Thursday, August 30, 2007

Never trust a marsh with a moustache...

Every year Mrs K and I do the following:
We drive the car into town at low tide, park by the big pine tree and walk to the seashore with a bucket to harvest Pipi and Cockle. The beds there are plentiful. We have filled our bucket and feasted on Kaimoana for days. The secret, we found out the hard way, is to keep the bucket filled with SALT water. Our crazy idea was that you fill the bucket with fresh water to kill the seafood and clear them of sand.
Silly us.
Leave them in salt water and they spit out the sand, and furthermore they can be kept alive until you want to eat em’.
We have had them as fritters, in Fettucini Marinara with mussel and fresh fish and I have also made a Rick Stein dish which involves cream, wine and reduction.
Eating that dish involves eating, wine and expansion.
The best way though, is steamed open in their shell and placed in fresh white bread with butter.
A true Kiwi classic.
So, we were very pleased when Chris Carter made his decision to veto the Marine development in Whangamata , because that’s where we go to get the seafood.
eware of jet skis

It’s a great place and remarkably undisturbed. There are usually very few people there, even in the middle of summer.
We were there once with some Asians and they were SOOO excited that you could get free food.
The field of kaimoana is miraculously large, and I have long wondered how hard it is for a field of that sort to be established.
It seems to suit the people who support the development to call the area a “salt marsh” which sounds like something completely useless, somewhere Colonel Klink would have to go to in Hogan’s Heroes when he f**ked up. ..
“Klink you be shipped to the useless salt marsh in Whangamata!”
But what is the real story. Is the bed of seafood worthy?
I’m no marine biologist, but my friend Nicola is, so I rang her to throw her a few questions;
It’s Jimi Kumara here What do you know about cockles?
Nicola Rush . Bsc (and bar); ”They’re bloody nice”
she said. “ Tasty. With Sauvignon Blanc, delicious..”
Anything else?
”yes. They’d be great with a Chardonnay too..”
No. anything else about the cockles..
”They hurt your bloody hand when you pick them. Watch those shells!”
Are they rare?
”Not in my bucket.”
Her input was not exactly what I had in mind. I needed some dodgy old facts that suggested that cockles and pipis (alive alive-o!) are almost extinct. A concrete reason the marina needs to be stopped. I placed a call through to Jacques Cousteau, but he was a dead loss, so I decided to examine other sides of the debate.

The classic argument FOR the Marina is that by stopping the development the government are standing in the way of progress.
But progress towards WHAT exactly?
”One day. . .. I hope that wherever there is an unspoilt scenic marine wonderland there will eventually be a Marina”
said my ficticious Marina Supporter from his four wheel drive.
”Imagine a marina at Piha or Wanaka. The Glory!”

oh yeah, and hopefully one day all the marina’s can link up and the coastline will be one big Wharf.

Also I don’t know about you but for me the word “Marina”conjures up some horrendous images (two words "SYLVANIA WATERS").
Images of fat men on a jet ski’s with a moustaches (how the jet ski got the moustache I’ll never know).
They will have gold chains inlaid on hairy chests.
In short, they will be w**kers.
Or muttony women in jeans two sizes too small tootering around on high heels talking in loud screechy voices. My fear is that the marina will place these people together in one place. One premix rum and coke will lead to another and eventually they will shag. (they’ll call it rooting).
Which really shouldn’t be encouraged.
Imagine their kids. Imagine boys in nappies on Jet skis with premix rum and cokes and moustaches.
The very, very new rich.
Yes. This is my irrational fear.
That the Marina will eliminate the humble cockle and promote the proliferation of these people.
That isn’t progress, it’s devolution.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


A rare scene of people having fun.

Last weeks South Park ‘Bloody Mary’ episode was in some way a moralistic tale about self determination in the modern world.
It is a tale with a lesson the Waitakere Council would seem to require as they seek to fill in a swimming hole because of a number of drownings.
It is symptomatic of the psyche of the establishment that they can even contemplate such a heavy handed move.
Why is it the f**king swimming holes fault?
It seems that in our society we believe that rules and regulation will solve any problem. But doesn’t that kind of circumvent any personal responsibility?
If a four year old kid drowns in a swimming hole isn’t it probably the parents fault?
Clearly something’s gone mad,
but is it political correctness?
Or is it the contemporary need for everything surrounding children to be safe, sanitised and padded to a maddening degree.
Political Correctness hasn’t gone mad – bureaucracy and parenting has.
When I think back on my childhood growing up in West Auckland I cant help but feel that they would want to concrete the whole of that in too, or have it shut down by OSH.
We were in almost constant peril.
We made flying foxes, rope swings, dodgy tree huts, and rafts, without a man in a white coat in sight.
We had a trolley race where one part of the course went across the road. A kid would stand on the road to say if a car coming. But even if a car came, in the white hot competition of 11 year olds trolley derby, we probably wouldn’t want to stop. We would lose valuable points.
Even if we did want to stop the brake was a pathetic stick that dragged against the wheel. It would either (a) not work or (b) snap off, if applied.
We also played numerous games on houses that were being built. They had scaffolding on them and were fantastic play grounds when you were growing up.
But because we did that stuff we learned a lot of lessons. We learned all about consequences. We explored boundaries. We became self-reliant.
Mostly we learnt where bravery ends and stupidity begins.
Oh.. and also we got hurt – a lot. I smashed out my front teeth and because of a misadventure on my bike – broke my arm.
Scrapped knees and various wounds and bruises were de rigueur. If my son Harry doesn’t come home with similar when he grows up I will wont to know why.
“Go outside and hurt yourself you bloody sook.” I will say.

Scene of the crime - The Whau Creek/ River

The Great Purple Speed Boat Story - (A Huckleberry Finish)

When I was about 12 we were obsessed with building rafts. We would steal any 44 gallon drum that wasn’t nailed down. Eventually we built our dream vessel. It was an wallowing, idiotic, meandering shipping hazard, and because it had no rudder, it was almost completely directionless. Once we had launched it we realized we had nowhere to go in it. So we decided to build a tree hut on the opposite side of the creek, The Whau Creek.
One day we piled our dinghy up with wood and set off across the water to build the tree hut.
“It’s like your Huckleberry Finn.”
I would say to my mate.
“and your Tom Sawyer.”
“Whose Tom Sawyer?”
He said rowing his way deftly through the mangroves.
Halfway across a piece of 'four by two' fell off the back of the boat.
“We’ll get it later” we said and carried on.
Landing on the distant shore we set about building our tree hut / platform on a tree overlooking the water.
After a while, a purple speedboat sped past us on the water.
“Wow! What a cool boat!”
In those days the only colour to threaten Purple in the coolness stakes was Orange. To an adolescent boy a purple speedboat was the River King. We watched it in awe as it disappeared around the corner.
When it came back around it was going even faster, but it was heading towards our bit of wood.
“Sh*t it’s gonna hit our plank” I said.
With great authority my mate said;
“It will jump over it. Don’t worry. A boat like that won’t be troubled by a bit of old wood.”
The boat hit the wood and somehow it launched the glorious purple speedboat into the air.
It was one of those moments where time seems to stand still and life is performed in slow motion, so that it will imprint on your consciousness more emphatically.
The purple speedboat became airborne and at the same time turned slowly over in mid air. It was a scene that was almost beautiful or poetic. Except, I guess for the owner of the speed boat. When it hit the water again it flipped immediately, until it was upside down. Then it started sinking.
Work on the tree hut ceased.
We rowed out to the boat as quickly as we could. Luckily the two guys in the boat were thrown out in the crash. When we arrived one guy was clutching a line going to the boat as it slid underwater. The glorious purple speedboat was sinking fast, the fashionable colour purple fading into the murky water.
We were terrified they would want to kill us, but of course they didn’t know it was our bit of wood.
“Thank god you guys were here!”
They said. We stayed with them until another boat arrived and they even tried to give us some money.
Unfortunately, the sense of adventure was so keenly felt my moronic mate told his dad what happened. He gave us a bit of a telling off but you could tell he thought it was pretty funny.
Had the above happened in 2006 what would have happened?
The parents would have had a conference.
“This is an outrage.” they would say.
"You boys could have been hurt!"
"How could it happen?"
The place where we launched our boat would be fenced off. The tree we built our hut in would be chopped down. Finally they would have to concrete the creek in.
“One day possibly someone may get hurt.” Said the councilor.
“That cannot happen.”

