A Christmas Carol. (Updated)

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Mr Ebenezer Scrooge turned off his computer, took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He reached for his coffee mug, but finding the contents cold and congealed, he carefully replaced it on his cluttered desk. It was close to midnight on Christmas Eve, but outside in the streets the crowds of frenzied shoppers still milled about, clutching shopping bags and snarling at each other.

He got up and stretched, then walked through to the next door office. His assistant, Bob Cratchitt was still at his desk. “Time to call it a day eh Bob?” said Scrooge, “What have you got planned for Christmas? At home in front of the fire, kids opening their presents, turkey roasting in the oven and all that?”

Cratchitt shook his head. “Nah,” he replied, “We were going to give the family thing a miss this year. Well, my boyfriend doesn’t exactly hit it off with Mrs Cratchitt’s new girlfriend, and anyway, Tiny Tim is off to a rave up north for a few days. At least I think he is….he took his shotgun with him anyway.”

Scrooge blinked in bewilderment. “So what are you doing tomorrow then?” He enquired, “It’s Christmas Day!”
Cratchitt looked puzzled, “Well I’ll be here won’t I?” he said, “We are supposed to be open right through the Festive Season.”
“But we’re a bloody accounting firm!” said Scrooge, “Surely we don’t need to be open through Christmas! These are busy times I admit, but who needs their accounts done that urgently?”

Cratchitt looked at his boss in surprise, “Whoa! Steady on Eb” he said, “Don’t forget that people have a RIGHT to professional services and you can’t let some outdated holiday get in the way of that! Marley, Marley and Marley down the street are open right through this week, we don’t want to lose business to them do we?

“I suppose not,” sighed Scrooge. “You know, my Great Great Grandfather used to have a lot of difficult issues to deal with at this time of year. He got it all sorted in the end though, apparently a group of ghosts turned up and gave him some sort of counselling. It seemed to work at the time…. I wonder if they still do that?”
Cratchitt looked dubious. “Sounds well iffy to me Guv,” he said, “I don’t think there’s much call for supernatural stuff these days. Have a look on the Net, see if there’s a website for them.”

Scrooge returned to his desk and opened the web browser. It took some time. A search for the word ‘Dickens’ returned some results that made him blink in amazement, but eventually he found what he was after. www. christmas past/present/future.com looked promising, so he followed the link to the site.

The screen filled with a large number of drop downs, mainly dealing with religious or secular preferences, age, and income bracket. Scrooge worked his way through them, carefully avoiding anything that looked likely to fill his inbox with spam messages for the next year, until he got what he was looking for. There was a pause, and then the Ghost of Christmas Present appeared on his screen. She was smartly dressed with short, well coiffured hair and a patronising manner. “Welcome!” she said briskly,”Just wait a minute while I divert my phone.” she pushed a couple of buttons on a slim cellphone then gave a brief and rather unconvincing smile. “Now then,” she said, “This manifestation service is brought to you with government funding from the Social Services Department and the Department of Womyn’s Affairs. Simultaneous translations are available in Maori, Urdu and Swahili at the bottom of your screen. Now how can I help you?”

Scrooge took a deep breath and began. “I want to know where Christmas went!” he cried, “When I was a kid it was what we waited for all year. School was out, Mum had done turkey and a cake, Dad had a week off work and Gran came over and made us Christmas pudding! We went carol singing, decorated the Christmas Tree and put our stockings by the mantelpiece with a glass of milk and some mince pies for Santa. When we got home from Church on Christmas day we opened our presents, had our lunch, maybe watched a Disney film on TV or listened while Dad read us a story. It was good! It worked! Where did it all go?”

