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Travel - 15th Nov 2017

Journey into Russia By Laurens van der Post; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy
By Laurence Sterne; Apples in the Snow: A Journey to Samarkand by Geoffrey Moorhouse

What these volumes have in common is the word 'journey'. They all deal with genuine journeys: I mean when someone travels somewhere or goes on a voyage. The word makes one think of historical explorations or feats of physical bravery and endurance, treks, tours, expditions or even cruises. You get a sense of adventure and, essentially. travel.

What kind of journeys do people make these days? They seem to go on fitness journeys or learning (aaargggh) journeys or spiritual journeys or self-improvement journeys or weight-loss journeys. You even hear of journeys through the City Council Planning Department to get a building permit or journeys through the health system to get a consultant appointment.

Let's save the word 'journey' for movement between different physical locations that involves actual travel with some luggage (or even without). Try using a bit of the huge vocabulary offered by English and choosing a more appropriate word for the learning journey.

Men / Women - 14th Nov 2017

Men / Women Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps
by Allan & Barbara Pease

Have a look at this list and decide if you think men or women are better at them:

  • reverse parallel parking
  • doing more than one thing at once
  • driving at night
  • map reading
  • mathematics
  • listening
To confirm that your prejudices are correct and to get a supposedly scientific and biological but humourous explanation for the differences, you need to get a copy of the above book. It's an easy read and claims you will discover the truth about men and women and learn what to do about it.


Would she be proud of you? - 13th Nov 2017

Would she be proud of you? Tamara Sheward and Jenny Valentish (eds)
Your Mother Would Be Proud of You: True Tales of Mayhem and Misadventure

Just as I started to write today's item on the above book, my brain wandered off at a tangent (which it does quite often). The positive thing is that it was a vaguely related topic, which is sadly not necessarily normal for me. This tangent concerns the use of the expression 'I'm proud of you'.

Your mother and father can certainly be proud of you (as they have had a lot to do with most things you achieve). A teacher could be proud of you for passing an exam, for example, as he/she has had a hand in that A grade. You can definitely be proud of yourself as in the main you are responsible for the successes in your life, although it would be rather odd to be proud of yourself for winning the lottery as you've done nothing to deserve it.

Which brings me to the heinous crime of saying "I'm so proud of you" to someone you hardly know. An example is Jesse Mulligan interviewing a world famous classical musician on National Radio recently and saying "I'm SOOO proud of you" when she mentioned a competition she had won. It is condescending, sycophantic and cringe-making. Make sure you avoid this unctuous, oily, insincere use (which just makes everyone think of Uriah Heap).

What's the connection - 10th Nov 2017

What's the connection What connects all of these: a roof, a dunny, a cowshed, a haybarn, a feed silo, a postbox, a mountain hut, a boatshed, a crib, and an architectural fashion statement?

Even those who guessed the connection immediately will enjoy Stuart Thomson's
Wrinkly Tin: The Story of Corrugated Iron in New Zealand
and those who didn't get the answer will be amazed at this A to Z of corrugate. It has far more uses than I've mentioned and if you cast your mind back to any tiki-touring you've done around the country, you can probably add another 10 examples of your own straight away. 

This is a much more interesting read than its title might lead you to believe and given that it is impossible to imagine New Zealand without corrugated iron you might as well learn some more about it.

Art and bookshops - 9th Nov 2017

Art and bookshops There is a lot to be found at 20 Dowling Street. On the ground floor sits the Milford Gallery with lovely windows out onto the street so you get a peek at their current exhibition. On the floor above the Gallery is the wonderful Hard to Find Bookshop where you are always welcome to pop in and browse. On the floor above the bookshop are some artists' studios.

One of these studios belongs to the well known Dunedin painter Sam Foley. He is not only a good upstairs neighbour but he is also a very good artist who is about to have an exhibition. If you are not familiar with his work, you are really missing something. The image on the right of this piece is not a photograph - it is one of Sam's amazing works, a lifelike representation interpreted subtly and uniquely by Sam's eye and hand.

His latest exhibition is called Dowling Street: Paintings In, Of and Around About. You can visit it at his studio (20A Dowling Street) this weekend Sat 11th and Sun 12th November between 12 and 2pm or from Monday 13th to 30th November at the Artist Room Gallery, 2 Dowling Street.

Architecture - 7th Nov 2017

Architecture Take a busman's holiday with an architect. If your wife / husband is an architect, you could set off on a world tour with the aim of seeing all the architectural greats as well as having an enjoyable holiday at the same time; sort of giving your trip a different focus (instead of the usual wine, food and self-indulgence). However, if your partner is inconveniently an accountant or a dental surgeon, you won't be wanting a busman's holiday. Never fear. All is not lost.

Harry Seidler's The Grand Tour: Travelling the World with an Architect's Eye will come to your rescue. Clutching this little volume, you can confidently visit Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, The GUM Department Store in Moscow, Angkor Thom in Cambodia, the Copan Building in Sao Paolo, Frank Lloyd Wright's Kaufman House, or the Pont du Gard in Nimes. Just enough detail to whet your appetite and drag you to far flung corners of the earth.

Fellini The Artist - 6th Nov 2017

Fellini The Artist Edward Murray's Fellini The Artist

You know that one of Fellini's most famous films is La Dolce Vita starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg and Anouk Aimee to name just one of the famous actors and two of the famous actresses who starred in the production. I wonder if today these three would insist on being referred to as 'actors' rather than actors and actresses as they were then? It seems reasonable for actresses to wish to be known as actors, I suppose, but I am left pondering how they can then be nominated for and/or accept an award for "Best Actress". That doesn't make sense and smacks of hypocrisy.

However, that is nothing to do with this book. Federico Fellini is probably the best known of all Italian film-makers. Most have heard of him and seen one of his films, such as the above-mentioned or La Strada or Casanova. This book looks at the man behind the films and also focuses on the how and why of his film-making. 


Asterix - 3rd Nov 2017

The Adventures of Asterix
by Goscinny and Uderzo

Many people love the adventures of Asterix and his companion Obelix and the humorously named characters that populate the books such as Dogmatix, Impedimenta, Gluteus Maximus, Dubbelosix, or Huevos and Bacon..

Warwick has just bought a large collection of these ever-popular cartoons so they are now out in the shop. These ones are all hardcover and in pretty good condition. With the dreaded as-yet-unmentionable present-giving occasion approaching, they would make great gifts for the children and adults in your life.

Some of the titles here are Asterix at the Olympic Games, Asterix in Belgium, Asterix and the Great Divide, Asterix and the Great Crossing, Asterix and Son, Asterix and the Banquet, and Asterix and the Secret Weapon.

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