Posts tagged: Wellington

Snow in Cuba

Ok, so not the ‘real’ Cuba – more like Cuba Street in Wellington. A beautiful short film by Irish film maker Ro Tierney.

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Snow in Ngaio – worst dump of snow in decades

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Video by Alan Doak

Shot on an iPhone 4 over a one hour period.

Victoria Williams and Vic Chesnutt, SFBH, Wellington

I had the greatest pleasure of seeing Victoria Williams and Vic Chesnutt perform at the San Francisco Bath-house last night. What a joy!

The first few notes are sung by Victoria and tears well up in my eyes. It’s going to be a great concert.

I have known her music since the early 1990’s – and Vic Chesnutt’s since the turn of the century. I confess, I was there to see her and not him, but Vic was a bit like an added bonus.

Victoria Williams has the most beautiful voice – at times a mezzo soprano (just) and at others sounding like a screeching six year old girl. As a solo artist (there was no-one else on stage other than Chesnutt) her piano accompaniement is spartan but perfectly balanced, playing notes only when required, allowing the listener to fill the gaps. Her prowess on guitar was similar. Beautifully haunting and melodic. She swept the small crowd along with her charm and her beguiling sense of humour and graciousness.

Is it obvious I’m more of a fan now than I was when I went?

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Miss Williams had not long hopped off the plane – she admitted she was jet-lagged. But there was no evidence of a lack of energy. In her self-confessed muddled state she had forgotten her notebook of songs. So she interspersed each song she played with humming and strumming, while she played with the audience deciding what to offer us next. Long silences were not embarrassing, far from it. Instead they raised the level of expectation as to what was coming next.

Her lyrics are very conversational and rambling, but there seems to always be a definite purpose –  “Happy” is a perfect case in point. After fourteen albums (seven as part of the Creekdippers and seven as a solo artist) she had a lot of material to draw from. It seemed like she would never stop. Every ‘this-will-be-my-last-song’ led to another, and another, or so it seemed. That was OK by me.

Vic Chesnutt took over as ‘lead’ while Victoria remained on stage enamoured with his performance and his music. Vic started the set with a little impromptu ditty about New Zealand and our ‘giant calamari’ – a running joke between the audience and both performers in the latter stages of the night.

He started his set with “The Gravity of the Situation”, one of the few songs I was familiar with. Like Victoria his lyrics are conversational and rambling (in a good way). “Florida” was a request from the crowd, and what a great song. In fact his set was pretty well made up of audience requests. We were only denied a few times, usually because the song was so far back in his repertoire that he didn’t feel confident doing it justice.

This was an inspirational concert.

Wagamama turns us away

There’s a recession on but the staff at Wagamama don’t know this.

Our family turned up there last night around 6.15pm for a quick meal. The place was buzzing and there were empty tables.

Excellent – no waiting.

Wrong – we were turned away.

A young woman told us, and the others waiting at the door, that their systems were down and (shock, horror) they were having to write everything down by hand. This meant they couldn’t serve us, or even seat us, or even take an order by hand and deliver it to the kitchen.

What is it with this reliance on electronic systems? If the maitre de had been 32 instead of 22, and had been able to add figures with a pencil and paper instead of needing to rely on a calculator then they might have been prepared to take our money instead of turning us away and leaving us with a bad taste in our mouth.

The kitchen was full of staff – are we to believe that they wouldn’t be able to cook a meal because the order was handwritten? Was management prepared to close the whole restaurant because their computer “said – No!”.

It was pathetic. We spoke to other potential diners who had also been turned away – they were from out of town. What sort of an impression did this leave them with? Being good Wellington citizens we made recommendations to them and found ourselves apologising for their bad experience.

As a result of our experience we headed to Cuba Street. I can highly recommend Rasa (next to Roger’s Tattoo Art) – an Indian and Malaysian restaurant. Small, filled with happy people, great staff (with the ability to count) and the most beautiful succulent fragrant food at very reasonable prices. And can I say how proud I am of our two seven year old boys – gobbling down butter chicken and lamb biryani like there was no tomorrow.

200 Cuba St
Phone: 04 384 7088

Why I love living in Wellington

Wild at Heart – here’s the proof

When Wellington Airport was re-branded several years back it’s new tagline became “Wild At Heart”.

Out-of-towners, and the more timid locals, think this is a ridiculous epitaph. Why would you promote flying in to Wellington as ‘wild’ and think that was a line that would attract tourists?

There are many hardy locals who love the wind. I’m one of them. I was seven years old during the Wahine Storm. It’s in my blood. It blows away lethargy. It makes riding a bike a bigger challenge than it ought to be.

But with the wind comes some responsibility. Like being careful and taking precautions. Like not even attempting to use an umbrella on Lambton Quay. Like never stopping your motorbike at the lights on the corner of  Waterloo Quay and Bunny Street (the worst wind tunnel in the capital). Wellingtonians know this.

Now pilots who fly with Pacific Blue know this too.

Footage has been revealed of a Pacific Blue 737 aircraft being blown away from the airbridge it was connected to.

  • The pilot apparently did not apply the handbrake
  • The rear wheels were not chocked

These two small actions are now, in retrospect, being classed as mandatory requirements when parking your jetliner.

[UPDATE 10 August: The YouTube video has been removed, probably because the person who posted it was likely to be a staff member at Wellington Airport and had no rights to the footage. I have only been able to salvage a still from the video.]

[UPDATE 18 August: Discovered the original video here:]

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