In Search of Some POPPIN Music

The third annual #LeadingTheCharge road trip is mere days away from kick-off.  This is the single largest and longest engagement/activity that the Trust we started in 2014 does in the calendar year.

Once a year, now in early Autumn, we pack our bags and pile into our EVs and drive from town to town/province to province.  We go from one end of this beautiful island nation to the other, and we stop so I can SQUEEZE EVERYONE and tell them how deeply and importantly I adore them (because telling people in person is always more special than saying it over the Internets) and after we play with all the people, we retire to our hotel for “quiet drinks” with the team.  It really is the most magical time of the year.

So, every year I think to myself, that we need to have an unofficial theme song.  Something we can have playing over the dinky little PA system I bought for the very first road trip.  Something that clearly captures the culture of our community.  Something, probably with the word electric in it.

So this year, I am putting it to the community to choose an unofficial theme song for the 2017 road trip.

I’ve chose five songs that could fit the bill, and am very open to further suggestions.

I’ll list the songs and make s short case for each.


Here we go!

  1. Eddie Grant – Electric Avenue
  2. They Might Be Giants – Electric Car
  3. Oasis – She’s Electric
  4. MGMT – Electric Feel
  5. Queen – We Are The Champions

1) So let us begin a the top of the list.  What can I say about Eddie Grant?  This is a fun, lovely, perky song from the early 80’s and has just enough political undertones to pack a bit of a punch in an election year.  I really do want to rock down to Electric Avenue… because doing so will FULLY take us all higher.

2) Well… Seriously.  Best Electric Car song (only, electric car song) EVER.  This is my favourite.

3) Oasis is truly not my favourite, but this song is cheeky, and fun and interesting and about a quirky girl.  I think we are all pretty quirky so that’s how this made it to the list.

4) It is just a good song to bop to.  My kids love MGMT so I thought I’d put the fact I am a prolific breeder to good use by suggesting something from their generation.

5) WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!  This is a great song and the volunteers and supporters have always been called champions BECAUSE THEY ARE!

So have a listen to these five songs and think about which will be the best Theme Music for the trip we are about to take.  I can guarantee whatever you choose will be playing when you come out to see us at any of the stops along the way.

Here’s a selection of pictures from events over the past few years.  Have a look and see if you can spot yourself!

Thanks for reading, and remember to vote.



How am I an Asshole? Let me Count The Ways…

Yesterday I was reminded too many times to recall, just what an impressively spoiled douchebag I am on a regular basis.  The source of the mirror that reflected this embarrassing reality back to me is most likely the super fun new medication I am munching for my super serious sadness disorder.  That, combined with access to the struggles of beautiful people I am blessed to know got me to thinking about just what a grade A asshole I actually am.


I am swimming in a sea of confidence, support, financial freedom, health, community, and there’s a nice ripe cherry of white privilege on the top to open doors and give me pause to feel smug for doing all the things and smashing walls, doors, ceilings and barriers.

Oh, and the HYPOCRISY!  We must not forget about all the ways I find to be a raging hypocrite.  For an environmental activist; my carbon footprint, food waste, self indulgence, hedonism and even grooming regime is appalling.  I live in a sprawling home where I killed my worm farm by feeding them banana peels and I always forget to water my garden.  I claim to be a social sustainability and equal opportunity activist and I live in the least diverse and most expensive neighbourhoods in one of the most expensive cities on earth.


Do I take this shit for granted?  Absolutely.  Am I aware of the spoiled asshole I am? You better believe it.  So I’m determined to remain aware of it and do what I can to earn my stripes and share air and water with people who are already, and would like to be gentler to the planet and all the plants, people and creatures we share it with.

I am not inviting challenges or lessons, as there’s been a fair number of hard knocks and sacrifices getting to where I sit fat, privileged and with some level of influence today.  I’ll get my plateful of grief, hardship and struggle.  We all have our turn dining at that dark and difficult table in this life.


