Cowboys don’t cry

The Fatuus brothers rode like men possessed. Their silhouettes dancing on and darkening the ridge above the town. Three of the brothers led the charge the other running fast behind, trying to keep up. The townsfolk laughed. Poor ole Claytus they thought, always the last.

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‘C’m’on boys,’ Eli encouraged. ‘we’re catching him!’

Gil and Arlo didn’t respond, panting hard they kept their eyes on the trail hoping Eli would soon see sense and give up the chase. Claytus didn’t hear, but yelled all the same. “Wait for me! C’m’on guys, wait for me.”

Word got around. Townsfolk now exited the saloon, general store and barbers, all gathering in the main street. They started cheering the boys on, many in hysterics rolling on the ground holding their sides. ” You can catch him boys – go for it.”

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The Fatuus brothers were famous in these parts. Famous for being stupid. They had a hankering to become famous criminals. And famous they had become. But not as the gang of evil villains they aspired to be, but as complete imbeciles.

At first, they couldn’t afford guns so they got jobs in the towns only factory. The Union Pickle Company, figuring they would save their wages and buy guns afterward. Eli, the eldest telling his brothers, “nothing will stop us then.”

But working on the onion line proved too much for them. After just half a day they resigned telling the boss they were hard men and cowboys shouldn’t cry. The boss didn’t want to lose ’em so he offered them googles. So for the next two years the boys wandered about town with deep strap impressions on their faces making them look like wrinkly beavers.

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Then there was the tragedy involving Old Man Fatuus! Cody Fatuus was famous in these parts too. Famous for the manner of his death. He fell into the town well after losing his spectacles. Thinking they may have dropped into the well he peered into it,  he over balanced and fell in. Drowned. Then, when they finally pulled him out, the arms of his glasses were securely resting on his ears and the frames and lens’ sitting on-top of his head!

Outta decency the townsfolk attended his funeral but it ended in a right shemozzle when the boys dropped and broke the casket. Poor ole Cody Fatuus starting rolling down Cemetery Hill! That was a few years back and since then, the Fatuus boys have continued to be complete morons.

Looking up at the ridge the townsfolk noticed Claytus stop, clearly exhausted. Not long after that Gil and Arlo also stopped peddling as they approached the steepest part of the ridge. Only Eli kept going. His legs pumping as quickly as they could. All the while his cocky stallion jaunted silkily 100 yards ahead of him.

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It had all started earlier in the day. The Fatuus brothers coming to town for their Saturday drink. Eli riding his horse in, his brothers following behind on their bicycles. The boys had a few drinks, played a few rounds of poker and chatted up the local whore D’arcy. But when it comes time to leave Eli finds his horse missing. He steps back into the saloon and starts shooting up the bar. The piano player stops, the drinkers hush, the poker players drop their hands and D’arcy, well she just scratched herself and adjusted her corset.

d'arcy

Eli looks around for a minute and says. “I’m gonna have one more whisky and if my horse ain’t returned by the time I’ve finished my drink, I’ll do what I had to do in Skeleton Corral.” Everyone gasped!

Luckily when Eli finished his drink his horse was standing untethered outside the saloon. But when Eli went to saddle up, his horse bolts. Then the chase was on!

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After twenty more minutes Arlo, Gil and Claytus amble back into town, dusty and dry. The Undertaker keen for business approaches them.

“Boys, what exactly did Eli do in Skeleton Corral?”

The brothers narrow their eyes and hiss, “he had to walk home.”

 

Kia Ora Roly

Pic Credits – Unsplashed  

 

 

 

Watching paint dry

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Ever heard the expression, watching paint dry?

I have, and I did it.

The verdict.

It’s pretty damn boring.

Pretty in the sense there is a subtle but beautiful change in a pigments hue between the time when the paint is first applied and when it is finally dry. Boring in that it takes the paint a long time to dry, and when you only have a few days to live, well it seems a bit of a waste of time.

