Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jerry, I just don't know sometimes...(Marlene)

Jerry meets Beetle (Grace was playing hard to get) while Tango rides shotgun
Roch-dene is slowing filling up with animals. As I knew it would.

At the moment it's a bit of an ark - two horses, two wild turkeys, and two dogs (the six canaries kind of ruin the effect but what the hey).

Tango, Jerry and Wozza's
world famous legs.
Yes, Jerry has arrived. Jerry is a wee pedigree Border Collie puppy and cute as a button. 

In addition, we have Tango lodging with us to help socialise Jerry and for us to look after while William and Jade holiday in Bali.

This last weekend felt like we had a new toddler on the property - door barrier, chewy toys, fencing the back yard and fencing the front yard!

All to no avail because Jerry is also a Harry Houdini who just wanted to be with me or SWMBO.

Let the fun begin!

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Old friends, memory brushes the same years (Simon and Garfunkel)

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash
Pals, buddies, mates, chums. 

Friendship. That's what this post is about. 

Hooked? Well - lay on, Macduff, and damned be him who first cries 'hold!'

I love Jerry Seinfeld's riff on friendship: 
When you're in your thirties it's very hard to make a new friend. Whatever the group is that you've got now that's who you're going with, you're not interviewing, you're not looking at any new people, you're not interested in seeing any applications.  
As for someone like me in my late fifties (for a few more days people, for a few more days), I largely stopped hiring decades ago.

My whanau list below has a number of people on it who I love but many I never hear from anymore. Yet, I know, for a large number of them, as soon as we reestablish contact...bam. Instant connection.

A connection forged from shared history.

My oldest chums that I pal around with via Facebook and email are few in number but incredibly important to me. Frinstance, GK (a.k.a. Billy Wallace) and I have been mates since 1974.

Recently, he reminded me of a time we collapsed into hilarity over a story in Craccum - Auckland University's student newspaper. 

Collapsing into laughter (with Kevin Simms usually on board as well) was an occupational hazard in those days.

Recently, I was in Real Groovy wading through the vinyl sale bins when three young male hipsters walked in loudly. For the next half hour they laughed their private jokes, kidded each other about certain albums, and engaged in a wide variety of banter. All pretty loud and obnoxious.

I was immediately presented with a picture of how Greg, Kevy and I must have looked as we visited Real Groovy back in the day.

Good times, Billy. Good times.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Welcome to Meadsville.

This one rocked me.

It's taking some time to come to terms with.

Colin Meads was super human. Immortal.


If Colin Meads can die, then I can too, and that's a sobering thought.

I knew him well. We all did. Like my mother, from the King Country. We grew up watching him. Shared the triumphs. Chests puffed out - nobody can beat the All Blacks!

Images: carrying the ball in one hand, locking the scrum for New Zealand with his brother Stanley, playing a test match with a broken arm. 

From then via farming adverts for hay bale twine, and fence posts, he epitomised the ruggedly brawny, quietly spoken, humble, words-are-cheap-deeds-are-dear New Zealand male we aspired to be.

And now, number 583's gone and gone too is some of our youth and our invincibility.

Remember him this way:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A motorcycle's throat-clearing rumble disturbed the road, drumming against the windows (J G Ballard)

Currently, I'm really enjoying the work of J G Ballard in Millennium People (week 31, book 34).

Front cover's Daily Mail pull quote says it's "seductively compelling". Right on, brother! 

It's nice to read a book without literary pretentions that feels like literature.

Try this bit - 
Sitting forward, he massaged his cheeks, trying to bring colour into the gaunt bones. 'Look at the world around you, David. What do you see? An endless theme park, with everything turned into entertainment. Science, politics, education - they're so many fairground rides. Sadly, people are happy to buy their tickets and climb aboard.'
Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tell me how do you feel (New Order)

Watching Dunkirk last week drove me back to the original Winston Churchill speech and then, in typical surfing the interweb fashion, on to another movie version. Interesting to compare the two for emotional impact. 

For me, the biopic's visuals and the editing of the speech from the supposed writing to radio delivery is the more powerful, but, you be the judge.

