Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bartenders in Wellington

I'm going to do a bit of a series here because there are lots of amazing bar tenders around the place. If you want to nominate someone, go ahead. I drink out a lot so I'm always keen to try new people! That sounded way less dodgy in my head...

Today's bartender of choice is the miracle worker Sally at Mighty Mighty. She's so choice she could be the patron saint of this website.

Mighty would just not be as great if it didn't have the wonderful Sally working there. She's got just the right mix of motherly, kick ass, and killer drink maker to put me in awe of her. She parties hard (if you don't believe me, get there on one of her night's 'off/out', and you'll be amazed), works hard, and is just a lovely soul. I was once there after a particularly shitty day, practically in tears because of a stupid boy, she poured me a drink and it made it all better. To this day I don't know what was in it but I did go home about nine hours later after dancing up a storm with random people.

I don't know how to end this. With a photo I think. If you click on it you'll find out who took it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Comedy Central, Wellington Style

New Zealand comedy is often described as hit and miss or just plain shit. For a country of people who claim to have good senses of humour, there aren't many of us that will get up on stage and be funny. Wellington's own Fringe Bar is attempting to change this with regular comedy nights both from established comedians and from new comers to the scene. My personal favourites?

1) TJ McDonald.

I'm quite attracted to this man, again it's the beard and glasses combination that do me in. He's "fiercely intellectual", provacative (his show this year for the Billy T Award is called A Maori Ate My Grandad), and undeniably funny. He is the only Wellingtonian up for the Billy T Award this year which is held as part of the International Comedy Festival. Go him.

2) Jim Stanton.

Her profile on describes her as a girl who has "thrown off the shackles of having a name that sounds like a retired postman's and inability to bake a successful sponge cake". Getting into comedy, "simply because there was a lady shortage" she's been on the scence since 2002. I think of her humour as very intelligent kiwi - you know, it's not "oh I'm beached as bro" but instead sarcastic in a way on New Zealander's find humourous. If I was a guy, I would stalk her. Oh what the hell, I may just anyway.

3) Jez Brown.

A little bit mysterious is this man. I can't find a photo of him at the moment so can't show you who he is. You'll just have to have some faith that he's pretty entertaining. He often turns up at Fresh Meat nights at the Fringe Bar or was seen most recently at El Jaguar's Summer Fiesta de Variety with his new project, The Nana Squad. I was almost crying with laughter at them.

4) Sarah Harpur.

The first time I saw her, she talked about cat abortion. I was hooked. Go, go watch her. She performs with The Commediettes and also solo. Je suis adore!

Most of these acts frequent The Fringe Bar which is located in the middle of town. It's where Blue Note used to be and across from Midnight Espresso. Once you find your way in (I, without fail, lose the door), you'll be ensconced in hilarity, sometimes awkward silence, good drink specials (2-4-1 cider at the moment) and comfy couches. Fresh Meat is $5 and is on most Monday nights. They are hosting lots of stuff for Fringe Festival (Fringe Festival came first, I don't know why Fringe Bar is named as it is - I don't think they have any actual association) and there is lots on that is either free or under $20. Best pick? CHIT CHAT! If you go to nothing else at Fringe, go to Chit Chat - it's at the Fringe Bar Wednesday - Saturday while Fringe Fest is on and it is free so you have no excuse. Everyone likes to laugh right?!?!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Week's Summary

You Are Choice took an unexpected hiatus this week - a friend of ours passed away which was not choice. However, we know this friend would want us to continue to find the choice in stuff still. So this week:

Just to give out a bit of a clue, there are more than one of us writing this. There are two of us in New Zealand and a guest blogger from London. London blogger makes porn (camera, not acting) and they are going to do some posts for us in the near future. In exciting news (before we get onto what is choice), we are averaging about 100 readers a day which is CHOICE for a new blog. Super exciting in fact.

But without further ado... this is our choice summary for the week.

1) Lamingtons. Oh my god, these are amazing. They are SO under rated. You can buy them super cheap at most bakeries or if you're in Auckland, Agnes Curran in Ponsonby does them on a plate with a doily and cream. It made Auckland almost likeable. Read here for a slightly interesting history (ok you'd have to be kinda bored but you know).

2) Full Swing dance classes. I went to a free one on Wednesday night. I can't dance for shit but man it was tons of fun! It's only $60 for six weeks worth of lessons and you get to watch lovely people dance and hopefully improve your own skills on the dance floor.

