31 Jul Last Day of #DryJuly

So here we are – Dry July, done and dusted. What did I learn?


I sleep better. I genuinely thought I needed a glass of something to relax and get off to sleep. Turns out I would lie there thinking, “I will never get to sleep, now. Look at me, all wide awake. This is going to take forev… Snore”. Plus I’d sleep the whole night through like a dead log. So long as I didn’t overdo the chamomile tea, sure. But dead-weight deep sleep. None of that donut-hole in the middle as my body processed the sugar in the alcohol and woke up for a dance at 4am and my mind got busy. Better sleep, then.


I eat less. They’ve done some experiments on mice (is it wrong that I would quite like to see a drunk mouse?) that shows that alcohol increases their appetite. Inconclusive if that works the same way on humans, but I am definitely someone who gets greedy after a glass of wine. Maybe I’m just relaxed enough to want to shovel all the food in my gob, or maybe there really is something that gets triggered in my brain by alcohol to set off “starvation mode”. But certainly, one lamb chop seems enough now and my pants aren’t quite so tight.


I spend less. The supermarket bill has dropped markedly, which is a bonus in these post-Covid times. I am living on a tighter budget these days, but it feels less tight than it otherwise might. A bit like my pants.


I am just as forgetful. I blamed my inability to remember what I did on Tuesday on Monday and Wednesday’s wine. Turns out, I still can’t quite remember Tuesday. So maybe that’s just me. Though person woman man camera tv. You know what? Maybe Tuesday just wasn’t that memorable. I am also capable of sending out wonky late night tweets and the second prosecco can’t be blamed for that either. It might be the darkness, or the tiredness, or maybe I’m just a wonky tweeter. Good to know. I will bear that in mind.


Also good to know is that largely no one notices when I am not drinking. It doesn’t ruin their dinner if I am having a soda water. I kind of knew that because of my pre-show rule about not drinking, and yet people who have known me for years still offer me a drink before I’ve finished work – my years-old rule hasn’t been noted. And I like it that I can choose not to drink any old time without anyone making a song and dance about it. That will be handy.


Long term goal? I am going for the 5 & 2 – I want my week to have at least five non-drinking days in it. Make drinking a special occasion, not a daily habit. Because of the sleep and the chops and the dollars. And because I would like to be in charge.


Thank you to everyone who has supported this reset – with dollars and with encouragement. I am thrilled about raising this money to support friends with cancer, and about learning a couple of things along the way. Ngā mihi nui.


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01 Jul End of Life Choice Referendum – Yes For Compassion

In September when we vote in the elections, we will also have a couple of referendums to vote on. (And yes, I am assured the plural is not referenda – shush, now.)


I will be voting “Yes” for the End of Life Choice referendum. I have written a personal piece about that here:



There are some moving stories and videos on the YesForCompassion website here:



And you can sign up to be part of the discussion on Facebook here:



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23 Jun Dry July 2020

After the madness of lockdown, I’ve decided to throw myself into Dry July – partly as a way to hit “pause” on the drinking, mostly to raise some money for a good cause. Follow this link to donate (the target is $1,000) and to keep a track of my sober diaries. Pre-season training went well, the real thing is now underway. It involves chocolate, and may also involve non-gin gin.


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22 May Live Comedy Is Back!

The Classic, the home of New Zealand comedy at 321 Queen St, Auckland, reopened on Friday 22 May at 7.30pm. Michele is back performing there regularly – head over to the Dates page for all the details.

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04 May Q&A with Michele A’Court – Tuesday 5 May 2020

Tuesday night at 7pm Michele will be in conversation with Neil Thornton from the NZ Comedy School. Neil is running an excellent series with comedians about their life and work. Nip over to my “Dates” page for the link to join via Zoom.

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14 Apr Covid-19: Play/Pause

It has been a long time since I tidied up around here – I managed to break my website some time ago so couldn’t update gigs and so forth. But (thanks to @vivster81) it is all functioning again. So no more tumbleweeds rolling through these pages, but also (hilariously and ironically) I now have no gigs to update.


