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Posts from the ‘Culture’ Category

To be lost in a forest

Okay so it’s been a while since I promised I’d post about Bloc Party’s recent concert in Auckland, but I’m hoping it’s a case of better late than never. This was the second time in less than a year that I’d had the privilege of seeing these boys from London take to the stage (the first being at Zurich Open Air last August) and they absolutely delivered second-time around as good as if it was the first. The Powerstation provided a venue of perfect proportions (not too big, not too small, great acoustics) and the crowd was suitably excited. After all, it had been six years since Bloc Party had toured these distant shores.

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Best party on the bloc

Bloc Party visited New Zealand this week. It had been six long years since they had last seen these shores. Yes, they kept us waiting, but the wait sure was worth it…

Bloc Party

…I think it probably made the concert even better than we had hoped it would be. More tomorrow!


Photo by CIA, Powerstation, Auckland, New Zealand, 7 March 2013.


In the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), you can find this magnificent sculpture. The setting of the sculpture, surrounded by Eucalypts, creates a marvellous effect.

Cones I

On a bright sunny day, it lends itself well to playing games with reflection.

Cones II

Sometimes the result is mind-bending.

Cones III

The sculpture is by Bert Flugelman, and is entitled Cones. Should you ever pass through Australia’s capital city, the NGA is absolutely worth stopping for. (The collection inside the gallery is wonderful).


Photos by PJD, on a borrowed camera; with thanks to CHD. 

What has it got in its pocketses?

We were lucky to have won tickets to the first public screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We were seated quite close to the front, but the free popcorn and coke were a nice bonus. Because really, who wants to pay for popcorn? Free popcorn really does taste better.

Meanwhile, some excellent spot prizes were given away*, after which we settled in. But for what were we settling in? Many people at this screening (at 12:01 am, 12 December) were very excited, and appeared determined to love the film. We were a little more ambivalent — were three films necessary for the very slim Hobbit? is the fuss over the frame rate warranted? what about its troubled start in life? could Peter Jackson and his team create the same magic again?

So, a few days on, having had some time to ruminate, here are some thoughts on An Unexpected Journey. As a warning, there will be elements below that may constitute spoilers. If you don’t like spoilers, perhaps it would be wise to stop reading here.

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A little Auckland graffiti

Queen on the decks... Newmarket street art


Photos by CIA, Newmarket, Auckland, December 2012. The Queen on the decks is almost as good as Prince Charles making jokes

Who watches the watchmen?

Cover of "Watchmen"

Cover of Watchmen

I recently read Alan Moore’s Watchmen for the first time. Initially, I was not impressed — the story didn’t immediately grab me; the artwork felt strangely muted; the fear of nuclear apocalypse antiquated. The quotes from various reviewers (“Watchmen is peerless”; “A brilliant piece of fiction”; “A work of ruthless psychological realism”) seemed overstated.

Time magazine included it in its list of “100 best English-language Novels since 1923”. I thought this curious. After all, Watchmen was initially released as 12 separate issues. Is it really any kind of novel at all? Deeper consideration had me thinking of Victorian novelists (Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and many others) whose work was published in serialised form* so my skepticism was overcome, at least on that front. What finally convinced me, however, is that the more analysis I have applied to Watchmen, the deeper I think about it, the more rewarding I found it. For me, only great books can have this effect.

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Yesterday as we were taking a walk along the Wellington waterfront towards Oriental Bay (having just climbed to the top of Mount Victoria and back down again – another post on this to come!), we spotted a couple of people with a plentiful box of kina next to the water. Intrigued, we sat down near them and began to chat. Could these amazing looking creatures – and a source of food, considered a delicacy by many Māori people – have been found in our local (working) harbour, a stone’s throw away from our own front door?

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