Phantom Blog


Viewing posts tagged Wellington

The Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader Vol 10 – Out and About

Ashley at Red Rock Cafe and Bar, Queenstown

Ashley at Red Rock Cafe and Bar in Queenstown


Okra Espresso Lounge, Auckland

Okra Cafe AKL


Havana Bar, Wellington

Havana Bar, WLG


Southern Cross, Wellington



Sweet Mother’s Kitchen, Wellington

Sweet Mothers Kitchen


University Bookshop, Dunedin

University Bookshop (2)_800x600


Morning Magpie, Dunedin

Morning Magpie_800x600


Gavin Shaw, DIVO – Dunedin’s Needle Exchange
Gavin was a contributor for Cafe Reader Vol 9 and has been very active in the literary and music circles in Dunedin. He plays bass in the band Psychic Maps.

Gavin reader (2)_800x600


Tenzin Mullins, Dunedin
Tenzin is a musician and academic who plays bass in the bands MARINEVILLE and The David Lynch Mob. He is also a member of HEKA with Stephen Kilory and ex-SUKA bandmate, Heath Te Au.

Tenzin Mullins_800x600

Diary of a Billsticker – Chicago, USA

There’s lots of things to think about with a head full of the Blues in the Windy City: The failed Volstead Act and how that applies in this day and age with drugs; ‘Hinky Dick’ Kenna; ‘Bathhouse’ John Coughlin and other crooked Politicians (“Vote early…and Vote often); Abbie Hoffman; Bobby Seale and the 1968 Democrat Party Convention along with its subsequent riots; Oprah and the failure of television; Nelson Algren; Saul Bellow; Robert Johnson; Tom Petty’s excellent album “Live in Chicago”; the Paul Butterfield Blues Band; John Belushi and the Blues Brothers; John Dillinger and the Biograph Theatre; Al Capone; Barack Obama; Eliot Ness; The Tommy Gun; Carl Sandburg (“Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders”); the Rolling Stones and 2120 South Michigan Avenue; the stock yards; the freight yards; the trains; the 1893 World’s Fair… To name just a few topics of thought.

These are all the images that come to me of Chicago. New Zealand television played the original series of the Untouchables in the early 60s as I was growing up in Dunedin. I was left with wonderful and wild imagery. That’s what television can do. For better or for worse.

Now with all of that it’s probably better to do a simple poster run. I did. A poster run always clears the head and gets the blood flowing. It was very wet and windy on both days as we went out to tape NZ poetry posters to lampposts around Chicago. It was kind of like postering in Wellington with the weather against you. Still, as I’ve often said, nothing beats a good, simple poster run and the knowledge that one is making a difference. I am enormously proud of NZ poets as I go about this. There seems to be a limited system of framed off poster sites in Chicago just as Phantom operates in New Zealand. But there are also lots of lamp-post posters in the Windy City. Going by the posters, Chicago has a lot of very creative people about. That’s how I judge creativity in a new city, by the style and number of street posters I see about. A creative city always has lots of street posters. What craven-hearted type of person would want to stamp this out? To stop people expressing themselves. That’s not good.

Chicago is an exciting city and does not disappoint. For all its crime and bad times, it is a wonderfully vital city. It is obviously very alive. Chicago (say the name over a few times… What a great name) is kind of like the McLaggan Street area of Dunedin in the 1950s and 1960s blown up and maximised to a 10,000% image. In McLaggan Street at the time, almost anything went and most of it twice: the crime, the violence, the Opium houses, the great music in the local pub, the Kiwis just doing their best and working every day. Some of those Kiwis were getting over the experience of the Second World War. They were all good blokes. I remember that. They had a dignity in bad times.

In Dunedin, the wind even came blowing in off the harbour and up the hill just like the wind blows in off the lake in Chicago. I don’t know if either wind actually cleanses, but a bit of bad weather always makes for an interesting city. It certainly did (and does) in Dunedin. Dunedin is a similarly creative city. Obviously, lots of great NZ music has come from Dunedin. It’s the atmosphere of the place. It’s a mixture.

I’ll finish this by saying there is a new Untouchables movie in the making called ‘Capone Rising’. I long for the day when someone makes a movie about McLaggan Street. Janet Frame touched on the area in some of her writing, but there’s more work to be done. New Zealand has just as rich a culture as Chicago and there’s more to be said. Lots more to be said.


Thank you, friends.


Jim Wilson



Diary of a Billsticker – South Philadelphia, USA

This is a great area and is nicely bohemian and worn in. I’d say it is comfortable and ramshackle. It is without the many false airs and graces which town planners and architects often, but not always, come up with. In some ways, it reminded me of the Upper Cuba Street area in Wellington, New Zealand. There’s a whole bunch of clever people here with shops and businesses that are firmly individualistic. I always like to see that. I reckon it’s good for people. This area is certainly not bland. It lends itself to postering and there’s a lot of it – bright colours in the street. Flora for the concrete jungle.

The lamp-posts are wooden and I had poetry posters by about half a dozen NZ poets. It was about 9 AM and I worked through the area with the help of a mate who enjoyed the postering as much as I did. The air was fresh and the stapler was working well. You can’t beat it. People always smile.

I picked up many fliers and postcards in the little cafes. I usually send these back home to show how posters and fliers are being used in America. Newspaper advertising is falling and TV advertising is having trouble. I like to think that one of the good things that are coming out of the recession is that people are looking for something more real. This encompasses a more real form of advertising. More real forms of business. I also like to think everyone’s had enough of that ‘think big’ nonsense and all those motivational speakers (‘How to Manage Five Girlfriends and Drive a Lexus”) driving us all to an early grave. I just like postering.

I saw my first flier in a cafe offering the services of a lawyer. Everyone will join in if you give them a chance.

Once again a good poster run. I really enjoy taking NZ poets to America.
Keep the Faith,


Jim Wilson