Southerly by David Haywood

25

The Dalziel Salon

One of the unexpected pleasures in writing my latest book (selling now for a mere $19.95) has been getting acquainted with the lovely Ian Dalziel.

Ian is a self-described 'designersaur' whose life has veered down a variety of interesting tangents. He was once a roadie for Toy Love, he designed the famous 'cupid eyeball' logo for Flying Nun, spent a few happy years working at Rip It Up, and enjoyed numerous evenings as the doorman for Windsor Castle in its hey-day.

Above: Ian's famous logo design for Flying Nun.

Nowadays, Ian -- in his incarnation as Apple Pie Design 2 -- is a printer of lovely things: obscurely wonderful magazines, freakish greeting cards, phantom poetry posters, and extremely strange children's books. If you do anything weird in print form then you probably already know about Ian. And, if you don't, you should.

There is a slight air of a salon in the Dalziel residence. You are never entirely sure with whom you'll discover yourself conversing: a man holding a grapefruit while wearing a tam-o'-shanter; a shabby-genteel arts' patron who quotes poetry at you. If you wait long enough it seems probable that almost every interesting person in Christchurch will come through the door.

My three-year-old son, Bob, certainly thinks so. When asked to name his preferred destination for any outing, he invariably requests "Ian's house". Ian's jungle-like garden is an attraction, of course, as well as the magnificent rhododendron that Bob euphemistically calls his "watering tree". My oft-repeated question: "Do you need to visit the lavatory, Bob?" is often answered by a look of reminiscent pleasure, and the guarded response: "I'll wait until I get to Ian's garden". There can be few printers (or designersaurs) in this world who would tolerate such desecration of their prized vegetation.

Above: At Ian's front door with a flower "picked for Sally" (without permission).

As a new entrant to kindergarten, Bob was recently asked by a neighbour if he'd made any friends. "Ian and Pixie and Soxie and Cashel," he replied, and then after a moment's thought: "And Sally." Pixie, Soxie, and Cashel are Ian's cats; Sally is Ian's partner. I must say that Sally's low standing in the list of Bob's personal friends seem unfair -- considering the amount of time that Sally has spent showing Bob through the attic of their house, and amusing him with a cardboard skeleton that hangs in her bedroom cupboard.

There are signs, however, that Sally may be ascending the rankings of friendship. After a particularly prodigious toilet-training breakthrough last week, Bob demanded that Sally be summoned to admire the contents of his potty. I tactfully explained that Sally was busy at work, but assured him that I would give her a detailed description the next time we meet. She'll be thrilled no end, I'm sure.

Above: Pixie in a statuesque moment.

The Dalziel cats are of particular interest to Bob, in spite of their reluctance to be thoroughly patted in the manner that he'd prefer. Cashel-the-cat has certainly been lucky to find herself in such a happy household. When Ian first encountered Cashel, she had been squashed on the road by a passing motorist. Ian was the good Samaritan who transported her to an emergency vet at 2.00 am.

Sometime later, the vet phoned to explain that Cashel's rightful owners had declined to pay her medical bills; and, indeed, refused to take possession of her again. Being the sort of people that they are, Ian and Sally paid the vet themselves, and adopted Cashel into their home. It occurs to me that this incident (suitably condensed) is all that would be necessary to carve upon somebody's tombstone in order to give future generations an explanation of the deceased's excellent character.

Ian's support and expertise have been invaluable in the design and pre-production of 'The Hidden Talent of Albert Otter", and his macronic talents have been fully exploited in the latest magnificent outpourings of his printing press -- yes, at last, Albert Otter in Te Reo:

Above: Arapeta Ota.

This tasteful translation of the autobiography of Public Address's favourite (and only) otter was undertaken by the fabulous Dr Jeanette King -- academic, poet, and children's author in her own right -- with the editing expertise of the equally fabulous Dr Nichole Gully. You can find it here.

And, just in case you're searching for a last minute child's Christmas present, I should remind you that Public Address Books are available at these recommended shops (which now includes New Zealand's best children's bookstores) -- as well as next-day delivery from our website (we can sign and inscribe the book for you as well).

Oh, and for that elusive child/parent present combination, we're also doing a free shipping deal on 'The New Zealand Reserve Bank Annual 2010'. There are only two copies left -- I've signed and inscribed them with a unique message for posterity.

We're coughing like consumptives in the Haywood abode, but here's hoping that the Horseman of Pestilence has bypassed your house, and that all of you will enjoy a relaxing and mucus-free Christmas.

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