Hello, my name is Musca; and I’m one of those guys who like to hang around. You’ll know me, although I’m sure you won’t remember. I’m one of those guys no one bothers to get to know. I’m always here and there and you love to cuss and curse me; but apart from that you never pay me any real attention. You’ll probably be surprised I even have a name. Yep, I’m an adjunct to most peoples lives, just flying through.

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While you can’t be bothered to get to know me, let me assure you, I know I like to bother you! And because of this, I think it would be fair to say most people hate me; hate me with a ferocity usually only reserved for enemies of the state and frocked peado’s!

Yes Sir, people hate me that much!

Can’t blame them I suppose. I know I wouldn’t want someone shitting and spitting all over my food and skin either. So I guess it’s fair enough.

‘I want to paint the wall a sepia tone,’ I heard the woman say, ‘it reminds me of Nelson in the autumn.’

Sepia might well remind her of Nelson in May but for the last two days I feel as though I’ve been trapped of in horrific never ending Vaudeville tragedy (less the strongmen and dancing girls of course). And it’s about to close with an all mighty bang. The bang being me. Trapped; I’ve been the proverbial fly on the wall,

So why am telling you this?

Well, I’ve been stuck here on this wall for two whole days now. I’d already been alive for two days, so by my reckoning I only have about about two days left on this god forsaken planet. But not if that Daddy Long Legs with her graceful poetic limbs on the wall opposite spies me. She’s been on the prowl for a while now and if she gets a whiff of me, I’ll liquidised spider fodder before you can say ‘Sylvia Gerrish.

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Image: NYPL Digital Gallery

So either way at least half my life will have been stuck here on this wall. I’d only landed to take a comfort stop. All six legs instantly becoming stuck in the wet paint.  That’s when everything turned to shit – literally. Having to go; but head facing down, the rule of gravity reigned supreme and I ended up with my own fly spot all over me. Nice.

And just yesterday my cousin Shane flew by. He spotted my frantic flailing and failing attempts to escape. My butt twerking as my knees and hips buckled and twisted in desperation. Rather than try and help, rather than stop and reassure me with kind words and hope, he mounted me. Yes my own cousin, taking advantage. The physical pain only being outweighed by the indignity of it all. He’s not even homosexual – the bastard!

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Anyway, the point of why I a

m telling you this is that no matter how bad your life is, things could always be worse. There’s always someone worse off than you and even if you can’t abide them, or hate them with a passion, you should always find sympathy in your heart for others, especially if they have a shitty face, a sore arse and are about to be turned into spider food.

Argh, Sylvia Gerr…

spider woman

Kia Ora

Roly

Baikonur Bitch

‘No, you can’t see the Big Dipper from Dunsandle,’ I told her again. ‘But you can see the Southern Cross!’

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Aperture Vintage – Image Credit 

Although she didn’t acknowledge me I knew she’d heard and could understand. But still no response; her fuscous eyes staring, fixating on the galaxies above, a look of amazement on her face.

I’d only just met her.

I’d just popped out of the Hall to have a durry and take a piss. I’d walked around the side of the building toward the domain behind, peering into the windows as I went by. In the Hall Office I briefly watched Athol Simmons trying his hardest to become familiar with Glenys Hollis’s topography. While Athol struggled unhinging Glenys’s bra; in the hall proper the Kirwee Cooee’s were playing their interpretation of Lonnie Donegan’s ‘Cumberland Gap’; which seemed all too appropriate.

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I kept walking, nearly tripping over young Jimmy Karsten who was heaving up copious quantities of beer and Mrs Stott’s coronation chicken. Too much beer with too much fancy food on-top, I reckoned. Dance hall suppers were an institution invented only for women folk, teetotalers and the young who had far more beer on-board than they should. I’d always taken the view that Dance Hall Suppers were a danger to ones health, best bring your own food.

‘Better get home boy,’ I growled. ‘Get some water into you and some sleep. You don’t want your old man seeing you like this. Besides, I can’t see your old man doing the milking in the morning, he’s almost as drunk as you.’

I walked on; behind me Jimmy groaned then heaved again.

