Wednesday, September 12, 2012


1. Today, in 1977, Steve Biko died in police custody in apartheid South Africa. He was thirty, which is how old I will be next year. At the time of his death, my eldest sister was four.

Four years before his murder, Biko had been banned (in case you've forgotten what that entailed, as I had, it included being forbidden from speaking to more than one person at a time, and for anyone to quote you), having been identified as a threat to the government with his advocation of black consciousness. He continued to fight apartheid, and was instrumental in the organisation of the protests leading to the Soweto uprising. It was after the uprising that Biko became a prime target for the police, who beat him into a coma before he died. No-one was ever prosecuted for his death.

Biko understood that, as he said, "The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed". Following this, his fight was one to free the minds of the oppressed; empowering the people to own their culture and their history. Today, thirty-five years after he died, his approach is still inspiring and progressive. It sounds so cliched, but in spite of what he lived in, I believe he had more freedom than the people who tried - and failed - to keep him down.

" A people without a positive history is like a car without an engine."

2. I've been thinking a lot, today, about Auckland City, and the things I love about it. I'll write more about it soon, but I thought about how it's a bit like an Antipodean New York (about which my knowledge is expanding exponentially, thanks to the fifteen hour doco Vincent and I are working our way through), in that it's NZ's centre of business, resented by rural areas, and a beacon to immigrants and rural poor. I couldn't help thinking, though: "Give me your poor..." and I will house them with two other families in a damp garage, and put education out of their reach, and then blame them for needing assistance and being sick. But I guess that's all of NZ, not just my beloved Auckland.

3. I have never heard of Cushnie et Ochs before, and anyway, considering he was also at the Alexander Wang and Band Of Outsiders shows, I wouldn't have thought I'd be going a bit gaga something that wasn't theirs from The Sartorialist's New York photos. But I can't stop drooling over this dress. I love the detail on the neckline, and how strong the dress is; it's tough, and so beautiful.

4. The Ridges. I've been waiting for this since it was first leaked that it might happen, and have never bothered pretending otherwise; why wait till I'm seventy to wear my pajamas to the video shop? (I've actually done that several times, and it's completely appropriate attire for a United Video, particularly on a Tuesday night, although I did seem to have an unfortunate trick of walking into other people's farts and then feeling gross about wearing the residue back to bed.) Anyway, while it had the usual annoying lack of action of most reality shows, I enjoyed it, and it made me realise I am a cow and a bad feminist. The relationship between mother and daughter is enviably and genuinely close, and the bad grammar and questionable outfits are endearing (I can hear how arseholian that sounds but I mean it in a nice way, or in a way that reflects poorly on me, as I deserve it to) on both personal and national levels (it's a nice coincidence that Vincent and I are currently re-watching Flight Of The Conchords). Next person who says mean things about Sally's "craft" column in whichever magazine it is has me to contend with. If you're a good parent, you can make as bad craft as you like.

5. It's not particularly original sounding (Vincent and I named about five songs/artists in as many minutes who sounded like this first), but I am still enjoying this song a lot. It sounds like late nights, and sunny afternoons, being alone, and being with Vincent, and being with a bunch of people, black coffee, and water, jeans, and dresses. And grass. (Not the smoking type; the kind that's always greener etc.)

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