don’t meet your heroes/moz-life

I got Morrissey’s ‘Autobiography’ for Christmas. I started reading it right away on Christmas afternoon but here’s the thing….it was too intense for me, so I stopped. It was so very Morrissey. Intensely his voice and his essence. I couldn’t quite cope. The phrase ‘don’t meet your heroes’ circled my head – did I want to steep this deeply in Morrissey’s brain innards, when my ‘relationship’ with him in recent years is not without difficulties?

I have adored Morrissey since I was 14. I even went through a phase of trying to look like Morrissey. Here is evidence. I am fifteen here and I had a goth boyfriend who use to like to pretend to be a vampire by leaping out at me from behind corners, wrestling me to the ground and biting my neck. Ah, teenagers:

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& I went to see him perform when he came to NZ recently and it was sublime. He did not disappoint. However, it isn’t without challenges maintaining the life-long love of Moz. He is difficult, curmudgeonly, veers a bit towards racism at times (actually, he is just plain old racist towards Asian people), has some interesting ideas about violence and romanticizes gangs, he is bitter and bitchy and prickly and solipsistic.

Yet, I do still love the old hag. He informed my teenage years. He taught me so much! Through The Smiths I learned about the Moors Murders, Candy Darling, Keats, Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Machester geography, Skinhead culture, James Dean….so much more I can’t recall right now. He gave me strength and courage as a vulnerable freaky teen to embrace weirdness and he made literary-geekiness COOL.

Anway, I have returned to reading the book. & I am making notes of the most excellent bits, which I will share with you on here. He is a great writer. His book is unruly and hairy and meandering and needed tougher editing, but who would want to argue with Morrissey? so I can see why no editor was ballsy enough to tell him….but the good bits are GREAT. His wit, his way with words, his dark patina.

He’s like family to me, which is why even when he is inciting race-hate, being naive about the ‘glamour’ of violence and remaining static of outlook in a world which is romping on….I can’t reject him.

He describes one of his harridan teachers saying ‘she will die smelling of attics.’

SHE WILL DIE SMELLING OF ATTICS. This, on page 10. Oh, so many pages to go….

Have you read Moz’s book? What did you think? The consensus seems to be that there isn’t enough about his romantic life and far, far, far too much about The Smiths courtcase….

 

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pneumonic plague

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After my awesome weekend in Featherston, I got really sick with pneumonia and have just spent a week in a fug of illness, sleeping most of the hours that the kids were at school and not straying far from home.

On the upside, I watched all of the final series of Skins (terrible) and season 2 of Call The Midwife (lovely), I knitted half a baby blanket for a pregnant friend and I read a lot of old New Yorkers and new London Review of Books.

It was also a time when I realised what great friends I have – friends who stepped in and did remarkable things like: covering my yoga classes, helping with the kids, taking me to the doctors, bringing me soup and generally making me feel very loved and supported. I suck at asking for help, so these proactive people were all the more appreciated.

I’m getting back to normal now and wow, what a GIFT it is to feel well! & energetic! & excited about life! If I had cheerleading pom-poms, I would be shaking them right now.

‘One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody’ -Mother Teresa

 

 

The Rope Walk is launched!

Before I blather on about the launch of this fine, artisanally-produced book THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN ORDER ONE. GO ON. SUPPORT NZ POETRY AND INDIE-PUBLISHING. 

On the weekend, I attended my darling friend Maria McMillan’s (I wrote a bit about Maria HERE) book launch at the Aro Community Hall. This is her first book and it’s with Seraph Press. It was a wonderfully warm-hearted event. The large turn-out and delightful people who attended were testament to Maria’s standing in the community.

This is my favourite photo of the event, because it wouldn’t have been a Maria event without a lot of tea & Maria’s favourite colour is blue – the lovely Crown Lynn colour glaze cups belong to the hall – a lucky coincidence! I associate Maria with tea and then another round of tea and then maybe some more tea but perhaps some toast this time, too….more butter please! I think I would like a giant ‘community-hall’ teapot for one-fill afternoon teas with all my mates. (Having said that – I’d probably have to boil the kettle five times to fill one. This is a teapot designed to go with a Zip boiler. Anyway, I digress….)

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(by the way….two cups of tea were drunk in the writing of this blog post.)

Maria’s partner Joe Buchanan designed and letter-pressed the cover of the book, including the drawing of the ship on the cover. It is indeed a beautiful artifact with great attention played to paper, card, pressing, stitching. Book as objects d’art. But it is not all style over substance….the poems, an invented family history across multiple generations, starting with the first settlers are rich, detailed and poignant. For a chapbook, this collection is dense and satisfying. It has the heft of a full collection in a chapbook size.

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Here writer Pip Adam (right) pulls her characteristic making-a-joke face and Maria displays her new shaved undercut…

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(At the launch, a man called Ian (who I am told used to work at Aro Street Video) came up to me and (gently) accosted me for writing this blog only for my friends and not including enough context and links. If you are reading this, Ian, thanks for the feedback and I have resolved to take more care with both from here on in! Leave a comment if I’ve failed to do so in this post.)

Given our long writing history together, I felt all puffed up with pride during the launch…getting misty-of-eye during Maria’s speech, and feeling outright joy to see her signing books at the sale-table. This is the moment every writer longs for! (I remember how wonderful and weird it felt for me at my launch.)

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There were flowers everywhere – gifts from her friends. These ones on the piano were just a few of the gorgeous bouquets everywhere. Here is Maria giving her speech.

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Here is Maria with Kirsten McDougall who launched the book and gave a thoughtful and celebratory speech.

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Here is Maria talking while Seraph Press Editor Helen Rickerby looks on…I liked this shot because you can see HR’s trademark stripey tights:

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Here is Helen Rickerby again with writer Helen Heath who is doing a bit of unsubtle product placement:

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Congratulations, Maria and Helen, on a wonderful book and a delightful launch. x

(Maria blogs HERE. )

Finally, writer Janis Freegard bidding me (and now you!) farewell in her fantastic panda-with-paws hat/mitten ensemble. Janis always has the best accessories!

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wellington, you flirt, you tease

I went to Wellington for a reunion of sorts with three old friends (they are not old, our friendship is old) and the Morrissey concert, which I can’t write about today with spewing a whole lot of gushy superlatives and sounding somewhat unbalanced. Three word review: it was sublime. The end.

Anyway, the day after the concert, still hanging out with aforementioned friends…Wellington turned on one of those rare (I must remember that it IS rare!) perfect weather days, searing heat, blue skies….one of those ‘you can’t beat Wellington on a good day’ days. It was one of those days so beautiful, I got pangs of ‘I want to move back to Wellington! Waaaah!’ which I haven’t had for years, because, much to my Wellington friend’s incredulity, I like living in Palmerston North! My friend Richard who was hosting us, lives up in Roseneath on the top of Mount Vic, so the views of the sparkling harbour were breathtaking and the walk down through the green belt to the waterfront for a picnic was lush and lovely.

There was picnicking, forest rambling, tree swinging and then after a very warming (!) walk back up to the top of Mount Vic our perfect day ended in Richard’s pool (yes, he is one of about five people who have an outdoor pool in Wellington).

Charmed, it was! See for yourself:

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