Piha. In need of a concrete solution.

Where will it all end? Piha is a much bigger danger than the swimming hole but luckily we have the solution. This is the way of the future. No danger - ever. No personal choices, just concrete.
I’m going to buy my shares in a concrete company today.
One day I'll be a rich man.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

South Park

South Park | February 22nd 2006

As a great character from a classic movie once said;
“It’s a fine line between clever and stupid.”
Which is interesting because the line kind of demonstrates what it’s saying. Because the line sounds stupid BUT it is clever too. Like the movie the line came from - “Spinal Tap”.
And it’s one of my things I love the most; being clever and stupid simultaneously, to be able to walk the line between the two, to traverse the gulf.
The master of walking that line, hell they dance all over that m**ther F***er has to be controversial TV show of the moment - SOUTH PARK.

I have been a huge fan of South Park for a long while.. Which is why it is so disconcerting and strange to have, what Don Brash lovingly describes as “The Mainstream”, placing their ignorant, grubby paws all over it.
When I hear Paul Holmes talking about it on the Radio it’s just plain weird. I feel in some way protective of the damn thing.
Leave the boys alone!
I have the need to circle the wagons in defence, to keep out the squares and the bores - the mediocre, the hoi polloi.
And it is disturbing that I have not heard ONE person on the radio, TV, anywhere say they think the show is good.
In almost all cases they miss the point - completely. Various media whores and talking heads on National Radio reveal their ignorance. Poor old Jim Mora and Linda Clark show their true, unspectacular colours (Linda’s an 80’s shade of black, Jim’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt he brought on holiday in the 70’s) –
Assorted comments:-

“Its only a cartoon I don’t know what the fuss is about”
“It’s a pathetic show for kids”
“Below childish”
“A bit of fluff”

I suppose though, that is one of the cool things about the show, the way it is sort of - in code. It’s a thing that some people can decipher and some cannot. To some people it’s a silly thing for kids with farting and to others it’s genius satire.
I fall squarely in the second group and regard Trey Parker as one of the smartest people on the planet and South Park as a modern masterpiece.
The Irony!
The Layers!
The Portrayals!
And … Mostly the laughing (Mostly).
I have seen the offending or offensive episode, I downloaded it about a week ago. It’s mostly about Stan’s dad (mostly)and his alcohol problem.
It’s f**king funny. Stan’s dad’s performance as the drunken dad is a standout performance, deserving of an Oscar and the piss take of the AA message is priceless.
What it is not about really, is the catholic church. The inclusion of the bloody Virgin Mary thing is incidental NOT gratuitous.
I imagine they thought lets have him cured by a stigmata statue thing, lets make it Mary, lets have it bleed, lets have it bleed like this…
However if you had listened to the reports over the last few days you would assume the show was a pointed and premeditated attack on, and satire about the church.
I doubt whether ANY of these people have actually watched the show, let alone a whole episode of South Park.
And the truth is if someone hadn’t said
Then NO ONE would have been offended.
The episode would have screened to the usual suspects who would have supposedly been sophisticated enough to understand it and remain moderately unaffected. Maybe some stoner surfie guy watching would gone;
“Whoa my mum would freak out at this sh*t dude”
but generally nothing.
As it is I have heard a woman on talkback weeping over desecration of ‘our lady’. Why does she have to be disturbed? Should she be disturbed as long as someone somewhere makes fun of her beliefs?
And because these people have complained and the media have pumped it all up, as is usual in this situation, the show will now be the most popular South Park EVER.
Which is pretty f**ked up dude.
While we currently feel isolated, me and my South Park mates are not entirely alone in our love of the show. Harry Shearer, political commentator, incidental voice in the Simpsons (Principal Skinner, Ned Flandersand others) and himself a satarist and creator of "SPinal Tap" and others - has called Trey Parker the best satirist in the world and there is a review of South Park in UNCUT that says

“And finally, like humankind itself at the end of the long chain of evolution, comes South Park. A show so good it pisses liquid fire on everything before it. One of the highest, and lowest, achievements of modern civilisation. This, ultimately, is what Leonardo laboured for, what George Grosz, Honore Daumier and William Hogarth strove to achieve. Either that or it's a bunch of dumb gags about sphincters. But it isn't half funny.“

And really, American TV comedy is not exactly overflowing with creativity and originallity at the moment, judging from telly fare the other night. "Joey" is dire and that other one with Charlie Sheen is just the same gag ( A girl with big breasts walks past. A guy says something. Charlie says something. Cue canned laughter) forever. Soo maybe some good will come of this fiasco. More fans for South Park, less mediocrity. The just triumph of the clever over the stupid.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


16 Feb 2006

............... ..
KUMARA NEWS....................
........................... ..
..............FOSSILS FUEL CALLS FOR CHANGE TO TV...........
"'ere. Where's that bleedin' remote?"

Yesterdays announcement calling for a shake up of Television has been followed up by a press conference at the the Ponsonby Bowling club. The venue was chosen because it's facilities are better suited to the elderly.
It was a chance for the infirm and uninformed to bang their hands on the podium of New Zealand public life in frustration.
"Weve had enough" said the octagarian.
"I thought we didn't have enough" said the pensioner.
"When does the bar open?" said former Governor General Cath Tizard.
And so began the most long winded and also short winded debate ever, on the state of our TV programmes.
"There's nothing decent on anymore. Everyone is saying so"
"Give the people what they want!"
Joe Atkinson lecturer on TV studies said.
"You mean, give the people what YOU want."
At which point an elderly man shouted.
"Bastard! I didn't fight in two world wars..."
Their was then a minor fracas as the advocates for change vented spleen. Eventually order was restored.. During the outburst it was revealed that Sir Edmund Hillary had conquered everything but his remote, and had never watched a channel other than TV One. When they were quizzed on what they thought they would like to see on our screens there was no consensus, although they all agreed it would be something British and stood for a rousing version of "God Save The Queen".
"We want a return to quality TV programmes like "Are You Being Served"
said a spokesman.
At that point Broadcast Minister Steve Maharey arrived and slid into the room on the slick of his own glib rhetoric.
"I've come to give you an offhand commitment to send the ideas and indeed ideals, of this group to a select commitee. In so doing it will enter the labyrinthine corridors of bureaucracy which are kafkaesque both in their pointlessness and complexity.."
Confusion and muted clapping.
Then Dame Cath said."W**ker!"
Maharey continued, condescending to use common english.
"What about a geriactric channel?"
"Now your talking.."
"It can have a cooking show for kiwis. A simple one. called "The Edmonds Cookbook" .
Episode 1 can be "Fun with Scones".
The group erupted into cheering..
"and it can have a show fronted by Sir Howard Morrison, which will be light entertainment"
"Very light on entertainment indeed"
"and he can get young people on and tell them they're fat"
The crowd was ecstatic.
Dame Malvina Major said.
"No one can do that like Sir Howard can. Who else could front such a show?"
From the back of the room; the unmistakable sound of feathers being ruffled. Someone was clearing their throat.
It was Paul Homes.
"I think you, my core demographic, are forgetting about me"
He rose from his chair with exaggerated gravitas, but was barely taller than when he was sitting down.
Temuera Morrison then said." Bro I heard Sky TV are in negotiations to buy an aircraft hangar to keep your ego in.."
"Cheekie darkie.."
"You all know my credentials and here.."
Holmes produces a cassette player.
"Listen to this. It's me waxing lyrical from my show this morning about the Bali nine"
His voice continues on the tape machine..
." ........ John Howard that brilliant man put it exactly right when he said 'I dont care about the bali nine. I care a bout their Parents'..
yes.. their parents. Imagine it ...
and I can because I have stared into the face of despair, into the mascara laden eyes of Rosalee Corby, the Mother of that innocent girl Shapelle.
Yes, I have seen the despair there. Imagine it. It would be like.. well, like carrying around a small fridge on your back....."

The fridge. Ideal to keep your despair in.

