Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big T-Shirts

Okay I drove out to somewhere and the radio played for me a song from tattoo you it was from 1977 the radio guy said that I remember looking at the record cover wondering that they were still around or they reformed or something I never heard any of it I just assumed from memory it was from the eighties the first year I was aware of was 1979 like I said wow this is 1979 before this I didn't even know about the idea of years. But the eighties. No lets get to t-shirts.

I got this idea that big t-shirts and thin pants would be great. I got it from an American Apparel ad with someone in an oversized super low v-neck and would that not be great but so I got a plain oversized t-shirt and it's awful it's like I'm a tiny person in big person's clothes. But the neck was fitting I think that's the problem. I remember a runway shot of someone in a really big sweatshirt with big shoulder pads. That sounds bad too but it's almost good.

Went for an oversized shirt that sucked also I think it's part because it's white and I'm used to bad white oversized shirts if no one ever wore them to weddings without wanting to it'd be great. Then put on fitting shirt lots better had to tuck it into my jeans but the shirt was white and that was all wrong. In No Country for Old Men, the main guy the star, he wears jeans and shirts that go with the jeans it's really good I think. I went for balck trousers but they didn't go with the white shirt um it's tricky too formal again like the too big white shirt. I think a flash oversized shirt might be good, like polka dot or something.

I say Shirts vs T-shirts shirts win but shirts and jeans are hard going, big t-shirts and jerseys and all that stuff need really big necks, and what else? Who knows. What trousers? Is that why we wear jeans? Really? I watched a Daft Punk movie and this whole town was wearing robot head space helmets and the suits looked good I can see hats making suits make more sense. But who wears hats except for ones that don't go with suits? Should we wear the same suits or find new ones for the future? Is there something new around the corner? Yes.


Monday, April 28, 2008

WHat Happened to the Future?


I don't know about suits. They're a bit of uniform. So what? well, If you're in a wearing suit context, then you can talk about what's a good one, but if you decide to just wear a suit, it's can you get away with business pajamas. Seriously. And it's got to include your hair and your shoes especially your shoes and your shirt and where you are as well. So that thing of wearing the wrong stuff okay, but the problem of suits, when they go wrong, I'm theorising, is that they're disconnected. You know, it's not like you're going to a job interview or something. The wrongness of good clothes has got a lot to do with what's the right thing to wear, which is suddenly very boring.

I don't think suits are very different to army surplus, except army surplus is cheaper.

I want to wear a hat, but fedoras are hard work. Uniforms right? Uniforms from other times. What's a uniform of difference. There are band photos from around some time when a couple of them were wearing these expensive casual suitey trousers that couldn't have stayed that good for more than a couple of months. After that either they'd be boring, mark you as having some fruity style, or be replaced by the next thing. I thought they were wrong calls for the future, but now I think they were the only thing that could have been worn at the time, and if the times didn't catch up, then the only thing to do was to keep moving or be lost to the eccentric call of a personal style. So wear really good trousers. You can always get your skinny jeans back out next month. I've been doing it for years.


Monday, April 14, 2008



Why did SAAB die? I don't know. No um GM bought them and made Opels that looked a bit like saabs or something like that and then um.. They use Fiat engines as well, and something to do with Cadillac Chassis. Now they're moving to Germany so they're promoting the Swedishness and the aeronautics. But also there's this thing now about the distinctive looks. This years models looks like last year's Holden. It's true. 4 wheel drive holdens. So I was cycling up a hill and saw a genereal motors saab red saab with a penis painted on it. It's true. Depressing. People say Subaru is the new saab. But GM is meant to be going down the toilet, or they've gone down the toilet but they haven't realised that yet. Yeah and Holden is GM Australia but I don't they're going down the toilet at all. I'm not sure if the same person took the photos or not. Maybe there's a set of guidelines.


Monday, March 10, 2008

High Fashion Low Fashion No Fashion


Watches. Again!

Okay so about a month ago I saw a thing in the Herald saying watches equals jewelery of today blah blah and I remember there being two beige swatch watches. The whole thing about those watches was that they came in blue yellow red block colours. They're plastic. Beige plastic. That's computers from when they looked really ugly until apple sold them in red blue yellow see through block colours and they went like hotcakes right so it's not an eighties thing at all AT ALL. Don't buy a beige plastic watch. You can do better. Example I got a rocket wind up watch stainless steel yellow face super modern design look like something from the bahaus serious. Somewhat cheaper delivered across the world. Except the strap sucks so I gotta custom make something in brown leather or get a cloth strap or something. Anyway I wouldn't bother with watches. I'd bother with a good pair of shoes. This is going in circles. I need a mission.