After my leak I decided to continue my short walk, my ears were ringing and the batting away of Jenny Anderson’s continual affections and intentions were becoming irritating and tiring.

Come dance with me Archie,…promise me at least one dance Archie, please…Archie, would you like to sit with me at supper? I made your favourite curried eggs…Oh Archie you do look so handsome tonight! 

For fucks sake woman!

Leave me be.

Hadn’t I told her so, so many times before?

I knew Jenny was lonely. Ever since Ted Cooper rolled his tractor she’d been like a bitch on heat. I also knew 400 acres were way too much for one woman to manage on her own. Her farm backed onto mine so I helped her out when I could.

I knew she cried herself to sleep, I could hear her sometimes through the still nights. I also knew she kept her backdoor unlocked in the hope that a knight in shining armour would stroll through. And very occasionally I did just that.

But I was no knight in shining armour, I was not there to save her. I had no interest in absolving her pain. I was just knocking her off; it didn’t mean I wanted her, and it certainly didn’t mean I wanted to get hitched. She was pretty enough, but I like being single.

Tonight she had taken things way too far.

‘Imagine,‘ she said, ‘2,000 acres and some sons to look after them; and then us when we get old!’

Since when did an occasional romp in the sack evolve into a lifetime of toil and complaisance? There was a big difference between taking her and taking her away. I didn’t want a bar of it, and I didn’t want a bar of all her fussing and incessant need to be taken care of.

For fucks sake woman!

I stopped twenty yards short of the bench seat overlooking the pond. There I saw a silhouette I didn’t recognise. Sitting by the bench was one of the most attractive things I had seen in a long time.

‘Hello there,’ I whispered trying not to frighten her. ‘Aren’t you lovely,’ I said in my softest voice.

My new friend sat aloof. The way she held herself; her head tilted high toward the stars, her tight athletic form, told me she was strong, independent and not to be trifled with. I liked that. I walked toward her, gently sitting down beside her, slowly putting my arms around her. I felt her relax, felt her body weight shift against mine. She was warm and clearly unworried by my attention. I stroked her face. She exposed her graceful neck. I tickled under her chin.

‘You really are a beautiful girl,’ I cooed.

‘You want something to eat?’

‘Got some dressed pies in the back of my truck,’ I said proudly, ‘picked ’em up this afternoon. Dunsandle store makes the best dressed pies in the universe.’

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I slapped her rump, ‘come on, follow me.’

I walked toward my old Nash parked in a sea of gravel and potholes. Under the starlight, standing lonely but proud, she looked like an ugly metallic shark. I yanked open it’s stiff back door, reached in and pulled out two cold dressed pies. I held one out – my new friend took a look and stole a sniff.  She greedily took the pie from my hand, woofing it down instantly.

‘They’re good aren’t they? Especially the beetroot aye – even cold!

She was ravenous so I gave her my mine. Again she inhaled it.

While she was eating I studied her form. Petite but muscular, alert and smart. Young. Pretty as a picture, obedient  and calm. A perfect specimen.

‘I’m going to have some fun with you,’ I muttered under my breath.

‘Come,’ I said –  now walking back toward the hall.

She followed without question or hesitation.

‘Good girl!’

As I approached the Hall The Kirwee Cooee’s were murdering Buddy Holly.

Well, that’ll be the day when you say goodbye
Yes, that’ll be the day when you make me cry
You say you gonna leave, you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

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Not many people know this but Buddy Holly and all of the Crickets died a gruesome death in Dunsandle on November the 4th 1957, artistry and craft crashing to earth in great balls of fire (yes I know that was Jerry Lee Lewis), massacred, ashes scattered by the musical abilities of Kirwee’s best.

As I approached the front of the Hall Jenny Anderson was sitting languidly on the front steps bawling her eyes out.

Fuck me, I thought.

She was surrounded by a semi circle of women, her tears seemingly draining her strength and form but fortifying her companions. Jenny being comforted and mollycoddled by the Coleman sisters in law, Mrs Stott, who would sooner fart in church than miss out on any gossip or drama. Even Glenys Hollis was there, coo cooing  and rubbing Jenny’s back. I hoped she had had the time to stuff herself back into her under garments.

