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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ELSEWHERE, INTERVIEWED (2024): Talk, talk, talk . . .

3 May 2024  |  <1 min read

In early March I was interviewed at considerable length by musician Danny McCrum for his podcast series Don't Give Up. What was, I thought, going to be a brief conversation about the Elsewhere website and maybe something about writing reviews ended up being all of that and quite a bit more besides. Danny and I just ended up having long conversations about all kinds of music related (and... > Read more

THE WRITE STUFF: Twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift

15 Apr 2024  |  3 min read  |  1

When I started at the Herald in 1987, Peter Scherer was the editor. Those were the days before titles like Editor-in-Chief or Editor-at-Large. Peter – who you could call by his first name – was simply the editor. Or more correctly The Editor. He was a remote figure to someone like me and I recall hearing little snippets about him: any aspiring journalist who wrote asking... > Read more

A HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Tony's, endangered

7 Apr 2024  |  3 min read

There’s a scene that has played out hundreds of times at Tony’s restaurant on Wellesley Street in central Auckland. I witnessed it frequently. A young person, possibly a student, asks if there’s any chance of waiting work. Often they are anxious and looking for their first paying job, maybe presenting what passes for a CV at their age. But time and again they... > Read more

CRYING IN THE NIGHT: Wide awake and wondering

25 Mar 2024  |  1 min read

The sound of a baby crying in the night is a terrifying thing. The screams go on and on, no one seems to be taking care of it, you look out your window into the darkness but cannot see where the cries are coming from. You feel helpless. My ryokan in Shin-Nakano, a suburb to the west of central Tokyo was perfect -- except at night when I heard the baby crying. Tokyo may be a... > Read more

MAKING THEM FRIGHTENED AND FEARFUL: My lecturing technique at university

11 Mar 2024  |  4 min read

By chance, I left university lecturing in much the same way as I'd arrived: by slipping out sideways. Some time in the late 2000s I was freelancing, had done a short and unhappy stint lecturing in journalism (which I felt was taking fees from students entering a dying industry) and every now and again I'd be invited by singer-songwriter Karen Hunter to come and talk to her uni music... > Read more

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, THIS LAND IS . . . : New Zealand in the eye of the beholder

25 Feb 2024  |  3 min read

Some many decades ago, after my dad and I had returned from an extended overseas trip, we were having dinner with some friends of my parents. At some point one of the guests – perhaps annoyed we had been banging on about some interesting places we'd been – spoke up for the beauties of Auckland and said, “In what other city in the world can you be swimming in the... > Read more

IN THE TIME OF STOPPED CLOCKS: A year after the flood

23 Feb 2024  |  6 min read

As I write this from my temporary office in the upstairs bedroom, workers outside in heavy fluorojackets and hard-hats are toiling under a sweating sun. There's noise from diggers and massive machinery, the scrabble of scoria pouring from metal buckets, weighty wheels crunching over rocks. And I'm enjoying it because, to me, it sounds like progress. We live beside the Western Line... > Read more

PASSING SHIPS: Mick Jagger and me

5 Feb 2024  |  4 min read  |  3

It's a little known fact, but Mick Jagger and I are real tight. And that's not just me saying that. The last time I saw Jagger -- whom I call Mick, of course -- he shook my hand and said, "Graham, we're real tight." Of course there's a back-story here. Let me put this in the greater context. It was November 88 and Mick was in town with his own band. He and... > Read more


22 Jan 2024  |  6 min read  |  1

I've been lucky when I've travelled: I've never lost luggage, only once missed a flight (but salvaged a funny story out of it), have been held up at Customs frequently but again, funny stories. I've never been seriously confronted by a gun or a knife. Not that I didn't go to some dodgy places: I'd only walked a block in New Orleans when I realised I was the wrong colour in the wrong... > Read more

LIFE UNDER CANVAS: Squatting in our own home

8 Jan 2024  |  3 min read  |  1

Just before Christmas 2005, we fell victim to the pandemic sweeping across Auckland. You know how it is: you always think it’ll affect someone else and you’ll be okay. So we were ill-prepared. We'd just carried on as if nothing would ever happen to us. And anyway, we are people who like to think of ourselves as survivors. We have lived through the Y2K scare, SARS... > Read more

THE LURE OF A LAIR: Pumpkin candy and Korean pirates

1 Jan 2024  |  5 min read

God knows what I was thinking when I went to Ullungdo. It certainly wasn't for the well-advertised local attractions which are, in no particular order, dried squid, dried seaweed and -- its special delicacy -- pumpkin candy. Ullungdo is a spectacular lump of rock a few hours off the east coast of the bickering Koreas. It rarely makes it onto maps, let alone anyone's travel plans.... > Read more

TO BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING: Hair, there and everywhere

25 Dec 2023  |  2 min read

Looking back, it seems the starting and finishing points in my separate careers have been a bit fraught. My first proper day at the Herald was inauspicious, my first day and final week at teachers' college equally problematic. And my first day as a proper teacher in a full-time position was . . . . Well, interesting. In the gap between the end of teachers' college and my first... > Read more

SEDUCED BY SOUND: The passion as the passport

18 Dec 2023  |  3 min read  |  2

In his readable and funny Autobiography, Rod Stewart said when he was young his dad told him he needed three thing in life: a job, a sport and a hobby. Rod has singing, soccer and model railways: Done. When I read that I wondered what of them I had: None. As a freelancer writer there's no regular income, my idea of sport is seeing how fast I can go past it with the remote . .... > Read more

PRIDE OF THE SOUTH: Sometime in New York City

4 Dec 2023  |  2 min read  |  2

He was at the south-west entrance to Central Park, sitting by himself with a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag on a cool September afternoon. Pride was his name, Pride Wilson from Louisiana but mostly Kentucky. Been in New York maybe five, maybe seven years. We walked into the park where yuppies in expensive workout gear would glide by on their in-line skates, and young lovers... > Read more

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