Other Voices, Other Rooms

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GUEST WRITER JAMES BLICK considers the art, craft and pitfalls of travel writing

23 Sep 2012  |  4 min read

“White sand? Tick. Turquoise sea? Tick. Sunset cocktails? Yep.” That was the opening line of a travel newsletter that dropped into my inbox the other day. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, except that I was part way through home & away, a new collection of award-winning Kiwi travel writing (New Holland $35). As a young travel writer still... > Read more

GUEST WRITER DON McGLASHAN on the power of songwriters in a cold climate

17 Sep 2012  |  4 min read  |  6

What follows is Don McGlashan's speech at the Apra Silver Scroll Award in Auckland on September 13, 2012. We print it here with Don's permission and it's our privilege to do so, as much for its inspirational quality as its political truth. Welcome to another Silver Scrolls - the special night in the year where we celebrate music and the people who write it. I want to talk about... > Read more

GUEST WRITER GREG HAMMERDOWN survives a 24-hour hard rock road trip in Central America

27 Aug 2012  |  9 min read  |  3

We’re two hours into what turns out to be a 24 hour road-trip, and already I’ve had beer, white rum, lemonade, orange juice and ice, either spilt or splashed over me, as refreshments get passed overhead to the five Metallers who have taken up occupancy of the rear seat. The bus loudly changes gear, momentarily drowning out the distorted sound of Slayer’s Reign In... > Read more

Luz del Norte

GUEST WRITER ANGELA SOUTER returns to Malaysia for a different experience again

24 Aug 2012  |  7 min read

How often do we go back to countries we have visited previously? Sometimes life is too short and money too tight, but my husband and I decided to go back to Malaysia recently and sample more variety after a visit to Kuala Lumpur a year ago. He had visited Langkawi and found it a pleasant laid back environment somewhat reminiscent of peaceful visits to Greek islands, with incredibly... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JEFFREY PAPAROA HOLMAN on the bard of the public bar

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman  |  13 Aug 2012  |  4 min read

“The stage is good . . . it’s part of my page”. Somewhere, in one of the many clips of Sam Hunt coming off stage that flicker through the DVD The Purple Balloon And Other Stories, a documentary about the man who must be New Zealand’s best-known poetic identity, the artist in focus comes out with this defining statement, implying to my ears at least that the... > Read more

Hey, Minstrel

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND sees power corrupt in stark black and white

6 Aug 2012  |  3 min read  |  2

Robert Rossen’s tightly directed 1949 drama All The King’s Men is a story of the moral and political corruption of an honest hick swayed by an unchecked ego and greed for power. It is a dialogue-driven film with punchy lines that still sound sharp today, and it is shot in clearly defined black and white. Rossen also wrote the screenplay adapted from Robert Penn... > Read more

GUEST WRITER NICK SMITH confronts musical prejudice and pure emotion

30 Jul 2012  |  2 min read  |  2

Musical prejudice or snobbery is always with us. Fans are forever dismissing whole swathes of music for reasons that seem ephemeral. A common one is it's popular; another one is it’s old. The latter reason particularly grates. To dismiss as rubbish all music older than 10 or 20 years seems a tad rash when you consider that Neanderthal man carved flutes, oral tradition hands us... > Read more

Lamento della ninfa

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE looks at when Grand Prix drivers would crash and burn

19 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

In those years between 1961 and '73 – when Grand Prix drivers “wore lucky charms instead of seat belts” – those behind the wheel seemed expendable. A conveyor belt of new talent signed up and was unleashed on circuits with little or no safety precautions. This was a terrifying era when the accepted face of Grand Prix racing was something we can barely comprehend... > Read more

GUEST WRITER MARK ROSE continues his search for perfect food in Japan

9 Jul 2012  |  8 min read

Situated in the basement of an office building in Tokyo's Ginza district, the critically-acclaimed restaurant Sushi Mizutani is a nine-seat sushi bar – a very simple room without fuss. The food experience is by far the most interesting I have had. And it was put further into context as I had eaten at The Waterside Inn, also a three Michelin star dining room in the village of Bray in... > Read more

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE slows down to look at car crashes

4 Jul 2012  |  2 min read

I’ll admit it right now, I’m a huge motor racing fan, but I can't stand Top Gear. Rare in this neck of the woods but . . . there you go. This might make the task of watching a documentary hosted by TG's Richard Hammond a less than appealing prospect but I have good news, Hammond offers a candid and fascinating insight into the effects of brain injury, focussing on his own... > Read more

