Category Archives: philosophy

In your wildest dreams the real life stories of the street

You could not script it in your wildest dreams the real life stories of the street. Things happen that you just don’t understand. Like the guy on the pushbike who does a wheelstand riding full speed down Queen St block after block. He does this often. Why? Who knows?

Or the guy who forever checks out the bins going about his quest in the manner of a professional he is retrieving left over drinks to top up the paper cup he carries. So many characters that come up to you asking for particular things and you kinda have to give in sometimes.

Like one guy who looked like THE most unhappy person I ever ever saw in my life. I couldn’t help staring at him. He noticed this and said “I suppose you think I’m a fuckwit”. I told him that I had no way of knowing where he was at. I asked him what he wanted.

He replied in the most heart wrenching tone I ever heard “I want to be happy”. I asked him what would make him happy. “A burger and chips” was his reply. Not knowing if this was his true desire I asked him to go get his burger and chips and make sure he brought me the receipt so we could be sure he wasn’t gonna spend the money on alcopops.

He came back some time later literally shaking with fear and held out a receipt and said that they didn’t have a burger and chips so he bought chicken and chips instead.” Is that ok” he said in a voice trembling with fear.

He was convinced I would get angry with him for not doing exactly as instructed. Never forget his trembling hand holding out a receipt and his forlorn face like someone reaching out from the depths of hell. He didn’t ask for much and he didn’t even expect to be allowed to have it. OMG he was the saddest guy ever. So locked in the shame of his own imaginings

As you can see from this video that was made by Hayden Booth

“The street is a great place to make a record and thats what I am in the process of doing.”

Don’t worry I have new material it’s just that he requested I do this one for BFM…its on their site now.

Much to tell but there is so little feedback from these blogs…perhaps everyone is on stalkbook all the time these days. Who knows.

Social and media are two things that mix like oil and water. It seems that for media to be successful it has to behave in a way that is antisocial.

What do you think friendly blog reader? Can you buy me a burger and chips? I wanna be happy.

Words to live by

My friend Brazier with his baby.  He can sometimes be found in his bookshop in Dominion Rd.  Graham was a founding member of legendary NZ band Hello Sailor.

Somehow it is no surprise to find the songwriter of “Billy Bold” and many other songs at home with books and words.

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The shop abounds with interesting things.

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Here is a note Graham’s mum typed out many years ago. There are a few differences but most of this comes from a very famous poem.

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It turns out that the original was written by Samuel Ullman. We found a more complete version over here.

Here are a couple of verses from that poem called “Youth”.

“Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.”

My new glass guitar slide

After playing at the Tui Community in Takaka I called into STONE ARROW JEWELLERY which is located on the property and asked the owner Nick Feint if he could make me a slide for my guitar.

He immediately asked me to select a bottle that might work and suggested 42 below Vodka. Great! I don’t drink but the alcohol trade has this very useful spinoff just like the baking trade has plastic cards which can be turned into picks!

First he cuts it with a diamond blade…

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Nick making the slide – a few more steps.

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Nick finishing off the slide he made me out of a 42 below bottle neck. Besides this slide Nick recycles glass to make jewellery which you can see on his website here

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Stone Arrow provides for the income of the Feint family Nick, Sybille, Theo and Marty as well as for several local workers.

We are committed to being a socially and environmentally sustainable business and are a member of the NZ Sustainable Business Network. We aim to minimize our footprint on the world in any way we can.”

Which is re-using a bottle neck to make a guitar slide is good for everyone.

Human good will

Recently i returned to Countdown. This is what i saw.

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So there it is. More like a correction centre than a shop. If someone wants to share music with customers surely that is a human right? The ownership of the land and building surely does not give the owner authority to prohibit human activity that is encouraging human goodwill.

Check out the parking contract. It’s absurd.

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Check out the (The Sound) video Simon Raby directed which was shot in this same shop when it was called Foodtown The girl played by Zippora Seven has a shopping list of valuable, abstract things she needs to find.


Why in Gods name don’t the operators of these places offer some scope for human goodwill?

Why are mega shops only interested in the customers money and void of interest in the customer as a living breathing human soul?

I raised these points with the managers and they told me “You win” Limited Liability is a fantasy. We cannot keep giving human rights to money machines. “Man does not live by bread alone”

Blaise Pascal Observes

Blaise Pascal observes the absurdity of the human condition when it is out of sync with the divine or “absolute”. He observes the irony of life and the futility of claiming to have great knowledge..

He sums it up here “Instead of complaining that God has kept himself hidden, you will give him thanks that he has made himself so visible and you will give him further thanks that he has not revealed himself to the wise people full of pride, unworthy of knowing so holy a God”. . .