Holmes then clicked the machine off like he had made his point.
An aged dignitary stood up and said. "Were getting off track. Damn that midget! We need to give the TV back to the people!"
Joe Atkinson spoke again.
"Dont the ratings tell you what the people want to see? They want to see "Celebrity Treasure Island". They dont want to see some BBC documentary"
"Thats rubbish! I was at my mobility scooter anger management course the other day and the verdict was unanimous. TV has gone downhill. it's on the slippery slope. My god. Adults watching cartoons .. what next.."
Steve Maharey mentioned "Bro Town" for the 15th time and then a resoltion was passed to hold a 'bottle drive'and a bring-and-buy for the cause. The group also agreed to meet again in two weeks (Ladies bring a plate).
Eventually a representitive of TVNZ arrived and simply plugged in a TV which played some of the shows that had been mooted earlier. As Close to Home and Gallery played the mood in the group changed and when an episode of "Mc Phail and Gadsby" came on things turned nasty.
"They'd be buggered without Muldoon!"
Soon an ex Prime Minster declared."I prefer South Park to this crap!"
"Disband the group! Sherries all round!"
And so it was over.

A Name is Born

9 Feb 2006

.................... ...................
........................... ..

4 weeks and 5 days after junior was born and we finally have a name.
Harry Kahurangi
Harry was an early favourite and survived all of the vicious early culls and fevered negotiations. Unfortunately it emerged as my early favourite and Mrs K may have veered away from it as a result. I think she wanted to come up with an alternative she could really call her own and Harry was MY name, which meant I didn’t fancy it's chances in the long run.
My strategy was; take emphasis off Harry and let it sit in the background.
I liked Harry. I know there is a Prince Harry but mostly it seems like a simple friendly, working class name. The name of the sort of guy you would like to have round for a dinner of mince and peas.
“Good Mince.” Said Harry unassumingly.
“not too many carrots.”
The other thing time will do is see if the name stands up under scrutiny and in a variety of arenas.
Debate the name.
It’s not an original idea, In fact it’s one of the oldest, it’s the ancient greek idea. One of Aristotle’s or Plato’s or the other guy..
But it’s a goodie and basically one of the foundation ideas of our society, our parliamentary and justice systems at least.
You know, put forward an idea argue about it and see if the idea survives the scrutiny. If necessary take oppossing views. Throw s**t at it. Barrage it with other ideas see if it will last.
Harry did, Harry survived.

My end game strategy involved suggesting names to force Harry into contention, not weird names, that wouldn’t work anymore after the Pinnochio debacle, but names so ordinary that they would tip the balance in Harry’s favour.
So it was that when I said “What about Colin?”
The wife said “I like Harry.”
Harry was a goer.

We never wanted a maori name for his first name. I’m not maori enough and he looks like a little pakeha fella too much. So we decide to give him one for his second name.
A person I encountered with an attitude informed by years of listening to talkback said with a half sneer;
“Why do you want to call him a Maori name?”
I felt like saying-

“To impress my white liberal friends”
“To go with his Poenamu”
“So that he can get more grants when he’s older”

But because I know where some of this persons ideas may have come from (accidental rather than considered ignorance) I knew nothing bad was meant by it.
I said. “because he’s got Maori blood, SOME Maori blood at least, and he should know that, eh?”

Then he said. “oh yeah. Nice name isn’t it.”

Mrs K singled out Kahurangi from a book.
I wasn’t convinced.
Then I received information about my birth family (I am adopted). My grandfather on my mothers side (My Maori side) had the name ‘Kuhurangi’.
The information arrived THE DAY we were deciding the Maori name, it seemed to be fate and who am I to ignore the messages fate sends you?
“Kahurangi’s good eh..”
And so he is sorted..
Harry Kahurangi.

Also H K Kumara sounds good if he wants to become an author and “Harry K” sounds like a subversive film maker or film.
“The enigma of Harry K” which can be an arty film in black and white with lots of time lapse rotting meat and corpses. . .the usual art stuff..ho hum.( it can be about a fly called harry K that doesn’t die while all around it rots, dies and decays…
I’ve already cast the fly lead).

Our Harry has been out and about lately.
This week we took him to his first restaurant. We were going to buy takeaways but when I went in I decided we could maybe get away with eating at the place.
It was a Japanese, so I knew the food would come quick and there were very few people in there.
Once we were seated we told him;
“Mate, this is called a restaurant.
Mummy and Daddy love these.
We are gastronomes. Can you say that?
(starts crying)
Or gluttons, take your pick.”

And it all worked out fine. I thought it would be ages before we could go near a restaurant, but there you go.
Last weekend we also went down to the bach in the Coromandel.
I don’t think Harry was too fussed by it all but we sure appreciated it.
I have found taking him in the car stressful though. Especially out west where half the people drive like f**k wits.
We were given a “Baby on Board” sticker with our car seat and I didn’t put it on, but maybe I need to reconsider.
My initial thoughts were along these lines;
If someone is going to crash into our car why would a sticker stop them?
It’s not as though they will have a choice – like they are careening(or careering) down the road, out of control and see a car and think;
“I wont hit that one, it’s got a baby sticker on it. I’ll hit that car with a ‘Bank Manger on Board’ sticker instead.”

BUT having been serially tail gated on the highway lately I may have to get the sticker out.
The most common tail gating offenders fall into two categories;
The fat middle aged man in a large Holden, Falcon or 4WD, who looks like he is a pork chop away from a heart attack AND the young guy in the lowered car.
The latter will invariably have a cap on backwards and will always be a midget. SO in a sense he is lowered too. On occasion, the lowered kid in the lowered car can follow so close it looks like no one is driving the car.
Urghh.. very disconcerting, with Harry on board.

I have had some response from last weeks blog about crappy New Zealand writers and comedians. I don’t know who these people are, but they may have been reading my blog as a residue from a Hard News link a few weeks back.
Nigel said “Raybon Kan is cool you .. “ and then used a word of German derivation that, 4th form legend suggests is in “The Canterbury Tales”.
And someone said to me;
“You cant slag other writers. Don’t writers have an unwritten rule that you don’t slag each other?”
Two points on that one.
1. Why is it unwritten? They are writers, for gods sake. Someone write it down. Then send me a copy.
2. I don’t feel like I’m a writer. I’m a blogger.
Writers are guys with those leather bits on their sleeves who smoke pipes and try to impress people with big words at parties.
If they are good writers they will get away with it. While bad writers will use try-hard words like OXYMORON.
“Isn’t that an oxymoron” (points at oxygen breathing idiot)
guffaw and chuckle...

Humid report

2 Feb 2006

............................... ..
...............................Lets cut to the chase

“It’s hot, wet, and sticky”
said the author, his eyes fixed with cross-eyed determination on the
sauce festooned hot-dog-on-a-stick as he raised it to his mouth.
“and . . . the weather’s bloody hot as well”

Yes. It’s official. Bloody awful weather, I hate it. And because I’m a New Zealander in a few weeks I’ll moan about summer being gone and the weather being cold.
We are never happy.
But it is, oppressively hot at the moment. Oppressive in a way Idi Amin would approve of.
And so humid you could cut the air with a knife. Even with a crap knife like a plastic one.
With a decent knife like a Wiltshire (‘shire’ is pronounced like they did in “Lord of the Rings”) Razor master or a set of genza steak knives, you could cut this air into mince meat, and make an oppressive hot-dog-on-a-stick out of it.

The weather has made everyone out of sorts and ornery (it’s like the inside of an Elmore Leonard novel).
So, not wanting to be left out I’m going to have a moan, I’m going to bitch.
And pose some queries?

Has the Listener gone downhill since Finlay Mc Donald left?
Is Raybon Kan as funny as he thinks he is? OR as funny as I think he is?
Should Pio Terei be followed around at all times by a bored man with a snare drum and cymbal?

Burning questions all, that I will attempt to answer in a humid, ornery and semi-fetid fashion.

The Listener.
On the slippery slope?

