The Book Thief

March 31, 2008

bookthief1.jpgWhen I read that the author’s father swore at him for making him cry when he read this book I did not feel quite so bad about my own reaction to it. The unusual narrator had me guessing at the very beginning (I picked this volume up on the way through the airport without having heard anything about it) but very quickly the narrator, “haunted by humans”, makes a lot of sense. The book thief is a young girl living in Nazi Germany. In poverty stricken circumstances and in society’s moral vacuum but in which her foster parents provide a compass. So too the books she steals along the way – which save her. Literally and spiritually. And maybe a bit of me in the reading too.

Singapore at 6 am

March 30, 2008

singaporemorning.jpgGetting around a city in the early hours always opens up a new vista on a place.  This week I am staying down on the outskirts of Chinatown (Duxton Hill to be precise) and am therefore well away from the tourist and shopping end of town. A travel “snobbery” I am happy to admit and continue to indulge. Read more

Dr Herbert Money

March 23, 2008

dr-herbert-money.jpgSometimes people touch and shape your life when you least expect it. And continue doing so even after they have gone. David was one of those guys. Dr “Herb” Money was another, pictured here in his MA gown in the 1920s. It is hard to know where to start with Dr Money. At the beginning probably makes most sense. Read more

Waihola (13)

March 22, 2008


In 2006 David Paton, good friend, mentor, example, and inspiration died after experiencing an aggressive cancer. Read more

Weeping With Mavis Staples

March 18, 2008

mavisstaples1.jpgYou can’t help it. You sit in the front row of a Mavis Staples concert and you are conscious every now and then of the grin you can’t wipe from your face. You wipe the tears as well but in the end you give up and let them run. Read more

HMAS Sydney

March 17, 2008

I suspect I am not the only one to think so but there is no small stirring of pride when I read that the HMAS Sydney, heavy cruiser lost in battle 67 years ago, has been found sitting upright on the seabed, 6000′ down. Ambushed, shot up, carrying so many of her crew with her, she still retains, by all accounts, a modicum of dignity on the seafloor. There is more emotion Read more

Chicken Kiev

March 15, 2008

kiev-fashion-week.jpgAnd while we are having expectations dislocated (previous post refers) 1) whoever imagined a Ukrainian (Kiev) Fashion Week would ever exist or that 2) a Ukrainian designer would catch our eye like this? Here is Ukrainian designer Olga Gromova’s collection. At least I was not disappointed by her first name which is in keeping with that part of the world though I do tend to expect a babushka ensconced in black! Which she may well be of course!!

India Opens Your Mind

March 15, 2008

india-fashion-week.jpgNot by inhaling some of its roadside greenery tamped into a bong but by travel. Which will do that to your mind (if you let it), regardless of where you go. But we usually start with such polarised preconceptions about India that any visit there dislocates our understanding of the place. This picture from a collection taken of the India Fashion Week reminded me of the effect the subcontinent can have on our expectations. Read more

Buddy Guy Live

March 14, 2008

buddy-guy.jpgKeb Mo warmed us up last night at the Enmore Theatre. 45minutes felt like two, such was his ability to mesmerise us. A lanky blues guitarist who could rip those blues off just as easy as you please.

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Atlantic Sunset

March 7, 2008

atlantic-sunset.jpgSomewhere over the Atlantic. I have a bazillion photos taken from aircraft windows and most are as boring as, um, bat excreta! (One of my brothers thinks that stuff is actually very interesting. Strange lad). The one time I flew over Indonesia during the day (the transit is usually done at night) and peered into simmering volcanoes I had no batteries in the camera!! So the most interesting pictures are those caught in my minds eye. This one is a second best. Enjoy.

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