the Chinese aren’t extinct as a race.

One final note…as I leapt to safety from the bus the other morning I spotted a huge container ship peeking through the early morning fog as it made its way up the busy harbour to the sound of foghorns and Uruk Hai war cries. By my return to Britomart Transport Centre the ship had docked and was being unloaded. Registered in Singapore the ship was called MV Madame Butterfly and it got me wondering about the crew of that fine vessel. Would you really want to serve on a ship named after a famous (albeit it literary) suicide? I’ll bet there are loads of jobs going on the MV Kurt Cobain. I might sign that bus mentalist up for it.