Shine on you crazy diamond.

One of the extraordinary things about visiting Wellington is how often pointed remarks are made about my home port - which is Auckland. Gush as I might about how engaging Wellington is…and it is… lowering my guard would leave leave me open to petty barbs. Not only did people I know feel the inclination to set the record straight about the superiority of the Capital, and the infamy of Auckland, but also anyone from shopkeepers to the otherwise very well trained coat-check guy at TePapa. A little harsh, I thought. I am, after all, quite benign. Interesting none-the-less. A spot of participant observation in my ongoing anthropological expedition through life.

I had been visitng to speak to the assembled clients of Baldwins, the Intellectual property attorneys, who sponsor my magazine, Idealog. Vincent Heeringa, one of business partners in the venture and I reprised a double act we had earlier performed in Auckland. Our presentation was a light-hearted romp through some of the concepts associated with the creative economy–a list of 10 rules to which one might adhere in these rapidly changing times.The reception was warm - in absolute contrast to the weather outside, which had earlier given a number of the passengers on my flight what can only be described as 'brown trouser moments'as we landed in the vortex that is Wellington's Airport. Is that a partisan dig? Oh well, …I am safely seated at the computer in my office on Auckland's gloriously sunny Viaduct Harbour (pictured below).




Curiously enough I admire Wellington greatly. The concentration of public money in such a small geographic basin makes for an exceptional visitor experience. It reminds me of Melbourne and I would be happy to live for a time in either city.

I have mentioned before that Unity Books is my favourite bookstore. Wellington is home base and Auckland's High Street store is a mere satellite. I had a little free time yesterday so grabbed a set of the new Phaidon Design Classics, plonked myself into a comfy chair and devoured them from covers to covers (it is a 3 volume set and, if Santa Claus is reading this, well, …I've been good,…ok, better than last year…). The music in the store was curiously familiar. I racked my addled brain (I had been out till quite late with the marketing team from Baldwins), and then it came to me…ask the bloke behind the counter.

It was Syd Barrett, whom I had enjoyed as pretentious teenager, experimenting with metaphysical conversations with my mate, Mikael Aldridge (who is now running a division of Ogilvy advertising and is still annoyingly smarter and much more interesting than me). The music was The Madcap Laughs which I owned back when big vinyl CDs were all the rage. The shop guy told me that Barret had taken leave of his existance a couple of days before - a complication of Diabetes - and I felt the twinge of disappointment I often get when people pop their clogs. It's hard not to take it personally, …was it something I said? Still, a vicarious brush with death is better than the real thing and we'll always have The Madcap Laughs. Or rather I will have when it arrives from Amazon.

This is fatigue talking. I should sign off and go home. Friday night, couldn't organise a date to save myself. My son is away playing golf, so, it's just me and rubbish Friday night TV. Might have to have some rubbish food to keep it company. There's nothing like pizza when no one is looking.

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