The women were clearly holding a sacred pow wow and I had no reason think I wasn’t the subject of their distemper.

‘You bastard,’ Glenys spat when I caught her eye. ‘You lousy bastard, I don’t know what Jenny see’s in you.’ The Coleman women nodded their heads in agreement. Mrs Stott just stood there, hands on her ample hips.

Five hostile women is five too many for me so I turned and proceeded to go back from whence I came.

‘Archie Cleary, stop right there!’ Ordered Mrs Stott.

I froze, the only thing bigger and more scary than Mrs Stott was her temper.

‘Who’s that bitch belong too?’ Mrs Stott demanded, one hand now outreached, index finger pointing and waving.

‘Don’t know,’ I answered. ‘Found her, gonna take her home. Gonna train her up – trial her. I reckon she’d make a mighty fine sheep dog.’

‘You cant go around picking up random strays and taking them home Archie Cleary. She doesn’t belong to you.’

‘She doesn’t belong to anyone,’ I shot back, ‘she’s not from these parts, never seen the like of her before. She’s a beauty though, smart too!’

You leave that dog be, how do you know she wants to go with you? Come here sweetie,’ Mrs Stott called, slapping her pudding like hands on her jellied thighs.

Without hesitation my new found friend trotted off. She sniffed Mrs Stott’s hands, no doubt the scent of coronation chicken still lingering deep within their pores. Then she sat next to Jenny Anderson and started licking the tears from her ruddy face. Jenny wrapped her arm around the dog.

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‘Jesus,’ I exclaimed, walking toward the steps to grab the dog by its scruff. As I approached, the dog bared it’s teeth, it snarled and growled, her body language telling me – come any closer mate and I’ll have your guts for garters.

I stepped back – six sets of eyes drilling into me. No one spoke. It was a Selwyn stand-off. There could only be one loser. Eventually I retreated, there was nothing to be gained in staying.

As I pulled the Nash out of the car park I looked back into the rear vision mirror. Jenny Anderson wasn’t crying anymore, she was rubbing the belly of her new found companion who was lolling around, tongue hanging out. I smiled a half smile.

Four hundred yards further down the road, I came across Jimmy Karsten stumbling home. He had seven miles to go and one step forward and two to the side were never gonna help the cows get milked in the morning. I pulled over, ‘jump in,’ I said, ‘I’ll take you home.’

After dropping him off, I turned on the radio. NZBC news at midnight came on. The major story was about the Russians launching another satellite into space. And even more incredibly than that, they had put a dog inside the satellite! One of the first living creatures in space.

Well fancy that I thought, fancy that.

Note:

A week ago I started to re-read Sputnik Sweetheart by Murakami. I remember reading it nearly twenty years ago. As I was the first time, I was totally blown away by the lightness of the writing, how clean it was, and the infinite possibilities presented by the perverse. It inspired me to write this micro fiction. While this story is written in the first person – I have tried to make it feel Murakami-esque. I’m not sure I have succeeded at all –  but I did have fun writing it. And it was a good way to re-launch (pun intended) my blog. 

Wiki

Laika was a Soviet Space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika, a stray dog from the streets of Moscow was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on 3 November 1957.

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Laika died within hours from overheating. The true cause and time of her death were not made public until 2002; instead, it was widely reported that she died when her oxygen ran out on day six or, as the Soviet government initially claimed, she was euthanised prior to oxygen depletion.

On 11 April 2008, Russian officials unveiled a monument to Laika. A small monument in her honour was built near the military research facility in Moscow that prepared Laika’s flight to space. It portrayed a dog standing on top of a rocket. She also appears on the Monument to the Conquerors of Space in Moscow.

The Premise

Imagine if Sputnik 2 lost its orbit, returned to earth breaking up over Mid Canterbury. And somehow beyond any scientific reality or possibility Laika survived! Dunsandle would have had another reason to be famous throughout the Universe.

