Okay, so a couple of weeks ago I had four nights in Auckland, and such is my obsession with Rockstar: Supernova and my lack of laptopness (update: it’s with Bond & Bond for hopefully fixage), and my surprisingly large workload (project managing. Me. Whodda thunk it?) that I have yet to write about it. So now I will.
I flew up on Wednesday 12 July in the afternoon. My shuttle picked me up way too early and my flight got delayed so I can happily report back that Wellington Airport, while better-looking than Auckland, is incredibly boring. Still, finding a $25 Whitcholls voucher to spend on magazines is nice. One of these days, I really must get myself a subscription to Q since it’s the only magazine that I read which I totally respect. I mean, apart from Pulp, of course, but I hear the music reviewer for that genuinely likes the Spice Girls, so what would she know? I was staying at the Comfort Inn again, this time in a one bedroom suite that captured all the afternoon sun, so that sucker was hot. Crazy Aucklanders thinking that they’re in winter when they so aren’t, everyone’s heater was turned up way too high. The suite didn’t have a bath, unfortunately, but the shower was oh-my-stars-I-think-my-scalp-is-being-caressed-by-angels strong. And it’s always nice when no one has written on the walls of the bathroom in their own blood (Smoo is so fucking feral. That’s not part of my Auckland story, but seriously, who the fuck does that? Bart cleaned it up for me when I expressed my total and utter disgust. I wish I’d taken a photo first, because it was actually kind of funny).
First up on my Auckland agenda was meeting Annabel for a drink up at the Odeon. I hadn’t seen her since 2001, but we’ve had many an online conversation since then so it didn’t seem too unnatural. Once the Odeon started giving us the dirty “We’re closing. Get the fuck out now” eye, we went over the road for another drink at Galbraiths, and I decided that I should platonically set her up with Heather, since they live near by each other and have a lot in common.
After that, it was back to my room to try and get a nap in before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Holy crap that gig was overflowing with gaxys and hipsters! I’m pretty sure that every tight pair of black jeans, little op shop dress and Karen O haircut was in attendance. Drunkenly. And noisily. Holy crap there are few things I hate more than drunk 18 year old girls. I don’t understand why the fuck someone would pay over $60 for a concert ticket and talk the whole way through it. I had to restrain myself from punching people. I should have moved away, but as I was feeling so very old – I arrived while the Mint Chicks were playing and instantly cursed myself for forgetting ear plugs -, I was standing at the back behind the padded barrier and laughing at people who tried to walk through it. And wishing that I was Karen O, of course. I liked it when she screamed, because all the stupid bitches shut up for half a minute. They played songs I didn’t know, and drew out the beginnings to many things, and she writhed around under pieces of shiny material. I waved my fist in the air for ‘Phenomena’ and the long-intro’d ‘Y Control’ and got teary when they came back for their encore with ‘Maps’. I also spent a lot of time thinking about other gigs I’d been to at the St James, including the Roni Size gig where I took e for the first time, and the True Colours gig when I didn’t realise I was going to fall for the boy I’d just left sleeping. Afterwards I thought about taking the bus back up the hill but I couldn’t stand the gaxys anymore so I taxied back up for more glorious showers, even though my feeling-oldness had kept my moshing and therefore my sweatiness to a bare minimum. Man, no wonder it takes me so long to write these kinds of entries, I go way too overboard with details. Nevermind.
The next morning I had brunch at Benediction with Elisabeth from Pulp and this time I successfully managed to keep from calling her Carla even a little bit. She said nice things about my reviews, which is always pleasant to hear (who’d have thought that good feedback would be like, good? Woah Jo, you’re out of CONTROL), and loaded me up with many more CDs, including the new Muse, which made me squee with joy. But on the inside of course, because I was pretending to be a cool Aucklander. A cool Aucklander who was nevertheless very impressed when the electronic bus timetables on K’Road proved to be quite accurate. I headed off to Grey Lynn to meet up with Jessie, and so I got to see her very posh offices. Then we went for lunch at Delicious, because I’ve always heard good things about it. Holy fucking crap, that place is delicious. We had bruschetta, and then I had roast beetroot ravioli with smoked ricotta, and every mouthful was like a thousand orgasms. We lingered long over it, and then gave the dessert cabinet the glad eye. After some quick agonisations, we decided to share a piece of pistachio praline chocolate ‘cake’, on the grounds that while their tiramisu also looked amazing, it was more common. The cake was pretty much like tiramisu anyway, with the added bonus of pistachios. Wow. It was like dying and being brought back to life and being fed really fucking awesome sweet desserty treats, without having to die and be brought back to life. My similes are fucking rocking today, I must add.
