Posts by Gabor Toth

  • Speaker: Public art is no place for committees,

    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.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Two Sevens Clashed,

    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...

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Vote for Water,

    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...)

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Fulminating and fermenting, in reply to steven crawford,

    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.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Fulminating and fermenting, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    I think that despite our beer tastes becoming more sophisticated, in New Zealand we still expect a high pissed-ness to dollar ratio. One result is that certain styles of craft beer end up being much stronger here than they ever were traditionally. Not helping in this regard is that we probably pay about a 1/3+ more for a pint of decent beer in NZ than you would in central London.

    The high cost of good beer in NZ was what drove me to (or rather back to) home brewing. I had dabbled in it as a student back in the late 1980s but the results of my kit-and-kilo brewing ranged from crap to unremarkable. Returning to the craft two decades on armed with the internet, higher quality ingredients and access to well-stocked home-brew shops, I was surprised to find how easy it was to produce a damn fine pint for a fraction of the cost one would pay at an on / off license.

    I really admire the work that some commercial craft brewers are doing, but the price we have to pay in this country for a good quality pint of beer once everyone has taken their cut can be eye-watering. Beervana appears to be in the same club; $45 a ticket to attend a five-hour session and the beer is $6 - $8 per 250mls glass on top of that. Those sorts of prices may be being used by organisers as some sort of anti-munter mechanism, but Dramfest costs only $59 per session with over 250 single malts and blends to try at no additional cost.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Fulminating and fermenting,

    so I can use my own honey from my own honey bees as the sugar

    You have to be careful when using honey in brews; too much and it can taste pretty horrible. I learnt my lesson in this regard when I made a true ginger ale (i.e. an ale using root ginger instead hops) and used far more honey than the recipe called for (it's honey so it's got to taste good right?). The problem is once the yeast has gobbled up all the sugar in the honey, what's left can make the brew quite sour. You just have to use it in moderation.

    I can’t say I’ve ever had a lager I’d call “nice” (although some are good for lagers). Like a good pilsener, though. And stout.

    Lagers are funny things for the home brewer. For what is probably the most popular style of beer in the world and which lacks much in the way of taste (decently hopped Pilseners exempted) they are actually quite difficult to make well. Also, for a style of beer best drunk in hot weather, you can only really make them in winter (unless you have a way of chilling down your fermenter) and then you have to "lager" it for weeks on end (conditioning at a low temperature of around 4 - 6 c) before bottling / kegging.

    Stouts on the other hand are great for the home-brewer; you can use just one hop and simply boil the hell out of it without having to worry about the timing of additions. Here's a great Chocolate Milk Stout recipe if anyone wants to try it. It's a partial-mash so is a good first step for those who want to move up from "kit and a kilo" brewing but not as complicated as doing a full-mash.

    Chocolate Milk Stout

    1 x 1.7kg tin Black Rock dark liquid malt extract
    1 x 1.7kg tin Black Rock light liquid malt extract
    500g Lactose
    100g good quality Dutch cocoa powder
    200g of Black Patent grain crushed
    250g of English Chocolate grain crushed
    70 grams of Fuggles hops
    1 packet good quality English ale yeast (e.g. Safale S-04)

    Any decent home-brew shop should have all of this.

    1) Heat 10 litres of water in a 15 litre stock-pot to 70 c degrees. Add the crushed patent and chocolate malt grains in a grain bag or muslin. Hold the 70c temperature for 25 minutes.
    2) Remove the grain bag and bring the pot to a boil.
    3) When boiling, add the 70 grams fuggles hops, malt extracts and lactose. Boil for 90 minutes. Apologize to your other-half for the smell enveloping the house.
    4) Add the cocoa powder 10 minutes before the end of the boil.
    5) At the end of 90 minutes cool the pot in an bath of water. Pour into sanitised fermenter and top up with cold water to 23 L.
    7) When temperature is down to c.20 c, sprinkle over yeast and ferment at 18 - 20c for as long as it takes (normally about 7 - 10 days or so)
    8) Bottle or keg as usual when the specific gravity has been stable for 48 hours.

    OK to drink after a couple of weeks in the bottle but longer is better.

    That will give you 23 litres of damn fine stout for about $50 worth of ingredients

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Going solar?,

    If you have some basic D.I.Y skills and have half-decent access to your roof cavity and basement, you can still save hundreds of dollars installing your own insulation. I did both our ceiling and underfloor and calculated I saved over $1000 (even with the EECA subsidy taken into account) for what was a couple of weekends of work. It also means that you can choose the insulation type that suits you best rather than whatever system an particular professional installer is tied to (which for them tends to be a cover-everything blanket / wrap type system as they are the fastest to install using largely unskilled labor). For instance I installed "GreenStuf" between joists underfloor rather than a wrap system as wraps can make access to plumbing and wiring a complete PITA if you need to get to them.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The People's Poet is dead!,


    Here’s a listing in the Listener for the very first screening of the first episode in NZ;
    Friday 30th August 1985 on TV One followed by a five-minute news catch-up and then Gary McCormick hosting “12 O’Clock Rock” (which IIRC was generally pretty crap). Though I have a lot of respect for Rik Mayall’s subsequent work, nothing quite captured the Zeitgeist as much as The Young Ones did; it was the perfect show for the times.

    I also have Rick to thank for introducing me as a teenager to Trotsky who I had never heard of until then. It sent me first to Encyclopedia Britannica and then to the history books to find out more (but I knew enough about 1930’s history to find Alexei Sayle’s Mussolini impersonations hilarious).

    Sean Plunket gave over virtually his entire show on Radio Live this morning to the passing of Mayall; it made for a great nostalgic radio show.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Original Beats, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I was worried about her voice, but it’s definitely back in good shape.

    The Daily Telegraph’s reviewer called her Shepherd’s Bush Empire show the night before “mesmerising” and compared her to a young Kate Bush.

    The Independent went for “malignantly powerful”

    Meanwhile, back in little old N'zild, Stuff seize upon a mildly negative review from the Guardian and use it to splash "**Board by Lorde**; 'A little monotonous'" as the main feature on the front page of their website. She is obviously getting far too big for her boots for New Zealand's biggest news website who feel it's time for them to get out the great Kiwi clobbering machine and cut that tall poppy down to size.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Facing the floods,

    Just to note a missing decimal point in an otherwise moving and poignant reply from Hebe; the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra was allocated $1.25 million from the recovery fund, not $125 million.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

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