Summer does funny stuff to, well pretty much everything. People think cooking should only be done on a BBQ; that it's perfectly acceptable to survive on only beer, chips and dip (when the BBQ isn't cranking); jandals are appropriate footwear for all occasions and sand is ok, no matter which tiny crevasse it finds itself in.
Summer does something funny to art as well. Without the all-too familiar Auckland grey skies looming over us, we want to be outside. But it doesn't mean we want to be less interested or "cultured". Maybe that's why, then, this summer has seen a couple of outdoors-y, art installations pop up around town.
Close to home, you've got Summer of Sculpture at Silo Park. Some move, some make you think, some surprise you, but all of these installations add an extra layer to Wynyard Quarter that is something special (not that we need another excuse to head down that way). Nestled amongst concrete silos, the industrial gantry or the green public spaces, once again Wynyard Quarter is being used for more than just a bunch of cafes and bars.
Or maybe you want to experience that thing that helped Waiheke Island get a spot on the New York Times list of the "Top 46 Places To Go in 2013". Headland Sculpture on the Gulf is part art exhibition, part coastal walk. Over a 2.5km stroll, art lovers can see the work of 30 artists dotted around the coast, take in the sites of Waiheke's coast and enjoy a drink, nibble on something tasty and watch some live music.
Whether it's around the corner, or as part of a day trip, it's nice to think Aucklanders don't have to think traditionally about where they get their art-fix.
Long ones can make you fidgety, crossing and uncrossing your legs, bouncing up and down to get comfortable. But the shorter ones can leave you unsatisfied, with important parts sometimes ignored.
Lengthy ones are often a bit meatier, and usually get all the praise, but when they are smaller, it means you normally stay awake for the whole thing.
Does size matter? It's a question that has tapped away at the subconscious of mankind for more years than Chris Warner has been walking the halls of Shortland St.
But after much thought and discussion, I think I have decided that nope, I don't think epic long movies are all they are cracked up to be.
After what seemed like a solid run of smack-bang two hour flicks, cinema goers are being forced to enter theatres with a mindset equivalent to taking a packed lunch and an old-lady cushion, and controlling one's bladder like a camel. And I say "oh goodness gracious, why?"
Carly Rose Sonenclar sang Nina Simone. Kelly Clarkson chose Etta James. For Harry Styles it was Stevie Wonder.
All classics. This year, however, NZ X Factor hopefuls are choosing to audition with David Guetta.
Auditions for the local take on the worldwide sensation are working their way up the country as we speak, and last week 10 of the most auditioned songs were revealed.
And what a mixed bag it is. Here they are; some of the most popular choices from southern auditions, in no particular order:
Titanium - David Guetta feat. Sia
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen (Jeff Buckley version)
Valerie - Amy Winehouse
Sunday Morning - Maroon Five
The A Team - Ed Sheeran
Little Things - One Direction
Angel - Sarah McLachlan
Halo - Beyonce
Skinny Love - Bon Iver
Happy 2013 and all that other nice stuff, Auckland. Hope you all slip, slop, slapped and wrapped over the Christmas break and got spoilt by the big man in red.
He was very kind to me I have to say, but some of the best gifts were saved for last week (and dragging Christmas out for as long as possible is always a good thing).
It seems 2013 is set to be the year of the comeback. And leading the way are two very different - but both brilliant, in my humble opinion - musicians: David Bowie and Justin Timberlake.
All this is very good news, and I await the results with baited breath.
And so we find ourselves at that point again. Another year over; another "best of" ramble in front of you. Except we're going to save the proper countdown for a little later, so this is more a "These Things Really Made Me Smile This Year" list.
See, it's a completely different thing...
So what did make me smile a little more than usual in 2012? Well, basically it came down to One thing. A change in Direction, that let me embrace the pop music fan inside. Was that subtle enough? Did you get it?
Yes, One Direction made my year. But I've only just been able to accept - or recognise - just how crazy those few days were.
The sound of hundreds of screaming teenage girls is unlike anything you'll have heard before. Unless you are a member of New Kids on the Block, of course. They cry, they swoon, they go pink in the face because they're yelling so much. They manage to avoid school, their parents and goodness knows why there weren't any truancy officers working their way through the crowds (do they still exist?).
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