Looking back over the past week and to the weeks ahead – to rate the noteworthy, the cringeworthy, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly amazing.
The Garden City
I’ve lived in Auckland for 18 years and a few weeks ago I took mock offence when someone called me a Jaffa. I have lived the majority of my life in the South Island I enjoy my trips back to Christchurch more and more. The city feels good, like it’s ready to move forward to something perhaps better than before the devastating earthquakes. For so long it’s felt as if it’s in stasis and of course that makes sense. A rebuild of a city stricken by the fury of nature takes time.
I had forgotten how beautiful Christchurch is and got to savour some favoured views – walking through Hagley Park, driving into town from Halswell and admiring the Southern Alps off to the west. Perhaps my mood was lifted because the weather was so good. Ask any of those Jaffas and they’ll tell you they’re fed up with the constant rain. I heartily agree. Sure it’s colder down south but the weather is honest and what a treat to see a northwest arch in a clear blue sky.
5 stars – wonderful to see a magnificent city on the rise again.
Technology should be our friend
OK, last comment about rugby for a while. I doubt I will say anything that hasn’t already been said in the past few days but I’m not going to let that stop me. Rugby, a wonderful game, not the beautiful game ( yes, I am a football devotee) but it has sometimes surpassed it. So, why take something entertaining, riveting, marvellous, and occasionally sublime, and turn it into a snore fest governed by faceless puppet masters in a dark room, peering at TV screens hoping to isolate and punish indiscretions?
The point of human beings playing sport is that there will always be some level of imperfection in managing the rules and imposing sanctions. In the olden days this was the purview of something known as a referee. We still have these referees but they have been essentially supplanted by TV gazers with microphones and in attempting to make the game perfectly governed, they have ripped the guts out of it and tuned it into a seething mess of contradiction and badly applied logic.
For all of that, well done to the opposing team, gutsy performance by the boys, thanks to all the mums for the lovely spread after the game, and one side did indeed have more points after 80 minutes.
1 star – for the effort of using technology to improve something and failing miserably.
Matthew Perry of Friends fame passed away in the weekend. Although Friends seems like it is still a recent show in my memory, like Seinfeld it is getting close to 30 years since they both aired. Friends is not one of my favourite sitcoms but I have seen it many times and it is a great blend of funny, endearing, sweet, and thought provoking comedy.
Of the six core actors, Matthew Perry was the closest to comedic genius. He had superb timing, fantastic physical comedy, and the ability to deliver British style sarcasm, without appearing rude or disrespectful.
Obviously Perry fought his own personal demons with substance abuse. He was an advocate for drug and alcohol education and treatment. He wore his heart on his sleeve and like so many funny men and women before him, he may well have lost out to the addictions he tried so hard to fight. I have often wondered about the correlation between comedic genius and substance addiction. Is there something about the comic that takes them to places where only alcohol or drugs can give them respite? I’m thinking of Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Tony Hancock. There are many more and there are also so many who have battled to achieve sobriety.
I do know this is a massive generalisation and many comics live lives without ever dabbling in anything untoward. Not all of them are hilarious though. Still, it’s sad to see someone whose talent gave so many millions laughs, struggle through their own life and die before what would have been their time without the hell of addiction.
5 stars – to Mathew Perry, for the generosity of his talent and the many hours I have laughed at and with him.