Island Life by David Slack

Don't Look Back

In my experience, if you have a promotion, the last thing you should be is subtle. So let me see how blunt I can get. In this blog you will find out how you can win an iPod for Christmas from your pals at Public Address. There are also CDs involved. Really. There's even a photo of the iPod to prove it, just in case you're still waiting for the punchline.

Why? Because it's Christmas, and it would be nice to offer a present to our readers because, well, I love you, man. Secondly, there's a database needs filling up.

You can thank Linda Clark's producer Amber for this. She emailed earlier this week with a question: was there a New Zealand website that listed noteworthy anniversaries and the like? Not that I could see. There's been a book or two - Max Cryer did one, apparently - and there was that TV One carry-on just before the millennium with little potted 60-second memories of simpler days when we didn't have to fret about the fridge and the microwave strangling on their chips and pegging out for the lack of two zeroes.

That brings an anniversary to mind: 2am January 1st 2000. I'm at home with our six month old baby, Karren's at work at Ports of Auckland with most of the other executive officers, all strapped to satellite mobile phones, waiting to see what the canary will do. Scenic Auckland has turned on a lovely morning for the momentous occasion. It's pouring.

So many memories. And that's the point of this exercise. I think the collective memory of our Public Address readers, and - assuming we get around to discussing this on Nine to Noon next week - Linda Clark's audience should be rich with suggestions for a list of noteworthy anniversaries.

For example: New Zealand's best day.

New Zealand's worst.

The day that saw one of us doing the smartest thing a New Zealander ever did. And the day someone (else - presumably, but not necessarily) did the dumbest.

The day the greatest outrage took place.

Most inspirational moment. Most hilarious. Most instructive. Most exciting.

Most discouraging, most moving, most staggering.

You get the idea. I think it would be good to make on online resource that pulls this together in a calendar. It's full of possibilities, but it will be nothing without a database groaning with dates and comments and recollections and insights.

I have a name for it, and I've made a little web page to enable this database to be compiled. It's called The Anniversary Project, with the subtitle, How many memorable New Zealand moments can you fit in database?

So what's in it for you? Firstly, the fun of sharing your thoughts. Secondly, and this is where I make good on the advertisement at the top of this blog, there's an iPod up for grabs. Also CDs.

I'll ask our glamorous assistant Mary-Margaret to bring it out for us.

It's mint-fresh from Dick Smith's today, and it's yours if you come up with the best suggestion. Just fill out the simple form with the memorable moment, the date it took place, and your reasons for nominating it.

And yes, there's more. If you're a student type with a bit of time on your hands right now, you could turn those research skills into hours of CD pleasure. There are ten CD vouchers from Real Groovy on offer as well, and they'll go to the ten people who contribute the most entries.

So how can you get in on this action? Click the link at the bottom of the page.

We're rewarding quantity as well as quality, so there's an opportunity for everyone here. Got to put that lefty perspective into practice whenever you can. Ulterior motives aside, this is a nice chance to say thank you. We don't have a comments thread on these pages because, as Russell has explained elsewhere, it's just too big a job to monitor. But we encourage feedback and I know we all enjoy getting it.

One of the nice things about this off-stage form of inviting blog feedback is that we get some very thoughtful email, typically with less of the glibness and sneering you get on some of the blog comments threads.

It takes me back to the earlier, more civil, days on the .nz newsgroups. People like John Shears and Andrew Llewellyn and Bart Janssen and Chris McKay regularly send me really interesting mail, and I don't imagine we'd have met up any other way than through this forum.

They'll no doubt have suggestions on useful ways to make something interesting of the the database. Some anniversaries would never be overlooked - the 25th Erebus Anniversary would have been significant, I'd say, with or without the - at times over-wrought - encouragement of the media.

We might very well pay attention to some lesser anniversaries only because someone in the media has, on occasion, found it useful to create a topic out of one, but even if it's a pretext, I still think it can be worthwhile. Perspective helps us to make sense of things. We don't seem to be especially familiar with our history, and we could do with looking back a little more.

So pull out the books, cast your mind back, and click here to get in on the action.