Work ethic

So much for the big plan for a daily post on the blog. A tsunami of paid employment has swept through town lately, not that I’m complaining (much.)

I just wish I could even it out with those long months of dreary unemployment in my early twenties.

The last month my normally 3/4 fulltime job has become a 5/4 fulltime job. I’ve been putting together a anti-casualization campaign for the Maritime Union which has been good work for a good cause, but also busy as . . . so no time or energy for creative pursuits.

However light is on the horizon, and while I burn a pile of CDs in the background I’ve been wandering through some other blogs, including my favourite one so far Bob Mould – one of my favourite musicians who also turns out to be an excellent blogger.

Other news – John Guy Howell tells me he has nearly finished mixing my album of songs that I have been working on for years . . . (literally)

I’m considering doing an ‘online release’ only – that would be very C21 – but if I had the cash then I’d get it pressed.

Time to sleep now.

Channel surfing in Blandrovia

Returning from a journey to the north with the remarkable news: Christchurch is still there.

Personal events led to a visit at short notice to the city of the plains, coinciding with the Highlanders versus Crusaders clash – which meant every motel, hedge and hutch were filled by out of towners travelling in for the game. Observation: large numbers of jowly, 30+ males on the loose. Of course – the only people who can afford ticket prices to the national game. The result? Who knows. But rugby was the winner on the day.

Just as rugby is a game of two halves, so is Christchurch. A strange city, the hub of the South Island, of which I have visited and considered on many occasions.

It’s mid-grade suburbs are a lego land of stop signs, shopping centres, and concentric anonymity. Likewise the most polarized class structure in New Zealand. Bars, hotels and restaurants filled with a smoothly bland mix, ladies with bobs and gold jewellery, men in chinos with a implacable vibe of eighties nostalgia echoing in the air. In the streets, blank eyed teenagers shamble towards their own personal disasters or destinations.

We have to shell out for a fourth floor room at a hotel after driving in circles looking for a place to stay. Beneath the soft beige surfaces the sounds of the street drift upwards, screams and cackling, the obscene riproar of a supercharged engine, sirens and in moments of lull the sucking vacumn of traffic noise throughout the night skies. I can’t sleep and dream of zombie movies, of the breakdown of society, of being trapped far above the streets in this sealed room while chaos reigns below.

In the morning the streets are again clear and empty, as if the noise of the night before had been just another dream. At the cafe, a bedlam as the aspirational classes shovel down their Sunday morning brunch. A man with a radio announcers voice at the next table is blarping on about “Bob Jones new book – it really is funny.”

“He goes on about PD. No, PR. What do you call it? PC.”

Just another morning in Blandrovia. White, right and quite . . . frozen. As if time itself was in the grip of a certainty long gone. Blandrovia faces inwards, builds its polished staircase of social graces and ticks away like a well-oiled clock. Outside the city is once again in the grasp of 3/4 pants, four wheel drives and service with a smile.

I think of other times and other sights in this place. The simmering air of subterranean violence that drifts in the inner city air late on Saturday night. The beaten down fields of suburbs rolling out to the south.

Blandrovia: city of the plains, we leave you behind and accelerate towards the South.

Politics: The plantation owner came down from the big house and told them how it was gunna be

Leader of the New Zealand National Party Don Brash appeared on the Holmes Show to answer the hard questions tonight. Don Brash is leading a campaign to declare that there should be one law for all New Zealanders, as the indigenous Maori minority are getting special treatment.

Holmes claim to fame is that he called the head of the United Nations a “cheeky darkie” on his national radio show.

Don Brash was recently earning a few hundred K per annum as the head of the Reserve Bank, and grew up in a generation where unemployment was unknown, tertiary education was state funded and Maori were happy people who lived in the country near Rotorua where they played guitars and worked on the roads.

A true meeting of minds, you could say.

I had the good fortune to have an argument with Don when he spoke at my journalism class in 2002. You could describe him simply; a outwardly dull and reasonable personality fronting an agenda to restore complete control over society to a class of corporate managers, for the benefit of those corporate managers.

He is mining two cores of the public mind in New Zealand. One is a sizeable minority of white/Pakeha who are racist. Two is a greater number who feel threatened and overwhelmed by the pace of change in society, and who have come to the conclusion that Maori are getting “special treatment” – unlike the children of the elite, whose private schooling and overseas holidays are a natural result of the infinite justice of the system.

The result is around half the population are – according to those modern soothsayers “the polls” – going to vote for a man who will lead a Government that will smash unions, use the unemployed to do forced labour for a pittance, increase the financial burden on young working class kids who aspire to University, and further integrate our country into a global economic system which threatens the destroy the planet.

Good, eh?

To misquote Anatole France, the law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.

So when you see Don walking past you at the airport enroute to the Koru Club lounge, make sure you ask him how things are going up there. In our 21st century pavlova paradise, it seems that while all pigs are equal, some pigs are more equal than others.

Which leaves us to consider, at a later stage, how the “Labour” Government made a balls up of the whole thing.

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