Ms Xmas Present had assumed a patronising smirk by this time and the pixels on the screen seemed to shimmer with self righteous disgust. “That is just THE most sexist, self centred crap I’ve heard in ages!” she snapped, “This is just the kind of Eurocentric, elitist rubbish that we’ve been trying to stop! I don’t suppose you stopped for a moment to consider those people who were entitled to celebrate Kwaanza, Ramadan or Pagan rituals did you? The fact that many families of different, but equally valid sexual orientation have a right to the festivities of their choice never occurred to you did it? And what about the homeless? Did they get a look in? People like you make me sick!”
She paused for a sip of mineral water and Scrooge quickly pressed the talk button on his microphone. “Actually,” he said, “In our house we made a point of making a generous donation to the Salvation Army. My Brother and Sister and I used to give all our pocket money that week. Mum and Dad used to insist that we did! In fact I have a standing order at the Bank to give money to various charities every month!”

The ghost shuddered. “Oh that’s just WONDERFUL!” she sneered, “A private donation and your precious conscience was salved! Let’s get one thing straight. Charity is no longer a private matter. The provision of social services needed to alleviate poverty, caused, I should point out, entirely by capitalism and self interest, is the job of GOVERNMENT! You think you know better than we do how to deal with social issues? Just pay your taxes and leave the complicated stuff to us!

With a trembling hand, Scrooge hit the ‘escape’ button and the window closed. He pushed the chair away from the desk and went over to the filing cabinet. Filed away under ‘G’ for Glen Morangie was his private supply of Christmas cheer. Filling a large glass he went back to the desk and clicked the mouse on “Christmas Past”

The screen flickered and a white bearded old man in a shabby Santa suit appeared. “WHAT?!” said the apparition crossly. Scrooge began to repeat his question but the ghost cut him off.

“I know! You want to know what happened to Christmas right? You woke up one morning and found that peace on Earth and goodwill to all men was an “Outmoded Concept”, he said ,emphasising the quotation marks with an ironic waggling of his fingers. “Well join the bloody club pal! It’s a question I wouldn’t mind the answer to!”

He paused to take a large swig from a bottle in a brown paper bag, then passed it to a long haired young man with sad eyes sitting next to him. “I mean Christmas was just perfect right? Proof that man can create the ideal fusion of pagan joy and Christian compassion just for a day or two each year. It wasn’t such a big ask was it? Just a couple of quiet, civilised days each December just to pause, see the relatives, talk to your neighbours and so on……But no! That’s just too much effort these days isn’t it? I mean, it needs things like faith, and imagination and a sense of wonder to make it work, and people like you just sat on their arses and let all that slip away! Now it’s gone and you suddenly miss it. Well tough! I realised it years ago when I found I was reduced to sitting for hours in some ugly shopping mall taking endless requests for Play Stations from overfed, stupid modern kids! I snapped one day and dropped the kid I was holding down the wishing well. I walked off the job, sold the sleigh and signed on the dole! Nobody noticed, they just hired some old loser in a fake beard to do it and good luck to him!

So you miss the old days do you? Me too! Still, mustn’t grumble eh? At least you have 24 hour a day shopping over the “Festive Season”, you won’t make it to church on account of the hangover from the office party, but you’ll be working that day anyway, or fighting your way through the sales, so what’s the problem? A nice movie like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on the TV? Don’t make me laugh! They’ll probably show ‘Die Hard 7’ or some other load of violent swill. Much more in keeping with the mood of the times eh? Then you can…Oh forget it! Bugger off and leave me alone!”

