Cultural Elsewhere

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BOXER MAX SCHMELING REMEMBERED (2005): And a fighter by his trade

4 Apr 2008  |  3 min read

News of the death of Max Schmeling came through this weekend, a man who stood briefly in the spotlight of history. His name will not be familiar to you unless you are interested in boxing. I am. Beside my stereo as I type this there are a few old slices of vinyl which I play regularly, just for own enjoyment. There's Greatest Rap Hits Vol 2 (Grandmaster Flash, the Sugar Hill Gang and so on),... > Read more

BERLIN AND THE BICKERING KOREAS (2004): A Tale of Two Walls

4 Apr 2008  |  5 min read

Journalists are rarely given the gift of prophesy. And like some Alice in Wonderland character they are always running twice as fast just to keep up with current events. The luxury of second-guessing the future generally falls on columnists. Contemporary journalism largely consists of two motivations which might be given the same adjective: reflective. News journalism is reflective of the... > Read more

OLIVER JAMES INTERVIEWED (2004): If You're Happy and You Know It . . .

4 Apr 2008  |  8 min read

Five floors up in a swanky Auckland hotel room someone else is paying for, Oliver James should be happy enough, but he's concerned. He is grappling with the issue of happiness. Or more specifically the lack of it. James is asking a knotty question: why is there more unhappiness among the middle-classes of the developed countries than there was previously? The average 25-year-old American... > Read more

PROFESSOR BRYAN SYKES INTERVIEWED (2003): Genetics in the headlines

2 Apr 2008  |  9 min read

Academics are a pretty sniffy bunch sometimes, says Bryan Sykes. Which would be an amusing observation if this professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford was laughing. But his assessment is delivered as a dust-dry observation with the same unswerving clarity he brings to his research on the genes, chromosomes and other invisibles which make up human life. His language is telling... > Read more

CHARLOTTE YATES, HONE TUWHARE (2007): No ordinary son

4 Aug 2007  |  4 min read

The Tuwhare project – the album and performances in celebration of the late poet Hone Tuwhare – acknowledged not just the art but the artist. As Wellington musician Charlotte Yates -- who was commissioned to realise the project -- reminds us, Tuwhare’s first language was Maori until he was 10, and he was the first Maori to publish a book of poetry in English. That... > Read more

THE RELIGION OF RUGBY (2006): Ballet, with a point

4 Aug 2006  |  6 min read

The dinner party in a smart Auckland suburb in 2006 was thick with well-travelled intelligence: journalists, writers, academics, IT innovators and taste-makers from television and student radio. A multi-cultural mix of middle-class Kiwis. And the subject being loudly discussed was . . . rugby. Specifically the test between the South African Springboks and New Zealand’s All... > Read more

WARWICK BLAIR INTERVIEWED (2004): Getting the art back into the artist

9 Oct 2005  |  2 min read

For Auckland composer and music teacher Warwick Blair it has been a long journey to come full circle. In the late Eighties he won a scholarship to the Conservatorium in The Hague but during his studies was drawn to aspects of pop music of the period. He formed the band Glory Box and went to London. "We had success there and recorded, we were a bit influenced by Dead Can Dance [the... > Read more

THE DEATH OF KLINGHOFFER: Opera on the frontline of history

4 Aug 2005  |  4 min read

In the last quarter of the 20th century a new wave of opera emerged with stories which often seemed ripped from the headlines of contemporary newspapers. There were works about Richard Nixon going to China (by John Adams), the life of Malcolm X (Anthony Davis) and Charles Manson’s murderous “family” (John Moran). For those of conservative musical taste these... > Read more

Aria of the Falling Body

JOHN COUSINS INTERVIEWED (1989): Taking time to explore time

23 Feb 2000  |  3 min read

We see time contracted so often in our lives -- soap operas telescoping weeks into minutes, sports events distiiled down to highlight packages -- that it is sometimes hard to accept the longer natural rhythms of days and tides. But exploring time, especially in relation to the natural landscape, is the province of Christchurch artist John Cousins, a senior lecturer in music at the... > Read more