Friday, May 09, 2008

Brown Love

The Brown Kiwi is smashing. I liked it as soon as I arrived, and it still continues to please.

The secret to its success lies in its positioning. It’s not a hostel where you’ll find football-shirted twunts called Darren from Leicester, with over-gelled hair and meaningless yin-yang tattoo, guzzling boxed wine and bellowing across the street at some slapper with a watchstrap for a skirt.

And it’s not a hostel where some blank-eyed receptionist, themselves a backpacker working to pay off rent, hands you a threadbare set of sheets and casually motions towards your room next to the bog.

In fact, it’s more like a shared house. But with lots of people. We already have our in-jokes. Our characters. Our catchphrases. Our nods and winks that indicate so much.

We’ve already started having our little adventures too. Last Wednesday was Mini-road trip day. Stefan from Heidelberg had just recently purchased a camper van to tour NZ , but it had already developed a rather ominous rattle. Frustratingly, it was a rattle which disappeared completely whenever he was in 10 metres range of anyone with any mechanical knowledge. Our trip, then, was designed to make the rattle come back so, should we actually be in earshot of anyone who knew anything about engineering, we could get an opinion.

So Stefan, Jens (also from Germany) and I set off with no particular destination in mind and made our way North. After about an hour we decided we really should be going “somewhere” and so, as I had the map, I selected what looked like the nearest geographical feature of interest: a 4 mile long peninsula stretching out Westward from Auckland.

Once at the tip, we disembarked into the Shakespear National Park encompassing a beach, a lookout point and a hill full of sheep. After a brisk 2 hour walk we returned to find there was indeed a problem with Stefan’s van. Not a rattle, but rather that he had left the lights on and flattened the battery. So much for German efficiency.

Luckily, this is the 21st Century and whilst Stefan didn’t have any jump leads, he did have a solar powered recharger. And so after a failed bump start, we duly wired up the recharger and played Ludo in the back of the van until we thought we could risk turning the key.

As the engine coughed into life, we all breathed a sigh of relief: I don’t think I could have handled another round of Ludo.

PR Does PR

Well, as some of you may have gathered, I am now gainfully employed. A random email to an old contact yielded a temporary two month position at PHD here in Auckland. Luckier than examining a four leaf clover and finding it contained a horseshoe attached to a rabbit’s foot.

The interview wasn’t so much an interview as “what’s your name?” and “when can you start?”, to which my response was obviously “how much” and “give it to me”.

On the face of it, the position seemed pretty similar to what I’d been doing in the UK, but a few days in and the gap between my expectations and the reality appears to be widening. This is definitely a more PR-based role. “Can’t stop, I’m off to take the editor of Cosmo to a macro-biotic spa and women’s retreat”. That kind of thing.

Not only does this make me the least experienced in the office by far, but also the least attractive on account of all 16 other (female) employees here looking like they’ve just stepped out of a Max Factor advert. I can only imagine how my UK high street attire is going down here: “This season, Phil is wearing a 100% Polyester T-Shirt from Matalan, featuring some logo or other. He is also wearing a pair of blue stone-washed jeans from Primark. In his spare time, Phil likes taking afternoon naps and eating Batchelor’s Supernoodles“

There is the possibility, however, that I may actually learn something new here. Maybe PR will be my true calling. Maybe I’ll take to it like a duck to Evian. Maybe I’ll be air-kissing Nigella Lawson in no time. Maybe.