Monthly Archives: December 2015

Tim Walker’s Hackney

We all know the phrase and I can’t be the only one who’s fed up with hearing it.

Merry Christmas..?

So come on to all you hackneyed idiom deniers, all you free-thinking convention defiers; come blaze a trail with me. Sure, it’ll be a little more of a mouthful and it will probably even require a touch of brainpower to recollect in the early stages, but nothing worth changing is ever simple – just look at the new flag design and how easy that’s been to implement – so come on and say it with me now…

(For the benefit of simplicity I’ve cut it down, so it ought to roll right off the tongue.)

…Splendiferous Christmas and a Gay New Year, folks.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Sven Duff Ross

Photography by Chris T Moss

Tim Walker’s Cathedral II

A decision has finally been made about this potential restoration of the Christchurch Cathedral.

What’s curious is that I could have sworn we’d already decided what was going to happen…

Think back around five years to when the church in question was reduced to ruins; now come forward a year or two and remember the $5 million cardboard monstrosity that the Christian community decided would be a useful temporary replacement – a location for them to worship their saviour while they decided what was going to happen to their other church.

…I was sure that everyone – Christchurch’s City Council, Christchurch’s band of religious zealots, also Christchurch’s remaining taxpayers who I believe were expected to foot the portion of the bill not covered by insurance after so much of that insurance payout was wasted on litigation costs discussing this very subject – was in agreement that either the insurance money was to be spent on this temporary place of cardboard worship, or, it was to be used, as initially planned, to rebuild the cathedral.

Typical though of zealots, fanatics, radicals, idiots or whatever one calls them; however one perceives them, rationality or indeed logic of any variety, is not a prominent feature of their world…

Five years of deliberation; five years of time wasting, money and resource wasting, and now, it seems we’ve gone full circle. Once deemed damaged beyond repair only to be reassessed as fixable then again, later, irreparable, now, most assuredly, they’re going to fix it once and for all.

…Forget the fact that an entirely new, modern, plush, heated and air conditioned cathedral could be built for less than half the cost of the restoration bill of this existing edifice – estimates are varied but somewhere between $100 and $200 million ought to cover it – these pious devotees want their old cathedral back.

Right, so they’ll likely talk some more, make some more decisions, then work should be underway somewhere around April next year.

All you atheistic ratepayers better get saving.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Gob Body-Riz

Photography by Wepae Fua Yhu


Tim Walker’s Theory XXIII

The phrase ‘…victim was killed execution style…’ has always made me chuckle…

This week’s Theory therefore pertains to usage of the aforementioned phrase.

…Fair call, probably not an ideal ‘chuckling’ situation but hear me out: I have seen a line of kneeling refugees ‘executed’ via bullets to the back of the head, I have seen ISIS radicals similarly ‘executing’ people with bullets to the foreheads; I have seen other ‘executions’ which have left a hole in the temple, and I have heard of further ‘execution style killings’ which have manifested either a bullet in the back, a bullet in the chest or even, a slit throat.

If you’re still wondering where I find the humour in that, yeah, you’re probably never going to get it.

My theory is that the statement, ‘killed execution style’, other than confirming somebody’s death – also the fact that they didn’t have the life arbitrarily beaten out of them – while certainly commanding an audience’s attention, actually tells them nothing.

Time to sign off, execution style.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by X E Cushion

Photography by Kay Ling



Tim Walker’s Implied III

The problem with living in a democratic nation whose people enjoy freedoms of almost every kind and which is not stricken by war, famine, pandemic or other mortal hardship, to the point where everyone can practically guarantee their family and they will wake each morning, is that triviality seems to constantly gain recognition.

When a few days ago Prime Minister John Key was lured into Auckland’s Mediaworks Studios – as he has been numerous times this year – to show his lighter side and perhaps to even provide some comic relief to Rock radio audiences throughout New Zealand; then when he was forced to make some adlib remarks regarding a farcical incarceration put together by Rock DJs and, when he uttered a couple of ribald lines that I actually heard at the time (imagine my surprise when I even found myself chuckling at our Prime Minister’s ability to make/take a joke) and, when that was then followed by my dismay when I learned that idiot New Zealanders were again being idiots…

It should be known that, much as my latent misanthropy might dictate it, I don’t actually consider all New Zealanders idiots; just the ones who seem to sit in wait for that fleeting moment where perhaps, where just maybe, they can possibly find a way to find a reason to find something offensive.

