Well, got my first chance to read the much maligned Metro article by Mr. D. Christie the other day. And, hasn’t he got a wee bee in his bonnet about Wellington.

I think one of the things about Wellington is that if you’re pining for a big town, then this place is absolutely never going to fill that gap. Let’s face it, Wellington is not a world-class city. But, what irks me about Damian’s article is… neither is Auckland.

When it all boils down to it, if what you’re seeking from life is an all-banging, all-party lifestyle, then what in the hell are you doing in New Zealand? I love the place, but basically all that happens here is breeding and petty politics. No offence to all the breeders and petty politicians intended… So criticising Wellington for not being something that anywhere in New Zealand is not just seems a little foolish.

Worse, criticising it for it’s lack of facile, big-titted bimbos and over-moussed himbo celebs is just laughable. I mean… who gives a damn about Nicky Watson? Celebrity generates nothing but sycophancy. And sycophants are useless, regardless of whether they’re hanging off a wannabe international model or an MP for an entire nation smaller than most capital cities.

Wellington is a village, and it’s part of the place’s charm. You know that everyone walks everywhere because the place is so small, and if you’re unfortunate enough to be a sly dog and get caught, then everybody will know about it. But, there are plenty of people out there who get away with all sorts of indiscretions. So maybe what D. needs is to be a a little sneakier about who and where he’s shagging? Take the back streets bro, only the tourists, the loonies and the lonely walk down Lambton Quay.

This time of year a few years back I was living in a decent city. It has art, culture, music, celebs, history, majesty, anonymity, and all those things D. seems to be craving. But my life was very different. Now, assuming that I was on a comparable payscale, there is no way I could be leading the life I lead here in Wellington. I had to give up all the glamorous bullshit you associate with the big smoke when I came here, but I think it was a fair trade off.

Here in Wellington I live in a well-appointed but not ostentatious two-bedroom apartment in the very centre of the city, and pay not much more than friends in three bedroom houses in the burbs. I can walk to any of 5 separate cinemas. I have my choice of any of many dozen bars, restaurants, cafes, bistro, cheap and cheerfuls, franchise takeaways, pubs and pool halls. I have a well-stocked library 5 minutes away. There are three supermarkets and two weekend vege markets. There is every kind of retail (though the selection is often ordinary). There are at least three video stores within easy reach. There is theatre and art, though not always so great. There is live music almost every day of the week. I sold the liability that used to be my car, and I walk to work.

But if I bang someone other that the missus, everyone will know about it. And frankly I think I can live without the stress and drama of either of those two things.

And why will everyone know about it? Because I choose to mix with as wide a range of people as possible. That’s the other great thing about Wellington. In many big cities you’re pretty much confined to your clique, or social station. Here I can be mixing with sports types one day, geeks the next. I can be rubbing shoulders with self-important parliamentary types, then find myself deep in conversation with intellectuals. It’s part of the beauty of the place. If all you’re interested in is schmoozing advertising execs, then you’re confining your gene pool unnecessarily.

My final word has to be about the sideline industry here. Everyone has something other than their main job going on. I used to write for Public Address. Now I write for four separate blogs, help make a sports podcast, have a play on the boil for next years Fringe Fest, help out with other peoples film projects when I can, keep my work-life ticking over, and find a little time for myself every now and then.

How do I manage all that? Well, no kids, but also because I ditched the “making money makes me a better person ethos” that permeates Auckland like a god-awful stink.

And I’m damn happy about it. Maybe next year I’ll move back to Melbourne. Just maybe. We’ll have to see.

Advertisements