Every now and again I get the urge to write about what I see and do and hear. I am the eternal nomad and always on the move somewhere - whether it be nights out, trips away or just moving from country to country!! So these are some of my observations about my life and what I see along the way!
This is my latest article to go to print - in the Winter 2010 edition of TNT New Zealand.
PASSION OF THE CHRISTCHURCH
Londoner turned Christchurch local KATHERINE KEARSLEY gives us the insider's guide to going out in the South Island's biggest city.
Finding the happening places in a new place is always a challenge and Christchurch is no exception. However, Christchurch is not just the Garden City. Hidden down alleys and back streets are a suprising number of awesome bars and clubs.
I often come across people who have stopped briefly in Christchurch and think the nightlife is nothing to write home about. Invariably they had ended up on
‘The Strip’, as Oxford Terrace at 2am in the morning is so-called. This little city, however, has just about something for everyone, as long as you know where to look.
An area called SOL Square (stands for South Of Lichfield) has become the place to go in recent years. Found between Minx and His Lordship’s Pub on Lichfield
Street, it rivals some of the laneways of Melbourne and Europe. Live music can be found just about any night of the week, ranging from jazz to trance, while the food on offer includes everything from homemade pizzas to teppanyaki via fish and chips. Each bar has it’s own history, whether fact or fiction so it’s definitely worth a look.
Also worthy of pub crawl inclusion is another laneway-type area called Poplar Street, just off Lichfield Street – the other side of Manchester to SOL Square.
It’s similar to SOL Square with plenty of variety all within a quick stumble, including a Russian vodka bar, a German beer bar, an English micro brewery and my
favourite, the mod bar Vespa – complete with a real Vespa scooter on the wall. This area tends to attract more of the late-20s crowd (compared to SOL’s
youngsters), so it tends to be quieter during the week but has a real buzz on the weekends.
Other popular haunts are:
Sullivan's Irish Bar - Manchester Street - great live music on the weekends.
Cruz on Lichfield Street is the city's best gay club.
The Bog Irish Bar on the corner of Cashel Mall and Oxford Terrace. Great live music and an awesome Monday night quiz.
Pomeroy's on Kilmore Street near Fitzgerald Avenue. Great English pub.
The Bangalore Polo Club on Oxford Terrace. Great food and a funky place.
Christchurch Idol on Manchester Street is the place to go to for karaoke.
Boogie Nights on Manchester Street. Tunes guaranteed to get you dancing.
Shooters, on the corner of Manchester Street and Cashel Street, goes off.
So I was contacted by a photographer who was an organising an event. The aim was for everyone involved to take a photo out of their window at the exact same time around the world - and see what results came along!!
These are my 2 that I sent him - not great but it was 5.30am so he's lucky I managed to drag myself out of bed at all!!
Feature article from the February Issue of Cityscape!!
More people seem to stay single these days than they ever did in Grandad’s day, despite us having cars, telephones, jobs and computers. It seems that all the social networking in the world won’t help in this area. Desperate and dateless might seem like an amusing state to the attached, but for a lot of people Valentine’s Day rolls around every year with still no partner in sight. Fear not – there are some avenues that even the most hardened serial dater won’t have tried. Read on and begin to put some of my ideas into practice – you probably won’t find love in time for this Valentine’s, but there’s no harm in getting started for next year!
My grandparents keep saying to me that if I don’t want to meet a guy who only wants to hang out in bars and get drunk and grope you, stop trying to meet guys in bars! As much as I hate to admit it, they’re right. So, if this is the case, where does one meet eligible singles in this city?
Since moving back to Christchurch three years ago, I have had a string of unsuccessful relationships and disastrous dates. Whilst the tales keep my friends amused, the experience leaves me wondering whether there are any decent single men in this city who don’t have a ton of baggage – if so, how do I find one?
When trying to find a partner, there are various routes to take. The most tried and true is to get a friend to introduce you to someone they know. That way you’ll hopefully avoid finding out that he or she is a raving lunatic – although this is not guaranteed! Personally, this hasn’t really been an option for me. Most of the people I know are foreigners or out-of-towners, or only know couples (why does everyone get married so young in Christchurch?) or 30-year-olds acting like they are 20! If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair, there are more options to explore.
