Friday, 25 February 2011


Well, I decided that seeing as I am going to be in Dunedin for a few days, I ought to go check out the Otago Peninsula. Here is the only place in the world that us humans can easily see Northern Royal Albatross nesting...they basically live on the various small rocks/islands in the South Seas (between Antartica and S America/South Africa/Australasia...). Also penguins and seals and such like can be seen.

So Jim, you seen a Northern Royal Albatross? You have to pay to go see them nesting, but if you are a cheapskate like me, you just loiter outside, or by the cliff with some binoculars and you see them...well two sat on a cliff and three just kinda gliding about up there. They're pretty big.

And because I bussed and walked up there (no vehicle) I saw what hardly anyone else sees...what me and Roberto called the Art Gallery on the peninsula. This is some old bunkers and fortifications dating from WWII...there are some you can see at the Albatross centre if you pay money, but they aren't gonna be scummy, dark and covered in graffitti, with no-one there except yours truely are they now! Luckily I took my torch on a whim and after a trepidetious 10 mins checking I wasn't gonna stumble on some local homeless lunatic killers, I found it was all mine!

So photos were taken, which you can take as a kinda tour...for those of you who were here (as it were) for my last trip, you can count this as part II of the Dunedin photo splurge. Well, I guess only J Lo may remember that, as it was done especially for him. Speaking of which, I met someone who told me to punch you in the face cos you like the Dead C. That was kinda shocking...although he did explain that they were amazing live; just not recorded (for him at least). Oh yeah, at the same place (Too Tone Rex in Dunedin) I met a guy who'd been doing disaster recovery in Christchurch....he wasn't in a good way...pulling out bodies etc...heavy.

So this is my last southern post...been an adventure down here meeting lots of interesting locals while searching out the interesting parts of town. I've got some people to come visit next time....I've been reading The Dice Man and one bookstore owner says that "there is something wrong with that book" and says he will tell me when I next visit....

So, in the meantime, let me either post some pictures, delete the post, or punch the guy next to me...ok, it was a 2....

ps...not too sure about my new camera yet (just an excuse)

ho ho

heading along the peninsula

the start of one end of the bunkers

overgrown fortifications

the other end of the bunkers

just through the entrance above

dark corridor

I guess these guys did some of the graff

visitors from 1973

appropriate graff

an exit

oooo spooky grim pt I

pt II

massive field mushroom

more fortifications

better graf inside above photo (I was stood on the roof in the above shot)

same room as above

and again

and again

arty self portrait...but is it any good?


and again

more bunkers/gun emplacements along the coast

to give an idea of the view and turrets (or whatever they are called)

the other direction to above

what do you reckon this is?
top of the peninsula, near where I saw the albatross
in Dunedin town belt

in a black metal/metal/punk inspired gallery

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Well here I am back in Dunedin. Last time it was for Jerry and now it is for me. So, in Oamaru I went to see the blue penguins (for free) which was ok, but slightly depressing cos they got surrounded by a group of tourists...they obviously just wanted to go to their nests (they come in from the sea at nightfall - up the boat ramp here - and go find their nests), but the tourists had other ideas, so me and my mate left them to it.

However, the next evening we all went to a place called The Penguin Club for some drinks and music. This was a sweet little place down an alley that you'd probably not find if you were passing through, in the historic district. [Oamaru's two pulls for tourists are penguins and the historic district. The former results in everything being named Penguin this or Penguin that, while the latter means there is 19th century architecture such as colonnades and old grain stores etc, which is all pretty impressive]. Anyway, it turns out that if you are hanging about the historic district after dark (which only the locals do...and not many of them..just the boozers!) you get to see the odd penguin walking about. So there we are outside the club, beneath which two penguins nest, and when it gets quiet, out they come to investigate you! As one of my compadres pointed out, they look like little old there you have it; penguins living under the penguin club.

So, next day I headed down to Dunedin and got a lift all the way with a fella named Des who was off to a funeral down there (having had his wife's funeral the previous week...). He was a friendly fella of 60+ who (like many people who pick up hitchers) used to hitch himself. A few things he told me...once he got picked up by a fella who looked familiar and after a while Des realised this bloke had given him a lift the previous year. Another time he was waiting for a lift, when a plane landed in the adjacent field and offered him a lift! And even more strangely (maybe) he once got a lift from a cousin of his he'd never met before! Small world...

So Dunedin is grey and gloomy today, but at least not too cold and it all seems very familiar. I arrived a little early, so my bed wasn't yet made up. So I popped down the road to a squat I'd visited 4 years ago, which had now an art gallery downstairs. One big old building that was standing empty 4 years ago is still in the same state (the old post office/sorting office I'm told). This struck me as a shame, cos it's an big old 3 or 4 story building from the late 19th/early 29th century (by the look of it) and could, I'm sure, be put to good use by the huge number of creative people in this city...and I took a picture of the same poster that was outside the squat 4 years ago!

