We parked too close to the water and watched the Seven Swans, Who cares? Who’s right, we mis-gambled pros and cons

Between the 6th and 10th of February, I single-handedly drove more than 1700km on our road trip, circumnavigating much of the North Island.

There was too much drama in merely resizing the 69 photos I picked out for this post, let alone if I were to recount the trip in descriptive detail. We drove from Auckland to Gisborne, then from Gisborne to Wellington – where we saw Sufjan Stevens at the Opera House – and then back to Auckland, continuing further north up to the Whangaparaoa peninsula where we camped for our final night. We sang-along, played I-spy (with my English Rose/Asian eyes), played 20 questions, pulled over at random beaches and lakes, fed ourselves too much, complained about the heat, laughed, cried, fought, read, waited, and waited, and most of all, watched in awe as Sufjan Stevens put on the greatest show I’ve ever been to thus far in my life. I don’t think any concert this year will top his show. I was gutted that he didn’t play my favourite song of his (“To Be Alone With You”) in Wellington, but had played it in Auckland, especially after we drove such a long way – but I’m certain that the Welly gig trumped that of Auckland’s, the night prior. Plus, he played more songs in Wellington than in Auckland. I was afraid that the house was going to come down, after such a raucous demand for an encore, but all was worth the while when he resumed onstage. I feel a bit smugly apologetic to the inexperienced concert-goers who left before the house lights came on, before the encore, before the show was over!

I have to admit, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos at the show, so everything below from the concert are actually contraband – although I did nicely obey and cease to photograph after personally being told off. The one major downside to that is, moments after having been told off, the most picture-perfect moment presented itself, and made me want to cry. I wanted to cry because of how amazing he was, how amazing the show had been, and how I was distraught I couldn’t photographically record the single moment in which all of this was epitomised. When Sufjan got back onstage for his encore and sat at the piano on the very destroyed stage that was covered in props, scattered confetti and leftover balloons, the angle at which he sat, the angle at which the piano was placed in relation to the angle my seat was at… the precise lighting and the way it was cast onto him… everything about that moment was about the most photogenic thing I had ever seen. And in all of irony, in my bag by my feet was my forbidden camera. Furthermore, in my car that was parked a $12 taxi-ride away in Newtown, sat my longer lens. Nonetheless, I felt myself hold that breath longer than any other during the show. I still can’t decide if, when I want to cry thinking about the Sufjan Stevens concert, it’s because of the sheer amazement and awe he brought upon me onstage that night, or because of the missed photo opportunity, or because he didn’t play my favourite song. Maybe it was all three. But maybe the combination of all these things all contributed to making the evening even more bittersweet.

Anyway, here are some photos from the roadtrip. The first beach pictured is a place I would love to revisit:

The random beach we stopped at on our way to Gisborne. First heat attack of the day, once we left the comforts of air con that was courtesy of mum’s Toyota!

Sunset at the beach in Gisborne.

We parked too closed to the water and watched the Seven Swans. Somewhere between Gisborne and Wellington.

Got a bit scared it might come looking for food, so promptly shut the car door after this was taken.

Monsoon Poon in Wellington for dinner.

Good old Wellywood.

Some sculpture thing taking place near the waterfront.


There was a set of nice poetry in the City Gallery that I enjoyed the most.

I always seem more preoccupied with the way a gallery looks rather than what’s in half of it…


Art work outside Te Papa.

View from inside Te Papa.

The restaurant we returned to on the second night, since we couldn’t get a seat previously.

Amazing dinner. That garlic butter on the steak, on the hash brown with the coleslaw, oh my godddddd.

Sufjan Stevens had an 11-piece band, with screens that were brought down or risen off the stage, depending on the projection display for each song. They were also all wearing florescent gaffer tape!

Balloons were released at the end, before the encore.

I never even knew that we had some kind of Army Museum.

Sunset at Shakespear Regional Park.

The morning after.

Would you betray me, Or save me – Save me from you?

I got interrupted half way through this post but am now leaving for Gisborne so thought I’d just post this anyway and finish it off when I get back.

