Music, Drugs, Talking, Dancing.


Ok, so  you're probably paralysed by indecision because there's a buttload of dope shit happening this weekend, but let me try and snap you out of that and encourage you to attend my picks for fun things to do;  Splore, kicking off on Friday the 19th and finishing Sunday the 21st, and then late Sunday afternoon there's a great talk back in Auckland, Control: Fighting It, Losing It, Finding It. 


I attended my first Splore last year, with my partner in blog crime Aroha, and we had a silly amount of fun.  Located at the beautiful Tapapakanga Regional Park an hour out of Auckland,  it was a legit good time. What can go wrong on a beach with amazing musicians and artists, so many great friends,  fruity costumes to marvel at, great healthy food and even a huge out door yoga class.

This year promises to be no different, with a plethora of musical acts from at home and around the globe, artists and intellectually engaging activities. On the music front,  there's three days stacked with DJs and musicians across four stages (if I'm counting them right). I'm especially looking forwards to  Little Simz, and  like last year I'm sure I'll discover a bunch of artists I'd not seen  or heard before.  I'm looking forwards to having my heart and ears filled up with the musical offerings I'm going to be introduced to. 

Little Simz, this hook takes me places! 

As well as music, there's actually a host of other interesting stuff to take part in or attend at Splore. For example, the esteemed  Russell Brown, you may know his excellent work at Public Address, is hosting a very interesting series of panels on Saturday at The Listening Lounge. I'm humbled to be partaking in a discussion about somethings you might not know about drugs, alongside some New Zealand notables on the subject, before leading drug policy expert Dr Sanho Tree,  delivers the key note speech "about the foundations of the global drug war in US foreign policy imperatives, the reasons it has failed and the prospects and means for reform." At 12, the theme and cast of the panel changes to the state of Dance music. Including Aroha, Eddie Johnston, and Lady Flic, it all  promises to be very illuminating and thought provoking. 

If sitting down listening isn't your thing, there's heaps of physical fun to be done. Mind out of the gutter children, There's also handstand and dance workshops, workshops on hula hoops and acrobatics, you can up skill yourself and your dreams of joining the circus and eloping can start to take shape!  

The whole event is super family friendly, kids under 12 get in free and there are three and two day tickets which are still  available.  Go on, get out of town and broaden your horizons, it'll be a nice time, promise! 

After Splore, I'm heading back to the village I fluctuate between loving and hating to listen to some kind smart people talk about things I find fascinating;  addiction and anxiety. My dear friends Damaris Coulter (Coco's Cantina) and Dominic Hoey (Tourettes) join brainiac and all round cool person Sara Illingworth (Impolitikal) to chat about these topics that touch a lot of our lives. Sonia Grey is hosting the night, and I'm really looking forwards to sitting back, listening, learning and probably laughing. Entry is by donation, $5 should do it I reckon. The more we talk about anxiety and addiction, the better we can help those in need I think, so if you're looking for something smart to do, this is for you. 

As always, whatever you do this weekend,  please drive, drink and drug safely (or hey, don't drink or drug at all,  sobriety is fun, honest!), don't touch people's bodies without them wanting you to and saying you can, be nice to strangers and animals, and just generally be a good person. Have fun out there! 


'Tis the Season mindful of your mental health.


So it appears Rodney Hylton Smith, better known as Roots Manuva, is having a really terrible Christmas if his at times nonsensical, rather upsetting Twitter feed is anything to go by.  A constant stream of soul bearing about his relationship, random abuse, and increasingly strange tweets have been steadily coming out on his timeline over Christmas and Boxing day.   

Maybe he got hacked,  or indeed he's having a break down during what's both a festive but also high stress time of year, either way it got me wondering about mental health. It also made me think back to a Christmas after a significant relationship ended, when the emotional struggle was real. Waking up alone on a day that used to be full of multiple family visits, food and friends reduced me to tears  and Christmas was far from joyous. The cloud hung over me for a couple of weeks, as the change in routine that comes with summer left me with time on my hands to over-think everything to death. So, with all this in mind, I headed to google to see struggles were common for this time of year and sadly it seems they are. 

According to the Victoria State Government's Better Health Channel states that 'Stress, anxiety and depression are common during the festive season.'  Like most mental health services, they  advise simple things to keep on top of your game, all pretty standard tips for mental health, but worthy reminders nonetheless, so here you go. 

 When we are sad, or anxious or stressed we all reach for things to numb those feelings. For many, it's alcohol and other drugs.  While they can make a shitty day seem fun, they don't actually do anything to help in the long term.  If you choose to drink and use other drugs, make sure it's sensibly and infrequently, and not to expressly escape undesirable feelings. If you're worried about your own or someone else's drug use, you can find information and links to help here.

When it comes to eating, while a blow out on Christmas day is expected for most of us, don't over eat too often during the summer break. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is great for your your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and irritability. And make sure you keep moving. Exercise as we all know makes us feel better, physically and emotionally. It doesn't have to be some insane Cross Fit work out, (though that is a good time), just go for a walk or a swim or shoot some hoops. That shit is fun! 

Human connection is vital for our well being, but as our families might get smaller, people move overseas and our friends become involved with their new kids and can't hang out like they used to, the holiday period can be a lonely time for some. While your normal crew might be out of town, use the opportunity to try and schedule in some time to see friends, family and loved ones that perhaps you haven't caught up with in some time. Skype makes the world small, if everyone is out of town, call a homie up in New York. If you're feeling down or anxious, talking is a great simple way to help you process things. Problems can seem so huge in the confines of our head, but when they are out in the big wide world, they often seem smaller and more manageable. And don't forget, if you're more than a little blue and struggling with something that feels serious, there are always great trained people who can listen to you and help at places like Lifeline .

So, if you're feeling shit, there are simple things that can make you feel better. Talk. Move. Connect. Ask for help if you need it. I hope Mr Manuva gets some, or at least the log in to his Twitter account back.