The window snapped shut abruptly and Scrooge sat back and blinked. He refilled his glass, and with trepidation opened the last window.
A blast of hideous rap style music issued from the speakers and Scrooge quickly reached for the volume control. A bizarre figure appeared on the screen, dressed in a baggy nylon shell suit and enormous square spectacles.
“YO! DUDE!” Screeched the Ghost of Christmas yet to come, “NEW CONCEPT OK? NOT CHRISTMAS BUT ‘CRASSMAS’! CHECK IT OUT! NOT ONCE A YEAR BUT ALL YEAR ROUND! SLAP DOWN THE CREDIT CARD MY FRIEND AND LET THE FUN BEGIN! EAT A DOZEN ‘CRASSMAS BURGERS’ THEN BUY A ‘STAIRMASTER’ AND WORK THEM OFF AGAIN! OR HOW ABOUT THIS? THE LATEST HARRY POTTER FILM ‘HARRY POTTER GOES TO THE MALL’! BUY IT ON DVD AND GUESS WHAT? IT’S THE WRONG FORMAT! YES! BLOODY BRILLIANT! THROW IT IN THE BIN AND BUY ANOTHER! YOU JUST GOTTA LOVE IT! TOO BUSY TO GET TO THE SHOPS?????? RELAAAAAAAAAX! WE’LL BRING THEM TO YOU! HOW ABOUT SHOES? YOU GOTTA LOVE SHOES RIGHT? WE GOT THOUSANDS OF EM! SOME OF THEM ARE THREE FEET TALL! SO THEY GET MADE IN THIRD WORLD SWEATSHOPS BY LOSERS, IS THAT YOUR PROBLEM???? ‘COURSE NOT! YOU SIGNED A PETITION DIDN’T YOU? SO YOU’RE IN THE CLEAR! AND THAT BRINGS US TO BOOZE! WE GOT ALL THE LATEST READY TO DRINK PRODUCTS! WOOD ALCOHOL AND BATTERY ACID! GENUINE ALGERIAN SCOTCH WHISKY WITH CRANBERRY JUICE! GUARANTEED TO LOWER YOUR STANDARDS! BUY SOME FOR THE KIDS!

Computer screens make quite a satisfying sound when you put a paperweight through them, thought Scrooge as he put on his coat. He bade goodnight to Cratchitt, still working away at his desk, and walked out into the teeming street. A florid faced young office worker with a balloon tied around his wrist was noisily regurgitating a kebab in the doorway. Scrooge gave him a dirty look as he passed. A voice followed him down the street, “Oh come on you miserable bastard! IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

Experiences of International climate negotiations

Another update from Luke – the official ‘youngest person at the COP16 conference’ – love seeing it all through his eyes…

Hi Guys!

This conference has been an eye-opening experience for me recently as to where real climate change adaptation is likely to take place, and by far the most opportunity lies at grassroots community level, which makes what we’re doing seem all the more important. At the international level is seems unlikely anyone will enter a second commitment period under Kyoto unless the developed countries (primarily the US) take the lead. The US wants to see ‘voluntary commitments’ and measuring of success by ‘how well we meet those  commitments instead of measuring actual reductions’ which is ludicrous and would see developed countries make pledges of around 4-8% rather than the 40-80% needed in a second commitment period to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees! even if they could, the negotiators have said “we could never agree to how much should be pledged by nations in an adaptation fund” which is what the global public sees as a success in Cancun.

I asked the panel “Do you believe that we can properly address the issue of climate change using market mechanisms? (that is the carbon trading proposed under LULUCF and REDD+) given the current state of a global economy based on exponential growth on a finite planet?”. Their answer was a straightforward, honest and said one with out even any hesitation, as if a great burden was being released off their (the negotiations) shoulders.

“No”. “It never has done, it is not working now, and it never will work in future”.

And then, while I was still in a state of utter disbelief that they would have the decency to say that, a second panelist stated “The road to hell is often paved with good intentions”! It made for a very heated discussion! (while the cameras started to click away…). They ended the session on a positive note by literally saying that “Our best chance is in resilient community action”. I should trust my intuition more often. The same plenary panel has decided right there and then to continue the discussion in an open press briefing with media from across the world present tonight at 6pm (1pm today NZ time), and I intend to ask the same question, while introducing myself as the ‘youngest person at this conference’ which I found out I am! Hopefully the panel will be just as honest in front of global media.

