Where the sharks breed

When I woke in Hicksville, I mean hick’s bay sorry… it wasn’t as wet. Though still cloudy. I didn’t hang around. The road from the east cape to the bay of plenty is long and a tad windy, lots of it being one lane hugging cliff faces. Nice scenery but a lack of cafes for brekkie. I found one by 11am that turned out to be lovely, so nice I had two coffees.

Windswept bay after dramatic windswept bay, and no where was there even a road down to the beach front. The one beach I could get down had a pretty scary looking swell and in the surf guide it said it was a shark breeding ground. I avoided that. Presumably the sharks breed here and then go to Australia or South Africa to eat Australians or South Africans. I’m pretty sure they don’t attack people here.

Just outside Opotiki there was finally a decent beach and lo and behold (what I thought was a mirage) a van selling coffees (proper espresso stuff none of your filter muck). A combination made in heaven. The sun even came out so I sat on the car with my latte reading ‘the poisonwood bible’ and getting very angry at the power of a story.

Well not the power of story itself just the power to denounce something (say biblical Christianity) with a stroke of character and narrative. I find myself getting angry both at the characters and the simplistic conclusions drawn on occasions. Though not a complaint really, if it makes me think a bit then it’s something, as long as I remember to think.

It is an immense book, I would recommend it to all, says a lot about the terrible things man has done in the name of GOD. Gives you a wonderful perspective on points of view. We have so little idea about how the religious appears to the irreligious.

Sorry, spiel on literature over (for now…)

From Opotiki I drove to Whakatane, which sounds quite rude if you pronounce it the proper Maori way. It’s actually a lovely wee place with a few decent cafes – in fact I judge towns solely on whether or not they’ve got nice cafes so that’s unfair. I found a wee secluded spot down the beach front and took the board out again.

Waves that look quite impressive from shore can be pretty pitiful when you’re out on them. These were just waves that tended to break on themselves and had no actual forward motion so I spent a lot of time just standing and quickly sinking. I gave up after 20 mins.

The other good thing about Whakatane is that it is a cinema. So I watched the 5pm showing of Pirates of the Caribbean with all the kiddies screaming laughing and talking all the way through it.

And yes I loved it. I will love it no matter what they do with it. Even if I found myself rather lost on occasion trying to work out who was betraying who at any given time. I just love pirate stories. The older I get the more I seem to like fantasy and sci-fi (though you’ll not see me at a star-trek convention). I imagine (cynically of course) that my childhood imagination is failing me and I’m just buying into someone else’s imagination. Like the bit in ‘Life after God’ with the guy in his twenties who despairs for life cause he’s scared there’ll be no new experiences in life. That makes me sad.

I got out of the cinema about 8pm and with nothing else to fill the evening (i could write a ‘things to do in whakatane when you’re dead’ couldn’t I?) I bought a sandwich and went straight back into the cinema to watch ‘Hot Fuzz’

Now the Irish may have all the best music but there’s little argument that the English have all the best comedians. I’m a huge ‘spaced’ fan (the tv show where simon pegg/nick frost/edgar wright made their name – if not their money) and it’s just pop culture/parody/reptitive comedy motifs at its very best.

There were a grand total of 4 of us in the cinema. Me and three hoodied (though i’m sure they didn’t see the irony) teenagers.

It made me laugh, made me laugh out loud, it made me feel smug cause I thought I spotted lots of the references to other films and TV shows. But I’m not sure if it was of any ‘value’ in any way. By which I mean it didn’t inspire me to question or affirm what I hold dear, I could see no higher purpose in me watching it. Save for entertainment and endorphins. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing in and of itself. I dunno what do you think? I have no snappy answer, even to whether it matters or not.

Movies, songs, books, tv shows are all deeply ingrained within me. Most of the time they just go in there and sit in the memory bank, to be brought up again in pub quizzes or the eternal ‘cartoons were better in my day’ debate. In recent years I’ve taken to analysing it all.

Everything I watch, read or lets just say ‘consume’ gets interrogated as to what it’s saying and whether or not what it says holds up as truth. I’m so passionate about truth that I want to sit down and have a chat with all the lyricists and novelists (with coffee of course) and debate what they were talking about. You’ll never find out where people are coming from if you don’t listen to what they say.

Which is why I have difficulty in categorising something like hot fuzz. In a lot of parody and satire it’s hard to find an agenda. And if there is one it’s mostly deflating something full of it’s own hot air. And so I’m comfortable with it – there is really so much hot air about and it’s hard to think of many things that couldn’t do with being taken down a peg or two (and please oh please start with me…)

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May 2007
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