Last week I was totally stressed out and in desperate need of a holiday – as evidenced by me crying in the toilets at work on Thursday morning, and not even playing Appetite for Destruction over and over in my headphones so loud that I couldn’t hear the phone on my desk ring helped. Nice one. Now I am back at work and am in desperate need of a holiday to recover from my holiday, but I don’t want to stop thinking about it or talking about it cos I had like the bestest time ever. This is how it went down.

Please note: I will gradually update this over the course of the day, so if I’m still not back in Wellington in the account, keep coming back.

My flight to Auckland was pretty bog standard, the only thing that made it slightly more interesting was that the main road out to Wellington Airport was closed, so the shuttle driver had to go a different way and it made me realise that if it had been me driving I would have been stuffed. On the plane I started reading Star Man, which is a biography of Michael Francis. You’re like, “who?” and I’m like “omg, you mean you don’t know?” and then I explain that he served as a security bodyguard type person for Led Zepplin, and Bon Jovi, and Cher and an assortment of others, and then you say “ahhh Jo, when will you stop reading those rockstar biographies and return to real literature?” and I punch you in the head.

The airport bus driver in Auckland was also head-punching worthy with the way that he threw away my perfectly valid ticket that i’d purchased from a machine when I got back from Fiji for a bus that had never shown up, and made me buy a new one. Grr. I should write a letter, but you know, that would be too constructive when instead I could just sit here and bitch about it. But at least the bus dropped me off right outside the Pulp offices, where I could go up to meet the new editor, and struggle to call her by her real name instead of Carla. I don’t think I’ve ever really chatted with someone who’s been on Shortland St for a significant period of time for a significant period of time before (ha ha, do you like what I did there with that sentence?), hence why it was so damn difficult. But she was very complimentary, and said that she hoped I would continue to write for them, and blah blah, and I said I want to, it’s just that i’ve had no ideas and I’ve been really busy. But I will continue to do the music reviews cos they’re easy enough to pop out.

After that, I couldn’t get ahold of anyone who wanted to play with me, so I went down to Queen St and parked my ass in front of Crash and proceeded to cry lots, of course. Some of it was a little predictable, and some seemed a little cliched, but the way that every character was given depth, and that everyone was a villan at one time or another was really interesting. I can think of lots of people who should go and see it (you know who I’m thinking of if you read NZm). I also find it vaguely amusing that on IMDB there’s a big thread abotu how black people talk too much at the movies. Ha ha, it seems like someone wasn’t paying attention…

Then it was back on the bus to Ponsonby and to my hotel via the liquor store on Williamson Ave. I stayed at the Quest on Ponsonby, and it immediately endeared itself to me when I didn’t have to give them a cash bond in lieu of a credit card imprint. I was less impressed by how warm it was in the room, but after a conversation with reception, I figured out (read: was told) that if I turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows (which I didn’t realise were openable) and that was choice. Of course, the water feature in the courtyard was pee-making, but the bathroom was black and shiny and great, and reminded me of the bathroom in Olivia’s old Living Cube ™. Plus, halogen lights! How rad does my hair and skin look under halogen? Much radder than in real life anyways, that’s for sure.

Eventually Penny showed up to show me her wedding photos and we had a glass of wine together:

It was lovely to see her and to hang out, even for an hour. I got to look at all her wedding photos, so I was like “awwwww”. I wanna get married too! Penny was like “did you get implants?” because I was already dressed up to go out. No no friend, I just discovered the metaphorical joys of architecture and airbags, and the literal joy of one air pocket for Mary-Kate. After all, if people are going to be talking to your boobs, they might as well have something for people to talk about. Umm, not that everyone was, of course. Ha.

Anyways, so then it was time for dinner at Sawadee which the lovely KateH had arranged for me:

I had Heather and Jessie to my left, although Jessie is mysteriously absent in this badly edited picture:

Then there were the Triple As, who arrived after our entrees but that’s okay. Actually to be perfectly honest, Amy wasn’t even eating with us, but flitted over with her pina colada every so often, because she had a work do too.

Luckily she made it into this picture too, so that I can pretend I have lots more friends. Although of course, since I’m cunningly cropped out of the KateH picture, you have no evidence that I was ever there at all, but here’s the view from around the rest of the table:

I was so fucking stoked that Bopha showed up. Just being near her makes me feel Zen. Of course I was glad to see everyone else too. And to eat tofu. Mmmm tofu. I did a lot of the Bridget Jones introducing people with a common interest thing, but some of my lines totally crashed and burned. Boo-urns.