We, as part of the Youth zero carbon strategies working group are planning some very important actions. We are firstly writing and handing out a ‘real’ agenda at the conference highlighting what really should be on the table in terms of UNFCCC workings. Then we are proposing an action right outside the Azteca Plenary hall at the Moon Palace with a guy in a business suit with UNFCCC written on it standing at a tap, with a sign saying ‘SUPPLY’ and then a hose to a swimming pool of large container where there is a youth member holding the end of the running hose with a sign next to him/her saying “DEMAND”. In the role play the youth asks the unfccc to “turn off the tap” but the unfccc refuses to do so, and instead asks the youth to stop it (ie; try to control demand). After trying 101 ways including water balloons and sellotape and countless others it is given up and the container overflows. Visually communicating that the only way to limit GHG’s in the atmosphere is to control supply rather than demand. This group is being led by a friend of mine named Kjell, who I joke about as being a ‘universal translator’ because he speaks 8 languages, fluently!

So keepin it brief… I gtg. But i have also left my contact details with the UNESCO reps here in Cancun. :p

Luke.

Phonemast and the Media

Part 4 of Stephanie’s summary of the phone mast issue.

THE ROLE OF NATIONAL AND LOCAL MEDIA AND CORRESPONDENCE ON THE PHONEMAST ISSUE

(A) National Media

It has to be said that the national media appear to have entered into a conspiracy of silence on this issue.  When the NES was pushed through Parliament under urgency (in the last days of the Labour Government) neither the usually vociferous opposition nor the media had anything to say about it.  As the NES allows the telcos to install their cellphone transmitters on any lampost or public infrastructure completely unnotified and each of the three telcos intends to have a 3G mast every 800 metres across suburban New Zealand, this law affects everybody.  WHY weren’t we told?

Perhaps it is fear of loss of advertising revenue (from the cellphone companies) that makes the mainstream media reluctant to cover the phonemast issue.  However, this does not explain why the TV news shies away from this subject.  Augumented by a heavy private security guard presence, a squad of police in riot gear along with a paddywagon and police helicopter were employed to quell the peaceful protest of  about 36 people (including children and elderly) objecting to the installation of a 2Degree phonemast at Rowan Hegley’s home, (145 Clovelly Road, Howick), early this year.  The TV newsreader that night merely said “the police were called to a protest in Howick today.”  and that was the extent of  coverage on this event.  (That same night, much mention was made of two young girls shaving their heads for charity).

Whilst denying the public coverage of such items as the above-mentioned incident in Howick, The NZ Herald enthusiatically and uncritcally accepts information provided by the cellphone companies’ PR teams.   Recently the Herald trumpeted the results of a study pupportedly showing that phonemasts are safe.  Dr David Black was quoted extensively in this article.  Dr Black’s was the only ‘expert’ opinion sought and disturbingly,  the Herald made no mention whatsoever of the fact that he works for Telecom and Vodafone.

(B) Local Media

Radio Waiheke has interviewed Dr Stuart Reuben once and myself twice (these interviews are available on their website).

Both the Gulf News and Marketplace have given excellent and impartial coverage.  Suprisingly, given the Gulf News’  recent reputation as a “green” newspaper in some people’s eyes, the Marketplace has given this issue more a bit more coverage, particularly to do with the anomalies in the council’s planning consent and ex-mayor, John Banks’ support of the campaign for safer sites.

(C) Letters To The Editor(s)

Over the last two years both local papers have published a number of letters written by those espousing the precautionary principle in relation to the safer siting of phonemasts (eg not installing masts near  kindergartens, hospitals or schools, etc.) and others opposing such caution.  Many letters have been written (I know because I wrote most of them), but this correspondence cannot be called a debate as the defenders of the cellphone industry have refused to answer any  questions at all. Sometimes this correspondence has been quite acrimonious, even downright rancorous, therefore much more entertaining judging by the messages received and people stopping me in the street at these times.

Farewell to the Corrugated Embarrassment!

Today’s ‘Weekly Fairfax’ brings us glad tidings at last. The humiliating mess of old corrugated iron that has blighted the view at Matiatia is to be done away with after five ignoble years.

The report suggests that the mess will be ‘Decommission

ed’ which I suppose is pretentious Art-Speak for ‘Put on the back of a lorry and hauled away like the rubbish it is’.

