I've been yelling repeatedly at the radio over the past few days at the often reported "fact" that this is the "deadliest violence to strike France since World War II". It's a terrible event for sure and I would never belittle it BUT the above statement conveniently ignores the Paris Massacre of 1961 which has been swept under the carpet of collective memory due to the fact that the perpetrator was the French State via Maurice Papon.
"Canada did OK by continuing to protect dairy / poultry,"
The small fraction of Canada that work in the dairy or poultry industry did ok. The other 99.9%, lost out by continuing to overpay for food.
And we don't? A quick check of a couple of Canadian supermarkets with on-line sales show their retail prices for milk and eggs being lower than in NZ.
Here we drop all subsidies and protectionist measures but the domestic consumer still gets shafted.
The first thing that went through my mind when I heard the story on the news this morning was "Black Mirror". A quick scan of the UK media indicates that a few million Brits thought exactly the same thing. Life imitates art.
The Black Mirror series didn't get much of a look-in in New Zealand but it had a big impact in the UK. The episode in question is called "The National Anthem" (it should be easy enough to find on-line) but note that the Black Mirror series is "not for those of nervous disposition".
Another interesting historic example I've recently come across is the film Secrets of Life.
The attached image shows crowds outside the Embassy Theatre in Wellington in May 1950. The film was screened to segregated audiences (women and girls at 2pm and 6pm, men and boys, 8.30pm, all youth to be over 14) and was supposedly about the dangers of venereal disease. It was written by American "sex therapist" Elliot Forbes who presented a Q&A session at the end of each screening.
In reality, the whole thing was a sexploitation fraud. The film was marketed in a titillating way to give the impression that there would be some serious rumpy-pumpy to be seen so the distributor deliberately introduced segregated screenings and included the Q&A session to turn it into a sex-education "event" (thus avoiding the ire of the film censor). "Elliot Forbes" never actually existed and was one of several actors that travelled with the film around Australasia, the idea being that they would get in and out of town before word of mouth spread that the film was complete rubbish.
The Wellington dawn service was very big and the only two speakers aside from the padre running the show were the two Governors General. Aside from the size the service was exactly the same as all those I have attended...
That and the fact that it was held at the new National War Memorial Park for the first time did make it quite special and I thought quite different from the dawn services normally held at the Wellington Cenotaph. We parked up at the southern end of the Terrace at about 5.10am. Walking down Abel Smith Street there were a few others strolling in our direction - and then we hit Willis Street to see literally hundreds of people walking down from Aro Valley. We were then joined by another couple of hundred students coming up from the hostels in lower Willis Street. With little traffic, many streets closed off to cars and most people walking near silently it was quite surreal experience. By the time we got to Pukeahu it was the largest crowd (c. 40k) I have seen on Wellington's streets since the LOTR premiers. The large screens made everything easy to see and though the NZ GG said a couple of things that made me wince, I'm still glad I went.
Even better though was the service at the Ataturk memorial on Wellington's south coast in the afternoon; small, intimate, very moving and equal consideration given to the Turkish side of the story.
Tapping still works folks, though alas not with pay phones (when you can find one). I recall trying it a year ago on a home phone in a fit of nostalgia and was surprised that it still worked. The exchanges can still read pulses for the few remaining old phones which still use them (some 1980s Telecom push-button "PERT" phones had a switch on the bottom with which you could select either tones or pulses). All you need is a home land-line and an old-school (wired and corded) phone that doesn't use any auxiliary power. Every home that has a land-line should have such a "dumb" phone anyway for emergencies and power outages (cheap as chips from the Warehouse etc).
Our exchanges still interpret pulses back-to-front from the international standard, so take your number, subtract each figure from ten (best to write the whole thing out), grab your land-line and tap the resulting number rapidly on the "hook" button with a short pause between each figure. I called my mother earlier this evening to check if it would still work and it still goes fine (and it felt as if I was 12 years old again!). I had a huge grin on my face when the call went through and my mum picked up the phone.
Each public art work should have its own project manager. This is not a job for a committee
Sadly, this is most readily seen in the private sphere rather than the public one though there are private collectors who do defer to committees (though undoubtedly they also choose the members). Last year I was fortunate to spend a fair amount of time on the Gibb’s Farm. Whatever you think of his politics (which I doubt would receive much support on this forum), what Alan Gibbs has created is nothing short of extraordinary. Wandering around (with mouth open in amazement) I also got the feeling very quickly that bringing together such works would have been virtually impossible under a committee selection / project management structure. With works of such scale, it’s not only the art to be considered but the engineering which is often pushed to the limits of what is physically possible (not something that a risk-adverse committee is likely to tackle). Serra’s Te Tuhirangi Contour and Bernar Venet’s 88.5° ARC x 8 are in my mind the two finest modern works of sculpture that exist in New Zealand. Venet’s work is normally located in nice sedate city squares. Sticking 88.5° ARC x 8 on an exposed wind-swept facing the Kaipara Harbour involved deadening chains hanging inside the columns to prevent the Aeolian effect of the wind shaking them to pieces and a 300 tonne base buried underground to stop the thing toppling over. Gibb’s thoughts on how he commissions the works is nicely summarised in the first three minutes of Lightening Dreams.
Something similar to emerge from the local archives recently is this cheap-as-chips RTP video dating from 1979 of Iggy Pop badly lip synching I'm Bored while on a promotional tour to Wellington. Again; this really is another world though with the Beehive under construction, Bowen Street looks remarkably similar to how it appears today with work currently going on around the war memorial.
But it is invited audience at the reception (with Phil O'Brien and Roger Gascoigne in attendance) that just screams culture clash. If anyone can identify the venue, I'd love to know where it is. Now Iggy already had a bit of a reputation for sure but it almost seems like the promoter hit upon the idea of "lets trap the Godfather of Punk in a room half full of Elton John and Eagles fans and see if he bites". Being the gentleman that he is, Mr Pop duly obliges...
It's all a Communist plot...
Which in 1990 Genesis P.Orridge sampled and somehow managed to turn into a poignant tribute to Ian Curtis (though it also works quite well as a pro-water anthem...)
Why do supermarkets refuse to sell non alcoholic beer to under eighteen year?
They also won't sell home-brew kits from the beer / wine section without I.D or after 11pm even though they contain 0% alcohol. However they don't have any issue with selling 1.5kg tins of Maltexo malt extract from the health food section + yeast which (minus hops) is essentially the same thing.