Thursday, November 13, 2008

Charlatans in New Zealand and goodbye....

If burglarising 30-40 year old British males is your bag then last night must have been like Christmas as we were all at the Powerstation in Auckland to see the Charlatans' first ever NZ gig.

They were as good as ever (5th time I've seen them I think) and played a mixture of the new album and the greatest hits. They've been around for so long, and the only band who've been there right through my music/drinking lifetime. Just about everyone of their songs took me back to significant events in the past... The Only One I Know - dancing like gimps in Britpop, A Man Needs To Be Told - table football in Withington.

I think the last gig I saw in the UK was Charlatans in Salford and when they played Here Comes a Soul Saver, followed by One to Another then The Only One I Know, I was ready to go straight to the airport and get the first plane back to England. Either that or build a time machine to go back to SLAM c. 1995.

I think this is as good a time as any to officially sign off from this 'blog'. It's titled "Kiwi Adventures" and as I've been here for nearly 3 years, the adventures have turned into everyday life. Besides, I think I'm down to one reader per day on average and that's because I set it as my mum's homepage.

Thanks for reading and commenting and you'll be the first to know if I get the blogbug again in future.


Monday, August 25, 2008

OG's Top 3s...

Until the Olympics started I didn't give them much thought, but watching the closing ceremony envoked feelings similar to the last day of the summer holidays.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable couple of weeks for many reasons. The performance of the British athletes for one, but that wasn't the only reason seeing as they understandably didn't get a great deal of coverage on New Zealand television. The time zone worked so well for me here which helped. The main bulk of the competition was between 3pm and midnight NZ time so I was able to watch a lot of sport in two weeks.

My memory is appalling, so I thought I'd give myself a permanent record of the highs and lows of these Games with a series of Top 3s...

Top 3 Controversies

* There were billions of sighs around the globe as cute little Lin Miaoke got up to sing in front of the world. It looked like she mimed, but that's fair enough given the enormous amount of pressure on shoulders so young. However, it was later revealed that it was not her voice doing the singing but that of mini gargoyle, Yang Peiyi. Now, I very much doubt that the watching world would have been of the opinion that the singing was beautiful but the face was munted. But the organisers didn't want to take that chance and put a pin up girl out in front of the cameras. It's one thing having some stupid boy at school tell you you're a minger but having that view endorsed by your country and reported around the world isn't going to do a great deal for her self esteem.


* There was something very democratic and unexpected about the Chinese decision to have three 'Protest Parks' in Beijing for the ordinary folk to express their grievances. As long as they applied for and received permission to do so. According to this article HERE all 77 applications were either withdrawn or rejected. Spare a thought for these two gutsy grannies who were rehoused after their homes were knocked down in the building of the Olympic venues, their persistant grumblings almost landed them with a year's hard labour.

* It must be very frustrating to train for four years and have your Olympic dream crushed by the opinion of judges. This is one of my main gripes about the validity of certain sports in the Olympics. In my opinion, an Olympic medal should be given to those who've bettered their opponents. Faster, higher, stronger and all that. However, I do feel amateur boxing and gymnastics have a place at the Olympics so I'm all over the show on this issue. The judging in the contact sports has been a big controversy of the Games and the few boxing and Taekwondo bouts I've seen certainly seem very dodgy when it comes to points awarded. It probably doesn't excuse Cuban Taekwondoist Angel Valodia Matos kicking the referee in the face in protest. He is facing a life ban from the Olympics and his sport isn't faring much better. After many judging controversies at this Games and the last it's facing the boot (in the face).

(pic reuters)

Top 3 Brits

* Rebecca Romero - she won a silver medal in Athens 4 years ago and a gold medal in Beijing. Impressive but not Top 3 material except that her silver medal was in rowing and her gold was in cycling. Winning the individual pursuit in a no lose situation for Great Britain made her the first British woman to win medals in different summer Olympic sports.

* Rebecca Adlington - 2 Gold medals and a world record makes her the best British swimmer in 100 years. She edged out the field in the 400m free then destroyed the lot and a 19 year old world record to win her favoured event, the 800m free.

* Ben Ainslie - more historical greatness as sailor Ainslie won gold at his third consecutive Olympics to become Britains greatest ever Olympic sailor. Maybe Team NZ should have given him the helm in the Americas cup! At the age of 31 Ainslie will probably be chasing down the likes of Pinsent and Redgrave.

Top 3 Kiwis

* Evers-Swindells - as the reigning Olympic champions, the rowing twins had had a nightmare couple of years of injury and poor performance but came through at the last to pip the German crew by 1/100th of a second in the double sculls. They were rewarded with gold, the job of carrying the flag at the closing ceremony (the only country to have 2 representatives) and no doubt many more meat adverts.

