Matt Nippert - dearly departed, Auckland

Monday, January 17, 2005


At the end of 2003, I resolved not to be late. To eat better, drink less, love more and sneer only rarely. There was talk of cutting my hair.

And, as with all such silly pledges, I broke them all. As I wrote in the New Year issue of the Listener on how to quit smoking; I've given up giving up. There are quitters, there are failures, and then there are failed quitters.

I'm still late. This is my New Year blog. This time last year I was enjoying the hospitality of WINZ (who told me early on "we take away your freedom, and make your decisions for you"), dreading a move north away from Fidels, dub and a comfortingly small university environment that had been my work and life - often both.

The move happened in fits and starts, a flat was found above a Filth Files special, and I discovered the joys of student radio. I also discovered classrooms aren't necessarily the best place to push yourself. I struggled to define myself, professionally and personally. Am I hippy or bogan? Sell out or activist? Gonzo or Berstein? Do I report arts, politics, or just the art of politics? Will the real Matt Nippert please stand up?

I wrote about Beslan and Bush, bro'Town and oil. I tried understanding global warming and breathed heavily with mathematicians. I drank red wine with eccentrics and spent a weekend with vegans. I visited maximum security prisons and talked Iraq with pornstars. I even tried escaping student media - despite how much I owe it.

I achieved a small manner of fame, a job I'd probably do for free, faced slings, arrows, and have enough fortune to buy an iPod and scotch. I loved, lost, and, in a small way, loved losing - it's better to have lost a good book than never to have opened it.

I've met new people, found new bars, and smiled in odd places - walking through Western Springs park and meeting random eelers, or celebrating birthdays in front of the tele. I found a lovely local dumpling restaurant, and discovered The Checks. I made new friends, and got to know old friends better. I read good books and, on the whole, 2004 was mostly upbeat.

So, in a year I've moved from the dole queue to owning a regular byline, I also started blogging. It's a criminal delight, venting like this, with nary an editor in sight to keep me on topic or off falsehood. There's competition, and now it seems rarer not to publish on the 'net.

As Wired wrote this month, it's a difficult hobby to keep up with when your words are also demanded by others. As rewarding as this is, there's no reward like bread on the table or beer in the fridge. (Although if any breweries and distilleries want a blog to sponsor, I'm happy to name-drop.)

I'll be becoming an even more sporadic contributor to this site from now on, movement at work giving me an outlet for some material I'd usually have used here. There's also an election gearing up, politics being something I studied for far too long, and it's bound to generate it's own, crazy momentum.

I'll keep reading you, as you read me. Especially Public Address, of whom we were a shameless clone (in design more than content), and the verve of DogBitingMen. NoRightTurn's been consistent like the newspaper delivery, and David Farrar's one that I read with admiration and interest (even if his candidate is someone I've got some dirt on - the comparison with Al Bundy is very close to the bone).

I resolve to stop blogging, but I think I know how this'll end.

I'll remain as a guest, sporadic at best. I doubt the Listener is quite ready for my rewritten Modest Proposal to End Benefit Dependency. Although I was never good at origami, even in reverse, there's a whole year of strange happening, waiting to unfold.

Oh, do keep - or get - in touch.

Peace out my hombres, and I'll see y'all in the funny pages.