…According to sources, despite having forgotten the moment myself although as the memory returned experiencing the warmth of that Prime Ministerial quip, not just some groups, nay, many groups have taken offence at our humbly bumbling John Key.

I have to wonder, for example, if it had been me who had dropped those remarks about ‘being behind bars’, ‘bending down’, ‘picking up’ and, ‘slimy soap’; if it had been anyone but our beloved scapegoat of a PM who had publicly said something so potentially provocative, honestly, would New Zealand’s White Ribbon Foundation – would anyone – have cared?

Once again it’s reading between the lines, hearing what wasn’t said but what they expect was implied that is, as usual, resulting in poor old Uncle John’s persecution.

Guess now he knows how the Jews felt.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Unky Jonky

Photography by N Z De Ked


Tim Walker’s Merry

How many times can someone mindlessly utter two words before they are forced to take a breath and actually think about what they are saying?

Merry Christmas..?

Is it a requirement? With no pronouns it’s difficult to know. So is it a recommendation? The lack of imperatives makes that one tough to swallow as well. What about an inquiry? If so the question would then become, are we asking them if having a Merry Christmas is an acceptable way to spend the year’s final week, or are they asking us?

In fairness to what is possibly the most scintillating cliché the world has ever known, in full the statement should read: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, which in fact does little to shed light on the above query.

Irrespective though, of what part of speech it maintains, I refuse to be a part of such unashamed hackney. Of course there will be those of you who find my inability to follow the leader blindly and without question ignorant thus, I have an alternative…

We’ll see how long this takes to catch on and to perhaps become the new perfunctory Christmas phrase that people around the world find themselves quoting reflexively rather than intentionally, obligatorily rather than wilfully; vacuously rather than thoughtfully.

…I Wish for You All a Splendiferous Christmas and a Gay New Year.



Defiance by Tim Walker

Indignation by Christian Holly-Day

Irascibility by T Grince

Tim Walker’s Friday VI

It’s been a big week.

After successfully re-establishing my Internet connection in the weekend a hectic Monday ensued before seamlessly merging into a moderately paced Tuesday, where I was then able to reinvigorate at jiu-jitsu class that night.

Alas Wednesday’s trip to town with Grandma sapped me of much of that vigour then Thursday night’s class – last night – despite coming away with the makings of a black eye courtesy of a novice’s flailing elbow and a bloody nose thanks to a veteran’s errant knee, largely re-instilled that zest. Today though, stiff and achy as my body feels and probably, as beaten up as I do appear, I am excited about Saturday.

With a fortnightly plasma donation later this morning, tomorrow is to be my first ever jiu-jitsu grading day. After fewer than twelve months at the sport I don’t expect to make any significant leaps although I am keen to learn how my progress – if at all – is being perceived by those with the vision…

Oh and also, I’ve been spending the week accustoming myself to a new eyewear prescription which, visually, is tantamount to mild inebriation.

…I’ve never in the past done anything jiu-jitsu related on a Saturday, and in fact the reason my apheresis donation day is always Friday is so I am generally free from physical exertion thereafter but yeah, I dunno, we’ll see how it goes; I don’t think anyone will notice my bodily fluids are 750 millilitres depleted.

I’m just glad it’s Friday.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Ley King

Photography by Bodie Frueds

Tim Walker’s Contradiction

The following writing pertains to yesterday’s 22nd Theory which, if I recall, pertained to reckless tooters.

I took my 86-year-old grandmother into town yesterday on a belated birthday treat, following posting of the above Theory, to purchase some essential items. During our return, having successfully picked up the half metre of matching fabric for her dressing gown, it was while approaching a roundabout in Rolleston that I momentarily confused myself as to which direction I was supposed to be going, messed up my hand placement on the steering wheel then in a flurry of misdirection quickly replaced my hands which, shock horror, resulted in a prolonged blast of the horn.

