Piss artist

When one thinks of Jerry Collins, one’s mind immediately turns to … elderflowers. That’s because Matterhorn’s “Jerry Collins” cocktail (a version of the classic Tom Collins) incorporates such manly ingredients as elderflower cordial and feijoa vodka. That’s hardly news to Wellingtonians, but its fame has spread across the Tasman and got a whole article in the Sydney Morning Herald’s “Rugby Heaven” (hat tip to Duncan in Sydney for the link).

When I asked the bar staff about it this morning, they hadn’t heard of the article, but they were amused to read their boss’s quote that “When the All Blacks or Hurricanes play in Wellington and feel like going to a bar for a drink they can come to the Matterhorn and nobody will mob them for autographs, or in many cases even know who they are”. They probably get mistaken for members of Fat Freddy’s Drop.

Apparently the name is ironic. Really? I thought it was because elderflowers are a diuretic.

Does Harbour Quays suck?

Harbour Quays 'sucking the soul out of Wellington'You’ve probably seen the articles and full-page ads in the Dominion Post by a group opposing the Harbour Quays development, and may have looked at their Vibrant Wellington website. I’ve written about Harbour Quays several times before, and while I’ve always been sceptical of the “office park” concept, I must admit I was a little wary of the opposing campaign, since it seems to be driven by a group of property developers and commercial landlords worried that cheap competition might undercut the soaring office rents that they’re currently enjoying. But last Thursday’s “open letter to the city of Wellington” was also signed by retailers, restaurateurs and three of Wellington’s most prominent architects, so clearly there’s a broader base to the opposition.

read on…

Back on track: why submit?

Drawing of an LRT stopSubmissions on the North Wellington Public Transport Study close on Wednesday, and while this is obviously of major interest to those who live in that area, everyone else could be forgiven for thinking it irrelevant. However, there are many reasons why other Wellingtonians should care.

read on…

Mystery bar number 35

There are plenty of issues I could be writing about today, such as whether the Harbour Quays development will suck the life out of the CBD, the merits of the new Cathryn Monro sculpture planned to go outside the Musuem Hotel, and of course the endless transport debates. However, I seem to have got into a pleasantly intoxigenic mode this week, so it’s time for another mystery bar.


read on…

Happy bleepings

BleepThis Wednesday night at Happy, a diverse bunch of musicians will get together for a live collaborative performance called “Bleep”. They’ve all got one thing in common: they make music with machines.

And by “machines”, they don’t just mean computers. Sure, there’s the usual brace of laptops and MPCs, but the preliminary workshop also included an electric violin, an op-shop omnichord, electronic drums, analogue tape-delays, an ancient Casiotone and what looked like a genetically engineerd hybrid between a chinese stringed instrument and a mechanical typewriter. The resulting sounds ranged from delicate to frantic, but as this is an improvised collaboration, no-one (least of all us) will know quite what to expect.

Eclectic Electric

Here are a few things to keep your mind off the weather this weekend.

The World Press Photo ’06 exhibition kicks off at Shed 11 today. It’s been interesting to see that the publicity around town has taken a very political angle this year.

Just along the waterfront at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea (I wish they’d find a shorter name!), they’re already two weeks into the month-long Wellingtonia LIVE event. The word “eclectic” doesn’t even begin to describe the range of things going on there: there’s a performances from the Tinakori Handbell Association, a Matariki celebration with Toni Huata, hurdy-gurdies, shanty singers, ghost tours, kete weaving and a debate on the controversial Marine Education Centre. My main interest will be in the series of talks organised by the Architectural Centre entitled “Why I do architecture”. These kick off at 1pm tomorrow with Anna Kemble-Walsh and Martin Hanley of Red Design and John Mills of John Mills Architects.

Poster for debut gig by The Blush ResponseFrom eclectic to electric: new synth-pop band The Blush Response have their debut gig at Sandwiches tomorrow night. The band may be new, but the musicians will be very familiar to Wellingtonians: Jeramiah Ross (aka Module), Rhian Sheehan, Raashi Malik (of Rhombus, among others) and Paul McLaney of Gramsci.

