Another month, another funeral of a close friend – and for our generation another loss - author, broadcaster and poet, Clive James. The ABC reports that before he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010, he was world-weary. “Those feelings vanished overnight as soon as I got sick… I just wanted to live” he said. He went on write eight books, columns and collections of poems. At our humble, but heartfelt remembrance, that sense of urgency was almost palpable. James had, as always, left us with a lesson.

The Wellbeing Budget and Amy Adams

There must be a special school for budding politicians, out of sight in the Wairarapa hills, where Party affiliation is no bar to entrance. All that is required is determination, dedication, and the ability to stand in front of a mirror for hours every day practicing the specialised language and robotic delivery of political Esperanto.

Continue reading

June Miscellany

Wit – the first casualty of political discourse

Contributor  Chris  Horan  put his finger on the dreary state of political oratory in this country now that cameras and mikes are everywhere.    The last memorable  orator  was  David Lange  –  trouble is,  his comedy masked the  dismantling of a  Kiwi society  many of us loved.

Continue reading

Green and gold vines amid gently tanned hills…

If I had my way on this autumn day, I’d be standing with my back to the sea, near Seddon in Marlborough, amidst grape vines with their lime green and gold lines. And I’d be looking out over gentle tanned hills, up to a great hunk of a mountain streaked with snow.

Instead, I’ve got to make do with the cover of a book.

Continue reading

On being secular…

Climate change, the future of work and bog standard racism should be enough to be getting on with. But no, a political party for religious fundamentalists is about to torment us by adding its peculiar ecclesiastical code of conduct to the various tribes in parliament.

Continue reading

Autumn – raking leaves and a bit of navel-gazing!

Never mind the  Pin Oak leaves  swirling in a sudden backyard leafstorm –  those russet layers of  red and  gold are the stuff  of  deferred gratification: raking them in the  backyard,  in  the pale autumn sunlight.    And forget  pulling out the spent summer crops, trimming trees and  the other gardening  chores.

Most  can be ticked off as done and dusted but the one I’ve put off  longer than usual because it’s been such a gloriously golden farewell to summer, is cutting back  our grapevine.

Continue reading

The Delusions of ‘Dolphins’ in the City of Sails

Four years ago my life was tipped upside down after making a rash phone call to my friend, Barry Copeland. We had just attended a small protest on Queens Wharf where we learned of Ports of Auckland’s 90 m expansion plans to Bledisloe Wharf. When I saw the extent of the port’s proposals, it touched a nerve. That evening I called my architect friend and said: “Barry we’ve got to do something about this”.

Continue reading

A view from the barber’s chair…

There’s not much to look at from a barber’s chair. On my last visit a notice at the bottom of the mirror caught my attention: “Like us on Facebook and follow your barber on Instagram.” since the barber was standing behind me with shears in his hand I was afraid to ask if it was a joke.   Perhaps it’s just in Wanaka where this kind of strange behaviour can be found? Not that I’m paranoid, but I’ve noticed that most of the books in Wanaka library are written by women – well, maybe I am paranoid, but I can read. So why is every book a world-wide best seller?

Continue reading

The persecution of Israel Folau…

Back in the 1950s and sixties homosexuals were ridiculed and persecuted. Now, people who dare to criticise homosexual lifestyles are ridiculed and persecuted.

It’s time we got over our zealous mission to protect the sensibilities of homosexuals. The battles for homosexual acceptance were waged decades ago and by the end of last century the war was won. However, not everyone was won over and nor will they ever be.

Continue reading

One December Dawn

(Anzac Day has  passed but in what  seems like a season of remembrance, John Anderson  recalls this little known attack – for Kiwis at least – on the seaport town of Hartlepool and the Royal Navy).

December dawns differ from June dawns on the North Sea.  In the depths of the dark, dreary December days, the same North Sea grey is flecked with wind whipped white waves.  Moreover there is a mucky mist to the day’s dawn.  On land the dawns are dull and dank, unbearable perhaps if not for the Christmas illuminations near the end of the month.

Continue reading