Archive for the ‘Films & shows’ Category

On Friday I went to a lunchtime concert by Janice Gray and The Boys which was part of the International Jazz and Blues Festival.  I’ve enjoyed Janice’s music over many years, especially when she was the resident at Tusker’s pre-earthquakes.  She’s definitely a senior (over 80?) but she’s an absolute professional and her concert was sheer pleasure.

Janice Gray and The Boys

On Saturday I went to ‘Yulia sings Edith Piaf’.  Yulia has an amazing voice, but I was disappointed that she sang only three Piaf numbers.  The rest were her own compositions.  While she is a dramatic singer I would have liked to hear more of the familiar Piaf songs that I love.

Both these concerts were at The Piano, just a short walk from home.  This venue is so convenient for me.  I hope to see more shows there.

“I can walk to The Piano
to see and hear a special show.”




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A friend recommended this film as being funny and full of clever one-liners.  I found it excellent, more serious than I expected, but there were some very clever lines.  With a wonderful woman hero (Gemma Arterton) and Bill Nighy – what’s not to like?

Perhaps I found it serious because the air raid scenes reminded me strongly of my mother-in-law, who endured the London blitz while her husband was serving overseas.  Night after night she went down into the shelter carrying a small baby whose father never saw her until she was three years old.

The theme of the propaganda film within the film reminded me of a poem I learned years ago (maybe at Primary School?), ‘Dunkirk 1940’.  I’ve no idea who the poet was.  Do you know?

“The little ships, the little ships, rushed out across the sea
to save the luckless armies from death and slavery
from Tyne and Thames and Tamar, the Severn and the Clyde
the little ships, the little ships, went out in all their pride
and home they brought their warriors, weary and ragged and worn
back to the hills and the shires, and the towns where they were born
three hundred thousand warriors, from hell to home they came
in the little ships, the little ships, of everlasting fame.”

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This morning’s ‘Press’ has a review of the latest version of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.  I haven’t seen this, but have seen several other versions over the years, and love the songs.  Reviewer Charlie Gates complained that every central character is male except for the narrator.  Perhaps he’s unaware that the show was originally written for a schoolboy choir in London?  I still have a copy of the first recording of the complete work, and fondly remember our local vicar introducing “Any Dream will Do” to a church service in the 1970s.

Charlie’s review states that Tim Rices’s lyrics are smart and playful and says: “It’s rare that rhyming couplets make you chuckle, but his do.”  I’m proud to report that people often say my couplets make them laugh.

“Tim  Rice is not the only one
whose rhymes bring giggles cos they’re fun.”




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Our late lamented Festival of Flowers has been replaced in a small way by last weekend’s Autumn Garden Show in the Botanic Gardens.  Ten different groups had displays in the Marquee, and there were chrysanthemums and bonsai in the Ilex Visitor Centre.  Unlike the Ellerslie Garden Show this was completely free, and was enjoyed by many, despite it being a rainy Sunday. I loved this Very Hungry Caterpillar (pumpkins, with a radish nose) in among the toadstools:


Garden clubs each had one square metre to display their version of ‘Ultimate Autumn Style”  I think this one was the Avonhead Club’s:

The Christchurch Beautifying Association turns 120 this year, and their stall holders were dressed appropriately:

The CHS Fruit and Vegetable Circle had an impressive array of produce:

The Canterbury Horticultural Society also displayed produce:

I was pleased to learn they now hold their monthly All About Gardening sessions at the Bridge Club in Nova Place, and I could well be tempted.  They have a public Facebook group HortTalk, where you can have your gardening questions answered.

Terra Viva were the sponsors for this show, and are to be congratulated.

“So many beautiful displays
depicting gardens many ways.”




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‘Putahi; tributaries feeding tributaries’ is the title of a new exhibition by Otautahi Korerotia.

Three talented young artists have created works which depict the many social, material, and ecological streams that flow around our community cottage.  Liv Worsnop, a Plant Gangster, led a group who have cared for the green space all over the Avon Loop.