To seek greatness and the esteem of humans was an absurd concept for Pascal. Seeking greatness was to him an act of great folly Pascal turns the world of men upside down.

One key Pascal insight hinges on the recognition of our complete helplessness outside of God.”What astonishes us most is to observe that everyone is not astonished at his own weakness” We are like a reed. Weak and yielding but by some miracle able to think.

If we have any claim to greatness it comes from our ability to think.

“Through space the universe grasps and engulfs me like a pinpoint; through thought I can grasp it”. VOILA!

Read more about the “Pascals Song”

An art story

Here is a story I got this week from Justin.

At breakfast this morning Gisiele was telling me about when she was a girl in Brazil the teacher had a Poster of the Mona Lisa and she asked the children to walk to the left of it and then to the right – ” See how her eyes follow you around the room,  you can’t go anywhere with out her looking at you!”

‘I’ve heard that before, I said -‘lets test the theory.’

So I went to my bookshelf and pulled out “1001 paintings you must see before you die”, a tome I picked up last year at the Brisbane Gallery. I found the Mona Lisa and held it up to Gisiele who had begun side stepping to the left and the right  – ‘Oohie, look, esta estranos, she said – ‘It follow me everywhere!’

But when I did it,  I found the Lisa to be looking about 130 degrees to the left.  Call me pragmatic. Anyway, a few pages away I saw a picture of The Sistine Chapel Ceiling. It led me to tell Gisiele a story about when, in 2004, I was in Rome and I made my pilgrimage to see Michelangelo’s famous Fresco Cycle in Vatican city.

‘Oh, you saw the Sistine Chapel…..you’re so lucky.’ She said.

‘Umm, actually I didn’t.’

I explained how I was denied my chance by the annoying Vatican guard  who, as I reached the head of the queue, took the velvet rope next to him and attached it to the opposite hand rail at the foot of the chapel steps – ‘sorry people’ he said, ‘the Chapel is now closed’.

And that was that. Buggar!  As I was on a morning flight back to London, I walked away feeling really pissed. I felt like Gabriel had turned me back from the gates of heaven. But what was even more annoying was that something happened on my way to the Chapel which had delayed me by two minutes. If I had not stopped I’d have been looking up at the Genesis, Creation, the drunk Noah, beautifully painted figures from the old Testament. Instead I was walking back to my room, crestfallen.

What had delayed me was something quite surreal.  Id gotten off at  Vatican station with a bunch of other tourists.  I followed in the slip stream of a small group and just to be sure I asked a group of very arty women with cameras – ‘Excuse me, is this the way to the Sistine Chapel?’

‘Yes we are going too.’ They said.

So I walked up the street with the group and started to feel the kind of excitement you get when you approach something of magnificence or importance. Like seeing Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, or Uluru, or peering over the ledge of the Grand Canyon, or watching lava spurt from a lava tube on a mountain in Hawaii, or, as a boy, the first Elephant you see in a zoo. But , suddenly, my excitement was thwarted by the ungodly sight of a man in jandals crouched on the sidewalk in full view of all, taking an enormous shit. What was so surreal about it was that the man, obviously insane, actually looked normal. He could have been my accountant on his holidays. His shorts around his knees, his face straining in the afternoon Roman sun, laying a long brown cable.

People were muttering – ‘look at the disgusting porko.’ Most we’re too embarrassed to say anything. Most just kept walking. But I knew my moment had arrived, and to to small group of voyeurs who stood around me,  I announced –
‘Bloody Australian’s, you can’t take them anywhere!’

I headed on towards the Chapel and tried to put the horrible scene out of my head. What would the Pope think I wondered.

I joined the queue that led into the Sistine. I must have been waiting for half an hour. Some Americans were talking about the scandalous incident down the way, they were saying how in Italy they had no proper health care for the depraved and the mentally insane.

‘Mentally Insane. ‘ I said -‘ Do you know who that was?’

‘Some street lunatic too lazy to find a bathroom?’ Said the New Yorker.

‘You couldn’t be further from the truth. Have you heard of the British art invasion? Goldsmiths? Shock art? Post modernism?’

I leaned closer and lowered my voice – ‘That was Damien Hirst.’

‘Really, you’re kidding.’

‘I wish I was. I was reading about it only yesterday – he’s here doing his latest instillation.’

It was about then that the guard came to life put the purple velvet rope across the queue. ” Sorry people, the Sistine Chapel is closed.’

And that is the end of my little Roman story.  I know some time in the future I will return to Vatican City and I will crane my neck at the ceiling and marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpiece.  Maybe I will be with Gisiele.

Note: “Post modernism comes to The Vatican” was provide by Justin Summerton.