Tuesday, March 17, 2009

48 hours to comply

Listening to: the radio Actually, no I'm not, since the radio got boring, so now I am listening to Nobody Town - Heavy Jones Trio

Photo Challenge Redux
Two years ago I drove up to Auckland on my lonesome to attend an Airshow. Having no-one to talk to, and pondering ways to stay alert, I hit upon a blog driven photo challenge to keep me occupied on the drive. I elicited targets from my readers, and it was wildly successful, in the way that only a man taking random pictures of things at the side of the road can be.

The initial challenge call is here
The results are here

So two years on after a planned family trip to the AK was scaled back, and scaled back again, I find myself facing 18 odd hours of solo tedium, which singing out loud badly can only go so far to relieve (although the airshow in the middle should help a bit, and hopefully my choice of campsite).

So who's up for a rematch?

The rules are simple. Via the magic of comments, or txt if you have my number, or email if you have that, tell which things between Wellington and Auckland that are notionally visible from State Highway 1 you want a happy snap of.

I'll only apply two caveats:
1. Nothing from the previous list is allowed. Too easy. I posted the links so you could do your homework.
2. Anything requiring an interior shot that isn't a tunnel will not be eligible. Especially not the interior of public toilets, which I got a frankly alarming number of requests for last time.

Whoever gets the most targets photographed gets a prize.

Since this trip is being done on an exact and tight budget, I'm also willing to run a side sweepstake on how far I'll get on a single tank of petrol by employing hypermiling (ah, where would we be without Wikipedia? Probably a little bit smarter I think) techniques. On my last trip up I got to the far side of Hamilton (about 530 km) before needing a refill. Since at a stretch I can get that sort of milage around town, I'm thinking a big improvement can be gained on the open road. Guess the best milage out of a tank I get and you get a prize.

I'm setting off at around 0700 on Friday morning, so you have until then to get your requests in.

Other Stuff

Homegrown was a lot of fun. I spent most of it revisiting old and good times, embracing the fact that in recent years I have diversified into listening to several genres, at heart I am a rocker.

Fur Patrol never really went away, although they are nothing like as visible now as they were in the late nineties and early oughts. Still a much better band live than they ever were recorded.
I had never seen Dimmer live before, so had no idea what to expect, but I do have one of their albums, so my expectation of effects laden fuzz rock turned out to be right on. I thought to be fair I should have gotten a picture that includes the band as well as Shane Carter, but since for all intents and purposes he is Dimmer, he can suffice (I mean, can anyone name any other members off the top of their heads?). If you don't know ho he is, google the name and follow the links around for a while.
I was hanging out to see Hutt rockers Weta, since I wasn't yet a fan the last time I saw them play (Supporting Soundgarden at The Wellington Town Hall in 1996). I didn't really get into them until they had ceased to function, albeit after revealing a very 'grows on you' album in 2000. Reforming just for this event, they stated that this was to be their last gig, so I am glad I was there. And it was a good set, they were tight for a band that hasn't toured in ten years, and played all of my favourites. It got a bit weird at the end when they had one too many hangers on on stage, but it was so worth it.
But what me and a whole lot of other people were also hanging out for was seeing the almighty Head Like A Hole (later shortened to HLAH) reformed. And they owned it like they had never been away, the best gig from anyone I have seen in a while. They have always been one of my favourite live acts. The music was loud and tight, and the banter truly kiwi rock and roll (including a hilarious send up of fellow festival performers Evermore). HLAH reminded everybody of just why they are local legends of the game.
Fur Patrol, Weta and HLAH were all prominent bands in the Wellington scene in the 1990's. Now the Wellington scene (for lack of a better word) seems to be a bit dub heavy (more about that later), but back then it was all rock baby. At the time I felt a certain pride and ownership that these bands (and others) were making good music in my city, and they were from my city, it was exciting. Revisiting it was a whole lot of fun, and more than a little wistful. Plus it was evident that while I always thought of them as 'ours' in the sense of being Wellington bands, a whole lot of people came to see them on Saturday because they thought of them as 'ours' in the sense of being New Zealand bands, which was cool.
I was a bit moany about the scheduling on Saturday, and still am a little bit (I missed Concord Dawn entirely, caught the end of Supergroove's set, and didn't realise Shapeshifter were still playing until after I had left), but overall it was nice not to travel anywhere to go to a decent one day music event, and I really enjoyed it.


kiwilauren said...

