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How Not To… Be A Wellingtonian

Marty Mc.B



Earlier in the year I was accused of unduly taking the piss out of NZ’s country folk – so,in order to even the piss-take, it’s time for us Wellingtonians to take a lashing. I’ve lived in 11 cities in my short life (including Auckland, heckle me now), and I have to be honest with y’all, in no other city have the people been so fervently, and to be honest, boringly, into their own city as we are here in ‘Wellywood’ (just vommed in my mouth a little).
I can’t deny that Wellington has some great things about it – you can walk anywhere, and the waterfront is a mighty spot on the four days of the year when your clothes won’t be ravaged off by a southerly. We have great cafes, bars, a fantastic public library (a spot in which I can whittle away hours without feeling too guilty because I’m in a library), and last but not least, who can forget Blanket Man’s muck outside Courtenay Place Burger King, where his hair has stained the wall. Absolutely, Positively… Dry Retching.
So yes, Wellington is unique and fantastic in so many ways – but so is any city. Last week when I was sitting at the Radio Active ‘Handle the Jandal’ music video awards, someone shouted out – “Wellywood rocks my world – there’s no place better”. To which I wanted to shout out, “are you deluded mate?” But I held my tongue, as I realised that no place (other than a Lord of the Rings parade) would have a collection of Wellingtonians with more of a patriotic fervour than a Radio Active event, and if I had said anything even vaguely derogatory I would have been flogged to death by these people’s funky opshop hats and pretentiously un-pretentious rhetoric.
So, what evidence do I have to deny Wellington’s status as the best city in the world you may ask? Well – lets start with Te Papa, ‘our place’. The crowning glory of Wellington’s cultural set. I frequent Te Papa, probably about once a week, mainly to steal their free newspapers, touch the giant wet ball, and set about my day again. But the few times I’ve actually invested time there, I’ve always felt like I’m missing out. I go on the nature walk, visit the shaky house, but always feel like I must’ve missed an entire few floors that contain some actual cultural relics. To be honest, I find the kiddie stations at Te Papa more stimulating than anywhere else (not in a dirty way), but that might be saying more about my levels of maturity than anything else.
Now lets move on to Wellington’s nightlife. Hospitality is supposed to be one of the things that this city does best. Yet every time I visit most of the trendy bars around the city I find myself surrounded by a bunch of limp, black-clad folks, who are sucking on some foreign beer (the taste of which they can’t differentiate from Double Brown, but must drink to look cool), and who daren’t laugh too loud or mingle with plebs in the fear of breaking their fragile bohemian mirage (put a smile on your dial mate). I can’t help but think that this clientele doesn’t make for the most rocking night scene. These are the type of people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a pub or a bar whose cocktails come for less then $15 a pop, but they are all performance artists or interpretive dancers or whatever who are on the benefit. Fuck the moral panic about dole bludgers living in state houses in Featherston spending their benefit money on Stag beers, I’d like to address those who are spending their’s on $20 cocktails whose name they can’t pronounce. That’s right buddy, hate to rain on your parade, but the J’ is silent in Mojito.
But then, on the other side of the coin the Friday night Courtenay Place crawl is nothing to write home about either. At about 6pm the streets are filled with Wellington’s corporate set – who aren’t rich enough and whose suits aren’t well tailored enough to pull off the lewd comments they throw at anyone they pass by. But not to worry, these guys are drained from the streets at about 10pm when their girlfriends pick them up from Subway on Courtenay in their Subarus and take them back to Johnsonville (the pick up spot used to be Burger King, but in their early thirties, these guys are starting to pack on the pounds, and a 12-inch from Subway dripping with cold meats and mayonnaise is practically calorie-free’).
So you have a slight lull from about 10- 11, but then the streets are filled with the young crowd (probably mostly too young to legally drink – but hey, no worries mate, at 15 you really convincingly look like your 24 year old cousin whose license you stole). The sad thing is, I take the piss, but you’ll probably get in to most bars. I remember as a blonde 16-year old with brown eyes, using a friend’s big sister’s licence and masquerading as a 25-year old redhead, with blue eyes. Did I get in? Always! Get out a bit of tit or thigh, and you’re in. This may be not so effective for our gentlemen readers… but you never know.
Anyway, these people sway down the strip in their Jay Jays graffitied shirts, vomiting on the curb, making obscene hand gestures at others, (and no, they’re not suggesting you shake your chocolate milkshake drink), and passing out in bus stops. It’s just another night in our nation’s cultural capital!
So, I don’t mean to rag on you too much Wellington, but I’d just like to send a message out to all those vapid Wellingtonians who sit around wanking on about the city all day, and have tears before bedtime whenever anyone insults the city in any way. She’s a pearler in many ways, but lets admit it, Wellington’s also a windy, boring shithole at times as well. And, just to rile everyone up, Auckland’s just as good if not better … (really just being the devil’s advocate here, but it feels kind of good).