* Mahe Drysdale - single sculls World Champion, Mahe, had a rocky road to the Olympic final. Expected to represent New Zealand in Beijing, Mahe was made to race off against Rob Waddell after the latter (2000 Olympic champion) came out of retirement and beat Mahe in a club race. There was massive hype over the 3 race head-to-head Olympic trial and poised at 1-1, Waddell's long standing heart condition resurfaced and Drysdale eased to victory. His problems weren't over though as a virus during the Olympics lost him 4kg's in weight and affected his preparation and qualification races. He squeaked through to the final and put his all into building a lead but couldn't hold on unfortunately and collapsed after finishing 3rd.

* Nick Willis - Another bronze medal but given the competition from the East Africans, Willis finishing 3rd in one of the flagship events of the Games, the 1500m, was an outstanding achievement.

Top 3 Athletes

* Usain Bolt - 3 golds and 3 world records (one of them while jogging)
* Michael Phelps - 8 golds made even more remarkable by his diet
* Chris Hoy - track cycling's equivalent of the above two. He destroyed all-comers despite being Scottish.

Top 3 special mentions

* Matthias Steiner - 1 year on from the death of his wife in a car crash, this German weightlifter held a picture of her up to the cameras along with his gold medal. His reaction after the winning lift was a great moment.
* BBC live text coverage - I needed constant info on how the Brits were doing and the BBC website provided it. With surprising quality too given their embarrassingly laddish speak on their internet cricket over-by-over coverage.
* Opening/Closing ceremonies - breathtaking.

Top 3 unexpected sports

* BMX - races last about 35 seconds and it's all out carnage. Thrilling stuff.
* 10km swim - both male and female races had incredibly close finishes after a couple of hours in the water. All manner of underwater shenanigans too apparently which added spice.
* Gymnastics - I've never been a fan, and coupled with what I said earlier about sports that are decided by subjective human opinion, I was totally surprised by how much I enjoyed the gymnastics. The Chinese and American teams dished up some unbelievable physical feats that changed my view on the sport. I still probably won't watch it again till 2012 though.

Top 3 sports to get rid of

* Walking
* Water dancing
* Any sport where the Olympics isn't the pinnacle of achievment - namely football, basketball and tennis.

Top 3 hair tearers (sub title: TVNZ coverage)

* Events repeated in triplicate daily - for some reason whatever main event shown in full at around 4pm was then repeated, in full, in the early evening and then again at about 11pm. Why? Especially when...
* Some events got zero coverage - shooting, archery, modern pentahlon and often they were on at times when TV One was showing a basketball group game between Lithuania and Iran. Frustrating to say the least.
* Showing group games in full when other sports on - I just covered that. But it was VERY frustrating.

Top 3 comedy moments

* Screens up for stricken weightlifter - we can laugh at this now the poor sod's injuries aren't career threatening. But it did have a look of a horse about to be put down. I won't put a link up for this, it's a family site.
* Toni Street's interview of Irish sprinter - Flying the kiwi journalism flag (well worth a watch!)
* Marc Willers BMX - one of my favourite BMX moments... about 1 minute into this clip. First he causes a big pile up by spinning round, he manages not to fall off then spins round and plows straight into one of the felled riders.

All in all, I loved every minute of the Games and am already looking forward to the next one. However, I don't want to think about that too much as I'll be 35. Wow.

If anyone still reads this site then please add comments of your favourite moments.

Monday, July 28, 2008

On the move...

Jo and I have our own place! We signed up at the weekend and move in next Saturday. It's all happening very quickly.

We're currently living with Jo's parents as they returned from overseas at the beginning of the month. But, the freeloading must come to an end and we're off to live in the trendy Grey Lynn/Ponsonby area. We'll be close to town, a short hop from both our work places and the area has lots of bars/cafes/niceties to keep us entertained. Most of our friends live nearby too. In short, we got lucky in getting such a nice flat in this area for this price.

I'm sure you're wanting to see it after this build up, so here it is in all it's glory...

We went in to measure up for the furniture we needed to buy so I borrowed a nifty little program off the internet and created this floor plan. Cool, eh? It's a 1 bedroom apt with a very good sized private courtyard (the top bit). I'll get some proper photos up when we move in.

Monday, July 14, 2008


3 posts per month is the average for this year so far. That's not particularly prolific. But then again, I swore this wouldn't turn into a diary of my breakfast habits nor did I want to bore anyone reading with my views on political matters such as the anti smacking bill. (Unnecessary, in case you were wondering)

Nope, I'm going to stick to my guns of only posting personal events of interest. Events that may be include comedy pictures...

