Sunday, 29 November 2009

Mission Thwarted

This morning I got up at 5am because I had been keeping an eye on a very useful website called which indicated that a certain surf spot should be receiving a 2-metre swell, waves in the range 4-6 foot and it rated conditions 7/10, 10 being perfect. So I set off for the roughly 140 km round trip to the isolated locale.

Naturally, I was primed with anticipation. There was a possibly unfavourable wind change in the afternoon so I aimed for the early morning session. I was nearly down to the bottom of the gravel road which ends at the surf break when a 4-wheel drive with 2 surfers in it came up the other way and gave me their verdict: thumbs down, as they went past.

I pulled up at the break, walked across to the beach and witnessed about 1'-2' waves breaking too close to the rocks on a full tide. Bummer!

When did we all get so American?

Now don't get me wrong. This is not an anti-American diatribe or anything. I have nothing against America. I have three first cousins who are American.

But last night I attended an event called Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park which is an annual free event, all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. It seemed like nearly every teenager in the city was there and they were all doing these hip greetings with the clasped hands and shoulder-bumping jive which I'm sure has been copied from MTV clips and other like sources of rap/hip-hop culture.

It made me think of the "Roman Empire" of the 20th and 21st centuries: America. How dominant has been its influence on global popular culture.

Admittedly, I am an old fart, but when I grew up in this small country in the 1960s, there was no high-fiving and all those other American affectations. A lot of it has sprung from the black urban culture of the USA. I'm a big fan, don't get me wrong. I love the fact that black America gave the world the blues, jazz, r'n'b, hip-hop, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, hell, even Eddie Murphy before he went all Disneyland and innocuous.

But Pax Americana has also swamped many cultures around the world. I would like to see the youth of Aotearoa/New Zealand embrace their own culture and give a Kiwi embrace when they meet.

Monday, 2 November 2009


I hope you don't mind if I use different fonts. Some folk like things to be familiar, others like to mix it up.

I was checking the surf this morning (which is my daily habit) and it was glassy, windless and lucky to be 1 foot in height (also, sadly, more frequent an occurence than I like). So I headed home to do some gardening. We have a quarter-acre section or about 985 square metres, if you prefer. We call it "our work in progress".

I was driving from the sea towards our home which is not far, but as I came up a main road that runs alongside a river (our street runs off it), the sun was glinting on the river and I was looking towards the Southern Alps and there was still quite a lot of snow caps despite it being Spring. I just thought, it doesn't get much more beautiful than this.

Now, if only the surf would pump like Puerto Escondido in Mexico or even Raglan in New Zealand or Superbank in Queensland (minus the crowds), this would be close to Paradise on Earth.