I love the Auckland Writers Festival. Every year I attend a few events, miss lots of good ones, and I always say that next year I will be better organised and see more. This year I took a day off work on the Friday so I could pack everything in to one day. I still didn’t get to everything I wanted to, but Joanne and I had a good day anyway. Here’s what we saw.
Articles about Auckland
Sarah Laing is a cartoonist as well as a writer — I knew of her work from magazines and from her blog Let Me Be Frank. I read a review of The Fall of Light somewhere and thought it sounded interesting. Sometime later I realised that the cartoonist/blogger was also the novelist, so I went out and bought the book.
The story details the fall and rise of Rudy Chapelle, an Auckland architect. He struggles with his job, his colleagues, his ex-wife, his children, his friends, his neighbours, and his parents. In short, he struggles. He is actually pretty annoying in many ways, quite precious and a bit self-obsessed. I could appreciate why his ex-wife was his ex-wife. But he’s not a bad guy really, and it’s good to see his slowly overcome himself despite himself. Many of the other characters in the book are very engaging and likeable though. And so is the setting — Auckland — but maybe just because I live there too.
Headless Chickens played their first gig in almost a decade last Friday. The setlist was packed with great songs, the crowd was into it, the sound was excellent. They rocked.
Headless Chickens have been one of my favourite bands since the early ’90s, even though they pretty much called it a day in about 2000. I remember listening to their first recordings on BFM in New Zealand 20 years ago, and then the splash they made in Australia a few years later with their Body Blow album. I still listen to their music now, so imagine my surprise when the Fiona McDonald we met when we moved back to Auckland turned out to be Fiona Headless Chicken, whose sweet yet gutsy voice helped make the Chooks such a unique band. And imagine my even more surprised surprise when I found out that the band were going to re-form for a tour of Australia and New Zealand.
So along we went. The venue was the Powerstation in Mount Eden. The last act I saw there was Beats International, one of Norman Cook’s pre-Fatboy Slim guises, about 20 years ago. I was also there the night they ignored fire regulations and crammed 1400 people into the 600-capacity venue for a Deborah Harry show… now that was a hot night. It all seems so long ago now. Because it was. But this is 2008 and so we went in to see the support band Brand New Math giving their all to a few interested spectators. They made a decent noise, but I prefer their recorded output. Anyway, people came in throughout the evening so by the time the Chickens strolled on stage the Powerstation was full. And they started.
This French comedy, about a man who doesn’t want to get married (don’t read any further if you don’t want to find out what happens) but does anyway, was really quite good. It had a happy ending; it was hilarious, warm, andâ€¦ French.
And we saw it at the Lido cinema in Epsom — oh how I love the Lido. Excellent coffee and an afghan before the film, comfy seats during, and friendly staff.
Now that’s what I call a mirror.
I took this snapshot at breakfast-time on a Monday.
We spent Christmas in Auckland. The weather in Auckland is often a bit variable, even in the middle of summer. But even when it rained, our view remained quite lovely.