Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ticket to ride.

I tried a little experiment yesterday.

I wanted to get to and from work without paying.

I started my mission at the Brixton tube. I approached the turnstile and produced an old ticket and with a quick slight of hand movement I appeared to place my ticket in the slot. At the same time I quickly followed the unsuspecting punter ahead of me. Yep I'm riding on your ticket mate, and you don't even know it. (I love that kind of thing.) So far so good.

Next hurdle is the maze that is Kings Cross. I know for a fact that the gates are usually open when you hop off the Victoria line and make your way over to the circle and metropolitan line. The turnstile I have to watch for is the one that lets you through to go eastward.

I saw there was an old lady in front of me having some trouble with her bags. Being the gentleman I was, I helped her and in the process looked at the guy who was watching the turnstiles. He saw me lugging this bag, with granny in front of me and opened the turnstile for granny, and in the process I slipped through and gave her her bag back. Genius, if I do say so myself.

Now only one more hurdle to get to work. I jumped off at Farringdon and joined the mob of people funnelling towards the turnstiles. I did the old slight of hand trick again, and pushed on through. Half of my mission completed.

The second half, the going home bit is a doddle. After work I went back to Farringdon to catch the overland train to Herne Hill, where I walk home from. They don't have turnstiles at the Herne Hill end, and because I catch this train with a work mate, it was a cinch to get a ride home. I simply told him that I was gonna follow him through the turnstile. No problem. I hopped on the train, happy that I had completed my mission.

I jumped off the train at Herne Hill and sauntered out. Hmm there is a big queue. I have a look and spot some old guys in blue coats at the gates. Fuck. The day I decide to ride free, these bastards show up. I've caught this train for months and this has never happened. The game is up. There is nowhere to run. I walk up to an old guy in a blue coat and basically hand my self in.

OG: Do you have a ticket.
Me: No
OG: Where did you get on the train?
Me: Kings Cross (For a laugh)
OG: How? They have a number of gates.
Me: Slight of hand, mate, and fox like stealth.
OG: What?
Me: I jumped the turnstiles.
OG: You know it's a £10 fine.
Me: Bill me.
OG: What?
Me: Send me the fine.

(I had £20 in my pocket, but there was no way he was getting my money, not today, not by a long shot. I had better things to spent my cash on. Like meeting Smackie for a drink at the boozer. I have priorities y'know.)

OG: We don't bill people.
Me: We'll you are going to have to bill me. I don't have the cash.
OG: You have no money on you?
Me: Nope.
Other OG: C'mon you must have a debit card, credit card?
Me: Nope ( I do have a debit card, but I felt like stringing this along a wee bit more)

The old guy then pulled out a little black book and asked me to write my name, address, phone number, postcode and what I did for a job.

I thought for a minute "Should I just tell him to fuck right off? Do I give a bogus name? Or do I tell the truth?"

I opted for telling the truth. He then started reading my rights like a copper. I sniggered. I couldn't help it. He then wrote down all the questions in his book and wrote down my reply (which I greatly embellished, since he was now writing it all down.) This process took probably 10 minutes, and by the end of it, he asked me to read it and sign it. I then got him to change a few bits, and I signed it. I then got his mate to sign it as a witness. Both of them didn't find it half as amusing as I did.

I mean if they want to play coppers, I'm going to play the annoying know your rights guy! Bastards.

He then informed me that he had to type this up for his supervisor and then he had to pass it on to the prosecutor , who would contact me in 7-14 days. Oh the delight I'm going to have when he calls. If he ever does.

That's the thing, I could have just given a fake name and got off scott free, but for some crazy reason I love to see the big backward bullshit wheels of buracreacy in action. Considering the amount of shit I've had with banks, and BT and any corporation usually I have to deal with, I want my £10 worth of paper work, pain and paper shuffling. I think they are going to call me, and when they do, if they do, I'm going to ask for a statement in writing and opt for written correspondence in the future as I would like records for my brush with authority. Ooooh, authority! I want to stretch out my £10 fine for as long as possible.