Kia Ora

 

Roly

When men were men

In New Zealand, before 1970 men were men and women were grateful.

Pakeha New Zealand was barely 100 years old,  the blood of the pioneers persisting, pumping thick and strong. The land was still being tamed;  work needed sinew and muscle not fingers and pens. Apron strings were still heavily tied to the Mother Land but ultimately swiftly cast aside upon Mothers entrance into the Common Market.

It was a mans world.

Rugby, racing and beer. Sweat and toil. Men hunted, they provided, and so did women, either in the kitchen or in the bedroom.

New Zealand was and still is a land of contradictions. She was the first country in the world to give women the vote, but the first also to throw them the dish cloth and tea towel.  There was genuine affection toward Maori, but this manifested itself in condescension. New Zealanders were generous, yet unthinkingly stole land they had no right to steal. At will they bastardized and and mis-pronounced the beautiful local tongue.

Within all this hubbub though, a national identity slowly started to emerge. A strong independent stand alone culture. A rugged, ‘sort it out, she’ll be right’ attitude toward life.

Peter Cape was a  first generation Kiwi born to an English family and was the most unlikely minstrel of our early cultural emergence. Although through his music and cleverly crafted lyric he captured the essence of what it was like to be a kiwi man.

But what about the women you ask?

Well no need to worry about them, the sheila’s will be in the kitchen cutting the supper.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Peter Cape’s folk music. I believe his life’s work  is seriously underrated; while musically simple, lyrically it’s clever, and historically accurate – painfully so. His body of work is of significant importance to NZ – so on that count give me Peter Cape over Lorde any day.

It’s nostalgic to  look back. But to appreciate it best you need to look back in with corrective lens of context not romance.

As for the man himself, Peter Cape was the perfect kiwi man. A complete and utter contradiction. Unusually for a singer he had a speech impediment which you can quite clearly hear in his vocals. He was Kiwi born to an English family. A man new to NZ but one who captured the essence of being a kiwi man perfectly. He was an ordained Anglican Priest, yet thought nothing of leaving his wife and children to follow the arts and crafts movement evolving in Nelson.

So what do I think of Peter Cape?

As a Musician I believe he was a talented man and I enjoy his music.

As  a recorder of history – he was absolutely brilliant with perfect insight into the psyche of the Kiwi Male.

As a bloke, well I think  he was probably a bit of a bastard.

But then again I think most men were back then.

It was all part of being a kiwi.

Kia Ora

PS: When I hear Peter’s music – I hear the song of my father’s life.

Roly

The Crip and Olivia de Havilland

Acceptance

He was only 15, maybe 16,  but he looked older.  He could easily pass for an 18 year old.

He wore a pencil thin Errol Flynn moustache. It suited him, sitting proudly on top of well formed lips and beneath a shapely nose. His complexion pure and unblemished. This guy was handsome. His skin appeared soft, full of stretch and fresh. He was the perfect specimen.

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This guy had attitude. He had it in spades. Set perfectly within his beautifully formed face were brown eyes of steel.

His head didn’t lift when  he saw me coming, just his eyes. They looked at me with total disdain. Pure arrogance and attitude. I looked at him, I looked into his eyes and immediately thought to myself,

‘I’m going run  you over you little shit!’

But please, first let me give you some context before you judge me too quickly.

The teenage turd was immaculately dressed in a shade of blue someone between petrol and royal. He stepped onto the road in front of me, that’s when he lifted his eyes. With nonchalant grace he sauntered right in front of me, silently telling me, silently challenging me;

‘Man I’m a Crip, I own this road, and I don’t give a shit. You wont have the guts to honk your horn, abuse me from a wound down window, or run me over.’

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But he was wrong!

Here’s a tip!

Never ever get in between me and a meal. I was on the way home for lunch, I hadn’t had breakfast that morning, I was hungry and I wanted  to run the bastard over. I wanted the next words he uttered to be ‘hello God.’ I wanted him to die with his boots on. I wanted to send him to uncertain glory on the roadside dead opposite Pizza Hut.