Finlay’s gone and he was always good. Sometimes I think he was too good, so intoxicated by his choice of words that he forgot to tell us what the hell he was on about. But he was good and I think it’s lost some of it’s vigour/rigour intellectual or otherwise since he has left.
Russell Brown is always great too, whatever he writes about. An economic user of the pen (I wish he would write something more substantial like the great New Zealand Novel he threatened to write years ago).
Joseph Romanos, in what is pretty much a left leaning publication manages to somehow produce a leftie sports column. I like his obsessive list making (“Top Ten Left handed Communist batmen for England” etc..) , fantastic fodder if you’re a sports nut.
And I have always loved Diana Witchel. When she’s gets her teeth into something, she’s good, ‘laugh out loud in embarrassing moments’ good.
And as someone who likes to slag things occasionally, I see her as a masterly performer in that field– The Slag Mistress General and possibly the funniest columnist in New Zealand.
And of course in the old days there was always the Steve Braunias column-inventive, irreverent, smart, funny. He was capable of writing sentences that would make me say ‘wanker’ aloud.
Good wanker, though.
More, ‘wanker how did you concoct that’, wanker.
But these days while we still have Witchel, Brown and others. We also have the stupid ‘Nicole says’ thing and sadly … Joanne Black.
I know - she had a very hard act to follow, her major articles are good BUT her Black page is just boring.
If it was being a complete bastard I would suggest she call it the ‘blank page’.
Sometimes I have read it 3 times trying to work out what’s going on in it.
What is it about?
Why is it is there?
It’s trying to be funny but..
No. I’m calling the Listener out. I don’t care whose friend she is, it’s weak, and you cant replace the great Steve Braunias with something so..
sorry, I’ve run out of whatever it is that is the opposite of superlatives.

While I’m on a roll and so that Joanne is not alone …
What about other people who think they are funny but aren’t.
Raybon Kan where are you?
I could read his stuff for hours without so much as a wry chuckle. Way too harsh? Maybe, but I also get the feeling from reading between the lines and from hearing him on Radio B that HE thinks he’s bloody hilarious. The last straw was when he made a particularly weak observation in an attempt to squeeze a lame joke out about Gallipoli or the ‘diggers’ .
I thought, “That’s it mate. You leave the diggers alone. The gloves are off.”
At the time I even wrote a letter to the editor (“Raybon Kan - Asian and funny? Or just Asian?”) but it was never published.
Somebody must think he's a laugh, but I dont know any of them.
I suspect they are the same people who laugh a t personalised number plates.

Raybon Kan - funny in a personalised number plate way.

It’s not as though I have no sense of humour. I will laugh at almost everything:
Dave Allen, The Two Ronnies, The Goons, Friends, all those jewish guys (The Marx Brothers, Seinfeld, Zucker Brothers, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen), South Park, The Simpsons.
I have even laughed at Morecome and Wise.
And out in the real world I find humour everywhere. I can be amused by ANYTHING.

The other day I was standing next to a Maori guy (dirty singlet, overweight, boots on and shorts late 40’s) talking to his mate;
“Yeah bro went to the movies last night”
“Yeah cuz what you see?”
“Memoirs of a Geisha. . .
f***kin Stink!”
yeah.. It was rubbish. Don’t go and see that one”
And THAT amused the hell out of me. Why the did he go to see THAT? Why did he want to tell his mate?
It reminded me of a friend who went to see “Eraserhead” years ago at the film festival and there was an entire row of gang members behind him at the screening who were tripping on acid.
Why were THEY there? And what the hell did they make of the movie?
I had a image at the time of them back at gang headquarters discussing David Lynch’s breakout movie;

Mark ‘Maddog’ Tito: “It marks a new direction for cinema. . .
hand me that bottle of Lion red and the machete bro”
Black Pete: “Sure mate, here you are.. watch your hand that things sharp… Yes..what will be overlooked in the rush to intellectualize the film as a Dada masterpiece and contemporary American Gothic nightmare is Lynch’s sense of humour”
Maddog: “Well said Black Pete. I think it was, more than anything else, a black comedy about Parenthood”

And maybe the Maori truck driver disliked Memoirs of a Geisha for artistic reasons; Maybe he found he wasn’t as emotionally absorbed as he was when he read the book or maybe he didn’t agree with the casting of a Chinese actress rather than a Japanese one.

I also amused myself yesterday at the petrol station. It was one of those infuriating pre-pay ones. I went to put in my gas and then heard a strange squeaky voice saying;
“you cant put it in, you have to pay”
The voice came from a small speaker above the pump.
I was so annoyed I just talked to the speaker as though I was really confused, until the girl came out of the station, from behind the counter to admonish and instruct me;
“You have to pay FIRST. INSIDE”
me: “oh there you are. Your voice seems better now”
girl: “Pay inside first”
me: “I don’t think so. How annoying. Do you know that once people actually came out and got the money off the customer at these places? Amazing isn’t it?
Why is it called a service station if we have to do everything? Tell your boss I’ll never be back here. I hate pre-pay”

and then I drove off down the road, in a huff but also laughing. So, in a laughing huff.
Of course, because it’s my local, I was back a bout three days later but fortunately the girl who I huffed was not there.
So, you see if I can amuse my self like that, my humour threshold is, if anything, too low.

Finally when talking about alleged comedians look no further than James McOnie.
Has anyone seen him on the show in the morning?
He sounds like he’s funny, the delivery suggests he is saying something funny and yet . . . nothing.
Never funny.
And apart from Kay Gregory cracking up I just wouldn’t suspect it was humour.
Shouldn’t you have to pass a test to say you’re a comedian or can anyone do it?
Just put comedian on your passport and then wella! You are one.
At the immigration desk on entering the country;
“I have nothing to declare but my satire”
And off you go, to a career in comedy.
In Germany you have to be qualified to do anything, even rubbish man So I expect they will have a qualification system in place that we can refer to.
Mind you, off the top of me head, my list of german comedians looks a bit empty, a bit thin on the ground.

Also dishonorable mention to:
Jim Hopkins– 80’s glasses abuse and the chronic overuse of puns.
Joe Bennett – Extraordinary overuse of the word “Extraordinary” (you listen to him on the radio next time)
And anyone in something characterized as on telly as “light entertainment”. .. It will be VERY LIGHT on entertainment and those people ( Pio, Mike “the angry texter” Smith, etc..) tell jokes so lame they ought to be accompanied by a bored drummer with a snare drum and cymbal.

Anyway I feel better now. And things aren’t all bad. . Bro'Town rocks, Eating Media Lunch is pretty much the best NZ comedy on TV ever and at least Roger Hall is inactive..
oops getting grumpy again.. better go - and I think the wind is changing and all that oppression is lifting..
Next week – only positive thoughts!

PS Friday is a terrible day for me to do me blog at the moment so will try to do it on Thursdays.

Rock On

23 Jan 2006

........................... ..
............The crowd shows it's appreciation for my delicate guitar work

The baby is barely two weeks old and already I have abandoned him to play rock and roll.
Bad Dad.
Our band played the Big Day Out, an early slot at 12:30 pm.
We followed high school idol winners The Electric Confectionaires.
On the radio they said they liked Jimi Hendrix but I could hear no sign of the influence. There was no menace for a start.
“Gimme danger!”
I wanted to yell. A reference to the song I wouldn’t hear later because it was too raw.

I expected to be performing to a hot dog stand attendent and one, hot, dog. But from our porta shed we watched; a healthy throng, 300 strong, teenagers determined to rock.
Unfortunately by the time we hit the stage 295 had left with the Electric lollies. Even the dog was nowhere to be seen.
Halfway through our set things had picked up. . .
. . .the dog was back.
Various friends arrived and were soo impressed they sought to text friends with the good news...
“Raygunn stg red. lol...”
So. . .
far from the maddening crowd, in our own discreet way we rocked..
At least the dog seemed to like it.
I’ve never liked playing in the daylight anyway, unless you’re in a reggae band it is just plain wrong.
But playing had got us in the grounds, we had a special pass to an alleged bar somewhere (I never got to it) and later … THE STOOGES were playing!

After we played I volunteered to transport our equipment out of the grounds. We left the stadium in a jeep, the sound of one hand clapping ringing in our ears..
Back in civilisation we stopped at SPQR for a regroup and a cleansing ale.
An SPQR with Calamari salad, a kickin’ antipasto and fine wine. Stumped by the menu we asked our ‘camp as a row of tents’ waiter to recommend a Sauvignon Blanc...
He said with a flurry
“The most expensive one darling!”
And with a swirl he was off...
I love these guys... If you want to eat at a restaurant like SPQR you must know that you are being decadent. It must be demonstrated to you pointedly by the gay waiter, otherwise, why bother.
At the hands of a master like the woman Krishna who used to be maitre’d here I would knowingly hand over all my worldy assets(or a beleaguered credit card) for the feeling that I was briefly, a Roman.
It was a strange respite. A moment of calm in the day, where it seemed like the Big Day Out didn’t really exist. Even if we had played at it.