Fuck the system? Nope. Fill & file the system.

Monday, May 23, 2005


I feel I've been in transit for the last month. I'm slowly coming round to my normal (is there such a thing?) life. I just got back from NZ last week. The first week I was back home, I was suffering jet lag and finding it really hard to connect with my old home town. The next week I got slightly back into the groove and then went out to the west coast to Karekare for the weekend. I should have done this the minute I had got there, rather than sit outside skanky clubs, buying overpriced shitty drugs and trying to connect with people that I had so clearly now know that I have left behind. That's life though, eh.

I did however have some memorable times in the city, with some people that I know, but I wouldn't have thought I would have. You guys and gals know who you are. Thanks. The last week got all a bit weird, and I realised that there was still a lot of people I wanted to catch up with.

I wish now that I had spent more time with my family. By the time my Mum had driven me to the airport, and I had started my long ride home, I was feeling a bit homesick. A few things I realise now is that New Zealand is in the countryside, the beaches, and the wilderness. A city will always be a city, and that if I do ever go back to stay in NZ, I can assure you that I'm not going to fall for the living in the city trap. It's gonna be the west coast all the way.

A good whole 24 or so hours of travelling round the planet to land at Heathrow at 6.00am was surreal. I actually missed the damn place. Can you believe that? From lush green to tower blocks? I can't describe it. Comfort in concrete?

Totally weirded me out to be honest. After scraping enough dough to get a tube in rush hour traffic, lugging bags up Brixton Hill, dodging people, cars, puke and rubbish to my flat, by the time I got into my room I was beat, but strangely energised.

I slept for 30 hours. I woke up feeling really alone and broke as usual. I had a mate who I could rely on for a bit of company and cash, so I called him up. I stept outside and was greeted by the sun! Bonus. I have not had a summer here yet, and the fact the sun was blinding my eyes was an unusual but quite a welcome sight.

My mate has moved to Battersea, which I haven't been to yet. Another surprise. We took a long stroll through the park. How cool is Battersea in the spring! I loved it. Didn't even know I was in London. Had a lazy afternoon, a nice lunch a refreshing ale. It was a really nice day. I was stoked.

I then hopped on a bus that went through Chelsea. I haven't been through Chelsea before. What a different contrast to Brixton. The place just stinks of cash. Not my cup of tea, but still, from my perch on the bus still looked like yet another spot in London, I had no idea of even existed. This got me thinking. There is so much of this town I have yet to discover, let alone the rest of the country!

I'm now looking forward to Summer, and determind to spend a bit more time getting out and about, and maybe not so much time propping up bars.

I can't wait...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


In my last couple of posts I have been seemed to be slagging off good ol Nu Ziland a bit much. Hence this comment below.

"Your still on ya London honeymoon, you've been back five minutes and have written Aotearoa off in less than 2000 words. Bro, harsh. Where is the aroha??"

Well Mr.Aotearoanz, whoever you are, I don't think I've written off the Land of the Long White Cloud just yet. It's been roughly a week and a half since I landed back on these fair shores and it's taken that long to slip back into the pace of Auckland.

There are parts that seem to stand still in New Zealand, I suppose that's a part of the charm. It's just when you come home, only for a visit and only for a short trip it's taken half my stay to actually notice the things I miss about home.

I've been staying at a friends place that is in a really nice quiet part of town that is totally bush clad. This morning I woke to a few young Kauri trees, a couple of twittering fantails and the most crystal blue, pristine sky with a fat orange orb peeking between the trees. All from my window.

An hour later my friend and I were driving across the bridge, the harbour glinting, and all the buildings in the city looking postcard perfect. It looked really nice. I suddenly realised what I have been missing.

The sense of space. I can look as far as my eye can see in any direction. I actually have bearings here. All I can say is that it feels kinda comforting. I know where I am.

