Scooters then and now by Susan Grimsdell

There was a wonderful photo in the Christchurch NZ newspaper a week ago.  It showed about a dozen 10-year-old boys in the year 1921 at a primary school in a small Canterbury town, lined up on their home-made wooden scooters, looking deadly serious, several of them with bare feet.  The picture tells a story about each of those boys and their scooters.  We can be almost certain they had help from a parent or sibling through everything it took to get to the finished scooter.  Planning and designing, scrounging timber from around… Read More

Getting the message by Trevor Plumbly

We all strike moments when we doubt our intellect and I had one the other day. I was listening to the radio and this bloke, a Prof of some sort, was explaining the inner meaning of Bob Dylan’s lyrics. Dylan was pretty deep but this bloke was even deeper! Dissecting the great man’s thoughts like an emotional coroner, he left me verbally stranded after about five minutes, but what I did catch left me gobsmacked by his grasp of the unspoken. He shamed me into thinking that, by taking the piss all… Read More

After the gold rush by Trevor Plumbly

‘Helpless, helpless’ (Neil Young) Neil was scarcely boy-next-door material; he looked like someone had abandoned him in a doorway: overlong hair and a face that charity would describe as ‘lived in’. But the guy could write! He was the high priest of the folk/druggie followers (see ‘The needle and the damage done’). Vocally he wasn’t much, but then neither were the others; the message was more important than the melody. They were heady times with newly discovered drugs, rights, sexual freedom and social wrongs to identify with, from racial discrimination to nuclear… Read More

There’s no business…by Trevor Plumbly

Showbiz! Pre-Internet, politics was generally left to trade unions and the privileged. Personally, I’ve always voted labour in the hope that someday the goodies of life might be shared around evenly, but age and cynicism reduced that to theatrical fantasy. All the world may well be a stage, but reality doesn’t sell tickets like razzle-dazzle. Down here in NZ, we mightn’t do the flashy Broadway stuff, but we can tap dance with the best of them when it comes to ‘who-done it?’ or, for those currently in power, ‘who should have done… Read More

Hip hop across the world by Angela Caldin

I look forward to Wednesdays because it’s the day I go and collect my 12 year old granddaughter from hip hop. I like to go a bit early so that I can watch her and her fellow dancers going through their latest routine. Last week they were practising a segment which involved very fast arm movements, flashing above and around their heads. It looked challenging and hard to keep in time with the music and each other. ‘It’s called waacking,’ said a mother standing next to me. ‘Why don’t you tell your… Read More