Square eyes and stress by Trevor Plumbly

Serial stupor Mother always insisted that television was an addictive force and, at the ripe age of 75, I’m beginning to believe the old girl was right. These days I can’t see a great deal on the screen, it’s more like having a big grey radio on the wall with lots of adverts, but, even for me, some TV programmes are a must, bringing back memories of the religious SHUSH for the Queen’s speech and Coronation Street. My current addiction is a quiz show called ‘The Chase’. Nightly, beer at hand, I… Read More

A blind date by Trevor Plumbly

By the book? Tuesday was to be a busy day: coffee and world correction with the gang, then on to Book Club which is much like any other, except we listen rather than read. We start off in an orderly round robin critique, but the fun starts with the open discussion; thanks to the stamina of Chairperson Janice, this falls short of verbal warfare but lacks nothing in the way of diversity. After dissecting this month’s offering (boring to brilliant), we moved effortlessly on to parrot ownership (honestly!). Never having owned one,… Read More

Divided we fall by Trevor Plumbly

He ain’t heavy Outside of terrorism, race is about the scariest topic down here. Everybody, it seems, has an axe to grind from the disgruntled to the fearful; few of whom add much to national unity. Colonialism has got a lot to answer for: South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand carry a huge burden of guilt when it comes to native rights, as they should, but surely today’s children are entitled to question why they should be saddled with paying the cost of ancient wrongdoing? Here in New Zealand, it’s a… Read More

United we stand by Trevor Plumbly

Some things need a total rebuild to function in line with their original purpose and I wonder if this isn’t the case with the United Nations. In a time of high global uncertainty, it seems about time for an overhaul. Dreamers and schemers In 1942, 26 countries signed the ‘Declaration by United Nations’ to form a joint war effort against the German, Italian and Japanese forces. This was followed by the signing of a formal charter in 1945. In those days the UN Security Council was all but governed by its five… Read More

Notes from down under by Trevor Plumbly

New Zealand: the safest place on earth! But that of course carries a cost: sometimes it’s a bit like living in a single room, with the smallest things providing distractions. We don’t have a Donald Trump to keep us amused or an Angela Merkel to keep us focussed, so our pressmen tend to leap at headlines rather than newsworthy comment, such as: rugby player Sonny Bill Williams deciding to tape over a bank logo on his shirt for religious reasons and an academic in Otago seeking funding to run DNA research in… Read More