(these are just extracts. It's an extremely long article and very little of it is relevant.)
"Young she was and yet not so. The braids of her dark hair were touched by no frost, her white arms and clear face were flawless and smooth, and the light of stars was in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; yet queenly she looked, and thought and knowledge were in her glance, as of one who has known many things that the years bring".
That is how JRR Tolkien describes Frodo Baggins's first sight of Arwen, daughter of Elrond, and here I am sitting right across a cafe table from her.
Or rather from Liv Tyler, who plays her in the film version of Lord of the Rings, now being filmed in Wellington.
Of course, at this point, the fact that she is playing Arwen is pretty much all that Liv Tyler is able to say publicly about Lord of the Rings, but I can't resist quoting that description because, whether watching her previous films or seeing her here, now, it's pretty much clear that Tolkien's description could have been written with her in mind.
But there is another fact about Arwen which is actually more accurate about what's happening in the cafe (though I only recall it afterwards). Arwen is pretty handy with jewel work and right now Liv Tyler has taken control of my tape recorder and is trying to get it to work. In a nightmare moment it's chosen to break down despite working fine when I checked it beforehand. It's a neat moment because it encapsulates the impression that Liv Tyler makes: straightforward and unassuming, happy to pitch in. Not about to do the star turn. And, better yet, something does get the recorder working.
[bits about her youth, love of music, previous work]
On her Christmas break from Rings, she shot scenes for Altman's next film, Dr T and the Women, and says working with him has been liberating. "Bob always casts me as the outcast," she laughs.
The Altman experience also points to an important facet of Tyler's career so far, in that she's usually been part of very good ensemble casts.
"I think a lot of actors will do movies where they're the big star. I've never felt the urge to do that. I've felt that I'm doing this because I enjoy it and continue to be excited by it, and I'm learning from it. What better way to learn than to work with really amazing directors and actors? I think that's really how I choose my projects."
Tyler volunteers one thing about The Lord of the Rings that fits with this. "I'm particularly impressed with the acting. A lot of times when you think of a genre of film that's going to be quite large and have a lot of special effects, the acting can suffer because of that. But everyone's doing such a brilliant job. Peter Jackson is an amazing director -- you feel like he's almost acting in the scenes with you. He's very present in there".
Of course, Rings is an extraordinarily long shoot. It's had Tyler in Wellington since September last year, and could keep her in town as late as December.
But despite being a long way from home, Tyler says she finds Wellington an attractive place to be. "Oh, I'm really sensitive to my surroundings and I'm just really blown away by how beautiful it is here every day. I think it's incredibly amazing to be here at all. And it helps to be working hard because then you don't feel as homesick".
I mention to Tyler that when I'd told people I was going to be interviewing her many of them seemed to have a Liv Tyler encounter story. The curious thing was that they often didn't realise it was her till just after she'd gone. Has she become a figure around the town?
"People are incredibly friendly, so it's hard to tell. Sometimes I can tell on the weekends when I walk around, but I think everybody's pretty used to me by now.
"But it's nice being here because I've been able to do things that I wouldn't normally get to do when I was at home just because I'd be distracted or life would be too manic. I've been doing lots of watercolours and pastels and doing lots of things that are really important to me -- to try and have fun, you know?"