As it is for many people in lots of industries, Covid-19 has meant that pretty much every job I had booked for what was looking like a very busy year has… vanished. Writers’ festivals, comedy festivals, fringe festivals, little trips to places like Dunedin, Wellington, Ashburton, filming the “On The Rag” web series, and guest spots on The Project NZ… All gone. Feel free to nip over to my “Dates” page but it won’t take you long to scroll through what is now mostly a bit of radio, broadcast from the comfort of my bubble at home.


I’ve been a very happy self-employed freelancer for the last 27 years, and I probably sounded a bit smug when I talked about my “portfolio career” – that I had a whole range of clients and revenue streams that ranged from comedy to writing to voice work to corporate events, plus radio and TV, the combination of which offered, in practice, “job security”. What this virus has taught me is that my work wasn’t really that varied – mostly it was me standing in a room filled with people, talking. And we’re not allowed to do that right now. The latest hit to our media industry has also swept away opportunities for freelance writing, so… Yeah, I’m still in my pyjamas. Those leggings I bought at a Farmers sale a couple of years ago on the off-chance they’d ever be back in fashion have really come into their own.


While other people are using Lockdown to get creative and be productive – write that novel, learn a new language, launch a blog, train for a marathon, script a show – I find I’m frozen in survival mode. There is grief (for the way my life used to be) and anxiety (about what happens next). So I’m sitting with both of those emotional states and working my way through them. Taking a pause, I guess.


There are delightful things about pausing, right? Small things, done slowly. I like not setting an alarm. I love watching the birds in our garden who seem to gather closer now, for longer, and in larger groups. I’m making discoveries about myself – I always said sure, I’d exercise if I had the time, and that I also might cook. I am massively surprised that this turns out to be true. I ride my bike, and I make paella now. I have tidied drawers and put things in alphabetical order. I make little goals each day and feel good about getting them done. Like, really little. One day last week my goal was to go through my pens to see which ones still worked. Achieved. Picture of pens above.


I won’t see my grandchildren till we get back to Level 1. That could be a very long time. So each day I am making a video for them of a bedtime story. If you fancy a low-to-no production value version of “My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes”, flick me an email.


Meantime, I’m going to catch up on posting some of my writing here – “Your Weekend” columns and the odd thing I’ve written recently for other publications. That’ll do until I feel like writing something new.


And a big shout out to anyone else who feels a bit stuck, or overwhelmed, or who feels like being very still because we’re not ready yet to reimagine who we are in this very different world. One of the things I learned when my mother died last June is that you can’t rush through the stages of grief – they take their own sweet time. I have a feeling that for lots of us, this is going to be the same.

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25 May “How We Met” debuts at Number 2…

“How We Met” debuted at Number 2 on the Women’s Bookshop top 10 bestsellers for April. To read (and listen to) the nice things the critics have to say, romp on over to the “Reviews” page.

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23 Mar “How We Met” – in bookstores now!

How We Met -Front Cover

My second book, “How We Met – the ways great love begins” is in bookstores from Monday 26 March. It started as an idea in July 2015 when I was out for dinner with friends and asked them the question everyone gets around to asking eventually: “So how did you two meet?” Ian and Clare told a great story about falling down a hole in a kebab shop, and I said something like, “Someone should write a book full of those stories.” And they all looked at me, and I thought about it for a minute, and said, “Ok, I will.” And here we are.

Almost three years later (after interviewing 42 couples, a neuroscientist and a relationship expert) it is ready for you to stick in your eyes. Funny, sexy, rude, ellaborate, surprising, outrageous and simple tales – woven together around my theory that we need great yarns to weave our lives together, and also that when we go back and remember how we fell in love, we fall in love again.

I will be taking the book to writers’ festivals all over New Zealand this year: Auckland, Tauranga, Masterton, Christchurch and Nelson – keep an eye on my “Dates” page for details.


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03 Sep On The Rag – monthly podcast

One of the most exciting and satisfying things I get to work on is a podcast for the Spinoff (a terrific news and social commentary website) called “On The Rag”. Hosted by Alex Casey, and with Leonie Hayden (Mana magazine) we chew over what the month has been like for women in NZ and the world. Expect hilarity, anger and Prosecco. Here’s a link to them all: https://thespinoff.co.nz/tag/on-the-rag/

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