Observations of Life in New Zealand (and sometimes beyond) through art, architecture, photography, travel, tourism, design, food, the quirky, the bizarre, the comedic - a few of the things I am passionate about. This is my world - a world of contemplations, observations and small adventures.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Small Moments of Greed
Advertising on the Road
It's been a while since I brought you a little something from my 'bubble car' series. I love these little mini-cars - and the way they have been so readily adopted by such a diverse range of businesses to 'spread the word.' Personally, I'd love to get hold of a couple of these little vehicles and let loose with my own paint brushes. I have some ideas that might stop traffic.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
No Parking - Showtime 12
Always a sucker for a sign, it stood to reason I would have to photograph this terrific 'linking of horseshoes' at Addington Raceway the other day. I'd gone out to get a behind-the-scenes peek into the Events Centre kitchens in the lead-up to the New Zealand Trotting Cup on November 10th (scroll down earlier post below) but as you can see, I got distracted along the way. www.addington.co.nz www.nzcupandshow
Showtime 11 - On Show
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Another ART Sign
Same Jet Stream
Different Art Gallery
Early One Morning.....
......well...Saturday morning actually....as the sun was caught glinting on Graham Bennett's "Reasons for Voyaging" outside Christchurch Art Gallery just after a jet had flown by. I liked the soft fluff of the jetstream against the sharp steel of the sculpture. www.bennettsculpture.biz www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz
Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 70
And so to the second image in our new print series "A Week of Avians", printmaker Barry Cleavin's nod to the Max Ernst Book (1933) 'Une Semaine de Bonte' (A Week of Kindness)- and a nod perhaps to the 'birds-meet-people' activities within the New Zealand contemporary art scene.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Meet the People - 44 [Showtime - 10 ]
Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things – Paul Goodwin is General Manager of Catering and Facilities at Christchurch’s Addington Events Centre and from today on, he’ll be working crazy hours in the lead-up to the New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday, November 10th. NZ Cup Day is the pinnacle of harness racing in New Zealand and it attracts around 25,000 people, all of whom require food and drink. It’s Paul’s job to oversee the large team making that happen. Luckily Paul trained as a chef and he’s spent over thirty years in hotel and hospitality management. Combine that with the fact that this is his 11th Cup event and you get the feeling everything is under control.
The fashion marquee is already erected in the car park for instance and Paul has a firm idea of just what’s required to feed the crowds. “We start preparing for the November event in February,” says Paul. “It’s important to make sure we have the marquees booked, plus all the extra catering equipment that we’ll require. The corporate menus have to be organised and by the time we hit August, everything is ramped up and we’re looking at how many staff we’ll require on the day, the security numbers (140 this year), health and safety issues – all the basic groundwork that needs to be done to meet our obligations…. all this, while we still cater to the many other public events that happen at the Events Centre. From today on it’s total madness.” On top of getting ready for the Cup on the 10th, Paul is also overseeing preparations for two other horse racing meetings, two greyhound race meetings and up to fifteen other functions.”
Paul in front of the two huge containers that will hold extra food outside the kitchens on Cup Day Up to six large marquees are raised for the Cup Day and in addition to that, there are twelve main function rooms, seven corporate suites, 25 bars, 12-14 food outlets within the buildings and another eight outside. The centre’s kitchens will be cooking over 2 tonne of hot chips and over 2,000 pies. Over 80 kilograms of whitebait will be consumed along with 30 large salmon, 40 legs of lamb, 100 kilograms of crayfish and over 5,000 chocolate-dipped strawberries. Corporate menus will include everything from chargrilled king prawns and Moroccan spiced chicken to hot smoked salmon fillets and prime roast sirloin; and the public will be able to enjoy everything from a $2 hotdog to a $50 seafood buffet. Food preparation will start on the Saturday before Cup Day with 25 kitchen staff working 12 hour days. Then on Cup Day, 55 chefs will be on duty to keep the food rolling out. Paul may have been doing this for eleven years but he says it doesn’t get any easier. “You do understand the process better though and I’m not as daunted by the enormity of the task as I used to be. But you’ve always got to be one step ahead and I’m lucky to have a terrific core of staff working with me,” he says. “You do get the odd problem but we aim to cover every contingency. By the time we get to the end of the day – and that’s usually a 17-hour day for the management team – there’s always relief in knowing we have another one under the belt.” “And even though we’re surrounded by all this food, I hardly eat anything on Cup Day. I normally only have a sandwich at around 8pm. We run on adrenalin for much of the day.” And of course it doesn’t end there – just three days later, Paul and his team are doing the same thing all over again for the smaller Show Day race meeting on Friday, November 13th – running on adrenalin and keeping the crowds ‘fed and watered.’ I can’t wait to experience it all for myself. www.addington.co.nz http://www.nzcupandshow.co.nz/
Monday, October 26, 2009
Like most people in Christchurch, I'm wondering what happened to spring. After a short, brilliant burst of early spring weather, we seem to have plunged right back into winter. It's now October 26th and it's freezing cold here. Which is why I have been sitting here fiddling about with my spring blossom photographs taken last year - just to remind myself that it does happen.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Not sure why exactly but I was quite pleased with this photo I took at the Arts Centre here in Christchurch yesterday. I think it's about the shadows, the shapes and the textures for me. None are especially astounding but somehow it resonates for me. It's the sort of photograph that leads me into thinking about writing short stories again....... the power of suggestion is indeed a powerful thing.
