1. Since June
Since June, at Unity Books here in Wellington.
The book was launched* by Jenny Bornholdt, who was also Wallace's MA supervisor in 2008 (Louise won the Biggs Poetry Prize for the year's best poetry manuscript and was quickly snapped up by VUP).
A lot of time was spent discussing the picture of a tea cup and a tiny man on the front cover.
Louise wore a pink dress to match the type on the cover. Her speech concluded with a reading of 'The Poi Girls', which is a stunner of a poem.
I read the collection today in my lunch break. I'm a sucker for short poems and there's some great ones in the first half of the collection. If you pick up a copy in your local bookstore and only have time for four lines, read ‘Katikati, 2009’ on page 27. You will suddenly find time for another poem.
I'm not really in a position to offer any further comments on the collection after one reading. I didn't even pick up whether "Since June" is referenced in the text at all.
Update: I just read this nice wee article from the Gisborne Herald which explains that Wallace started writing poems after her grandmother, June, passed away, hence "Since June."
*I am never sure about this term, when really it's just another speech sandwiched by the publisher's and the writer's - - when I think of "a launcher" I think of rocket launchers, then I think of obscure royals smashing a jeroboam of champers against the hull of a ship… the least the person "launching" a book could do is ceremoniously run a stanley knife down the first box of books…
2. Jarvis Cocker
After the launch I made the short walk from Unity Books to the Town Hall to see Jarvis Cocker's first concert in Wellington in ten years (he was with Pulp back then of course).
I like many Pulp songs, but never really got in to them as an album band. The last two Jarvis Cocker albums have been more rocky and angular than his Pulp days, though just as wry lyrically (and just as mixed in terms of quality).
Live it was pretty much everything I expected. The set kicked off with 'Angela', a song I hated the first time I heard it (a live rendition on BBC2's The Culture Show), but becomes more tolerable with every listen. 'Further Complications' followed, just as it does on the 2009 album of the same name, and was one of the highlights. The rest of the set was mixed ('Fat Children', and 'I Never Said I Was Deep' being the other musical highs) though Jarvis's inter-song banter kept everyone engaged.
During the encore he informed us that the 3rd of December was Ozzy Osbourne's birthday, and the band launched into Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' (the only song I admit to being quite good at in Singstar). I love live covers. It takes a bit to put aside the ego and not worry that the crowd may be more into someone else's stuff than your own (which sorta happened). It's something no one would have expected, and few will get to experience live… I filmed a bit to prove it happened. Forgive the sound, my digital camera was made for so many decibels.
Another Update: Turns out Jarvis has covered 'Paranoid' quite a few times before. Mostly in 2007. I double checked, and it really was Ozzy's birthday. Phew.