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James Paul on shandies, sourdough bread, and Shania Twain

James Paul is going through a bit of an Americana pop phase at the moment.

Each week we ask a member of the Whanganui community to ask what their perfect weekend in the region would look like. James Paul is a Whanganui music teacher and co-founder of Black Sand Music Retreats.

On a Friday, I would invite a friend – just one friend, no more – for dinner and a few shandies. Then, I’m off to bed at 8.30pm.

I’ll wake up nice and early the next day, make breakfast, and head down to my studio (Drews Avenue) and record some music. Then, I’ll pop downstairs to Article café for a mid-morning coffee, grab some dumplings from the [Whanganui River] markets and pick up a loaf of basic sourdough bread from SourBros bakery.

Then it’s off for a quick dip at Castlecliff Beach, if she’s a good day for it. After that, I’ll get into a nice relaxed state and head out to Paloma Gardens. It’s the ultimate weekend, so the place will be kitted out like the set of Twin Peaks when I arrive.


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I’ll spend a bit of time sitting and contemplating out there. My relaxed state will wear off, and then it’s back into town.

When I arrive, the news will break that Shania Twain is in town that night. I’m really into Americana pop at the moment, so that’s perfect. There will be free sandwiches, too.

Before the gig, I’ll hang out in my friend Jack’s garden with a few people and drink beers.

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