I may give you impossible suggestions, considering my Canadianness and thus my lack of solid knowledge of what communities and/or landmarks might be en route from Welly to Auckland on Highway 1. Nonetheless, I'll give it my best shot:

1. A kiwi bird highway sign
2. A sign with a cheesy bull-related pun in Bulls
3. The giant carrot at Ohakune
4. The monument for the 1953 Tangiwai rail disaster
5. A fish and chips shop, possibly in Paraparaumu (if it's on the way?)
6. A wild horse sign on the highway
7. A beautiful sunset
8. A winding road sign for a distance of over 20km
9. Mt. Ruapehu
10. Somebody wearing a beret or fedora or some other equally entertaining piece of head fashion

Janet said...

Hopefully I'm not accidentally submitting this twice....

- The Waikato river control gates in Taupo
- a sign protesting against the Transpower pylon upgrade in the Waikato
- The huntaway dog in Hunterville
- A lost hub cap
- A combine harvester or other farm machinery being driven really slowly on the highway
- A rest area with a pretty view
- The Mangakino viaduct (If that's what it's called? The one the train goes on above the highway with the Rangatikei River on the other side)
- A stock crossing sign
- an empty riverbed
- an interesting letterbox
- I'm still keen on seeing if you can find a bank that's been converted to an antique or second hand shop too!

R said...

I put this against the wrong post - doh!!

For the photo challenge:

1. The Peach Teats cow - extra points for a shot with a real cow in view

2. At least 5 Subways, all on the SH1 route taken (no detours) - the old one in Bulls (now opposite the new one in Bulls) could count if necessary

3. A laden hitchhiker

4. A truck stopped at the side of the road or in a rest area in the middle of nowhere

5. The David Lange memorial in Mangere (always wanted to see that one!)

2treesandahorse said...


The corrugated iron dog thing.

A Healthy Sheep, free range and all.

2 trees and a horse.

Lake taupo red with the setting sun.

A hole in one on the lake taupo golf challenge.

the tank outside the waiouru military museum.

3 good looking kiwi birds.

that’s all.

Olivia said...

um ...I googled something and came up with your blog thingo, at least this page of it ...it might be the first one I've ever read ....but it was interesting cos I know those bands, I was in Wellington 1996-2000, I saw Weta play at Soundgarden, I'm 32 and I have a little 8 month old baby ...not sure how those are connected but it was enjoyable reading your thoughts ...kind of like catching up with a friend for a beer, but actually I don't know you at all ....I shall now go and do afternoon stay at home mum stuff in Melbourne ....oh yeah I remember was googling James Cabaret to see if it still exists....oh and good luck with your daughter.

Off-Black said...

Thanks for your thoughts Olivia, hopefully you catch up with this reply.(you wouldn't by any chance be the 'Queen of the night' Olivia who DJ'd on Channel Z back in the day would you ? :)).

Talking about old bands and children sure makes you feel grown up eh? Hopefully my little girl will be interested in the sounds I grew up with when she is old enough.

Not sure what is happening with the James Cab. There haven't been any gigs there for a while. It was operating as a venue for a while under the name "The Parthenon", which it was the last time I went to a gig there, in 2003ish, either Violent Femmes or Shihad, I cant remember which. It is missed, it is a good sized venue. You also might be interested to know that after operating for a while as "Valve", the hole in the wall has recently reopened under its original name.

olivia said...

yup ...the very same ....Olivia that is ....the one who used to be on Channel Z, as for the Queen of the Night stuff, that's just embarrassing ......

A shame about the James Cabaret ....I have good memories of seeing bands there ...up the top in the little bar bit ...god it was hot and smokey and great.

My 2 and 1/2 year old loves any music we love. I just play stuff I like to listen to around the house and very little "for children" stuff, cos it's naf. He likes to sing along to Martha by Tom Waits ....and I'm not even saying that to sound cool, even though it is. This maybe a bad thing cos perhaps he will have to rebel against something later on in life and be the opposite to us ...and maybe the opposite would be liking something like Maroon 5.

I liked the Hole in the Wall.

thanks for the info.

Off-Black said...

Wow, hows that for a random shot in the dark. Sorry if I embarrassed you, without being wierd I was a big fan of your show. Channel Z, especially before it was networked to the AK introduced me to a whole bunch of good sounds I never heard before. Thanks for the memories anyhow, they were (mostly) good times! Nowadays I listen to Radio Active mostly, everything else just gets too samey.

I agree with the 'for children' stuff being totally naff too. Banned from my car, although my wife has one CD in hers...:) Thats awesome your kid is into Tom Waits.

olivia said...

well, I wouldn't say he was into Tom Waits, that would be a bit of an exaggeration. ....but he does like Martha, actually he calls it Rainy Days.

Channel Z introduced me to lots of good music as well, we both probably have to thank John for that, my boss, the program director.

Um, RRR (Triple R), is a radio station in Melbourne which you might like to stream ...it's a student/community radio, but very accessible and I listen to it a lot, esp the morning show. Um, I think www.rrr.org.au.

o.k well, have a good week ....and blog on....or something.