Soon Frankie ‘NZ idol’ Stevens arrived and occupied the table next to us.
Eventually he was joined by his hair.
No, just kidding, it was Paul Ellis fellow judge.
Which was slightly weird because he had once signed our band to Sony and when things soured (long story) he sent us a fax calling us “The laziest band in the world”.
Something I am very proud of.
They shared their table with teenie girls and talked about ‘the market’ and ‘phrasing’ and vocal coaches. Shit that had nothing to do with a dirty old rock band like the Stooges.
We called a cab. We were off back to the real music world.
“Mt Smart, Driver..”

We arrived back thirsty.
We decided to go to the bar...
Which is never as simple as it could be at these things. This time you arrived at the entrance to the bar and were told you that you need to have a band confirming your age.
“My god. Doesn’t everything about me confirm my age. Do I really need a band?”
I did, and of course you couldn’t just get the band at the entrance you had to go somewhere else to do that..
Why do we always have to do this crap in New Zealand?
I had to walk to some tent half way down the field to confirm what everyone already knew. I’m no spring chicken.
I say - Just put a gay guy in charge and be done with it.
They know how to look after the public.

After a crap beer in a plastic bottle, a brief tour of the event caused me some disquiet.
There was something missing. There was no sense something was about to happen, no frisson.
Even the kids looked bored, even though they were texting their little hearts out, trying to look essential.
Also AWOL “The Racket”.
The Volume, the noise, the sound that makes your stomach churn, gone.
The warning signs were there when I spotted two guys talking in the front row when we played.
‘whats that all about’ I wondered in between verses.
Now my worst fears were confirmed;

Frisson absence and volume depletion.

“We will have to move to the front for Iggy”
I said once the volume issues were verified by a rough concensus.

Getting there was remarkably easy, a stroll in the park really.
Sometimes you really have to fight to get through but here, I could have conducted a tour for Japanese tourists.
It was especially easy for a veteran like myself.
Survival systems developed after being; punched in the head and knocked out cold at a Deep Purple concert, vomited on at a Ramones gigs and spat on (everyone was) at the Members concert at Mainstreet where skinheads eventually burned their leather jackets on the dance floor..
I once spent a whole gig where The Sweet played at the Gluepot (only one original member) abusing them until the end when I realised the only reason I was there was because Doug Hood had given me a free ticket to help load them out. So I was then forced to skulk about on stage hoping none of them would recognise me while helping them pack down.
The point is that I've survived a lot of crap at concerts and have developed numerous survival techniques s and systems for getting to the front of a stage, so Big Day Out 2006 was never going to present a big challenge.
And really, if all else fails just pogo your way to the front.
No one in their right mind will get in your way (anyone who has seen me pogoing will be nodding silently).

5 rows from the front and suddenly there were a lot of familiar faces. Even the seemingly mild mannered David Slack was there.
And of course there was Iggy.
And some Stooges.
I had to wonder how reverentially these guys were treated in Australia.
When I lived in Sydney in the late eighties you could go and see an Australian band that was a version of the Stooges in a pub in Surrey Hills every night of the week. Actually, on the weekends you could see about half a dozen of them. I used to joke that a statue of Ron Ashton ought to be erected in a square in Surrey Hills to honor his contribution.
Probably not a statue of how he looks now though. (Think: comic shop guy from The Simpsons).

But really, when they played “TV Eye” or “Loose” it didn’t matter what they looked like. It’s the Stooges man. The Stooges!!
And if you don’t understand why they are so cool or so important then you have probably missed the bus so I wont bother filling you in here.

There was an apparent clash with Mars Volta that troubled some people but you must be kidding if you’d rather see them than the Stooges. In twenty years time no one will know who Mars Volta are and the Stooges will still be influencing bands (Iggy will probably still be playing, the friggin freak).

After Iggy, the White Stripes were on.
I love that chicks ‘meat and potato’ drumming. I love lot of their songs, but compared with the magnetic charms of a certain kid at home twiddling his thumbs (Sucking actually), they couldn’t compete. Especially after the Stooges.
I was off to see junior. I hailed a cab. When I told the cab driver where I wanted to go (it cost a lot of money) the drivers eyes lit up and he vowed to open a college fund for his kids..
But..I didn’t care..
"Driver take me to my baby.. Step on it"

Although I had abandoned junior to wallow in rockery, I spent much of the day being congratulated by friends, smoking cigars and swapping baby stories and so on. The best story came from our bands mixer Tex. He is back living in Dunedin and I had heard a rumour about a rumour that had percolated there, in splendid isolation, concerning my son’s name.
I was simply ‘dying’ to know if it was true.
When Tex said “I think congratulations are in order.”
I said “yeah thanks..”
and continued “ Do you know what we have called him?”
Tentatively, more like a question than an answer Tex said “Pinnochio?”
Pinnochio lives. Still giving me joy, and in Dunedin, providing the tantalizing impetus that manufactures urban myths. That desperate desire for something unfeasible to be true, just because it will make the world a more interesting place.

It's Alive!

11 Jan 2006
........................ ..The birthing control Centre

The Jimi Page in association with Mrs K productions are proud to announce the arrival of our new child.

Mother and child: fit and well.
Father: well chuffed.
Weight: 7lb 14oz
Sex: I don’t think my wife will be keen, she’s just given birth to a baby boy.
Name: a work in progress. For the moment can be known as:- junior, the little fella..

The Gory Details

Men who are uncomfortable with ‘labour talk’ feel free to click this link which will provide a page of soothing sports gibberish, you can then join the page further down.
Women, Metrosexuals and existing fathers – read on. . .

The labour began at 5am on Sunday and finished at 5.45 pm Monday night, when the baby was born.
36 hours of pain, contractions, anxiety, pushing, walking, pacing, breathing and eventual release for Mrs K.
She was incredible and apart from a 'we are not amused' dalliance with laughing gas, she took no pain killers. She is, apparently, the talk of the hospital. At the end of the delivery the midwives paid her, what I would imagine, is their ultimate compliment;

“She’s homebirth material..”

I don’t know how women do it, it looks sooo painful. Rest assured if men had to do it, they wouldn’t. It would be an order of ‘elective caesarians all round please gov’nor’.
In the midst of the most intense part of the labour Mrs K, who had asserted that she would not scream like they do in movies, did issue a cry of pain. But, being the class act that she is, she choose an utterance, that is a timeless classic, long forgotten in the modern world.
Not for her the garish primal screams, the phrases borrowed from Tarantino movies; your ‘m@#@#$r f$%$*&rs’
No, simple, direct, effective;
“Ow” she said “Ow”.
This was no ordinary “Ow” though.
It was an ‘ow’ hissed through clenched teeth, an “OW” that raised to a cresendo, it was an “ow” that said ‘get this bloody thing out of me before I die’.
But it was an “Ow” nonetheless. What a dame! She’s all class my wife.

The actual moment of birth is indescribable. But, of course, I’ll try to describe it anyway.
“It was. . ah .. like a … umm ..I felt like err.. We ..”
No I can’t. It won’t do it justice.
Words aren’t adequate.
Maybe I can use book titles instead;

“The Agony And The Ecstasy”
“The Way Of All Flesh”
“The Son Also Rises’

OR regarding the wife;
“How To Win Friends And Influence People”

No, sorry they won’t do either.

Maybe a song title then ;

The Baby - 'The Nice Man Cometh’

At a city courtroom...

Bailiff: You JAMES no-middle-name-to-mention KUMARA stand accused of being complicit in the wanton over-rating of your babies cuteness. How do you plea?
JK: Guilty of all charges your honor.
JUDGE: It a serious charge. Do you have anything to say for your self?
JK: Your honor, I plead insanity.
JUDGE: Insanity?
JK: Yes Sir. I’m just crazy about that kid.
And. . .your honor, there are attenuating circumstances.
JUDGE: Such as?
JK: Exhibit A your honor.
(produces photo and hands it to the judge)


JUDGE: My, he is a handsome devil isn’t he?
(hands photo around court, there is much cooing and froing)
JK: exhibit B your honor

JK: Your honor ( begins pacing around courtroom. clasps hands behind back) Did you see the paper this morning?
JUDGE: yes I did.
JK: Did you notice that the All Black captain Tana Umaga is giving up Rugby because of his family?
JUDGE: yes. Where is this leading?
JK: Well sir. If Tana Umaga can raise his family up higher than the job of All Black captain, Surely I can overate my son a bit.
With respect, your honor.
JUDGE: Of course! Yes. This case is dismissed! I sentence whoever brought this charge before the courts to two weeks hard labour or one day at an ACT conference.
JUDGE: Bailiff slap a crap song on this story and send it to Allie Mc Beal.

