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From: David Jarman [dsrjarman@hotmail.com] Sent: 08 December 2003 05:15 Subject: elvis lives! ...

no, not that guy down the chip shop; a hundred thousand people turned out in wellington a week ago for the return of The King. despite a good vantage point i missed out though, and had to make do with (sir) ian mckellen, (mr) orlando bloom, and (blushing and barefooted) liv tyler. seems it was actually to do with a film about jewellry, mythical creatures and good versus evil, and never has the town seen anything like it. blue sky over hills and harbour, a red carpet half a mile long, black ringraiths leering over cinema roofs, and all wellington's school ties on show as truancy rates hit a new high. it must have been a big deal when a 'medieval faire' was held: maidens, princes and monks queued up in ye olde supermarket and burger kinge. i'm afraid the cuban concert at the quayside got my vote, if only to walk past the troll in the civic square again but seriously, i've only 150 pages of the book left, so don't none of you go spoiling the ending. * new zealand is the land of the long white cloud, 'aotearoa', and english tourists are denoted by long red noses, 'lack of ozone'. suburban walks through auckland take in a windswept volcano rim or two - no longer smouldering, but heavy with generations of maori legend. weekend parks play host to a new season's cricket - though it takes a while to get used to overlapping boundaries where fielders can stand in three pitches at once; think spaghetti hoops on a piece of toast. (we used to play football like that at primary school: four games but only one pair of goal posts...) turning to another game that england used to be good at, i found myself in a bar (irish) to witness the world cup final (rugby). on balance it seems england were the lesser of two evils in many kiwi eyes, surely australia wouldn't win this as well? the match turned out to be a marketer's dream of course; as the tension mounted, i stopped breathing, started drinking other people's drinks (now well past midnight) and nearly fell of my stool. even jonny wilkinson looked like he was enjoying himself at the end. (apparently new zealand have a young side who'll be unbeatable next time around of course.) taking the train down to wellington, (three hours late, i could be back home...) you get some feel for the geography of this sliver of remote land. mountain ridges, vast plateaux and deep gorges; dense forests giving way to paddocks of emu, deer and (naturally) sheep. i resisted the temptation to jump from the train in te awamutu and go seek crowded house memorabilia, but i'm sure neil finn will get to meet me sooner or later. this is a green country, visually and politically, which the lord of the rings cast held up as an example to the world; there's a little too much eastenders and footballer's wives for my liking, but that can be forgiven. i may however be getting a little tired of the hostel lifestyle. how many nights of broken sleep do i need? and what makes some dorm rooms smell like that? such obervation may be a sign of ageing... i'm working for the new zealand fringe at the moment, starting a few projects before leaving at christmas and handing over all my half-finished work to someone else. for now, each trip to the wellington hills or the harbour refreshes the sun

burn, but where better to read a little more of the book? david.x (+64 21 211 1257) if you fancy a chuckle, search for 'miserable failure' on google, if you haven't already.

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