She dropped me off at Real Groovy so that I could cash in $50 worth of booksellers’ tokens on records: You are free by Cat Power, Funeral by the Arcade Fire, and most exciting of all, Horses by Patti Smith, which was the reason I bought a record player in the first place (now I can totally satisfy all my own fantasies – well as far as sitting on the floor playing myself Patti Smith records goes, anyway. Although my record player is a little too high up in order to do that comfortably. Perhaps I should rearrange my room). Of course I ended up having to spend twice as much as I had in tokens, and the same thing happened in Farmers when I was using vouchers to buy more foundation and also lip gloss because goddamit, I haven’t bought any in a very long time, thank you very much, and no I don’t have an addiction, fuck you. Then I went up to Rakinos to meet Sam for a coffee. Well, I had wine, he had water, and he talked a lot about sales techniques. It made me laugh.
After that it was back to my hotel to be incredibly disturbed by Juice TV (why oh why did anyone let Panic! At the Disco record a song that contains a line “haven’t you people heard of closing the goddam door?” in such dreaful all over the place timing? Their phrasing is like a thousand times worse than the Manic Street Preachers or Silverchair, and that’s saying a lot. Not to mention emo as fuck. I wish my hair was emo so that it’d cut itself. Heh), read, and nap some more. I love holidays with their rich nappy goodness. Around 7.30, I headed off to Annabel’s house where I had arranged to meet Heather before our dinner. This meant I got to meet Elton, which was very choice, and the girls got to meet each other too, instead of just stalking online. We had wine and watched Rockstar and Heather and I were having such a good time we asked if it wouldn’t be too weird if we got our food and ate it there. Annabel pulled out a folder of menus, so we took that as a sign, and Heather went and fetched us Meekong. Mmmmmmoney bags. Mmmmmmmmmmm so much tofu. Mmmmmmmmm goodness. Thanks for dinner Heather – it was an awesome birthday present. Eventually though we had to tear ourselves away as we were due to meet KateH at Match Bar to watch Sam play.
Sam had said that Match has a crappy crowd, but myyyyy god I hate the rich white trash even more than I hate the faux emo gaxys. Not that I judge people on sight or anything, but why the hell are you bothering to order Moet by the bottle when you’re so drunk that you break your glass every time you go outside for a cigarette? We were sitting close to the doors and counting broken glasses, and there were at least eight over the course of the night – from a fairly small crowd. Some of the guys got so drunk that they had to be carried down the stairs. Not pretty. It was lovely to catch up with KateH. We sat and talked for a long long time in egg shaped chairs, and then once they were done playing we went to Denny’s with Sam once he was done trying to get KateH to buy in to his pyramid scheme. By that stage it was after 3am (Did they play ’3am’? I’m pretty sure there was at least one Matchbox 20 cover. Ahh covers, good times. KateH and I laughed and laughed and laughed) and Auckland was drowning in mist. You couldn’t see the Sky Tower, or even more than ten metres in front of you. It was fucking excellent. So pretty and spooky (*).
Friday had been booked in as Heather’s and my Cultural Day, but I was feeling a little sloooooooow because I’d got to bed after 5am. I met her up at Altezzano and nearly fell flat on my face a couple of times. That whole walking thing is kind of tricky sometimes. We decided that the counter food on offer was not enough for people who’d had salty $18 tequilla cocktails the night before and so we made our way down to Galbraiths. It was about 11.45 at that stage, and Galbraiths was shut. Oh the horror! We needed our greasy NOW! Or rather THEN! Instead we strolled down to the House of Knives to browse amongst the shiny objects (but not the Shiny), having our minds boggled trying to figure out who would own a $1600 knife block. I mean, yes, good kitchen knives are important, and I’m gutted that Horrible Jonny stole my chef’s knife from the famous samurai sword village, and I wish that Del had gotten around to steeling my current knife before Bart broke up with her, but $1600? Woah. We strolled back up to Galbraiths and joined the throngs – and there were throngs – who were also doomed to waiting outside because it was late in opening, but eventually we made it in, ordered large plates of meat, and took our beers out to the back garden. The last time I was in the garden there, it was my last day of work at the Med School and I flashed my cow-orker so that I could win our staring match. The time before that was before the Placebo concert which is a whole diferent era of life (dates! and bedding! and being asked to be someone’s girlfriend!), and boy, Auckland sure likes to stir up the memories huh? It was a gorgeous day. I rolled up the sleeves of my long sleeved tshirt as we basked in the sun and the beer made me come up with the funniest/stupidest joke I’ve come up with in a while:
Q. What’s that noise coming from the BeeGees’ herb garden?
A. It’s just the chives talking.
Ha ha. Heather had chives on her shanks, obviously. Obbbbbbbbbviously. Our master plan called for us to be going to the museum right about then, but we weren’t sure if we could be bothered walking all the way to the domain from where we were at, since we were between two kinds of public transport that could have gotten us there, but then I had the genius idea of busing down to the art gallery and taking a link from there afterwards. Of course, my genius didn’t actually extend to remembering that the 27*s don’t go down Wellesley St, and so we got off on Symonds St and went for a very big long walk down and around Albert Park (and of course on the bus on the way home we realised that if we’d stayed on the bus we could have avoided that). Still, gorgeous day and walking is good for you. The fact that my feet had been screaming at me since Wednesday was irrelevant. I like the quiet echo of the art gallery, and I’m awed by the fact that they have stuff that’s almost a thousand years old, but there were no new exhibits in the old gallery, and then by the time we were done with that, our feet were too sore for the new gallery. We had coffee on the pretty terrace up amongst the trees away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and decided to call it a day then.
