I’ve been in Wellington for a day or two and I have to tell you, the town is in a Rings uproar. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. The streets are hung with LOTR banners, everything from the Town Hall to the Evening Post’s headquarters is renamed ‘Middle Earth’ (as is the airport, I believe, though I haven’t seen that myself.) The Rings is on every newspaper,every phone bill, every electricity company billboard, on the ads for Mastercard. There are funny billboards harping on LOTR themes everywhere (“Wellington: Full of orcs, hobbits and elves. …But enough about Parliament…..”). The monster cave troll dominates Courtenay Place from its perch on the awning of the Embassy Theatre, where the plasterers are working round the clock to finish the theatre in time for the Premiere.

Ah, the premiere. The town is abuzz with little else. Pity the poor Tolkien-haters, who have had to band into their own anti-TORN website. As for Peter Jackson’s success, it’s wound some people up into a frenzy of letters to the Editor calling Peter Jackson a maker of ‘third-rate splatter movies’and ‘idiotic spoofs.’ In NZ we usually reward high achievers with what is known as the ‘tall poppy syndrome;’ i.e. we have a compelling need to cut people down to a more manageable size. Though in PJ’s case it’s more of a short poppy syndrome, as one of my friends quipped.

So, how’s it looking for the street party and the parade down the red carpet? Well, it’s blowing a foul southerly (so the wind is coming to us straight from the Antarctic, how delightful.) From where I am I can see endless grey combers samshing themselves on the jagged rocks of the Wellington coast. The horizontal rain has died down but the wind is so high that all ferry sailings have been cancelled for the day. Bummer if you were planning to sail over from the South Island for the premiere.

Well, look on the bright side – only die-hard LOTR fans are going to line the streets on a day like this, so most of us will have a better chance of actually seeing anything of the stars when they walk down that red carpet. I’ve bought a bottle of silicon spray and waterproofed my Elven cloak. See you all at the Grand at 10pm after the ruckus. And then roll on that midnight screening!