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Free as a bird . . . Andy Fyfe with two rainbow lorikeets. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Andy Fyfe (55) is a freelance music journalist in the UK. He went to Watlington Intermediate and Timaru Boys’ High School before working as a reporter at The Timaru Herald. In 1988 he moved to the UK and has written for music magazines such as NME, Q and Mojo ever since. He now lives in Hastings, England, with his wife and two children.

Q How has your life changed because of Covid-19?

Being a freelance writer I work from home and inside my own head anyway, so not going into work isn’t a thing for me. This situation, however, is like the boringest ever summer holiday: the kids are off school, but we can’t go to the beach or Spain or even beyond the end of our street without good cause (or maybe we can, the UK Government’s rules often contradict themselves, sometimes within the same actual rule). We didn’t have a family summer holiday last year because I was in the middle of writing a book which would pay for this year’s family summer holiday. Fat chance of taking that.

Q Is living overseas much like home?

We moved to Hastings on the south coast for a slower life after 20 years in London. My wife Fiona works in the music industry, too, and we’d often see two or three bands a night, six nights a week. Soon as we made the move I realised how much I missed living by the sea, how much it meant to me. When I left Timaru it was a slightly rough-at-the-edges coastal town just off the major tourist routes with an undercurrent of violence and drugs. Now I’m in Hastings, a slightly rough-at-the-edges coastal town just off the major tourist routes with an undercurrent of violence and drugs. I’m home!

Q How is Covid-19 challenging you?

All parents already know this, but keeping the kids entertained and motivated is a huge challenge. That and stopping them from killing each other. Schoolwork is another area of “robust debate”. Before landing in journalism my intended career was primary school teacher but I can now definitively state that it was a lucky escape for both me and teaching: there is no way I have the patience for it. My new hobby is inventing ways of disguising wine bottles in the recycling.

Q What do you want to do when the pandemic tension eases?

Everything. Anything. Spend a day at our beach hut, go to a gig, paddle board to France, shop in an actual shop, drink beer in a pub garden with friends, hug someone I’m not directly related to, burn my mask, fight a condor.. I won’t know what to do first, and pray I won’t’ve forgotten how to do it.

Q Do you miss home?

I was in Timaru overnight a week before Level 4 happened, having dinner with friends at The Oxford. I hadn’t been home for a decade: The Hydro was gone, Caroline Bay looked gorgeous in late summer sun, it still seemed to take a day to drive the length of North St. What I miss most is the smell of Peel Forest. It’s New Zealand in a bottle: nothing else in the world smells like our native bush. Tell you what, though: trying to buy Timaru souvenirs is bloody difficult. The only place was the South Canterbury Museum, but what they had was ace.