CK Stead


I never really got into New Zealand authors, unless you count CK Stead. He is the only NZ writer whom I have read serially. I don't love everything he's written and I haven't read everything he's written. I've only just touched the surface of his oeuvre.

My favourite so far is Death Of The Body, the clever story of a professor of Philosophy who specializes in the mind/body problem. Meanwhile, his wife is a Sufi who chants "I am not this body" all day long. Great setup for a story, huh. It's not really about them, though. There's also a crime thriller. And a story about the story's teller, so it is a novel about writing itself. (Note how that last sentence can be read two ways - I can be clever, too!)

Last Monday, I had the chance to attend a packed lecture by Mr Stead at the Maidment Theatre, titled One Thing Leads To Another.

(Does anyone care about audience demographic for these things? Ages 45 and above: 65%. Young tertiary set: 10%. 1 baby. 1 Witi Ihimaera. Recognizable campus faces: 2%. Asians: maybe 3, of different ages.)

He delivered a narrative of his life as a writer ever since he left his teaching job at the university. Sounds indulgent for a topic, but let's face it, that's what we were there to learn about. Besides, he talked about himself with the same self-effacing humour and also,paradoxically, self-confidence as someone like Leonard Cohen. Only, not as sexy.

Among his narrative were: The discipline of keeping office hours. The glowing reviews of a personal favourite that ironically didn't sell well (Secret History Of Modernism). His almost lackadaisical attitude towards the novel he is best known for, Smith's Dream, which was made into a film. His one and only writer's block that came late in his life, which he triumphed over by making it the subject of a story
(Secret History Of Modernism, again).

He jumped from one idea to the next anecdote to his next intellectual phase to his next story idea - in altogether an entertaining and sprightly fashion.

Academicians, bless their souls, they're just so *interested*. But I think it takes a generous spirit to make research material seem interesting to other people. I really do. So Mr Stead does it for me.


Sunday, March 2, 2008



Sorry I haven't written for a while. I don't know what's good any more. Someone's wearing something great and someone else is wearing something else that makes the first thing not so great and it goes like this around in circles. All I can think of is to dress well. I don't even know what that means. Stuff that fits well? In good colours? There's so many people dressing sport casual. And there's so many people dressing natty, in loud shirts but pinstriped white and black. How is pinstriped black and white loud? It was invented to be loud, for people who wear perfect fitting suits. I haven't researched that at all. But I think that's how it goes Something about avoiding suits from being uniforms if you can actually wear whatever kind of suit you like. And those loud jeans. Yeah those.

So I predict that if you can find smart casual stuff that fits well then it's hard to go wrong. Maybe. Where can you get that stuff? Do you have to have it made? Can I just go to little brother or something and walk out looking like normal in a sea of ridiculous spoof? Look around. How many people dress like actual human beings and not these this year outlet store six years ago bad super fashions trying to look street but failing even then now you're on some guys arse and cut off at the knees with a patch that says gumf-sports five-oh-seventy with twenty three stitches in green detail. Rebel against rebellion. Go to a menswear shop. Tuck your shirt in or get one five sizes too big and pencil trousers made out of wool or linen or something. Look like there's no chance your clothes are alluding to some tennis club their stable mates belong to and to which they might go if they've got time before hitting the clubs.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Speedway Experience (International Midget* Series USA vs. NZ)


If you visited my home city, Kuala Lumpur, you would probably be struck by the comparative lack of hoons on the roads. Less roars of souped up cars, more drones of the likes of reliable Volvos, Beemers and Toyota Harriers.

Malaysians. We just don't have a need for speed. Wildly out of character, then, that I spent my Saturday evening at the Speedway, Western Springs!

Robert Crumb once described Harvey Pekar's life as being so ordinary as to verging on the exotic. In this vein, out of curiosity and fascination, I invited my Aussie ex-pat friend E. to check out the rubber-meets-dirt subculture with me.

The hoi polloi did not disappoint. Can we say full marks for ambiance? Consider this: a glorious afternoon with a lingering lilac sunset. Well-prepared oldies with their deck chairs, munching peanut-butter-on-celery-sticks. The smells of hot, fatty foods. Even the burnt petrol smelled sweeter than usual.

I scanned the terraces of heads for an audience demographic (though, this is pure guesswork):
Male/Female ratio: 50/50.
Old/Young ratio: 20/80.
Kids: Mostly boys.
Asians: 5.

If you ask me, the sprint cars stole the thunder from the midget cars. These are larger cars with Z-shaped wings on their tops so as to create downforce round the bends. They grunt more deeply and sound great, but someone needs to improve the aesthetic of those adhoc-looking wings.

