Friday, November 30, 2012

It’s business-class time

Scott McCartney writes in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about the different preferences of male and female frequent fliers. Quote unquote:
Airlines with entertainment systems, such as Virgin America, say women prefer movies and men are more likely to tune into live news and sports.
You don’t say. The accompanying photo features my wife being a part-time model.

So here are the Flight of the Conchords:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What I’m reading #89

Questions in the Guardian we can answer with a simple no, and not just because this, ostensibly about Benjamin Britten, is really about the vile Savile:
Is it important, and if so in what sense and to what degree, that one of this country's most significant composers of the past century – in many people’s view, the most significant modern British composer of them all – was intensely attracted to underage young boys, invited them to stay at his home, sometimes took them into his bed, or kissed them? In short, does it matter that he was, by inclination if not in practice, a paedophile?
Media “reporting” of science satire.

Unkindness towards New Zealanders from an Australian. Racist!

David Thorne. That’s all you need.

Cactus Kate reviews Paul Goldsmith’s biography of Alan Gibbs. Quote unquote:
Heaven forbid someone reading this book not knowing anything about Gibbs may mistake him for someone vanilla-flavoured Tip Top without even sprinkles who secretly enjoys mini-putt and lawn bowls behind art installations on his farm.
This book simply is not worthy.
Today’s to-do list reads:
1. Fergus
2. Linda
3. Damien
4. Jill
It’s not as exciting as it sounds.

Nicholas Reid on Salman Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton. (In which spirit, my memoir will be titled Jimi Eric.) Quote unquote:
Rushdie makes his case for free speech clearly and at considerable length. It is hard to argue with a man who as been threatened with death for writing a novel. He is, however, perturbed that there were many, particularly on the Left, who did not defend free speech as fully as they could, and instead sympathised with Muslims as if they were still victims of European imperialism, and therefore entitled to issue death threats. In Rushdie’s view, this meant they were confusing whole Muslim populations with fanatical clerics who stirred up those populations to secure their own power. It also meant that they were confusing all Muslim civilization with the phase through which Islam is now passing.
The new Metro has a long and thoughtful review by Paula Green of the new AUP anthology of New Zealand literature and stuff like that. It also has a one-pager on my friend Benedict Wall who is to play the lead role in Pirates of the Airwaves. Quote unquote:
“I am having the time of my life. I love this shit.”
The Economist on James Bond, here, here and here.

Chris Bourke remembers Bruce Morley, a very nice man and a great drummer. One night in the Birkenhead Tavern – he was playing in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers with Bill Lake, Marion Arts, Robbie Laven and I can’t remember the bass player but it would have been someone amazing –  he tried to teach me to beat three with one hand and four with the other. Easy-peasy for him. Not so much for me.

The Great Barrier Reef alarmists jump the shark.

New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny would like your money. Why can’t English people talk properly? And why are there three Ts in “glottal stop”? That’s just cruel.

Astonishing to read in the Guardian of all places that Obama may be a psycho killer:
Political leaders and political movements convinced of their own Goodness are usually those who need greater, not fewer, constraints in the exercise of power. That’s because – like religious True Believers – those who are convinced of their inherent moral superiority can find all manner to justify even the most corrupted acts on the ground that they are justified by the noble ends to which they are put, or are cleansed by the nobility of those perpetrating those acts.
Political factions driven by self-flattering convictions of their own moral superiority – along with their leaders – are the ones most likely to abuse power. Anyone who ever listened to Bush era conservatives knows that this conviction drove them at their core (“you are with us or with the Terrorists”), and it is just as true of Obama-era progressives who genuinely see the political landscape as an overarching battle between forces of Good (Democrats: i.e., themselves) and forces of Evil (Republicans).
So here, for no reason other than he is awesome and you may recognise the riff, is Prince with his new song “Rock and Roll Love Affair”, which is much better than its title:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coming attractions

Light blogging recently as am busy mentoring a local writer (enjoyable), mentoring a distant writer (interesting), editing a manuscript (pleasant) and legalling my union (deeply unpleasant). All things must pass, so normal service will resume shortly. Coming up:

My review of Maxine Alterio’s novel Lives We Leave Behind: enthusiastic.

My review of AUP’s Anthology of New Zealand Literature: mixed.

