Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Towards a newer Centauromachy

"Next Halloween I'd like to be a centaur. All I will need is the back end of a horse to attach to myself. Or maybe I could get a two-person centaur costume. I would be at the front end, because I'm better with people than Hamish is. Plus, if you were at the back end of the costume, there would be fart danger. If I was at the front then it would be me doing the farting."

Image titled 'A young centaur, with a kind of disturbing grin', from the Capitoline Museum, via Katie.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Neo-Classical Gothic

A recent photo I took of the Baptist Church on the corner of Madras Street and Oxford Terrace, in the centre of Christchurch. Sited next to the central Fire Station, the Baptist Church is close to the monument to the 911 NYC fire-fighters, a large-scale public work by Graham Bennett constructed from horribly twisted steel girders from the World Trade Centre. It seems these days that half of central Christchurch is either a ruin or a monument, or both.

Completed in 1882, the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church was designed by early Christchurch architect Edward J Saunders (who, the Historic Places Trust notes, had been a local surveyor in Canterbury in the 1860s, but was dismissed for "incompetence and habitual intoxication"). Twenty years later Saunders won a competition for a 'neo-classical preaching hall'; the Gothic Revival style which dominates Christchurch's church architecture had dubious associations with papery, and with the unspeakable 'bells and smells' of High Anglicanism, which the small yet strong-minded group of Canterbury Baptists were eager to avoid. Saunders's original winning design, for which he had received 25 pounds, was radically pruned to reduce costs, losing a vestry and organ gallery. I understand from architect friends that this remains the common fate of innovative architectural designs to this day.

Sanders's building, which is included on the Historic Places Trust's Category 1 Register, was severely damaged by the earthquake on 4 September last year, and has an uncertain future. It has huge open cracks across the pediment and entablature, and is currently supported by massive props.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A short story

Sometimes I agonize for twenty minutes over writing a single sentence, wrestling with different constructions and nuances until I am heartily sick of both the job at hand and myself, and need to pop out for a coffee or a little walk. No such wafting about with the small guy, who is a man of action when it comes to writing and experiences no terror of the white page whatsoever. I admire the workmanship in this recent short story, pictured above.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The 6pm call

Ring ring! Ring ring!
Pause. Click.
"Hello! I am from the computer maintenance department."
"Of what?"
"The computer maintenance department for all the people in New Zealand who are online on their computers."
"I am from the fuck off department."
Of course I didn't say that, it would have been rude. But I should have. I wish I had.

Bloody cold-calling call-centres. They are the new Jehovahs witnessses.