There have been many great things about moving to NZ but one of the biggest things that I miss is the music scene.  Or the lack of it.  Ok, so I’m going to say it: the music scene in NZ sucks.  What the fuck is up with the adoration of dub/reggae and piss poor European house?  Seriously.  Ok, it’s said.

So the other big issue is that not only do very few bands come and play here but if they do they invariably skip Christchurch (apparently crossing the Tasman is ridiculously expensive).  Then even if they do come here the chance of finding out about the gig is pretty small as promotion is often non-existent (when I found out I’d missed Dan Deacon last year I was not a happy bunny).

As time has passed I’ve realised it’s not quite as bad as I first thought (I really was spoiled living in Brighton before all this).  In months to come we have Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, The Pixies, Yo La Tengo, Camera Obscura, Pavement, Neko Case, Mono, Wilco.

And now they’ve announced Joanna Newsom with Jens Lekman no less.  In Christchurch.  While I’m on nights.  The same nights that cover my birthday none the less.

See, to go to any of these (as none of them bar the lovely Ms Newsom are playing CHCH) I have to try and book 2 days off work a few months in advance (a process which can take up to a month to confirm sometimes), get flights and accommodation in Wellington or Auckland and all the other little expenses that go along with it.  It makes it very difficult and expensive plus it’s eating into my annual leave.  I miss the day I could lean out of K’s window and listen to Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan playing across the road in St George’s church.

So I make my choices.  I chose Pavement over Pixies.  I’m losing the rest of the week to be in Auckland for Dirty Projectors 2 days later.  Mono I’ve seen before.  Neko Case I’m still deciding.  Wilco I will make happen.  I will also see JN even if I have to miss the end of her set (or be late for work which is more likely).  Tomorrow I’m off to see Jarvis Cocker in Wellington all by my lonesome.

A plea: if you are coming to New Zealand to play, please extend the tour to CHCH.  You’ve already spent all that money and time flying here in the first place so what’s a little bit more to come a bit further south.  I’ll come pick you up myself if it will help.

Now I just need to figure out how I’m ever going to see Mogwai ever again.  Fuji Rock 2010 anyone..?


I’ve been rather slack when it comes to my blog.  Oh well.  Life has been busy.

It’s winter here now.  Truly.  I’ve gone skiing twice now.  My second lesson at the weekend didn’t go too well.  On the first run down I stacked it and got sifted to the ‘slow’ group, comprising me and 5 middle aged women.  It got worse as I went on though.  Felt pretty disillusioned with the whole process and had a bit of a strop until I saw a chubby guy about my age crying on his arse with his tutor holding him by the shoulders saying, “It’s ok Danny, we just need to get to the bottom of the slope; can you do that?; come on, we’re getting there, we just need to crack your balance…’, NO! I want to stop!”.  I decided to man up after that shameful display.

In the afternoon I progressed to the big boy slope and after 1 run of sheer terror I felt pretty good about the whole thing and was rather annoyed when the weather came in and we had to go home.

Ached like a bitch for the next few days.

A friend of mine let me know that the Blur set at Glastonbury was the best gig of his life which made me feel great.  Watching the footage on line it’s really taken me back to the old days, watching Blur with friends, crowd-surfing, singing to my throat gave out and leaving soaked to the skin with sweat, water and stale lager.  Upset I missed the gig.

I’m working in elderly care at the moment which is nice as I find old people fascinating and some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.  You don’t seem to get as many war stories in NZ though and I’m not sure why.  I’m currently sitting waiting for a medical registrar job to come up but in the mean time I’ve applied formally for jobs in December.  K is working as an anaesthetic registrar which is pretty cool.  I’m proud of her.

So many things.

Right now I’m listening to an almost perfect live version of 2 rights make 1 wrong from the Evening session in 2001.  It’s glorious and well worth digging out.  Time for bed now though.

Well, I’ve already lost the whole of January 2009 since I last blogged.  Life itself is busy and fun and interesting – I just haven’t had much inclination to blog about it.  Shame really considering I moved half way round the world and was supposed to keep in touch with people.  Bad Andy.

In the last month we went away to Lake tekapo with friends, went tramping, waded in the dark though a river in a cave system, listened to Fat Freddies Drop (just enough to ensure I really don’t like them), saw lots of entertaining street theatre in the Buskers festival, got sunburnt multiple times, bought new walking boots, got drunk, had BBQs in the sun, went swimming in freezing glacial lakes and then immersed myself in hot springs, got my hair cut, got some sleep, got annoyed Blur have reformed just after I left the country ensuring I can’t see them on their come back gig (I did think very hard about flying back for it), spent New Year in an underground Korean Kareyokee joint to 3 in the morning (apparently I can sing Placebo songs really well) and today got a year older.

I will try to blog more and a whole heap of photos are almost ready for viewing.  Out.