Much more from Quote Unquote the magazine. This was the point of the blog but it is hard work – I don’t have the original files so have to recreate each one by scanning the pages and using OCR to get a Word file, then do intensive proofreading to remove computer junk, and then get permission from the writers, photographers and illustrators – which is why the postings are intermittent. The really nice thing has been that every single person I have asked for permission has been delighted that their Quote Unquote contributions will have a second life. Even though the magazine cost me my house and lost every other shareholder $10,000, and even though Kevin and I worked unpaid for the last two years – this makes it worth it. Kinda.

So here is George Harrison with the title track from All Things Must Pass:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Waikato Times letter of the month

It has been a long time since the last specimen – there seems to have been an outbreak of sanity in the region – but this week has seen a return to form. This letter is so good the paper ran it twice: on Thursday (headlined “Treaty contract not met”) and then again on Friday. Thursday’s one was lightly edited: it has marginally better grammar, is broken into paragraphs and has a correctly inserted apostrophe. It is more readable but makes no more sense than Friday’s version, which must be the original text:
Healing a Country
As an academic and studying the Treaty of Waitangi, I have found two true and proper solutions for New Zealand being misinformed about the Treaty. The Treaty of Waitangi is a formal, written agreement between Maori and the Crown. First, to terminate the contract where “a contract may come to an end, by reason of a failure of a condition in a contract”. There are many conditions in the contract that have not been met, by simply mentioning New Zealand government legislation such as 1864 Land Confiscation, New Zealand Settlement Act and 1846 Surplus (land taken). Another true and positive way to properly make the contract right is to include the weaker partner Maori into the base of the countries set up which is the 1852 Constitution Act. As a result the government was formed because of the conditions in the contract and changing this Constitution Act would make the governments focus every decision based on the contract. Last, as human beings normally like doing good, this is one way we could heal the country.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Putting Bill Manhire in his place

The latest Nielsen list of New Zealand bestsellers is out, for the week ending 17 November. Good to see my friends Maxine Alterio at #1 with Lives We Leave Behind and Brian Turner at #3 with Elemental. Hamish Clayton is at #7 with his brilliant debut novel Wulf (February 2011) and Paula Morris’s Rangatira (November 2011) is hanging in at #10. Excellent.

Best of all, Bill Manhire has been put in his place: his Selected Poems, #9, has been pipped by the new #8,  The Moderately Hungry Maggot which is the latest from, er, Bill Manhire.

I wonder if there have ever been two poetry books in the top ten before, or two books by the same author. Anyone know?

Non-consensual satire

As Wellington counts down to the premiere of The Hobbit next Wednesday, Danyl at the Dim-Post reminds us of an early satirical blogpost he wrote on Tolkein in May 2008 which spawned a comments thread that is even funnier than the original post. Do read the lot – it’s solid gold.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I’m reading #88

I have a copy of the new AUP anthology of New Zealand literature but I’m not allowed to say anything about the contents until the weekend, i.e. after the launch. I am allowed, however, to say that the cover is magnificent. Fortunately this is 2012 and appearances are all that matter.

Welcome to my world: Yuka Igarashi for Granta on how editing a book can drive you crazy. She’s not wrong. Quote unquote:
There was talk of ordering some food. I looked down at the sandwich menu: kiln smoked salmon and horseradish chive creme fraiche in toasted wholemeal bread. ‘Kiln smoked’ probably should be hyphenated, I thought – it’s acting as an adjective modifying smoked salmon – and ‘creme’ needs the accent. Also, does ‘in’ make sense here? Wouldn’t it be better if it was ‘on’? Was this some kind of innovative sandwich that involved salmon being placed inside the bread?
‘Why don’t we share some appetizers to start?’ one of us suggested.
‘Redundant,’ I muttered to myself. Appetizers are starters; either cut ‘to start’ or change ‘appetizers’ to ‘plates’. Then again, in some cases, people order only appetizers, and don’t go on to have a main course. So was it actually essential to say ‘to start’, to clarify that, in this instance, everyone should feel free to order more food after the first sharing course? I wasn’t sure.
I tried to concentrate on the actual conversation. The topic, it seemed, was the new Batman film.
‘It has a spelling mistake in it,’ someone said. ‘There was a shot of a newspaper headline. Spelled “hiest” instead of “heist”.’
‘Christ. Multimillion-dollar movie.’
‘Seriously. It was pretty hard to concentrate on the scene after that.’
Tina Brown on closing the print version of Newsweek – honestly, who saw that coming? Quote unquote:
there’s something about the way a magazine looks and feels when it doesn’t have advertising that is unbelievably disappointing
Oh yes. 