The Smart Staircase
Another in my photographic study of staircases. This one? The stairs leading to Jonathan Smart Gallery in High Street. White, pristine and filled with promise and possibilities. I had the urge to take to them with cans of multi-coloured spray paint. I stood there for sometime imagining the pale stair covers converted into a zebra stripe of hot, wild shades...... and even better, imagining Jonathan's face when he unlocked the bottom door and saw my handiwork.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Cranes and Construction
When most of my female friends wander around the city, they focus on handbags and shoes and fashion boutiques. For some very odd reason, I prefer to wander with my camera, focussing on very unfeminine things - like cranes and classic cars and construction sites. Sometimes I wonder if I suffered a bang on the head as a child - or have my feminine genes been beaten into submission or something? Don't get me wrong - I still like the pretty stuff too but no handbag on earth could make me feel as pleased and thrilled as this crane photo did today. Is that cause for me to worry? For a long time I thought I might be the only person on earth who loved photographing cranes - until I came upon a young English guy one day, photographing the very same crane as me. I had to ask and yes, it turned out he was as fixated as I tend to be. But you'd expect that of a bloke I guess. Oh well...I never claimed to be a conformist and as one male friend likes to quip, I am a cheap date (though it should be noted that he's never had to pay my shoe bill and had he been with me when I went out for coffee last week and came home with $500 worth of new shoes, he may have reconsidered). PS. The recently completed building on the left is the South Island's first Green office block; and the building under construction behind it is the new Christchurch City Council chambers - in what was the old Ngai Tahu-owned Chief Post Office building. Suffice to say it's getting an extensive makeover.
A Patchwork of Rooflines
No one could ever accuse Christchurch of being a radical city. By and large it is an architectural wasteland when it comes to the innovative, contemporary architectural statements that I love - the ones that push barriers and defy expectations. So I have to content myself with small changes and additions - like this new burst of colour tucked up among the haphazard rooflines on the corner of Lichfield and Colombo Streets. I like the way it enlivens an otherwise puzzling gathering of roof shapes and building lines. I spotted it when I was driving along Colombo Street on Thursday - my eyes so now attune to the fabric of the city that I see every new scribble of graffiti, every new mural, every new poster or billboard, delighting in a small, transitory visual surprise that may well be gone when I return to the same spot next week.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Bird's Eye View
Orange and Blue
Always a striking contrast.
I photographed this guy on Wednesday as he zoomed in low over the stranded whale on New Brighton's Southshore Beach (see whale story below). There's something about the freedom of sails, balloons and parachutes that always sets me to thinking of travel.
