Beneath the domestic surface

Zen garden (21 May 2016)

Zen garden (21 May 2016)

“Mementos that Bird has kept for years hold the past inside them, making it tangible and permanent: clippings of Mickey’s hair, peels of the first orange they shared, a bloody tissue. They stir nostalgia but reopen its wounds, like scabs asking to be tugged back so they can bleed.” (from Sarah Gerard’s NYT review of “Bird” by Noy Holland)

On page 59: a lovely sentence that seems like a found senryū …

A swell of things:
gathered, unsortable,
gone. 

“It is here, in Holland’s subtly radiant ­details … that “Bird” shines brightest, since they so aptly mirror what’s happening beneath the domestic surface.” (another snippet from Sarah Gerard’s review)

This novel sings like
poetry; I’m obliged to 

read between the lines.

(19 May 2016)

“The writing is hallucinatory, musical and intimate.” (Sarah Gerard)


Holland, Noy. 2015. Bird. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press.

Smiling on a rainy day

sunflower (08 March 2012)

sunflower (08 March 2012)

Buses on route 2 (Miramar to the Wellington railway station) are so well patronised you’ve got to wonder why they don’t run more often. Be that as it may, I don’t mind standing as long as I have somewhere to hold on securely. And I must not get crushed into a position that makes getting off difficult.

Thursday morning, at around eight-fifteen, I’m about to get off at Arty Bee’s Bookshop. I have my Snapper card ready. I can see myself able to squeeze through to the front door. I pick up my bag. Because it’s made of paper, however, and because it has been in the rain, it abruptly collapses. Books, bananas, bits, and bobs spill onto the floor.

A quiet calm settles upon me as the kind people around me pick things up and hand them to me. With surprising clarity of mind, I take stock … Yes, I have everything, thank-you, people. Once off the bus, I reorganise myself and my belongings. Then it dawns on me: I haven’t tagged off. But that’s okay, because people are still pressing their way in.

Calmly … sublimely serene … I reach into the bus and tag off.

I am loved. I am cared for. Aren’t people lovely?


PS: Posted this little anecdote first on Facebook. My sister-in-law enquired: “Did you make it to Porirua or did you abandon your weekly visit [to see father at Kemp Home] due to the flooding out here?”

My response: “I made it to Porirua, but one of the other passengers on the 211 had her mobile running reports on the flooding. So I got Dad on the phone and told him he’d have to do without the bananas and chocolate. We had a good chat.

“Then I walked through the rain from Pataka to the railway station. At one intersection, the water was ankle deep. The journey back home was uneventful, but I was happy to change into dry clothes and wait for the arrival of the two boxes of wine I’d arranged to have delivered after lunch.”

Reflecting on police brutality

This brief post intends to signal that posting to |A Twisted Pair| has recommenced.

It seems not much has changed since then. My last post, on Christmas Eve 2015, carried “an uncommonly handsome view of the Central Police Station – a strong contender, I reckon, for the title of Wellington’s ugliest building.”

Less than a fortnight ago, I posted an image on my Facebook page under the title, REFLECTING ON POLICE BRUTALITY, as follows:

police brutality (19 Mar 16)

police brutality (19 Mar 16)

To my eye, the Wellington Central Police Station is one of the ugliest buildings in the city. Upon reflection (in the surfaces of the building on the opposite side of Victoria Street), it does seem more interesting. This image dates from 19 March 2016.

“Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete). British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutalist_architecture

The last ever Kirkcaldie’s Christmas Shop

I wanted to write a nostalgic piece about the last ever Kirkcaldie’s Christmas Shop … but these photos I snapped on Sunday afternoon took the words right out of my mouth.

In June of this year, it was announced that “Troubled Wellington department store Kirkcaldie & Stains, affectionately known as Kirks, is poised to shut its doors next February.” Dating back to 1863, Kirks has been the capital city’s leading department store for generations, and is the oldest in the country still trading under its original name. The silver lining, according to Kirks chairman Falcon Clouston, is that the site would reopen as the first New Zealand store of Australian retailer David Jones, which aims to retain most of the 270 staff. (Adapted from a story by Catherine Harris, James Weir & Talia Shadwell (see Stuff link here))

Year by year, since I don’t remember when, I’ve been adding to my lovely collection of Christmas tree ornaments, and Kirkcaldie’s has been a major source. There’s also a lovely group of white plaster putti, and some elegant German glass (etched and cut), but that’s another story for another time.

It remains to be seen what David Jones will come up with next Christmas. In the meantime, the two red poinsettia flowers from the last ever Kirkcaldie’s Christmas shop look great on this year’s tree.

Café culture

Athfield Havana Bond (19 October 2015)

Athfield Havana Bond (19 October 2015)

Architect Ian Athfield died on 16 January this year. In the New Zealand Listener (dated the day before), Diana Wichtel presented an engaging interview, first published in the Listener in 2012, in which Ath “talked about starting his landmark ‘act of defiance’ in 1965, and finally wanting to finish the place.” Interview: Architect Ian Athfield

My image shows an advertisement for Havana Coffee. The green Telecom Building peeping in at the top corner of the image, was, according to one NCEA student, “built in a boom period when New Zealanders had big ideas and wanted their cities to look like international ones …”

Civic Square: work in progress

Civic Square: work in progress (17 March 2015)

Civic Square: work in progress (17 March 2015)

On 16 February the Wellington City Council announced that “The [Civic Square] Portico has been successfully removed!” (see WCC Facebook page) “There will be some finishing work being done to the Portico over the next couple of weeks and scaffolding will remain up for that, but the pathway between the two buildings is clear,” WCC said.

This shot – captured a month later – offers evidence that estimates of the time it would take to complete the project were far from precise.

Japonaiserie

Japonaiserie (19 March 2015)

Japonaiserie (19 March 2015)

Whilst the arrangement of the items in this photograph (taken today in Cuba Street, Wellington) has little or nothing to do with Japanese art, my ‘seeing’ was certainly influenced by it.

The Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh used the term Japonaiserie to express the influence of Japanese art.

In a letter to Theo, his younger brother, Vincent wrote: “One of [Jules] De Goncourt’s sayings was ‘Japonaiserie for ever’. Well, these docks [at Arnhem] are one huge Japonaiserie, fantastic, singular, strange … I mean, the figures there are always in motion, one sees them in the most peculiar settings, everything fantastic, and interesting contrasts keep appearing of their own accord.”

“The West moistens everything with meaning like an authoritarian religion which imposes baptism on entire peoples.” (Roland Barthes, in Empire of Signs)