Saturday, November 26, 2011

The ultimate red tiki-tour

For your possible reading pleasure a quick note from various Labour gatherings this evening...

11.24pm Goff does a stand-up interview outside the war memorial door...applause breaks out in ragged patches. And the departure - security following in a matched sedan. The circus is getting ready to leave town and this time so am I.

11.08pm political reporter from one of the networks arrives, lprent is agitating to leave, but hooked into more chat about running with more party insiders.

11.03pm lprent is discussing how to get better mobilisation of voters with a party insider...David Cunliffe has left the building, and now so have I. The crush eventually forced the issue. More chat about mobilisation on the veranda. Now I can see the giant sports reporting truck and lights in the carpark...

11.00pm various pundits agree it's not a great result, but more people are still trickling in from outside anyhow and wine in plastic cups awaits. I've been noticing tv1's female camera operator - go girl. Camera department chicks are not as common as you might imagine.

10.59pm David Cunliffe in the supporter scrum..

10.56pm - the circus is starting to leave town - camera operators cluster but some of the lights are off. Someone shouts out that Christchurch Central is a tie...

10.54pm - three cheers....more drums...

10.52pm Phil - Bloodied but holding true to our values...hoping for a future where we keep our assets. Where National have no mandate for change, such as to sell assets, we will fight and fight.

10.49pm Phil congratulates new MPs coming through - great to see new blood. Sadness for MPs who lost their seats.

10.48pm Michael's congratulations to Phil, to the electorate support and the gutsy-est campaign Labour campaign ever.

10.46pm - media scrambling - an orgy of hugs and Goff's finally on the stage...

10.43pm - lights, camera - Phil Goff in the house...Michael Wood on stage and drums to welcome him in.

10.40pm - David Shearer is doing the rounds, showing the team colours...People are trickling in from the surrounding electorates.

10.32pm Standing room only at Mt least one organiser commented that they didn't expect so much media in the room - even China TV is here, plus live cameras from the networks and all the rest.

10.15pm - off to Mt Roskill and the media scrum...

10.08pm - resignation over John Banks taking Epsom for Act. Someone comments that the margin between National and Act makes it a massive loss for Act, in relative terms of course.

10.05pm The crowd is thinning slightly - probably people decamping to Mt Roskill. Those left are watching a triumphal Russell Norman on the projector - a third party gets over 10% for the first time in New Zealand's history.

9.59pm cheer for Phil Twyford pulling well ahead in Te Atatu.

9.57pm cheer as Paula Bennett falls behind Carmel Sepuloni in Waitakere.

9.55pm Mt Albert - bunting styles and red balloons, a New Zealand flag on the wall and tv3 on the main projector. The crowd is classic 70s liberals, the core of Helen's old electorate still in evidence and the debate is sharp. The pundit position on Auckland Central now saying Nikki will take it with a current margin of 600 and 75% of votes in.

9.29pm Auckland Central - small section of the room have roused to the idea that NZ first could be going in. "Let John Key's nightmare begin" is the rallying cry.

9.26pm First stop - Auckland Central, the home seat of Jacinta Arden...the mood is chill, hopeful. Well-heeled hipster liberals plus a slightly older set, red wine drinkers and a wood fire on Ponsonby Road. Certain pundits are predicting a win to Labour for Central given Jacinta and Nikki are neck and neck. There is close attention to the tv1 polls and the Elections website - live updates. A cheer for David Shearer pushing ahead in Mt Albert.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things I like: Chronic Bitchface and smart talkin

'Things I like' is my proposed new series of posts on - yes! - things I like. Gratifyingly, there are more of them than I initially anticipated, even excluding Vanity Fair which has already had one hell of a plug on this blog (ditto iPads).

