“The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense
Take what you have gathered from coincidence
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue”
In the last four weeks a series of coincidences has appeared: No Direction Home appeared in my Fatso envelop, news of a book about my Uncle Doug arrived, a book I had ordered called Drop City by T.C Boyle was at the local library and my nephew, Ed, told me about an exhibition at the Dowse Art Museum (formerly the New, and more exciting) Dowse.
What did they all have in common?
Dylan as ever my favourite singer. The one who sang about times changing, The one we sang along to as we lived in our twenties and tried a spot or two of communal living.
Drop City is a book about hippies, people who live in the wilds of Alaska and the intertwined nature of their being. It’s also a cynical look at the hippie culture and the people who used it and its ideals for their own ends.
Ronnie Van Hout is a New Zealand artist/photographer who explores the nature of truth/rumour and being in his exhibition about the God Squad in North Canterbury.
Ngaki Rose is a woman I knew when she was a small child who has written a book about the God Squad.
Who are/were the God Squad? They were, and are, my relations. Uncle Doug. They had a commune in North Canterbury NZ, where they believed that Jesus would return to earth and need saving, where they believed that men had the power. Actually I don’t know what they believed. They are my cousins and I care about them. I care about the rumours, the noise and the anxiety all this must cause them.
But I also applaud Rosina for writing about this. For finding ways to clear the air and tell her truth.
And Ronnie? I am not sure. His exhibition was muddled and unclear, he was talking about rumour and ideals. But it was really all a muddle. Ronnie as Uncle Doug. Model houses that are not the compound houses. Truly I thought it was an exhibition that was unresolved.
T. C Boyle and Dylan?
Hippies and romanticism. Truth and poetry. Memory and loss. Memory and gain. Memory and poetry.