This weekend past I travelled up the island to do two things:
1) Attend Dramfest the NZ whisky festival
2) Go to the screening of Back to the Future, accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
So uh, trip report? I guess?
I travelled up with my friend and his father. My friend and I would be sharing a hotel room. No biggie at all.
Until the snoring began. It was like 3 rusty chainsaws spinning around the room. I've had broken bones I'd welcome back with open arms if it meant distracting me from that clarion call from hell.
4am I wound up in the hotel lobby, working on my next story because, why not try and be productive? 6am I ventured out into the early morning breeze to find some food, and when I got back at 7am, my friends father was in the lobby browsing his phone for breakfast options. He saw my face and knew immediately. He opened with "He's fucking loud, isn't he?" with considerable sympathy. The day kicked off quite well, the whiskies were set to be poured at 1pm, so we went shopping. Walked into a store that sold rolexes because my friend is really into them, got talking to the staff there. At first we got some odd looks because he is covered head to toe in tattoos and wearing the shirt of a black metal band he likes, while I was wearing rugby shorts and looked entirely beffudled by the items on sale.
Anyway we got talking to one of the staff there. He noticed my accent in particular, a Southland accent, where the "r" is rolled aggressively. Work becomes "Worrrrrrk". He asked why we were up and we explained, the whisky! He stood from his table, disappeared for a moment and emerged with a bottle of Kavalan, a Taiwanese whisky I'd never heard of let alone tried. So at 10am we had started drinking. We never bought anything, he just poured a few drinks and talked to us about what we wanted to try. Turns out all the rolexes are so far on back order and my friend would be waiting 6 months to a year to get what he was after. I've no idea if that's accurate, but we got drinks out of it and went on our way.
I visited Scorpio books, because it's an amazing book store with a huge variety. Picked up a couple I'll chuck into the next bookski thread that crops up.
1pm rolled round. The line to get into the convention went a few blocks, but the staff were very efficient and we basically walked non-stop to the front once the line began to move.
Whisky. I took notes in a wee book they provided, and my chicken scratches read as follows:
- Glenfarclas 12 years:
- Cadrona Full flight:
'Fucking excellent. Going back for more.' then
'$275 for a 500ml bottle. Unsure if feasible. Will try again.'
- Glenturrent peat smoked, 10 years:
'The name has the word Turret, so I had to try. Not great, but not awful. Mellow compared to my usual peated faves'
- Ardbeg, Uigeadail:
'The GOAT. Like being punched in the face by a campfire.'I tried the whole line up, so unsure if I wrote this for all of them, or just the Uigea. I really like my smoky whiskies.
- Kavalan classic:
'Tasty. Hints of drinking at 10am in a rolex store.' I specifically went to find the stall to see what else they had, but the classic we got offered was the best of the bunch there.
- Starward Nova:
'Made in Melbourne. Very sweet, welcoming. Could offer this to a few people. Or hoard it for myself.'
- Teeling Blackpitts:
'Not bad. Weak smoky flavour, would like more. Ardbeg revisit?'
- Famous Grouse: I famously dislike Famous Grouse. Just does nothing for me. Story about their stall, they had a small rugby ball game setup. Where you had to stand behind a line, and throw the ball about 15 metres to get it through a small hole to 'win'. I watched a few people give it a good effort, with some loud rugby-type lads cheering all the missed throws. I stepped up, flick of the wrist and it was in the hole. The lads yelled "he's a player, make him use his bad side!'. But any committed player can pass with either hand. So I switched hands, got it in again. There was no prize. I am kind of glad, it might have been more Famous Grouse. Moving on!
- Buffalo Trace Stagg JR:
'Strong, a little overpowering. Oh it's 64%. That'll do it.'
- Glenfiddich Project XX:
'Tasty, about what I expected'
At that point I had tried my fill, and knowing I had to attend the BTTF orchestra that night, headed off to meet my brother for an early dinner. We went to a beer garden, in the upstairs section of the nearby market place (seriously, hotel, convention, marketplace and BTTF all within about 500m of each other, it was amazing). Pizza, beer to cleanse the palate, and we were off!
Back to the Future.
It was awesome. There was a model DeLorean in the foyer, I touched the wing door that was open. Soooo many people dressed as Marty McFly. Jeans, sneaker, the life-preserver. So many dorks thinking they're gonna drown! The orchestra were absolutely killing it, all the music was spot on. The conductor, at the beginning, encouraged us to clap, cheer and laugh whenever we felt like it. They seemed to be having such a blast performing.
During this show, my friend messaged me asking if I could stay at my brothers rather than the hotel room. He had hit it off with a girl and wanted to take her back to the room. I'm sure he felt bad about asking, but I was ecstatic. "Absolutely" I replied, and after the show I gathered my things to have a proper nights sleep. The next day, rather than being disheveled and angry, I woke at 10am, helped my brother setup his lounge for the upcoming UFC fights (He's a huge fan, I just like the sudden and insistent advertising drops by the commentators. "This round bought to you by Toyo Tyr-OH MY GOD WITH THE GUILLOTINE!"). Watched fights, wrote some more, had many snacks. Just had a lazy day. Eventually I had to drive down south though, so I was taken back to the hotel, met with my friend who unfortunately had not been successful in his venture. He was feeling quite bad now that he was sober, sans girl and also sans his friend. But I didn't mind. Not one bit. Plus I got to hang with my 8 month old nephew, who has the most kissable cheeks you ever did see.
So yeah, good trip. Lotta whisky. Lotta music.