But I didn’t.

He can thank his lucky stars my mind is a very random and strange thing. Instead of giving myself the green light, putting my foot down and starring in my own version of the charge of the light brigade; I started thinking about Errol Flynn and Captain Blood. I’m weird, we all know that. So it will come as no real surprise that I started to imagine Errol Flynn as a Crip and being asked to play Captain Blood. Wow, what a mind flip!

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Errol Flynn – what a man, what a story.

But what’s he got to do with this particular story anyway?

Well everything and nothing really.

Over the next few days I thought more and more about the young man and I actually started to like his attitude. He was a cocky little git unquestionably. But I actually liked that. Not only did this young man look like Errol Flynn, he acted like him too. It’s great to be young, it’s great to feel invincible and not give a stuff. These are things I remember about my youth and miss. Responsibility and sensibility are things that will come later and therefore can wait.

Now, Errol Flyn was no angel. He treated women terribly, he treated his body terribly. He trashed his body with women, wine, and song and tobacco so badly that he died at the tender age of 50. But by God was he handsome though, and in my view, considering the type of roles he played, and the times in which he acted, he wasn’t a bad actor either.

But he was also a bit of a shit too, I remember holidaying in the pristine Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and being shown Errol Flynn graffiti.  It was at Nara Inlet and there in amongst the tranquil beauty Errol Flynn had the audacity and nerve to vandalize the environment! Bastard!

My mind leaped.

I focused on the young man’s motivation in stepping out in front of me. I imagined him on dawn patrol searching for his own Olivia de Havilland. I imagined his thoughts being a million miles away’; ‘thinking, ‘I adore you, please never say goodbye.’

Being in love; well it’s a great feeling isn’t it? And if your partner is as stunning as Errol Flynn or Olivia de Havilland, then, well its worth stopping traffic for isn’t it?

Kia Ora

Roly

Man Bait

A story in 10 parts

Part One:  Abigail

Abigail Sweet laid the petite fours on her Gran’s Burano lace doily. The graceful sweep of her arm only surpassed by the stunning offerings she had prepared.

‘Oh my!’ Scarlet gasped. ‘You really have surpassed yourself this time, must have taken you an age to prepare.’

‘Well, you know what I’m like,’ Abigail replied, looking over her shoulder while turning back toward the Kitchen with a wag of her hips and swish of her skirt.

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Abigail loved food, she loved opulence, she loved her friends company and she loved men. With her cherub shaped face, her full lips and twinkling eyes she looked like  and was dressed like a 1950’s suburban siren. She carried the weight of one and a half women and the curves on her curves were homely and soft.

(writers comment – yum!)

Abigail returned from the kitchen with a pot of percolated coffee. ‘Coffee, everyone?’ She asked.

Her friends all chiming back merrily with different forms and styles of affirmation.

These savories are delish Abi, is that cottage cheese I can taste?

Abigail looked up and smiled at her best friend Jane. ‘Sure is Jane, its infused with cream corn.’

Abigail loved her monthly gathering of friends. The last Sunday of the month was special and this Sunday’s gathering just happened to be at her house. She had designed, trialed and prepared her menu since the first Sunday of the month. Last week she had bought a new skirt and yesterday had her hair set.

She had known all of her girl friends since school and they had met once a month for the last three years. Despite their differences, their careers and families, their scholastic bond remained strong and alive.

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Strictly no men were allowed at their gatherings! They had their golf, their football, cars, bars and sheds and the girls had their monthly afternoon teas. Abi was always amazed though how quickly their discussions turned to men.

The girls sharing stories of the their mens activities during the preceding month.Their triumphs, their failures, their bad manners and indiscretions. It was all laid bare, naked and raw. And the general consensus was that all men were bastards. But definitely worthy of conversation.

‘This food is so good,’ Jane added, ‘its absolutely positively man bait! So anyway, how did your date with JP go?

‘Yes, tell us,’ the other girls added, ‘tell us everything, the whole sordid story.’