I have completely no idea where the past seven days has disappeared to, except that it’s been an absolute blast, and that I need to front up to the reality of university starting soon. I went tosee Rusko at the Logan Campbell Centre last night, and was thoroughly surprised that they didn’t ID anybody! It annoying felt more like going to a high school reunion rather than a dubstep gig, and I was getting so frustrated with constantly hearing “woah, what are you doing here?! I didn’t expect to see you at something like this!”. It’s like Sorry people, I’ve gone to more raves and gigs of all assortments in my time than most of you so please shut the fuck up! Is it really so hard to swallow that a jazz student who played classical music, frequents alternative/indie bars and the occasional metal would also attend raves? Nobody at college ever really knew, but by 7th form I went to all the trancey dancey things, but now that scene is pretty dead around here and largely replaced by dubstep. Anyway, I just wanted to have a little rant – this is why I no longer pretend to be friends or even acquaintances of such people from school!

The minute I finish this blog post I have a gazillion things to do and prepare, as I am going to a 21st birthday party tonight, and then having to wake up first thing tomorrow to drive down to Gisborne for the first leg of our roadtrip down to Wellington to see Sufjan Stevens next Tuesday. I’m not too sure how the trip will end up being, actually – because somehow I have ended up being the 3rd wheel – but hopefully it all goes well, and no words of ice are thrown on these hot, hot days.

Here are some photos from Laneway Festival – note that this time I didn’t have access to the photo pit, and took a large proportion of these photos from the crowd, being pushed and bounced… dangerous for my camera, but rather fun – the rest can be found here:

We started the day at Huffer & Vice’s pre-party, for free red bulls and fooood!

The pop-up store’s location.

I ended up buying a mens jacket at a discounted price, which was apparently used in their fashion show.

Loved the fact that Laneway was in the Aotea Square – the view of the Town Hall was lovely.

This is how empty the day started off as.

An Emerald City turned out to be rather nice live, because I didn’t quite “get” them when I looked them up on myspace. Plus, bassist has niiice arms.

Dude looked like he had no teeth – this is how awful Children’s Hour looked, and sounded…

And this is what we did whilst they played.

Difficult-to-eat dessert?

I thank my mum’s long lens that I didn’t have to physically get tooo close to the stage to get shots of Lawrence of Arabia.

Holy Fuck was really HOLY FUCKing good. One of my favourite shots of the day, also.

Ariel Pink was weird. Really weird. End of.

One of my highlights of the day – Blonde Redhead blew all my expectations out of the water. They were soooooo good.

She may dance funny (possibly very drunk), but her voice was the most ethereal thing I’ve ever heard.

I’d say that this is a visual presentation of what they sound like.

I told my friend that I have to marry someone who is still that stylish and classy at that age as the Italian twins.

Sooo good.

The set felt super intimate, as if we were the only people there as we were in the front row, and he even smiled at me! Also because it felt like everyone behind me wasn’t that into them, or really knew the band, and somehow they pulled off a very atmospheric set, even in broad daylight.

I say the right thing, but act the wrong way – If you wanna be with me, baby there’s a price to pay

I’ve fallen asleep in so many places in the past week that I haven’t really been home/online/at my desk, thus the slack amount of blogging. I desperately need some form of decent daily routine to up my productiveness, but the calls of partying is just too loud as the end of summer grows closer in sight. This past week has been quite a whirlwind for me, reconnecting with old ties, severing some recent ones and meeting new people all at the same time. I’m definitely guilty of biting off more than I can chew all the time – starting up more projects than I can physically juggle, and keeping up a sort of rotation-like social life. On one hand, I really enjoy it. I thrive off the copious amount of choices I have with anything from what music I want to listen to/play/write, to who I want to see/chat/dance/drink with, to what I want to be reading and writing in bed, before I sleep.

I had a cold a week ago, largely from Big Day Out, being cold, drenched and tired, and then partying too hard. When it finally eased up a couple of days ago though, what did I do? Drank too much and slept too little again. Aka partied too hard. That, and the storm that New Zealand’s been hit with hasn’t really helped the chances of my immune system with keeping up with me. It looks to be a relatively tame Saturday night tonight, but I think my Wednes, Thurs and Friday nights have made up for it, haha.

The other day I caved and bought these killer shoes for half price. Although, having said that, half price was still fucking expensive. They are ridiculously comfortable though (took them out for 5 hours of dancing, standing and walking around to test drive them that very night, haha), and has resulted in me listing a pile of shoes that I don’t wear on Trademe.co.nz. I’m also currently selling a Sufjan Stevens ticket (Wellington), dress and various shoes. Click here for my listings :).

These bad boys make me veeery, very tall. I’m 5’7″ to start with… the platform itself is 1.5″ and then a 4″ heel wedge…

Mum didn’t say much (guilt, guilt, guilt about retail therapy, but I’m happy with them, haha), except that she looooves the leather. So soft and amazing.

