Month: November 2008

Debit Crunch

Well, last time I let you, my avid fans, know what was going on in my world – I had to run off to go play pool.  And get stood up.  Still – a good excuse to spend nearly an hour in a big soulless plastic neon awful building drinking beer.  And then – a horrible horrible week of being on-call.  Absolutely nothing went right during that week.  Problems which resulted in my receiving an SMS message every 15 minutes throughout two nights running – and me not being able to turn them off or do anything about it.  Great fun.

Of course, none of this was helped by the fact that my local closed down over the weekend.  So – Saturday night was the last ever night at the local.  And this turned into pretty much what you’d expect.  Lots of me behind the bar, pouring myself drinks, until the wee hours.  And then – cooked a roast on Sunday, and shared idle chit-chat with Chook & Katie.  Then – I headed back down to the local – the owner let me in, and I helped him pack up some stuff.  All rather sad, actually.

So – I grieved for a few days, and have slowly started shopping around for a new local.  The logical one, due to location, was generally scoffed at by the regulars of my old local.  But – I’m thinking I’ll have to give it a go soon.  The second option, which involves an extra 10 minute walk – seems alright.  Lots of sports, which would be nice if I didn’t live in a country obsessed with football.  And it has an amateur theatre out the back.  So – it’s a rather odd mixture.  Old men muttering into their pints – then a crowd of theatre-goers waiting for the show – wo disappear suddenly.  Then – just old men muttering.  Intermission – a sudden influx of theatre-goers ordering white wines.  Then – a bell rings, and just as suddenly it is back to old men & pints.  (I am including myself in the old men muttering into pints category, of course).  And then – I went down there this last Saturday – to watch South Africa play England.  Fairly soon, I was wondering if the pub was a front for a drug den, or something.  All these dodgy people came in, stood about nervously, then this guy came out from the back – and handed them wads of cash.  The money seemed to be flowing in the wrong direction – but it all looked rather dodgy.  The chap from out the back wasn’t a big bloke – but he looked like the kinda guy you don’t mess with.  Like the head gangster in some Guy Ritchie movie.  So – I kinda didn’t want to be seen watching, but I was of course curious.  Eventually – I saw a transaction in it’s entirety.  Chaps came in – handed a piece of paper each to ‘Atchet ‘Arry – who then took these, looked at them – looked at the chaps – then went out the back.  Chaps had to wait – and weren’t allowed past a certain line – as the room through which ‘Atchet ‘Arry disappeared was marked “Ladies Only”.  A cunning ploy to stop these dodgy characters from getting close enough to a doorway to slip through to the office unseen, I assume.  Anyway – 15 minutes later, ‘Arry comes back – hands a big wad of cash to each person.  I still didn’t get it.  Then – it all clicked.  I remembered reading somewhere that one of the features of this pub was that it cashed cheques.  So – these chaps are getting paid by some bastard boss using cheques – and this is the only place they can get instant cash.  I assume ‘Arry is taking a sizable slice.  So – everybody’s happy.  The bastard employer is earning a few extra days interest, the employees are getting cash anyway, ‘Arry is getting an ‘ealthy percentage – and I got to watch England get throroughly thrashed yet again.

And then – I was off to Stratford.  Pen’s last night in the country – so I went back to the old flat, and joined Pen, Mike’n’Skye, adn Bibby to eat chinese and watch movies.  Zombie Strippers was particularly good – fully recommended.  Sunday night – a roast at Chook’s place.  Polite chit-chat, etc.