Or at least I may be able to be soon.  I have one night on call left to go.  After that we’re off to Hanmer Springs for the weekend for some relaxation.  It’s not as if the nights have been tiring – in fact they’ve been strangely (insert that word that’s the same as ‘quite’ but with a different word order).  But a week is generally draining even if you sleep well during the day and fairly antisocial.

Anyway, I just got an email from Barry at Wilderness Medical Training after filling him in on my recent exploits on the Medex expedition and he’s linked to my blog and photo site from the WMT website.  Which is nice of him.

Wilderness Medical Training are the group who ran the Chamonix ‘Expedition Medicine and Field Skills for Diverse Environments’ course I went to this summer gone.  As you may remember from earlier posts the course was extremely well run, informative and damn good fun.  Plus you get to meet a whole host of people with a love for the outdoors and doing something a bit different with their training and lives.  They run courses throughout the year in a variety of locations for lay people as well as medics so there’s something for everyone.  Go check out the website for details.

My photos of the week can be found here, including us playing around on the glacier, ice climbing and building our tremendous ice cave.  As I said – great fun.

And speaking of photos – I’ve been using my downtime to sort out the recent Medex expedition shots so will be posting them to my site over this next week.  I’m also posting all the shots since we moved to New Zealand so if you’re really bored check them out (link is on the right).

Ah nights.  Barely have I started before going back onto nights.  Still, I quite like the solitary, dark nature of a week of nights.  I was awake from 9 to 18.30 which was pretty stupid – I’m going to be suffering for that soon.  Plus, daytime sleeping’s going to be tough as it’s so damn hot.  May have to sleep downstairs on our sofa bed as I can turn the AC on.  And tonight there’s no coordinator meaning I can be bleeped by anyone, for anything.  Potentially bad.

Got my first pay cheque this week which was nice and necessary.  I now owe K a huge amount of money so will be her bitch for the next month or two until that’s paid off.  It probably would have just been simpler to transfer my English money here but then if I always did the simpler option I’d have nothing to keep me occupied.

So we also saw Four Holidays the other night.  Now before you say anything, K got free tickets from one of the local radio stations.  Someone rang her to say they had got them so she should ring, which she did, only to be told by the DJ you had to ring when a certain song was playing.  Then he just gave them to her anyway!  Film was mediocre at best.  Occasionally funny but a lot of the characters where genuinelly unpleasant.  Glad I didn’t pay for it.

I’m gradually getting through a huge number of photos from Nepal and New Zealand (the latter number are steadily increasing just by being here) so will post some here once organised.

So I like New Zealand so far.  Though there are a few changes to get used to.  For example, bank charges.  You get charged for everything.  Everything.  Want to take your own money out from an ATM.  That costs you.  Want to use another banks ATM?  Even more.  Cheques, setting up a direct debit, paying a bill, checking your balance on line…all charged.  Not impressed.  Still, have one now.

Mobile phones don’t come for free either.  And cds are really expensive.  It’s not like it is back home!

All told though, everyone is friendly and interested.  Went out for drinks last night and met some of Ks new friends.  Been mooching around Chch most of today, checking out the shopping and the food and then taking a wander through the botanical gardens.  Plus we got the dvd player working which makes us both happy.

And now we’re trying to sort out our holiday for the next week and a bit.  Should be fun.  Going to start sorting out my Nepal photos soon and will start posting them as and when they’re ready.

About 20 mins into the mammoth 27 hour plane journey to get me here I heard the immortal and feared words come over the tannoy:

“If there’s a medical doctor on board please would they make themselves known to the cabin staff…”

Great.  It didn’t catch me entirely unaware though as the woman with the problem was sitting 2 seats in front of me and I’d been eavesdropping.  That explains why I alerted them to my presence so fast.  She had a problem getting a blood sugar monitor to work and wanted some advice on insulin dosing for her partner.  I could do that.

Then strangely the connection from Aukland to Christchurch turned round as we were taxiing to head back to the terminal as a passenger was unwell and needed to get off.  Didn’t ask for a doctor that time though.

Aside from all that the flight was tolerable (Air New Zealand are pretty good all told, plus the nice lady at check in didn’t charge me for the huge excess I had on my weight allowance) and I managed to stay awake for the rest of the day after arrival.  Currently my body is telling me it’s confused and wants to know what time it is and whether I should be tired or not.

On first glance, Christchurch reminds me of small town America, which is no bad thing.  Supermarkets are different and buying unknown food will take a while to get used to.  But since yesterday we have acquired a sofa, kitchen table and chairs, brand new bed and a dvd played.  Just need a bookcase and a few kitchen things now.

Tomorrow I’m meeting the NZ medical council representative to go over my paperwork.  Then I’m off to set up a bank account, get a new driving licence and sort out a new phone.  This will involve me having to figure out how the buses work – I don’t do buses.  Plus until I start work later this month and get some money K is paying for everything.  Ha ha.  I’m now her house husband apparently.

And for those of you slow on the uptake – I’ve moved to New Zealand.

P.s. Well done America.  Good voting choice.