Our Chief Reporter at The Auckland Star  never stopped reminding cadet reporters how important weather news was to readers. We sighed - there seemed to be more important things happening. But we dutifully drove to the Met Office and returned with the Weather Forecast. Later we sidled self-consciously down to Queen Street with an embarrassment in our hands: a foot-long barometer. Then we scurried back to the office to write the noon temperature. How things have changed.  When Australian bushfires can create sepia skies over Auckland, it’s tangible evidence of climate change - and interest in this phenomenon intensifies. Our insistent Chief Reporter was right after all.

60’s school reunions

Like many other New Zealanders of my age,  I was weaned on innumerable cinema and television versions of American high school experiences; films such as Grease, Fame, Mean Girls, Donnie Darko,  and TV programmes such as Freaks and Geeks, Happy Days, Beverly Hills 90210 and Room 222.  There is also a long-established sub-genre in the school reunion movie, with films like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Peggy Sue Got Married, Grosse Point Blank and Class Reunion spinning tales of rekindled lusts, long delayed revenge enacted, and various levels of disappointment.

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A nation of landlords…

We do not have a housing crisis. The housing market works perfectly for those it was designed to serve. Landlords are now protesting because the precarious position of renters has (finally)  been acknowledged.

But who knows how long it will it take before the talk ends and the watered down action begins? And even then if the result resembles the government’s affordable housing fiasco where do we go from there? But we are not alone.

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Kiwi TV as we once knew it… Part two

Credit: ‘New Zealand Television – the first 25 years’, by Robert Boyd-Bell

The early television days were staffed by competent, experienced staff with mainly radio experience coping with second hand BBC equipment in small make shift studios with tape, lighting and telecine (film) operators in cramped uncomfortable cupboards/offices. Staff like Barry Warner, Colin Harrison, Geoff Eady, Robyn Petrie, Ian Hill, Stuart Murray and Russ Lambert and Bob Smith. We owe them so much.

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Grandma and the goat

‘Have a beer’, said a friend recently. ‘No thanks, juice will be fine’, I replied. Remembering me as a keen beer drinker, he looked bemused. ‘I’ve become a bit of a wowser, these days. Grandma would be proud of me.’

On another recent occasion, I was offered a glass of wine by one of my quiz night teammates. All the other members were imbibing. ‘No thanks. lemon, lime and bitters, will be fine. I don’t touch the stuff these days. Grandma would be proud of me.’

‘What you mean – your grandma would be proud of you?’ one asked. And so began my tale.

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Musical mayhem…

Bob strolls to the new coffee house not far from his home. The sun’s out, shadowed now and then by fluffy white clouds. He’s on his way to meet his old friend John and despite the weather he wears his faded raincoat – because, as he always  tells everyone in summer and winter,  you just never know with Auckland weather.

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All I want for Christmas is…

First I must declare that I’m involved with Better Public Media, so it is very apparent what I want from television in New Zealand.

But I also want more for other sectors of the media, for I have drifted away from mainstream (linear, scheduled) television and have joined the Netflix generation.  When I drift back to Television New Zealand or TV3, these channels seem like foreign places, where narratives are jarringly interrupted by extended breaks of increasingly banal adverts.

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Christchurch today – wreckage, and renewal

Standing on the fourth-floor balcony of Tūranga, Christchurch’s recently opened library sited on Cathedral Square, I gazed down onto the sagging ruin that is the post-earthquake Christchurch Cathedral. From this angle the decision to restore makes even less sense than it did three years ago when I viewed the wreckage from behind a ground level wire-mesh safety fence.

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Kiwi TV when it was full of promise…

It will seem mean to those who think the demise of TV3 is a shame, but I’m glad it’s gone and gladder still to see the beginning of the end of all television as we have come to know it. The dying distorted remnants of what was once an entertaining, informative and artistic public service has had its day after far too many years in expelling noisy, lingering death throes.

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