Conversations with Barry #1

Before leaving employ as an Otago Daily Times subeditor, your blogger would frequently visit the office of deputy editor Barry Stewart to discuss editorial journalism, current events, food, and your blogger's personal tribulations. These conversations will now continue occasionally by telephone, as a dialogue between Wellington and Dunedin. It is hoped they will make fine occasional blog fodder.

Now remember I told you we were going to discuss Cliff Richard?
Yeah, have you moved on from there?

Well a little bit, sort of. We were going to discuss him back in January because he was about to play in Wellington, and I was thinking about rubbing in the fact that he wasn't going to play in Dunedin. But then I thought that might not be good form, to move to Wellington and then rub in the fact.
I thought about that too. But we have some pretty exiting events happening here so perhaps we can live without Cliff although I'm sure he has some fans down this way.

Yeah fair enough. And, well, did you know Cliff Richard shares my birthday? Did I tell you that?
I think you did.

And so I had this idea, what if I interviewed Cliff Richard for my blog, because we share a birthday. But then I thought, it would be just as interesting to do a conversation with Barry Stewart. Because you're now deputy editor of the ODT, isn't that correct?
Yes.

How's that for you?
Deputy editor... Yeah it's good. It's good in the sense that, well, you realise we've just bought the Mountain Scene?

Yip, I do.
So some exciting things are happening in the industry, you know, and it's good to be a part of that. Seriously. I think we are well placed to thrive in this environment and yeah, it's good. There have been some changes here, obviously, as you know, and I think that was a very positive signal not
only to the industry but also to staff. We're not sitting on our hands; we're looking to the future. So that's pretty exciting.

It is exciting. And do you know what? It came as quite a surprise to me to hear you were deputy editor.
It came as a surprise to you?

Yeah. Do you know why?
Yeah, I do.

Why?
Because you already thought I was.

That's right. I already thought you were deputy editor. And any time I'd put your name down for a reference or something, I'd put "Barry Stewart, deputy editor". So I'm glad you've caught up.
Well, it was a subtle difference. When I shared it with Mr [Simon] Cunliffe, Mr Cunliffe was deputy editor news, and I was deputy editor production.

Oh right. Oh, so you already were deputy editor.
Yeah but there's a subtle difference there.

Now Barry, what's this I hear about a balloon being used as an instrument of decision-making for a waterfront building?
Ah yes, that's a fairly creative idea.

Have they done the balloon stunt yet? Have they floated a balloon to the height of a 28-storey building?

No, they haven't done it yet.

But it's coming?
Ah, I believe the hearings are in recess at the moment as they revisit a few issues that need clarification. The balloon height-measurement is one of them, so we can all see exactly the height it's going to be.

Based on a balloon.
Which may shock a few people actually, I suspect.

It may. But, whatever. Whatever. And did you know, at the waterfront here in Wellington they have a jumping wharf. It is just this enclosed area where the platforms and the planks of the wharf form a little square around a bit of water, and it's full of jellyfish, and people just jump into it. It's right near Te Papa, and they have different heights of platforms, and some of them are really high. They've got a lifeguard there, and people do all kinds of funny diving; you know like, whirly twirly diving, and then they land in the jellyfish water. My Dad's coming later this month, and I thought he and I could go and jump off the jumping wharf.
That would be a bonding thing for you two, wouldn't it?

It would. Do you think he'll go?
I'd prefer if your mother went.

Yeah. I don't think that's going to happen.
No?

No. She's not coming to Wellington, not coming to visit.
However, that's nice Dad's coming.

Yeah, it is. Yep.
Yeah. How are you settling down? Job going all right?

Yeah, but I only worked for a fortnight until that contract ended.
Oh, is it all over?

Yep. And it's good so now I've got money, I'm not going to work again till the end of February, and that's assuming I'll get work at the end of February. 'Cause it's summertime and I feel like going to Hokitika with my Dad and that kind of thing. Um, yes, but have you been swimming this summer?
Have I been swimming? I've been working; I haven't had a holiday.

Are you going to have one?
Yeah, I'm going to Perth.

Will you go swimming there?
Aw, probably.

No 'cause I was thinking about it and I was like, "Gee, I wonder if Barry Stewart ever goes swimming." Because you work so hard, but then on the other hand you've raised a son who's like this ace diver, and a daughter who's a ballet dancer.
Who is also a very good swimmer.

They're very active lifestyles. And maybe you could go swimming.
Yeah. My daughter's going to be there as well, in Perth, so it's going to be a nice family reunion. And also, wait for it, the big news: my son's going to get married while we're over there.

Whoah. Is that why you're going, in fact?
No, we were going anyway but they surprised us by saying: "We're going to get married when you come over."

Cool. That's exciting.
Yeah, it's good.

Hey Barry, what should I have for dinner?
What should you have - where are you?

I'm at the movie theatre, and I could go anywhere on Courtenay Pl for dinner, and then come back to the movie theatre.
Ooh, what should you have... Some kind of healthy option, obviously.

Sushi then?

You can't go far wrong with sushi, can you. Tuna?

No! It's all going extinct. You know that.
Yes exactly. Well, but you could buy the stuff that's less threatened.

Skipjack is the name of that variety. Skipjack.
My son actually walks around with a list of endangered fish species in his pocket.

So do I.
Yeah?

Yeah, you can download one from the Forest & Bird website, a pocket guide.
Ahh. Well, we should all be sustainable.

We should all be sustainable. That's a great note on which to end.
OK.

OK, I'll talk to you next time we're having a Conversations with Barry.
Next time you go to the movies.

Yeah next time I go to the movies. Thanks Barry, thanks for your time.