Jan 7, 2015

Along a Road Less Travelled: a Preface

After a more than five year hiatus, Mr Canterbury Heritage returns, to endanger his relative anonymity in recounting a more personal history of the province in particular, and thereby to a recent saga of these remote islands in general.

The narration of our earlier stories proved quite unexpected results, not the least of which is that, since its inception, this social history and its ancillary extensions have accumulated a readership now well within its second squillion.

But more surprising was, that although the subject has been exclusively about a provincial backwater of a society that's long been used as a literary trope for remote obscurity, New Zealanders account for only fourth place among the readership. Those in North America and Europe comprise a significant majority.

However, the inspiration and encouragement to return and proceed upon a road less travelled rests mainly with a whole lot of Kiwis.

From smarmy criminals to old school chums now with chairs at distinguished foreign universities.

From those who've farmed their land for seven hundred years to visceral magnates with political influence and a hankering to slither up the social ladder.

From neuro-developmentally disabled indigents living under city bridges to painted cougars in the caravanserais of senescent nomads that wander our byways.

From belligerent bureaucrats, with antisocial personality disorders, to Prime Ministers come to borrow the mower.

And yea, even unto to the sixth affluent generation of patrician gentry, whose influence may have waned since they threatened the wrong prime minister, but nonetheless still get wheeled out for a spot of dinnertime persiflage with visiting foreign heads of state.

And many more...

This then will hopefully, for awhile at least, become a quasi-ethnographic assessment of an era at a place where the surge, of what we term civilisation (for better or worse), dissipates on its farthest shore.

In lieu of a suitable illustration for this preface the writer makes so bold as to include a recent effort, of which a local swineherd was the muse.

The portrait is a result of the ArtRage computer application, which facilitates not only a full range of the artist's traditional tools and palettes, but much that was previously unachievable by painters of old.