Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
This John Key-John Banks teapot tape scandal* reminds me of a time I was secretly taped. I dined out on this story for years and still find it amusing. If only the PM had a sense of humour, he could be getting hours of fun from the experience instead of feeling harassed and looking ridiculous.I was about 17 and hitchhiking on the West Coast of the South Island with another young woman, both of us done up in full punk regalia. We got picked up by a well dressed man in a tidy car who said he had to make some deliveries and did we mind a few detours on our way? Since our appearance on the side of the road generally attracted much more insalubrious rides, we counted ourselves lucky and enjoyed a bit of sight seeing on back roads in the sunshine.
As our journey continued I noticed first that the man was wearing pantyhose instead of socks under his suit pants, and then that he had a bra on under his business shirt. When he stopped the car to hand deliver a document I mentioned these unusual sartorial details to my friend and we speculated on the implications. Meanwhile she riffled through his box of documents to discover they were a kinky sex newsletter for West Coasters swingers. We muffled our giggles as the driver returned to the car and carried on.
At his next stop I looked down by my own feet, saw a tape recorder and said to my friend, 'hey, here's a tape recorder... and he's left the recording button on...' as I turned it off. We looked at each other in guilt, confusion and amusement and decided as soon as we got back to the main road we'd ask to get out and try our luck with another ride. We feared he might be cross with us for turning off his tape recorder.
I was, and still am, ashamed for sniggering at the cross-dressing driver who'd kindly offered a us lift and feel far worse about him being hurt by hearing our prurient amusement than I do about him secretly taping me. I'd like to say that I learned a lesson about circumspection that I've never forgotten but of course I still sometimes say and do regrettable things like everyone else.
However, when I chose an action (such as mean gossip) I am choosing its consequences. Whether or not anyone records or overhears my ill chosen words I have to live with myself. I could blame or shame myself (or whoever records or overhears me, if they do) but ideally I would apologise, learn from my mistakes and move on with the intention of doing better in the future.
Making a mistake like being indiscreet is an opportunity to demonstrate one's ability to put things right. It's a chance to show you can take criticism, be apologetic, generous and compassionate. Most of all its a chance to show one has a sense of humility and humour. At 17 I failed to express those qualities in the moment when it mattered. By telling the story repeatedly throughout my life I have used it to learn and grow, as well as have some fun.
In the current 'teapot tape' situation I see a powerful public figure demonstrating hubris, defensiveness and arrogance. He looks angry and scared all out of proportion to this event. In an election campaign based on promoting his personal leadership qualities rather than party policies, his response to this event reveals (if you hadn't noticed before) that our current leader lacks resiliance and the ability to laugh at himself.
To my mind there are a myriad of other reasons not to vote this man back into power (asset sales, coal mining, deep sea drilling, beneficiary bashing, anti-arts, ridiculously old-fashioned education etc) but if one were chosing one's votes based on character rather than policy, then surely this is a deal breaker.
*If you are from beyond these shores, it might help to know that New Zealand has a national election on this Saturday and much has been made of the 'secret taping' of a media-staged conversation between the current Prime Minister John Key and a candidate from another political party, John Banks.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
But my favourite room is her studio which is small, perfectly organised and crammed full of potential for creativity.Her huge stash of fabrics is neatly arranged by colour, her tools stored in baskets from Samoa, and her vintage lace in old suitcases. I arrived feeling very annoyed to have left my crochet workbag* on the bus, but Rachelle quickly sorted me out with a hook and some ecru cotton from her stash so I could keep making throughout the weekend.
I've not met anyone besides Rachelle and me who crochets with this old-fashioned cotton that is so fine and fiddly. Rachelle shares my passion for slow making and hand stitching. She spends hours crafting each individual piece by hand to sell at craft fairs and on Etsy, Felt and Toggle.
She also finds time to make pretty things for herself and her home. I love this work in progress (below), to stitch together old lace doilies into a window hanging. I can't wait to go back and visit again, to see the light shining through the lace.
*Complete with six precious completed spheres, two balls of cotton, crochet hook and second best scissors. If you find my little blue and green bag, please give it back!
Monday, November 14, 2011
I caught the bus up to Auckland on Saturday so I could go to Art in the Dark, the second annual festival of lights in Western Park, Ponsonby. My daughter went last year (she is friends with the organisers and came over from Melbourne to see it) and I was so envious to hear her rave about its wonders that I had to go myself this time.
It was fabulous, funky, fun to be wandering around an unfamiliar park in the dark with hundreds of other people, their children and dogs. Apparently for many Aucklanders this park (which I'd barely been aware of myself) is little used and perceived as threatening, even in the daytime. Art in the Dark reclaimed the space for two nights with light, sound and activities.
I'm not very experienced at night photography and so my pictures are very poor compared to those on Art in the Dark's website and Facebook page. I recommend you follow the links to see better images than mine.
Some of the performances were so fleeting, so entrancing and so dynamic that I had no chance of capturing even a bad image. For example, Icarus by Celery Productions was a mysterious and marvelous swooping of enormous white angel wings worn by a man in a suit who flew utterly authentically up and down the gully. I found out later that the rigging is from the Vinter's Luck movie, and up the hill out of my view, a small poignant vignette was enacted between flights. Even without knowing any of that, Icarus was one of the favourite things I saw.
Another outstanding performance was When I Grow Up, in which a group of dancers with LED lights on their suits, danced on a dark hillside. There were no lights on their heads, and their arms were extended with lights to the length of their legs making for a very sci-fi, alien animal kind, yet with human movements.
Many of the pieces were interactive, perhaps none more so than the tree with envelopes by Ella Mizrahi. Envelopes hung from strings of lights draped around a big tree, and when we opened the envelopes we found dozens of different children and adults had contributed a drawing of what could grow on trees (sweeties, money, toys, fruit). We stuffed each drawing back in its envelope and opened another, enjoying the sense of connection with unknown contributors.
Naturally I was very enthusiastic about the most textile-crafty work in the whole park: Knitting Luminaries. White (machine knit) fabric was stretched and twisted into sculptural forms like giant seashells crossed with fruit, suspended from a big old tree and glowing white white the tree was illuminated with blue. It was serenely beautiful and inspiring.