Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Smiths and I

I've always had a love/hate relationship with The Smiths. Love the music, but the vocal stylings of lead singer Morrissey not so much. Morrissey's utterances both on and off the records were a major impediment to me enjoying the band (I have the same issue with Rage Against The Machine as well), and since The Smiths are one of those bands that many deem essential, I wondered if I was missing something.

Then it clicked. I didn't have to like Morrissey, as long as I liked Johnny Marr:

That riff is perfection.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Finally hopping on my bike today for the first time this year, on a perfect summer morning, on the ride to work this song came up on my mp3. It was just right.

I was playing that song on another perfect summer morning in 1995 when it was only a couple of years old. Some friends and I were on a roadtrip heading up to a music festival, and stopped in Waitarere Beach for a few days. Back then I was often an early riser on the road (by choice even), and one morning I woke before dawn, and headed to the beach while the rest of the camp slept.

I had made a couple of mix tapes for the roadtrip, and I walked out onto the sand just as "Juice" was playing on my walkman. It was a calm and clear sky and the sun hadn't yet crept over the distant Tararua range to the east. In the pre dawn twilight I could look out to sea where it was still night, look inland at the brightening sky where the new day was approaching, and look up the beach and clearly see Mount Ruapehu looming in the distance, more than 140 kilometres away. There was no-one around, just me, the beach and the scenery. It was a cool moment, and I'm reminded of it whenever I hear that song. The next morning I took my camera with me on my walk, but I was a bit later and the sun was already up when I got out there, rendering the mountain invisible. It's still one of my favourite old photos though. And it's still a great song.
Waitarere Beach, January 1995

Monday, January 07, 2013

Christmas and all that

Listening to: Explosions In The Sky - Those who tell the truth shall die (2001).

The Christmas break was a blast. The only problem with getting into the "what day of the week is it?" holiday mode, is that all of a sudden you realise its Sunday, the Sunday before the Monday you go back to work (today).

Christmas Day was cool, the decorated trees (props to my sister for coming up with that) outside the family house heralding a great gathering for lunch, presents and hanging out.

It was also hot and calm, the hottest day in Wellington for a long time (and the second hottest Christmas day since records began). It was certainly the hottest I have ever seen on my backyard thermometer of ish in the six years we have had it:
The heat induced both post Christmas lunch siestas and beautiful thundery cumulonimbus clouds popping up over the ranges:
By evening it still hadn't cooled off much so we headed to my favourite local beach for a paddle. Depite the promise of ice-cream the girls conked out in the car. They quickly revived though once they realised more fun was to be had.
Even at 8pm the the beach was still alive, with people still hitting the water even as the sun set (I went for a swim, it was blissful).
Perfect end to a perfect day.