There is space between houses, personal space on public transport, space to wander around the city, space to think, space to shop and even space to park your car. All this is in the city too. Well maybe not on the housing front.

This weekend I'm heading out to the west coast of Auckland to a really nice spot called Karekare. I'm really looking forward to it big time. I wish I had more time to actually get round the country a bit more and have a bit of a road trip. That's the real N.Z. in my eyes.

I'm not going to go great detail on the other part of my stay which has been a constant highlight so far. It's no real hard guess to say that I have been eating a huge amount of the finest seafood and drinking a staggering amount of fantastic New Zealand wine. I have not spent a penny on gifts, clothes, music ( I will however grab the latest Fat Freddy's Drop album, and maybe the Mint Chicks. It is NZ music month after all. Click here for a review of new FFD album.)

I've had the most melt in your mouth sashimi, marinated mussels, huge scallops, crayfish, tiger prawns, and mountains of tarakihi, snapper, blue cod and orange roughy. I've almost been tempted to eat meat, a divine piece of organic aged beef to be exact, topped with tiger prawns and a bearnaise sauce. How do you say it? Surf 'n' Turf? Possibly two of the best matches in food that I can possibly imagine. I'm drooling, just thinking about it. If I have enough cash, i'll bring back a cache of fine NZ wine to drink with friends. (You know who ya all are guys and gals)

Just to rub it in a bit more, here's what I'm having for lunch...

Crispy Skin Fillet of Snapper with Citrus Baby Onion Confit and Pumpkin Reduction, washed down with a 2004 Kumeu River Pinot Gris. (Oh and yes, I'm gonna be broke when I come home, and probably be as big as a house.)

I think by the time I leave NZ to go back to London, I'll be having second thoughts, wondering why I'm off again to the other side of the planet to the concrete sprawl that is London. No doubt I'll feel strange for probably the same amount of time, as I have in New Zealand, but it will pass, that I'm sure of. Considering summer will be showing it's shy face in the next month. (I Hope).

P.S. I've managed to snare a nice camera for the weekend, so I'll have a wad of nice shots to post in the near future.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Welcome to nowhere.

I'm kind of enjoying my little trip back home. Well sort of. I'm really enjoying getting a proper coffee, thank you Verona. I'm enjoying all the fresh seafood, thanks to Seamart. I'm enjoying catching up with friends, spending a few lazy days supping on Mac's Gold. It's all quite nice really.

I know things are cheap here, but things seem expensive. It's an odd feeling. The thing is I'm getting really bored, really quickly. I feel I've outgrown the place. I know the real New Zealand is not in the city, but in the beaches and wilderness. That's what makes this country so great. It's a shame that all my mates are working, or skint. Otherwise I'd be far away exploring the countryside that I love so much.

I'm taking up an offer to go out to beautiful Karekare to stay at my friend's place for a few days, and if I can stretch it, go out of town to an old friend's place in the Coromandel.

My friends are constantly pulling me up on the fact that I'm calling London home. But you know what, London feels like home now. When you leave a country, especially New Zealand, and see that there is a big world out there, and you come back a year later, well everything seems the same. And it is. Almost.

To be fair, there seems to be a cool few things happening in the K'Road area, artwise with the Disrupt & Misery Crews, and a few new galleries. There seems to be an awful lot of shitty housing going up, courtesy of Tony Tay. (This guy is ruining this city) The only thing that has really changed is me. That's the hardest thing to get across to people, is that I've moved on. It's hard not to come across as a snob, but how can you compare Auckland to London?

The accent is freaking me out a bit too. So wucked. I'm almost ashamed. That's so terrible, eh. I'm sure I don't sound like them, honest.

Get this to top it off. Stagecoach, which is the bus company that services Auckland had decided to go on strike. For six fucking days. Great, could you imagine the buses stopping in London for six days? Not bloody likely. Welcome to nowhere. Not leaving for anywhere, anytime soon.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Gone to the pack.

