If 2011 was a culinary experience it was a shit sandwich.
For us anyway in Christchurch, New Zealand…
We thought we were doing quite well recovering from the big September 2010 earthquake and then the bigger February 22 earthquake hit. Hundreds of lives were lost, entire suburbs were rendered uninhabitable, and many people’s lives are in limbo while the recovery is being planned. I will be forever grateful that none of my family or friends were killed. A miracle really.
And then the June 13 aftershocks hit and then the December 23 aftershocks.
It’s like being served a shit sandwich and then being made to eat the leftovers every several months.
On a purely selfish note, many of my favourite shops, cafes, and music venues were destroyed. RIP places like the RDU studios, most of High Street, Galaxy Records, The Dux de Lux, Goodbye Blue Monday, The Media Club, and The Wunderbar.
But out of this disaster comes opportunity and creativity.
C1 and Alice in Videoland aim to reopen in the CBD early in 2012. James Scott reopened Embassy, Stencil, and SOS in Sydenham. Dave Imlay reopened Galaxy Records in St Asaph Street next door to the truly wonderful post-EQ Darkroom / The Archive. Kudos to these peeps for having the guts to stay and tough it out. Thank you for helping rebuild Christchurch from the ground up.
For much of 2011 music has been the last thing on my mind. I think I hardly listened to any music for several months after 22 February. Too mentally exhausted. And I never expected to hear any local music again in 2011, but as usual how wrong I was. Music and art may seem like a trivial luxury in these hard times but they are the things that will lift the spirits and help us feel optimistic about the future.
Andrew Dubber recently took a dig at music journalists decrying 2011 as a boring year in music in his blog Music journalism is the new boring. When I look back at 2011 I’m quite surprised how much music I ended up listening to and really enjoyed. And a lot of it is from Christchurch and New Zealand. All you’ve got to do is look in the right place.
So thank you to all the artists who contacted us through the year (via post, email, Facebook, and Twitter) and also to Chris Andrews of The Big City who put me on to some good local shit and RDU’s Bill Bird who never let earthquakes get in the way of good radio.
If you’re wanting a round up of 2011, here’s where to start…