I knew Auckland was going to be rainy but I don't think I took in the full magnitude of those words before moving here. Traipsing from the bus, through the Domain to Auckland Museum and back again with NO SHELTER (Auckland City Council please take note) over the past few days has got me feeling all kinds of Leo in The Revenant (complete with ridiculously big fake fur coat that I thought I would never get the chance to wear once in the balmy climes of the North). With more bad weather on it's way, and armed with a wood burner, I'm planning on spending the whole weekend inside doing inside things...
1. I recently asked Twitter why there were no bagin' New Zealand history podcasts. This mainly came about because I was re-reading a section of The War for New Zealand and imagining if the stories from the book were in podcast form. While I wait for someone to organise that, I'm gonna spend some of my weekend listening to podcasts and you should too. I'm planning on dabbling in NPR's Code Switch:
"Remember when folks used to talk about being "post-racial"? Well, we're definitely not that. We're a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting."
2. Nothing like a rainy weekend with some books. I've been living in non-fiction land of late (partly work, partly just coz) so this weekend I'm hoping to immerse myself in some fiction. I've picked up Roxane Gay's An Untamed State and I have to say I'm not loving it. Not because of the graphic sexual violence but because the writing seems kind of...junior? I don't know if that's the right word but something isn't clicking. Even though I LOVE her non-fiction. So not that. For inspiration I'm going to look to the Guardian's Best Holiday Reads where famous writers tell us what they will be reading this (northern) summer. Lots on the list but I love that a poem is included: Denise Riley's long poem A Part Song, and ode to her deceased son. Heart breaking and beautiful.
My sisters and my mother
Weep dark tears for me
I drift as lightest ashes
Under a southern sea
O let me be, my mother
In no unquiet grave
My bone-dust is faint coral
Under the fretful wave
3. Now that I've finished all of RuPaul's Drag Race and Glow (which has convinced me unequivocally that wrestling is an excellent thing that I need to take up immediately), Netflix seems a little empty. There is salvation though. Much to my absolute delight, Netflix seems to have the documentary film-maker Ken Burns' entire back catalogue for me to rewatch on a bleak, rainy weekend. Have you seen the Civil War? That which gave rise to the 'Ken Burns effect'? I first saw it on TV as a kid and even then it blew my mind. The masterful use of music, photography and letters of the American Civil War period give this series such raw immediacy. In hindsight, perhaps it set my course on the documentary heritage lane...plus Ken Burns has showed unfettered commitment to the fringe over many, many years and for this I respect him immensely:
4. If I was to make it out of the house for some strange reason it would definitely be to see Pati Solomona Tyrell's Fagogo at St Paul St. With an absolute kick-ass series of public programmes to accompany it, this is a show not to miss. But you already know that. It's also the last weekend for the Body Laid Bare at Auckland Art Gallery. I've seen it and had feelings about it (some dark feelings). If you have or haven't gone I would recommend reading some of the critiques like this one by Minnie Parker on Pantograph Punch in which she asks, "Are European bodies the only ones that qualify as having a history?"
5. Those of us, like me, who are lucky enough to have a home, and a reasonably dry, warm one, we must remember those in our communities who don't. It was the coldest winter in 50 years when I when I went to the Czech Republic on a student exchange. The city had set up huge tent-cities to accommodate the homeless who were dying in the streets. I remember thinking "I'm glad that doesn't happen at home." It was naive to think that, even then - it did and it does. Two (known) people have died on Auckland streets in the past two weeks. It's an election year - let's do something about this.
Stay warm and dry this weekend whanau.