There are several dating agencies around. For a fee you join their database and they match your qualities and what you are looking for to find you a suitable partner. The upside is that someone is weeding out the dead ends before you even see them. The other bonus is that they only take professional 30-plus people who are serious about finding someone for a relationship. Unfortunately, there are often not enough men on the books to meet the demand of the ladies. Note to decent single men: get yourself registered with one of these companies and you may win the lady lottery! Companies to try are Bonjour and Xpose or Club Evolution.
A slightly different approach is attending singles events such as speed dating or singles dinners. This way you meet a number of people in a relaxed atmosphere (speed dating is actually a lot of fun once you are there – not at all scary like I thought it would be). Companies to try are M Factor Events or Distinctive Dining. The plus side is you get to meet more than one person during the evening, including one-on-one time with potential partners. This means not having to go on lots of individual dates before finding someone you’re interested in. The downside is that you’re competing with everyone else there – and let’s face it, no one likes to be the underdog! The one I attended at Boogie Nights was great fun and people were having a fantastic time, though I’m not sure how successful it was for long-term relationships – by the end of the night people were way too sloshed to chat and it was mostly groping and grinding on the dance floor with a bit of tonsil tennis thrown in to boot!
There are pros and cons in internet dating. Lots of success stories but lots of disaster stories too (I, unfortunately, seem to fall more often into the latter category!). A large part depends on what website you join, so before signing up to anything, do your homework and check them out. Do a quick search to see if there are any potential targets and if the site feels right for you. Keep an open mind but remember that people may seem perfect on paper but in reality they can be far from it. Sound advice from my grandparents (and I hate to admit it, but they’re right) would be that if you do agree to meet people, make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time you’ll be back. Always meet in a public place (ruling out any stalkers finding out where you live) and remember that if it doesn’t feel right or you want out, just make a polite excuse and leg it! I have bravely gone on a few dates with guys from various sites but so far these have been disasters and only served to highly amuse everyone when I retold the stories!
First there was the extremely short guy who, even before the main course had arrived, told me I could buy an $85,000 engagement ring and had planned the layout of our house. Then the hung-over and unresponsive guy who, after having a hair-of-the-dog beer, proceeded to tell me he was awaiting DNA test results to see if he was the father of a one-night-stand’s child! Next was the one who took me on a first date to Denny’s and told me I wasn’t allowed to order anything but the cheapest thing on the menu – and freaked out when I got a second glass of orange juice (he had the full-on cooked breakfast incidentally – oh, and I wasn’t there by the time the food arrived – SOS call!). Then there was the married guy who was apparently separated, but who I happened to see a few weeks later on a family holiday with his wife and kids! Finally, the man who took a glass of ‘fine wine’ off me because I had just eaten a mint, then somehow had me clearing out his freezer (I still don’t know how or why I even started that!). His over-inflated opinion of himself meant he thought he was God’s gift to women (think short, podgy, middle-aged, balding!).
Now, my grandparents would be proud of me for suggesting this next one (and again I hate to admit it, but I think they are right). The way to meet someone nice with common interests is to take up some sort of hobby. I’m not talking about stamp collecting or anything like that, I mean taking classes where there are likely to be eligible singles around. I know quite a few people who have met the partner of their dreams through dance classes, for instance. Personally, the high-heeled, flared-pants-wearing guys at salsa class don’t float my boat, but there have been a few hotties at swing dance. Granted, a lot of guys come with their partner but the odd one is single (or the person you thought was the partner in fact turns out to be just a friend!). Other things to try would be martial arts, a computing course, photography, surfing, sailing – or anything, really, that you have an interest in – whatever the activity, you’re already one step ahead with a shared common interest (I’m guessing you won’t have much luck in knitting club, however).
Although I have had some bumpy dating experiences in the last few years, I am forever the eternal optimist and hopeless romantic. I love to go out on dates and meet new people, and have made several good friends through the various websites, clubs and classes I have been to. So although I haven’t found the man of my dreams there are benefits to trying different options – as I always say you can never have enough friends. There is still a little glimmer of hope that I may one day find my Prince Charming (send a postcard if you know of any you can pass my way!), but I have to admit that for the time being, I have better things to concentrate on than worrying about being single – and still I wonder if I was right when I was 5 years old and told my Granddad that I would never marry a kiwi.
just a click away …
Findsomeone [www.findsomeone.co.nz] My favourite of them all. Free to join, but you have to be a member to email people – although you can reply to people even if you are not a paid member. There seems to be a better selection of people on here than a lot of other NZ-based sites. I know several people who have ‘found love’ on this site, including my Mum, so there is hope for us all yet! It’s good to see that it has space for people to actually voice their opinions on subjects like children, commitment, love, etc, rather than just the drop-down boxes on a lot of other sites. Really easy to use as well, which is a bonus!
