Evangelistic brother / Should be banging a tambourine Go wash your hands and fingers / Until your mind is clean
Now, it might be more than a little naff to begin a blog post by quoting Tears for Fears, but I caught a snatch of Mr Pessimist the other day, and that couplet connected with the theme that’s been haunting my thoughts, while floating elusively out of my mental reach.
The jigsaw assembled itself properly while I was visiting Melbourne for Good Beer Week. Experiencing the pride and excitement the Australians have for their beers and brewers, feeling the camaraderie, and seeing the queues out the door of notable craft beer venues were uplifting things to behold. There was a dramatic contrast between this joy of spirit, and the feeling I’d had on leaving New Zealand, where the last thing I’d done is catch up on the forums on Realbeer. I shouldn’t have done that.
What is it about we Kiwis that causes us to be constantly sniping, looking for holes, and generally being sad sacks about things? I’ve heard it described as “tall poppy syndrome”, but I’ve seen it expressed as dislike of any new idea from any source, even more diminutive members of the family Papaveraceae.
We have such a lively and creative beer scene here in New Zealand. With every chance we get, we should be banging that tambourine. After all, every time we convince another person to drink flavourful craft beer, made right here in New Zealand, that’s one more little bit of demand in the market which helps to ensure more great beer for us to enjoy.
I’m not trying to say we should all be “fake”. Constructive criticism is encouraged almost everywhere. Nobody can fix a problem if they are not aware they have one. Also, there are some things about which it’s just not possible to have anything but a sense of withering disdain. Neither am I claiming to be blameless here. I’ve certainly been guilty of having a dig when it would have been just as easy, and far more productive to be positive. What I am suggesting is that we try harder. Don’t assume there’s a dark motive behind a new release. Give the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst. Don’t pour scorn just to sound aloof or cool. Passion is cool. Get passionate!
It’s time for me to stop being the “evangelistic brother” now, but I’ll finish up by saying we have an amazing beer scene. Get amongst it. Celebrate it. Hug a brewer, a barman, a fellow drinker, and just feel lucky. It might be contagious!
In case it seems that way, this is NOT an “Australia is better than us” post. I loved the little I’ve seen of Australia, but I also love NZ dearly. The GBW experience was simply a catalyst for something that’s been bugging me for quite some time. Right. As you were.