An Architectural Pause
This is the above-ground heart of Auckland's Britomart Transport Centre, built as part of a programme to help reduce traffic congestion and pollution in Auckland. It was completed in 2003 and cost NZ$211,000,000. It took two years to build and used 40,000 cubic metres of concrete - this obviously for the below-ground rail system as well. Six years on and given the ongoing arguments and debates about the inefficiencies of Auckland's inner city public transport, many probably wonder if it was money well spent. Political arguments aside, I think it's a fine piece of architecture. This shot it should be noted, doesn't do justice to the scale nor the complexity of the building. As always I'm attracted to the flashy facade of things. There's been a heap of building activity at the greater Britomart Square location and if you click on Britomart in the label line below, you'll see other shots I've taken in the area. www.britomart.co.nz
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Counting Down - Showtime 9
Arrrhh…sheep shearing, wood chopping, dog trials, horse jumping…..all etched into my brain decades ago when, as a young cadet journalist at the South Waikato News (then [and maybe still] the southern arm of Hamilton’s Waikato Times), I trudged around the Tokoroa A&P Show interviewing sweaty shearers, huge woodchoppers, bull breeders and assorted other brawny agricultural types. Many years later, after a spell in the big smoke (Auckland), I found myself doing the same rounds as an agricultural journalist in the Wairarapa. Nothing much had changed. And now, even more decades on, I’m about to throw myself into the ring again (as it were), when I go along to the 2009 Royal New Zealand Show, which runs from November 11 to November 13 here in Christchurch.The Royal New Zealand Show of course, completely eclipses any of the other provincial A&P Shows I’ve visited during my lifetime. For a start, they’re expecting over 120,000 people to visit Canterbury Agricultural Park this year – for a show that has been showcasing the best of the agricultural world for 147 years. In addition, over 6,500 animals – horses, beef & dairy cattle, sheep, alpaca, llama, poultry, pigs, goats, dogs and more – have been brushed, fluffed and groomed for their big day out in the show ring. Over 600 trade exhibitors are also taking the opportunity to present new ideas, products and services; and live music, the NZ Army Band, the eternally popular and much-loved Topp Twins will all be adding to the noise and fun. Me? I’ll be heading straight for the wood-choppers….a little trip down memory lane as it were. And I probably won’t get past the International Aromatic Wine Competition or the New Zealand Gourmet Oil Competition. There’s just something eternally chummy about everyone standing around sampling good stuff! www.theshow.co.nz Both photographs courtesy of NZ Cup and Show Week/Christchurch City Council
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A Whale of a Tale
I was sitting in Addington Coffee when I first heard (via Twitter) about the whale stranding on Christchurch's Southshore Beach. I thought about making the trip across town and then changed my mind. But the thought of seeing a whale up close was too much to resist and I finally packed up my work and headed east across town. Like many hundreds of others as it turned out.
Sadly, by the time I got there, the whale was all-but dead. But the newshounds had descended and everyone else had their cellphone cameras at the ready. It was sad to see the life draining out of this lovely creature. The Department of Conservation representative said it was a lactating Beaked Whale - named for the resemblance its nose has to dolphins he said.
I don't think I've ever met a person who isn't intrigued by whales - and the hundreds of people walking down Southshore Beach today were evidence of that. Sad as the occasion turned out to be, it was lovely to see small children intrigued by their first-ever glimpse of a whale. I have more photos, which I may run tomorrow.
Meet the People - 43
Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things – Author and poet Fiona Farrell is just back from France and brimming over with new creative ideas. Well known as one of New Zealand’s leading, award-winning writers, publishing in a variety of genres, Fiona attended the Mansfield Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Laureate Fellowship in Menton – a residency she held in 1995 – and while she was in France, she opened a New Zealand bookshop in Paris. Back home and straight into New Zealand Book Month events, Fiona has been taking part in panel discussions with other writers. “I enjoy talking to people who read and when you get a good chair who has read your book and you can feel the audience warmth, it’s a nice place to be. I always enjoy conversations about reading and writing,” she says. Fiona is a frequent guest at New Zealand festivals and she has also appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Vancouver International Writers’ Festival.
