Posts by Gareth

  • Hard News: The remarkable rise of…,

    On this whole "separate realities" thing: the roots go back a long way, and lie in a concerted effort to manipulate policy. In Naomi Oreskes' Merchants of Doubt, she tracks the efforts of think tanks and tobacco companies to delegitimise facts as a basis for policy. Selling doubt enabled the tobacco companies to delay the inevitable, and has worked really well to defend fossil fuel interests in the face of action on climate change - but it has been assisted by huge investments in the creation of an alternate reality, networks of think tanks and lobbyists around the world prepared to argue that black is in fact only a shade of white, and anyway, it's too soon to arrive at a final decision on its black or whiteness.

    Of course, this deliberate effort has been weaponised by the arrival of social media and the consequent echo chambers that people can live inside - never troubled by reality, unless it bites them on the posterior. There's a reason why "belief" in the seriousness of climate change goes up after an extreme weather event: it's difficult to be a denier when you're drowning...

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Big Night Outage, in reply to John Farrell,

    Matches (you have to have them for the candles*) answer the first problem, and I wasn't aware of the second. Not fitted on my old hob, at least.

    *We also invested in headlamp torches. Wonderful things, even if you do end up looking like Torchy The Battery Boy

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Big Night Outage,

    Having spent 6 days without power 5 years ago - after the windstorm that felled trees in great numbers throughout North Canterbury (a gust of 200kph recorded on the hills behind us) - I learned a few lessons about resilience. We are resolutely rural, so expect to be more vulnerable to outages, though they are thankfully rare. The local lines company Mainpower is pretty strict on trees and will trim or fell any it thinks threaten their lines (at your expense, unless you do it for them). We paid a fair sum to underground a section of the line round a spectacular gum on the edge of the garden.

    One thing I've learned: cook with gas. I've always insisted on having a gas hob and electric oven. You can live without the oven for a long time if you've got a kettle-style barbecue/BGEgg/pizza oven, and, well, you're cookin' with gas...

    I really should buy a battery back up for charging phones etc - but the old farmhouse roof will need updating before too long, and that would be a good time to hoist some solar PV and stick batteries in the garage.

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: NME – it was…,

    I'm old enough that my first NMEs were bought and obsessively read in the late 60s, but by the early 70s I'd moved on to Melody Maker, which had moved with the long-haired times rather faster than the then staid NME - which began its reinvention under Alan Smith from 1972 onwards. By the late 70s, I relied on Time Out for its gig guide, rather than NME or any other weekly...

    I was on nodding terms with Alan in the early 80s, when he'd moved on to being a publisher of video magazines. Nice guy.

    My favourite bit of NME lore was the staff reaction to being moved into that bland faceless tower on the South Bank, stuffed with women's magazines and knitting publications. Typewriters were defenestrated, smashing on the car park below...

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Besties,

    Attachment

    Pickles, the perfect cat

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Besties,

    Attachment Attachment

    Spring flahs

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Besties,

    Attachment Attachment Attachment

    Where we live, where we holidayed, and the animals

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Re Spain: I had the best seafood meal of my life at Rafa's in Roses (on the Med coast north of Gerona) last year. I have never had the equal in NZ. Our seafood is generally of high quality, I'll agree, but nowhere can you find the sheer range of fish and shellfish served so fresh and so simply as at that place. Simple grilled fish is all he does. A bit of lemon and a salad (the latter only if you ask nicely) to go with it. Lots of good wine. Rafa's idea of dessert its to bring out a tray of oysters. He serves only what has been landed in the harbour that day.

    Our fish has to go through an approved processing chain before we can buy it. The only way you can match that freshness here is to go out on a boat and catch your own - or eat at a restaurant which has good suppliers.

    What sets the Spanish/Med apart from our food culture is that local markets (rather than supermarkets) are very important. Educated consumers who expect the best, and by and large get it. We need more of that here.

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants,

    One observation on curries in New Zealand: when we arrived here 21 years ago, there were very few Indian restaurants in ChCh. The best we found was run by a Fijian Indian family, and to someone accustomed to the standard British curry menu (which is rooted in Bangladesh, cf Rick Stein's India), their food was... odd. Delicious, but odd. They told me that most Indian chefs of the time were from Fiji.

    Over the next 10 years, there was an explosion in the number of Indian restaurants, but this time the chefs actually came from India. Again, the food was often delicious - and arguably more authentic than Brit curry - but it didn't take them long to work out that a good proportion of their customers were either UK expats or NZrs who cut their curry teeth in Britain, and so their menus evolved more towards the British/Bangladeshi norm.

    One dish that never made the trip was the one I ate the most in my earlier life: chicken dhansak. This - in its Brit curry form - is basically tarka dhall with chicken, sweetened and soured a bit. Proper sub-continental dhansak is a lot more complex, but you know, you likes what you know, and I'm pleased to report that the chef at the Curry'n'Kebabs in Amberley is now producing a rather good off-menu version. You'll have to try it, Nik... ;-)

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: News Memories 2: The Twitter thread,

    Joe Meek was certainly instrumental (sorry) in introducing all sorts of sound effects and recording techniques to the charts. He was what you might call a character...

    His biggest hit eerily prefigured the White Stripes...

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 267 posts Report Reply

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 4 5 27 Older→ First