Permission to Play

Last Friday I took part in an impromptu bit of fun which arose out a discussion in the Wellington Twitter community. Thanks to a tweet by @mikeforbes and the efforts of @spanishmanners, we christened our inaugural #formalfriday.

Formal Friday

With casual clothes the norm in so many many of our workplaces these days, the concept of a Casual Friday is increasingly irrelevant. Going to work wearing formal wear, however, has become both novel and fun. Especially when followed by drinks and dinner afterward to see what the others decided to wear.

As ‘adults’, most of us are simply too shy to appear silly in front of our peers. To dress up, to slide down banisters, or to randomly break into song. I for one (I’m sad to say) tend not to step out of line unless perhaps others are doing the same.

In an organized group, I’ll run around in circles, dance in the street, or even wear a suit to work. For some reason, however, I seem to need permission to play. If I feel like I’m not alone in it, if I feel that it’s a condoned activity, then I’m in.

It’s a start, I guess. At least I’m playing at all. I figure the best way forward is to simply ensure there are more group activities awaiting me in the coming weeks, months and years. In time, maybe I’ll find myself playing without even thinking about it.

So what’s next? Firstly I intend to organize some Cryptozoo runs here in Wellington. If you’d like to get involved, just let me know.

Secondly there’s a little something a bunch of us devised today – a multi-day group gaming, reading, watching and playing binge we’re calling #schoolholidays…


Giant Sea Life Moves Into Wellington…

Residents and film crews are interested, but unperturbed:

Apparently this is the preperation for filming a television ad this coming Monday/Tuesday night (29/30th June 2009), which will include low-flying helicopters and spotlights.

[EDIT: As I understand it, Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd of July are the “rain days” – so with the weather we’ve bee having, I expect this filming will now be happening then.]

If you live in the area DO NOT BE ALARMED!

Giant Sea Life will not actually be attacking, it’s all just for the benefit of television audiences everywhere.

I’d be intrigued to pop down again to see the actual filming…

The Invisible Chomsky

On the topic of media silence, in chatting with a friend about independent media options, I remembered a modern instance of something being kept out of the mainstream news.

Almost 10 years ago now, in November 1998, Noam Chomsky gave a talk at Wellington’s Opera House. It was free entry, and I joined the line as early as I could to gain a seat. The interest from the public was so great that as well as filling the Opera House’s three levels, the organisers also provided a live video feed (which from memory had some issues) to the Paramount Cinema too.

His talk went largely over the heads of myself and most of my friends, but we tried our best to keep up. Despite the snazzy editing of the documentaries that have been made about his work, in person he came across as incredibly dry. All the same, we were thrilled to see such an incredible thinker speak in person and hoped to understand what he had been on about one day.

My most lasting memory of the talk, however, was the fact that the mainstream media totally ignored the entire visit. Nothing on the television news, nothing in the two main newspapers, and as far as I know nothing on the radio. The only local media I saw that mentioned it was a totally independent community newspaper called The City Voice, which sadly no longer exists. Clearly the advertising that got people along was almost entirely “viral”.

In 1943 we experienced media silence due to state intervention in a time of war. Fifty-five years later, it certainly wouldn’t have been the government getting in the way of this obviously interesting news story. I can understand that the media is under no obligation to cover every event or happening, but to this day I wonder who made the decision that this wasn’t newsworthy…

Riot Police in Manners St – Then & Now

While looking into the history of NZ’s capital some time ago, I came across an amazing story of a 1943 riot in downtown Manners Street involving “over a thousand American and New Zealand servicemen as well as several hundred civilians”. As noted in the linked article and elsewhere, it went unreported in the news due to wartime censorship – so everything we know about it is via the stories of those who were there.

I was reminded of this event last week, when I came across THIS. Sixty-five years later, here is a tale of riot police once again having to keep the peace in Manners Street: “Riot police had to control fights among a crowd of almost 200 people as they tried to arrest a suspected thief wielding nunchaku in Wellington’s Manners Mall.”

The thing I find most interesting about this case however, is the first comment. Another witness to the event describes its reporting as “almost wholly inaccurate and quite irresponsible”. It appears that while the facts were left entirely unreported in 1943, these days they’re manipulated so as to be more eye-catching.

If what James says in his comment is true, then in both cases we’ve had to hear from eyewitnesses to get the truth. Here’s to individuals without state pressure or the need to generate advertising dollars keeping us informed of what’s really going on.

Can anyone recommend some good grassroots news sites?

Published in: on 28 August 2008 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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