So uhh, I don’t know how my legs ended up looking this tanned in the photo, haha. Very messy room though, am tidying out my wardrobe – dirty laundry on the floor, etc. Typical Amanda.

Aaaaand I’ve finally gotten my Laneway Festival Media Pass. Just smudged out my media outlet’s name until I have the photos and write up to link to.

This track – listen to it. I am so hooked it’s not funny. It’s a mash up of The Strokes’ “Hard To Explain” and Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle”. Asides from being pure genius, they happen to be two of my fave tracks – “Hard To Explain” was the first Strokes song I ever heard, and they’ve been one of my favourite bands ever since, so there we have it.

Conversations from Wednesday and last night have really got me thinking about the chronology of my music tastes. I get really flustered whenever people ask me “what music to you like/listen to?”. Because I honestly listen to such a wide variety that I don’t even know where to begin to describe what my tastes are. I know it seems really superficial, but being the music freak that I am, I really do feel that these days, to a lot of people, what music someone is into makes a big enough difference on the impression they leave – akin to that of a first, visual impression. I can’t be bothered analysing my own musical etymology right now, but put it this way, within the two past weeks I have: gone crazy on a one-woman-dance-rampage over Ratatat + relived the nostalgia of my youth in the Deftones moshpit + creamed myself (awful expression, I know) over Rammstein’s set and pyrotechnics from the 2nd row at BDO + gone clubbing at places where “everyone goes” and they play supposedly the “most popular” tracks + had a blast to Tidball’s set at Cassette 9 + spent the rest of that evening listening to pop favourites from the past decade with friends (think Britney Spears, Blue, Christina Aguilera, Back Street Boys, Liberty X, Mis-Teeq sort of stuff)… not to mention, in the next two weeks I will see an array of bands at Laneway Festival that are more akin to recent music tastes + go to see Rusko + be at Sufjan Stevens’ concert in Wellington… I would also love to see Queens of the Stone Age again, but I can’t really bring myself to fish out $85 ish in my current state of unemployment.

Don’t even mention it – I’ve been looking and applying for jobs. And I know that I’m picky, because I want to keep whatever job I get as a part-time thing for the next two years, like I did with my last job – so I don’t want to hate whatever it is!

It’s not always easy, You gotta take the risk. But it’s better than living a life you miss

This is the longest time that I haven’t blogged for all summer, I believe. And this year’s Big Day Out is the first time I’ve been to where it got absolutely rained out. Remember how I mentioned in my last post that I was going to see The Black Keys? Well I bought my ticket a couple of days later, and then a couple of days following that, The Black Keys canceled.

Don’t get me started on how angry/distraught/disappointed I was. I felt thoroughly ripped off, because they were a large contributing factor to me forking out $158, since I wasn’t photographing the festival this year. How is stating “exhaustion” any reason to let your fans down? Whilst I feel sorry for them on one hand, I think it was really shitty of them to pull out literally days before the festival. Surely if they’re that tired, they would have been feeling that way for quite a while now? I think the one good thing that came out of them pulling out was the fact that then I didn’t have a huge dilemma as to how I was going to make it from the front of one stage to the other in record time. There were so many clashes that I didn’t end up seeing Crystal Castles, but that was okay by me.

I ended up going the bogan route, back to my roots. Seeing Steriogram bright and early brought back memories of the last time that I saw them live, which was at around age 14 or 15. Aside from the slight detour to Bang Bang Eche and Ratatat, the rest of the lineup that I saw was was pretty streamlined: Deftones, Wolfmother, Shihad, Rammstein and Grinderman. Had to stand through the sets of Airbourne (crazy frontman stunt with climbing, climbing, climbing…), Lupe Fiasco (sound failure x3? Lost count), John Butler Trio and Iggy & The Stooges, which were all on the stage next to the one where I was situated nicely in the 2nd row.

I’m too lazy to recount everything, but here are some high and lowlights:

– Ratatat opened with my favourite song, “Loud Pipes”

– Later on in their set, I yelled out “PLAY DRUUUUUUGS!” – which caused a few raised eyebrows around me, because I swear most of the people around here don’t really know who they are/aren’t that into them – and they played it, fuckyeah. I’d say it was more of a psychic thing (likened to when I called out “BRIANSTORM!” at Arctic Monkeys and they played it), rather than the fact that they heard me, haha.

