‘This fucking place never changes’ says one of the two men walking in front of me, down the hill from the Octagon. He doesn’t mean it kindly, but he’s right – Dunedin is always the same, more or less. I’ve been down there a couple of times before with fringe projects, other times with family, and I was there again the other week. Arrival in Dunedin, for me, is always paired with a decent jolt of nostalgia - the kind that comes with a change of season. The light is shallower and the air is crisper than where I’ve come from. The buildings are the same; solid and old, not really what I think of as New Zealand buildings. The odd thing is that the people don't age. I get older, the students stay 18. I’m not down that often, but often enough, so every time I’m there I feel a kind of adjacency to myself the last time I was there, and also to the times before. I think about how I’ve changed and how I haven’t. On the first fringe I felt at home at pint night on campus. Now, of course, I’m ancient, but I feel closer to that person than I do when I’m at home. A limited number of things have happened to me here, in a limited number of places, so my memory of them is clearer, and linked to geography – places have defined meanings. There’s where I saw James Bond in 2006, there’s the hospital where my aunt took me when I broke my toe in 2009, there’s the bar where I had a sip of Joel's whiskey in in 2013. Wellington’s a mess of overwritten memories by comparison, impossible to read. Going to Dunedin is a kind of reminder that time’s passing, because for me time has a way of not passing there.
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