I've been back in my hometown, Auckland for 3 days now. Getting here was a mission I'd like to forget. Nine hours on a plane from Heathrow to Bangkok wasn't too bad. The 12 hour layover in Bangkok was going to prove to be in an exercise in time wasting. Which I think I'm very good at doing.

I stepped out of the airport at 6.30am and walked into what seemed to be a gigantic sauna. I was dripping in about 5 seconds. Bummer. No change of clothes. I caught a cab to Khao San Rd to go spend a good few hours at my favourite guest house. On the way I was walking down a side street and bumped into a very friendly bunch of thai locals, who at 7.00am were blasted on Chang beer and Mekong Whisky. They asked if I would join them for a drink. Hell, why not. I had 12 hours to kill. Stayed with these freaks for about two hours, and then really needed to go get a kip, as I was getting into the swing of things, getting a wee bit pished and a young Thai bird decided it would be good idea to take a perch on my lap, in a typical "friendly" Thai kind of way. Didn't really feel like meeting any "new friends", so I made my excuses, left rather quickly.

Crashed out for a few hours, went out and bought a new t-shirt to replace my manky, sweaty top, went to my dodgy chemist bought 50 valium for 500 baht and hightailed it back to the airport. Sat in the bar till my flight, hopped on board and medicated myself and woke up in Sydney. Nice. Eventually got to Auckland and had chilled out at my folks house. Gorged on fresh fish and scallops and headed out to a party in K'Road.

I've been away a year, and to be honest the social scene is getting worse. I find drinks really expensive, the music really really boring, and worst of all you can't smoke in bars. How fucked is that. I had several odd looks, as I was about to spark up. A bar will get fined $4000 if they get caught. Its insane. Everywhere I went looked packed, but infact half the punters are outside smoking. It seems the only music played in Auckland these days is house. It's lame. It gets really old, and stale really quick. A vodka is $7.50 and a pack of smokes is a tenner. Don't even bother with any other bits and pieces. $60 a lolly is taking the piss a wee bit.


The real worry that I became quickly informed about was the amount of people that are literally going down the pipe. A "P" pipe to be exact. It's shocking. I heard of at least 7 people I know that have lost the plot on meth. Marriages breaking up, people in jail and people basically getting bankrupted by a crippling addiction. It really saddens me. A lot.

Guys and girls, a wee bit of advice. The only drug you should never take is the one you have to keep from anyone else. Staying up for days isn't a good look. Don't get me wrong here, I'm no angel, not by a long shot but there's one thing I know. I can walk away from shit that will get the better of me.

Seems people in NZ have never really thought that smoking "P" would turn into the pandemic that has Auckland by the balls. If you live in a small isolated island down in a corner of the world that hasn't really had a history of serious drug addiction, coupled with every cowboy with a chemistry set, asian drug syndicates, gangs and ready made market of sheep who really have no clue how addictive this drug is. It's a recipe for disaster. That's not even mentioning the insane amount of money generated by meth which is mind boggling, from what I understand.

The thing is, people seem to be turning a blind eye to it. I'd hate to watch my friends waste away and turn into junkies. Admit your problem, talk to someone, ask for help, go to NA, Rehab, go overseas, tell your parents, whatever. The best way to stop is exactly that. Stop. Sure it's gonna be a shit few weeks, but it's a hell of a lot easier than coming off booze or opiates, and that's the honest truth. Anyway, I've said my piece. Suffice to stay, I'm happy I'm not living here anymore, it's a depressing state of affairs. Moving right along.


I went to see Shihad play a live gig in Aotea Square yesterday kicking off New Zealand Music Month. It was raining, a little muggy and it rocked. Isn't Jon Toogood looking a lot like Iggy pop these days eh! I've met up with a lot of old mates, some who I haven't seen in over five years, which has been rather special. This week is fully booked up with lunches, dinner parties and I imagine quite a few nice vinos. Lets see how much my waistline and pounds are going to stretch in the next few weeks.

Anyway, must dash. I'm being taking to a new fish market for lunch. Yum.