– Rammstein’s pyrotechnics was AMAZING. Being in the 2nd row, I could feel the heat heat heat. I’ve never seen such a perfectly-timed display before. The only, only thing that was mismatched was the final drum cymbal crash with the last set of ka-BANG!s – and he looked thoroughly disappointed with himself about it, too.

– Did I mention Rammstein’s costume’s were fucking ace as well? Seriously. Google up some pictures, people.

– There must be something in the air at BDO annually, because it’s probably the one day of the year where I get hit on enough to last a life time. My friend Dale asked if I ever got sick of it, ha. There are the nice guys who try to make conversation whilst we all wait between sets, and then there are the dickheads.

– Dickhead story: [“you keen for a root?” me: “sorry, what? I can’t hear you” dickhead: *repeats it louder*] x4. Then when he finally gave up and turned around, I flipped him the finger, much to the amusement of everyone around. Seriously, people! Grow a brain or at least fake some class!

– My Canon IXUS camera got broken when my friend dropped it. I feel bad for her. Very bad. So I didn’t really snap any photos. Not that I was going to bother too much, really. But there were a couple of things that I would’ve liked a shot of, from the perspective of a normal punter behind the barrier. Y’know, as a normal person.

Next Monday: LANEWAY FESTIVAL! Just you wait, there will be photos, photos and MORE PHOTOS of bands such as Warpaint, Blonde Redhead, !!!, Foals, Holy Fuck, etc. For now, I desperately need to tidy my room, tend to this sore throat of mine, and get some work done.

we sway, we grab, at the strands, and the skin, couldn’t cause anymore friction than this

This day a month ago, I was spending the day at Santa Monica with my sister, gorging on frozen yoghurt and feasting on the novelty of simply being there. Just now I’ve attempted to add another day onto my California journal, which is a classic Moleskin notebook that I’ve lived in and lived out of for the duration of my trip. Currently the night of Friday 12th November is still being written out, if only in bullet points that include the details of what happened, what I saw, what I thought, etc. I want to get it all down ASAP before it all slips away from me… but the delicate tiers and layers to my sweet, bitter and bitter sweet memories are just so intricate and intertwined. It’s as if I have to write down every tangent I ever went on (somehow I remember, still, for now), because it was a part of the entire experience which I had. But in the process of peeling back the layers I’m afraid to lose something in the sensitivity and freshness of purely having lived through it and felt it, without ever thinking about it. Delicate indeed.

There is a very cute spider crawling around my ceiling at the moment. It’s the perfect spider size, aesthetically, I reckon. Small enough to be noticed and cute, and not big enough to make my sister scream and insist that I kill it. I still hope no one in my family comes into my room and finds it tomorrow though.

I’ve never really been a “fan girl” of any sort. Yeah, I’d say such and such guy from band/film/editorial/whatever is hot or sexy, but I’ve never really been one of those girls that actively drool over celebrities and such. This said, there are maybe half a handful of exceptions. One being James Franco. And the other, since the night of Friday 12th November, being Jamie Burke. At least I’ve met and exchanged a few words with the latter, you know, so I don’t sound like a complete dick when I say his voice vibrating through my eardrums was like audible sex. Would be very audible sex. Sorry. I’m often times against the supposed attractiveness of a man with a guitar in a band, because too many of these are put on some undeserved pedastool (by my standards anyway), and they aren’t even that great. But I think the combination of sexy man, ripped shirt, guitar, sexy voice, nice enough band, and orgasmic London accent is truly my weakness.

If there ever is a time where I wish I had my mythical “come hither” look tamed and available at my beck and command, it would be if I ever meet aforementioned half handful.

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve already. I’m not ready for Christmas feasting yet. I’ve consumed far too much food and drink this week to last me until the rest of 2010.

I know this entry is so scatterbrained. It’s literally everything I’m thinking of right now, in chronological order. Pretty typical-Amanda of me, I must say. Just for this post I’ve decided to start a new category on my WordPress: Males. Very appropriate way to begin the life of *cough* adult blogging? I was going to make it say “Men” but hey, I’ll keep it slightly broader, eh? Also, I’ve got two places I’d really like to take photos at. Namely, Lottie’s amazing bedroom and this other room with large windows. I fucking love large, photogenic windows. Why couldn’t this house have any like that?!

Current quote featured on my new whiteboard in front of me at the moment: WELL BEHAVED WOMEN RARELY MAKE HISTORY. That’s it, perfect. Motto for the end of 2010 and beyond, I say.

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