I’ve never experienced turbulence before, not the kind that makes your insides jump causing a searing bout of concern to take hold of your nervous system. On my domestic flight to Napier I turned to Ken my newly-acquainted-seated-to-my-left businessman, who was returning from his holiday with a ‘I’m not from round here is this normal?’ look, he nodded and assured me all would be fine, he was more concerned about the size of his inbox when he got back, I was concerned about dividing up my estate of vintage tat and bequeathing my 2 treasured retro Raleigh bikes. But then I saw Napier, oh Napier, I would pack up my life and run away with this town, Napier can have my Raleighs, my last rolo, the window seat on the train, I’d get up early and make the tea in the morning even at weekends for Napier. I fell down a rabbit hole and came out in the Art Deco 1930s, consequently I’ve been feeling like this for the past 2 days.
The best thing to happen to Napier was an earthquake; the earth rose up and gave the town the gift of 3000 sqm extra land to build on and oh how they built.
They should scrap all those banal home make over programmes with accent walls and scatter cushions, retrain Handy Andy , Tommy Walsh et al and just outfit these abodes with Art Deco finery, a kind of ’60 minute Art Decover’ Laurence Llewelyn Bowen would probably stage his come back on it, and people would just feel a hell of a lot better about life every morning , actually not with Laurence Llewelyn Bowen staging a comeback.
The only building to withstand this tectonic destruction was the Public Trust Office, a grandiose, cemented-to-the-colonnade Art Deco affair and that was enough to start anew. The townsfolk disbanded the council, put together a new architecture board and set about rebuilding the city, after 3 years they had created the most concentrated Art Deco influenced range of buildings and homes adorned with symbols of new life sunbeams and fountains and finished in a palette of love heart pastel colours.
They had a carnival to celebrate, I had a martini, along with a cycle ride around the coast, a stomp ups its hill, a creep around its antique shops and a lot of tilting my face into the sun to stare at shop facias and heart melting, days of glamour gone by buildings.