Monday, January 16, 2017
Because of timezones, January 21 here—my birthday—is January 20 in the USA. That day I’ll be focused entirely being the birthday boy, and far too busy to take any notice of what happens in Washington, DC. So, it occurred to me, why not share this as something for others to focus on?
Obviously, I’m not seriously suggesting that everyone actually celebrate my birthday, however, everyone can still play along. Think of it as an “Experience a Bit of Arthur’s World Day”. Here are some suggestions.
Drink New Zealand wine. Any excuse is a good one for drinking New Zealand wine. Although, since the actual swearing in part will be at 6am NZ time, it may be a bit early for me, there’s no reason others can’t enjoy it—especially since it may help one get through the day. New Zealand is particularly known for its sauvignon blanc and its pinot noir, but I also quite like New Zealand pinot gris (known as pinot grigio in other countries; although there is a difference between the two, and NZ pinot gris is mostly similar to pinot grigio), which is becoming popular and known overseas, too.
Read a New Zealand author. There are so many to choose from—far too many for me to list, but others have done so. Goodreads has a list of “Books By New Zealand Authors” along with user ratings of the books, which may be useful. Or not. Wikipedia has a plain list of New Zealand authors, which is probably not that useful. To find out more about any particular author, the New Zealand Book Council offers what it describes as “the most comprehensive collection of information about New Zealand writers on the Internet”, in searchable (and surprisingly frank) listings about New Zealand writers.
Something to watch. Okay, maybe reading New Zealand authors after having some New Zealand wine might be a bit difficult, so how about some New Zealand movies? NZ Onscreen has snippets about the “Top 10 NZ Feature Films”—in their opinion, and, no, neither the Lord of the Rings nor Hobbit movies are on the list. The last three on this list are relatively recent, and Once Were Warriors is a brutal and honest film about life among urban Māori in the early 1990s. People still talk about—and debate—the film. But Whale Rider and Boy, which also cover the modern Māori experience, may be more, um, accessible. I’d also add What We Do in the Shadows, a horror/comedy from the guys in Flight of the Conchords. It was directed by Taika Waititi, who directed Boy, and Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords.
Similarly, IMDb has a listing of “The 20 Greatest New Zealand Films of all Time”, though not all are actually New Zealand films—they were made by New Zealanders or in New Zealand. Wikipedia has a long list of New Zealand films which also is made up of movies “produced or filmed in New Zealand”, so it includes the Rings and Hobbit movies, among others.
Maybe just listen. Okay, okay, after a few more glasses of a nice New Zealand wine, even a movie may be too challenging, so how about some NZ pop songs to listen to? The Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) has produced a list of what they say are the “Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time”. We actually own them on CDs of the artists, and also through CDs put out by APRA called Nature’s Best. Interested in more recent music? How about the “Official NZ Music Charts” listing of the Top 20 NZ singles. Let’s make it easy: You can even listen to the official chart on Spotify.
Those are just a few things anyone can do to play along on my birthday, and also avoid the events in Washington, DC. It’s a win/win, in other words. What can I say? I’m a giver.
Footnote: I really shouldn’t need to say this, but, this is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek post. I’m taking advantage of the convergence of my birthday and the hoopla happening at the same time in Washington, DC, which people really are looking to avoid, in order to promote some of the things I love most about New Zealand. And, who knows? Depending on how the next couple years go, some Americans may find the stuff in this post a sort of preparation for a move to New Zealand…