3) Gigs. San Fran FIXED it this week. Oh my goodness we had Camera Obscura and Neko Case from Tuesday - Thursday. I have such a lady crush on Neko Case. We'll get married one day. And this is weekend is, of course, camp. Whilst I am not going to camp, one of the writers for this blog is performing for you lovely souls on Saturday night. I hope you all enjoy it!

4) Tommy Ill. I was hesitant at first due to a long held dislike of New Zealand hip hop. I got sent this is the mail this week though and it has been on replay replay replay since I got it. Go buy. AND to make it all better, he's a Wellingtonian as well. YUS.

Coming up this week:
  • Guest posts on sex and drugs
  • Wellington blogs
  • Awesome bikes around the place that we've spied

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Forgotten People

We all whinge about Wellington City Council. We complain about rates, the price of rubbish bags, the fact they won't pick up all the bottles in the plastic bins outside my house but there is something pretty awesome that they do.

You see, I live in the middle of town. There's a thirty second walk to San Fran or Mighty which means a nice stumble on the way home. It works for me. It's not the first time I've lived in the middle of town. I used to live in the middle of Auckland as well. What I didn't like about Auckland was that it didn't get cleaned up very well. Wellington City Council kicks arse for the cleaning. Every night a band of anonymous street cleaners comes out on their little things that look like zamboni or a ride on lawn mower. They leave almost no proof that the day, or night, before ever happened.

We don't really appreciate these people but imagine if they didn't exist. All that detritus from the night before would just sit there and build up and become really gross. Kind of like a zombie town without the zombie.

So, that's my choice thing for today. The people that clean up our city and make it the beautiful, wonderful place it is.

OOOOOO and two things upcoming that are awesome: tonight at Bats a show called Love Animal is going to be awesome awesome awesome. Go and see it. Secondly, is that Fringe Fest is coming up - it is going to be a fantastic year for this. There will be much more about this on Facebook over the coming weeks.

ALSO, still looking for people to post etc. Your work will be read by an average of 100 people a day (which is pretty choice for a new blog). If you freak out about writing, DON'T - you can write short, long, draw a picture. Anything goes.

BE CHOICE and have a lovely dovely day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Choice Cause

I've never had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Mira but anyone that inspires this sort of support has got to be a really awesome person.

Mira has recently been diagnosed with a rare form of melanoma and her amazing friends have set up the following things to help support her and her family while Mira recovers.

They are hosting a charity auction on February 9 in Auckland to fundraise for her. There is some cool stuff up for grabs including tickets to various gigs (PIXIES!!!), a notebook computer, artwork by various New Zealand artists, and a whole lot of other things. You can buy tickets fromUndertheradar. For the price of a ticket you get food, drink, and performances by Lisa Crawley (who is lovely) and Family Cactus. I'm sure it'll be a fun night out. There are rumours of a convoy being organised from Wellington or a group flight but I'll update you about that if I hear anymore.

If you can't make it to the auction, you can donate Every amount helps so even if you are a poor, struggling student or just poor and struggling, you could forego that morning coffee and donate the $3.50 or round it up to a nice even $10.00. Another option is to go to the Facebookpage and they have details for an account if you don't have a credit card.

'Help Mira' is for a lovely person who many of you probably know. It doesn't take much to donate something little, or something big. Go on, be a choice person yourself.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Choice stuff I saw today

Let's be honest. We're all hanging out for next week - it's a goodie. There's Camera Obscura (swoooooon), Neko Case (I don't care, I dig on her) and then of course... CAMP CAMP CAMP. I'm hoping weather improves and it's not shit house like it is today. Once though I went to a similar thing to camp in the States and it poured with rain for the first day and it meant there were mud baths to be had. Well, I threw someone in and that resulted in war. It was fun. Ahem. Anyway. OK so I was trekking around town today and saw the following choice things:
  1. A delightful lady with strawberry blonde hair in the cutest sailor coat I have ever seen. Whoever you are, you a delight!
  2. This girl fell over on the wet cobbles - don't laugh I just about did as well - that wasn't choice but the three guys who rushed over to help her up were lovely lads. And dressed spectacularly well.
  3. Some other people must swoon at the sight of the waiters at Duke Carvell's in their dashing waistcoats and jaunty hats? They're gorgeous.
  4. Buskers on Cuba. Now that they are not playing Christmas carols, they're all good. And show more dedication than I ever have by getting out there in the rain.
  5. The group sitting on the balcony of their house in Cuba playing Honky Tonk Woman really loud. Rolling Stones fix it.
Go forth and boogie down people! Or stay home, snuggle on the couch and watch crappy movies, or combine the two (sort of) and go watch Fantastic Mr. Fox. You will not be disappointed.