What I really did love about the above scene was the moment Winston's young female secretary, typing the speech, noticed he'd entered another room. Her immediate reaction to follow him with a notepad said so much. No eye roll or sign of annoyance. Just obedience to the speech. 

Absorbed in the moment, masterful in thought, Winston's wandering was also a great character moment. 

My literary goal continues into the start of week 31 with the latest books: #33 - Notes on a Scandal (Zoë Heller) - a doozy story with a twisted narrator; and I've just started number 34 Millennium People (J G Ballard). 

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, August 28, 2017

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender (Winston Churchill)

Dunkirk. You've got to see it.

Preferably on a big screen. With a great sound system. That's essential.

Spoiler alert - we won the war, it's in the books, but not before some rum doings. And Winston Churchill was a great leader!

Sorry, it had to be said.

As to the film, Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer are a brilliant combination.

If you're worried that it's a war movie and therefore a bit of a tired genre, don't fret. Nolan and Zimmer combine to make an extraordinary film which will leave you buzzing, says I.

Even as I watch this trailer I tense up again, as it gives a real sense of the power of the film via its sound and fury. 

You need to see this film!

Love and respect - WNP

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Does she walk? Does she talk? Does she come complete? (J Geil's Band)

This post by Seth Godin is super scary.

First, here's the post...

An audience of one

More than ever, people, lots of people, hordes of anonymous people, can watch what you do.
They can see your photos, like your posts, friend your digital avatar.
An essentially infinite collection of strangers are in the audience, scoring you, ranking you, deciding whether or not you're succeeding.
If you let them.
The alternative is to focus on the audience you care about, interacting with the person who matters to you. Your audience, your choice. One person, ten people, the people who need you.
Everyone else is merely a bystander. 
What's scary? Everything.
The realisation that I'm being watched. That this is increasing. That I choose to be watched via this blog. That it's essentially infinite. That I'm judged. At all times. That the alternative means walking away from digital platforms. That Seth is right. That there are people who need me. Who are they? Am I embracing them? Why? Why not?
And now, today's post..............................................................
I love this photo.

Why do I love it so?

It feels real, and yet she's posing, right? The coffee table looks right - the angle of the paper (she's a writer); the cord to the right, sockets above the pictures, and dinged skirting board to the left are left in the picture. 

Pose is leaning and direct. She's at work, yet she's a girl interrupted. A super girl. But she wouldn't actually work on her tele-play on this couch. Half annoyed smile, half smug smile. Enigmatic.

The couch itself is a beautiful rich blue. Solid. Yet spungee. Not comfortable, but looks comfortable.

Pictures on the wall are a weird mix. She writes for Supergirl. But those others? Depth! Or maybe not. Is she a girl angel?

And, there's an elephant in the room! Love it!

Love, peace, embracing hug - Wozza.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street (The Grateful Dead)

Welcome to a Fun-Packed cultural corner! 

Time for an update on what is motivatin' me over the hill this week.

Look and Learn article: Excellent piece on Sherpa Tenzing. Loving too the old ads in these magazines from the sixties. I think I remember Sky Ray 3 iceblocks (cool name), or something very similar... memory plays tricks.

The ad for some girls' mags, June and Princess Tina (cool names), that I used as the feature image above is a complete, gay hoot!

TV: Blacklist on Netflix is real fine. We are currently munching our way through season 3.

Sport: I signed up to Sky's BEIN sports channels in time to see all the drama of Arsenal's to and fro battle with Leicester last saturday. So great to have the premier league back in my living room in living colour.

Literature: I believe I'm at week 28 in my mission to read 50 books in 52 weeks. The last item on the list I mentioned was book 29 from week 24 - Warren Ellis' Gun Machine.

Since then, I've chewed through book 30 Assessment Strategies for Self-Directed Learning (Costa, Kallick), sexy title huh, book 31 - Up In The Air (Walter Kirn) and now I'm on book 32 - Nick Hornby's Juliet Naked.

Gun Machine was superb. Warren Ellis (no, not the musician in Nick Cave's band, but yes, the guy who did Castlevania) is a terrific writer with a mind and imagination like the tip of something very sharp, like a razor or a pin or a, um, sword - you know, like rilly sharp! 