What I am saying, in my characteristically less-than-delicate way, is that I don’t ever want to be the sort of person who feels superior or smacks around paltry advice like “If I can do it, anyone can do it” or “you just have to really want it”.  Fuck. That.  Fuck that sideways and seriously, because people are all fighting a hard fucking battle and don’t win every fucking time, but they ought to all be able to celebrate the shit out of and feel fucking fabulous when they do.  For fuck’s sake.

Life is hard, life is not fair, and the reason I wanted to remind myself and anyone who read this of that point is this:

Some of the strongest, kindest, smartest, hardest working people of various colours, creeds, religions and socio-economic backgrounds have reached out over the past few days in various ways.  They are struggling with loss and challenges that break my heart and would send me to a padded cell.  Yet they smile.  They show strength.  They complain in private to trusted friends and confidants.  And they keep going.

People who are kind enough to say “you’ve worked hard” or “you deserve it though” are very sweet, but the results of my choices in this life are as much luck as they are effort.  I married a mild mannered man who grew into a passionate innovator who’s changing the course of history and revolutionizing an entire industry for the second time.  I did not seek out this fairytale, but I sure as shit feel blessed to be a character in it.

My four amazing, healthy, kind, irritating, impossible children remind me every day that I am an asshole and a failure, and I am so glad of that fact.

So I’ll go out today and know that I am an asshole and try to do some good to balance it out.  Thanks for reading.  And thanks for being my friend.  Even though I am a bit of an asshole for real.



Women Who Get Shit Done 2017

I went to a women’s conference over the weekend. It was aptly titled:

Women Who Get Shit Done.

Only one of the three guests I had invited was able to make it. My friend Erin joined me. She graduated with first class honors from Law school at the University of Canterbury. She works at the human rights commission and is one of the funniest females I know. Between mercilessly making fun of me and making epic wheelchair jokes (she has CP and uses a wheelchair), she often has me in stitches.

Erin and I were roomies for the weekend so we got to have those yummy giggly teenage chats before bedtime that are a natural consequence of sleepovers. This was about the only time I spent with Erin, as she’s always quick to make friends (and is well connected to everyone I know that has met her, because she’s actually that awesome) so happily did her own thing as I did mine.

I’m not comfortable going into detail, but I want to tell you what was particularly brilliant about this weekend.

There were 100 women, and a few super cute and/or well-behaved children. The vibe was incredibly diverse, supportive, and fun. Aside from a small handful of occasions, I did not feel judged. I frequently, perhaps predominantly feel judged when I am around other women. There are some obvious exceptions, like most of my friends and many of the women who work alongside me in transport and sustainability. But to be in a place with 100 strangers, where we all had something to contribute, it was more than just a bit magical.

I don’t want to talk about the session that I co-hosted in any sort of detail. I don’t feel a need to share all the fun and fabulous stuff we got up to in other sessions. What I do want to say is that I’d recommend this to absolutely anyone (who identifies as female or non-binary) who likes to get shit done.

There were young millenials running workshops and planning global domination. There was a beautiful bohemian woman teaching us protest songs from the 60’s and earlier. There were wonderful discussions on women’s right to choose, there were lessons, there was laughter, and there were tears.

I was incredibly mindful of my propensity to interrupt people, so spent two sessions completely silent. I also tried very hard to listen for understanding and learning, not just waiting for my turn to talk.

Erin assures me that it was the most mellow she has ever seen me, and I think she may be right. Still bubbly, still loud, still contributed and joined a session (or two, or three) for every time slot. I met a handful of truly kindred spirits (Emily, Eve, Yvonne, Hana, Shelley, Jo, Ruby, Aliesha) and know that relationships will grow and more will be nurtured over time and online as well. I need to take the time to start some private groups for us to continue some heavy but healing conversations in a safe place.

So I’ll leave it there. Just to get my gratitude down in black and white. I am thankful to the organisers, I am thankful to those who attended, I am thankful to Erin, and I am thankful to the long suffering Phteven for believing that smart, strong, impactful women are a wonderful conduit to spread the word about ChargeNet and to change the world. Thanks for your support and thanks for watching the kids over the weekend baby.