Thursday, January 19, 2012

Your 15 minutes starts now

To those of you who have just joined us, welcome aboard and thanks for flying Shakeytown Airways. Please buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

If you've boarded this flight thinking it's going to be non-stop hilarity, you may wish to leave the aircraft before takeoff. Those of you who are frequent flyers will know that the movie selection on board tends to be a little moody, going up and down with the movements of the planet, the local council and anything else that is encountered along the way. Sure, there's some funny stuff scattered among the angst but it's humour that stems from frustration and bewilderment, and there really is much more of the latter.

Contrary to what you may have been lead to believe by the Press article, this is not a satirical blog. Some days it's just easier for my seismically-charged synapses to approach a serious issue from a sideways angle, to write in verse, to twist words into new shapes, to take an absurd situation and make it even more so. We are never short of ideas and role models round these parts - there are plenty of absurdities, and satirical responses to them. Joe Bennett has a lovely running gag involving a cross-dressing Bulgarian hitman named Angela, who has become quite the star in high heels and combat gear, fighting the council-imposed eviction notice.

Another brilliant response to an absurd situation came to light recently, about one of life's vexing issues that is a frequent topic of conversation. It's all about income again, but this time it isn't Tony Marryatt - he's just another example of a disturbing trend that sees pay levels having very little to do with worth or talent. After attending the latest Loons' production, 'Hanussen, the Palace of Burlesque', hubby & I were chatting to the cast about the difficulties of life as a performer. These are terrifically talented artists at the top of their game, who struggle to earn a basic income from their craft. They are also currently homeless, as their home base - The Loons in Lyttelton - needs major repairs due to earthquake damage.

Check out the item that screened on 3News recently (click here), 
and if you want to give to the cause, that's easy too: 
go see their show if it's in a town near you, or donate via their website.

The difficulties endured by our talented friends at The Loons are symptomatic of a wider issue - that brilliance (especially in the arts) does not guarantee income or recognition. Our major sporting stars are better known, and more highly paid, than most musicians, performers, writers and other artists who are equally outstanding representatives of their craft. Some people seem to accept this as a fait accompli, a struggle that's not worth fighting because this is the way it has always been, and always will be.

We may have to wait for a change in government, as the following quote demonstrates a mindset not even remotely interested in challenging the status quo. It dates back to 2009 but emerged only recently via Toby Manhire's column in The Listener... the words of our 'dear leader' on the place of the literary arts in NewZild:

I have always believed we should enhance the literary skills of our young people and while our literary heroes may never challenge the glory and respect given to our All Blacks, we still need role models to inspire us.

If this is meant to be an endorsement (for the New Zealand Literary Heritage Trail), I hope John Key doesn't plan a future in PR. But the best response posted about this debacle was something first performed and recorded more than 15 years ago by one of my favourite NZ satirists, John Clarke, aka Fred Dagg.

Now I'm not comparing my little fairy story to the work of either of these two humourists. And I'm not even certain if there'll be another episode about the adventures of Smiley Bob and friends. Although if things continue the way they have been lately, I'm sure there will be plenty of inspiration.

Living here is not easy. It's stressful, it's frustrating, it's unpredictable... but it's life as we (now) know it. This blog is just one person's take on the situation, the views and opinions of a suburban resident dealing with a whole bunch of shit that these earthquakes have brought into our lives. If you're going through it as well, then you'll recognise some of the frustrations and restrictions, and if you're not, perhaps these irregular updates/rants/photos/stories/poems etc will give you a little taste of life on shaky ground.

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