Or nice ones for me Ma...

The other weekend Jo and I and family attended the wedding of family friends. It was a very churchy affair, not in a good (catholic) way though, one of those new fangled ones that you see on GODTV should you ever stay on it long enough while channel surfing through to programming for the discerning gentleman (Boz).

The ceremony took place in a "church" with that word given the old nodding fingers routine because it was more like a state of the art theatre. Complete with giant screens, several very fancy cameras, a booming sound system and a full on band with very shiny, and therefore presumably expensive, instruments. St Joseph and St Teresa in Woodlands it was not.

However, each to their own and I escaped without being brainwashed or fleeced for 50% of my income. Not that I'm using stereotypes or anything! It was querky in parts (especially when some of the congregation appeared to be having actual out of body experiences during a Christian soft rock ballad), but enjoyable and they're a lovely couple and I was made to feel very welcome despite only having met them once before.

The evening bash was set in a country club about an hour south of where we're based on the North Shore. Jo and I had taken advantage of the wedding guest room rate of $100 (about 40 quid) which bought us a 1 bedroomed villa with huge bathroom and great views of the course and the water. The speeches were very funny, food was outstanding and, given that quite a number of the guests were teetotal, the booze was free flowing.

The following morning we headed back to Auckland after taking time to have a stroll along a beautiful beach...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shootin' sum B ball outside ova school...

I scored some more free tickets from Radio Sport. This time for the Tall Blacks vs Boomers (New Zealand vs Australia in old money) basketball international at the North Shore Events Centre.

It was my first ever live bball game and it was pretty interesting. I had no idea how much elbowing and shoving people over went on. Netball it aint.

There were quite a few other things going on to entertain us when the game was on of it's many breaks. Such as an entertaining 4-4 draw between to U13 girl sides shooting at hoops that 7 footers have to jump to reach. Some guy had a free throw for $1000. He rimmed it but netted the rebound from further out for no reward. Unlucky.

There was also a half time presentation for recently retired Tall Black Dylan Boucher. Although the PA system wasn't quite up to scratch as Jo thought some random guy was being given a dinner voucher.

We left before the end to beat the traffic and the aussies were so far ahead it didn't really matter.

If I can get the picture from my phone to here I'll show you one of the best mullets I've ever seen in person. Hicktastic.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Weird weather recently, which I'm still not used to... Dark, dirty storm clouds for as far as the eye can see so I take shelter in my truck. Then, 10 minutes later bright blues skies and warm sunshine. By the time I got home later in the day, a giant (20 second long) hail storm struck before more glorious sunshine. Crazy.

When the weather isn't as buck wild as this I have to find other ways of entertaining myself when working. One is to try and get texts read out on radio sport. I've not had much luck lately, they don't seem that interested in my pro-English sport ramblings, until today. The subject was great sporting family dynasties. Here's one especially for my mum...


Nice bit of editing if I do say so myself. Apologies for the sound quality - that's what they put on their website.

I could talk about the rugby at Eden Park the other week but the NZ Herald says it all really. Even if they do say it like a drunk pom hater in the pub with his mates.

The planned big night out didn't go that well either. A few of us congregated at Will and Jiah's place for the AGM of the Eden Stallions (done for purposes of gaining sponsorship money) where I managed to lobby successfully for president. Sweet. I say AGM, but that lasted about 2 minutes. The rest of the time was spent on Guitar Hero and drinking our way through an epic table tennis tournament.

We got to the pub near the ground about an hour before kick off but the queue was massive so a bit of street drinking took place before getting to the game. The game was a bit of a blur. A packed house, but not the atmosphere of the Twenty20 game and a poor result. Afterwards the original group of 13 got broken up and Jo, I, Dave and Sonya were the only ones who made it to town. Sonya didn't make it much further though and the night came to a close.

Sport over the last 8 or 9 days didn't get much better. England were saved by the rain at the cricket, then imploded to gift the Black Caps their first win. I predicted wins for Portugal, Croatia, Holland and Italy in the Euro quarters and got 0/4. Good work! Now my Italian brothers are out I think I want ......... to win. I have no answer to that question. The worse thing has been that England weren't in it.

Then the rugby team got beat again.

In my lifetime there's only been a few spells of enjoyment for me as an English sports fan. Italia 90 - brilliant, but ended in tears. Euro 96 - best time of my life, then ended in tears. Ashes 05 - longest sustained period of joy for me as an English sports fan and at least we won, but been crying ever since.

It almost makes me want to give up and become a yank. They invented sports as we did. But they were clever about it, unlike us they kept the sports to themselves and called winning teams the world champions. They can never lose! Genius.