Random Play by Graham Reid

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Random Play: Ring out the old, ring in the new . . .

21 Responses

  • Joe Wylie,

    I guess a nation that has survived two atomic bombings, a series of rupturing bubble economies, not to mention Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera and a host of others, tends to take the long-term view.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    When the PA readers realised that Labour would not be returning to the Treasury Benches there was a great wailing etc

    The same advice was; don't panic, it has all happened before, the sky will almost certainly not fall, shit happens and don’t worry

    The important bit is don't worry

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • ali bramwell,

    a Bobby McFerrin moment for New Year.

    Ive noticed that the 'dont worry' doctrine has already morphed into the Ostrich doctrine for many people of my acquaintance. On the principle that it is all totally incomprehensible and the kind of scary reserved for boogey men, the main coping mechanism seems to be Ignore that which you cant change and would really prefer not to be reminded about.

    This effect has already progressed so far that to mention any financial system more complex than the purchase of a bus ticket appears to be a new social faux pas similar to farting at the dinner table. If you forget yourself in public a small disapproving pause ensues during which tiny frowns and delicately wrinkled noses may be visible, followed by a resumption of chatter about something entirely different.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2007 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    It is difficult to reconcile the dominant rhetoric of economic doom and gloom, with observations of everyday life. We are in Wellington, heading south, and I visited the California Garden Centre in Miramar for the first time for over 20 years. I remember it as a slightly tatty but interesting place to buy plants; now it is a giant emporium selling all kinds of gee-gaws for the wealthy middle classes. Yesterday, there were many of the well-healed class buying gee-gaws. The cafes are still full and supermarket carparks bursting, with no perceptible increase in beggars on the street.

    On the other hand, sad little towns like Woodville show that wealth has eluded some parts of New Zealand.

    I guess it all to do with the circles you move in, and the politics which reassure. And I guess that there is a degree of schadenfreude that difficult times have been landed in National's lap, with the expectation that they won't cope with it very well.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Roger Ebert in his journal and his wonderful comments section explore doom and gloom form a myriad angles.

    It's a crime to just extract one paragraph.

    I dreamed, we all dreamed, for years that the future held vague visions of progress and prosperity, and that our problems would be "solved" by science. How many of us are so sure about that now? I wonder if we are living in the End of Days. I do not mean that in a biblical sense. I mean that we seem to be irrevocably screwing things up. In the case of the global warming problem, we may have already done so. Please, please, don't tell me global warming is Al Gore's fantasy. I am reminded of a great line by Saul Bellow. A dying man tells his brother: "Look for me in the weather reports."

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    On the other hand, sad little towns like Woodville show that wealth has eluded some parts of New Zealand.

    Just been talking on the phone to someone who moved there a few months back. They couldn't be happier.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Roger Ebert in his journal and his wonderful comments section

    Thanks, Bob, that was well worth a read. Fine wordsmith.

    Spooky to find several commenters alluding to Children of Men - a movie that has echoed for me, too, since doom lurched over the horizon. Pleased I have a large garden to eat from, although I really will have to stop growing so many pretty things that aren't edible. And a reasonably clean river down the road.

    sad little towns like Woodville

    Just drove through there the other day - the Windmill capital of NZ, it says on the sign. Depends what you want, i guess - towns like Woodie are more into tourist and traveller dollars these days.

    I spent some time there a while back at the Lindauer gallery and his old home (the painter, not the bubbly!), trying to track down the provenance of a painting that's still in my family. I suspect it was won in a card game, possibly from the artist himself.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • JohnS,


    The schoolhouse has 4 stainless steel flues arising from the brick stumps of the original chimneys.

    My schoolteacher father pushed the cracked brick chimneys down with a manuka clothes prop after damage caused by the 1932 earthquake.

    I'm old enough to remember him doing it.

    (Piece of useless information.)

    Greenlane, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    (Piece of useless information.)

    But very cool, thanks for that. As it happens, I was admiring a pair of recently crafted homegrown akeake clothes props at a backyard new year's eve gathering. "We don't need no Mitre 10", said their proud maker. I'm sure he'll be pleased to know that they'll come in handy for poking things after a natural disaster.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    We love useless, oddball information :>

    JohnS, you don't remember any Wahlbergs from southern Hawkes Bay by any chance? Eigil or Mark?

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Joe Wylie, where you say you're from "Outside the theme park' do you mean out of nz altogether or just out in the wopwops somewhere? Just curious.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Thanks for your interest Kerry. I'm presently in mid-suburban Chch, outside of the range of the pretend trams etc, which only tourists can afford to ride.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Yeah, I totally get that . Don't mind the visitors, it's the glitzy fakery that sucks. I feel that way about Napier, my home town. it was lovely to grow up in - laid back, beach culture, still a tourist town but less of the "constructed" attractions.

    Now it's Art Deco mania - despite having demolished lots of the genuine buildings and houses right up to the 1990s - and the winery/cafe scene, vineyards etc. The beaches are sad - the sea has eroded most of the sand away at their very own Malibu, Westshore, & will eat the houses soon; the town beach is so dangerous, the sea whips out salty fingers and drags people under. Truly - people have been snatched whilst paddling or walking, let alone swimming. Lovely old Ahuriri which used to be slightly seedy and characterful-shabby has been gentrified. All the horrors of property developing sharks let loose.

