Yellow Brick Road by Trevor Plumbly

Paved with good intentions Time was; every major city had a seedy side. I remember Soho in the late 1950s, awash with hints of vice and criminal activity, yet oddly appealing and relatively safe for gawking visitors: sadly the place traded its character for gentrification. However, here in Auckland our fringe citizens are made of sterner stuff and Karangahapi Road (‘K’ Road to locals) continues to thrive amidst ethnic cuisine, sexual scrabble and good old-fashioned character. The ladies and gents of the night, as well as most known gender variations in between,… Read More

The two sides of Christmas by Angela Caldin

I was in Newmarket a couple of days ago with my elder daughter doing a little Christmas shopping. In the streets the decorations glittered in the sunshine while in the shops the Christmas songs warbled over the festive wares. That’s when it happened, or perhaps I should say more correctly, that’s when it started. It washed over me like a wave, took over my body and mind and turned my heart into a heavy stone. It’s a malaise, a melancholy, a disquiet and a discontent. It’s called Seasonal Curmudgeon Disorder. The Christmas… Read More

Eureka and all that by Trevor Plumbly

The fab lab As I’ve indicated before, I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll return in recognisable form once I’ve conked it. BUT… if I did, I’d want to be a researcher; they seem to have all the fun when it comes to academic studies. If you’re one of these bods you can do all sorts of stuff, like getting a degree in Beatles music. Imagine! Interminable hours spent analysing the social impact of ‘Yellow Submarine’; such a sacrifice surely deserves a degree. It would be nice to think that that particular… Read More

Of Mice and Me by Trevor Plumbly

The Patter of… tiny feet has once again visited our place, but not in infant form. Memories of my grandsons’ feet ever being tiny or pattering are fuzzy, to say the least; currently it seems more likely that they were born wearing army boots. Our newest intruders however, are mice. Now whilst I subscribe to the ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ philosophy, I don’t like mice. Despite the best efforts of Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera, I find there’s something inherently nasty about the little buggers. The first sighting occurred whilst Pam was… Read More

Another Threatened Species by Trevor Plumbly

In the Ascendant Some things in life just fade away like dinosaurs; others, like giant pandas and such, drift into decline then get saved and clapped in cages for Joe Public to gawk at, which strikes me as marginally worse than extinction, but then I’m of the age where a bit of cynicism is fun. Mother Nature however, is a bit more serious: to balance the scales, she provides us with creatures that we can bomb the chemical bejesus out of with little or no effect, such as the Australian cane toad… Read More