Random Play by Graham Reid

6

Mix tape 2008

Mansion on the Hill: For those interested and who sent me their comments regarding the Auckland War Memorial Museum here’s the update. I attended an interesting meeting on Tuesday night with a number of other people and we discussed our personal responses to the museum, what we thought its strengths were (personal, academic, historic etc) and everyone was given a fair and democratic hearing by the chair Bill Ralston.

Because of the diverse group present it would be unfair of me to attempt any synopsis of the meeting but a couple of things were of interest: first that director Vanda Vitali was attentive, took lots of notes and in her comments at the end seemed very reassuring that she was listening to these roundtables and taking the input seriously.

I have no reason to doubt her. She spoke well about how she appreciated the importance of this institution.

I was put on the spot to speak first because I had kinda cheated and solicited responses from PA readers and so conveyed what you had said, I hope fairly: the “anything but Te Papa“ comments which came through; the “donation/ticket” conundrum which many of you consider annoying and off-putting; the importance of the place as not just an Auckland institution but also as the national war memorial; how badly lit and cramped some of the displays were, how much people liked objects for their own sake; and so on.

Not all of what I offered on your behalf or mine was agreed with by others there of course, but what was interesting was that at the end we made written comments and these were posted under groups of common ideas etc. It was observed that although a previous roundtable, which had had a significant Maori/Polynesian presence, identified very different aspects of the museum (and why some of their people didn’t go there) there was considerable consensus between us and them.

As Bill Ralston said, we took very different paths to come to similar (but not the same) conclusions.

It was a useful meeting and the invited people put their positions with candour and clarity. I went in pretty sceptical but came away thinking that if these discussions are taken seriously then we don’t need to worry about a Ferris Wheel for the kiddies being installed in the foyer next to the franchised fast-food outlet.

Of the staffing matters I cannot say, that wasn’t the issue we were discussing although the importance of institutional memory was certainly raised.

Power to the People: When I was in Seoul I visited OhMyNews, the online newspaper which is a cornerstone of citizen journalism. I interviewed a couple of people there and an article about the background to this important medium, why it emerged in the social and political context of Korea, and much more is here for your consideration. I’m speaking with Damian Christie about it on Public Address Radio this weekend too. It’s a future.

And I have cleaned up my rambling blogs from Seoul, added further information, useful links and some photos, and put them here.

Think For Yourself: Sick of TV3’s Duncan Garner framing the debate and telling you how to think about politics yet?

Dedicated Follower of Fashion: As Russell has mentioned previously, some PA contributors are donning hoodies and “getting down with the kids” next Friday as part of youth week.

I’m not too old and silly for this one -- I have my own hoodie but many thanks to NZAAHD for sending such a flash new one with the logo “young at heart” (which looks like the old Tom Petty/Heartbreakers logo) on it.

Kids get a bad rap in this country and the rhetoric before the election (from you know who) will be racked up to strike fear into the hearts of all decent folk in the nation.

Well, I was of that first generation of adolescent males that grew its hair and adopted jeans as street wear, so I’ve always been pretty familiar with being demonised or dismissed for my appearance (still happens folks, still happens). Girls in that period adopted miniskirts and were ridiculed in the media and called tarts and the like. Then later the maxi-skirt came along and the younger sisters of girls thrown out of school for miniskirts were being sent home for having dresses down to their ankles. It just goes on.

An item on the agenda of the first school I taught in was, how long should we let boys have their hair?. The staffroom went silent and everyone sort of didn’t turn to me, but kinda did. The matter was dropped.

Kids -- and I’ve had three who went through goth and Guns’N’Roses phases and the like -- are too often judged by the way they look and hoodies are just the latest fashion to come down the highway. It’s tough enough being young, awkward, worried about your body image and so on without someone assuming you are an unemployed, glue-sniffin’, spraycan totin’, gang member-thug just because you wear a hoodie and don’t look adults in the eye.

As they say, it’s what’s under the hood that counts right? Let’s hope some positive stories about our children start coming through more often. Seems to me the ones I know sing and dance and paint and think and make mistakes like we all do and pick themselves up again and . . .

The Art of Dying: Mr Brown has drawn attention to Matt Nippert’s interesting Listener article about funerals so I thought you might like to check out The Art of Dying about how we choose to conduct the manner of death, and how we want to control that part of our existence also.

Video Killed the Radio Star: and downloading is killing the CD, right? But many who download songs for $2 a time talk about not having something solid to hold. I have hit upon the solution. You buy from the Real Groovy vinyl dump bins.

Albums there are $2 (that’s $2 for about 12 - 14 songs!) and you also have something to hold in your hand. Or if the cover is bad enough (like Torsson’s Att kunna men into vilja, Dunno, Swedish maybe) or utterly wonderful (Marlene Dietrich at the Café De Paris) you can also get them framed. Don’t bother looking for the Hawaiian kitsch ones from the 60s, I’ve got them all.

Problem: you can’t download this nonsense into your I-Pod?

Well, if you really want to, there are turntable systems available for around $300 which you plug straight in to your laptop if you have the loaded software, so . . .

I have seen the future of rock‘n‘roll -- and it is in the dump bins. Cheap and fun.

(Vinyl lovers have a look at this nonsense.. Very diverting in these ever so serious times.)

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