Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fun times

Commenting on my last blog, Old Geezer writes:

You must have been at a different Athletic Park
from me. Crowds in the 50s, 60s and 70s were
quite capable of singing, drinking, joking,
shouting and lobbing pies at the ref... The
difference is that rugby was always a winter
game and the southerly roared through Athletic
Park in winter, whereas the newfangled sevens
are held in summer, and costumes are possible.
Wellington was never as grim as journos like to

Fair point, OG. I did tarnish the dahlia somewhat,
purely for the sake of figurative contrast, you
understand. Kiwis did have fun in their own
cramped way in those days...but it was pretty blokey
stuff all the same. The great thing about the sevens
is the way they've brought women back to watch
rugby, not least, I suspect, because there's more
running than rucking, more ballet than biffo in this
version of the game.

Still, when I read something like this...

I meandered down the street, looking for
something to eat. Everything was shut.
Lambton Quay on this weekday winter
evening was a windy desolation; the only
sign of life was a sheet of the Evening Post
flying along in the icy southerly.

...it does remind me of what Wellington used to
be like 40-50 years ago. That's a passage from
Philip Temple's about-to-be-published memoir
Chance Is a Fine Thing, describing Wellington in
1957. Sound familiar, anyone?


Anonymous said...

i remember a game at athletic park in 1991(?). howling southerly.

the main craziness was a bloke, pissed as a chook, waving a beer and wearing a big black rubbish bag over his rugby jersey, chanting "wai-kat-o!! waaaaaiiii-kaaat-ooo!"

it was all blacks v. ireland.

Old Geezer said...

Temple would have got much the same result if he had wandered down London's Oxford Street at night in the 1950s. If he wanted restaurants there, he would have had to go to somewhere like Soho, not a retail shopping area that feeds nearby office workers during the sday but whichcloses at night.

All the same, he could have gone into the (now demolished) Masonic Hotel in Lambton Quay for a fine buffet. Among other places.