Three events:

I went to the march against youth rates.  A small group of people met in the Octagon, less than a hundred.  I felt I should attend as I see no advantage for young people attempting to establish themselves as independent people and having their income reduced for somebody else’s financial advantage.  The group that turned up was dominated by the socialists, a rather elect church with its own ceremonies from what I make out.  Like most people on the Left I have my own sect, and these people didn’t represent me.  I lean towards being a Labour independent.  They marched down the street to the National Party office, where no one was in, and chanted.  There was some good speeches, reflecting that our anger is not just against youth wages; there’s the attack on trade unions, on the Hillside Railway Workshop, and the oil prospecting off Otago and Gisbourne that is causing anger as well.  When I decided that I could leave they were wondering What can we do now.  Let’s march back to the Octagon!

Oh, dear.  That feels a little undirected to me.

Then in the evening the Midwinter Carnival was in the Octagon.  That was fun.  One thousand candle-lit lanterns proceeded around the Octagon twice which was full with spectators.  They were led by Maori stick-form.  I would love to learn that.  The first lanterns were stars, then chrysalids and bumblebees and ladybirds.  The cutest would have to have been the bumblebee with fangs.  I saw that one on the second circuit.  Above them were larger lanterns: owls and moths and weta, and stilt walkers including a land-strider.  Drums provided the main music, any other music provided by insectoid musicians could not be heard a couple of metres away.  Maybe they need amplification.

I met friends at the Dunedin Art Gallery today where there was a well-attended talk for the Regency Fashion exhibition today. They suggested that the Midwinter Carnival could do with a master of ceremonies figure to guide it around the Octogan, a Lord of Misrule to encourage interaction with the audience as Dunedin crowds tend to be stolid and unresponsive.  There was a showing of a documentary about the life of Jane Austen.  It included the interesting thought that in the fun and romance of her stories we need to know that her heroines are marrying well so we know that they will survive and flourish on their income.  They are like the rest of us in that respect.

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