Most days, my constitutional takes me past a garden gnome -- a golem of ornamental kitsch I'd dearly like to kidnap and grind into dust except for a tiny little plaster thumb sent home as a warning not to further blight my life with fugly figurines, yappy rat-dogs, vulgar Christmas lights or age-inappropriate cars that scream "my penis is invisible to the naked eye."
Sadly, I'm convinced the smirking little beardy-weirdy will come to life and eat my heart if he's ever removed from his arbour so I greet him with the traditional cry: Suburbia delenda est!
So, yes, Wellywood. I feel your pain. Really. My neighbours are a pack of tacky weirdos too, and I'm sure driving around the block slowly, and making a prime plonker of myself on Farcebook would really help. (I do draw the line at offending the Irish though -- those Micks are scary.)
I'm even newly sympathetic towards cranky acting out, since the first version of this post managed the dubious achievement of actionably defaming six individuals in the space of five hundred words. My legal advisor has earned a cheap-ish but not at all nasty bottle of single malt for Christmas.
What won't be on the present list is anything from the Moa Brewing Co., because this ghastly troll marketing crossed the line from amusingly parochial (if somewhat silly) to downright creepy.
Those amazing creative geniuses in Wellington, New Zealand have got resource consent to put up their really neat sign, as featured in the NZ Herald, and Moa Beer is pleased to announce our involvement in this fantastic project by offering a Beer-Bounty to anyone who knocks it down.
Successful application of civil disobedience will get you 10 cases of Moa Original and 5 cases of Moa Reserve, with the bounty re-offered every time the sign is replaced – no questions asked.
And seeing as the sign itself is completely un-original it would be nice if it could be destroyed in a completely original way, so feel free to think outside the box a bit.
I fully expect the standard "oh, get a sense of humour and stop being so PC" rah-di-rah. OK, I've thought outside the box. I'd like Moa's marketing manager Sunil Unka to post his home address and phone number in the comments, because I know a couple of dykes who'd like to "creatively" express their displeasure over this.
You milage may vary, as the kids say, but I don't find inciting people to be petty vandals any more attractive than homophobia. And we may yet see whether the courts share my dull, humourless political correctness if anyone is foolish enough to claim the "bounty".
I honestly do find the sign still beyond belief -- though not as ridiculous as a pipe-smoking garden gnome. (Or folks sniffing at how vulgar and American it is while, not a million miles away, others are paying the mortgage with Belgian boy detectives, genocidal super-intelligent apes and more bloody Hobbitses.) But there's an essential truth in the notion that good fences make good neighbours, and so does minding your own god-damed business.
As long as my neighbour conform to the law, they don't have to give a rodent's rectum what I think about their gardens. Hell, I'm warming to the idea of a Robert Mapplethorpe tribute water feature just to freak the commuters. As far as I'm aware, the Wellington Airport has resource consent (though on principle, I've issues with it being non-notified) they're building the damn thing on their land, and are not compromising operational safety in any way, shape or form.
I'm not particularly fussed either way, but you know what you "creative" Wellywooders should really be outraged by?
- That Warren and Mahoney had a chance to design something sympathetic to its surroundings yet fresh, and distinctively Kiwi on Bunny Street opposite Wellington Railway Station. Instead you got this banal slab which could be anywhere -- and should be anywhere else. (Then again, the cornerstone tenant is the IRD so perhaps it's karmically appropriate, or even a matter of policy that government departments have to occupy buildings with personality bypasses.) It certainly didn't scream "you are in a creative, vibrant self-confident city with a sense of its own identity" last time I visited Wellington.
- Speaking of which, the Better Half and I stayed with friends in Petone -- and I'm not fishing for freebies, but Jackson Street is turning into Ponsonby Road (a collection of good eateries and bars, quirky shops and local colour) without the pretension. Don't know how long that will last when the heritage buildings start being demolished -- and it's a damn shame a combination of local government indifference and intransigent owners let things get to the stage were it may be inevitable. I only wish local MP Trevor Mallard could be as full-throated in defence of his own backyard (well, the street his electorate office is on) as he is for the aesthetics of his deputy leader's electorate. (And to be fair, and more than a little parochial myself, perhaps the Prime Minister could form an opinion on the Auckland City Council's latest foot-dragging on the Saint James before the bandwagon chunters by.)
- And, finally, yes, Te Papa still makes my heart cry. But that was an opportunity lost last millennium, and wishing it would quietly slide into the harbour has been consigned by history to the realm of historical bad taste. At least there's still the City Gallery and Museum of City and Sea a few minutes away; and The Dowse Art Museum and Porirua's Pataka haven't been consigned to local government's "nice to have but screw you" list. Yet.
Then again, that might prove nothing more than Wellington -- like Auckland -- is a city of parts: good, bad and utterly indifferent. And none of us are obliged to like any of it, but mature cultures find a way to deal with it.
IRRESISTIBLE DRAMA QUEEN ADDENDUM: I love David Farrar to bits and pieces, but this deserves to be mocked without mercy. "So why is Wellington International Airport determined to impose this montrosity on us, against our will? Who gave them the right to effectively rename our capital city?" *cough*Helengrad*cough*
It goes without saying that I feel rather icky about having to explain 'property rights' to the National Party's highest profile on-line figure, but not at all surprised. I'm off to order one of these (LINK TO IMAGE NSFW) for the garden now.