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE explains the addiction of stockcar racing

2 Jul 2012  |  4 min read  |  2

I blame my father for my addiction. Week in, week out, he dragged us kids along to Waikaraka Park Speedway for “Stockies” on a Saturday night during the Seventies. At first it wasn’t so bad, if you stood under the terraced seating on the back straight you could collect the discarded Coke bottles and take them to the food vans for the refund. By the end of the night... > Read more

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY offers a down-the-front rock experience

Jonathan Ganley  |  25 Jun 2012  |  2 min read

Between 1981 and 1991, photographer Jonathan Ganley was regularly taking photos of bands and gigs in Auckland. At first he concentrated on the big names of post-punk when they played here, such as the Clash, New Order, and The Fall, "and then I caught some of the first and second wave of Flying Nun throughout the rest of the Eighties". "It had to be... > Read more

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND takes in big colonial history in Algeria

18 Jun 2012  |  3 min read

When Outside the Law (aka Hors-la-Loi) by the French/Algerian writer-director Rachid Bouchareb screened at Cannes in 2010 around 1200 people, revved up by a right wing politician, gathered to protest noisily. Interestingly, none of the protestors or the politician had seen the film before labeling it as anti-French and promoting terrorism. In a broad sweep of history, Outside the Law... > Read more

GUEST WRITER MARK ROSE dices with death for dinner

11 Jun 2012  |  2 min read

I have lived through my first (and possibly last) Fugu experience. I managed to book two months in advance at Usukifugu Yamadaya, a famous three Michelin stars Fugu restaurant close to Rappongi in Tokyo. As is so often the case in Japan with expensive restaurants, it was very difficult to find (and I had a Japanese guide!). Up a residential driveway, out the back, round the... > Read more

GUEST WRITER DAN DROUTSOS discovers the lost Seattle soul scene of the Seventies

23 May 2012  |  2 min read

The 2009 documentary Wheedle's Groove chronicles the brief yet intense heyday of Seattle's soul music scene, which bubbled up and simmered down again within the space of a few short years, and then spent another 30 or so in hibernation. Ringing a familiar bell, Seattle's relative isolation from the USA's traditional social and cultural hot-spots is both a blessing and a curse. Throw in... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JAMES BLICK wonders what he will be when he grows up . . . in Spain

21 May 2012  |  3 min read  |  2

I left New Zealand just over a year ago. Probably permanently. And as I suspect is the case for many expats, moving overseas became an opportunity for personal reinvention. Flying out of Auckland, I wasn’t going to Spain to reinvent myself. I was moving there with my Spanish wife, Yoly. But the temptation to start afresh is compelling. And moving so far from home is the ultimate... > Read more

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND on New York fashion photographer Bill Cunningham

18 May 2012  |  3 min read

Veteran photographer Bill Cunningham considers himself a reporter using his camera like a pen, astutely observing and documenting street fashion, society events and runway collections for The New York Times, and he is perhaps best known for his Street Style column, a barometer of emerging fashion trends that carries clout in the wider fashion industry. Cunningham is now in his 80s but age... > Read more

GUEST WRITER CHRIS BOURKE considers the early career of Randy Newman

14 May 2012  |  5 min read  |  1

It took only four notes – one introductory bar – of a Randy Newman song, and I knew that I was in for the long haul. The song was Sail Away, and that was over 30 years ago. Since then, my Randy obsession – so to speak – has been percolating and intensifying, depending on what he’s up to and how close I am to a piano. For me, it’s not just... > Read more

Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JULIAN REID with a photo essay of characters in London's Brick Lane

7 May 2012  |  1 min read

Julian Reid is a musician, graphic designer and photographer who has lived in London for 10 years. A sample of his downbeat/chill music is available for free download from Deep East Music here (go to downbeat/chill, the album is titled Dynamic Panoramic), and his website jlofi.com offers other examples of his photographic work. His YouTube channel features short films (here) and a... > Read more


GUEST WRITER CHRIS CREE BROWN on Tony Palmer's film about the life and music of Benjamin Britten

30 Apr 2012  |  3 min read

There's a wonderfully poignant tale about Benjamin Britten and (Sir) Michael Tippett. Britten, along with his long-time companion and inspiration Peter Pears, were both British pacifists and fled to America in early 1939. Upon their return in mid 1943, they met the composer Michael Tippett, a conscientious objector who, two weeks later, was sentenced to three months detention in... > Read more

The Prince of the Pagodas (extract only)