Up In The Air was a tad disappointing. Another case of the movie version taking the lead character and writing a completely different story around him. Bizarre.

Somehow I missed Juliet Naked when it came out. It's pretty good - not up there with his best but sitting nicely under About A Boy. I have a nagginly vague feeling that I have read it before but I've now put that down to Nick's familiar prose style.

Record find of the week: Robert Hunter's debut from 1974 - Tales of the Great Rum Runners. I've kept an eye out for this ever since seeing the cover in an album cover book. What an amazing cover right?

Being a Grateful Dead fan means I'm very familiar with his stuff. So I was thrilled to get my mits on this in the $10 sale bin at Real Groovy while in Auckland for Jerrrrrrey!

K. You're up to date!

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, August 13, 2017

My theory is 98 percent of all human endeavor is killing time (Jerry Seinfeld)

I came into close contact with Jerry World last week. 

I had some time to kill and Jerry was all around me.

Jerry reckons that there are only two parts to his world - 'sucks' and 'great'. And actually, as he points out, they are pretty close.

Certainly, I didn't do my best work last week. Had to let that go. 

Because the weekend was great, so let's focus on that. 

It started off well with signing up to Bein Sports (via Sky TV) just in time to watch the thrilling second half of Arsenal's 4-3 win over Leicester.

Pootling off to pick up DLG at Auckland Airport we saw an accident's aftermath just before Te Hana. That sucked.

Spark Arena in Auckland was buzzing for Jerry (the air was electric that night my friends).

The warm up comedian was good. But Jerry was GREAT. An hour and a half of continuous laughter. Joy to the world!

Jade and I polished off a couple of donuts on the way back to the hotel where SWMBO had settled in and we all awoke refreshed.

Small things like Jade's flight being delayed for a few hours just meant a more leisurely Sunday morning. It all evens out for me.

Next big adventure - Macca on December 16. Ooh baby!!

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ooh child, things are going to get easier (The Five Stairsteps)

I was a huge fan of Look and Learn back in the day, as I've mentioned before a few times.

SWMBO and I went into Cowboy Junkies - a great second hand place in Whangarei on Saturday and found a few things we wanted - a lovely old firescreen and a pile of Look and Learns from the sixties and seventies for 50 cents each.

SCORE. I bought the 32 copies they had from 1967 to 1969 and immediately felt better about the fact mum threw away my collection around 1970.

I've been delving into them and have been really impressed with the writing. Not only that, there is something for boys AND girls - role models, potential careers, heros to appeal to both sexes.

Admittedly, the Ranger section predominately features males [apart from the Trigan Empire, there is Dan Dakota (the Western), Wildcat Wayne and schoolboy Rob Riley with comic strips] but there are interesting articles for both girls and boys, like how girls have been educated through the ages.

Impressive!! Here's to looking and learning!

Love and peace and look and learn - young Wozza

Sunday, August 6, 2017

You’re giving me the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ routine? (George Costanza)

DLG and I are off to see Jerry Seinfeld this Saturday night in Auckland. Father and daughter time!

It seems we bought our tickets years ago! But it's nearly here and I'm freakin' out maan. 

Seinfeld is a big part of our lives. The TV show is easily the greatest comedy of all time. It's official. On this issue there's no debate. We know the lines, baby.

But it's more than that - I would use at least one reference from the show every day (or think it). Not that there's anything wrong with that.

He's a close talker; she's a low talker; would you like a high lighter; ah that's a shame; everything evens out for me; signals Jerry, signals; I'm on no sleep; Jeer-rey; you've got to see the baby; Vanderlay Industries; the sea was angry that day my friends; but I don't wanta be a pirate...I could go on!

This will be my third comedy show. The other two were: Billy Connolly in the late seventies with Phyllis Omand at the Auckland Town Hall; Rowan Atkinson with Jacky Smith in the early eighties in New Plymouth.

My face hurt for days after those shows.

Saturday night...freakin' out!

