Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: White in Brighton

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  • webweaver,

    Aww thanks, Matthew... Yeah there is one thing to be said for a) having been born in the UK and b) having been born such a long time ago - at least I got to have punk as one of my seminal musical influences and the genre in which I cut my gig-going teeth.

    I still regret never seeing the Pistols - but they were pretty scary back in '77 and their gigs were notorious - not really the place for a slightly-built 15-year old girl to be going late at night... And then there was the great Clash-gig-that-never-was in 1982 that I had tickets for, but which was cancelled due to JoeS going AWOL in Paris. Aaaarrggghhh.

    But how about:

    - Front row for The Jam in 1978 - The Jam being the first "punk" band I ever liked. I remember hearing them on Radio Luxembourg in the summer of '77 (in between the endless Elvis tribute tracks) and thinking "Oh! So not all punk bands are loud and rude and scary like the Sex Pistols! I could get used to these guys!"

    - Front row for Elvis Costello & The Attractions in 1978 - and back then we could *never* have predicted what a huge and well-respected musician Mr Costello would become. Back then he was just a geek with a guitar.

    - (Eventually) front row for the Tom Robinson Band in 1978 - who were supported by an as-then completely unknown Irish band called Stiff Little Fingers! Me and my friend Elaine went completely mental for SLF and danced our way right down to the front (we'd been sitting much further back) - and managed to stay there for TRB as well.

    - Front row for Ian Dury and the Blockheads in 1979 - where I was boosted up on stage by some guy in the audience, stood there blinking in the spotlights for a few seconds and then was unceremoniously carried off stage and thrown out the back by Chaz Jankel.

    A whole heap of Boomtown Rats gigs - in fact the Boomtown Rats was the first gig I ever went to. I have a bit of stinky old towel with which Bob Geldof wiped his sweaty brow and then threw into the crowd, where it was promptly ripped apart by voracious fans including me.

    And of course every Stranglers gig it was possible to go to. I was rather fond of The Stranglers. I was always in the front row, whether it was a seated or non-seated gig, which meant that you always came out with a massive line of bruises across your midriff where the moshpit crowd had crushed you against the stage - and of course the inevitable hairdo full of gob. Actually, pogoing around under a rain of spit was something we all got used to - it was sometimes even quite refreshing in a twisted sort of a way...

    Ah, those were the days...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    We could invite all racial supremacists from all the various races around the place, put them all in a ring and get them to fight to the death awarding the winning race a ribbon.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    There are times when I miss the place. The resurgence of Messrs Chapman and friends quite cures that.

    Last weekend, quite a number of my friends were in Christchurch, and were tweeting all kinds of fun things. Museum! Arts Centre! Gallery! Sun! It made me rather homesick. But then I forced myself to remember that, despite spending all my time in those places, that's not my city.

    I grew up in Linwood, and used to bike to New Brighton in my school holidays. Well, that's how I remember it, but I doubt it is true, cos I'm pretty sure my mum would never have let me actually do that. I remember paddling in the little pool with the whale in it as a child, and eating fish and chips in the carpark before basketball games.

    But when I was last there - about a year ago - it was almost deserted. School holidays, sunny day, and there was one guy with a toddler.

    I always liken Christchurch as a small town that got big. It's a city, but it has never gotten used to it, and it still has all the prejudices and 'old boys' club' mentality of small towns.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I might also recommend 'This is England' as a DVD hire for a slow night.

    The film is centred on young skinheads, and is set in England in July 1983. The film illustrates that the skinhead subculture, whose roots are associated with Jamaican culture (especially ska, rocksteady, and reggae music), eventually became adopted by white nationalist groups such as the NF.

    More focussed on the ska side of things, but well worth a look. Highly depressing, though.

    Well, someone has to fill the gap now that Mike Leigh and Ken Loach have gotten all cheerful. :) It still strikes me a hideously unfair that Shane Meadows is a cult director in no risk of becoming a major religion, while the vile Richard Curtis still lives and breathes.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Christchurch is multifaceted.

    The old boys would have you believe it's theirs but I can tell you there is a strong current for social good (yes they are mutually exclusive) in Christchurch.

    The various colours have always been on display and the streets are very much a contested space. From the Irish on Irish riot on Manchester St a centuary ago to (which continued every St Paddys Day). to 1981, & Aorangi Schools proposed closure vs Cathedral Grammers theft of Chester St West.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Sorry some detail may be required here.

    Cathedral Grammer exists on both sides of Chester St West and has gates at either end of the Street which are closed during school hours. The obvious extention of this is the closure of the Street for the benefit of a Private School. Contrast the deprevation of Aorangi School.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Front row for Elvis Costello & The Attractions in 1978

    O HAI: I totally hate you. :)

    of course the inevitable hairdo full of gob. Actually, pogoing around under a rain of spit was something we all got used to - it was sometimes even quite refreshing in a twisted sort of a way...

    Oh ewwww. I think reason number two (number one being: born in 1974) why I could never have been a true punk was the... crustiness. Remember that scene in the recent Sex Pistols documentary where Steve Jones (I think) says 'I was just interested in getting my dick sucked'? All I could think about were the poor groupies: 'oh god, did he ever *shower*?' Yeah. I am kinda persnickety.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Oh ewwww. I think reason number two (number one being: born in 1974) why I could never have been a true punk was the... crustiness.

