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Sport 28: Autumn 2002

Opening Night

page 96

Opening Night

By the end of the evening of 19 December 2001, we had seen women in formal evening attire clambering out a lavatory window on the first floor of a movie theatre on Courtenay Place. We had stood on a clump of lawn where a few months earlier a man in medieval costume with three arrows in his chest lay dying. Yellow and red petals had fallen soundlessly around us as, inside an encampment of silken tents, hobbit food was being served. Meanwhile, outside the Miramar studio, black-hooded riders wheeled around in a floodlit sea of dry ice before thundering off into the night.

Shortly before these events unfolded on one side of Wellington, across town a book was launched: Spark to a Waiting Fuse; James K. Baxter's correspondence with Noel Ginn 1942-46 (edited by Paul Millar, Victoria University Press). That afternoon I had made my way through the opening chapters of this compendious volume, aware that I would not be attending the launch of this rich concoction of literary production, annotation and explication because Jenny and I had been invited to the Australasian première of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. Placing some entries in this notebook, I concluded, might be a way of attending both functions.

Black and white picture of a book cover, "Spark to a Waiting Fuse".