Yada yada - Wozza

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I held your trembling hand (Focus)

Time to celebrate the whanau (a.k.a. The Purdettes) again (haven't done that in a while). In reverse chronological order:

DLG (a.k.a. Taylor Swift, a.k.a Jade) and William announced their engagement recently. Jade rang me early in her dating career with William with an 'OMG - I'm dating my father' so no problems there then. To be clear - William loves/obsesses over football and is a teacher. 

Cheeky Face (a.k.a. Daisy Ridley, a.k.a. Fanfa, a.k.a. Samantha) has moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco to work on The Goldbergs TV show. It's a new adventure and that's sometimes scary but trust the maple leaf, always.

Mr and Mrs Adam and Ashleigh Purdy are in Melbourne going through all the crunchy and the smooth life throws at us. In their case, a traffic accident was a temporary setback.

Keegan is also on a new adventure in China, working as an English language teacher and adapting to being a stranger in a strange land. To say nothing of the early starts! That maple leaf again.

I am extremely proud of them and so pleased SWMBO and I raised such a resilient, adventurous, intrepid, feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway bunch of individuals. Just saying.

Love and peace - Big Daddy

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How could I fail to be inspired so hotly said (Mervyn Peake)

My life was empty, forever on a down, until you took me, showed me around. My life is free now, my life is clear.*

Love and peace - Wozza

btw - the pebble from Rishikesh is courtesy of Paul and Christine Ryan and * is from Sweetleaf by Black Sabbath.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lean sideways on the wind, and if it bears your weight, you are a daughter of the Dawn (Mervyn Peake)

Lounge to Brynderwyns
Nature Watch Part 2: On the inside out.

Roch-dene in a winter repose. I love it here. Looking out.

ART room looking north


 Love and peace - Wozza

Sidebar - week 24, book 28 was Unknown (Didier Van Cauwelaert). Yes, the book that inspired the movie starring the great Liam Neeson and the very wonderful January Jones. Actually the film only uses the opening premise (car accident, amnesia) and then creates its own fiction. The book is vastly different and I wasn't impressed with either the plot, character development, or writing. Sorry Didier.

Week 24, book 29 is currently wowing me completely though - Gun Machine (Warren Ellis). More on this next time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Storm's coming up Ani (Jira)

View south-west towards Maungaturoto
The much anticipated return of nature watch

Part 1 - Outside now: Roch-dene has been a little battered of late by rain, wind and frosts.

The ground is boggy and the horses are unamused by puddles, especially Grace (they are definitely enjoying the new yards as their overnight stay out of the water).

But the sun peeked through recently for a few days, and the blossom outside the ART room was another hopeful sign that winter is in retreat.

Sunset on the Brynderwyns from the front porch

Beetlebaum and Gracie - nice and dry

A new hope
Love and peace - Wozza

Sidebar: Week 23 book 27 Let's Go Crazy - Prince and the making of Purple Rain (Alan Light). 

To celebrate, I rewatched the film again and, apart from one or two laugh out loud bits, both the film and the music stands up pretty damn well after 30 plus years. 

At any rate, it's way better than Under The Cherry Moon which is absolute drivel!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

They danced a tango up and down until the yellow dwarf went brown (Mervyn Peake)

Rereading books is not really a thing for me. I can only think of one that I've read three times - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, as my readers already know.

Many years ago, when we left NZ to live in England for a spell, I sold a lot of stuff - books, records, CDs. From time to time I have regrets about that - when I go to find an album I know I own, DOH! or a book that should be on my shelves, DOH!!

The Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake was something I read back in the late seventies for pleasure, and then for study at Auckland University.

This week I read his A Book Of Nonsense (week 22 book 24) and had an urge to reread Titus Groan, and Gormenghast (and to complete the set Titus Alone - maybe I'd get the gist of the third book now).

I have a feeling that in this post-truth-Trump-Brexit world the coiled malevolence of the characters would make a lot of sense right now.

The lead up to week 22 was taken up by book 25 - Maestra (L.S. Hinton) - a potboiler about art swindles and femme fatales; appropriately bought cheap from the Warehouse. I'd started, so I had to finish.

