What a week it has been. On one hand you could argue that nothing much is happening to the Urban scene in Wellington, although there are a few stirrings that we really must attend to one day as they grow. But on the other hand, in other cities, there is drama and plenty of it. Headlines never stop. Instead of just having one pope, we’re just about set to have two popes, and goodness, the Vatican is agog. How will they ever cope? Will the old pope influence the new pope? Will the old nuns have to move out of the convent before the old pope moves all his gear into the upstairs flat?

The Americans seem to get on OK with having a President and an ex-President, and so far they don’t necessarily require one to be dead before they choose a new one, so perhaps some lessons could be learned there. And besides, there is actually already more than one Pope. The Coptic Church of Alexandria in Egypt elected a new Pope just last year, and they’ve been doing the whole Pope thing much longer than those Johnny come lately Roman Catholics. Since the Beginning of Christianity, pretty much, in fact. Pope Theodorus II is their latest bloke, if you don’t believe me.

And the Ethiopians have a Pope as well, I believe, who also died / was replaced last year. So – lots of popes to go around. You too could be the pope, as long as you’re old, male, and well into religion.

But why worry about Popes, when we have Paul Holmes, who has been treated with almost as much adulation recently. He’ll be beatified up there with Mother Teresa and Lady Di before we know it. And now Kevin Black has passed away, and even Philip Leishman is very ill. Popes and newsreaders falling like flies. Whatever next?

We’ve had a major asteroid do a near pass between the moon and the Earth, half the size of a football field, one of which size dictates that if it actually hits us in future years, we won’t need to worry about global warming too much, as there won’t be anything left except cockroaches for years. Meanwhile, in a meteor that we did get to see, a meteor half the size of a footballer lit up the sky over Russia, and blew out a few thousand window panes – which in Siberia in mid-winter can’t be a good thing.

Closer to home, it sounds as though we have a major schism happening with Te Papa, under the new guidance of the former Welsh national museum. Shakeups are required! Museums must be daring! Splits are proposed! Radical changes are afoot! Who knows, in a desperate effort to drag in more punters to see the art, we could be going down the route of the Leopold Museum in Vienna, which has just had its first all-nude evening tours, particularly of a show where all the artwork was nude as well.

Yawn. They’ve been doing that for years now in Tasmania. Can’t actually see that happening in NZ though, as we seem to have an aversion to nakedness. So instead of having a good tour of some dodgy art, or a dodgy tour of some good art, we’re apparently going to get No Art at all, and another children’s playground called Museum of the Future.

Still, at least we are not going to be getting a Casino. There is, already, something incredibly dodgy about Casinos and Convention Centres, and why we need one in Auckland and one in Christchurch has never really been explained satisfactorily. The Casino in Auckland is already obscenely large, as is the Convention Centre there, so the prospect of having another 500 or so Pokie machines just makes my skin crawl. Not so the skin of our revered Prime Minister, who seems quite at home dealing with trading rights consisting of dealing Convention Centres coming free with every Pokie hand out deal.

Apart from the obvious anti-social hell of the Pokie Hall at the Casino, where no one talks to no one, too afraid to take a WC break rather than lose a winning streak of rapidly spinning lemons and diamonds… apart from that, to me there is just the standout ugliness and lack of sense of design of the machines. A cool piece of high-modern design surface, it is not. Instead, bells and chinks and whistles and kerchunka, kerchunga pierce the visuals and assault the senses.

No, for me, if Casinos were more James Bond and less John Bogan, we’d begin to be happy. If Casinos in our country concentrated on the cool green baize of the blackjack table, or the solitary spinning wheel of the roulette, rather than the untidy, noisy mess of the one-armed-bandit style Pokie, then Eye of the Fish would be much happier.

You’ve all seen the scenes where Mr Bond, surrounded by impeccably tuxedoed men with finely combed moustaches, and long lithely winsome women in improbably plunging neckline dresses all crowd around the heroes and villains as millions of dollars of ill-gotten gains are gambled away… Now that’s my vision of a Casino.

Not some dreary room with a thousand sad and lonely socially retarded grandmothers endlessly pulling the lever of a coin shuffling piece of electronic bling with bad taste graphics and tacky music. Have some class Mr Key, for once in your life, and aim higher with your dreadfully tacky bribes!

Addendum: Moller Architect’s proposed SkyCity Convention Centre