    The whole theme park thing might slow quite drastically now? We're really overdue on living up to that "100% Pure NZ" bull the Tourism ministry pushes.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    And if the economy really does fall over, someone or another will make us a new currency to trade in anyway. Or the government can do the Japanese trick of setting interest rates well below inflation for a couple decades to gently wipe away everyone's bad debts (and savings, but never mind).

    Hopefully it's all gone belly up in time to save Dunners from that nutty stadium idea and great glass "who needs a wharf anyway" horror for the ORC to live in: as the '87 crash just barely preserved the central city historic buildings,

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I think also the Govt has little choice but to engage in New Deal-esque public works, since the Crunch has gushed away any potential suitors for their much-touted PPP's.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And surprisingly, NZ's largest builder is actually quite doubtful about the effectiveness of PPP's.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,


    a few points ('cause i'm a pedant (a.k.a. pendant? in PA speak) and have lived in Tokyo on and off for the last 23 years):

    1. "sudden recession aka crash". Nah. That's one of the main things about what happened here in the 90s. There was never any sudden crash or severe recession. Never. Not once. Just a very long period in which the stock market went down and stayed down, jobs got pretty tight (especially for young graduates) and real estate prices lost 80-95% from the 1989-90 peak. There was essentially no growth in GDP from about 1992 till 2002. There was persistent deflation and lots of insolvent banks that were repeatedly "rescued." On the last trading day in 1989, the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed with the Nikkei index at 38,915. On Wednesday, the last day of 2008, the Nikkei closed at 8,859. So you can see that the 80s bubble was a big bubble. But the Japanese economy never "crashed". The world-leading high-tech companies kept exporting their wares as before. People kept going out to eat, drink and shop, just not as crazily as in the 80s. Eventually, a global boom in recent years meant Japan could register GDP growth again. Whew.

    2. "Don't worry". Yeah. Good advice. "Don't panic". Even better. But it pays to reflect a bit about how the world works and whether this cyclical system is in fact sustainable for more than just a few more years or not. Hedging ones bets is never a bad idea. Hope for the best, prepare for serious shit happening. You know the story.

    3. Liam Dann. Yeah. Good piece. But he stretches credibility with the "Then suddenly with the collapse of Lehman on September 14 the financial world imploded" shtick. Nah. Lot's of smart "outsiders" were saying exactly that scenario would happen (not predicting which organisations would fail and exactly when, but taking some very accurate guesses backed up by robust arguments). But the mainstream press refused to discuss the coming financial meltdown until well after it arrived.

    4. Don't laugh too much about Iceland because it could easily happen much closer to home...

    5. Have a good 2009. I look forward to some great blog posts and, well, when are you coming to Japan again?

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 646 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Wood,

    Graham - for some reason I imagine the band was probably Buffalo Daughter: -- and even if it wasn't, it probably should have been... doesn't get much more Tokyo than that.

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Reid,

    just waking up from xmas/new year and shaking the sleep out of my brain so thought i'd respond to a couple of points.
    cheers stephen for your insight: yes i was painting with a brooooaaad brush for the purposes of making a point. fully understand the complexity of what happened in japan (actually in truth i don't understand global economics at all!) and that things deflated rather more slowly -- and stayed down -- than i suggested.
    i did love how so many japanese could say as if it were one word "whentheeconomicbubbleburst".
    and certainly don't panic is maybe better than don't worry: but my point was about "worry". in one of those 'it won't happen overnight but it will happen' scenarios we must of course remember to be cautious etc etc but to worry endlessly just feeds the problem (as i see the negative mainstream media in nz enjoying doing, the herald started a thing about 'how many jobs lost today' before xmas but that seems to have sensibly been sidelined)
    i can't speak for liam but take your point (although the iceland joike is just that, a joke) and he too was just going for the broad sweep. nice final paragraph of his though.
    and me getting back to japan?
    Ha! i wish. certainly not on the horizon though am aiming for korea again this year so you never know.
    And to greg: nope i know buffalo daughter and it wasn't them although i'd love to see them live, i play their pshychic album a lot (when megan is out!)
    my favourite japanese "band" was two guys busking near yoyoji park called paper knife: just two guitars and a beat box and they were beatles-meets-bacharach with a DIY twist. i bought their cassettes (hand drawn covers, like daniel johnston) and play them all the time.
    thanks for responding.
    and happpy new year to you all

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Remember those politicians who pointed to the Celtic Tiger as a model for NZ to follow? According to Brian Gaynor, one of the last bastions of reason @ the Granny, it's been neutered.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Remember those politicians who pointed to the Celtic Tiger as a model for NZ to follow? According to Brian Gaynor, one of the last bastions of reason @ the Granny, it's been neutered.

    Karma, man. The abominable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toon series, along with a slew of other horrible productions, was cranked out in Ireland by teams of barely-trained mechanics with pencils. All made possible by tax-free status for the "arts".

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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