The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
July 29, 2013

School of Archaus

There is a wonderful publication out today with the DomPost, called “Wellington Success – Meet the Movers and Shakers”. Despite the fact that we all seem to be moving and shaking a little these days, it has some very good one-page articles advertisements extolling the virtues of those who deserve recognition have paid the advertising fee. I am amused / bemused / just generally mused over the deliberate? grammatical error on pg 12. Under an article titled “Archaus are grand designers”, it quotes Dennis Burns as saying “We believe in giving back to the community” and then the article notes that:
“The same is true of the architectural community, in particular Victoria University School of Archaus employs its students and graduates, and many of the the company’s associates have lectured at the school.”

I’m really not quite sure what they are trying to say here – I had no idea that Victoria had renamed it’s architecture school the “School of Archaus”, nor that the School employs graduates from Archaus university. Most puzzling: I am clearly quite out of date. The article also notes that Archaus is “one of Wellington’s biggest and most successful practices” which also surprised me, as apparently they have 18 staff shared between both Auckland and Wellington, which really doesn’t seem like a lot. Needless to say there are no other architects in the publication, and so it must be right – clearly they are leaders in their field.

Other companies and organisations in this esteemed publication include Mobil Oil, Kadima Furniture, Southward’s Car Museum, Fronde, Kimberleys, and Victoria University itself, which curiously does not mention the new School of Archaus. Clearly someone needs to tell them as well.

But other adverts in this publication are also stretching the truth. The last page belongs to Te Papa, and has a large photo of the new chief executive, because – well, he is the exhibit we all want to see, really, isn’t he? He (Mike Houlihan) says that the collection spans over six floors – which, again, surprised me, as clearly Mike has found a couple of entirely new floors previously undiscovered in the building. I thought that the collection started on level 2, continued on level 4, with a pitifully small amount of display on level 5. That makes three floors only. If you count the 2 pots and an old broom on display at level 6, then that brings it up to four. At a stretch, there is a cannon and a dead possum on the landing of the level 3 which could take it up to five floors, but I’m still unsure where that elusive sixth floor is. Perhaps it is the Te Papa cafe or the Shop on level 1 ? Or, just perhaps, he means the basement exhibit which stretches a total of about 10 steps down, to look at a single seismic base isolator at level -1?

A word to you Mike: we don’t really like people who exaggerate things in NZ, so I think you should be proud of the 2.5 floors that you do have, and get to work creating the other 3.5 still to come!

But there is more! There’s an advert for local / international land agents Colliers, which I will gloss over, as they mainly seem to be crowing over leasing a major office space in Tory St for ANZ – the biggest deal in Wellington, apparently. Instead, there is a thinly veiled attack on Wellington City Council’s proposal to crack down on the serious drinking / drunken idiot problem we have, with “Hospitality New Zealand” (ie several local pubs) footing the bill for that one. In there, they curiously note that “More specifically, 87 per cent of respondents said the hospitality and entertainment scene was currently open hours they liked” and then go on to quote local venerated senior Council figurehead, John Morrison, who notes: the great cities in countries such as Italy and France don’t tend to have bureaucracies setting their rules: “The etiquette is unwritten, the understanding is inter-generational and leaders in society indicate what’s right and proper.” Yeah, right…

Maximus
29 - 07 - 13

I’ve figured it out now. It’s missing the word Architecture, and a full stop. Then it makes more sense…

Maximus
29 - 07 - 13

but I’m still not believing Morrison. Great cities in Italy and France – let’s have a stab in the dark and see if he is talking about Rome and Paris shall we? As far as I know, both Paris and Rome have exceedingly large bureaucracies, and quite a few stringent rules, including around alcohol.

So the “leaders in society” then aren’t people like the Mayor of Paris, or the Mayor of Rome? Perhaps he means a leader of society like Nicolas Sarkosy or Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or Silvio Burlusconi? They’re all pretty good at unwritten etiquette, and having inter-generational relationships, as far as I understand….

davidp
29 - 07 - 13

Do we actually have a drunken idiot problem? I don’t think so. My mum does, but she is very old and anything connected with young people worries her. Also she won’t come in to the city at the moment because she is worried about earthquakes.