This mishap wouldn’t have been so serious, only at the time there was another vehicle driving through the roundabout, directly in front of me.

I recall seeing the driver turn his head sharply as I released my apparent stream of audio indignation, I saw his face contort into an expression of guilty confusion; alas my hand misplacement was so severe that I was unable to even raise it apologetically to allay his worries as he passed.

Honestly, I felt like a prick. That man’s woeful countenance will undoubtedly haunt me for months.

Sorry about that, bud.



Article by Tim Walker

Photography by Witter Prick

Edited by Han Misp Lace-Mint

Tim Walker’s Theory XXII

You say goodbye as you stand to leave, you say goodbye as you depart the house, you say goodbye as you board your vehicle…

This week’s theory therefore, obviously, pertains to the idiot compulsion of many, to recklessly activate their car horns, sometimes all the way down the Goddamn street, with flagrant disregard towards homeowners’ desire for neighbourhood peace, after visiting then upon leaving somebody’s residence.

…Why must you say goodbye again as you drive away?

Car horns, technically, are warning devices. They are to be sounded to alert other motorists of danger. Legally, this is the only reason anyone should be sounding their horn.

I witnessed recently a motorist being pulled over by Police for excessive use of car horn, and rightly so, I recall thought/mumbling. If there is no imminent danger; if an idiot motorist is simply leaning on their horn out of frustration because another car pulled out within ten metres of them and snapped them out of their idiot lull, or some other make believe traffic incident, it is my belief they ought to be prosecuted…

There is nothing more unnerving in my opinion, than the sound of an unexpected car horn and while driving, particularly in the city, the one thing I most try to avoid, is unnerving situations. All a blaring horn ever achieves is to make every other driver in the vicinity look around guiltily as they wonder which driver is pissed off, if they are in the wrong and if so, is it even their fault?

…Recidivist road-rage tooters: calm your fiery temperaments and stop being dicks; your noise punishes everyone and in fact, probably least of all the person who has actually wronged you. As for recidivist goodbye tooters – such an act of mindlessness you perhaps aren’t even aware who you are – you also need to cut it out. There is no need for it. Just think. You’ve already said goodbye, probably multiple times; now just stop it.

Crap, my theory.

Alright: my theory is that those who use car horns as anything other than a warning of immediate danger are dicks.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Tui Mene Tuce

Photography by Near V Driver


Tim Walker’s Broke

It has been revealed, somewhat tragically, that upon his death Jonah Lomu’s financial situation was less than solvent…

This doesn’t surprise me terribly. I recall in the days after his death speaking to my grandmother about this very topic; in fact it was regarding the payouts all Lomu’s hangers-on might now be expecting. I believe I used the quote, “I guarantee, that with all Jonah Lomu’s multimillion dollar endorsements, promotions, sponsorship deals and the like, given the numerous wives and children, also his propensity for frivolous expenditure – word is he bought a Maserati sports car with his first ever paycheque – I guarantee, Grandma, he will be worth one hell of a lot less than people expect.”

…This revelation has come as a shock to many – many who I’m sure were hoping to cash in on Jonah Lomu’s untimely death.

You can’t spend it when you’re dead, eh Lomu..?



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Hannah Orn

Photography by Pi Utt

Tim Walker’s Spark

During the thunderstorm a week ago, there was one particular flash of lightning hence one particular boom of thunder, that was more damaging than the rest.

This lightning, via peripheral vision and through a window, was sufficiently scintillating to have me spinning in shock; the ensuing thunder, even from inside the house, produced greater volume than is surely acceptable in early evening in a residential area.

Suffice to say the electricity supply to my street was immediately cut, following a presumed overloaded system or fried transformer, or something to that effect – not being an electrician I’m hardly qualified to speculate.

When a little under two hours later – also two phone calls to the utility company as they seemed unaware that this small rural Mid Canterbury town was even in existence, let alone experiencing electricity woes – the power was restored, I resumed watching television and thought nothing more of it…

The thunderstorm was over, the grass was wet for the first time in months, and I went to bed feeling more at peace than I had for some time.