Tonight I'm going to shout out to pol sci lecturer Therese Arseneau who did a creditable commentary on last night's leaders debate (Campbell Live, TV3), giving a highly informed opinion on the content presented and contextualising the audience feedback 'worm' results through sharing her own extensive knowledge of the New Zealand political landscape in a concise and accessible way. I know it shouldn't matter but when a woman says brainy stuff on telly it makes me feel like someone is flying the flag for all of us. And it seems to happen surprisingly seldom. Arseneau's commentary contrasts sharply with the lacklustre efforts of Clare Robinson on the panel for the first leaders's debate on TVNZ. She seemed out of her depth and a little defensive with it, which had the unfortunately effect of making me feel like she was a token choice. As in - "we can't find an informed woman to balance out the leaders' debate panel but that's ok - woman don't care about this stuff anyway and they all like John Key, so anyone will do". I hope to god I'm wrong, and I hasten to add, I doubt I could do better. But I also hope that if Ms Robinson is back on the panel later this week, she takes a deep breath, collects her thoughts and does us all proud.

I also have to take a moment to call attention to the colour-coding of each of the major party debates and the arrangement of the studio. Did anyone else find the blue background behind Guyon Espiner a bit too right for comfort? TV3 by contrast did well on being non-partisan, with John Campbell sporting a handsome lilac tie and a pale greenish backdrop. I also really liked the fact that the leaders were facing each other on TV3 rather than facing the facilitator as at TVNZ, and that they got longer to talk about a particular issue. This meant we got presented with less topics, but meant the responses had greater depth as the leaders were able to properly formulate their points, largely without being interrupted or redirected. It was refreshing how polite JC was as well. Quite old school. Love it.

And on a lighter and completely unrelated note - after a childhood and adolescence plagued by strange men coming up to me and shouting "smile - it can't be that bad" in airports and places of worship etc, I finally found this:

Chronic Bitchface

I somehow feel less alone....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feeling the love

Vanity got the better of me once again (see my last post title) but only literally this time. I was checking my blog stats to see if any readers had swung my way and was surprised to see referrals from several political blogs I used to frequent back around the time of the last New Zealand general election in 2008.

So I'd like to give a special little shout-out to the hand-mirror, jillingoff and the hive for forwarding a handful of readers on to me. I'm particularly cheering the hand-mirror for championing the writing of women online and not forgetting the now re-named 'Greylynnsinglesclub' (ie this blog) although I haven't written a damn thing for or against the prime minister this entire election campaign. It's also the only one of the three regularly being updated.

I fondly remember my first referral (from the now defunct kiwiblogblog) and how happy I was to be included in the great unwashed carnival that is the internet. I'm reliving the joy tonight...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thank you Vanity

It's so seldom that I have the brain-space to fuel an inclination to write these days. The reason I'm doing so today is all thanks to Vanity Fair via my iPad. Which is not to make this rarest of posts into some kind of product endorsement, but is a simple statement of truth. The iPad makes it easier to get stuff, and I just (finally) updated to iOS5 which has gifted or cursed me with the native app Newsstand, featuring none other than Vanity Fair. So I can get the air-freight version at less than half price via the app-store and several as-yet unread back-issues. (I was hoping for FREE but frankly if content is of value then giving value in return is only logical. No one hopes that's true more than an independent documentary producer. Trust me.)

The general flavour of Vanity Fair is the same on the screen as it is on the page, and it's really this which has inspired me to put finger to key. The political gossip and alcohol-soaked gonzo celebrity stories give the magazine its name but the quality of the writing makes it impossible to ignore how brainy and well-researched the finished products generally are. I feel smarter after reading. Those exquisitely balanced sentences and paragraphs also smack of a quantity and quality of sub-editing seldom seen anywhere any more and certainly not in New Zealand's crumbly MSM. Some paucity of market-size or imagination, but I don't have the time to research which.

So - apropros of my second sentence above - good writing makes me remember the power of prose and the importance of having a good hard think about things and committing that to paper or screen whenever possible. It's broadly what got me started here and probably what will keep me going....