It’s hard, you see, to be impartial. No parent can be with their own kid. I’m sure even the elephant mans’ parents found something to admire (‘What an adorable wee trunk!’).

While Mrs Kumara was superb, we were not without help. Our midwife, a very old friend Cheryl was amazing (she still is!) Tina, who was her second was brilliant too. We trusted them absolutely.
Our friend Nicola, who we selected to be a support person, was great too. In the end, because of the way things went we didn’t call her, but we knew she was there and she would have done anything. Which was enough.

At the moment, juniors all I can think about. Our bands playing at the Big Day Out and usually I would be excited. As it is, I have to remind myself it's on.
I will be on stage, we will go into the chorus of a song and I will play all the wrong chords. After it's finished a band member will say;
"what are you doing?!! the chords! all wrong!"
and I'll say, blank faced.
"They're only chords man, I've got a baby"
(sorry band members, just kidding. I'll play a blinder, for the boy)

So for a while the Jimi page may be emmersed in and intoxicated by baby love.
I make no apologies.
My new best friend arrived on Monday, courtesy of the miracle of childbirth, and we have some catching up to do.
There’s a lot I need to share with the little fella;
I need to tell him about - The All Blacks (‘the 1996-7 team was the best team ever, junior and I’ll tell you why…’), Captain Beefheart, My dad.
I need to introduce him to his crazy uncles from the bands I’ve been in. We have to go to yum char together. I have to show him how to launch the Kon Tiki. I have to explain why Harpo was always the funniest one in the Marx Brothers. We have to go out in his uncle, CAP’n Pete’s boat the HMS Lucinda on the Hauraki Gulf and he will realize then, why Auckland’s a great city.
But all that is a way away, for the moment we just need to get acquainted. Step by step.
We got plenty of time.

My work has already begun. I have been changing his nappies.
Last night one change took;
A whole roll of toilet paper, 3 wipe flannels (I used a new one each wipe) and two nappies before he was sorted. Today when super Cheryl arrived and changed him all she needed was one flannel.
So I have a lot to learn, and I better do it quick before I wear out the washing machine and decimate the forests of the world.

Hang on, I have to go now – cos someone requires me to stare at them for hours on end . .
And. . .
I think it’s my son!

The Author and the Angelic Upstart
"We meet at last!"


7 Jan 2006

2006 A name Odyssey


...........................0 0. Lurking about ....

Ok. So the Mrs K is now two weeks overdue and the baby is still not here.
So we can assume a certain tardiness or an ‘I’ll wait till I’m good and ready’ independence.
We, the parents, are over-ready.
We have performed all known rituals and to no avail. All that is left is castor oil. Maybe the oldest birth inducing tonic of all.
We’ll see.

Maybe the baby wont come until we have a name for it. We have plenty of girls names but it’s the boys who are causing the problems.
We’ve tossed a few ones around but mostly they kept spinning around and around, they were rejected, we let go of them and they flew out of orbit, into space.
Pinnochio, for instance, is headed for deep space.
It gave me great joy while it was here though. The absurdity of it.
The period of confusion followed by horror when I related it to the mother in law. Precious moments.
Thank you Pinnochio.

The other day I had a boys name revelation while listening to the ghastly ‘matinee idle’ show on the radio.
“What about ELVIS?”
“No one is called Elvis” I said eyes wide with anticipation.
But, sadly Mrs K’s withering stare spoke volumes about the way she felt about ‘Elvis’.
“No-one is called Elvis for a reason’ She said.
and the no-one that was never going to be called Elvis was jettisoned to the stars also.


Recently I intoned;
‘What about Jimi?”
“Jimi Jnr”
“jimi J”
I realised quickly that Jimi J would be destined to become a DJ.
(“DJ JIMI J - at the khuja Lounge tonight!).
It’s not that I dislike the idea of being a DJ it’s just that everyone seems to be one.
I was at a café the other day and the young guy (actually he was more of a haircut than a guy) basking in the glow of own his nascissism took a break from ignoring his customers to tell the pretty waitress the following;
“There’s record swap at real groovy I might check out”
Bored indifference from girl.
“yeah. I guess I didn’t tell you but, I’m a DJ. . .”
I laughed aloud.
They gave me a combined ‘whatever’ but, really as a chat up line it has to be one of the most clichéd, circa – 2006.

So if the baby is born a boy then it will have no name at the moment.
It will just be known most excellently as ‘the boy with no name’.
Which is kinda cool, like ‘the man in black’.

Interior of Film Noir Office – It
is poorly lit, has venetian blinds, a fan rotates slowly.
A man is hunched over a pile on the floor.
Humphrey Bogart walks in.
“What happened? Whats that smell?”
“The boy with no name was just here…
He left this . . .”

Close up of a pooie nappie.
Dramatic music.

Extreme close up of pooie nappie. .
very dramatic music.

“ARE MY EYES DECIEVING ME! or does that thing smell disgusting!”
In the name of god lets get out of here. .”
Exeunt Door
Bogie: “of all the smells, in all the office’s, in all the world. I have to walk into this one..”

Topically, the herald had a list of the most popular names in New Zealand in it today. On the list a few of our ones.
The name MAX was there, in the top ten. Which is bloody annoying because I thought it was an unusual name, but it seems to be unusually usual instead.

At the moment I don’t care what it called I just want it here. Out.
Reducing my sleep. Making me busy. Confounding expectations. And creating the smell that would make Bogart Exeunt (whoever made that word up anyway?)

IF nothing happens before then, Mrs K will be induced tomorrow night, so this will be my last blog as barren J Kumara.

Happy New Year

1 Jan 2006

................................Happy New Year!


.................. 2006 - The Year of the Red Dog (Not yet though)

2005 was quite a year, a bit of a watershed year for me really. I don’t know why, though. It was not like at the end of 2004 I demanded change, that at the end of year I walked out of the traditional new years eve gathering, looked to the skies and howled at the moon -

“As the lord is my witness! This year will be different!!
Things will change! They must change.
Never again (clenches fist) will I generate late fees way in excess of the actual fees for my video store!
Guitar Picks! (clenches buttocks) I laugh in your face! Hah! Hah! Hah! because, this year. . . you will not escape my clutches!!
The plan is ! marriage! Baby! House! And so on . .
Hah! Hah! Hah! (laughs like maniac swinging head from side to side..) “

Mind you maybe the answer does lie in the stars. At least the astrologically minded would have you believe so. People like our friend, the mysterious Alana Z, who has a bob each way, star sign wise, by following the Chinese sign as well as the traditional one. So last year, maybe Virgo was in Libra’s quadrant. And maybe Libra resented the intrusion so it decided to make someones life change, namely mine. OR maybe in the Chinese system 2005 ‘the year of the green chicken’ meant changes were a foot. I would certainly like to change the green chicken for a brown one, unless it was thai green chicken, which I like.

Over the last year I’ve also started this blog. It has had it’s own rewards and is free and remarkably easy to do. When I started doing it I wondered whether I would have enough to write about. As it is, I have too much. And I have had several blogs I have written or begun but felt the time was not right to issue them (My ‘ode to Noel’ for instance, a peek into the miserable world of John Pilger). I also wrote one about barbeque’s but realised I could say so much about them that one blog was not enough. I could write a bloody book (“The construction and operation of the haphazard barbeque in any environment or situation”)
OR do an endlessly extending series. And because it is such an important topic I know that I have to do it justice, otherwise I should not start.

Last week I titled the blog “You can observe a lot by just watching’”. it is a foolish, nonsense quote by American sports personality Yogi Bera who has almost as many idiotic quotes as the inimitable Murray Walker. But I think the quote makes some sort of strange sense. Just shut up and watch the mundane and it’s amazing what you can come up with. Look how much milage I got out of the sausage sizzle at the Warehouse ( the last two blogs??!!) If you can write about crap like that you can write about anything.
I think (therefore I am) a terrible ‘watcher’ Or a great watcher, depending on which way you look at it. (Beware! Jimi Kumara come to WATCH, at a Barbeque near you!).