Always humble about her own achievements, it should nevertheless be noted that Fiona has won almost every major literary award available in New Zealand, including the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction in 2007. She was also the inaugural winner of the 2006 Rathcoola Residency in Ireland and during her six months there, she crafted her most recent novel, “Limestone,” which was published in 2009. To date she has published six novels, two collections of short stories and three poetry volumes. Fiona started writing in 1987 and while she is passionate about her craft, she is equally passionate about the outdoors – making the most of the grand landscapes that surround the ‘remote’ Banks Peninsular home she shares with her partner, who is involved in running the highly successful Banks Peninsular Track. Together they frequently enjoy long hiking expeditions – most recently, the Chemin Stevenson in France, the 250 kilometre route that Robert Louis Stevenson took in the 19th century with his donkey Modestine. “I love the simplicity of that sort of adventure,” says Fiona. “Being away from the phone and the computer, thinking only about your sore feet and where you’re going to find the next coffee and pastry. I had no thoughts of writing at all during the 13 days it took us to walk the route. I like to leave myself open. It’s all about going back to basics and being purely physical.” Now that she’s home of course, Fiona does in fact intend to “write around that experience.” Watch this space. In the meantime, you can read more about Fiona’s published works on her website www.fionafarrell.com
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
StreetscapeNZ - 50
Cool Cars -58
Monday, October 19, 2009
Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 69
HOMAGE TO MAX ERNST ‘A WEEK OF AVIANS’ or SEVEN DEADLY ELEMENTS “Laughter is probably doomed to disappear” (Marcel Schwob, Le rire) W w Conceived and published at ‘The Boojum Press’ by Barry Cleavin © 2009 And so to a brand new series from our favourite New Zealand printmaker, "loosely based around the Max Ernst book (1933) "Une Semaine de Bonte" (A week of Kindness)." This is the first outing for Cleavin's 'homage' and I'll bring you a new image from the series each week.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sweet Melbourne Moments
I'm normally thinking about heading off to Melbourne about now. I like to visit in October-November before it gets too hot; but sadly, this year I have had to delay my visit. So I'm pining a little - wishing I was wandering around the city with my camera, stopping here and there for coffee - mostly here...as in Brunetti's in Carlton. This place is the stuff legends are made of. And once you've had coffee and cake here you'll be a fan for life. The Brunetti family have been running this thriving enterprise for decades and they now have an inner city location as well as this one. I prefer this Carlton location. It has more history and far, FAR more cakes for me to swoon over, photograph and taste. http://www.brunetti.com.au/
More Melbourne Memories
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Remembering 'Fed Square'
Love the way someone has decided that Phil Price's sculpture at the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets isn't enough in its own right. They've (somehow) scaled one face of it and added a whole heap of ghastly little stickers to it. It will be interesting to see how long they stay there before someone decides they need to be removed.
Cool Cars - 57
Friday, October 16, 2009
WORLD on a Corner
Leading New Zealand fashion house, WORLD has opened in Christchurch – some months ago now – in one of my favourite Christchurch buildings: this stunning corner edifice on the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets. WORLD was established in Auckland in 1989 by Denise L’Estrange-Corbet and Francis Hooper, who have taken it from a brilliant idea to one of this country’s leading avante-garde fashion names.
I was wandering around the city with my camera last weekend and as I crossed over this intersection, I saw the morning light catching at the brilliant palette of colour hanging off the coathangers in the WORLD window. I had to stop and capture the moment. It’s a funky little store, bulging at the seams with original garments in the company of nostalgic curios – patterned china displayed on walls, taxidermy animals, old cameras and knick-knacks. I love it; some don’t. In its previous life, this corner location was home to a New Age crystal and Buddha shop that sold everything from incense and tiny figurines to crystals, Buddhas and all things god and goddess. Suffice to say WORLD has given the prime location (at one end of High Street, which is lined with fashion stores) a completely new look. ‘Back at WORLD’ it’s good to see that L’Estrange-Corbet and Hooper continue to defy expectations, combining crazy colours in garments with strong silhouettes. It’s fair to say that it’s been their irreverence, their talent and their fearless approach to taking fashion risks that have set them apart in New Zealand and brought them to the attention of leading international fashion writers and critics. They’ve appeared at London Fashion Week (1999) and they’ve taken part in major shows in Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Their garments are stocked even further afield in Russia, China, Beirut, Europe and the United States. You can read much more about WORLD and see their latest ranges at www.worldbrand.co.nz
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Bring Back Life
I've made no secret of the fact that I love words and signs but sometimes, in certain contexts, they're a mystery to me. I photographed this phrase through the window of a now-empty fashion store. I have no idea of its relevance but I liked the sense of mystery in that - and the way the o0ld building across the street is reflected in the image. There's just something about all that visual layering in a city that I adore.
Lighting the Way
I loved this composition in a High Street Window - a very pleasing retail still life complete with Trubridge-designed light shade on the far left. For others in 'the continuing saga' of one of my favourite David Trubridge lighting designs, click on David Trubridge in the label line below. www.davidtrubridge.com
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