Match.com [www.match.com] Not as big as some of the other sites in New Zealand but huge overseas (always good if you want to find yourself an international lover!). You don’t have to pay to place a profile on the site but you do if you want to read or send emails. Be aware that fees are charged in Australian dollars. Match has a good selection of people and because it’s paid for, people seem to take it more seriously and are not just looking for a quick roll in the hay. A great site, and I love checking out the South American hotties!
Matchfinder [www.matchfinder.co.nz] I’m unimpressed with this one. There is a large selection of people on the site, but none seem to be what I’m looking for. Each to their own so you may find the man of your dreams on there. You can reply to emails without being a paid member but you need to pay to send them first.
NZ Dating [www.nzdating.co.nz] I think this site is the worst of the bunch! It’s free to join and although ‘gold members’ get more search options and privacy controls, anyone can email anyone at any level. I have to say I have had little or no luck at all on here – and not many people I know have either. I am frequently presented with ‘interesting’ photos of guys’ nether regions – seriously, do you really think we like looking at them? – as well as offers to have steamy sessions with a guy and his seven mates, or to watch some guy that looks like he was dropped on his head at birth have some fun on his webcam! Hence I am not holding out much luck for the man of my dreams to suddenly appear on this site.
This was the end of one of the best days I have had in a long time. Thanks to everyone who made my experience at Rainbow Serpent festival so much fun. I had a fantastic time and value the new friendships that I made and hope to see you all soon.
Whilst in Melbourne friends and I spent almost a week at a festival called Rainbow Serpent. It was held in the bush near Beaufort and Ballarat about 2 hours outside of Melbourne. There were lots of DJ's and a few live acts as well as various performers and entertainers too.
I was part of a group that went and set up a gift economy space called the Nargile Lounge. A lot of the organisers were Burning Man people and this is a concept that is very common at Burning Man festivals around the world. I haver never been a part of something like this though and so was not sure what to expect.
The aim of the Nargile Lounge was to provide a free space for people to come and enjoy and hang out in. Nargile or Nargila as it's pronounced are hookah pipes, or hubbly bubbly pipes as I call them. We had several of these for people to smoke as well as given out peppermint tea and various snacks like dried fruit, nuts and turkish delight.
It was amazing to see how much people appreciated the space and were so grateful for the chance to enjoy the tent with us. It made me feel really great to be a part of the team and to be offering people this experience.
The festival was awesome. Some great music was played and I was often found dancing away till the sun rose each morning. There was a huge mix of people at the festival and all seemed to be enjoying their experiences.
It's been a long time since I went to a good festival and so was great to let my hair down and enjoy every aspect of it and meet some fantastic people along the way.
Yesterday I returned from 2 weeks in Melbourne. It's a city I have always had a fondness for. I lived there for 6 months when I was 19 and have always said I want to move there one day.
I was a little apprehensive about going there as had such fond memories of the city and wasn't sure if I would see it in the same light. No worries about it though. It's exactly the same as I remember and even better. It's been so long since I was in a big city, I'd forgotten how much I love the hustle and bustle of it all. There was always something going on whatever time of day or day of the week. I especially loved the trams and travelling around exploring the city on them.
I managed to catch up with old friends as well whilst there and it was fantastic to chat about old times and it even felt as if I'd only seen them about 6 months ago even though it had been at least 8 years with most of them!
I loved the shopping. Melbourne is a shoppers paradise! So much to choose from. So many great designers and funky stores as well as amazing discount stores like Target which quickly became and regular haunt for us.
The food was amazing too. We found a fantastic place to have breakfast on Sydney Road. It served all kinds of things including american style pancakes with real maple syrup and made a great cup of coffee to have with it.
Melbourne definitely has a special buzz about it and I can't wait to go back and discover more of it at some point in the future!