Good riddance too say I. I should point out that I am not a fan of the biannual display of fatuous nonsense perpetrated on the western extremity of the island. I have been talked into visiting it on a couple of occasions and have always come away seething with annoyance. I always find myself wondering who sits in judgment over the array of fraudulent fripperies presented for inclusion for Sculpture on the Gulf. How do they decide which of the offerings are the work of people who genuinely believe themselves to be ‘Artists’, and which are simply submitted by those who are, quite frankly, taking the piss?

Whether the so called ‘Sculptor’ Jeff Thomson was in the ‘Over-Refreshed or Under-Medicated’ category and actually thought his ludicrous roll of metal somehow qualified as art or was simply possessed of a foolish sense of humour regarding a spare roll of roofing material that the organizers failed to spot I have no idea. Whatever the real facts we the ratepayers got stuck with it. There it sat on the hillside, giving visitors the impression that the local building industry was in the habit of dumping unwanted construction waste in whatever convenient spot presented itself and that the locals couldn’t be bothered to clean it up.

The ninnies are back at it this Summer. What fresh horrors will we find displayed, or, even worse, purchased on our behalf for display on the island in perpetuity? Something involving five avocados and a headless Barbie doll glued to an old fashioned bathtub I expect.

So to celebrate, I’d like to dig up a story I wrote a few years ago after my first visit to Sculpture on the Gulf. I called it ‘The Emperor’s new Sculpture’.

Are you sitting comfortably?

“Once upon a time there was a foolish old Emperor who delighted in spending his subject’s money on strange and wonderful things. One day he said to himself, “I must stage and exhibition of sculpture! It will be my finest work! Challenging and inspirational all at once.”

He sent his town criers out into the town to announce the event and everyone waited in anticipation for the opening day.

Sadly though, no matter how hard the Emperor tried, he could not produce a single worthwhile sculpture. Not that this stopped him. Oh dear me no… His efforts were dragged up onto a hillside overlooking the harbour and his loyal subjects turned out, clutching packed lunches and reading the notes from the splendid programme. How they marveled at the Emperor’s skill! What learned comments they made!

Everyone was happy until a small boy in the crowd piped up; “The Emperor has NO TALENT!” he cried, “It’s just bits of wood and metal stuck in the ground making the place look untidy!”

The people shrieked in horror! “How can you say such things?” Said they. “See what vision and skill our emperor has! Take his sculpture ‘A Scream in the Silence, Option 5’ What a statement! How can you not be moved by it’s depth of communication?”

“Easy”, said the boy, “since the piece in question consists of four rolls of Gladwrap wound around an old valve radio with a stale bun placed on top. I’m likewise unmoved by exhibit seven, Voices Across the Distance, which, according to the programme, speaks to our deepest longing for communion with our inner selves, yet turns out on closer inspection to be nothing more than an old bus seat with a telephone directory nailed to it. Very deep I’m sure.”

The people stirred uneasily. “Well how about this untitled piece then?” they said. “It clearly shows the reality of technology in decay, a cogent and challenging indictment of our consumerist frenzy. Not e the way that the artist has deliberately left the exhibit out of the catalogue. Such irony!”

The boy smiled. “Or is it just that the piece in question is not actually part of the exhibition in the first place?” said he, “But is in fact a rusting Ford Falcon that has been sitting there in the ditch since the local blacksmith parked it there by accident late one night after a rather good party?”

By this time the people were beside themselves with fury. “How can you be so blind to genuine creative talent?” They cried, “This exhibition is one of the greatest thing we have ever seen! Take exhibit twelve for example… “Ah yes”, said the little boy, the word ‘Fraudulent’ picked out in canvas letters and secured to the ground with plastic forks. Possibly more honest than the piece next to it entitled Intimations of Motherhood (A Sonnet), that appears to be nothing more than an assortment of kitchen implements glued to a sheet of Gib Board. Fascinating. It must have taken hours to do…Yes indeed, you people seem to know a lot about art. Mind you, I know a fair bit about what drops out of the back end of male cows, and when I see that the People’s Choice Award has been given to exhibit ten, Lunch in the Wilderness which seems to my untrained eye to be a stuffed wolverine sandwiched between two paving slabs then I know I’ll be looking for a clean patch of grass to wipe my gumboots clean.”

