When I was a teenager I often attended the cycling competitions held at Cooks Gardens. I had no great interest in the sport but it was something to do of an evening.
Gordon Sharrock, Graham Bing, Geoff Lankow, Ronny Cheatley and others put on an entertaining hour or two and a hundred or two would turn up to watch the action.
Television was still a novelty. Computer games were decades away. Cellphones and iPads and all the rest of modern-day electronic wizardry were well into the future.
The marching teams, Highland pipe bands, international cricket teams, and other sporting attractions have slowly but surely dwindled away.
A major reason for the declining attendances at Cooks Gardens events is because television and other electronic attractions have made massive in-roads into the daily lives of people ...
Current thinking revolves around covering the velodrome at a cost of $20 million-plus. For such a small regional population this is ridiculous. Various economic forecasts are "pie in the sky" calculations. Attracting international entertainers or thunderous rock groups is a pipe dream. The notion that "If we build it they will come" is the worst possible reason to mortgage the city for years ahead.
The Regional Velodrome Development Trust and Cycling Whanganui have been working hard for 20 years to drag the ratepayers into a financial commitment to this project. Sensibly, successive district councils have balked at the proposal. Rightly so, because no ground-swell of public support for such an expenditure exists ...
I urge every councillor to see the funding problem for what it actually is: an unnecessary, unjustified and profligate use of ratepayers' money.
By all means repair the track surface. By all means check out the supporting trusses. That will require only "pocket money" compared with $20 million-plus.
St Johns Hill
It's a swoosh
I was pleased to read in the Chronicle how the Upokongaro Riverboat Bar and Cafe is enjoying a recent "uptick" in trade.
Upticks – so beloved by homework-markers and sportswear manufacturers - are by definition very good, albeit somewhat tautological. After all, surely there's only one way an uptick can possibly go, and that's up. Otherwise it wouldn't be a tick.
Initially I thought the infamously inventive Chronicle sub-editors had come up with a brand new word. But no. Dr Google assures me it's already in the lexicon - North American (naturally) of origin, usually applied in tourism contexts.
But why add the redundant "up" to something that can't be otherwise? After all, there's no such beast as a downtick, ha ha.
Wrong again. Dr Google also informs me that downticks apparently exist – used by stockbrokers to describe waning share prices, it seems.
Herein lies a conundrum – is it existentially possible for a tick to go down?
Ahh, I thought – possibly the "tick" in "uptick" is not of the homework marking species. Perhaps the tick in question is a figurative term of the horological variety – the distinctive contrapuntal tick-tock sound of the mantel clock's second hand ticking off the relentless passage of time, indicative of the innate duality of all things temporal and fickle hospitality industry fortunes.
And if indeed it is an horological tick, then the appropriate antonym to uptick should surely be the much more etymologically satisfying "downtock".
And never may the Upokongaro Riverboat Bar and Cafe have its ledger sullied by an errant downtock.