I’m about to disappear from my adopted hometown of Dunedin again for a few months, and I must admit I’m a bit sad to be bidding farewell to this wondrous little city. I’ve lived here on and off for eight years and something (beyond work) always draws me back; despite the occasionally fraught relationship I have with the place. For every chill southerly blast that sweeps down Crawford Street, there’s a warm, welcoming bar filled with original music to hide in. For every Speights-swilling student spewing their Saturday night out on Albany Street, there’s an engaging conversation to be had with one of the city’s more interesting inhabitants. Musicians, academics, scientists, artists, filmmakers, writers, sportspeople – many of them world-class, reside in Dunedin and you never know who you’re going to bump into out on the town. It’s the people and the music that keeps me coming back to Dunedin
The week for me began with the Midwinter Carnival last weekend, where Dunedin showed off and celebrated its wintry side. On Sunday I watched Ivy Rossiter of Luckless perform her haunting, electric guitar drenched music at the cozy little Inch Bar. On Monday night I drank pints of good beer and talked documentary-making at Eureka. On Wednesday I attended Tahu’s open mic night at Queens where I was thrilled to hear new songs from one of Dunedin music’s real treasures – Grant Ramsay, who performs as Swampy. Grant writes incredible songs that fuse magical realism with sharp local references and haunting tunes to create something truly original, something truly Dunedin. It was great to hear him play again.
On Thursday night I watched the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Dunedin City Choir perform Verdi’s “Requiem” at the Town Hall. When the terrifying Dies Irae shook the paint from the ceiling it was one of those music moments you never forget. The whole thing was spellbinding.
And last night? Well I had the best intentions of going out again but then Dunedin’s other great attraction – a roaring fire and a bottle of whisky – got the better of me.