And then this week – I set out to prove that a credit-crunch doesn’t mean you can’t spend – it means you can’t BORROW.  So – if you usually spend money you actually have, absolutely nothing has changed.   So – this week I have been going through the major categories of purchases.  Overpriced sporting event ticket – check.  Got myself a ticket to watch New Zealand vs England on Saturday.  Sweet – walked with a bounce in my step all the way back to work.  Shiny electronic goods – check.  Held myself back from getting a projector or laptop – but did get a stupidly big external hard drive.  Regretted it before I even paid for it.  Overpriced unnecessary clothing – check.  Got myself a new suit, isn’t it? Then realised there were several stores just next door where I could have probably found one I liked a bit more.  Considered buying a second.  So – the only thing left I can think of is travel.  I’m considering Spain for Nicky Osborne’s birthday – but none of these goddamn lethargic people in London respond to any emails when I ask if anybody else is keen.  I get responses from Arsetralia, and the Czech Republic – but none from right here.  I understand though – this place is draining my soul as well.  Which is why Espana would be a good idea for a week or two.

I also considered Ecuador – but then saw it was about the same price as New Zealand.  But – I would very seriously consider going back to NZ if I had tickets to every single night of Neil Finn’s new Super-Concert.  Balcony seats – I’d probably book the flights tomorrow.  Although I have left it far too late to actually do anything at all – as I believe I am now booked in to do on-call up until the 23rd – and the deadline to change this has gone.  Should be able to get a few days off anyway – and maybe do a quick jaunt to Spain – paying stupid prices for airfares close to the 25th.  Worth it to see some sun, maybe some nature, and maybe the sea.


Never take a job where winter winds can blow up your pants. – Geraldo Rivera

Winter is nature’s way of saying, Up yours. – Robert Byrne

I never minded winter too much before.  Before this.  Although, to be fair, it has been quite some time since I really saw a full winter.  Two years, I guess.  Anyway – I don’t like this one.  I’ve been holding out – not wearing my full arsenal of clothing – until today.  Today I decided it was officially winter, and I was allowed to wear everything.  T-shirt under business shirt, under suit jacket, and then a big solid overcoat.  I think that should be enough.  I really really hope I don’t have to start considering wearing my merino under-garments as well.

But, enough exciting chat about the weather.  On to the staple of my updates – what’s been happening regarding the ‘social’ scene recently.  Well – with winter, comes winter sports.  Which means the rugby is in town.  Last weekend I hosted an extravaganza.  Election results coming in in the morning, followed by snacks and chit-chat, (oh – and I checked the league results once in a while) – leading into a roast lunch – followed by more chit-chat, and watching various rugby games.  Then – got all dressed up, and off to Chook’s for a party.  Which was pleasant.

Next day – snuck out of Chooks – and got home.  Just in time for my boss to call, asking me to do some work.  Sure – why not?  Did some work.  Then slept.  Then woke up – and went to the Local.  The locals at my Local were rather impressed the previous night by a dapper kiwi in a red suit.  Tonight – they were impressed by a dishevelled kiwi in jandals.  And then bare-feet.  Again – this was apparently the last night, ever, of the Local.  So – it was a fairly big one.  I got to go behind the bar to pour myself a Guinness.  Not once, but a few times.  That was pretty sweet.  But – eventually, the toll of the previous day caught up with me – and I slunk off home.  Despite promising myself that I’d work from home the next day – I just couldn’t stay awake any longer.  And in the morning, changed my mind – and rushed off to work.  Regretted it once I got there, of course, but – oh well.

Oh – and reaching back into the depths of my memory…

Last Tuesday a few of us went to see The Black Seeds.  The highlight of that evening was chatting to Barnaby Weir (lead singer) at the pub we were meeting at beforehand.  And old friend of Justin’s, you see.  And then Martin, who wasn’t aware of who he was – chatting with us as well.  I’m fairly sure I heard Marty ask Barnaby Do you know who the singer is for these guys, and who’s opening?  Barnaby, I’m not sure intentionally or not, just talked about the opening act.  I quietly chuckled.

And the previous weekend – I got up all early to go to a bar to watch NZ vs Australia.  Bar was closed – so all the way back home to watch it on dubious quality internet site.  Still – my favourite website during this sports season.  Every sport, free, on the internet.  Hurrah for internet.  Huzzah for nerds.  No need for nerds for the Englad vs NZ game though.  Oh no.  Well, hopefully.

Right – I should head off now.  Am on call – so have to get to the pool hall to get as many games in before I get called up, and have to leave.