And Now For a Bit of Culchure, New Zealand-Style. A Little Blues Song Wot I Wrote – The Tariki Schoolhouse

Mount Taranaki, West Coast, North Island. Also featuring in the foreground, 'Betsy', of New Zealand Bovine Models Inc, TM. The Tariki Schoolhouse lives under this mountain.

Mount Taranaki, West Coast, North Island. Also featuring in the foreground, ‘Betsy’, of New Zealand Bovine Models Inc, TM. The Tariki Schoolhouse lives under this mountain.

I have come to realise that I’ve been disgustingly inactive on my blog recently. You can’t blame me though – it’s midsummer here in New Zealand and there are many things to do other than sit at one’s computer writing (or raving, in my case). Like go camping, or socialize, or get into your garden, or socialize. Or go riding around town on your bicycle and break out your Mohawk Riding Helmet (TM). Or socialize…

Here's me trying to do everything at once.

Here’s me trying to do everything at once.

So I’ve just rustled through some old stuff on my computer, in a desperate attempt to find something to post so I can carry on socializing guilt-free.  And I dug up this song, which I wrote a year or two ago, so I thought that would do nicely as an injection of culchure – New Zealand style.

This song came about when I was visiting a friend of mine – Skin. He was living in the Tariki Schoolhouse, which had been turned into a rather nice abode. Before that it was the Tariki Cafe for a while, and before that it was – quite surprisingly – a schoolhouse. When I dropped by, he had just sold it and was going through the process of moving out, which involved a flurry of selling stuff and forcing inviting his friends to rehome other stuff. I got the coffee grinder. He was going through an understandable mix of being excited about his next phase in life and feeling poignant about leaving such a cool home and stepping from a known and beloved threshold to a new, who-knows-what-will-happen one. Somewhere along the line, a song created itself within me and bubbled up through my ukulele and my tongue, and at approximately 3 am a week or two later, the final rough-as-guts version was recorded online in my tiny house. Several bourbons were harmed in the making of this recording.

So essentially, this song is about how things change, and things stay the same, how life on this little blue ball is very transient and we’re actually but the mere phart of a Triceratops in the grand scheme of things of life in the universe, . Deep, I know…

As for the Tariki cat mentioned in the song, the new owners were happy to take it on, so it remained. It appeared to be indifferent to this outcome.

Here are the words to the song, in case you can’t understand my Kiwi accent:

The Tariki schoolhouse does no longer teach

The blackboards and chalk now well out of reach

The scraping of chairs will echo no more

The scufflings of school shoes don’t rub at the floor

The Tariki Cafe does no longer serve

The spouts of its teapots have pulled in their curves

The coffee that gurgled is silent and dry

Yesterday’s customers drive right on by

The Tariki schoolhouse now shelters no Skin

Who spent a small part of existence within

He’s shed all his items and moved the last mat

Now all there is left is a Tariki cat

Stories abound somewhere up in the eaves

As everyone comes and everyone leaves

The Tariki schoolhouse keeps open its doors

And others will enter, and walk on its floors

Its walls and its presence will rest in the mind

Of all those who came there and left it behind

It knows they will come and it knows they will go

The Tariki schoolhouse, on Old Mountain Road

It will stay with the trees, it will hold up the birds

It will listen to people, absorb all their words

And maybe that schoolhouse will teach after all

Of transient life on a little blue ball.

You can listen to it here: The Tariki Schoolhouse

*Warning – very rough-sounding recording ahead

Coast around the 'Three Sisters' region, West Coast, New Zealand. Guest appearance by Mount Taranaki in the background.

Coast around the ‘Three Sisters’ region, West Coast, New Zealand. Guest appearance by Mount Taranaki in the background.

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