The event culminated in a 50-lap midget car race with New Zealander Michael Pickens finishing first, but getting bumped to 3rd place for driving on the in-field a couple of times. 1st place thus fell on the cheeky American Brad Kuhn who had spent all 50 laps hot on Pickens' heels. The boos of nationalistic protest went past our Aussie and Malaysian heads.

I am no petrolhead, but if there ever will be a demolition derby, I am so there. I'll plant a tree today.

*referring to the cars, not drivers. I made that mistake, too.


Research and Development


It's been a while. I've been fixing the computer and trying to perfect Gin and Tonic at the same time. I learned that people know a lot about computers because they've destroyed about eight already. I made a cocktail with gin, cointreau, lemon tonic water. Great, but I thought gin and just enough tonic to take the edge off best by far. So yeah the perfect watch I found what I thought was the ideal thing also the plainest thing I ever saw there goes my theory on ugly but it still goes for clothes, most of the time.

So what's the ideal jean cut? wore wide jeans around the house. It was great I felt good then they got boring. But they were better than when I sewed them straight and the knees came out saggy it was a fucking mess truly. But I think if you can wear straight thin pants without the shape going funny that's about as good as anything. I was watching a band and they had stoves and the seam at the knees goes forwards in this funny curve. It's off, but I remember cuts from twenty years ago you think they're just recycling but I think the cuts have gotten a lot better. But there's still inherent problems in them that will never go away I think. I think jeans are inherently ugly except by blind luck hence trying on a hundred and eighty seven pairs a year for the average person.

The other option apart from fitting thighs and slightly loose calves with no knee bulge was fitting calves and loose around the thighs, jodpured. So I did that. It's great. It looks like the knees are meant to bulge out and they're supposed to be ugly as shit.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

‘I Like A Pina Colada’ – The Great Pina Colada Quest Part 2


If anything, my pina colada obsession has only grown and pulsated since I first blogged about it. I’ve googled pina colada recipes. I’ve pondered the merits of the various glass shapes and of blending or mixing the pina colada. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to organise some kind of pina colada party mission or pub-crawl or some other such excuse for me to drink them in company rather than coping with the shame of ordering one alone. But by becoming a cocktail opportunist and tricking people into going for a drink with me and then sneakily ordering a pina colada before they realise what I’m doing, I’ve managed to gather data on four more bars and their pina colada prowess without once having to drink alone! Bonus!

Honey, O’Connell St

My friend and I were both a bit broke but we’d been working hard and had an hour to kill so went in search of some sweet PC action. Honey Bar SEEMS like a real cocktail bar with its long cocktail menu and oddly shaped furniture, but judging by the calibre of the drinks we were served, I’m now not so sure. It was a bit like Deschlers all over again (reminder: vomit-like, viscous, vile). I’m pretty sure the bartender didn’t know what she was doing. BUT the glass was posh and once we’d given the pina coladas ten minutes or so to defrost a little bit (it was basically a pineapple and Malibu frapp√©) we found they were almost drinkable. However, by this point we’d already switched to wine and were a bit beyond caring. Disappointing.

Dine, Sky City

My Mum’s birthday dinner at this frightfully wanky and overpriced Peter Gordon eatery provided the perfect opportunity to test a high-end cocktail without having to pay for it. Brilliant! Inwardly, I congratulated myself even as my Dad began to prematurely sweat at the expense of the drink, let alone the meal to follow. As one would expect at a restaurant where minimalism is a virtue, the pina colada that I ordered arrived totally ungarnished in a boring tall glass. I’m beginning to formulate a theory that the pina colada is largely about theatre. It’s a performance, an exercise in frivolous bad-taste. Tacky garnishes and the right sort of novelty glass are inherent to that performance. A place like Dine doesn’t do novelty, and their pina colada certainly betrayed this inability to have fun. Unlike at Deschlers and Honey, it was at least a pleasantly drinkable liquid having escaped being blended to a cement-like consistency with an entire bucket of ice. But there wasn’t enough pineapple and the overall result was pretty bland. I certainly couldn’t detect much alcohol and I didn’t finish drinking it. On the other hand, my meal was too rich. Happy medium, where are you hiding? Not at Dine apparently.

