Saturday night at the DB Gladstone – ah, those were the days. The dingy old pub with cracked stucco walls, peeling paint and the stench of beer seeping from its pores slouched next to its corporate neighbours on the corner of Peterborough and Durham Streets and sneered at their clean concrete exteriors. In the ’80s, the Gladstone was the venue for great gigs. I remember seeing legendary Kiwi bands such as The Wastrels, the Dance Exponents and Pop Mechanix there and The Gordons in all their edgy glory.
It was the place to go. Saturday nights, I’d put down my Victorian poetry texts, backcomb my black and purple hair, squeeze into my drainpipe jeans, strap on my winkle pickers and head to the Gladstone to scowl with friends in dark corners.
Many of us did our courting there, pogo-ing into the night as the bass thudded on and the singers’ voices became husky with the clouds of cigarette smoke that engulfed us all.
I hope with the rebuild that there will still be room in Christchurch for a bit of grunge. We need a few haunts in which we can lurk and not feel obliged to be perky and bright and have our teeth whitened to fit in with the crowd.
Keeps it real somehow.
There are good and bad aspects about going to the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. The good is reading all the new authors that you haven’t read before, and the bad is, reading all the new authors that you haven’t read before! My pile is growing daily and I do wonder how I will get through it all.
On the good side I have recently finished The Cook by Wayne Macauley. I started off feeling a bit ho-hum, as no actual dialogue and sparse use of commas and full stops took a bit of getting used to, but then suddenly I was racing along, no longer aware of the writing style but fully immersed in what turned out to be a compulsive page turner with a ending that left me gasping. One reviewer describes it like
falling into a bail of barbed wire in the dark and fighting to get out till morning. The more I struggled, the more it got under my skin.
As the title indicates it is a book about food and the foodie culture, but then ventures into corruption, excess, money, and how to butcher a lamb. Not for the squeamish.
Wayne Macauley will be speaking about his writing in one session. He is also presenting a workshop on the short story. There will also be a free event called Food for thought with Wayne and the following authors reading from work that “celebrates or scorns these foodie times”: