29 February 2004


Apologies for the meathead comments. I have my suspicions as to where they're coming from and might have to take retaliatory action.

I haven't been near my computer for a couple of days. Yesterday was another hungover write-off. We went to see the Ecstasy Trio at Happy on Friday night (who were really, really good). I didn't think we drank that much, but these things have a tendency to get away from you.

We watched Ripley's Game last night. I've been reading Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels over the last week and wanted to see it. John Malkovich was brilliant as Tom Ripley. I've read four of the five novels and need to find the last one - Ripley Under Water. It's on loan at both the central and Johnsonville libraries at the moment.

27 February 2004

Check this out...

...if you haven't already. My favourite is the second one down on the first page, but some of the others are pretty good too.

Some links

I quite often check out the arts pages on the Guardian website. They have some good stuff on a fairly regular basis. I also check out Arts and Letters Daily, but I find the bias there quite tiresome. The visual art section of Arts Journal can be worth a look as well, as can the related blogs. She hasn't updated it for a while, but Ariana French's artnotes are well worth a look. I particularly like the posts arranged by subject matter section on the right.

For New Zealand stuff, I check out Public Address on a regular basis, as well as NoRightTurn and (for an opposing political viewpoint) NZPundit. But I tend to get bored with all the incessant (and incestuous) politics and media commentary. Luckily, there's always Leto for some light relief.

26 February 2004

Openings and hangovers

Sometimes I get off pretty lightly, but other times I get hit with the hell two-day hangover. I've no idea why. Anyway, I'm just recovering from one of the latter. Bollocks.

I went to a Brendon Wilkinson opening at Peter McLeavey's on Tuesday. Have a few beers, look at some paintings, chat to some people. The usual thing. The Auckland guys were off to a pub afterwards, but we went back to Matt's for some cheapo beers (Parrot & Jigger Pale Ale - $8 a flagon) and arranged to hook up with them at Indigo later (it was $3 pint night). Matt's was good. We drank some beer, talked about art, and listened to some Butthole Surfers and this weird German compilation record. I got one of my Philip K. Dick books I'd lent him ages ago back again.

The discussion I remember mostly was about conceptual art and painting, and whether painting is conceptual. Matt's stuff (see the link in a previous post - I can't be bothered repeating it) can come across as really flippant - all to do with pop culture and conspiracy theories. But he's really serious about it. What he does with his band Cortina ties in with it as well. This isn't your usual kind of conceptual art - which of course tends to be cool and ironic.

I think there's a bit of a prejudice against painting in some circles. It's seen as conservative and old hat - as opposed to what the other Matt calls the 'pile shit up in a corner school of art' and video and multimedia art. Most painting today is conceptual though. It's about the idea, not producing beautiful objects.

24 February 2004


It's funny how, when you're walking along the street and pass someone, there's basically three things that'll happen. The other person will smile and nod or say hello, they will stare resolutely straight ahead or down at the pavement, or they will stare at you in a hostile or suspicious manner. I was walking down to the shops before and the postie did the latter. What, did someone sneakily tattoo a swastika on my forehead when I wasn't noticing or something?

It lead me to think that at least there's some small amount of justice in the world, in that people end up with the faces they deserve. Yes, the postie in question had one of those pinched, mean, and sour faces that shouts 'miserable bastard' out at you. Needless to say, I smiled cheerily back.

I then wondered what kind of face I'm going to end up with. I'm perfectly capable of being a miserable bastard as well. If I'm in a good mood, I tend to be in a terribly good mood and annoy everybody around me with stupid jokes and inanities. If I'm in a bad mood, I tend to be in a really bad mood, scowling at everybody and annoyed at everything, especially the petty little things. Yep, that means I'm pretty obnoxious no matter what mood I'm in. Charming, eh?

I'm listening to Nick Cave's Let Love In at the moment. I've been listening to Johnny Cash's American Recordings III and IV (Solitary Man and The Man Comes Around) a lot recently, and it's been a bit hard to get back into Nick Cave. Poor old Nick definitely comes off second best in the Cash/Cave duet of Hank Williams's 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' on IV. Johnny's cover of 'The Mercy Seat' on III is just so much better than the original it's not funny. He had an amazing ability to take other people's songs and make them his own. For me, the stand-out covers on both III and IV are 'I Won't Back Down' (Tom Petty), 'Solitary Man' (Neil Diamond), 'One' (U2), 'I See A Darkness' (Will Oldham), 'The Mercy Seat' (Nick Cave), 'Hurt' (Nine Inch Nails), 'I Hung My Head' (Sting), and 'Personal Jesus' (Depeche Mode). I could listen to 'Hurt' over and over again (and sometimes do).

I got the third and final book from my Amazon order yesterday - Marilyn Aronberg Lavin on Piero della Francesca. I think I need to assemble different art historians' interpretations of 'The Baptism' and 'The Flagellation' somewhere (watch out, imaginary readers, it could well be here) and try to reconcile them or something.

23 February 2004

Another clarification

The previous rant wasn't specifically about any particular job or author. No, no, it was about all jobs and authors.

Just to even things up a little, there's plenty to rant about with editors too - making too many changes just for the sake of making changes, changing the meaning of what's written, not knowing the conventions of the subject area, introducing their own preferences in place of the author's, being far too nit-picky about inconsequential things, not respecting the author's voice. The list goes on.

A little rant

You'd think that, if someone's going to write a book, they'd do a bit of research on what's actually involved, wouldn't you? They'd have a good dictionary and a range of style guides on hand. They'd familiarise themselves with publishing conventions.

I mean, they're the ones with their name on the cover. If the book's a mickey mouse shambles, they're the ones who look bad. You'd think that might be a factor as well. Well, actually, that's the argument that usually works.

It's unfortunate that sometimes people see the little list that's occasionally on the title page verso that includes the words 'Edited by David Cauchi'. Then it's you who looks bad. No-one's to know the long, impassioned arguments you've had - long, impassioned arguments that were blithely ignored. No-one's to know the last-minute changes that were made in total ignorance of the basic rules of punctuation, grammar, and usage and that you never saw. No, all they see are basic, stupid errors. They assume you don't know what you're doing.

Note: Careful readers will have noticed that I use the Oxford comma and the singular they. I might at some point advance arguments justifying this use, but I can't be bothered right now.

Maybe at some point I'll go on about my own peculiar (and somewhat contradictory) heresy that standardised spelling and usage is a historical aberration, but I can't be bothered with that right now either.

Nope, I better get back to work. I've got to go into town at some stage to replace the eftpos card I lost on Saturday night. I need to take the Tony Fomison video back to the library as well.

22 February 2004

Painting badly

There's times when you're painting and you sit back and look at what you've done and think, 'Oh fuck, how am I going to salvage anything out of this?' Then you put it to one side and move on to something else (I usually have several on the go at once - at the moment I have five) and completely cock that up as well.

Well, then you get really discouraged. No doubt there's at least two schools of thought on what to do in this situation. I'm sure some people would push on through. Not me, though. I give it up as a dead loss and go and read a book or something (I usually have several books on the go at once as well). Funnily enough, when you come back after leaving it for a while, sometimes it doesn't seem to be such a cock-up after all. Of course, at other times it seems even worse and you beat another hasty retreat.

(Why am I swapping between the first and second person in such an incoherent manner? I have no idea.)

21 February 2004


After an isolated purler of a day yesterday, we're back to the crap - torrential rain and howling gales. I think there's still states of emergency in the Manawatu, South Taranaki, and Wanganui. Thousands of people in the lower North Island have no power, phones, or water. More than a thousand people are still unable to return to their homes more than a week after they were evacuated.

20 February 2004


This is where the rambling part comes in. The Celts made a god out of the guy who invented beer, so it's only right and proper to drink a few and blither on about shit, isn't it?

I've just been to see Shadow Play at Happy. The music was good, but the rest was pretty dreadful. It was like they put every idea they had into it, no matter how unconnected to the rest it was. It just didn't work.

After that, we stuck around for a couple of drinks and checked out the electronica that was on next, which turned out to be a couple of guys on Casiotones. They fucking rocked. Not as much as Matt Hunt's band Cortina last Friday night at Bodega though (whose support gig for Peaches is reviewed here). That was a blistering gig. The best Cortina gig I've ever seen (and that's saying something!). And to think I almost didn't go because a whole lot of friends of mine were staying at the Workingmen's Club instead. The fools. We'd gone there after an opening at Photospace.

It was a particularly drunken evening. I'd gone into town for a couple of beers before the opening (the benefits of working for yourself), downed a few wines at the opening, then went off for whiskies and more beer at the old Workingmen's Club (brilliant place, like it a lot - where else is the music provided by a Maori transvestite playing the piano?) before hitting the Bodge. We'd meant to go out for dinner, but didn't quite manage it.

I woke up the next morning with an excruciating hangover. Damnit, I thought, we've expensive tickets to David Bowie and I've got a goddamn hangover. It all worked out okay though. Rose's brother and his wife and a friend of their's had come up for it. Rose's brother works on a vineyard so had a few bottles of particularly nice wine. That saw me right - good old hair of the dog and all. The big storm was the night after Bowie, but it pissed down that night too. Rose's brother et al. had to make do with hastily purchased rubbish bags and a tarp, but we had coats. Unfortunately, I'd foolishly neglected to change the shoes with holes in them I was wearing. If you get the chance to see David Bowie, take it. It was brilliant. I was a bit worried that it was ten or twenty years too late, but bollocks. He was great. The only song from his new album I really got into was 'I'm afraid of Americans' (which went kind of well with Cortina's 'I'm not an American' from the previous night in a funny kind of way), but, man, he's done some good songs in his time.

Unlike the thing we went to tonight, this post has had a coherent theme (well, as coherent as you can be after a few beers). Another thing I've been happy about (and which, unlike the rest, is totally non-alcohol-related) is that I've received a couple of the books I ordered from Amazon. At the end of last year, I ordered a book on Piero della Francesca (in mid-October). It finally showed up, after I'd pretty much given up on it, in mid-December. Because the NZ dollar has been so good against the US dollar recently, I thought I should take the opportunity to get some other books I've been hanging out for. I ordered the Philip Guston and the Max Beckmann catalogues from the recent retrospectives they've had (which would've been something to go to - damn being stuck on the asshole of the world, as the Rolling Stones memorably called us after being pelted with beer and mince pies during their Invercargill gig back in the 60s sometime), plus another Piero book, on 10 February. The Guston and Beckmann books arrived today, less than two weeks after I'd ordered them - a damn sight better than two months! These ones came from Germany rather than the States. I wonder whether that's the difference. Maybe the proximity to Christmas for the previous one had something to do with it as well.

P.S. Good to see such luminaries as Spiro Agnew Jr. and Gray Bartlett adding their drunken comments. Keep 'em coming, guys.

Some more pics

Some Illuminati Guy and Skeleton Guy paintings can been seen on Matt Couper's website here. That strange mottled effect in the bottom one isn't in the original, but came about (I think) because he converted the whopping great file I sent him down into something more manageable (yeah, yeah, so I don't know what I'm doing). The others are photos he took at my place when we were having drinks one night. I have a feeling those shadows across them could be me lurching about.

Important clarification

I think I should point out that there's no relation between the two previous posts! The pics have nothing at all to do with horrible things happening to penises. (If you do want to see pics of such horrible things, I'm sure there's plenty of websites that'll oblige.)

Needless to say, I didn't really think about how they'd read one after another.

Bloody hell

One of the things with editing is that you don't have any choice over what you read about. At the moment, I'm reading all about some of the horrible things that can happen to your penis. There's good old erectile dysfunction of course. Then there's thrush of the groin. Then there's balanitis, which is an infection of the glans of the penis. Symptoms can range from burning when you pass urine to itchiness, pain and discomfort around the area. The skin under the foreskin may be reddened or may have a cheesy or white discharge or spots.

I just thought I should share that with you.

Some pics to look at

Okay, check out my friends Matt Couper and Matt Hunt. Some of my brother Ben's work can be seen here and here. He was also on the cover of Landfall 206.

19 February 2004

The first post

Well, why not? It seems like fun. It's not as if I've got anything particular to say, but I can be pretty opinionated at times. I'm pretty slack as well though. One of these days I'll get around to updating my website (which I haven't done for quite a wee while now - the one that's there was just meant to be a trial version). Maybe I'll even get around to hosting this blog on it (this way's simpler - it didn't involve any weird technical bizzo). Like I said, I'm pretty slack.

I live in Wellington, New Zealand. I'm a freelance editor (so any spelling and grammatical mistakes here will be pretty embarrassing, but, hey, it's always difficult reading your own work, which is why they hire people like me). I'm also a painter. I've got some pretty firm opinions about painting. Some people reckon painting's dead. Arthur Danto even dated when it died at 1963 (Andy Warhol's Brillo Boxes). Sure, that kind of nailed Abstract Expressionism, not to mention the whole idea of there being a dominant style of painting, but to say it killed off the several thousand year old practice of painting is just silly. Maybe that wasn't what he was saying though. I'm really into figurative painting. I like doing work that's quite crude and simplified. I'm not into virtuoso-type stuff.

I started off doing work related to New Zealand's colonial past, as exemplified by Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, the famous Maori warrior and prophet (the religion he founded, Ringatu, is still around today), and Captain Cook. After a while, though, I got bored with New Zealand-specific paintings. I did some Illuminati-related paintings for a while. These were based on news photos I found on the Internet. I did a few of those that I quite liked. I even entered a five-part work on paper one in the Wallace Awards, but they told me where to go.

At the moment, I'm doing what I call Skeleton Guy paintings. They're kind of self-portraits. The idea for these came about because I was reading about the gnostic influences on existential philosophy while doing a first aid course. I really like making associations between wildly different things. I think they're often the most fruitful.

We're having the crappest summer in the world at the moment. According to the boffins at the Metservice, January was the wettest on record. Halfway through February, we'd had twice the average rainfall for the entire month. That was before the massive storm last weekend. At the moment, it's pissing down again and blowing a gale. This is not good so soon after the storm. Lots of places are still flooded.
visitors since 29 March 2004.