Both KateH and Jessie had managed to secure a plethora of spare tickets to The Mountain Goats, so we tried to convince the Triple As to come too, but they declined, so the rest of us went back up to my hotel room for some more drinks before the gig. It was so choice just to have some of my favouritist people in the whole wide world piled on my bed.

KateH told a story about how her friend’s grandfather died being looked after by everyone he cared about in the house he was born in and made me cry. Oh the pain of having to retouch my makeup! There was much textage to assorted other people in assorted other places(*), and talk of sex but I can’t remember of what context it was in except that it was very very amusing. Oh yeah, perhaps we were talking about hairy people. Also I told the story of SUPER FUN VAGINA SURGERY for those who hadn’t read it. I suspect that might have been it. Eventually minus Bopha we piled into KateH’s car – which is no longer yellow, and that’s strange (well it’s not so strange, given that it’s a new car, it’s not like her old one metamorphesized, but I haven’t ridden in it before. So there) and headed on up to Shadows.

Apart from a couple of post AUT bar beers in 2003, I don’t think I’ve been to Shadows since the olden days of 1999, so it was strange to be going back there, but amusing to be actually asked for ID and being able to show valid ones, instead of doctored birth certificates and fake ISSIC cards. Also, dya know what’s great about Shadows? JUGS! I’d already dancing a jiggling jug jig for my friends back at the hotel, so I am of course referring to large amounts of beer for a mere $6.20 a pop. Hurray liquor!

Also, let’s have some hurrays for Interweb people coming to introduce themselves, like Chris who was absolutely lovely, and looked like Kayleigh from Firefly and then later Calum who is like, the definition of SHRN. I was very excited to meet them. Also Sam was at the gig and was texting to find us, but he couldn’t, and we could see him calling us, and it was very amusing for a while until I told him where we were. And Amanda was there too (and while I’m all happy with the pics, I wanted to cuddle up to her bosoms like this again, but didn’t, cos I’m sure that would have been inappropriate)
and Nigel, and and and oh just so many people I know. Is it any wonder that I was later described as “holding court with the scensters”? No sir. So I didn’t actually see the Mountain Goats at all. I vaguely heard them, but you know how much I hate those motherfuckers who talk at the front of gigs? Of course I sat at the back. And then many hours later, they kicked us out cos we were the last to leave.

For reasons unknown or unremembered (*), Heather and I decided to go to Rakino’s, and so the lovely KateH dropped us off there. Rakino’s was packed full to the brim of hipsters, but we managed to find a spot on the balconey to sit and drink even more beer and try to find our friend via text who turned out to be at a strip club. But there were so many hipsters though. Perhaps it was the official after party? I don’t know, I wasn’t that aware of much at the time.

In fact, it took Heather reminding me the next day for me to remember that after Rakino’s we went and had a couple of cocktails in Deschlers. Ahhh Deschlers. The cocktails were still really excellent, and because it was who knows when in the morning, we got a booth and lovely service, and no one was watching the rugby, unlike the last time I was there which was just so wrong wrong wrong. I hate to think of how many cocktails I have had there – or more specifically, what else I could have done with the money. Oh the memories. I didn’t put my hand on her leg under the table though, because I am not that type of girl any more. And then we shared a taxi to drop me off in Ponsonby and her back at her house. It was an awesome awesome night(*).

I woke up on Saturday to a cacophany of noise, and I wondered who the hell was in my room, and then I wondered where the hell I was, and what the hell I was wearing. Sometimes it’s terribly difficult being me. Once I figured out the answers (1. The window was open and overlooking the cafe in the courtyard 2. I was in a hotel room in Auckland and 3. Pajamas. I must have fallen asleep before I had a chance to take them off) I felt a lot better. So much so that I got up and took a shower and texted Heather to see if she wanted to get brunch. She was still in bed so I went back to sleep and woke up feeling much much crappier. I wandered up and down Ponsonby Road for ages, clutching the Thai doggybag in my hand looking for a cab because thinking was hard, and the sun was shining, and oh my, my stomach had felt happier on other days. But eventually I managed to snag one, and smile and nod my way over to Heather’s, and collapse on her floor. She was in much of a similar condition.

I begged and I begged her to come out to a cafe with me, but they were so very far away (read: 100 metres or so) that we just couldn’t do it. She kept offering me eggs, because apparently she doesn’t realise that I am like DEATH TO ALL EGGS, but eventually she decided to go and buy some bacon and some coke and some potato chips. I puked and checked my email while waiting forher to come back. The lovely girl went and got coffee too! And orange juice. And ready salted chips AND salt and vinegar delisimo chips. Have you tried delisimo chips yet? They are very much the shit even if most of their flavours (like tzaiki) just end up tasting like sour cream & chives. It was the best breakfast ever. So we sat around listening to music, watching tv, chatting to people on the interweb and just generally chilling (*).

