From the back of the front line by Trevor Plumbly

Honours and horrors I’ve made a few mistakes this week. The first was to scan the Queen’s birthday honours list. For some strange reason, I follow this every year; it’s a bit like squeezing pimples, it’s not pleasant but people do it anyway. I do it, not to check if I’ve been included, more to see if they can top last year’s inanities. True to form, there’s a ‘Sir’ for a rejected prime minister, baubles for a forgotten pop star, some sportsfolk and whoopee, a ‘cookery writer’ (services to glazed carrots?). Those… Read More

A good look by Trevor Plumbly

Looking back Historically, the attitude towards ‘blindies’ in the 19th Century left a lot to be desired. We managed the odd mention in literature as interesting background characters, excluded from the central plot, but in life were largely regarded as charity cases, except, of course, for those shielded by wealth. Academically, then, as now, there seemed to be no shortage of scientific papers on causes and effects, but most lapse into a terminology that render them practically useless as a point of reference to those of us experiencing sight loss on a… Read More

Thanks a million! By Trevor Plumbly

Jolly jack tars It’s that time again folks; the Circus is coming to town! The world’s wealthiest sporting clique is gearing up to battle for the America’s Cup and already the posturers, promoters and blatant arse-kissers are moving into action along with near-sighted politicians. There’s money to be made here folks and the dollar dung-flies are already starting to swarm. It mystifies me that a few mega-wealthy playlords could succeed in foisting this vanity-driven con job onto a country constantly striving to maintain healthy social and educational services. Press gangs The politicians… Read More

New brooms, same old dust by Trevor Plumbly

Political bigamy Fine words are always spoken prior to elections. That’s certainly no different down here in NZ, nor is what follows. Stentorian rhetoric gets watered down by the appeasement that comes with the MMP system.* The leader needs to ‘consult’ with two other leaders before actually ‘leading’. It’s ironic that a system touting broader representation looks like poisoning itself with its own prescription. Courtship At the ballot box, we were swept up in a flurry of expectation; our new prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was all we’d been dreaming of: young, idealistic… Read More

Moss gathering by Trevor Plumbly

By the book I think I’ve mentioned the importance books have played in my life. After my schooling was severely truncated, they were the cheapest form of entertainment and education available. In the late 1950s, I was living in a bedsit in North London, 12 bob a week, share bathroom and toilet with penny-in-the-meter electricity. Kilburn in the late 50s was far from welcoming, but it did have a public library. Bedsit etiquette was pretty much ‘mind your own business’, so in the absence of social contact, I wandered up and down… Read More