Madness have a new album out, Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da. So here is Suggs interviewed in the Guardian. Quote unquote:
When I was at Port Eliot Festival, I had a guided tour of the estate’s kitchens and was told that when one Lord Eliot, for financial reasons, was advised to get rid of his pastry chefs, he went upstairs to think about it, then returned and said “Fuck that – does a man only deserve a biscuit in the afternoon?”.
Tim Worstall on the demise of peak oil, suggesting that if the Greens are serious they should be shorting energy company stocks. If not, why not? What is their investment strategy? He’s looking for a money/mouth interface.

Two of my favourite NZ bloggers are back from hiatus: Poneke and Today is My Birthday! Good.

Via StatsChat, a ground-breaking study about a single molecule that determines complex behaviour. Quote unquote:
Though he cautions that the findings are too preliminary to be a basis for any specific recommendations, Dr. Famous says that drugs targeting the single molecule could some day help treat patients displaying this complex behavior. “It’s a controversial issue, because of course complex behaviours are what make us human, or at least animal, but for people dealing with the broken marriages, inadvisable purchases, and stained kitchen tiles that this behaviour can cause, a workable therapy would be a blessing,” said Dr. Famous. [. . . ]
“Ten years from now, if you ask someone whose science education consists mainly of skimming news stories, I’m sure they’ll confirm that this single molecule causes this complex behaviour,” said Famous.
Phil Parker – drummer extraordinaire in one of my old bands – on being a trained professional in a world that may need but doesn’t want your skills. What to do? Quote unquote:
I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and into areas I never dreamed of like acting and retail sales.  It’s not easy – I do three late shifts a week selling wine and that cuts in to family and social time.  I work very hard some days putting in 13 hours when a wine tour and a late shift coincide.  On the other hand some weeks I get three or four days off – so I get some time to catch up with friends, walk the dogs etc. 
The only thing that is certain is uncertainty.  Welcome to the new millennium.
So here for no reason other than every day is Gladys Knight day, here she is performing “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and “Neither One of Us”, live with the Pips – a brother and two cousins who were a more important part of her sound than they are given credit for – and a real big band. A masterclass in singing:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lunch with Robyn Malcolm

On Friday we had the third and final 2012 meeting of the Wintec Press Club, hosted by Steve Braunias. Robyn was a good choice as speaker because unlike some of her predecessors – looking at you, Winston Peters, Michael Laws and Paul Holmes – she is not an egomaniac. She has been on the receiving end of terrible treatment by the media and, without whingeing, explained to the journalism students what that is like.

I can’t quote anything she said – for one thing, most of it was wonderfully rude and this is a family blog; for another, Braunias had said when introducing her that Chatham House rules applied. But she was clear about the compact with the devil that one makes when one sells a story to a women’s magazine – one can’t complain about media intrusion ever again. Topics ranged from Shortland Street (the writers described her character Ellen Crozier as “a slut in a cardy”) to The Hobbit (and here Chatham House kicks in). She was funny, feisty and a massive hit with the students. And with every single heterosexual man in the audience. Some of the married ones too, probably.

Greg King’s recent death cast a pall over proceedings: he was the speaker at the September meeting. Braunias spoke movingly about him, but then brightened the mood by announcing that all present – Wintec media students, celebrities, politicians, sports stars, newspaper editors, magazine columnists and freelance freeloaders like me – would receive a free pen emblazoned with the Wintec Press Club logo. It was, he lied, a strictly limited edition so was a collector’s item. Plus, it was free. And it looks like this:

The new Close Readers CD, New Spirit, is in the photo to give a sense of scale. No it isn’t: apart from the awesome logo the pen is a standard pen, they are all the same size. The plan is that this will shame me into reviewing the album sooner rather than later. The boast: I was the first buyer. The skinny: it’s great.

As is the new Maxine Alterio novel Lives We Leave Behind, which I will review too but Vanda Symon beat me to it. She likes it.

Iris DeMent

My favourite country singer-songwriter has released a new album, her first for 16 years. It is called Sing the Delta and this is the title track:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What I’m Reading #87

Danyl McLauchlan at the Dim-Post translates Hekia Parata. One of his funniest posts, which is saying something.

Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?
How to make a movie. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

Who won what at the CLNZ educational publishing awards on Thursday night.

