Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Invasion of the pagan matrons

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  • BenWilson,

    In Warcraft you can be both a woman and a dolphin at the same time (druid class). You have to play Max Paine if you want to be a cannonball, and I'm yet to hear of any game where you can play a skunk, but then again, a lot of people can do this without resorting to fantasy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    BenWilson - re last comment: heh!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Wow! kowhai montgomery, thank you! That is an excellent & wonderously evocative work - must look more closely into the WOWA competition results...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    "the heart of the Cuba quadrant"

    Oh puh-lease... when I last lived in WN the council were trying to pretend it was Paris (Left Bank anyone?) with their "Lambton Quarter" "Cuba Quarter" signs etc... and now they want us to believe it's Westminster?

    AFAIK, there's been no use of the word "quadrant" in any official Wellington tourism marketing, so it might just be Russell's coinage. Plenty of cities have quarters, not just Paris, so it's not necessarily a sign of fawning Francophilia.

    Yeah, Left Bank of what? Even with rain like today and the Bucket Fountain going full bore, Cuba St is hardly the Seine.

    It might be a stretch, but up until the late 19th Century the Waimapihi Stream ran down this part of Cuba St, with a bridge at Ghuznee St. So, Left Bank is indeed on what would have been the left bank of that stream.

    Even if that seems like "pretension" (and it's hardly the first place in NZ to be named after somewhere in Europe) it's private land rather than a public street, so the name can't be blamed on the evil consumerist minions of the tourist agencies. Besides, Left Bank is one of the least pretentious places in Wellington, and is probably more Cuba St than Cuba St itself these days.

    So, what would you call this part of town? Just "Cuba Street" is too limited, since the adjoining streets share some of its qualities, and indeed the new Quilters is in Ghuznee St. The "Cuba District" might work, though "district" has a specific administrative meaning in some countries that doesn't apply here. "The Cuba Area"? "The bits around Cuba Street"? "Cubatown"? "Cuba Precinct"? Just plain "Cuba"?

    In a rapidly evolving city, there hasn't been time for a fine-grained terminology of urban neighbourhoods to evolve organically. Officially, "Te Aro" covers everywhere from Willis St to Kent Tce, but there are some problems with that designation.

    First, it refers to a physical geographic feature (Te Aro flat) rather than an urban entity. Secondly, it's far too broad-brushed, and the range of land-use, demographics, built form and character across the area is huge. Distinct "sub-areas" have evolved within Te Aro (I'd expect something different of a bar depending upon whether it was near Cuba St or Courtenay Pl, for example), and if businesses want to pick up upon those distinctions to help visitors find their way to them, then I say go for it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    @Tom:
    My main beef with 'Quarter' is not that it's unoriginal or pretentious, but that (in Wellington's case) rather than being preexisting common usage of the inhabitants, it was entirely a product of marketing types wanting something to write on silly signs (literary types - help me out here, surely there's a word for that? And a German word for the particular kind of foolishness involved in trying to pretend otherwise?). I would more impressed if they had named the quarters by their usage - Hipster Quarter, Yuppie Quarter, Bureaucrat Quarter etc.

    Left Bank is one of the least pretentious places in Wellington, and is probably more Cuba St than Cuba St itself these days.

    I don't dispute that, and at Satay Kingdom your delicious, cheap meal is usually ready before you've sat down.

    "The bits around Cuba Street"?

    This one.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    It is called Second Skin.

    That was my favourite this year too. But I think because I was quite close this time and could see the intricacy of the pleating and how it moved. The people around me clapped when the model came by, which is always a good sign. But my friends further back liked the more spectacular-from-afar ones. That's why the wooden dress won because it looked great close up and also from a distance. Quite a trick for designers. But the costumes are really secondary to the theatricality of the event. Tip: if you can get tickets for the charity dress rehearsal night it's much cheaper.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    "The bits around Cuba Street"

    Agreed - that's probably what most young people will call it no matter what official label it is given.

    Precincts are an urban design/planning tool more than anything, aren't they, so that over time different parts of the city develop concentrations of different character and function? Or more simply, so you know where to go for certain types of experience.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    My main beef with 'Quarter' is not that it's unoriginal or pretentious, but that (in Wellington's case) rather than being preexisting common usage of the inhabitants, it was entirely a product of marketing types wanting something to write on silly signs

    I'm not sure there's much in the way of physical signs associated with the "quarters" concept, and apart from a few wayfinding signs there's nothing like a "Welcome to Chinatown" arch. WellingtonNZ.com doesn't seem to push the concept as much as it did when I wrote about it three years ago, but it's interesting that it seems to have rubbed off (a bit) on Russell!

    In pretty much every city, tourist agencies, guidebooks, business organisations and real estate agents try to colour in the blocks in the city maps to help visitors find their way. That often ends up in arbitrary distinctions, because unless there are actual ghettoes, the various aspects of a city's character overlap and flow across one another. But it's just a shorthand to help you know that if you're after vintage clothes, don't go to Lambton Quay; and if you're after nightclubs, don't go to Thorndon.

    Bureaucrat Quarter

    That'll be the Capital Centre.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Hilary Stace

    intricacy of the pleating and how it moved

    Yeah it was amazing if you got a chance to look at the detailing.

    That's why the wooden dress won because it looked great close up and also from a distance.

    Yes, a simple and kind of banal thing really but it is a really important aspect of WoW. So the wooden dress was a clear winner.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    AFAIK, there's been no use of the word "quadrant" in any official Wellington tourism marketing, so it might just be Russell's coinage.

    It was, entirely. It just seemed the appropriate word for the small area we traversed.

    Sorry if I've caused any trouble with my loose Auckland ways.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Kowhai
    Another thing I like about WoW is that it makes you (well me anyway) want to drag out that old sewing machine and all those bags of unused material and other bits and pieces in the garage, and 'create' something. That's how a lot of entries happen apparently.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    But it's just a shorthand to help you know that if you're after vintage clothes, don't go to Lambton Quay; and if you're after nightclubs, don't go to Thorndon.

    I knew a professional would say it better.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    AFAIK, there's been no use of the word "quadrant" in any official Wellington tourism marketing, so it might just be Russell's coinage.

    It was, entirely. It just seemed the appropriate word for the small area we traversed.

    Well, I guess that's allowable.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Havana good time...?
    Surely Cuba street isn't gauche enough to be the "Left Bank"? or even sinister enough...
    ...though there is a lot of culture deposited on both sides of that river of humanity, this silting has created the overflow and braiding into the surrounding catchment - and at that point I'll stop dredging for metaphors.

    Buddy can you spare a Quarter?
    Maybe New Orleans-style Parishes might be grafted onto Wellington's social & commercial topography? - Parish in the the Spring... anyone?
    (or should we just go with arrondissements? after all in a city of Gov't departments - what goes around comes around...)

    Mantle as anything...
    re WOW and the one word "wearableart" - it may grow and become a part-acronym, part-portmanteau word for Women Exploring Arable Art - something for Federated Farmers Women's Division possibly?

    After the third time all the entrees start to look the same though.

    I'd heard it was a moveable feast for the eyes, I hadn't realised it had become edible as well... :- )

    if you are in Chch, or passing through,
    and were thinking of getting started on next year's costume entry a visit to Creative Junk is highly recommended - it has been the launch pad for many an entry over the years - and it is a community driven resource that has been going nigh on quarter of a century! Waste not, want not...

    yrs diversely
    Jason & the Fleece Circus
    The Epic Centre...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

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