The city of texts
It was exciting to talk with Sarah about her father Gordon's two volume psychogeographic study of New Zealand's ghost towns, which I used as a sort of travel guide in my twenties. In between asking me questions about South Auckland and the Waikato, Sarah remembered childhood expeditions down Babylon Coast Road and other routes into the ruins of the gum and goldfields of Northland and the Coromandel.
Footnote: Congratulations to poet Grace Taylor, who was given the 2017 Auckland Mayoral Literary Award last Thursday night in a ceremony at the city's central library.
Before deputy mayor Penny Hulse handed congratulated Grace I gave a speech about - you guessed it - my study of the Great South Road, which earned me the inaugural Mayoral Literary Award last year. I explained how the award had encouraged New Zealanders who live along the Great South Road to open their doors to me and my collaborators Paul Janman and Ian Powell, and to share old stories and photographs and manuscripts with us.
I showed a film clip of the walk that Paul and I made up two hundred kilometres of the Great South Road last year: the audience chuckled when they saw me tripping over my feet in the berm-ditches of the Waikato.