Notes for a song

Category: Memories

Ellen is Leaving

Like so many Kiwis, Ellen is off on her OE.
As Ellen tries to minimize her belongings to one backpack’s worth she realizes she’s lost her passport. As I watch her desperately dig through the backpack’s pockets it’s like watching myself all the times I’ve taken off for far flung lands. There was that time I arrived at the airport and handed my passport over at check-in only to be told my passport had expired a few days earlier.
But of course Ellen is dealing with much bigger issues than where she misplaced her passport. She has to leave her boyfriend and she is having trouble saying goodbye. Her friends gather to farewell her and play parlour games, Ellen experiences that moment I’ve felt, I’m sure you’ve felt, where she realises Holy Crap I’m going to MISS these people.

This is a sweet little film from Wellington babe Michelle Savill. There’s a pot luck! There are fairy lights! There’s celebrity heads! These are just some of the good things. Go, enjoy.

You can see Ellen is Leaving at the New Zealand International Film Festival 2012. You can watch the trailer here:



Re-issue 02

You can order this book and see some lovely images and writing (including mine)

Lack of focus

No wonder I can never finish things.

I’m packing up my room today and I have unearthed some treasures.

There’s the beginning of a novel which starts out as a kind of magic realist vampire story and a few pages later is more like pulpy romance.

There are no less than 8 half-full notebooks which shift from poetry to shopping lists to journal entries to short film scripts.

There’s the nude lipstick, the neon orange lipstick, the cherry red lipstick, the purple, the bright pink.

There’s the baseball cap, the sequined hat, the schoolgirl beret.

There’s the start of a Master’s since abandoned… no wonder, I was trying to combine thrift markets, hip hop and internet performance into one cohesive argument.

This a diagram of asanas to be performed each night to aid insomnia. Another diagram of asanas to be performed in the morning to increase energy. I’m not sure which is which.

I am unfocused by nature, preferring to spend a little time on a wide variety of activities. my old school reports I found suggest the same.
I like so many different things, and am passionate about more than a few.

I’m packing to Gang Starr and The Fugees – that hasn’t changed.

The holiest outfit in the world

Isn’t it funny how sounds and smells can evoke memories so strong they seem real? Well I guess objects can do it to.

This is a sad/happy tale of a little black silk singlet I bought in 2006. Now, my choppy and changey attitude to fashion means that clothing items stay in my wardrobe no longer than a couple of years and then get sold/swapped/ebay’d/trademe’d/donated or just plain chucked. But for some reason this little black silk singlet has stayed with me. Actually, I do know why. It’s a very nice shape. It sits under anything. It’s soft, it’s comforting. It’s been with me through major landmark events, it’s survived several transoceanic flights, it’s served as key undergarment to many a sheer blouse. I always thought this little cami and I would be friends forever.

I remember the first time I washed it, I poured tepid water into a bucket and added a tiny drop of washing liquid. I was so careful as I handled the silk, I patted the fabric gently, avoided wringing it, then I lay it on a towel to dry. Over the years I have become lazier, tossing the cami in with other handwashables in a big soupy mess of fabrics, hanging it over wire racks, balling it up in the bottom of the laundry basket and more recently I’ve taken to letting it slip into the machine (on delicate cycle! But still!) Today I reached for old faithful cami and as I lifted it over my head I noticed the holes that had been forming these last lazy years had widened, the stitches at the seam coming apart entirely. To put it simply, old cami is one foot in the grave.

I wore it anyway.

I remembered wearing it on stage at a poetry reading in Wellington. I remembered briefly considering donating it to an op shop in Glasgow. I remembered wearing it out to a club inside a wine barrel on the LES.

On my way out of the house, I noticed three large holes in my wool cardigan as well.

The best email I ever got…

I opened up my inbox today to find this little delight:

hi dear
how much per hr

I don’t know anything about the sender but there’s a definite poetry in the brevity and absence of punctuation.

I have yet to formulate a worthy response.

Reader Request #1

I hate taking the 96 on Sunday evenings. After 7.30, the trams run a lot less frequently. Not to mention the stop nearest my house is the worst tram stop in Melbourne, no seat, no protection from the elements, traffic speeding by on both sides. And for some reason I always get there late. Partly because Tram Tracker lies. Partly because I am convinced I can walk the two long blocks from Smith to Nicholson in less than 8 minutes. I can’t. But also that Tram Tracker thing.

This particular evening in question I felt I was making good time, despite Tram Tracker’s lies. It felt like it had been about 7 minutes plus I had only listened to two tracks on my ipod. I sped up as I felt the rumble of tram on track in the distance. I rounded the corner into Nicholson and saw the tram pulling up to the stop. I was still quite a few steps away so I picked up my pace. Luckily, two young gents had spotted me through the back of the tram and one placed himself against the door of the tram, preventing the driver from pulling out.

I started to run as the boys motioned for me to hurry. What fine young fellows holding the door for me! I finally reached the tram and headed for the back door where they were. Just as I neared, the rascal holding the door blew me a kiss and stepped out of the way as the doors shut with me on the wrong side of them. Leaving me to spend the next 22 minutes at the least user-friendly tram stop in Melbourne.

Travel memory #2

I was 15 when I went to Medellín, Colombia. I was there for a poetry festival my father was performing at.
We were housed in a magnificent 19th century hotel in the city centre. The beds were hard, but there was a definite charm to the place. We were provided with 3 buffet meals a day. All the poets, translators, volunteers and indigenous representatives convened to eat and discuss the latest readings.
We spent some of our time at a finca outside of the city. Everything looked like a painting. There was a talking parrot, but he only spoke Spanish. Three sisters lived there, and we had arepas with queso blanco for breakfast every morning.
The festival was wild. Each event boasted a high quality PA. Some readings drew crowds of 2000. University students flocked to the plazas, cafes, bars and even the psychiatric hospital to hear the poets read. The poets were treated like rock stars. The muchachos and muchachas lined up around the block to have their commemorative collections signed. The poets were cheered on. Young children danced. Old women stood up and closed their eyes as they listened.
On the last night there was a party. Rage Against the Machine competed with salsa music for the revelers’ attention. The muchachos flapped like chickens. The muchachas taught the poets to dance.

Pass the parcel

For my secret santa this year, I made a pass the parcel game. It’s simple really, homemade, and involves recycling. Which is a good combo when choosing a secret santa gift.
Take an old newspaper. Wrap up some sweet prize in the middle. Put a tiny treat in between the layers.
But there’s a twist – add a challenge written on coloured card. The player can only enjoy their treat once they’ve completed the challenge.
“Convince another player to exchange an item of clothing with you. Make them believe the change is permanent.”
“Sing or hum the chorus to a Beyonce song.”
“Count to ten in a language other than English.”
“Perform a scene of high drama that concludes with you storming out of the room.”
Ideally, players would be slightly lubricated before the game commences.

A limp

Today I am walking around with a limp

because I stood on some glass

on NYE

actually, I smashed the glass

Then I stood on some

I was drunk

Now I have an awesome gangster gait

and people keep offering me sympathy

and I’m pretty sure the cut’s not infected.

So, I win.

Cool things

Things that are cool now that weren’t cool when I was growing up:
1. Glasses
2. Hairy armpits
3. Sunhats
4. Keep cups
Things that are cool now that were also cool when I was growing up:
1. Platform shoes
2. Crop tops
3. Hip hop
4. Op shops
{Not a definitive list.}