Kate Mossman, late of Word magazine and not yet 30, reviews Bob Dylan’s new album Tempest. She is wise beyond her years. Quote unquote:
Whatever, there’s a direct relationship between difficulty and vitality in Dylan’s work. The 2009 album, Together Through Life, felt weirdly static somehow – a lot of creative ideas were hemmed in by blues pastiches and straight love lyrics, and even the antique musical settings seemed to lock each song down within its own sepia-tinged, imaginary world.
Tempest is different – destabilising, disorientating, dazzling. It’s from the same musical palette he’s been exploring since the “comeback” trilogy Time Out Of Mind, Love And Theft and Modern Times (rich American roots, from creaky delta blues to juke joint swing, under the musical direction of his longtime bassist, Tony Garnier) but there’s something else going on here, too. The voice is startlingly close-miked and more urgent than it’s sounded in years, as if primed to deliver a few shocks.
Paula Benson-Gamble, an early childhood teacher, reviews children’s books in the Otago Daily Times. Quote unquote:
The Three Little Pigs, a story and play by Roger Hall and Errol McLeary (Scholastic) is about as politically incorrect as one would expect. And while I truly support and actively encourage children’s involvement in dramatic play, these three little pigs are called Tubby, Chubby and Bubby (which is repeated constantly throughout the story and play - Hall has obviously never had weight issues), so no decent parent or place of education would be able to use this book.
Because not only can some very young children read and understand meanings of written text but all children’s self-esteem and sense of worth (of themselves and others) begins developing at a very young age, so why would an adult purposely subject them to this?
Because the characters are pigs?

So here are Pink Floyd with “Pigs” from their horrible 1977 album Animals.

Monitors: Sarah Fraser, Mark Tierney, Cathy Odgers, Chris Bourke, Graeme Lay

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Truth about Trevor Mallard

Nice to see Trevor Mallard supporting his old friend blogger Cameron  Slater’s venture into MSM journalism as editor of the venerable Truth. Above, Mallard snapped yesterday afternoon in Wellington with the hot-off-the-press new issue. If he’s reading it, I guess all the MPs are.

The cover story, headlined “Banned! Labour can’t handle the Truth”, is about Labour refusing to accredit Slater (i.e. let him attend and report) to its annual conference this weekend, even though he is now the editor of the only New Zealand-owned weekly newspaper. I don’t think that Norm Kirk would have done that, do you? 

I have no idea how Slater will go as editor, but he’s off to a good start with NBR picking up on his last week’s lead story. And taking the piss out of Daffy Duck is always good.

There are technical issues with the paper (apart from the horrible but financially necessary porn insert): I have no idea who the person in the big cover photo is because there is no caption, and the front-page story is billed as “read p10 for more details”. Nope, it’s on page 11. Fine to get stuff wrong elsewhere, but never ever on the cover. Still, there is a bit of investigative journalism and a few jokes. And best of all, it’s working-class. Labour must hate it so much, but my media friends are watching closely.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I’m reading #86

The longlist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary award is out, and includes four New Zealand novels: Wulf by Hamish Clayton, The Larnachs by Owen Marshall, Rangatira by Paula Morris and The Conductor by Sarah Quigley. They are in contention with some Very Big Names – Alan Hollinghurst, Michael Ondaatje, Umberto Eco, Julian Barnes, TC Boyle, Amitav Ghosh, Michel Houllebecq, Penelope Lively, David Lodge, Frank Moorhouse, Mary Doria Russell and Stephen King. A.D. Miller’s Snowdrops is on the list too and I would be rooting for him if it wasn’t for the New Zealanders. I hope all four of them win, or at least make the shortlist.

Via Elliott Randall on Facebook, why pop music’s old metrics no longer matter. Mr Randall, you may recall, played the brilliant guitar solo on Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years”.

Speaking of Elliott, the great American composer Elliott Carter died on 5 November aged 103. He would have been 104 on 11 December. He was composing right up to his final months: he completed his last work, a piano piece called 12 Short Epigrams, on 13 August. A good set of tributes here. Quote unquote from John Tavener:
He, in the last 10 years of his life, seemed to rid modernism of all its angst, creating sparkling edifices of joy and beauty, like the Flute Concerto and Dialogues for Piano and Chamber Orchestra. From a composer’s point of view, he was an absolute master – and he did it better than any of us.
Anne Midgette on classical music performers’ dress code. Less is more, apparently. At least, it is for Yuja Wang. Quote unquote:
We say we want younger audiences, and we wring our hands over classical music’s possible demise; and yet when a young classical music star does something that would be completely normal in any other entertainment field, we pounce on it as being extreme, attention-getting, questionable.
Penguin and Random House are merging, the sky is falling. So say all the authors – but not me. And not Meg Rosoff, who finds reasons to be cheerful. Mind you, I have yet to check in with booksellers.

