Personal Elsewhere

These entries are of little consequence to anyone other than me Graham Reid, the author of this site, and maybe my family, researchers and those with too much time on their hands. Enjoy the random oddities hereafter.

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A YEAR THAT WAS: Building a house, a home and a family

27 Nov 2023  |  4 min read

It is only now as I remember and write that I've realised the events here occurred half a century ago. It was a busy and strange year 1973, but it was also about endings and beginnings. I was in my final year at North Shore Teachers College but only there for a few hours a day because I was knocking off another English paper at university. Paula and I with Julian, born in May the... > Read more

JUST FAMILY MATTERS: The boy and the godfather

6 Nov 2023  |  4 min read

Outside the family, I'm sure no one would believe this, but my godfather was Italian. Yes, improbable as it may seem for a boy born in Edinburgh, I had an Italian godfather. I don't tell you this as a warning, however. There was always a large Italian population in Edinburgh although I remember my mum telling me that during the war there was a terrible shortage of restaurant staff... > Read more

RIDERS ON THE STORM: One night in Miami, with guns

28 Oct 2023  |  7 min read

“This corner here?” says Marty. “These individuals would mostly be dealers or users. Crack mostly. That girl over there, the skinny one? That was her brother, the guy in the red shirt we saw earlier I told you was a dealer. “And this girl here, when she was about 19, her boyfriend used to beat up on her. Now she’s using. What can you say? “Hey,... > Read more


9 Oct 2023  |  7 min read  |  1

FYI. I left my full-time senior feature writer's position at the Herald in late 2004 but for many years contributed music reviews and interviews, and for a long time a weekly column in the Travel section. This pieceappeared at in June 2006. Author Keri Hulme wrote to say she'd had similar experiences from aspiring writers who demanded her assistance. . ... > Read more

MUD, WET AND FEARS: It's all in the game

27 Sep 2023  |  5 min read  |  2

For anyone who knows me this will come as a surprise: I was a pretty good rugby player. Well, I should have been, I played it often enough. When I was five my parents enrolled me at the Cornwall Park rugby club in the midgets grade. As I've mentioned previously, I think my Auckland-raised dad wanted his wee boy from Scotland to fit in and that involved rugby. The midgets played... > Read more

SUCH DREAMS AS COME: At night, then the light

18 Sep 2023  |  7 min read  |  1

The recurring dreams are different – but very detailed. Yet there's something which binds them in my subconscious. In the first and most common I am in a strange city, some of which I recognise. There are citadels and cathedrals, winding narrow lanes, ruined buildings and under the archways Arabian traders spread their wares on low tables. People have real faces, old and young,... > Read more

THE INVISIBLE MAN: This is how we disappear

11 Sep 2023  |  3 min read

It was the damndest thing: I was a senior feature writer at the New Zealand Herald for 17 years (1987-2004) and was constantly busy. At least I thought I was. I started writing entertainment stories (interviews, reviews, profiles etc) but then also did arts interviews and articles (like this). Because I was traveling for interviews and holidays I would come back with left-field travel... > Read more

THE UNKINDEST CUT: The author, the interview, the sub-editor and me

4 Sep 2023  |  2 min read

When the India-born, Oxford and Stanford-educated author Vikram Seth came to New Zealand in 1988 he was still some years away from his acclaimed and enormous novel A Suitable Boy. He was on a book tour-cum-holiday and being taken around by the PR woman for his publisher to talk about his two books so far: From Heaven Lake; Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet, and a poetry novel The Golden... > Read more

TURN OFF YOUR MIND: Meditation and a missed opportunity

28 Aug 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

In the late Seventies, when in my 20s and back at university as an adult student taking life and studies more seriously, I saw a notice offering free lessons in transcendental meditation. I was curious. I'd actually been interested enough to write to the Krishnas in London in early 71 at an address I had seen somewhere. I didn’t hear back until the... > Read more

JUST ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT: Fight or flight, tough thugs and tough love

21 Aug 2023  |  4 min read  |  1

I never saw it coming, but I knew where it came from. The guy was to my right and just in my peripheral vision, so all I saw was a sudden blur as he spun a roundhouse punch right into my bread-basket. As the breathe blew out of me and I doubled over he brought a heavy work boot full force into my face. I fell backwards over a small wall of sharp volcanic rock and onto the grass. The... > Read more

WHAT LIES BENEATH: I'd like to be, under the sea . . .

