Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley

June 25th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Danyl McLauchlan blogs at Dim-Post:

My book goes on sale next Friday. You can preorder it directly from the VUP online bookshop. Preorders will be (a) signed and (b) signed by me, because apparently it’s ‘unethical’ to get the intern to copy my signature. Ebook format will be available here. (It takes a while for the ebook format to go live at major providers like Apple and Amazon. I’ll keep you updated.)

I’ve not yet read my review copy, but I suspect many will purchase it on the basis of Danyl’s blog writings. I will do a review once I have read my copy. The blurb for it is:

A sleepy bohemian neighbourhood.

An ancient legend from the ancient past.

A brilliant but troubled young writer.

A voluptuous healer.

A shadowy cult and its sinister leader.

A trail of riddles; a hidden artefact.

An explicit sex scene, then a struggle for ultimate power.

And a final, unspeakable secret.

Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley is a dark and hilarious odyssey through Wellington’s underbelly.

Sounds fun. I’m looking forward to reading it.

The launch party for it is on Friday 5 July at Philosophy House in Aro Valley.

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More Dim-Post

October 18th, 2008 at 10:45 am by David Farrar

The Dim-Post has an excellent write-up of the Aro Valley meeting. Some extracts:

Radio New Zealand announcer Bryan Crump has taken the evening off work to act as moderator – he warns the crowd that while heckling is encouraged he will not tolerate any ‘Hooton’s’.

Heh he has become a word.

For ACT Heather Roy who demands to know if there are any undecided voters in the audience. One woman puts her hand up. Roy exceeds the two minute time limit and is the first candidate to get drenched – but certainly not the last – while the gleeful crowd chants ‘zero tolerance’. Crump assures her that the water-pistol is ’scented with rose-water’. ‘It bloody is not,’ Roy replies.


For RAM (Resident Action Movement) Grant Brooks. It is hard to hear Brooks over the members of the audience shouting ‘Baaaaaaa’. He announces that RAM is a serious player in the upcoming election and the rest of his address is drowned out by laughter.

This is what I like abotu the meeting – they heckle regardless of political leanings.

For the Kiwi Party Rebekah Clement, a young and attractive candidate and the crowd is intrigued when Bryan Crump announces that he has watched her ‘nice thing on YouTube’.
Clement: The Kiwi Party is a new Party . . .
Heckler: It might not fly!
Clement: And I want to be part of it because a lot of young people feel that they can’t make a difference in politics . . .
Heckler: You can’t!


The two ‘major party’ candidates were asked about the Treaty of Waitangi. Stephen Franks gave the most considered reply of the night and actually addressed the question. Franks tended to over-complicate his replies and it was often hard to figure out what he was trying to say. His Obama-like emphasis on nuance might make him a good MP but it is not an effective strategy when you have two minutes to explain something to 300 jeering hippies with a water-pistol trained on the back of your head.

A good point!

In another post Danyl also comments on debates:

Neither Clark nor Key made McCain’s mistake – the person who came closest was Clark with her absurd and offensive comment about Key being used to shouting people down at home. Both candidates ran very defensive strategies in which they positioned themselves to look calm, strong and leaderlike; Key effortlessly exceeded the expectations set for him. Clark didn’t hurt herself in the debate but she didn’t help herself much either, and she did damage her image with her foolish (but totally characteristic) attacks on John Key and Mark Sainsbury the next day.

Clark and her supporters seem to genuinely believe in their cartoon depiction of John Key as some sort of malign, demonic super-rich psychopath, just as the US Republican Party imagines Barack Obama as being a deranged radical Islamic terrorist. But when people encounter Obama on TV they see a calm, articulate, slightly pompous and sometimes tedious former law professor; when we see Key we see a genial, occasionaly bewildered and safely anodyne Kiwi boy made good. Their political enemies are trying to sell us something we simply cannot believe in.

A very astute observation, in my opinion.

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Aro Valley Candidates Photos on You Tube

October 16th, 2008 at 5:00 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Plummer has taken some great photos of the Aro Valley Candidates Meeting and put them on You Tube with a voice over. I’m so gutted to have missed it, but the photos were great to see.

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The Aro Valley debate

October 15th, 2008 at 9:33 am by David Farrar

I would have loved to have attended the Aro Valley debate last night, but sadly I was not in Wellington.

The Dom Post has a photo and story.

I love the water pistol for candidates who go over their time limit.

Dom Post reports:

In a meeting meant to entertain as much as anything else, Mr Appleby was a crowd-pleaser, noting Prime Minister Helen Clark’s emphasis on trust.

“You can’t even trust her photograph. I don’t want a 19-year- old running this country,” he said, referring to her airbrushed billboard image.

He had one answer for every issue from tax to law and order, student fees and health. “If we legalised cannabis . . .” he repeatedly shouted through a window to the crowd outside, who could not make it into the packed community hall and had complained that they could not hear.

Don Franks, a Rongotai factory hand standing for the Workers’ Party, filled out his opening address with a socialist song.

UnitedFuture’s Vaughan Smith took inspiration – setting his closing address to a rap accompanied by foot-stomping and finger-clicking from the audience.

I’d love to hear feedback from people who did attend, on how it went.

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You Tube for NZ election debates

September 29th, 2008 at 9:40 am by David Farrar

Google has sent out a press release announcing their partnership with TVNZ for the election:

This morning, YouTube and TVNZ have announced a world-first political debate, where New Zealanders will be able to put questions directly to Prime Minister Helen Clark and Leader of the Opposition John Key via the ONE News YouTube Election Debate.

The leaders’ responses will be broadcast live on TVNZ’s flagship News channel, TV ONE, on October 14. ONE News’ Mark Sainsbury will moderate the 90 minute ONE News YouTube Election Debate, with three of New Zealand’s leading political journalists asking additional questions.

Starting today, YouTube users in New Zealand, and expats, can submit their questions at www.youtube.co.nz/debate.

This is the first time that a head of a national government and the challenger for the top job will appear in an official live televised debate, featuring video questions asked directly by people using YouTube. In the United States, two CNN/YouTube debates were held in 2007, featuring Democratic and Republican candidates. The debates married YouTube’s online video platform with CNN’s political coverage and broadcast reach, bringing candidates and voters together in a unique way.

This is a very good thing. In one sense it is what we did with the TVNZ 7 debate with InternetNZ on Internet issues – video questions were submitted in advance. But having You Tube and One News involved elevates it to another level.

People should start thinking about questions to ask. I suggest ones to both leaders that are not obvious attack questions will be more likely to get selected.

The only pity is the debate is on the same evening as the legendary Aro Valley Meet the Candidates meeting.

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