Tom Service’s guide to Morton Feldman’s music which tends to be long, slow and quiet. And on the beautiful side of ugly/beautiful. The guide has good links to YouTube clips. Feldman looked a bit like Jemaine Clement and was very witty. Previous post about him here.

Enough classical music. Here is Otis Redding with “Can’t Turn You Loose”.  Great performance (thank you, David Hepworth), though Redding dances about as well as Springsteen. I can just see Ike Turner watching this, wondering how to sex it up even further and invent the Ikettes. In the olden days, real live performances like these were on TV in prime-time. Kids today don’t know, etc:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear diary

Last Thursday I had lunch in Auckland with the lovely Karyn Hay and also Kevin Ireland.

This Thursday I will have lunch in Wellington with the lovely Mary McCallum and also Vincent O’Sullivan.

The day after I will have lunch in Hamilton with the lovely Robyn Malcolm and also Steve Braunias.

It’s a quiet life here in the country but it suits me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In memory of: Don Silk

A guest post by Graeme Lay about Don Silk, a wonderful man whom many readers will have met or seen at Trader Jack’s in Rarotonga. The cartoon of Don, intended for his as-yet-unpublished second memoir, is by “Kata” (Tim Buchanan) of the Cook Island News.

Don Silk (1928-2012) Author
Don Silk, a legendary South Pacific character, died last week. Originally from Northland, Don spent most of his life on his adopted home, Rarotonga.

In about 1992 Don Silk sent me a manuscript. We had first met in Rarotonga in the late 1980s and when Don found out that I was a writer he said that he’d written something about his life and could I perhaps help him find a publisher for his manuscript? I said I’d try, but I had the usual reservations. The unspoken corollary to the saying “Everyone has a book inside them” is “Yes, and that’s where it should stay.”

But when I read Don’s manuscript I knew immediately that it was a winner. Not only did he have a great story to tell, but he told it superbly. Don was a born storyteller and his account of how he became the Aristotle Onassis of the Cook Islands was warm, funny and hugely entertaining.

Nevertheless initially there were the usual rejections from publishers, most of whom wondered how they could market a book by a first-time author who was based on a remote island in the South Pacific. Don grew despondent at this, but I reassured him. “We just have to persist,” I said. “Many successful books were first declined by publishers.”

So we did persist, and Brian Phillips of Godwit Press accepted Don’s manuscript for publication. It came out in 1994, titled From Kauri Trees to Sunlit Seas: shoestring shipping in the South Pacific. On the cover was a delightful photograph by Glenn Jowitt of one of Silk and Boyd’s little ships being unloaded off Mauke.

Eighteen years later, Don’s memoir is still in print and sells steadily in Rarotonga, in the Bounty bookshop and at Trader Jack’s. It has been reprinted several times. This is a huge tribute to Don’s writing ability and the engaging nature of his memoir. Those publishers who doubted that a book such as Don’s would sell greatly underestimated its author’s crafty marketing ability. The story of how Don offered, then sold, “the very last copy of my book” to hundreds of visitors to Trader Jack’s has become a legend on Rarotonga.

Don’s death greatly saddened me when I learned of it. He was one of the great characters of the South Pacific.

About eight years after his book was published Don sent me another manuscript which he asked me to find a publisher for. It dealt with his years ashore, and particularly his role as harbourmaster of Rarotonga. Like his first memoir, it was engaging, entertaining and very funny. It was also the most defamatory document I had ever read. Every bureaucrat in the Cook Islands who had incurred Don’s righteous wrath was in it, lampooned mercilessly and hilariously. This was the sequel to Kauri Trees, which another Rarotongan character, Ewan Smith, suggested should be titled From Sunburnt Knees to Alzheimer’s Disease.

I knew that no publisher would dare touch this sequel, and told Don so. He was philosophical about this. “Keep the manuscript,” he said, and I have. Perhaps I’ll donate it to the Cook Islands Library for their archives. It should carry the warning, “Contents are guaranteed to offend many people on this island.”