Eventually it got to be around 6ish, so I texted Shirley and she very kindly came and picked me up and I took her to dinner. We were going to go to Roasted, but couldn’t find a park so we ended up at Occam. The waiter was snooty, and they had Celine Dion turned up at levels that must surely have been intended to piss off the kitchen staff, so I yelled out my order. The hint wasn’t taken though. I thought about asking them to turn it down but decided just to bitch instead. My eye fillet was goooooooood though. Then it was to the supermarket for chocolate, and wine and a birthday present for Justin – I found him a magic eight ball. Excellent. I napped for half an hour back at my hotel room, and then walked to Shirley’s, via a little knee wobbling as I walked past a place where many years ago, I had received a most unexpected but very very wanted pash. Oh *IV! Oh the get the fuck over it!

Anyways, Shirley lives in a very cool big old villa near Ponsonby Road, and her flatmates have filled it with ex pantomime sets, including a light-up Sky Tower. Her bathroom is bigger than many people’s bedrooms. It’s pretty rad. So we had a drink – or at least I did, she had a half glass, and headed out to find Justin’s party. It was very much like First Year Uni, with Shirley driving, and me drunk in the front seat hanging on for dear life. Except that I wasn’t at all drunk cos of the hangover, but you know, close enough.

For Justin’s 30th, he and his friend decided to throw themselves a Howick themed party, since that was where they grew up (ha ha!). Luckily, they had it in Mt Albert instead of Howick. However, they did still come in costume:

Hot Toddy had found the outfits in lost & found for them since he teaches there now. Justin had put signs up around his house denoting various notorious Howick places, like Musik Point which I’d already seen when Brad took me and KateB and Clayton on a pash tour (and I’d just like to throw out a great big FUCK YEAH! to Google Desktop which found that phrase ‘pash tour’ as quickly as I could type it in. I will be doing this a lot more, I think. The linking to old entries, not the Pash Touring. Although I’d like to do that too please). Shirley and I sat down in a corner because we knew very few people (As I said to her, “Oh, none of the multitude of Justin’s friends that I have brought to orgasm are here”) and Hot Toddy told us facts about wherever it was, which was that George Bernard Shaw had stayed there. When I told Justin that, he was very impressed. But yes, there were lots of people there, and I recognised some of them like Hott Jason (hi, are you still reading my journal four and a bit years later?) and a girl who’d been on the PR Grad Dip with me (who had told me many things about another one of Justin’s friends from the second to last set of parenthesisisiisis), but I was soberish and just feeling really meh. It was strange thinking about how five years ago Justin had his 25th at Garland, and just how different then was to now. Plus, I wanted to go see Ryan McPhun and the Ruby Suns, so around 11pmish we left to go pick up Heather.

At the King’s Arms I was greeted with a “Hey Wellington!” by Matthew Crawley, who seems to always be everywhere (it was he who did a raid on Garland resulting in smoke bombs and Tom Jones posters in the toilet, although I was too busy sex0ring the skankiest guy in teh world at the time to realise. Actually, looking back, that’s a lie. It actually happened at Justin’s 25th, so I was busy doing something that is not ever refered to). Gareth was also there, strangely enough, given that he was playing. We went outside for Heather to have a cigarette, and then when we went back inside, Calum came up and talked to us.

This is where I go a bit squee and wax lyrical about the adoreableness of Calum. I’m not alone in doing it, Heather and Shirley too are members of his fan club. And now you’re about to be:

And one taken on an angle because apparently that’s what hipsters do:

That’s what I love about these (metaphorical) high school boys – I get older, they stay the same age….Ha ha ha, we are dirty old women.

The Ruby Suns were also very very awesome, and I enjoyed them immensely. If you’re not familiar with them, I will say that they’re from Lil Chief Records, which is also home to The Brunettes, so they’re vaguely similar, in the cute Americanisms xylophone instrument swapping kinda way. Yeah. How long has the <A NAME="graff"King's Arms had chandaliers? I need to hurry up and get one of my own before every damn hipster in town has one installed. Also, since I had my handbag with me, and therefore a pen, I grafittied two stalls in the women’s toilets. First person to email me and tell me what I wrote gets a prize. But all good things come to an end, and when everyone else left to go to Die! Die! Die!, Shirley took me and Heather home via junk food. Hurrah.

The next day I checked out at 12pm, and had breakfast, and went to Kyla’s and held Felicity and cried. Then I walked to Shirley’s and hung out and then took a shuttle to the airport and then they stuck me in a business class seat and I listened to Bon Jovi on my iPod because of Star Man and I pretended I was a rock star and that was my holiday and yay I am done now.

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