I spent most of last week thinking and talking about music, radio, music, documentaries, music, research and more music. With a little bit of 'life-after-devastation' thrown in for good measure. Many people I spoke to asked how the rebuild was going, and most were taken aback when I replied that, for the most part, we aren't up to the rebuilding bit yet - we're still in the demolition phase.
The ongoing effects of disaster don't usually filter through to overseas news outlets. People living in other countries would be forgiven for thinking that we must be over it by now. We've got funky container shops and a new sports stadium - we've even hosted a rugby test - so if Lonely Planet says we're cool, then it must be all better, right?
I wish it was.
I promised people at a conference earlier this year that I would post up the AV version of my radio documentary, for those who missed it at the time or wanted to see it again. While getting organised for this most recent conference, I came across the memory stick that held the file (it wasn't lost, just well-packed!). So I figured now was as good a time as any to finally share it with a wider audience.
We always say to our students at NZBS that 'radio has the best pictures', and I remember saying that exact same thing during conversation in Hobart last week. But in some cases, the ability to make or recall those mental images is predicated on a certain level of knowledge... as it is with "Entertaining Shakeytown". This was a radio documentary made for Radio NZ, whose audience know where Christchurch is, and know what it looked like before, during and after the quakes. It was also made for a time when there was lots of other media coverage of the issue - this doco was first broadcast on the first anniversary of the September 2010 earthquake.
This is kind of like the international version... it's Radio With Pictures*. I've taken a lot of photos over the last couple of years, so here's just a few** of them (taken Sept 2010-Feb 2012). They tell their own story, as well as supporting the storyline of the documentary and, maybe after watching this, you'll understand why this is something that we're not quite over yet.
Entertaining Shakeytown from Kris Vavasour on Vimeo.
It's been over a year since the radio documentary was aired and not a lot has changed. The Wunderbar has re-opened but The Loons has not. Where the Volcano Cafe once stood, and the Scottish play was performed, is now home to a container - The Porthole Bar. What remains of Christchurch's CBD is still cordoned off and, even though the area is shrinking as buildings come down, we are still a city without a heart - a donut city. For me, music is the sprinkles that brighten up what could otherwise be a dark, empty place.
We'll get there... but it ain't fixed yet.
*Which means something entirely different to people of a certain generation/disposition in NZ