A sorry state by Trevor Plumbly

Confessionitis It’s getting more and more difficult to find a blog topic these days; there’s too much heavy stuff out there and lots of folk waiting to spread a bit of grief. Take out politics, religion, racism, sexual identity and there’s not much left to debate about with much hope of a result. We’ve become inundated with thin-ice sensitivities; down here in God’s little acre, the days of carrying stoicism to the point of walking rigour have all but disappeared in favour of orchestrated outpourings. As soon as Mea Culpa became an… Read More

Recognising excellence by Susan Grimsdell

There was an interesting story in the paper recently about one of the world’s greatest violinists and conductors, Joshua Bell.  He has played in the great concert halls of the world including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre, from the time he was a teenager.  You will pay a lot of money to attend one of his performances. Subway blues Several years ago, Joshua took his 300-year-old Stradivarius violin for which he had paid $3.5 million, and found a good spot near a subway station in Washington DC.  For the next 45… Read More

Victim of Super Insects by Angela Caldin

I’ve been the victim of a complex marketing ploy and I may take some time to recover. Back in early September, as I was paying for my shopping in Countdown, the cashier asked me if I was collecting Super Insect cards. Not wanting to miss out on anything, I said yes, and she handed me three packs. Thinking that they might be educational, I gave them to one of my granddaughters. She was fairly enthusiastic and persuaded her mother to buy the $6 album designed to house all the cards. Complexity It… Read More

Education, creativity, life and death by Angela Caldin

I was sad to see that Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist, author and speaker, had died on 21 August 2020. One of his core beliefs was that education should encourage creativity rather than stifle it and his career was focussed on unlocking the creative energy of both people and organisations. I remember a few years ago watching his TED talk ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ and finding it both inspirational and funny. Apparently, Sir Ken was the most watched speaker in TED’s history and this talk was viewed online over 60 million times and… Read More

Varsity blues by Trevor Plumbly

On our annual visit to Auckland University’s Visual Science Faculty, five of us ‘blindies’ do a Q&A panel session with students as part of low vision day. I love these days; I can’t see the faces, but the energy in the theatre is contagious. However, the warm fuzzies cool down after a couple of days and I get whimsical. As a lad I never had a serious education; the income from a paper round was deemed more important to the family than a structured mind. So, ill-equipped and a little resentful, I… Read More