6 Aug 2023  |  5 min read

Any honest writer will admit to this: another writer will express their idea better than they can themselves. The other day I came upon these words in the hypnotic new novel In Ascension by Martin MacInnes. It's about being in the ocean. “Nothing made the slightest sound; no thudding in my ears from the water pressure, no chattering voices in my head. I gazed at the scene, hanging... > Read more

THE PEANUT BUTTER CONSPIRACY *: Jarred up and ready to spread

30 Jul 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

I think his name was Peter and he was South African. And, as was the way with it when I was young, people like him just appeared in our lives for a while. I was probably only about eight or nine when the bullish but friendly Peter entered the scene. I was probably only a few months older when I would have seen him for the last time. I only recall one story about him, that when he was at... > Read more

WASHED AWAY WORLDS AND IMAGES: Saturated stories and wet words

23 Jul 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

Many months on and I am still coming to terms with not just what we lost in the January flooding but what is now still in the lock-ups and unavailable to us. Hundreds of records with relevant information, contemporary clippings and reference material are now in large plastic boxes, stacked randomly and quickly. And then there are the things I remember I just had to dump quickly into the... > Read more

SHALL WE DANCE?: You know how times fade away

16 Jul 2023  |  4 min read

It wasn't until I met Miss Havisham on the pages of Great Expectations that I understood what a spinster was. Which is strange because growing up there were two unmarried, elderly women – probably only in their Fifties – who lived next door with their mother. The Gillards – “the girls” as my older sister sometimes cruelly referred to them – were there... > Read more

WHEN THE RAIN COMES: Memory and loss

9 Jul 2023  |  4 min read

A lot of people lost some things. Some people lost a lot of things. A few lost everything. We were lucky in many ways, we survived the January floods with our lives and most of our possessions intact. But we lost a lot because my office of 20 years at ground level in our modest townhouse – with a lifetime of accumulated records, books, CDs, DVDs, travel journals and family... > Read more

Rain, The Beatles 1966 (original speed)

WHEN STARS COME OUT: Music without the industry

2 Jul 2023  |  3 min read  |  1

Above my desk I have a photo taken in a market town in central Vietnam. It's of a woman singer and her brother. They wear the tatterings of their peasantry. He is blind and plays a battered guitar of no fixed origin, powered by portable battery. She is leading him by a cord.This poor, itinerant couple would come to perform in the village, the woman so impassioned that she and many of her... > Read more

LIVING IN LUXURY: When you envy yourself

29 Jun 2023  |  7 min read

Frankly I've never understood why, if you are staying in some place that closely resembles paradise with a bar -- a quiet beach in Thailand or Vietnam for example -- you need a luxurious hotel to go home to. It's hardly stressful lying on the beach and eating fresh fish by torchlight, so heading back to a neon-lit room just seems a mood-breaker.However if you are in a city which boils with... > Read more

IN THE TEMPLE OF SONG: Back to the pews

25 Jun 2023  |  5 min read  |  5

Today, on my 72nd birthday I went back to the church. Not back as in, rejoining The Church and a faith I'd lost, in the manner of those great English writers who suddenly embrace Roman Catholicism. I mean back as in, just going literally back to the church where more than 60 years previous I had sung in the choir at my primary school teacher Mr Slaney's wedding. I would guess... > Read more

CALLED BY THE SEA: The runaway wee Robinson

25 Jun 2023  |  5 min read  |  2

When I was a wee boy, maybe about seven, I ran away from home. Actually that's not quite correct: I didn't run away, I ran to. I ran away to sea. It was inevitable really. My dad had been in the British Merchant Navy in the Second World War (a chief radio operator, he could tap our Morse Code with a knife at the breakfast table) and the sea had always been in his blood.... > Read more

6B IN THE FRAME: And I'm never going back to my old school

11 Jun 2023  |  5 min read

School photographs like this always remind me how much younger I was than my classmates. At the time this photo was taken I was 16, I didn't turn 17 until halfway through that year. Which means I was 17 when I went to university the following year. Too young. It wasn't that I was clever and had been accelerated, not at all. I'd been in lowly classes to this point, and the 6B of... > Read more