Other Voices, Other Rooms

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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)

GUEST WRITER NICK SMITH gets blown away by Bach's little big one

20 Apr 2012  |  3 min read

The history of music is the history of revolution. Sometimes the change is technological – the invention of the piano caused a massive upheaval in the way people wrote and played music and it changed the sensibilities of the 18th and 19th Century listening public. Similarly, the electric guitar and amp became the musical equivalent of the AK47 as rock’n’roll... > Read more

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is seduced by the Impressionism, again

16 Apr 2012  |  2 min read

To be honest, I was very sceptical about the forthcoming documentary The Impressionists (Sky Arts Channel, Thur April 19, 8.30) I mean, the Impressionists – what don’t we already know?  We’ve got the apron, tea towel and placemats, and really, who by now hasn’t heard of them who’s interested in art? What’s more, the opening shot of the... > Read more

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is confronted by the work of painter Otto Dix

9 Apr 2012  |  3 min read

The paintings of Otto Dix are as unrelentingly abrasive as a mincing machine. It’s the kind of art you get when society is forced through a sieve then put under a microscope. It’s impossible to not be confronted by his work. In the documentary Ten Times Dix (Arts Channel, Thursday April 12, 8.30pm), we’re introduced to Otto by way of a short clip from an interview in... > Read more

GUEST WRITER CATHERINE HOWARD looks to the past and future in the stars

6 Apr 2012  |  5 min read

The day of the event, the transfer bus driver stops at his second scheduled pick up, but no one is there. However instead of promptly moving on, he swings himself down from driver’s seat, kicks the tyres and looks at his watch. After 10 minutes or so, he jumps back into his seat and, without a word of explanation, we rumble on to the next and last pick up. Here it becomes... > Read more

GUEST WRITER ROB SCOTT on the tug of two homelands

2 Apr 2012  |  3 min read  |  2

It really sneaks up on you, New Zealand. 

I’ve travelled close to 30 hours to get here. On this final 4 hour leg, I watch a few M*A*S*H episodes as the expanse of ocean passes beneath me. Between each I check the progress map, as the impossibly not-to-scale plane edges closer and closer to the New Zealand shoreline. The flight tracking is so accurate that when the... > Read more

GUEST WRITER STEVE GARDEN considers the fine art of the piano tuner

Steve Garden  |  30 Mar 2012  |  4 min read

You would be forgiven for thinking that a film about piano tuning would be enough to test the stamina of even the most hardened cinephile, but despite the rarefied world in which Pianomania is set, the film is far from minimalist. Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck’s fine documentary about master piano technician Stefan Knupfer is one of the most lucid and engaging of documentaries,... > Read more

Le Rossingnol; Andante Notturno

GUEST WRITER CHRIS CREE BROWN settles in for an afternoon of unfamiliar piano pieces

26 Mar 2012  |  5 min read

Sunday afternoon. And the prospect of reviewing four new CDs comprising of piano music by Saint-Saens and three other less familiar composers. An exciting prospect, but tempered by the thought that sometimes there's a reason why certain composers are less familiar, and that some pianists have been known to dredge out obscure music in order to have a point of difference and be noticed.... > Read more

Susi (version for solo piano)

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND sees Sinatra at his meanest and best

23 Mar 2012  |  4 min read

Suddenly is a Californian town where everybody knows everyone, it has been a “quiet day for the last 50 years” and words like shucks, swell and heck punctuate conversations. This setting for the 1954 B-grade thriller (directed by Lewis Allen) has, in retrospect, a corny naivety similar to Lumberton, David Lynch’s parody of small town Americana in Blue Velvet.... > Read more