More nap, more Juice TV, some vodka purchasing, and then Jessie came over for a drink. She found me in my pyjamas, because they are pale pink with skull & crossbones on them, and what is more awesome than that? Pretty much nothing. Except for italics. We had a bit of a goss, and then cabbed it up to K’Road where my darling social secretary KateH had arranged an AUT dinner for me at Saigon. I even have photos of it, see?:
Brad, who was up in Auckland to shoot a short film for his course, Shirley who was off to Europe the next day, and Nigel who was still flush from winning
48 Hours and you can view his movie here
Andrew-from-Hamilton, KateH. Not pictured: KateH’s friend whose name I can’t remember. Or me.
I think the woman at Saigon was a little bit in love with me. She kept touching me. Maybe that’s just because – as usual – I played The Dominator and chose all our food. Mostly I did really well too. The noodles were a bit unnecessary.
After dinner, we went to The Musket Room in Ponsnobby. It was pretty crowded, but we managed to find ourselves a table and Brad ate one of the mozarella balls that they brought to our table, thinking that they were complimentary, until we got kicked out of that room because apparently it was a private function. We managed to find ourselves a big table though, and Clayton showed up, hurrah!
Shirley, leaving the next day. Clayton, not hating my guts.
We had some good talks about his career, and he’s doing all these amazing things which is awesome. I also invited him to Amy’s Pirates & Cheerleaders party for the next day, because he’s always loved of the young girls. I think Brad’d had a few drinks too because he gave me a big talk on what an awesome writer I am, and blah blah blah. I say blah blah blah not because it’s ever boring hearing about how awesome I am, but rather because I’d had a drink or two myself, and so I can’t remember all the correct wording, rather just the sentiment behind it. I really liked the Musket Room, apart from the private function kerfuffle and a few girls who were a bit too foolishly dressed (White summer dresses? Really? Sienna fucking Miller called to say you look ridiculous). They were playing ‘Fascination Street’ when we arrived, and then the music mix continued to be really electic, with lots of new wave and also indie and general goodness. Plus it was so dark that I had to read the cocktail menu by the light of an obliging young man’s cellphone. But all good things come to an end, and I found myself back at the hotel watching O.C reruns before I knew it.
Jessie and Heather came to get me at some ungodly hour of the morning, and we set off for the French food markets somewhere in Parnhell. Jessie’s magnificant parallel parking skills came in handy, and I nearly died queuing for ages in an incredibly busy cafe to get pretty dreadful coffee, but once I had the cup in my hands, and a couple of quick wine tastings, things were much much better. We tried a multitude of tasty tasty things, talked to scensters and finally settled down with big containers full of hot gnochi. Gnoochi? I can’t spell. But I can eat. Oh boy can I eat. I can also take pictures, although Jessie doesn’t like to be on the internet, so I will show you a picture of Heather instead, because she never complains:
I did mention that it was early morning, right?
I can’t remember what I did on Saturday afternoon. I must have done something, right? Oh yeah, I went and camped out at Benediction again and read their magazines and drank their much better coffee. Heather had said that she’d come to Amy’s party with me, because I didn’t think I’d know many people, but then she wavered, so I promised to pay for the taxis and buy her vodka, and that we’d only have to stay an hour if it was terrible (although I knew it wouldn’t be) and so she duly showed up at my hotel to do semi shots of Russian Cocaine with me (licks of instant coffee, shots of vanilla vodka and then licks of sugar not off a lemon since we didn’t have any), lace me up and take photos of me dressed up as a pirate:
Mary-Kate, me, Ashley trying to escape
We cabbed out to Amy’s (“Give me an ARRRRRRRRRRRR”), found our way down an impossibly long driveway, and much red pirate punch and good times were had. I got to talk to JSR and Annette lots, and Amy had three costume changes. Her speeches were done in the form of “I have never”, personalised specifically to embarrass her, which was fantastic. I talked to new and interesting people, and Clayton showed up and did the same. And then I KICKED ASS at Singstar. I was undefeated on the night, and achieved my all-time personal best score of 9200 on ‘Material Girl’. Woohaa! Thank you so much for having me Amy, even though I’m sure I overstayed my welcome. I do that a lot.
On Sunday the lovely Jessie picked me up so that I could have somewhere to leave my suitcase all day before she took me to the airport, and in exchange I bought her brunch at Deve. Heather popped in to see us so that we could giggle at her gossip, and then she took me to her house where I sat on her bed in the sun, ate home made cookies and dozed a little for a while, before I went down to Occam to catch up with first Penny and then Bopha. Hurray! And then I cabbed to Heather’s to watch the Gilmore Girls and umm, now I really have to wind this up. Flew back in the evening, Anji picked me up. That’s all. I thought I had other bits and pieces to say, but apparently I don’t. I <3 the 09 though.