Seeds from the community

Mikaela Marshall observed the various traffics in the area and depicted them within a lightbox.  Phoebe Hinchcliff asked locals to fill in a questionnaire about what community means.  She transferrred the answers into haunting music which plays within the exhibition.

The whole experience is delightful.  The exhibition will be open again on Wednesday evening, May 3rd, between 5 and 8pm, and is well worth a visit.

“These artists took a different view
to show the Loop to me and you.”

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Today being International Women’s Day is an appropriate time to write about the amazing and inspiring film “Hidden Figures”.

This is the story of three African-American women who were vital to NASA’s space programme in the 1960’s.  Although their work was crucial, discrimination beause of their gender and race meant they had to fight every step of the way, as well as working damn hard.  Their true stories are beautifully portrayed, as is the excitement of the space race.  You can’t help wondering why it is that we’ve never heard of these women before!  I can only hope that this film will give more young women the confidence to aim high, and to study the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths).  I’m proud to have a daughter who has succeeded in this area.

In the U.S., today has been designated a Day Without Women, with many women planning to strike, although it’s not entirely clear just what their aims are.

If you’re looking for a way to mark International Women’s Day, you might enjoy hearing Mary Beard talking about Women in Power on the BBC.  She links the stories of ancient Greek women such as Clytemnaestra and Lysistrata with today’s female leaders.

“Today’s our special global day.
Remember those who’ve paved the way.”


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An afternoon of feminism was not to be missed.  ‘All About Women’ took place at the Sydney Opera House, and was live-streamed to various venues throughout Australia.  I was surpised that the Christchurch Art Gallery auditorium was only half full for this event.  It was good to hear several women acknowledge the first peoples of Australia, especially Tracey Spicer, who said that the land under the Opera House was and always will be aboriginal land.



The first speaker was actor Geena Davis, who spoke about ‘Women in Media’.  Geena played Thelma in ‘Thelma and Louise’, and said one response to that film was ‘now the women have guns the world is ruined’!.  She pointed out that she has enough money to be able to choose her roles, and she chooses ones that women will feel empowered by.  With humour, passion, and statistics, Geena illustrated that in family movies men have 2.5 to 3 times as many speaking roles as women.  We are teaching children from a young age that women are less important and less valuable than men.  While equality in the real world may be a long way off instant parity is possible onscreen.  For example, the prevalence of women forensic scientists in shows such as ‘Bones’ and ‘CSI’ means that numbers of women studying forensic science have skyrocketed.  It is vital that we all do all we can to encourage, vote for, and hire women.

The second session was questions and answers with Jessa Crispin, author of “Why I Am Not a Feminist”.  It seems that feminism is the only word we currently have for a person who believes all people are equal, but Jessa believes it has become too universal.  She liked it better when feminism was a dirty word, because if feminism is a danger we’re more likely to get change.  Young people are less inclined to recognise inequality, and slacktavism and compromise have crept in.  Lower class women have been removed from the agenda of feminism which is focussed on the middle class.   Self-empowerment encourages individualism, and we need to look beyond this.

The third session was a panel of ‘Nasty Women’.  The name stems from Trump’s statement that Hillary is a ‘nasty woman’, but super female powers have turned that negative name into a positive.  The three panellists and chairwoman had many gems of wisdom.

Van Badham said the way to change society is to join a trade union or community organisation.  We thought we’d won and we’ve stopped fighting because of a false sense of security.  If we’re not active in democracy we get Donald Trump.  There is power in solidarity – stand by others.  It’s important to ‘die on the right side’.  Take strength from the women who came before and those who will come afterwards – find strength in the feminist tradition.  Fighting against injustice gives your own life meaning.

Lindy West said solidarity is vital, the foundation of equality, activism, and freedom.  No need to start new organisations – join those that have been working for equality for years.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied talked of the need to constantly push uphill.  Having conversations in your circles will have an effect on the people around you and it will grow.  Her input was moving and passionate.  She urged us to decide what our own values are and live by those values.

If you’d like to hear more of All About Women, it’s available here.

“So good to hear these women talk
they’re ones who really walk the walk.”

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