That's it from me for the week, I hope you all enjoyed the first week of You Are Choice. There is lots on the cards for next week including an extra special post on Monday for a really awesome cause.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Choicer than Fix

We've all been there. It's 4 in the morning, either you are on the hunt for a V (because Red Bull in bars is too expensive sometimes) or it's hometime. You don't feel like a kebab, you certainly don't want dirty Welcome Takeaways and McDonalds is, well McDonalds. BK has closed it's doors and then you see the orange and lime green glow of Fix. It's all going to be all right. Fix will fixie. You pay $3.50 for your $1.00 pie and go home, completely satisfied.

That's all well and good. But, during the day you have no excuse. You don't NEED to pay through the nose for any item available at Fix. Cider for $18.00 for a six pack? No thank you. No, you, you smart person you, will go to one of the following options for your daily needs whether they be bunches of flowers, toilet paper, ice creams, or a bottle of wine.

Sorry for the crap photos - my camera died so they were taken on a phone camera. EEK!

Monty's: Monty's sells everything. I don't think I've ever been there and they haven't had what I wanted. They've been there so long they are practically an instituion. The people at the counter will always give you a smile and ask how your day was. Monty's also gets extra choice points because they put the apostrophe in the right place. It really, really bugs me when shops don't!

Cuba Mini-Mart: Almost directly across the road from Monty's is Cuba Mini Mart. It sure is one of the tiniest shops in existence but they still manage to pack in pretty much everything you need... white wine, red wine, beer... And a good selection of junk food. Mmmm M+M's. They also often have specials on old chocolate. Whoever told you not to eat old food was lying, chocolate is fine out-of-date.

Nic Nac's: Now Nic Nac's is just across the road from the evil Fix so you really don't have an excuse here. What's more, they're way funnier and won't rip you off quite so much. I buy a bottle of water here about once a week and every time he jokes that it will be $22.50 because the first time I went there he charged me $22.50 on the Eftpos machine. The joke got old quick but it's nice to be remembered.

S+S Patel's: Now heading up the road a bit, this is probably the newest and shiniest of all the mini-mart options. For that reason, it's not my favourite but it is good if you're up that end. I'm sure S+S Patel are lovely people, the shininess just doesn't fit my idea of what a dairy should be like.

Cuba St Superette: Now I have to confess I've never been here before today. I went for the purposes of this post and it seemed... all right. It did all the usual things that a superette should do. They weren't super friendly but weren't rude either.

So there you have it folks. Five perfectly good reasons to NOT go to Fix. I know it's tempting, it's all big and shiny and air-conditioned. But think of the people who actually own their shops and don't just work there. Fix staff will still get paid regardless of whether you go there or not during the day, the rest of them however may end up going out of business because of evil corporations.

Not so choice at all - Jay Reatard

Like most readers of this blog (judging by the Facebook status updates), I was shocked to hear of Jay Reatard's death this morning. A twitter update four days ago stated "If I don't get well soon I'm gonna eat myself into pig champion/tad teritory [sic]". Things obviously weren't healthy in Jay-land but I don't think anyone thought he would actually die from whatever was wrong with him.

I first heard Jay Reatard in a school van on my way home from a week skiing at Ruapehu. We had been listening to Soundgarden 'A-Sides'. Black Hole Sun was on repeat and the teacher in charge got sick of us been emo's before emo's existed and put on 'Teenage Hate'. Looking back, I wonder if he was trying to tell us something. Whatever, I was hooked.
"Genius-level songcraft" combined with a stage energy any performer would envy and an attitude that took no shit (check out this for proof), Reatard was a staple of the neo-punk movement. And not those shit wannabee punks either, he was down and dirty real punk. A Sid Vicious for modern times except he could play guitar and write songs.
He started out at the age of 15 when he sent a demo to Goner Records and was signed by Eric Friedl who said he "loved the racket". Teenage Hate was the second album he released for the record and the first to feature a backing band. In 2001 Reatard started a side project called Lost Sounds which he described as "more fun than anything else I have ever done". This would eventually become his primary focus over his original band The Reatards. Years went by, with various projects happening and Reatard contributing to a huge amount of stuff. He started a record label, Shattered Records which he put on hold in 2007 so he could promote his solo efforts. It was in 2009 that "Watch Me Fall" was released. It was a switch from his usual music, it was still a tight album showcasing Reatard's song writing skills. As stated on Chart Attack, it showed a transition from "angry punk troublemaker to ... rabble rouser". Chart Attack also has a "Ten Reasons Jay Reatard Was Cool" list that I recommend you check out.
Favourite Jay Reatard memory? The gig last year in Melbourne. Vice Magazine said I would get kicked in the head (my dad said I would be retarded not to go if that was the recommendation, oh dad you old punk you). While I didn't get kicked in the head I did lose a shoe and get bruises all over my back. Best mosh EVER.

