Sunday, April 11, 2010

The sweetest little kitten

Little cat. Angela and Alice dropped me home after bookclub on Wednesday night, and as I got out of the car I heard a cat miaowing and miaowing. I looked around under the bushes and saw a little tabby kitten in considerable distress. I hadn't seen him around before.

I coaxed him out from his hiding-place and picked him up. Poor little thing. He seemed very happy to see me, so I carried him up the path and before I knew it I was taking him into the house. He was far too young to be left out all alone at night.

We went into the laundry and I gave him some of Winnie and Bailey's food, which he devoured with great enthusiasm. It looked as though he hadn't eaten for a while, although he was in very good condition (perhaps a little thin, but his coat was lovely and his paws weren't at all damaged).

After he'd finished his dinner I took him into the living room to show him to Winnie and Bailey, who were both sitting on the sofa looking extremely unimpressed by our new visitor. I decided to put him down after a while, but Bailey immediately jumped down and began stalking him, so I picked him up again. This wasn't going to be easy.

Eventually I decided to put him in the cat basket, and took him with me into my office while I checked Pets on the Net to see if anyone had lost him. No joy. Winnie and Bailey were hovering around, and every time they came near him he hissed and growled - as did they. He was safe in the basket, but he really didn't like them being near him.

After a while it occurred to me that I could let him explore one room, and lock the other cats out so he'd be safe, so I set up food, water and a litter tray in the drawing room and took him in there. He was so sweet. He had a great time exploring, checking out the furniture and looking out of the window, all the while purring like a crazy thing. His purr was bigger than he was!

Every so often he'd come back to me and nuzzle against my velvet coat, and then he'd go back into the basket and curl up and purr and purr and purr. I fell in love instantly.

I decided he should definitely stay the night, and in the morning I'd canvass the neighbours and see if I could find out who he belonged to.

On Thursday I took a bunch of photos of him and then doorknocked in the neighbourhood, looking for his owners. There were lots of kids home for the school holidays - and if anyone knows the location of a wee kitten it's kids - but no-one knew whose he was. So strange. I rang the local vet to see if anyone was looking for him, but no-one was. They suggested I bring him in to see if he was microchipped, so after a fruitless search for his family amongst my neigbours we went for a drive to the vet.

No microchip, but they offered to take care of him until his family came to claim him. After Winnie and Bailey's complete lack of enthusiasm I reluctantly decided this was probably the best option, so I left him in their capable hands. That evening I put his photo and description on Pets on the Net, and called the vet to see if anyone had called about him, but no-one had.

Since then I've called them every day to see how he's doing, and I popped in for a visit yesterday. Yesterday I also went round the neighbourhoood pasting up FOUND - TABBY KITTEN notices. I figure if anyone's lost him they'll be out looking and a poster is a good way to get their attention.

It's so weird. He's the sweetest, friendliest little kitten in the world (the vet reckons he's between 3 and 4 months old). He's in good condition so I don't think he's wandered far from home. He loves people and has obviously been well taken care of so far - so where is his family and why aren't they looking for him?

If he was mine I'd be completely frantic by now. It's Sunday night and he's been away from home since Wednesday at least. Maybe his family's on holiday and they've got a catsitter feeding him and they haven't realised he's missing (although if he's an only cat you would have thought by now they'd have figured out he's not eating his food).

Or maybe there's a flatmate who's supposed to be keeping an eye on him and they just don't care much whether he's around or not. Or maybe (for whatever crazy reason) he was abandoned by his owners near my house and they simply don't want him any more.

Thank God I found him. Imagine how frightened and cold and lonely he'd be if I hadn't.

If I could, I'd adopt him if his owners don't come forward. But that's not really a possibility - Winnie and Bailey would be most put out and it wouldn't be fair on any of them.

Fortunately, he's such a darling that more than one of the vet staff has their eye on him - and I don't think he's going to have any trouble finding a new home.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Farewell Malcolm McLaren - and thank you

Never Mind the Bollocks. For me, a teenager living in England in 1976, punk was an entirely British phenomenon at the beginning. We weren't really aware of any American punk bands back then - it seemed to us as though it started in London with the Sex Pistols - and that Malcolm and Vivienne's Sex shop provided (in a massively important way) the "look" that went with the sound.

All the bands we loved and pogo'd to and spat at at innumerable gigs in those first two or three years of punk were either English, Irish or Scottish (our discovery of American punks such as The Ramones and Blondie came a couple of years later) - and for us, the clothes were almost as important as the music - and the attitude was equally important.

It was the classic teenage rebellion "fuck you if you're over 25" thing - but in addition (and this was something we'd certainly never come across in popular music before) - it was the DIY ethic. The idea that any one of us could pick up a guitar and form a punk band and that it would be good, and joyous, and wonderful, and angry, and rebellious, and political if we wanted it to be - this was an entirely new concept, and one which we all embraced with great enthusiasm.

I think Malcolm had a lot to do with fostering and developing this ethic, whether he did it deliberately or not.

He lit a fire in those of us at the perfect age to appreciate and adopt all the aspects of punk culture - and what a blaze it was! I'm so incredibly grateful to have had punk as my seminal musical influence. It was a wonderful time to be growing up, and a wonderful soundtrack to my teenage and University years.

I can see shadows of that same DIY ethic coming through at many other times of my life - like travelling to the far side of the world straight after University when no-one we had ever met had even considered doing such a thing; eventually coming to live in NZ even though I didn't know a soul when I arrived; forming a world music band in Welli in the 90s; organising dance parties and eventually getting involved in The Gathering; making our own documentary about TheG; even the freelance and contract web design/dev work I do these days - it's all about making things happen yourself and not relying on anyone else to do it for you.

I learned when I first went travelling that "you can make anything happen if you want it badly enough" - and although I thought I'd figured that one out for myself, in retrospect I think it was a concept that was already sitting in my brain, planted there by all the punk bands I ever saw, and ever loved.

Malcolm McLaren introduced me to the very first of those punk bands, and for that I am extremely grateful.

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