Hard News by Russell Brown


It is your right and duty to vote

People of New Zealand! It has come to my attention that Democracy is Under Attack in this country – and the only way you can fight back is to participate in a good-natured online poll on the top words and phrases of 2009. Go here, quickly, and vote while we still have "words" at all!

I'd have lassoed in a wealthy North Shore businessman to back this important campaign, but I only travel to the North Shore to worship at the Appliance Shed Outlet Store, or visit Mr Slack in the Devonport enclave. Their mayor is clearly a loon. And I hear everyone else over there is on the P.

But I have obtained the support of Matawhero Wines, and will be sending a half-case of their premium-label wine to (a) the first person to have suggested the top word or phrase in the preliminary discussion, and (b) some lucky stiff who votes. (Another consignment will be dispatched to Wellington, where I hear they've drunk all the wine and are now terribly thirsty.)

So, vote, dammit vote, for the Public Address Word of the Year 2009.


In Wellington? Wellington-adjacent? Or just Wellington-friendly? You can also vote in the 2009 Wellingtonista Awards. And then turn up to Mighty Mighty on Thursday evening for the ceremony (the awards are announced from 7.30pm).

It is important that you vote: otherwise the Damian Christies will win again.


Who am I kidding? What would I know about what the mass of people think? Was I among the quarter of the population of Greater Auckland (it must be true, because the papers said so) that converged on The Domain for Christmas in the Park?

No, I was not, and I never have been. But I did arrive on K Road on Saturday night just ahead of the departing horde, and I have never seen so many pissed young men in Santa suits in one place. Truly, it was a phenomenon.

I did also wind up popping in to see The Ruby Suns at Wammy Bar around midnight, and they were great: a blend of guitars and loops, melody and rhythm, that made for lovely party music. The rest of the evening was spent at Mr Pound's PopUp night, and just wandering the strip marvelling at the thronging scene. Everyone's out of it somehow, but it's the drunks you want to be careful of.

My hunch is, it's going to be a party summer.


Ooh! I've been told the casting want-list for the lead in the movie of Mr Pip. It would be breaching a confidence to tell, but the first choice would be excellent, and the Famous Actor who's interested would be ... controversial.


And this is already on the Twitter, but Canada's National Post brings us the news that the worst band in the world ever – Nickelback – are, according to Billboard, the Band of the Decade. Clearly, we must move on from the mistakes of the noughties and pray they do not follow us.

Meanwhile, The Guardian has a helpful and amusing list of other people who ruined the decade for the rest of us.

On the upside: some guy landed one on Silvio Berlusconi yesterday. So clearly, these people are wrong and there probably is a god.

Readers feeling the need to unburden themselves of other noughty thoughts are invited to avail themselves of the discussion thread for this post.

For now, here are pictures of Colin, our cat:

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