the moment under the moment

The real reality, the flickering of seen and unseen actualities, the moment under the moment, can’t be put into words: the most that a writer can do – and this is only rarely achieved – is to write in such a way that the reader finds himself in a place where the unwordable happens off the page.

– Russell Hoban

While I have been disappointed with the past few (admittedly masterful) efforts in his canon, when he is on he is light years beyond his contemporaries. Today was saved by walking along the shore, plucking away at his collection The Moment Under the Moment, short stories and essays and oddities from his earlier years, and rediscovering how much I love his genius.

Most of Hoban’s early-middle period are singular works of genius comparable to nothing but themselves. In particular, read Pilgermann someday. I still don’t know what that book was. But it definitely propels the reader into wondrous unwordable places.

more National misGovernment

Today the National misGovernment announced they are sacking the democratically elected councillors of Environment Canterbury, replacing them with an appointed commission, presumably of bugfuck rightwing cronies if the first two members are anything to go by, and suspending local elections until 2013, because the issues are “too complex to be resolved in the democratic cycle”.

This is about water, which we have ranted about before. Control of water is going to be vital in the years to come. The wrong way to do this is privatise these assets. Solutions to the crises the world faces require cooperation, not competition or coercion. And control, for half of NZ’s water assets, has just been ripped out of public control, and given to an appointed commission with special powers – appointed by slick millionaires who don’t give a damn about our country (for instance, choosing to overturning conservation areas to allow mining), and whose preordained solution will probably involve privatisation, since their blind faith in a peculiar economic ideology prescribes that solution.

I don’t know the substance of the report that led to the sackings; maybe there is good reason for the move, and maybe we will see a sane responsible outcome. I doubt it.

A year or so ago I described life under a National government unleashing its never-announced policies by ramming laws through under urgency in these terms:

It’s like discovering that not only is your mild-mannered, freshly pressed date a rapist who has already drugged you, but that they’re really into stabbing you in the kidneys with a rusty corkscrew while they ream your ass.

Ain’t no fun to be right about this.

Now I am wondering how much damage this government can do to this country and its future…

The mining protest was interesting today. An actual issue of identity at stake. The first time Phil Goff has seemed remotely like a leader. General open talk of direct action to stop the bulldozers as a normal course of events.

Fuck this government.

john key’s a donkey

With the mining conservation areas, beneficiary bashing redux, slashing the public sector, and general awfulness of National rearing its head again in their window before election season begins (on top of the ETS farce, and all the shit they already did under urgency), we of the dancing moose gently draw your attention once again to the John Key’s A Donkey sessions by Tinekaamos.

Link them around if they amuse you. Maybe it will help. They are kind of shit in a choice way; or maybe choice in a shit way. And I honestly don’t think he deserves better. Maybe they are better pitched to the current climate than 16 months or so ago back when they were recorded.

I am vaguely tempted to get them out as a grimy free EP. Though the set is sadly incomplete. I had been planning a riff on Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon, with the refrain being “all we are saying is John Key’s an ass.”, but I lost my recording setup before that happened.

Y’know, it wouldn’t take much to knock up the lyrics. If anyone currently has a recording set up, or wants to be part of gang vocals for that should the chance arise, let me know 😉

documentary watching

Unexpectedly have seen three documentaries at the movies in the last week or so.

This Way of Life

Film about a family in the East Coast of NZ, doing their best to live off the land and independently of the system. Fascinating as a case study in the balance between integrity and survival. Sort of a car-wreck as crazy shit occurs in their lives. Pretty choice, though the narrative feels like it has pieces missing.

The Road to Jerusalem

Film about J.K. Baxter. Told as a mix of his poems, and recollections and interviews with family and friends. Paints an interesting portarait. I didn’t really know much about Baxter beforehand. This is definitely a useful coverage. Seems like a sincere spiritual man with raw talent. His trip to India in the 1950s seems pivotal in his development.


In the 1960s in Australia they were testing rockets. They were supposed to burn up then land in an uninhabited desert region. The government sent out a patrol to make sure no one was there, and discovered about the last aborigines living in the desert. The patrol had a video camera… The kids among the aborigines are now elders, and they tell the story of first contact with the whitefellas. The juxtaposition between giant computers and rockets and naked in the desert is pretty mind-blowing. A fascinating wee movie, though sort of no more than what it is.

Contact is on at the Documentary Edge festival and shows again on Thursday.

reading for creators

Over the past month or so on his blog Charles Stross has been running a series on “Common Misconceptions About Publishing”. It is pretty much required reading for any writers out there; anyone interested in knowing how the publishing game works, from the point of view of a working mid-list writer. The first one is here; numbers two and four are pretty amazing; the rest you can find yourself.


Meanwhile, Hix linked to this talk by the showrunner of Bones about what it takes to succeed with a mainstream audience. He lays things out pretty bare, and it is probably required reading for anyone interested in achieving mainstream creative success. I found it fascinating.

Pure lucid genius.

The universe is but a partial manifestation of your limitless capacity to become – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That by Nisargadatta arrived in the mailbox todayu. Not sure if I have mentioned it on here before, but it is pretty staggering. Nisargadatta was an Indian sage. Uneducated, ran a small shop and hung out at his house, he was universally acknowledged to be freaking amazing.

I Am That is questions and answers with people who came and visited him over the years. He gives pretty much the most straightforward and lucid presentation of spiritual stuff ever.


I seem to be writing again.


Back from my first WOMAD experience. WOMAD was actually a pretty sweet festival. Really nice location and layout, well organised, good tunes. Took a couple of days to figure out how to interact with a consumer festival – burns have ruined me a bit in terms of the level of participation than seems intuitive and natural – the key seemed to be not trying to do too much, rather than running around trying to see everything.

But yeah. Met some nice people. Got turned on to some choice new bands – Mariem Hassan, Ojos de Brujo, Dub Colossus, and Ross Daly in particular. Saw a bunch of other stuff that was pretty intersting.

Was there with a stall. Drank and sold an unexpected amount of yak butter tea. It is actually pretty good. More like a super-nutritious drink you can live off than a cup of tea.

Hippie peacenik moment was during the final all star gala, realising that people of all cultures could come together and agree over music. Just witnessing it in action was kinda beautiful.

Returned in need of sleep.


Tomorrow the moose is moving rooms, then off to WOMAD for the weekend. (Free tickets woot!)

Have an interesting longish post brewing about participatory culture and intellectual property and the net and everything.

thoughts on the wellywood sign

Celebrating our creative capital and cultural uniqueness by making a giant derivative sycophantic piece of shit seems a particularly unimaginative failure.

Did they consult any creative people in creating this concept, or was it just a producer/politico move?

Couldn’t it at least be a 50-ft tall radioactive weta? Seems more honest.

How much will the ongoing repairs cost?

Why not a neon mosque or something to honour Bollywood, since they make the most films in the world?

Please can we have an original idea that expresses our place in the world, rather than an actually cringe-worthy exercise in being the little brother trying to show off to the big boys.

Next Page »