Chilling out in Dunedin


The end of this month is D-Day, when Waxeye Writing and I pack our bags and move to the Edinburgh of the South Pacific, Dunedin. When I tell people this they almost invariably say something along the lines of: "Oh I love Dunedin, it's gorgeous/it's a great place to visit/the architecture is so creepy-gothic/it has a great vibe what with all those students and arty types" followed by "But I wouldn't live there. It's too cold". Now I have an issue with this. First of all, if the human race had chosen only to build cities in warm climates there would be no St Petersburg, Berlin, Copenhagen, or Glasgow to name just a handful of chilly hot spots. Imagine a world without these magical cities and their talented inhabitants. Second, I have a theory and it goes like this: the parkier the place, the more interesting the people. I don't want to be mean but I suspect that Muscovites are, in general, deeper people than Melburnians, and I'm not even going to compare Aucklanders with Amsterdammers.

The reason for the difference is that people in cold climates need to find ways to be happy and fulfilled indoors, and it follows that a rich indoor life leads to a rich inner life. All those things that make life bearable - art, design, literature, film, food, sex, wine, music, and a stylish winter wardrobe - can be enjoyed in the open air to some extent, but they are far better experienced indoors. In Los Angeles you might never delight in being cocooned in cashmere and wool, eating slow-cooked comfort food year-round in front of a roaring wood-burner, but you will in Dunedin. For those of you who worry about the the lack of barbecue opportunities, I ask you this: who really wants to eat burnt sausages with men in cargo shorts? My case is rested. To all you hot-house flowers out there, cast off your prejudices, pack your puffer jackets and head south.