Posts Tagged ‘Listener’

An odd Saturday, one played out to the theme of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life“, (although I much prefer “Passenger“). Still it prompted me to think of the quote from Trainspotting, “Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career…” Click here for the rest of this excellent rant.

Oddly I don’t remember choosing or signing up for the suburbs, yet here I am with 3 kids in a street of beige 1970’s split levels. :-)

Choose Life by Marie Oudkerk

So to cheer myself up I splashed out and bought another older Landfall (207) from a great, yet somewhat expensive, second hand book store a few blocks away. I am behind the times as this copy is from 2004, but it contains some amazing items.

For example, James Brown writes Communities are made up of stories and literary communities are no exception. In New Zealand everybody has a James K. Baxter story or a Denis Glover story or an Alan Brunton story, just as everybody in Montreal has a Leonard Cohen story. This then is my Allen Curnow story.”

Which is funny because recently I heard two more Allen Curnow stories and while I’ve been doing this blog I have had very generous correspondences with several artists and writers (correspondence being the subject of Brown’s piece).

Peter Wells also writes of when the Listener stood for something and the arts and books editor held reputations in his hands as “a power broker, a gatekeeper, and in a very important position in the New Zealand arts“. I do wonder that this magazine carries any such weight these days – actually I doubt it (but I am happy to be corrected).

In other news Dave Cauchi says the NZ art scene is too cosy – “a nice comfy chair and cup of milky milo.” which has got me thinking…

And Peter Peryer’s wonderful blog is just making me too homesick for Central Otago – even with the -10 C frosts.

Oh – and just as a random piece of information, I actually can hypnotise chickens you know.

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Leafing through ‘The Listener’

I have been getting increasingly disappointed with ‘The Listener’. Its been so patchy and good columns and columnists have been changing every 2 minutes it seems. I do like Martin Bosley’s food column but miss Lois Daish, For the most part the books section has stood up well, but the poetry selection has been mystifying to me. Sometimes the rest seems like reading a series of blogs. I mean its nice to have an opinion piece or two (isn’t that what editorials are for?) but Jon Bridges adds no value to my weekly read. Bill Ralston was really annoying as well until he redeemed himself with the Ropati piece last week. Before then he was just irritating me with his financial worries while admitting to being mortgage free on Franklin Road and surely we couldn’t ban plastic shopping bags because how would he pick up his dog’s poo? I do appreciate him providing the mental image of Hamish Keith dressed as Santa though. The last straw almost came for me when 2 weeks ago my subscription arrived with 11 (!) BMW advertising leaflets inside it. Overkill surely and even if it was on renewable resource paper, it was printed with shiny un-recyclable ink.

However this week there was a glimmer of hope, Ralston again made sense, there was a visual arts review and the cover was slightly different as well! I do wonder if the arts reviewer Susette Goldsmith will be a regular. Art reviews get me because basically no one seems to criticise. I wonder if some reviewers are afraid to in case they are they are labelled ignorant or ill-educated or something. No one seems to pull punches in book reviews.

I have also read a critique of the Black page recently. I did prefer Steve Braunias and Joanne Blacks descriptions of her home renovations have been  somewhat tedious, but as I am also a mother with an infestation of “My Little Ponies” for the most part I like the blend of the domestic and the political. This week she talks about the go-ahead for the scheme to introduce resale royalties for artists. She makes the good point of why just artists? It made me wonder too of how they will define “art work” and “artist”.  Makes me come back to the art/craft division. Black used the non-artist example of “those who knit baby clothes”. So maybe not baby clothes but what of Ani O’Neill for example? Ok not such a good example because she is in a gallery so maybe that makes it 100% art. I’d like to know how the hell the scheme is going to be administered and by whom? I know that there is a bit of collector/dealer/artist/owner backroom trading going on so…?

Lastly I was going to save this for a “stuff I like” entry but I can’t resist


Field – Antony Gormley . I think this is the 1991 version (at the Liverpool Tate)

Question time: can anyone tell me what happened to the stone dog that used to be outside the Dowse?

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