Category Archives: Writing

Auckland Part 1

I remember the sense of wonder that I used to feel as I crested the divide that marked the entry into the wonderland that I knew as Auckland.  Auckland was a place of magic, I remember a  song from Calamity Jane, “they’ve got shacks up to seven stories” springs to mind.  The magic started for me with the big wide roads that then led onto the motorway.  This winding piece of black that wound its way closer and closer to what for me was just the most amazing place, downtown! One place in particular.

We moved from the booming metropolis of Gisborne, somewhere around 1970, in Gisborne we did have one lift, ( I was terrified of lifts but that’s another story)and a magical vacuum tube system (A Lamson tube system to be precise)in a department store, The Melbourne Cash Department Store.  The store was devastated by fire, I can still remember to this day the smell of the wool that had been burnt http://tinyurl.com/pe9v5eo.  Downtown Gisborne seemed so huge, I had visited another big city, Christchurch but apart from memories of Tinytown I think in Christchurch or Lyttleton and a Magic shop in an arcade in Christchurch perhaps a function of my age.

Hamilton had DIC department store and a sprawling Farmers but two stories was as big as it got, Auckland however, well Auckland had neon lights, a cowboy, no less, twirling his magic rope,and drawing on a cigarette, that was exciting enough to an 8 or nine year old from small town New Zealand but wait there’s more.  Auckland had a Farmers store, it was this amazing cornucopia of everything that you could imagine a household needed, it had escalators, escalators, my lord, I could not believe it, freedom to travel up at speed without the terrifying, Tardis like lift.  This sprawling mini metropolis was an explosion of sights and sounds.  Its crowning glory was however the tea rooms, “Harbour View Tearooms” with attendant magical playground farmersplayground-300x164 and Hector the Sulphur crested Cockatoo.  Farmers and Auckland were synonymous to me, no visit was complete without a ride on the Farmers Free Bus and a trip to the top of the world.

The magic lasted till my early teens and then I started to notice some of the things in Auckland that were not so magical.  The first of these were the Iron Giants, the power pylons that I saw.  These pylons followed the Motorway but in places they were in peoples back yard, I asked my dad about it and he said that’s Otara, it wasn’t till later till my political awakenings that I understood what exactly that meant.  I remember thinking to myself I never wanted to live near one of those monstrosities, I knew nothing of EMF, links to Leukaemia, interference with TV  and Radio signals, I just thought they were ugly, sinister, things.  Grey sentinels, guarding just what I didn’t know, they were dark, scary portents of doom to me.  The other overwhelming negative experience was experiencing the brown fields of Mangere, a brand new suburb of houses and overwhelming nothingness, I was 15 at the time and had read about suburban neurosis and after a week in Mangere thought I understood just a little of the despair that the women of Mangere may have felt trapped in their homes without cars or public transport and vast tracts of red brown sticky clay.

These memories came back to me as I travelled through East Tamaki today, driving past the artefacts of civilisation, huge chimneys, huge pylons and greyness, as I reflected (hmm does curse equal reflection) on the traffic and my conflicted relationship with Auckland.  My relationship with Auckland reflects my life at the moment, I have an ongoing every workday relationship with Auckland at the moment,  I love the vibrancy, cultural diversity and opportunity that Auckland has to offer, I don’t like, actually I despise the vast disparities that I see in Auckland, the broken people and the so called elite.  They are all there.   Auckland is where the jobs are but not where I live… to be continued

Candy Crush , really? No thanks I am on a diet!

 

Here it is open permission (with a small caveat).  I, Paul Cronin, being of reasonably sound mind and slightly broken down body, officially give permission for any of my friends to hold a pillow over my face till I expire.  Now here are the caveats, firstly it will have to wait for a month or so until my ulcer has healed as I will expect to have been provided with a quality bottle of single malt Irish whiskey, You know something that is faintly reminiscent of a peat fire, on the smoky side, rough enough to be expensive and with a kick of an Irish punter who has one too many. Back up the horse buddy I can hear you say, your last post was a didactic rant about the evils of alcohol addiction and here you are arguing for euthanasia, assited by alcohol, perhaps I better explain.

I am a bit grumpy at the moment. I will hold my hand up and confess to that.  I can’t really talk about it in a public forum right now, suffice to say if anyone is interested drop me a line, broken dreams  haunting me like a groundhog day.  So if you detect cynicism, sarcasm, derision, and a general ill-humour, arohamai my friends. If I personally offend you then please contact me and perhaps we can work it out.

I read a status the other day that expressed a frustration around not being able to graduate to another level on candy bleep bleep crush At some primeval level a darkly malevolent  epithet formed on my lips.Now I have played video games and computer games, albeit many years ago. I was quite a fan of Sims, Solitaire, and for a while Command and Conquer, oh and that stupid archer shoot the balloons game.  Somewhere some how in the last few years I have lost all desire to play those games in fact over all I am pretty adverse to game playing. I do play cards every week which is good as it forces me to be social and reminds me of the benefits of friends and family.  So face to face games that involve human interaction I do enjoy as long as they do not get too competitive.  Competition is ok but it can bring out the worst in some people and the only thing worse than a poor loser is a less than gracious winner.  I don’t need that in my life and am happy to walk away from that or just refuse to play with people like that.

Not withstanding any of that narrative I don’t play games for a couple of reasons.  I would much rather write or read than sit at a computer screen punching at buttons in some meaningless quest.  I find the stimulation of having to think when I write (no cracks about that please  ) suits me much better and I am in much more danger of learning something when I read or write.  I learn about myself when I write, and about myself and others when I read.  I also learn about others when I get feedback about my writing which by the way I enjoy.  I would hope that at some level I am pushing buttons and getting people to engage with my thoughts and hopefully themselves.

I certainly hope not to be in that place of a careless provocateur and sometimes I do equivocate before I write because I know that I will push buttons for some people and some of my writing may be hurtful.  Never deliberately I hope but the role of a poet and I do call myself that is to engage, to influence and to inspire readers with mastery of language as intertwined with ideas and emotions.  I try to bring that into my blogging.The mastery of language well I do not say that I have that at all but I hope within my blogging I certainly meet the other criteria especially emotion and ideas, as I reflected on my last post it felt a bit dry in the emotions department, however it worked for some people and that is enough for me. Enough of that n ow, back to the whiskey.

If you ever find me sitting on the computer mindlessly playing games it will be because I have most likely lost the plot, kindly offer me a bottle of single malt and you can borrow one of my pillows, gently put me out of my misery.  You see if I find myself blobbing out with games then I will know that my adversary, mediocrity, has struck a mortal blow.

Paul