A lot of writers are deadline junkies. Perhaps it is just the pleasure of procrastination, but it requires the impending rush of a deadline to unleash their creative energy, to get them writing.
That’s certainly true of me; my name is Winston and I’m an addict.
Fortunately, the editors here accept my condition and are always understanding. But occasionally the unexpected occurs. Deadline-hugging, adrenalin-raising though it may be, there are potential pitfalls.
Take last week, for instance. Did you notice last week’s column? Sorry. For the first time, and at this vital stage of the departing year, I missed the deadline.
I figured there was no hurry; the day was locked off to write. Just a routine doctor's appointment for a prescription then settle in. But you never know with doctors, do you? They have this overwhelming urge to try and keep you healthy. Which is why after a quick ECG I found myself travelling straight to Tauranga Hospital’s emergency department.
“I don’t know how long this is going to take,” I told my editor on the phone, lying behind a bedside screen with a dozen wires in my chest and a machine that went “bing”. And from the non-appearance of last week’s column, you can correctly assume that the answer was “bloody ages”.
But not in a bad way. Not in an I-had-to-wait-for-six-hours-to-be-seen kinda way. Things just take time. The hospital was extremely busy, not helped by having to take extra Covid precautions, and getting test results takes time, as does seeing an expensive specialist.
Well I say “expensive specialist”... he certainly talked that way and exuded confidence - both fine traits in a doctor - though given the mask he could actually have been just someone who wandered in off the street and happened to be good at riffing on heart issues.
But enough of my troubles. Like a crayfish too small to catch they threw me back, so here I am, wondering about the million and one things that won’t fit into one final column for the year.
Yes. In case you weren’t aware, we at The Weekend Sun are going on holiday for the rest of 2021, which is tricky because I still have two local albums to review and I was rather wanting to announce prizes for achievements during the year. That will have to wait ‘til 2022.
Let’s get to the albums though. Both are labours of love; both were made at Tim Julian’s Colourfield Studio in Welcome Bay. Since I’m short-changing them here I’d suggest you go straight to Spotify (or a service of your choice) and listen to them.
First up is Tim’s own album, under the band name Fragile Colours. Dancing With The Shadows (In Plato’s Cave) features local singer Kamaea and is a collection of Tim’s songs recorded over the past five years. It is an impressive body of work - well-written tunes that show a fine pop sensibility and lyrics that take on the modern world in sometimes playful, sometimes heartfelt ways.
The title track, for instance, refers to an allegory presented by Greek philosopher Plato in his work Republic to compare “the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature”. If that sounds a tad heavy, then know that Tim has turned it into a satirical attack on media dominance and set it all to a very catchy dance-floor groove.
There’s lots to like, from the poppy opener, Calling To You From Far Away, onwards. Kamaea has a strong, slightly dreamy voice and Tim (anchoring things on keyboards, bass and guitar) is ably assisted by his son Joe on drums and guitarist Sean Bodley.
And I’ve run out of space. The other album is Stories by John Stanley, whom many might know as a long-time Otūmoetai teacher. It’s a lovely piece of work that I am enjoying immensely. I mention it now because if you know John, you should Spotify it.
I’ll get to that and everything else I’ve missed in January. In the meantime, thank you for joining me again this year. May Christmas bring you joy enough to fill your heart. See you on the flip side.