Thursday, July 31, 2008

Too cool for school

Janet Frame’s short story A Night at the Opera was published in a recent (2 June) issue of The New Yorker. The story is generally reckoned to have been written in 1954 shortly after Frame had been a patient in the Avondale Psychiatric Hospital. A Night at the Opera is set in Park House, which was part of Auckland’s Whau Mental Hospital, later known as Carrington Hospital and now the UNITEC campus. Frame describes Park House as being “squatted directly opposite the door of the hospital kitchen, like a dirty brick imbecile waiting for its food.” The current inmates of Park House are UNITEC art students. It also served as a recording studio for Flying Nun’s band the Abel Tasmans when they recorded their fourth album, Store in a Cool Place.
Image: The Marx Brothers go crazy in their movie A Night at the Opera