Hyatt Hotel Bar, Cnr. Princes St and Waterloo Quadrant

It seems to me that the hotel bar might be the natural home of the pina colada – tourists notoriously have bad taste in everything so it only seems right that the tackiest of drinks is actually ON THE MENU at the Hyatt! My friend had tipped me off that Teresa the bartender seemed to know what she was doing (shaking drinks in a capable fashion √† la Cocktail the movie and performing the trick where they taste-test it with a straw) so we figured we’d give her pina colada a whirl. We sat out in the garden only to find ourselves seated next to a guy with a greasy rat’s-tail growing halfway down his back which was a little off-putting. That’s hotel bars for you though. And the complimentary bowl of cashews made up for it somewhat. Our drinks arrived promptly but at first glance were just as disappointing as those at Dine. Same tall glass, same lack of decorative flair. Alas. But the coconut foam on the top was excellent and the liquid appeared to have shards of real pineapple suspended in it! However, the presence of alcohol was in doubt right up until we looked at the bill and saw that no, we hadn’t accidentally ordered virgin pina coladas but were indeed paying fifteen dollars each for fairly ordinary desserts-in-a-glass. Better than Dine. Tangy-er. But still a bit average.

F.Y.I. The garden had a gate straight out onto the street which was wide open… it’s almost like they WANT you to order seven rum-and-cokes and then do a runner.

Mac’s Brew Bar a.k.a. Northern Steamship Company, Quay St

Yeah so these bars aren’t exactly famed for the quality of their cocktails but we were in the area and wanted to check that the stripey shirt crowd weren’t secretly receiving amazing cocktails while the rest of us suffered with our bad sav. I’ve begun to notice that when on a pina colada tasting mission, it is crucial to carefully note the bartender’s response when you request a pina colada. Doubt seems to be the most common response, followed by mild panic and/or fear. So far only Bar 3 and the Hyatt have been either totally fine with brewing such a drink, or have just hidden their horror better. At The Northern Steamship, there was a long pause while the bartender processed my enquiry as to if there was ‘any way you could make me a couple of pina coladas?’

He paused. He said he thought so. He whispered to another young guy who then appeared to call a meeting at the other end of the bar with two female staff. My friend and I covertly watched as they huddled together whispering furiously and then seemed to come to a decision. The young guy started mixing a very strange drink that contained copious amounts of Malibu (hurrah!), pineapple juice and… cream. Not coconut cream, just regular cream of cows. He kinda mixed it all in the glass as he went along, with the ice already in there. I kept trying to pay for the cocktails but the bartenders were ignoring me. We thought maybe we were being punished for ordering such uncool slash troublesome drinks?? Finally they arrived… again with the tall glass and the no garnish. At last I was allowed to pay. We tasted. The result was surprisingly drinkable but the lactosey richness of the cream hit us in the back of the throat, as did the Malibu. Within a minute, the pineapple juice and cream had started to curdle and the ice was melting and forming a sort of scum on the surface. Revolting little white scabs were floating in it after about five minutes. We bravely tried to soldier on but were defeated about halfway through. Top marks to the Mac’s bar team for creativity but really, those drinks weren’t pina coladas and if I wasn’t such a wuss I would have pointed out as much and asked for my money back. Quite repulsive.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m asking for the impossible. A pleasant, well balanced pina colada seems to be incredibly hard to find, let alone a pina colada with a nice cocktail umbrella or cherry in it. Has cocktail-making really become so po-faced and generally rubbish?? I think I need to hit the flash bars. I need to find the real professional cocktail-smiths in this town. And then I need to return to Bar 3 to determine if that now-legendary first pina colada was a figment of my imagination.


Karaoke Call


I can barely hold a tune and rarely know the words to even my favourite songs. Maybe that is why I love karaoke so much.

Until last night, I hadn’t karaoked in Auckland before. We tried Coherent, having heard about Sally’s killer rendition of Nothing Compares 2 U there a couple weeks back. We were hit with a $20 door charge. It was probably our casual attire (I had worn the same outfit for basketball) so we decided to try our luck elsewhere.

We settled on the old Paradise bar – I am not even sure what it is called now. The host was turning away customers and the place was empty. He gave us a room when we persisted but was reluctant to serve drinks. He said he was working until 8am but they were only open until three. Shady.

The selection was limited and the songbooks, difficult to navigate. It didn’t matter though. We were in a safe place, free of judgment and wait-time for the mic. One hour and $50 later, we had sung nearly twenty songs.

Highlights: Henry’s Lose Yourself, Helen’s Let's Dance and Gemma’s Say My Name. I highly recommend Lovefool as a fun and easy song to sing, especially if you need to redeem yourself after a harder-than-you-thought classic. Gemma’s rendering of Don’t Stop Me Now captured the overall spirit of the night. The finale was a heartwarming group effort: California Dreaming.

I am still feeling the Love Buzz from our efforts and am dying to karaoke again soon. Any recommendations for a new venue?