I was fortunate to have a contact down here and so I have had a jam with some locals which was kinda spacey. The space we jammed in was this guy Dean's place and it was a good spot...seemed to be an old factory in an industrial area of town, but as a result was spacious and noise can be made he had a cool scarelectrix setup which entertained us pre-jam.

Melvins was awesome, as expected. They started with the first tune off the new album (I think the first tune anyway...lots of drumming and call and responding) and finished with Buzz and the bassist walking off leaving their guitars feedbacking and the 2 drummers continuing with an almost boredoms type drum workout. So good. Oh, they actually finished (after the drumming) with a recording through the PA of Their's No Business Like Show Business (I think that's the name!).

ps. I'm still alive!

alley by the Penguin Club (Oamaru)


lots of churches in Dunedin...

bad photo of the scarelectrix setup (although it does have a rainbow!)

never too busy to have a mooch round a graveyard

are these safe to eat?

you little cutey!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Well Christchurch to Oamaru was the plan, cos I heard about a hostel with a music room (organ, piano, drums etc)...sounds sweet! Took about 6 hours...bus to the edge of Christchurch, then about 6 short lifts - an agricultural student, a US expat dirtbike rider, a retired british couple (she'd hitched round NZ in the 60s or 70s), the local fire chief (originally from Durham), a couple of hoons (who took me in to their house for a brew and brief jam of sorts), a young lad in his sportscar(!) and finally a fella driving a done up old 50s US chevvy (or summat) which was a pretty stylish way to be dropped at the backpackers!

The best thing about the hostel isn't the big spacious house, or the crazy decorations (loads of psychedelic and other paintings) or even the remarkably friendly and chilled guests and workers, or even the fact that there are proper made up beds that even I can fit on (not often normal in backpacker hostels)'s the organ!! You have to operate the bellows with 2 pedals and it has various stops (I think is the correct term) for different organ sounds...lovely church organ sound to it. Went to see some penguins on the beach and either later or tomorrow we'll go see some penguins which apparantly walk across a carpark to get where they are going! It's $25 if you are lazy and want to pay, or free if you are cheap and don't want some talk by some fella I hear.

In the meantime, here are some more photos...

oamaru - yeah it's blurry, but that's what makes it for me...

oamaru is the steam punk capital of the world apparantly...where else would you see this on the high street?

a ram...I prefer this to the pic showing him all

sunrise in oamaru

a picture

something about the lines?

pleasant little park

a big fly (on steam punk hq)

it's good to feel welcomed

my new friend

what is it about me and lamp-posts

one of many scrap things (which has been dug up from the ground by the look of it)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

a random night in Lyttleton

Right then, last night (well last night while I'm writing this) was one strange mashup. Neil got off and I lay about reading in the Botanical Gardens for ages, before heading home to prepare for a night out....I'd been looking for interesting gigs to see and the only one I could find was about 10km away in a small town called Lyttleton.

Problem was, the last bus back was at 1045 and the gig was never going to be over by then. No probs, I'll walk. Except, as the only road passes through some hills (only 400m ish) in a long tunnel, there was no pedestrian access. Over the hills it is then.

So I arrived at the advertised time, which turned out to be 2 hours early, so went for a wander and a pint, before heading down for 10pm (as I'd be advised by the guys setting up the gig). Still no sound, but I get chatting with some locals and they invite me to join them for a drink until the gig started. These guys were sound down to earth local hoon/bassheads and the evening descended into an oblivion of drink and smoke. We went to check out the gig, but it seemed a bit headache inducing and seeing as we'd been talking dub all night, we headed back to Jessie's gaff for some music/smoke....he has a label producing some dubstep/jungle/reggae sounds and some of what I heard were well fat!! I just wished I had my memory stick with me to pilfer the tunes.

Anyway, his label is Dub Pride Recordings (releasing stuff from all over, including some great Russian producer), so for all you bassheads, check it...

The thing I liked about it was that they were total underground and had the same vibe as my sheff music buddies, albeit with them hitting the dub angle and us more the metal/rock thing. Still dark, non commercial and the two jungle tunes he idea who they were by and I'll check them out when I'm home, but I was bouncing!!

So, rant rave...oh yeah, then I walked home from there. A bit rainy, but all good fun. left at 03.30, collapsed in bed at 0630 this morn. good cultural night!!

Tomorrow I head south, probably to Timaru on my way to Dunedin. Till then kids...x

welcome to Lyttleton!

a dress

a wobbly night

discarded handbag and bloody rag. welcome to Lyttleton

again, this sums things up quite well