As for From Kauri Tress to Sunlit Seas, I still have my first-edition copy. The inscription reads: “To Graeme. Best wishes from the Friendly Harbourmaster. Without your encouragement I may well have burnt the manuscript. Don Silk.”

Don was buried at sea, off Rarotonga. How fitting. To quote from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Requiem:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea
Don’s death notice in the New Zealand Herald on 5 November introduced him as: “Pioneer truckie, boat builder, yachtie, skipper, South Seas trader, ship builder, stowaway, magnate, Harbour Master, author.”

Friday, November 2, 2012

What I’m reading #85

Chris Bell really likes Sunken Condos, the new album by Donald Fagen. Quote unquote:
It’s an album you experience the way you did in the old days; you want to listen to the whole thing in a single sitting (ideally clutching a lyric sheet), not just odd tracks on shuffle. And, in the silence after it ends, the instinct is to sigh then to play it all over again.
Another great obituary from the Daily Telegraph: Prince Roy of Sealand, who established his own micro-nation on an abandoned fort just outside British territorial waters and declared himself head of state. Quote unquote:
Wounded several times, Bates survived malaria, sandfly fever, frostbite and snakebite. When a German stick grenade exploded, smashing his jaw and showering shrapnel in his face, he was told by an Army surgeon that he would never find a wife as he would be so badly disfigured. But as his wounds healed, Bates met Joan Collins, a former beauty queen from Essex, at a dance, and within three months they had married.
Not that Joan Collins, sadly. Still a great story 

Art theory: could the Rotterdam heistmeister be a Symbolist collector?

Shock and ore: Tim Worstall explains that we will not run out of copper or any other mineral resources because reserves and resources are not at all the same thing. Quote unquote:
reserves of ore are, at any one time, good for only a few decades of use. Because they are a both legal and economic concept and as such we only define as reserves what we’re likely to use in the next few decades. Or rather, only bother to do enough work to declare as reserves what we’re likely to use in the next few decades. Thus every generation does indeed use up the available reserves of minerals.
But that isn’t all there is of course: there’s also the known unknowns. We’ve only bothered to stake out this side of the hill and in a couple of decades we’ll do the same to the other side. We know it’s there, we’ve just not bothered to prove it yet. These are more generally known as resources. They’re there, we know that, we’ve just not gone through the expense of converting them to reserves yet.
Helen Sword on mutant verbs. I call it verbising, she calls it verbifying. She will be right. Quote unquote:
Any noun can be verbed. So can many adjectives: we prettify a room, neaten our desk and brown a piece of meat. As Calvin succinctly explains to Hobbes, “Verbing weirds language.”
Stuff is geographically challenged:
A 23-year-old Tauranga man caught allegedly drink driving told police he was speeding at 136kmh following his friend’s funeral as a mark of respect.
The man was leaving the funeral of Shaun Hogarth when he was stopped by police near the Pyes Pa cemetery about 2.30pm yesterday. [. . . ]
 Hunter said police were in the area because of complaints about boy racer-style cars driving around Mt Maunganui.
Mount Maunganui is on the coast; to get from there to Pyes Pa you cross the harbour bridge, go through Tauranga, past Greerton (where Vanda Symon and I went to school) and head for the Kaimais. It is about half an hour away by car. Boy racers from the Mount are not an issue. Australian sub-editors?  

In Landfall Nicholas Reid takes an austere view of Paul Moon’s New Zealand in the Twentieth Century. Quote unquote:
typically anti-Catholic spin 
A maths test. Go on, you try. I struggled with #14. Embarrassing.

A new blog to me. I’m going to have a go at the banana bread. Also contains Giles Coren’s review of Skyfall which has rather put me off watching the movie.

The Moderately Hungry Maggot by Bill Manhire, illustrated by Mark Harfield. Brilliant. The first page sets the tone:
Outside, under the kitchen window, a hundred eggs lay on a rotten chop.
A note on the inside back cover says, “This parody is for distribution within New Zealand only.” Long-time readers of the blog may recall this from Tane Thomson, which possibly was an inspiration.

Which brings us, once more, to Peter Maxwell Davies. His 1974 piece Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot, about a woman who was a model for Miss Haversham in Great Expectations, is not a lovely listen but is very much worth a listen. This is the original recording with Mary Thomas (soprano) and the Fires of London; this is a concert performance with Jaroslava Maxova singing: