#5: Joe McGregor-McDonald

Wellington College classmate 1994-1998

When I started high school in 1994 I didn't know anyone in my class, but thankfully most of the guys were in the same boat. Natural groups began to form - Karori boys, guys from the Hutt, librarian types - and I fell in with a group of guys who caught the Paraparaumu line train and a few other dudes who kind of didn't really fit in anywhere else.

In a world of scared, introverted 13 year old boys in grey uniforms its hard to get much of a sense of anyone's actual personality. The first time our little gang ever had a chance to hang out together outside of school was going to be Lucien's birthday party and man, we were excited. Joe McGregor-McDonald told me he had the coolest pants ever. I didn't know what to wear.

I wore what everyone wore: sneakers, straight blue jeans and my coolest streetwear-brand-name t-shirt. Everyone except for Joe. He rocked in wearing baggy bright purple hammer-style pants with African patterns all over. He said: "They're called Zimbobaloobas".

We said "awesome".

#4: Arthur Karras

Furst Media Production Manager 2005-2007

When I lived in Melbourne I worked for Furst Media - a publishing company that produced a bunch of free music and fashion magazines. It's flagship title 'Beat' was started in 1986 and Arthur Karras had worked on it for most of that time. Thing is, musically at least, Artie never left the 80's. He lived in a glorious backstage-access hair-metal past and the rest of us real world people just couldn't understand. This was a guy who knew Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony Iommi, Peter Criss. He taught me everything I know about print production and worked tirelessly to pass the hair-metal torch on too.

We'd be in his car, on the way to check proofs at a printers somewhere and and he'd have his old mixtapes on - Motley Crue, Van Halen, Whitesnake. He'd be driving with his eyes closed, singing along to every guitar solo, slamming the steering wheel with every snare hit in pure ectasy.

#3: Lissa Chong

Victoria University classmate 2000 - 2002, VUWSA Exec member, 2002

I used to see Lissa at Beats'n'Bubbles at the Old Bodega every tuesday. We hooked up a couple of times in the way that students on cheap champagne night tend to do, and soon become good friends. We both studied politics and in our final year we were both elected to the Victoria University Students' Association Executive.

Her heart was always in it more than mine though. She'd be right up the front at protests, screaming her lungs out. I'd be at the back. She'd give the speech on the steps of parliament, I'd be asking around about the afterparty.

#2: Brendan Moran

Indigo band booker, Batrider Manager, 2003

My old band Batrider had our first ever gig at Indigo in Wellington, New Zealand on the 11th of August 2003. After we finished I noticed Brendan Moran - drummer of the legendary Hasselhoff Experiment and recently hired Indigo booker - at the end of the bar and plucked up the courage to ask him what he thought. "Heard it all before" he said.

But before long we'd won him over and soon he became our manager. There wasn't much to manage at that stage but most days after practicing our six songs we'd head down to Indigo and find Brendan in his spot at the end of bar - Macs Gold in one hand, ciggie in the other. He'd tell us which bands not to play with (most of them), which gigs not to take (most of them), and which labels not to talk to (all of them).

No 1: Michael Naitini

Next-door neighbour, Hampton Hill Classmate, Tawa Rugby teammate 1987-1990

The day we moved to 49 Franklyn Rd we were greeted by a serious looking line of kids along the footpath waiting to check out the newest recruits to the neighbourhood gang. Michael Naitini made the introductions. We were in.

From '87 to '90 we ruled all of McKelvey Place and most of Franklyn Rd, roaming our cul-de-sac doing exactly what all gangs of 7 to 11 year old boys do: Skating down the hill, making bmx jumps, building forts, throwing water bombs and playing Atari at Marcus Edwards's when it was raining.

Michael was the ringleader, always laughing, playing the clown. He had a killer sidestep and a knowledge of WWF Wrestling matched by none. He was the one who'd first sniff out a new adventure and it was him that usually took the blame when things went wrong. Was that Michael Naitini's idea? Yes Mum.

After school the two of us would endlessly kick a rugby ball back forth over the fence that divided our two back yards. I'd try to place it nicely, right where I thought he must be standing and into his arms - while he'd spray it in all directions and I'd be running to all corners of our yard. For years I thought he was really bad at kicking, but he just loved to make me run.

Classmates, flatmates, ex-girlfriends and the drummer from that old band. Childhood buddies, former rugby teammates, workmates, even Pete from Pete's Icecream Parlour. '200 People I Used To Know' will be exactly that - portraits and memories of 200 different people I've crossed paths with over the years.

I'm not going to post everyday this year - instead they'll be more in depth posts and I'm going to try to aim for 4 a week. I'm aiming to hand paint the odd one here are there in full colour and there'll be a whole new component of writing here.

This idea was sparked by my recent trip home to NZ after several years away and the long nights of catching up with family and old friends. They will be people I'm not currently in regular contact with - some I haven't seen for years and may likely never see again, and some I still consider good friends I'm just not currently in touch with. Also - it isn't supposed to be a comprehensive catalogue or a complete historical record, just a loose collection of memorable characters and (hopefully) funny stories. The portraits will be just how I remember the person and no doubt the stories will be my sometimes foggy recollections and perspectives on things - so let's not treat it as concrete facts. The way the internet works I'm sure some of the people I draw will find their way here and back into my life. That could get interesting.

Let's see how this goes - it's all a bit of an experiment, but I'm really excited about starting something new. Any questions, thoughts, feedback etc I'd love to hear it - leave a comment below. Yeah!

I'm back!

Hi there, long time no post.

I've just got from a nice long break - home to New Zealand for 3 weeks to see family and friends and then a week in the Phillipines. It was good to get away for a while, have a break from work and have some time to think about what I'm doing with this blog.

So a few good news items. First is that plans are still coming along for putting 2009's drawings into a book. I don't want to say too much more until it's all confirmed, but it's looking pretty exciting. Working title is 'Alledaags: A year in Amsterdam'. I'll let you know more as things firm up, but watch this space.

Next, relevant only really for Amsterdammers, is that Time Out Amsterdam magazine, starting with the current January issue, are printing one of the drawings in each issue this year. And they've asked me to do them in colour. I've done two so far (first one above), hand painted, and I think they look pretty cool, so check the Time Out for those. For New Zealanders there is an article on me and this blog (and Sonya too) in the excellent Extra Curricular which is edited and designed by my good friend Ellie Smith and comes highly recommended.

The last piece of news is that starting this week I'm going to take this blog in a different direction for the year. I loved doing the Amsterdam diary drawings but I'm worried about starting to repeat or limit myself. With the year's worth of diary drawing being collected as a book it seems like a perfect time to wrap that period up and start on a new, fresh project. I'll post a title page and the general gist of the new project soon, but I'm writing this to give you a heads up - change is afoot. Hurray!