Like everyone else I got caught up in the election. Mostly because it appeared as though their was a veer right and that the ground swell of public opinion was going sweep Brash and co into parliament. That didn’t happen, but the result was far from satisfactory. Labour shat on my fijoa wine soaked friends, the greens, and it pisses me off, still.

My favourite politics post was my pre-election sum-up, because I had to write quickly cos we were going out and because it is funny and places the whole election in a skewed, nonsensical perspective, which is where it belongs somehow.
I did one blog where I mentioned food but I really need to do more in the new year because I love food and I love it’s history, it’s social use and everything to do with it.
Mostly I like to eat it.
I need to write more music and telly stuff. I began a ‘guide to Coronation Street’ but again, because it is such an important matter I never finished it in a way I was satisfied with.

My only music blog was about the 3d’s and more like – my, ah those were days… sigh of nostalgia.

I don’t think I have one favourite blog but I like the one about fishing and also some of the ones about having a baby on the way.
Of course I have written about impending fatherhood. It is somewhat encompassing, after all, so I couldn’t avoid it.

At the moment we are entering a phase where we are actively encouraging the baby out.
We have a selection of old wives tales we are working through. Things that people have advised us will bring on the labour.
Later today we will go for a big walk, for instance.
(“It always works mate. I guarantee it”)
The book also advised having a curry. But we have curries all the time and I think that only works on people who aren’t used to it. I cant imagine it working on Indians for instance.
Having sexual intercourse is a hot topic too. Everyone seems to feel they can advise us on our sex life;
“Have a shag. It works everytime. Use this position (grabs pencil and scribbles down figures and detailed instruction). While your doing that grab your wifes breast thus. . .”
I wouldn’t mind but I really don’t feel a gas station attendent should become that familiar with his customers.

Anyway, the word ‘induction’ looms over the horizon. In the far distance through my doubting Thomas telescope I can see the phrase, ‘cycle of intervention’ and around the corner on a gingham tablecloth is a Caesar Salad. Mmmmmm.

The highlight of my year was our wedding. Friends and family rallied, we took a punt and it landed just inside the touchline, 5 metres from the line. All I had to do was turn up to score. We were worried about the weather but it was a superb day and that night the stars came out to play. We even got together a few bands and ran few some old show tunes.

‘Love, love will tear us apart again. . . ‘

It did and 2006 promises more of the same.

Hip hip horray!!

Engrish Specials

26 December 2005

...............You can observe a lot by just watching. . .


.................... Snoopy's Christmas - good? Bad? ugly?

It’s official. Our baby has formally rejected the baubles of Christmas and said ‘bah humbug’ to tinsel time. Perhaps it is the commercialism, the songs that appear only once a year, or maybe it just doesn’t like sausages.
That’s right dad ended up back ‘shitting on onions’ at the warehouse on Christmas eve. I was initially resolute, a stop there was not possible, then the wife said;
‘we just need a couple of things Jimi. lets go in to the red box’
‘No way!’
Said I. Putting my foot down. (quite literally. The car moved slowly but surely out of the warehouses magnetic pull)
‘Look! they have a sausage sizzle’
I was done for. The tractor beam of meat was on.

Ext Warehouse store Henderson.

Today the sizzlers had Santa hats on. The girl in attendance said they were collecting money ‘to help people who were dependent on drugs’
Wow! I’m as liberal and charitable as the next man but, shouldn't these people should pay for their own drugs?
Call me old fashioned.
And aren't there are more worthy recipients for our money?
I watch telly isn’t there ‘a little boy waiting’ somewhere?

I imagine a black child with a large belly pacing incessantly around a clay hut tapping his rolex watch;
“they’re late……again. I ‘m sick of it. . .”

At the warehouse .. They were so blatant about it too, collecting right out in the open.
I handed over my dollar.
‘Don’t spend it on ‘P’. ‘

Inside the tension is palpable. Christmas goodwill has given way to Christmas bad will. Rudeness is de rigeur. Don’t stand in the way of the determined mothers with kids in tow. If they need to get to the ‘decorations’ section move aside.
We see our midwife and her husband Tim. She stops to talk but is agitated and fidgety, shifting from foot to foot.
I am suspicious.. either she needs to go to the toilet or she has been given drugs by the sizzlers.
“merry Christmas my friend!” I say.
A clever reference, to the song of the moment -“Snoopy’s Christmas” which is either, the worst xmas song ever, or the best one.
“The babies good.’ I say proudly.
‘That’s great. Let’s go Tim. I need to buy. . . like the wind.’
And so she was gone, lest Christmas crash like a flaming biplane from WWI.

Laugh well

At the music section of the red box - a big man laughs.(me)
There is a CD titled. The 20 greatest Rock Songs Ever- VOL 2.
Volume two!?? Doesn’t that pretty much rain on the parade of volume one?
On the selection a couple of songs I would have been sure, would have made volume one.
‘Black Night’ by Deep Purple, a song with some of the coolest drum fills you have ever heard and ACDC’s homage to the all encompassing hangover
“It’s A Long Way To The Shop If You Want A Sausage Roll.”

Speaking of hangovers (‘the wrath of grapes’) I have met a few people this week who have been a little TOO jolly this season. With eyes the colour of Santa’s suit they have declared ‘only one sleep till Christmas’ around the 22nd of December and are keeping to their word.

I know theres some ocean around here somewhere"
"Dont worry. I know a shortcut!"

The cycle of birth and death continues this week and while our baby has failed to hold up it’s part of the birth end of the cycle the sorry spectacle of pilot whales beaching off our coast shows them doing their best for the death camp. But It’s absurd, why are they called pilot whales? They have little sense of direction. It reminds me of the scene at the green peace conference where someone is talking about dolphins..
“these beautiful animals are constantly being caught in these nets. It’s a tragedy made worse because they are such an intelligent creature. Some people say they are smart as humans”
Someone in the crowd yells out;
“If they’re so smart how come they get caught in the nets.”
The bloody pilot whale should be renamed ‘the blithering whale’ or the ‘aimless meandering whale’ or just ‘ken’s whale’ after our old friend once seen land-locked, floundering, deeply beached in his leather jacket outside the back of old Windsor Castle..
“He’s had four elephant beers to many. . .”

- Somewhere a little child waits..
And that somewhere is in the wife’s delectable mummy tummy.
Next week I may bring the happy news. But we are happy to wait.

Merry Christmas my friends!
( c. Royal Guardsman.1968 – Attr. Snoopy’s Christmas Best/worst song ever)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Season's greetings

16th December 2005

Christmas. Upon us.

.................................GOD. A small japanese robot.
....................................(I've always suspected it)

The season of the jolly is upon us. Somehow I’m enjoying it this time around. Maybe it’s because our baby is due on the 23rd and I know soon christmas’s will have the special meaning that seems to come with the presence of children on the occasion. Mind you, I often groan about christmas and bemoan the seasonal ritual and obligation, but always end up having a good time, like the Blondie song- one way or the other.
Tonight’s unheralded Christmas cheer came from the unexpected, at the $2 shop. While the last minute dash to ‘the Warehouse’ for gifts is tacky. The 2 dollar shop offers something potentially cool and excellent, or at least accidentally cool and excellent.
My joy tonight comes courtesy of the mysterious world of engrish, and the superb and entirely unpredictable realm of langauge mangling.
I found a chess set for $2, which is a great gift, because the world of chess requires little and offers a great deal. It hones the brain and can absorb you for hours. It can be playfully competitive and can ruin friendships. I’ve always liked it and I can think of a few Playstation obsessed kids who could do with an introduction to the great game. Funnily enough the only time I am mentioned in a book is in relation to chess. It says
“Jimi’s also a mean chess player.”
I beat a guy (the author of the book) in a couple of chess games and he never forgot it. I think he was fairly competent at chess and was a maths graduate,so he fancied his chances. I beat him in the second game even though I was going to sleep cos I was so drunk and had to be woken up to make a move, which may have given me a minor reputation.
I knew I was never going to do any better than that so I cleverly never played him again. If I did the second match would have been called -
“The Return of the Drunken Master”
Anyway, the world of chess opens up these things to you - competition, humiliation and celebrity. All for $2.
Here is the box for the chess set (Exquisite.Vogue!)-

It seems harmless enough but the tears of laughter, that set me apart at the $2 shop, came from the writing on the box.
Look at this:-

Exploited Wisdom?!