Maximus
30 - 07 - 13

I was waiting for someone else to jump in, but: Yes, obviously I do think that we have a drinking problem.
People don’t seem to know how to drink. I keep trying to take people out and teach them how to drink, but they still get it wrong…
But seriously, davidP, you must have noticed the hoards of drunken people walking up Tory St every Friday night towards Courtenay Place, and then staggering back again several hours later, peeing on the buildings on the way back and throwing up on the pavement, loudly shouting incoherent roars of pathetic teenage angst at their inability to get properly shagged. It’s boring. Drunk people are boring. Stupid, drunk, loud and boring. That’s a problem.

60 MPa
30 - 07 - 13

You’re right Max – I think if we were to reinstate the old law against being drunk in public and leaving it up to police discretion regarding enforcement then that would go a long way towards fixing the problem.

davidp
30 - 07 - 13

>loudly shouting incoherent roars of pathetic teenage angst

You’re tasking the city council with stopping teenagers behaving like teenagers. Good luck with that. Maybe once teenagers are all well behaved then the council can turn their attention to toddlers, many of whom carry on like children in public.

It’s the inner city. You expect a bit of rowdy behaviour and some piss. That’s pretty much true of every large city in the world.

Inner City Suburbanite
31 - 07 - 13

“hoards of drunken people walking up Tory St every Friday night towards Courtenay Place”

That’s an odd direction for the hoards to come from. Do they emerge from the sea?

Maximus
31 - 07 - 13

Sorry Inner-city – not Mermen, no, nor merwomen – i was using Up as in heading north, or heading into town, rather than Up as in up the hill. I’ve noticed that the preloaders drinking in the region of Newtown / Mt Cook will walk along Tory St (north) towards town, relatively stable on their feet, and then stagger home (south) some time after midnight.

But davidp – “true of pretty much every city in the world”? I think that clearly, as Councilor Morrison has pointed out, Wellington has reached a reputation for being a party town par excellence – ie more than other places. I’ve been to a fair few big cities round the world, and they’re all different – some rowdier, but most are a fair bit quieter. New York, for instance, seems to have the understanding that people live there in Manhattan, and there honestly is not the level of noise and drunken stupidity that we have here in Wellington.

jp
1 - 08 - 13

I live on Tory St and sure on a weekend night there are yahoos yahooing but it’s not that big a deal, certainly no reason to restrict opening hours and definitely not reason to restrict sales of alcohol after 9pm in supermarkets, which the council seems intent on doing so as to be seen to do something. It won’t have any effect of course. I’ve lived in many countries and the problem is no bigger or worse here than in any Northern European or English speaking country, where they all love to binge drink.

The problem is NZ of course is the law has it that if publicans serve “intoxicated” people they will be fined. This creates a culture of “bartenders as policemen” which quite frankly makes it a drag to go out and drink at all, lest you be judged unfit and served a glass of water by a bartender scared of being fined for serving you, which unfortunately happens far too often. Even when sober.

The solution of course is to make public drunkeness an offense, as David P suggests, and strip bartenders of their policeman duties and return bars as drinking destinations not kindergartens. This of course will never happen as politicians are not sensible on the issue of alcohol.

Maximus
1 - 08 - 13

Yes jp, there certainly is something remiss in our law, when it is illegal to be drunk in a bar, but not illegal to be drunk outside the bar in the street. So there is a certain inclination for the bar owner to get you as near as pissed as possible, then kick you out before he / she could get done for serving an intoxicated person. That said drunken person then, i guess in theory, has the sense to get a taxi and go home – or, more likely, to wander around the CBD throwing up and then walk off home, yelling incoherently into the night, braying like a donkey.

To be honest, I don’t give a toss how drunk people are, how much damage they do to their livers, and how long bars stay open till. What i do object to is people pissing on my doorstep, throwing up against the building/footpath, and keeping me awake at night. For those offences, I will come down upon thee with Great Vengeance! (film reference, not an actual threat to life).

Mike
2 - 08 - 13

“Hoards” of drunken people would be an excellent solution to the problem (assuming it exists), since they’d be hidden away – and be of great value.

“Hordes”, on the other hand…

Peter
4 - 08 - 13

Harking back to Cr. Morrison’s comments – a lasting memory of a trip to Rome was a tour of the ruins guided by a moonlighting architect. At the coliseum, he commented that the structure was conceived and built in about half the time it now takes to obtain a consent for a building addition in Rome. Like with other comments of Morrison, both original (are there any) or plagiarized, anything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.