It's sad when people so young, with lots more to give die. Reatard would feature on the soundtrack of my life thus far and it's sad to think he won't be contributing new material to the rest of our lives.
RIP Jay Reatard.
Keep punkin out from wherever you are.
Lots of info taken from Wikipedia... not Witi plagirised but you know, used.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baristas are tops

In the NZ Herald recently, baristas and other hospo staff appeared in the top 5 lowest paid jobs in New Zealand. This is shit. How many of us would die, or at least have a bit less of a choice day without our daily hit of caffeine? I know if I didn't get to start my morning with a flat white from one of my favourite cafes, my day would be a million times less choice. And I'd have a killer headache.

I couldn't decide on just one that deserved choice barista of the day so there's five. So in no particular order...
  1. Christy at Brooklyn. I actually don't know if she is still there - I haven't been there in a couple of months. But when I do go there, there is definite swooning. She knows how to get the milk just right and the extraction is always perfect. And it doesn't hurt that she's pretty hot and smart as well. Oh and if you can afford breakfast, I totally rate the mushroom and garlic and toast option. Nomnomnom.
  2. Tom at Mojo on The Terrace. I'm not sure about the actual place. It's a bit swish and swanky for an uncouth soul like myself but Tom sure knows how to make a good coffee.
  3. Nicci and team at Gotham. Oh I love Nicci. I have a bit of a crush on her. When she brews a coffee, it's almost like a witch brewing away. Bubble, bubble. The rest of the team there is also choice. Sometimes I want to get one person to do my milk and one person to do the extraction but you know, it's all g. OMG and the booths!
  4. The tall brunette at Plum. I think she thinks I'm a nutter because of how I order my coffee when I go to Plum. She does it anyway with minimum amounts of fuss. She's sooo calm. It's hot.
  5. Anyone at Peoples' coffee. They all know how to do their shit. They do it with maximum concentration and it results in the ideal coffee. I especially love Garrett St, it's where I go every single morning. In fact I was looking for a flat and saw one on Garrett St and thought how convenient it would be to roll out of bed, stumble down to People's and then be able to go back to bed with my flat white clutched desperately in hand. Still considering. Only issue with Peoples' is they need a comma in their name, somewhere. I think after the s? Not sure...
So that's my pick for top five. I'll probably remember people as the day goes on and think shit. So who are YOUR favourites? There's so many cafes in this here town that it would be mad to think these are the only decent ones.

If you're interested this is a top site: Espresso Porn

Either later today or possibly tomorrow, there will be a post on a girl I am crushing on... oh if only I knew her name... And then in the next few days something on art around Wellington. Any suggestions of stuff I should check out before posting are welcome!

Also... if you have something that you think is totally choice, email me and write a post! It doesn't have to be written, could just be a picture of something or someone you think is awesome or a poem or a song or a sculpture. Sculpture might be tricky but I'll try to accommodate. Email is either or or facebook love is always appropriate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Radio Active Swoon

I listen to Radio Active online. I don't have a stereo at my house so it's online or nothing. It does cost me a fortune in download fees (I have one of those annoying mobile broadband things) however it's ok because I know Radio Active will always come through for me.

Radio Active started life as the student radio station for Victoria University but then it was sold to Radio Active Ltd at some point in the 1990s (oh thank you Wikipedia). It specialises in alternative but amazing music. All the DJ's are pretty great but there's this one girl who gets the nod for first choice person around Wellington.

She occasionally does the Drive show there and she cracks me up. Her name is Gemma. She plays music I haven't heard before that I always want to hear again and again, tells funny stories, and is generally just pretty choice. A bit of internet stalking reveals she is the info pimp for Radio Active. Basically, she's the epitome of cool for the day.

Tomorrow's installment will feature a certain barista that I'm a bit in love with...