    Heh... and I could have been a Bright Young Thing for no other reason than because the clothes were nice. (The witty banter while bombed out of my skull would have been a problem, though.) :)

    I can wholly sympathise with the squick-ness at the thought of blowing a Sex Pistol. Good rule of thumb: If it smells like week-old road-kill, don't put it in your mouth.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Good rule of thumb: If it smells like week-old road-kill, don't put it in your mouth.

    Must write that one somewhere :) But I must say here, one of my fondest memories.......oh better still.....

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And people ask why I love you guys to bits and pieces? :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    Can I just say that I loved webweavers' little trip(s) down memory lane?

    Me too. I've never enjoyed a pointed take-down more.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    wrt spitting:

    Siouxsie Sioux, of Siouxsie and the Banshees, caught conjunctivitis after gob landed in her eye.

    Joe Strummer got glandular fever after he swallowed it.

    Yum.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Christchurch is multifaceted.

    The old boys would have you believe it's theirs but I can tell you there is a strong current for social good (yes they are mutually exclusive) in Christchurch.

    Important point. We tend to think of Christchurch at the establishment level -- but, as you say, there are other things going on. I've recently really enjoyed catching up with the likes of Ian Daziel and Blair Parkes, who strike me as doing good work for its own sake, free of the trappings you'd get in Auckland.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    The old boys would have you believe it's theirs but I can tell you there is a strong current for social good (yes they are mutually exclusive) in Christchurch.

    Oh, yes, I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

    I just despair of the city, and many of the people I know in it, who cling to this vision of Christchurch as "the English City".

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Graham,

    we might give you a picture of a spider, then a VR spider

    Minor point, but people tend to underestimate the creepiness of VR spiders.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Minor point, but people tend to underestimate the creepiness of VR spiders.

    I assure you that I don't, ergo there is no way in HELL I'm clicking on that link.

    But then I forced myself to remember that, despite spending all my time in those places, that's not my city.

    Yeah... everyone lives in a different city, that consists of the bit they live, work in, school in, socialise in, and excludes all the bits they never go in. And not being raised here, I sort of got to pick and choose. So my Chch has arty things - galleries, theatres, musuems, gardeny things - so much park, we do public space really well, booky things, academicky things... Moving to Wellington has always been semi on the cards for our family, but there's no way we're leaving before our kids finish at high school, because we cannot get them that fabulous non-conformist flavour of education anywhere else.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    the creepiness of VR spiders.

    If you turn the 'walk bounce' up to maximum it can be quite perky.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I just despair of the city, and many of the people I know in it, who cling to this vision of Christchurch as "the English City".

    __ cringe __
    For the Geographicly challenged... English Cities tend to be in England. I would also like to remind the residents of Dunedin that Scottish cities tend to be in... Scotland.
    Colonialism is just so nineteenth century.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I dunno, I think Christchurch does public space horribly, Cathedral Square's a godforsaken mess where only tourists dare tread, Hagley Park's good but still, sports fields are only so lovable, and then most of the rest of the parks in Christchurch are blah.

    The most lively `public' spaces in Christchurch are the malls, to be honest.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Cathedral Square's a godforsaken mess where only tourists dare tread

    True, the Square has been an urban design money pit disaster for a good twenty years now. But two blocks over, Victoria Square is lovely. And you'd have to be entirely constructed from the reanimated corpses of property developers to not love Little Hagley Park and the Daffodil Lawn in the spring. I wasn't thinking 'lively' so much as 'lovely' - the ability to pop out from work and find somewhere nice to have lunch.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Yes and Hagley is under threat again. Canty Cricket want to fence the heart of it off for a new stadium.

    Need we say the C-word ... Conservatorium. And before you say it is a bout music, it's not.

    http://canterburyheritage.blogspot.com/2009_07_01_archive.html

    http://soac.org.nz/

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    If you like waterfowl - which I do - Christchurch is hard to beat. Present-day Brighton may be a shadow of it's Saturday-shopping heyday, but back then you'd never see a paradise duck within the city limits. Now they're colonising the green bits of Cranmer Square. Honk!

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Little Hagley is an interesting space.
    Set aside for Maori it was stated as being too close to nice neighbourhoods for that. This was by Councillors in the 1980s.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    By sheer coincidence I was in New Brighton last Sunday having never been there before. Had no preconceived notions. I saw a huge fabulous beach (white sand, aqua sea) with cared-for dunes and pathways. People surfing and kids playing. Even people flying overhead like human seagulls. I noted a frequent bus service (even on a Sunday), and a modern well used (and open on Sunday) library with free wi-fi, in prime position overlooking the beach adjoining an accessible cafe and restaurant, A busy pier which was obviously a product of long time community fundraising. At the end of which several people were catching reasonable-sized fish. Suburb-wise it reminded me a bit of Lyall Bay, a bit sandy and rugged. Stunned the next day to read of the white supremacists patrol. I don't get Christchurch.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Suburb-wise it reminded me a bit of Lyall Bay, a bit sandy and rugged.

    And windy as all hell sometimes.

    Apparently South Brighton is the Brighton to be seen in, and has a good primary school, etc. Central and north are struggling a bit more.

    But Blair and I went on a wonderful walk with his son, and I'd love to ride around the area on a bike -- it has the open space and kooky housing mix that's gradually being smoothed over here in Pt Chev.

    One of the problems is all the land-banking done n the past decade -- that accounts for the mortgagee sales and the ill-kept rental property. It needs some people to come in and love it, one street at a time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

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