Fire Quality?!!
on the side of the box it says this-

How do know it's going to be closely fought. Can I get my money back if it isn't?
On the back under 'Guardians Should Read' it says-
- Do not play on stairs or in other places where falling may happen.
why would you?
"mate, want a game of chess? let's play on this precipice..."
it also says-
- Do not misuse this toy, like bumping it or waving it around to avoid accidents.
again, What?
"There's going to be an accident. Quick! grab the chess set and wave it around!!"
Bloody great. I’m tempted to run a competition to win a set, but I’m not sure anyone would enter..

My second engrish moment this week came courtesy of the afore mentioned Warehouse. During a visit there this week for swimming googles and a flyswat. There was a sausage sizzle outside and while I can pass many things (exams, cars, my wife’s expectations, wind. . .) the sausage sizzle is not one of them. I can rarely walk by one without giving in to the seductive temptation of sausage, bread and onion. I had to have one. I had to have one before I went in to the red box.
I walked the bargain aisles slobbering and breathing heavily. Concentrating fully on the kiwi classic.
Eventually I was assailed mid aisle.
“Excruse me”
An asian lady approached in some distress. She stopped me mid-aisle and addressed me, and my sausage, with an extremely strong version of that adorable accent that misappropriates constanants and reassigns them in a random fashion.
“you no loud in here with dat.” She informed, gesturing pointedly at my sausage.
“someone repot you spill onrion on froor” she admonished.
I was flabbergasted, but my relationship with the sausage sizzler had reached a zenith and was now a covetous one. I would not surrender it without a fight.
I decided to adopt the Shakespearean “when ignorance is bliss tis folly to be wise” system.
“I’m sorry, onrion? Where?”
and smiled slimily, Stephan Fry like.
“I’m after some flyswats”
“you know fly?” I said, to clarify.
“Fry?” she said.
“no. Fly.” I said.
“Fry?” she said.
“no. Fly.” I said.
We could have gone on like this till the new year but she grew agitated and told me;
“Someone could shit on that onrion!”
“you mean slip on the onion”
“yes, someone shit on that onrion.”
I certainly didn’t want THAT to happen. It would require pinpoint accuracy and a complete lack of modestly. The smell would be awful. It could put me off sausage sizzles forever.
By now my sausage was at an end and I slipped (or shitted) the last piece of the culinary masterpiece into my mouth. So what was I supposed to do now?
“I’m sorry it wont happen again.”
She went off unhappy. But I imagined the endless joy and good tidings to be experienced in her world of engrish. Seasons greetings twisted.
Santa’s name perverted for a good Kraus.

PS - the next post will be on B-day!!

Book, Beach, Boerhurst

9 Dec 2005
Book, Beach, Boerhurst
The family Kumara had their first visit to the beach last week. Junior was in utero, of course, but will have enjoyed it’s mother increased endorphins from the swim, being for a while weightless, cool and free from the burden of the burgeoning belly. We went to Mairangi Bay which, like Browns Bay seems to be over run by South Africans. The Burger bar even had a Boerhurst-something burger with all known meat forms on board, and an appropriately excessive calorie count.
9 Dec 2005
There is a small op shop in the village there and Mrs K cannot walk past one without looking in.
I could tell straight away, that for the old lady behind the counter, ‘charity’ came with a few proviso’s. She gave me a disapproving look when I walked in and her crusty, hair laden upper lip, hardened from years of pious judging, formed into a harsh disapproving scowl.
It was a face that had long forgotten the joy of smiling.
I went out of my way to be friendly which always annoys people like that.
“Hi! Nice day isn’t it?”
“A glorious day for ice cream!”
"Or Boerhurst!"
She busied herself grumpily, so I had a look around.
I am usually bored with looking at clothes within seconds these days, but there was a time when I could spend hours trying crap on in the op shop. That was in the 80’s when I would literally wear anything. I would put on a baby nightie, a strange old lady hat and a pair of tights, and come out of the changing room and ask the op shop ladies;
“What do you think?”
“Does this work?”
In those days many op shop workers were kindly, even nana-ish and they would laugh at my outfit, like I was a silly nephew, or a dangerous mental patient who needed placating. Their breath carried the pungent aroma of strong tea...
ahh those were the days.
The other thing I would do was whistle really out of tune and badly. I am a master at it, even now. It really pisses people off but they never say anything.
Bloody childish.
I love it.

Back at the high velt of Mairangi Bay my wife had struck gold, a straw hat, $1. I decided to check out the books. I can always pick up some of the classics at the op shop very cheaply to add to my collection. This place was no different, even though there are South Africans here with high cholestrol.
Soon I struck my own kind of gold, paper gold..with a great bird book, with illustrations and a good version of King Lear. Then I found a fine copy of greatest book ever written.
I went up to the counter to share my good fortune and attempt to cheer the old lady up;
“Were in luck. The greatest book ever written”.
And held up the book – Ulysses by James Joyce.
She glanced at the book and fixed me with a look that said ‘what about ‘the Power of One’ by Bryce Courtney.
Then she said simply.
“Not a bad price, considering.”
I felt like telling her how it had been banned from being published for years by the pious and ignorant, but left her alone.


I have never read Ulysses because it had always seemed like a pretentious thing people would do to impress people.
“I read Ulysses in two days, it’s brilliant.”
Not having read it hasn’t stopped me from telling people it was over rated though. But I have never been caught out because I suspect that most of the people I have talked too haven’t read it either. Or at least hadn’t understood it fully.
Knowing my own staggering hypocracy and, the ability I have to eat my own words, expect me to declare, after reading it, that it is my favourite book.
I can hear it now, me at pub quiz declaring;
“Molly Bloom’s soliloquy is the finest thing ever committed to paper!”

What I have read, is Joyce’s book of short stories ‘the Dubliners’ and it is fantastic.

The art of concise, perfect English writing, revealed.
I love the way the irish writers (not only Joyce but J P Donleavey and others) can make getting pissed and eating bacon seem exotic and cool.
It just wouldn’t seem appealing in New Zealand:-

‘ After we had finished 30 jug of beers, we smashed up the jukebox and went back to Jakes house. He got out some bacon and told his wife Beth to cook it up for us.
“Anyone want some eggs?”
Jake said, massaging his ego.
“I’ll have a poached one. But make sure they are not over done and are still a bit runny.”
“Can I have scramblers, but made with light soy milk. not So Good, Vitasoy.”
“I SO agree with you, Black Pete, Vitasoy is easily the best soy milk on the market.”
“I like the carob one, in the small container, Yummy.”
"Yes. and less cholestrol too. Although I have heard it contains estrogen which can give men breasts"
They all fell about laughing and Jake said "Breasts." again.
and the word seemed to float there, in the room, encouraging the laughter to continue.
They moved into the lounge with the clunking of boots and the squeaking of leather, being careful to step over the growing pool of blood on the floor from Beth's bleeding head.
“Let’s have a sing a long. Does anyone know any Simon and Garfunkel?.”

You see? In a New Zealand setting it doesn't seem to work there is no majesty, no fat, no guiness.

M airangi Bay was nice but the tide was out and the water was full of jellyfish. I stayed on shore and read the liner notes of the greatest book ever. The activites on the beach were slightly disappointing.
Last time we came over this way we went to Takapuna Beach.
Now, there’s a beach which knows how to put on a show. It was like a live episode of the young and the restless. Prancing overexcited boys, preening coy girls. Older men in speedo’s, who did a bit of preening and tried their hand at prancing but failed to realize speedo’s are an object of either horror or ridicule. Testosterone and the female equivalent filled the air.
As groups of boys circled groups of girls I felt like a social anthropologist, maybe Desmond Morris - the Human ape.
Why don’t they just go up and say hello? It all seemed so simple.
And all I have to do is hold that thought for 18 years until our kid is that age and I will save him/her all that heartache and fucking around.
Of course it will never work, because while some things change and they will probably have video beamed straight into your brain by then , some things never will..
and when I stand up at Takapuna a beach in 2023 and say to my son
“Take you bloody speedo’s off and go and talk to them boy!.”
The endless cycle of parental embarrassment will, once again, be complete.