At this point a wonderous thing happened. The people, realising that the little boy was wiser than his years, rose up as one and threw the foolish emperor into the harbour, where he sank with barely a ripple.

And they all lived happily ever after……..”

Travel update from Luke

Ola Amigos!

I have been enjoying myself very, very much these past few days. I finally met up with the UNESCO people here in Cancun and sure enough one of them had been to Waiheke before and so knew the place well and gave me some clear advice. Sounds like Colin’s got his facts right that’s for sure, and we’re doing all the best things to do, and not rushing the process which is good. I have got the card of the head guy in Paris who co-chairs UNESCO.  Appears the best thing to do to raise public profile would be to invite the NZ branch people or some people from Noosa Biosphere reserve over.

COP 16 is all over for me now! No more plenaries thank you very much, and no more IPCC, ODEAC, UNFCCC, SBSTA, or KP, COY, and whatever else comes to mind. But the second lot of us will be going in from tomorrow and I will be playing an important motherly role in making packed lunches out of dinner leftovers from the night before, reading through the daily programme and sorting out what we need to be going to as a delegation and at what times, and acting as daily coordinator for the next 3 days. Everyone will feed into me what their plans are for the day around breakfast. I am still keeping myself as busy as ever, and I have a whole day side conferencia in a 5-star hotel called the ‘Rio Cancun’ from 9-5 tomorrow on the ethics behind climate change and the ethics behind the UNFCCC workings, which I consider to be very important in addressing the issue since it is more a moral and ethical issue than a political issue.

I also finally got permission for our garden hose extraction action at the Palace! But the secretariat are so stringent they won’t even allow us to have water! It’s paranoia if you ask me. Oh well, there’s the Via Campesina march tomorrow down Ave Tulum which last year had 40,000 participants and this will test them to the extreme, provided there are as many people as last year, it’s so hard to tell. The caravans have taken over in the last two days, after passing through all of mexico over the past few months… I bet they’ll bring out the tanks after all. A lot of people have lost faith in the negotiations and so all the activists that camped outside Copenhagen last year aren’t here this year, but there are more people at the actual conference, with the rumors pointing at around 45,000. We’re gonna use water anyway, because I’m the one held accountable for it and I’m not in the conference anymore so they can’t kick me out, and so I say yes. We’re painting some banners and stuff tonight.

I have been invited to stay on a floating island made out of plastic bottles just off Isla Mujeres sometime this week. The bottles are held together in nets and the island built on top, apparently there’s a cottage, a waterfall and even mangroves growing on this tropical island, and Kjell is friends with the guy who built it. It is very cool and you can check it out on Wikipedia. It is the second one this guy has built cause his first was destroyed by a hurricane. I am also going to visit a REDD forest and the indigenous people that live there, on Thursday on a Mexican govt tour, and I’m also hoping to visit Chichen Itza before I go so it makes for quite a lot of day tripping! (more investigation continues at Soberani’s tomorrow).

I have been getting out and about a bit more often lately, there’s been more on around town. I went to the YOUNGO party at Klimaforum on Thursday night for a start. It was about 12km into the rainforest in a place very much like Te Moata, except with a massive open grass field. They had a funky reggae band there who put on a really good show, and we spent our time dancing the night away. There were also these people who did gymnastics with fire, and one girl who did the hula with her hoop on fire, it was amazing.

But by far saturday night was the best. All the NGO’s (non- government organizations) banded together and hired out Senior Frogs for the yearly NGO party. The whole place was pumping! Just to top it all off they had yet another street festival last night, and we watched some of the Mexicans breakdancing in the park.  They are erecting a massive Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza this week, which made it all the more enjoyable. I can consider myself spoilt rotten. All this time I never drunk more than one pina cilata!