…Until the next morning. First thing, as always, I flicked on the computer. I then ducked through to the kitchen to carry out my morning routine. Minutes later I arrived back at the computer, gave a couple of clicks and ducked away again. Moments after that, I returned, gave a few more clicks and again hurried away. A little later I returned with a bowl of porridge, and finally sat down. Placing my breakfast on a tray to my left I was immediately faced with a predicament.

‘Web Page Not Available’ stared back at me. I confusedly clicked through my other pages; same thing. I tried refreshing them; of course this yielded nothing. Only then did it occur to me; glancing across the desk to my modem – displaying three lights rather than four – I uttered one or two obscene words before calling the Telecom – sorry – the Spark help desk, in the Philippines.

I spoke with Filipino Rick who, while having already been made aware of my town’s issue and even being able to inform me that there was no signal leaving the local exchange, first ensured that I had undergone Spark’s classic ‘troubleshooting schedule’ – wherein all devices are turned off for ten seconds then turned on again – a number of times before conceding, a technician would need to be sent to remedy the fault.

That was Monday. Soon after terminating that phone call I received a text message from Spark informing me that a serviceman would be sent to my area ‘between now and 3 p.m.’.

“Alright,” I recall thought/mumbling, “there’s one day lost.”

Next morning my four lights were still only three. I made another phone call to the Philippines. This time I spoke with Filipino Sven. “Have I gone though the troubleshooting schedule?” he wanted to know.

“I have,” I assured him, “several times, in fact” – but as I knew, as they knew, I told Sven, the fault was with the exchange.

Sven took my cellular number, despite my assurances that my Spark cellular telecommunications device struggles for coverage in my area, and told me to await a call from the technician.

That afternoon I received confirmation from Chorus, via my landline, that the issue at the exchange had been sorted. I glanced at my modem; still with three instead of four.

“It doesn’t appear fixed at my end,” I said.

“Well,” replied the technician with a decided South African flavour, “it’s definitely fixed at our end, so it might be your modem that has the problem – have you tried a different modem?”

“No,” I answered with a hint of exasperation, “I’m actually fresh out of spare modems, but hey, if you’re confident that you’ve done your job, I’m confident that I can get it working.”

This was an extremely optimistic approach and I wasn’t terribly surprised when I failed to get anything working that afternoon.

That had been Tuesday. Wednesday, such was my annoyance at the situation, perhaps ignorantly, I didn’t even attempt to rectify my Internet issue in the morning, instead working on writing and editing short stories. Not until the afternoon did I take steps to elicit the text message informing me the problem would be fixed ‘between now and 7 p.m.’.

Thursday morning I was still a light down, so I was back into it. I gave the Philippines a call and spoke to Filipina Vela. She told me the reason I had not been contacted by the technician yesterday was because they did not have a cellular contact number. We spent some time ‘troubleshooting’, before summoning a technician. I received a text message telling me that the problem would be rectified ‘between now and 3 p.m.’.

My landline rang that afternoon to tell me that they had checked the exchange – again – and there was no fault; perhaps the fault was with my modem..?

“Yes,” I explained, “perhaps it is, but the problem with that is that I have no way of testing it…”

The Chorus technician then suggested that I try one of my neighbours’ modems..?

“Yes,” I explained, “that is indeed a possibility but, well, as far as I know, the whole street is experiencing the same issue – I have actually been trying to get one of you guys to drop by and test it for me..?”

The Chorus technician grunted something and was gone.

Friday came; I didn’t need to check to know there were three lights instead of four. I called the Philippines. Evidently Friday is their busiest day; I was on hold for almost two hours before eventually speaking to Filipino Dave. I explained; we troubleshot. I explained further; we troubleshot some more. I became exasperated; I was told a technician would be sent.

“No!” I yelled before he could hang up. “For Christ’s sake, stop sending technicians to the exchange – there is nothing wrong with the exchange!” I took a breath, calmed down and explained again the same point I had been trying to convey for the past three days; “Dave, look, as I keep saying, technicians have been to the exchange and found no issue, so what I need, is a technician to visit me at my address, to check my system … Do you understand me, Dave?”