Finally, you could always try to figure out the location of the current Mystery Bar. If you do, you’d better get looking tonight because it’s closed on Saturday nights (that’s a clue). It also has something in common with Sandwiches.

Shed in Transition

Just quietly, there’s an intriguing little exhibition on at Shed 11 until Sunday: “Transitions” is a collection of images by photography students at Massey University. All the photographs are of the waterfront, covering diverse subjects such as the visiting “Big Lift” ship, the inner workings of the Brewery and the way that marine life manages to colonise even rubbish and pollutants.

Shed 11 seen from One Red Dog

It’s all a little bit self-referential, since many of the images investigate the ever-changing nature of the waterfront, and the venue itself looks likely to see a significant change soon. There are plans afoot to make it the permanent home of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery and the New Zealand Centre for Photography. The photography theme continues next week with the start of the World Press Photo 06 exhibition.

Good hatitude

Do you have a hankering for a homburg? Are you bereft of bowlers? Is it time to farewell that fading fedora?

Wellington Hatters in Woodward StFear not: Hank Cubitt is bringing his unique sartorial style to Wellington’s bareheaded masses with the new Wellington Hatters shop in Woodward St. And Hank being Hank, he’s not content to just bring you traditional headwear, so his offerings extend to straw top hats, patchwork tweed cheesecutters and feathered felt creations that will certainly help you stand out among the Lambton Quay crowds. It’s not just for the chaps, either, as he also stocks chapeaux for the chapettes.

Now, does anyone have any hints on how to keep them on your head in a Wellington northerly? I once had a very fine Panama that ended up somewhere near the Chathams.

Grid time

I’ve been so busy the last week, for reasons that Hadyn can explain better than I, that I’ve got a bit behind on my Gridskipper reading. In fact, I totally missed the fact that not only did Wellington beat Baku in the “Pitch Your Burg” contest, we now have our first official Gridskipper post! It has all the obligatory Wellytown references, including Fat Freddy’s Drop, the ‘Canes, Waitangi Park, the fact that we’re all so over hobbits, and of course, a mis-spelling of “Courtney” Place. It also somehow manages to mention pretty much every Wellington blog in existence. And only one reference to P!

Wir darn darn darn auf der Autobahn

Crocheted bunny - photo by ellipseOkay, so that’s a lame song-lyric pun, but you try coming up with something wittier when you’ve just spent 48 hours chained up in fluffy handcuffs and you’re writing a post about a craft fair called “Craftwerk”. Since this is from the people who brought you BitchCraft, it’s not the usual raffia mafia and dodgy doilies: expect more along the lines of Cleavage Girls buttons, knitted posters for Disasteradio, self-published ‘zines and teddies with entrails. Yummy.

I could try rewriting the press release, but my brain is still busy recaffeinating, and besides, I have to get the candlewax and lipstick off my tux. So, here’s the press release in its entirety.

CraftWerk is a bi-monthly craft fair featuring the best and brightest of the Wellington craft scene. The inaugural CraftWerk launches at The Paramount Theatre on the 13th of July from 5.30pm.

CraftWerk will feature a diverse range of: art, handmade items, and indie designer fashion, representing New Zealand’s handmade revolution. What sets CraftWerk apart from any other fair is our intention to foster and inspire kiwi crafters without profiting at their expense. Simply think traditional fairs with a twist and you have CraftWerk.

The Paramount Theatre Wellington’s oldest Cinema and now its hottest events venue is where CraftWerk calls home. The Paramount’s lounge bar is stocked with a wide range of beers and wines as well as soft drinks, snacks and Kapiti ice-cream. This relaxing atmosphere, in the middle of Wellington’s hub of entertainment and nightlife, Courtenay Place, allows vendors and shoppers alike a break from the bustle and a chance to absorb the CraftWerk experience.