Archive for November, 2009

I am still working away on something BIG (well for me anyway) It’s all been quite laborious but nearly there. I have been thinking about the blog and just wanted to post about a few bits and pieces.

Last night I managed to get the launch of Vanda Symon’s latest crime novel. It’s a great book and I tell you Vanda’s frock was really superb too :-) Some funny moments to be had as well.

I was talking to someone about the intersection between art and my life. I ended up best summarising it by the day I attended Jim Barr and Mary Barr’s floor talk on ‘Kind of Blue’ at DPAG (entertaining and informative as always) with my handbag stuffed with the catalogue to the Tom Kreisler exhibition and a Farmers bag of Strawberry Shortcake training pants I’d just bought.

As always I have been thinking about the cultural heritage of this place. I’ve written something about it (hoping for publication some time some where) but in my research I found this wonderful website. I particularly liked the photo of the Robbie Burns Hotel.

Homage to Baxter – Resonance XXV – Robert Burns Hotel – (2000) Lloyd Goodman

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I am super busy (and a little obsessed) with a project just now. I may reveal details later if all goes to plan. Any how I spied this ‘Self Portrait/Still Life” by Joanna Margaret Paul recently and well, it felt like it was my portrait. The mundane nature of most of my life.

Self Portrait/Still Life (1999) Joanna Margaret Paul
pencil, pastel
image from Brett McDowell Gallery website

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Suburban Archaeology

Because of my housing issues and looking for a new rental etc, I have been thinking a lot about the evolution of suburban New Zealand from design and architecture angles. I have also been thinking in terms of social anthropology. All this thinking and sifting through the ‘whys’ of suburbia is a kind of archaeology as well.

I live in a 1950s brick and roughcast house, in a suburb of the same era. It’s within easy walking distance to all the shops and parks. It needs a butterfly. The lounge like most houses here is very small by modern standards, my kitchen is tiny, the bedrooms are small.  It has a lovely big back yard though on an 1/8 of an acre plot. That’s why I stay.

New builds are often hideous and sprawling and might be spacious inside but have no yard. No space for a vegetable garden , no space for a decent clothesline. So what? Well I think the comparison is interesting. It’s fairly indicative of lifestyle changes and I think, changes in values.

I am a stay-at-home mum. There isn’t the ‘norm’ anymore. I have time to have a veggie garden. I have time to go get the washing off the line if it rains. My kids are home during the day (outside school/kindy hours) and so use the back yard all the time. I assume that when you have both parents working and kids in care a lot of the time, these aren’t priorities. Lounges ‘need’ to be bigger because we have more leisure time, bigger TVs etc.

When I look at it, my house is fine for us. We don’t need big. Of course a 1950s house fails on insulation and heating but my landlord is doing something about this apparently. Right now Id be lost without my yard and garden. It suits me. Obviously it would be nice to have more space and ‘a room of one’s own’ for writing instead of the kitchen table but when I look at needs/wants/and of course money, this is ok.

And as a true suburban archaeologist I have found this in one of the wardrobes. I think its the original paper :-)


Which also makes me smile. More innocent times.

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