Dave assured me “a technician would be sent” and hung up the phone before I had a chance to clarify.

Moments later, I received a text message informing me that the problem would be rectified ‘between now and 3 p.m.’. I almost cried. I didn’t though, instead busying myself with writing the beginnings of this article. An hour later my landline rang. It was that South African Chorus dude telling me the exchange was still fixed, and perhaps the problem was with my modem..?

“Yes,” I said, swallowing my frustrations and doing my best to keep sarcasm out of my tone, “I believe it is … The problem I am facing, sir, is locating a technician with the time, or more to the point, the inclination, to come by and confirm that suspicion.”

“Oh, well,” said the South African Chorus dude, “that shouldn’t be a problem, I’m just a few minutes away…”           He confirmed my address and hung up. Ten minutes later he called back, having entered a driveway a few houses down from mine and requiring further guidance.

To my relief he arrived some minutes later. I showed him through to my work area. He plugged in his machine to my modem. He confirmed it was fried, and left.

I then consulted a phonebook for a Spark number that could both assist me and not put me through to the Philippines. My first three attempts failed; each new number ending up in Southeast Asia. I decided to keep clear of 0800 numbers and instead tried going direct. I called a Spark office in Christchurch, which didn’t appear to even bear a relationship to the ‘Spark faults line’, and spoke to Anthea. Never have I been so relieved to hear a Kiwi accent.

I quickly explained what had happened, how I felt like a fool for allowing the problem to go on so long but how it was now rather urgent that I fixed it, and how, given that for so long I had been a ‘loyal’ customer of theirs – momentarily I forgot what to call them – I hoped they could fix me up with a modem which – I didn’t mention per se that I expected it free of charge – looking at the old one, I went on, they didn’t look all that expensive…

“Yes,” Anthea said, “we can courier out a replacement modem … That should arrive in one to three days – longer for rural delivery.”

“Oh, thank you,” I said, “that’s great,” still not knowing if she was giving it to me free or if she intended to tack it onto my bill, “but ideally, I’d have it today – is there any way I can come in and pick it up?”

“No, I’m sorry, there’s not – it should be with you Monday – longer for rural delivery.”

“Yeah, Monday, it’s just that, well, I’ve not checked my emails for a week, you know, so I really would like to do it before Monday – do you guys not have a base in Christchurch?”

“No, I’m sorry, we don’t.”

I considered this. “What if, Anthea, you quickly couriered it to your store in the Hub, Hornby, and I pick it up from there?”

“No, I’m sorry, that’s not protocol.”

“Right, so, Monday then.”


Next morning, before 8 I hit the road for a long haul cycling excursion; God knows I needed it. Around 2 p.m. I coasted into my local servo and leaned my bike against the wall. I ducked into the Post Box bank and checked my post. Among the envelopes and local papers I was more than a little shocked to see a yellow ‘you’ve got mail’ ticket.

Perspiration still dripping from my face rendering me periodically without vision, I stumbled into the shop and handed over the ticket. The girl handed back a large package, along with a modern-day etch-a-sketch and the requirement of a signature. Struggling with the tiny ersatz pencil, with sweat still proving a baneful excretion, I scrawled something akin to a hatful of spiders, looked up, smiled then just as a line of perspiration trickled over my lips, sprayed my thanks and left.

I couldn’t believe it: firstly that my modem had turned up and secondly, what modems have become – they’re huge now, and they stand up.

By 9 p.m. that Saturday night I had cleared my emails, and basically caught up on what fortunately, turned out to have been a comparatively slow week.

I must apologise for missing my 22nd Theory slot but be assured it’ll be up this Wednesday, as usual.

So thank you Spark – for whom I previously harboured a fair amount of detestation – but thank you moreover to the lovely and mysterious Anthea – towards whom I was previously indifferent – for overseeing an expeditious courier delivery.

Nice one, Spark.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Phil O Peno

Photography by Con Fu John