Now tackling Philip Roth's The Humbling (book 26). Jacket says it's a 'thoughtful meditation about life and increasingly death'. Should be fun.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The winner takes it all (ABBA)

Draws. The British and Irish Lions and All Blacks fought out a series draw after the third test ended up at 15-15.

The drama of sport? It felt more like a cosmic joke. 

A tantalising win for the AB's seemed on offer until the bizarre French referee ended the game in a complete anti-climax.

Leaving aside the cowardly decision by the ref to change his mind after another annoying check with the video ref (too many refs spoiling the game), the hollow feeling we all felt because of the result was interesting.

Americans can't stand a drew. Someone has to win.

Other sports can't stand a draw. Someone has to win.

So we have overtime (NBA/ NFL/NHL/MLB), or a tie-break (tennis), or a penalty shoot out (football/ hockey), or something else entirely to break the deadlock.

Why? Because we need someone to win, to dominate, to provide bragging rights, to satisfy some deep need/craving we have.

On Saturday night Steve Hansen trotted out the 'kissing your sister' analogy again - I really don't like that tired joke. Something vaguely off about the hint of incest involved.

Instead, I do love the genius opening to Woody Allen's Stardust Memories movie (which turns out to be a movie within a movie by Sandy Bates of course):

That's the feeling, precisely, of a draw. Somewhere - there's another train, a better existence, a win, that we gaze at longingly, but it's out of reach - impossibly on a parallel track. We long for it, and we try for it anyway, but without success.

In the end Lions and AB fans were all together wandering aimlessly around a rubbish dump while gulls circled in the sky.

Love and peace - WNP

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

If there's a rock show at The Concertgebow...we'll be there...Oo Yeah (Wings)

December 16!! Oo Yeah! SWMBO and I'll be there!!

Maybe (whisper it) the final ever opportunity to see Macca in the flesh so, you know, it has to be done, no matter what the cost, no matter what the sacrifice.

Oo Yeah!!

Love and peace and two thumbs up - Warren Ono Purdy

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ketchup soup and puree, don't get left behind (Paul McCartney)

Hats off to the Minister of Defence (and his gorgeous daughter) this past week!

Brian Smith (a.k.a. Smithy, a.k.a. Minister of Defence, a.k.a. the father-in-law) has spent the last two weeks hunched over my 1953 Ferguson tractor repairing and restoring it to life. 

His beautiful delectable sexy eldest daughter (a.k.a. SWMBO, a.k.a. Light of My Life) has been assisting, while I have been hunkered down at school, bringing home the bacon (and beer).

Lawdy mama! He was successful. The patient lived!

In other news (a.k.a. random thoughts): Paul McCartney tickets go on sale this week; August and the Jerry Seinfeld show got a month closer; July means Keegan takes off for China; SWMBO offered a new job in SCBU; Jade and William are done with being star witnesses; SWMBO's new glasses are cool; loving Gotham season 2 on Netflix - amazing production values...

...tomorrow is the weekend and I get to hang out in Abbey Road Three again and, weather permitting, harrow the paddocks on my rebuilt 1953 Ferguson tractor.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering and it's all over much too soon (Woody Allen)

Hope you're keeping up with the 50 books in 52 weeks countdown. You're not! For shame.

We're up to Week 20 and Books 21: Memories Dreams and Reflections (Marianne Faithfull) and 22 The Wishbones (Tom Perrottahave come and gone. 

I especially enjoyed Marianne's collection of thoughts, much as I did her first autobiographical effort. Mick Jagger still looms large over her memories and that's cool.

The Perrotta novel was taken a punt upon because the back cover said - The American Nick Hornby. Which turned out to mean he was working the same sort of subject matter as High Fidelity, rather than a reflection of Nick's style.

I'm onto number 23 this week: ...but we need the eggs (Diane Jacobs). It's subtitled 'The Magic of Woody Allen'. Published in 1982, it's a look at Woody Allen's films up to and including my favourite - Stardust Memories and before the Mia Farrow person life tabloid meltdown/train wreck.

SWMBO hates Woody but I find his work hilarious and fascinating. Reading about him can be a chore but I love being reminded of these classic movies.

Love and peace - WNP