Wednesday, February 27, 2008

No left turn? No right of way?

In times of inner turmoil it's always nice to be able to turn one's attention to the outside world - yes - it's still there, even if this becomes disturbingly easy to forget this while being all lovesy-smuvsy and in the dreary disbelief of a break-up.

We have an election this year. And while New Zealand politics is almost always annoying parochial back-biting and the same tired old shit wearing a slightly different navy-blue suit as far I'm concerned, the reality is that where the suits position themselves on the political spectrum allows us to better predict what they might do when in office. And their decisions, like it or not, grossly affect many facets of our lives. No matter how irritating and/or dry media reports on national politics are in New Zealand, we should try to pay attention since what our politicians and their parties decide in between offending each other across the house and behaving badly outside of it affects us directly.

Since I started uni I've had s sneaking suspicion that even extremely well-educated people who should unquestioningly know better really have no clue about what the political spectrum is. I consider this to be a complete indictment of the New Zealand school system and I invite what might be left of my readers to submit comments stating where they position themselves in relation to communism and facism, or whatever bland centre-bound party they'd like to navigate from - Peter Dunn, anyone? I predict a resounding silence and I'm refusing to entirely blame the paltry nature of my readership.

If you're confused I suggest trying this little number for some lefty commentary with a heavily Labour slant, and this for some more right-leaning babble. Each of these blogs claims the other is being run by a political party at the opposite end of the spectrum. Given the anonymous quality of the writing and much of the commentary, it's anyone's guess, but the ping-pong quality of the exchanges between the two often expressed is almost reminiscent of a little parliament and press gallery going hard in the cyberspace. Instructive and often hilarious, if somewhat plagued by trolling and parochiality of the highest order, these blogs are at the very least far more interesting than page "just shoot me now and be done " A2 of the New Zealand Herald.

Friday, February 22, 2008

More ironies and quite a bit of shit

Those of you who know me IRL will have, to one degree or another, vicariously experienced the happy hay-ride that has been my recent relationship with an old friend who is now, alas, my ex. It was four months of mostly pure ecstasy, followed closely by four weeks of mostly unmitigated hell, but such is the way of things. Ohhhh - I can be slightly blase now, but, of course at the time the breaking-up part was terrible, and naturally from time to time it still is. His decision but, I really must say, for all the right reasons.

Many of you, in an infinitude of kindnesses, have sat through my delusional ranting, occasional anger and obsessional attention to the songs of PJ Harvey (no one really understands like she does). It's a wonderful universe that can offer up a trip to the bookstore and to the library, long phone calls late at night, a conversation about war, plane fare to the South Island, Wellington's South Coast beaches on a bright day, herons, two views from land's end, a sonnet, a writer's bursary, the offer of a weekend in the Coromandel if I want it, a cup of tea on an old brocade sofa, a compliment and the offer of a carving from a true tohunga, a seat in the stalls while Ms Harvey performed in Auckland, being left to cry, being distracted from crying, being loved, being respected, and being - the only thing you really get in between an infinitude of darkness, before and after.

In the last five months here have been two stark reminders of the darkness before and after being. A close friend of my sister's - in fact her ex-fiance - killed himself outside her Auckland flat in December, and this week a girl I was in primary school with was killed by her father before he killed himself. Mike was ill with depression, made worse by instances of abuse and Graeme and Sarah-Jane were both ultimately victims of Graeme's recently manifested bi-polar disorder. There's nothing to say - except that I feel just so goddamn lucky sometimes, to have escaped the worst of the vicissitudes of the mind. Long may this continue. And, of course, that I'm sad, and angry, and would wish it all undone, but that's not the way the world works.