The thing I enjoy most about mexico is everything that is happening around you. Just walking down my normal route to Soberani’s on Ave Coba today there’s the usual traffic and I get passed by a bus that was so overloaded with people there were guys hanging out the open door waiting to pay their fare as the bus is moving. The whole pavement and most of the street is flooded in ankle-deep water because the water mains burst last night and there’s this poor builder knelled over on the pavement with 8 different cement and tool filled buckets floating around him as he tries desperately to fix it. I witness a guy stealing from the street vendor as she has her back turned and just to top it off as I’m admiring the craziness of this situation I realize the cause for the traffic hold up, turns out this guy’s mini isn’t starting and I find myself pushing it down the street for him with a bus behind me as he jumps in and tries to start it. Only after a guy came running out of a restaurant literally with a spatula in hand to help me push did we finally get it going!

I’ve learnt my fair share of what to be careful of while here. The open world is a lot different to NZ and unfortunately you just can’t trust anyone.

Adios,

Luke.

Going ‘Cold Dotterel’

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“Withdrawal can refer to any sort of separation, but is most commonly used to describe the group of symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation/separation or a decrease in dosage of the intake of medications, recreational drugs, and/or alcohol. In order to experience the symptoms of withdrawal, one must have first developed a physical dependence(often referred to as chemical dependency). This happens after consuming one or more of these substances for a certain period of time, which is both dose dependent and varies based upon the drug consumed…”

Thank you Wikepedia, detailed and to the point as ever. Now I have described myself in the past as a Political Junkie. Back when I was writing ‘Home on the Rock’ for the Marketplace I even had a character of that name. He was a composite of myself and a few close friends that share my taste for wild overindulgence in late night political debate.

But in the last month I have had cause to realise just how close to the truth the description really is. Can it really have been four weeks since the dramatic events following the Local Board elections culminated in that glorious outpouring of public feeling at the Ostend Hall? For me it has felt like years. Back then I was watching every twitch and tremor of the political scene, exchanging dozens of emails with others in a similar fervour and of course distilling all of this into pithy prose and writing it all down on this website.

Then, as quickly as it came, it all went away again leaving me bereft and shivering from the sudden loss of my daily dosage. I’d call it Cold Turkey but I have actually been unfortunate enough to witness people going through genuine drug withdrawal and have no wish to make light of such experiences, so ‘Cold Dotterel’ will suffice for my purposes.

My point is, how could such passion and excitement suddenly die down so quickly? Did all those protesters, their eyes shining with political activism, wake up the next day and think; “Oh bugger it. It’s just politics as usual. We’ll come back to this in three years and see what happens.”
Will they forgive? Or even worse, forget?

Not me chaps. I’m watching this develop, or would be if there was anything actually happening. And that’s the problem. I still have four days to go until the first board meeting. Four more days of trying to assuage the pangs of withdrawal with the thin offerings in the paper. Yes, I’m concerned about the little baby oysters. Of course I am.
I share the concerns of those of us who used to like driving along the Esplanade and are now forbidden this simple pleasure by what Jeremy Clarkson so aptly describes as ‘Lycra-Nazis’.

But it’s not enough I tell you! I need more than this to whet my previously sated appetite for scurvy tricks and scabrous skullduggery! Do I have to start making stuff up? Or provoking our new board members into ill –considered utterances in public? Should I ply John Stansfield with strong drink and drop him outside Faye Storer’s house at four in the morning perhaps? Or start a rumour that Andy Spence’s recount actually showed him to have won hands down but the news was suppressed by the Rotarians? Maybe I could start a new website called Waiheke-Leaks and publish it all on there?

Probably not. I tried this before the election when I suggested that the real Jim Hannan was bound and gagged in his vest in a dark cellar somewhere while his evil doppelganger ran amuck on the campaign trail. Nobody went for it though.

So I shall wait for next Tuesday. The content will doubtless be duller than a Vegan’s dinner, but the tensions in the room ought to be worth going for.

Rest assured I shall keep you informed.