‘What was he like in bed?’ Scarlet asked eagerly, ‘was he well packaged… I’m sure you know what I mean doll?

‘Scarlet!’ Paige interjected sharply, slapping Scarlet’s forearm gently, ‘we all know that that’s all you are interested in, but give Abi a chance.’

‘Well as you know Abi,’ started tentatively, ‘I’ve been chatting with JP online for some time. He was the one that stood out from all the other dick pickers and the drunk married guys wanting friends with benefits, or instant gratification.

Dick pickers? Asked Leonie.

The other girls laughed at Leonie’s innocence.

Yep, Dick Pickers, you know, the guys who send you pics of their dicks Leonie, Scarlet beamed.

‘Oh how gross,’ Leonie replied, nearly choking on her coffee.

‘Well moving right along ladies,’ Abi continued; ‘JP seemed the nicest of them all, so we went out on a date.’

‘So what was he like in real life? Was he what you expected?’ Jo asked raising her eye brows.

Abi smiled, ‘well girls why don’t you come and meet him yourself – I have him chained up in the basement.’

 

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment 

Kia Ora Roly

When the feeling is gone

For me; when the feeling is gone I will no longer be breathing. For there isn’t a day on earth that I can’t imagine not being in love with Betty-Anne Monga.

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I was in my late teens when Betty-Anne and Ardijah burst onto the NZ music scene.

‘Who is that ‘Atua Wahine?’ I asked myself after seeing her for the first time on Ready to Roll. Not only was she stunning, she sounded like an angel – a siren singing straight to my heart. I would have gladly drowned enveloped in her supple brown arms, be tangled and strangled within her long dark hair. God, her beauty hit me right between the eyes and the ears, and to be honest I’ve never fully recovered.

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Of course Ardijah didn’t really just hit the scenes. They had been working the pub scene in Auckland for many years – but for all of those early years they were a covers band. Not a bad thing to be, because they honed their skills, they learnt their craft. So when the big time came they were ready. By god they were ready. It was only after a wag called out during one of their gigs, ‘play something original’  did they feel empowered, did they feel brave enough to unleash their brand of music upon Aotearoa, and I’m so glad they did. Time makes a wine indeed.

Now, I’m no great fan of RnB. But when it is fused with a Polynesian back beat, reggae, funk and ska roots I’m a convert. To me Ardijah is a seminal band for NZ in the way they achieved the finest quality and subtle blend of these elements.  They coined the term Polyfonk – it stuck and it is now the name of their recording label.


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Ask any Kiwi worth their salt who were their musicians of the eighties, the answers will invariably be:

Split Enz, The Exponents, Dave Dobbyn (and bands), Herbs, Dragon, Mi-Sex, the chills and Hello Sailor, The Clean and more. But where’s Ardijah? Where the hell is Ardijah?

To me they were the sound of the eighties and the nineties. Hot summer days at the beach, picnics, long drives with the window down, arm out the window and my ardijah cassettes on auto rewind. Balmy nights spent wondering where Betty-Anne was playing and wishing I could be there too. Wishing I could drown…yes, yes, heard it already Roly.

Time has flown by, I am now a 50 something overweight pakeha male, but Betty-Anne is still an Atua Wahine. She is still my imaginery 80’s girlfriend.

Ardijah still gig and make music; now they are master craftsmen who have dug even deeper into their polynesian roots. They have immersed themselves into music of the land, of the islands, of the people and themselves. They are also doing covers again, and their version of Prince Tui Teka’s E-Ipo is a beautifully sculptured piece of immense gravitias and mana – easily equal to Herb’s ‘Sensitive to a smile,’ to which it gives a well deserved nod. Bravo!

So Betty-Anne for me the feeling will never be gone. We have never met (damn-it)  but I look back at the eighties and am very grateful that you played such a major part of those years. It was a journey I loved sharing with you. And as you sang so many years ago – time does indeed makes a very fine wine.

Here’s to many more glasses on our journey’s.

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Kia Ora Roly