Radiation by Fiona Rae

Still standing (just)

Two unpleasant things have happened over the holidays so far, apart, that is, from Jason Gunn narrating the Nutcracker and seeing R Kelly do his “In the Closet” saga on the MTV Video Awards repeat on C4. I’m trying hard to think of something worse, but is that the biggest load of bilge you’ve ever heard in your whole life? Does anything come even close? Answers on a postcard please.

Anyway, first my 93-year-old grandfather died in Christchurch and second, I put my back out so badly I could barely stand. Bugger and bugger. Luckily, the second event happened – is still happening – after the first, so I could at least make it to the South Island for the funeral, which was a decent affair as funerals go. I spoke, which is something you don't often do. Grandad knew a lot of people and was what’s usually referred to as a “character”. He had what's usually referred to as "a good innings". He wanted “My Way” played at the funeral and we sang “Abide With Me” and “The Lord’s My Shepherd”. It’s funny with hymns, you can kind of fudge the tune as long as there’s someone else who knows it.

One of the funniest things I saw over the couple of days in Christchurch, apart from the old guy who spoke at the funeral who kept saying “I thought you were long gone, Joe” was a discussion on Breakfast between Paul Henry, some tattooed guy from an ad agency and Dawn Raid’s Brother D. I found myself in reluctant admiration of Paul Henry. Yes. He’s basically as dry as a desert and he’s someone who knows who he is: a square. And he doesn’t have that militant square thing going on like Mike Hosking used to have, getting everyone to shine their shoes and all that nonsense (see how long that lasted). He doesn’t seem to want to tell us how to feel. He and Kay Gregory pick on Peter Williams. My mum especially likes it when Kay tells Paul to shut up. This Paul Henry appreciation is somewhat of a surprise to me (what’s next? Writing “Don 4 Eva” on my notebook cover? Voting for Rodney in the Metro poll?). Can’t wait for his TV show, Ends of the Earth, so I can stop liking him again.

But basically, Christmas telly is unrelenting rubbish and I would like to thank my whanau for the box set of Firefly I got for Christmas. Things are about to improve: TV3 is beginning Everybody Hates Chris and My Name Is Earl real soon, two sitcoms that have revitalised a genre that was being slowly tortured to death by Joey. Also, Angel fans, Bones starts on the same night – the new series in which David Boreanaz actually gets out into the sunlight. It’s fairly daft, but the actors play it for laughs, which gives it an edge over the other murder-as-entertainment shows.

I’d vaguely thought of a best-of blog to end the year, but I’m too full of Panadol and Nurofen Plus (note the “Plus” homebakers: it’s got codeine) to think of very many. Deadwood and Shameless definitely, Angel, Firefly, Veronica Mars, Outrageous Fortune ... umm, feel free to nominate some of your favourites/share thoughts on the year. Otherwise, stay safe at New Year, folks, and don’t forget the sunblock.