January 2010

We can each of us look backward to a snapshot of who we were at a moment of our own personal history. We can see what it was that made us who we were by looking at the tangled skein that wove us into the tapestry of which I’ve spoken. But at the time, while we each pull together the strands of daily life it is impossible to know the patterns we weave.

So naturally this was the way of it for my mother. My father having abandoned her after 3 days of trying to make happy family, his own daemons continuing to harry him, she moved out of the house she had been sharing with my aunt, and began to seek her own way. I was the cute appendage to her new life.

It was then that she took up with my middle brother’s father, Eddie, and following closely in her own mother’s footsteps was quickly pregnant to a man who could care for her.

She speaks of him being a delivery driver, which implies he took her on the road, and suggests his mischievousness was a key part of her attraction to him.

How their relationship formed I’ve never known. Eddie was also absent from my life from about age 4, Liz having escaped the East Coast and travelled to the Bay of Plenty to stay with my uncle. But like all the men in her life prior to our settling in Mount Maunganui he left a strong impression and child before their paths parted permanently.

It is again strange in retrospect how quickly all this took place. In what I now consider the blink of an eye my mother has left home, borne two children, experienced untold difficulties, and travelled across the breadth of the North Island. A whirlwind is all you could call it, with Eddie being just one more vortex into which she fell.

I’ve only met the man twice in my memory. Once at my brother’s wedding in 2004, and once after he came back to New Zealand briefly. Consequently there is no strong association between us. Had we stayed with him for longer in my childhood he may have made an impression, but the flight to the Bay of Plenty ended the possibility of that.

And why? Alcohol and alcoholism runs strongly in his family. What I’m uncertain of is whether he took to the drink before or after the death of his own mother, tragically taken in a car accident around the time of my brother’s birth, and with the drink came a violence, and an apparent meanness.

I learned that he beat her long after I had become an adult. She tells of holding my brother, an infant, while he laid into her, she thinking that the presence of the child would prevent what befell her.

How badly she was beaten I don’t know, and likely never will. What I do know is that she took a step not many women in the 1970s, or the 1980s for that matter, did and left him. And for that I can only commend her. Growing up with an alcoholic is one of those contributing factors you hear people speak of when making excuses for their present, and it is one I and my brother was best well away from.

And so it was that it was her and I, alone again, my little brother a joy to us both.



Indescribably awful.

The story starts out with a semi-retired former-special-ops guy who’s disaffected and has lost his love for his nation because the regime has changed. He’s given a chance to get back into the action with what is most probably a trap. So, he sets out to some other world somewhere to snatch a female of some species and bring it back to a remarkably Baron Harkonnenesque evil dictator.

OK. So we’re pretty high on the cheese factor already, right? Then, he crash-lands on the planet he’s heading to, surprise surprise, and just happens to have the female wander into the near-crash zone. WTF? Nice concidence.

And naturally she’s up for a shag.

I quit not long after.


Pedestrian. Really seriously pedestrian.

I had high hopes after The January Dancer, but was disappointed and bored.

Sent it back despite only reading to p.193. Life is too short for tedious scifi.

WTF!! A space opera with a plot, and intrigue!

The January Dancer is a great little novel set around the events following the discovery of an artifact, the Dancer, by a ship captain named January. Largely taking the form of a narrative by a scarred man to a harpist (in a pub), the story weaves its way across one of the spiral arms.

Perhaps what I liked best is that Flynn has a huge back-story woven into the narrative, but it’s subtly written and doesn’t occupy the reader’s attention. Instead, it unfolds gracefully, and draws you in. Very nice indeed, and combined with the believable and likeable characters makes for a compelling read.

This book is very highly recommended, and could be one of the best reads of last year.

Zombie flick cum road movie/teen film.

Piss funny.

Do not expect plot or the absence of holes (for example, how the hell do they still have electricity, and where the hell is all the petrol coming from?).

Best end of the holidays, like, ever.