Yorkshire mini-break by Angela Caldin

I’m up in Yorkshire enjoying a few days immersion in all that is wonderful about this county including its down-to-earth people, its direct talk, its breath-taking landscapes and its wry humour. Northern rivalry I should point out that I’m from Lancashire, a diamond of a county, but locked in a centuries old rivalry with its neighbour over the Pennines. Who remembers learning about the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century with the white rose for the House of York and the red rose for the house of Lancaster? As if… Read More

Ya gotta laugh by Trevor Plumbly

A funny thing used to happen Listening to an interview with John Cleese the other day made me wonder whether the current plague of PC is strangling humour. Comedy has always carried an element of cruelty: from the Buster Keaton custard pie sketch to the murder of sensitivities from Billy Connolly, somebody has to ‘cop it’ to amuse those who weren’t on the receiving end. Listening to Cleese, I realised that nothing was spared: all manner of sacred cows, including his late mother and ex-wives were woven into a barrage of hilarious… Read More

O holy night by Trevor Plumbly

The dream Wrong time of the year I know, but at my age I’ll take memories whenever I can get them. Contrary to the portrayal of joy and goodwill, our school class production of the nativity play provoked a long standing feud more suited to Shakespeare than the New Testament. Miss Folster was largely to blame; she was Casting, Script, and Musician. Emotionally ice-bound from the toes up and, as required of lady teachers of the time, totally devoid of any feminine properties that might have distracted a young mind. She had… Read More

Long live the Beatles by Angela Caldin

The granddaughters have discovered the Beatles. In a BIG way. For the last two days of the summer holidays, before the new school year starts here in NZ, the house has resounded to the rhythm of those enduring songs with the granddaughters joining in with gusto. I’m amazed at how quickly they’ve learnt all the words. I think it all started with a recent showing on NZ TV of Carpool Karaoke – When Corden met McCartney in which Paul went around his old hometown of Liverpool, pointed out the church where he… Read More

Unplugged by Emily Smart

Last week I was invited/cajoled/told in no uncertain terms that I would be attending Bandquest which according to its website is ‘A platform for the next generation of contemporary musicians to step out and perform in a supportive and encouraging competition format.’ I went along not feeling supportive or encouraging and rather wishing I could be at home in front of the TV on a Friday night. However, my just-turned 13 daughter was performing as the drummer with her band Socially Awkward, so I felt a little obligated. I don’t do gigs…. Read More