Posts Tagged ‘ukulele’

Make It Work

School holidays, deadlines, research, plan changes, backlogs of other things piling up, and yes, the blogging suffers…What does one do?

Well because I don’t have Tim Gunn  here to prod me along, I bought these from Emma Makes.

They are also the editing pencils of DOOM. Thanks to the very clever Emma!!!! (I am now coveting one of her ukulele bags)

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I have been listening to the Cultural Icons series of podcasts on Jam Radio. I stumbled across them when I was doing research for the  Barry Brickell book when I found a wonderful interview of Brickell by Hamish Keith.

“Jam Radio of Depot Artspace received significant funding to assist in creating a series of interviews with iconic New Zealanders who have shaped the Auckland arts and culture scene over many years. The Cultural Icons project is being produced over a two-year period, with audio and film from the interviews made accessible online. It includes, amongst others, artists, writers, biographers, actors, arts critics and commentators and features people such as Ian Wedde, David Eggleton, Barry Brickell, Vincent O’Sullivan, Shonagh Koea, Dean Buchanan, Denys Trussell, Martin Edmond, Hamish Keith, Kevin Ireland, Martin Rumsby, the Daughters of ARD Fairburn, Graeme Lay, Rachel Power, Julian McCarthy, Louis Rawnsle and Archie Bowie.”

This is an amazing project and an invaluable resource. I can only hope that the idea takes off or is expanded to other regions.  Today I listened to Par.t II of an interview of Martin Edmond by Hamish Keith – great stuff and there are more on the way.

Just because I like the Bob Marley song and everyone needs more ukulele in their life

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Stuff (NOT the website) has taken over my life. I am feeling a bit like the Junk Lady from the film Labyrinth, overwhelmed by things. Which has led to a reduction in blogging – and other writing projects.

Several interesting things have come my way though. Firstly I was sent a great MP3 of Dave Hickey speaking (audio file here – its big!) He made some excellent points and I felt they were very relevant to the New Zealand institutional art scene. [Hatip MC for the link]. One take away message though for me was that art is an elective, not a compulsory course, so to speak. Art is a luxury. As my twitter followers will know, I can be a bit whiney about my relatively comfortable middle-class existence. Art (in its broad sense) is my luxury and I should probably appreciate that more instead of moaning that I can’t get to see more exhibitions or buy more books. Deviating a bit from Hickey’s view, and whatever their state, I am very appreciative of public galleries (and libraries!) as I get to see so much at very little cost.

I have also been very lucky to meet with some extremely interesting people of late and to read some great poetry. It’s been awesome to be able to help out a little by scrounging for knitting needles for the binding of my good friend Helen Heath’s forthcoming chapbook Watching for Smoke. This is being published by another wonderful Helen (Rickerby), at Seraph Press. Its very energising to be around people who are passionate about what they are doing and how they are doing it. In this vein, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Dean Havard at Kilmog Press, who produces beautiful handcrafted books and have had great discussions with poet Michael Steven. Kilmog has just published his chapbook Centreville Springs and its a good one!

All the literary talk prompted me to have a hunt for Fernado Pessoa books in Dunedin’s excellent 2nd hand book shops (reuse!). I had a great conversation with one ‘bookshop guy’ which went something like this:

“I am looking for anything by Pessoa”
“Oh, the Portugese chap? No sorry not at the moment”

I was so impressed that ‘bookshop guy’ knew Pessoa (and on my last visit taught me how to pronounce ‘Camus’ properly) that I ended up walking away with Rimbaud’s prose poems which was at the top limit of my budget. As this flying bookshop visit was on the way to a family outing to the Botanical Gardens I also ended up carrying Rimbaud and a copy of Edmund White’s ‘The Flaneur’  with me around the park which felt a tiny bit surreal.

The park has some interesting Peter Pan statuary. Apparently you can find these all over NZ but I found the detail in the base of this one a tad creepy. The statue is of Peter standing on a tree stump. In the tree roots are all sorts of creatures – and babies. It hadn’t occurred to me that the ‘lost boys’ were once ‘lost babies’ which I find a little disturbing and reminiscent of The Importance of Being Earnest where a baby was left in a capacious handbag “in the cloak-room of one of the larger railway stations in London.”

This baby looks quite forlorn in it’s tree root ‘cage’

On the recycle front so much has been happening but probably only of interest to me. But in the spirit of ‘recycle’ , here is a cover of Word Up – played on the ukulele. Yes, I have also been neglecting my ukulele fetish even though I am actually taking some lessons. WORD


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Isn’t it ironic?

Don’t ya think? Well maybe not. I thought it was about time for another ukulele post and I had the funniest twitter conversation today that ended with the comment “Joy Division could have been much more cheerful if they’d thought to add a ukulele“*

Always one to please – I bring you the Heavy Boxes:


*Hope you don’t mind me repeating this – its been making me laugh all afternoon.

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I started my day with the good intentions of seeing the Hotere: Fellowship exhibition at the Hocken Library. In pouring rain I ventured into Dunedin and stopped check a gallery in Caversham and have a coffee. I love Caversham – its so on the verge of gentrification and if you want to see original villas – this is your suburb. Anyway this made me late to do some exploring and check out the crazy junk/op/2nd hand shops on Princes street. I have to note if you are looking for naive art there is a junk shop full of paintings of this type. All the interesting bits and pieces that in turn made me late to get to the Hocken which closes at 12noon. Oh well….the choices we make..

Shore Party (1999) Tony De Lautour (artist essay here [.pdf])

I realised yesterday that I have played Iz’s “Its a Wonderful World” so much in the car that my youngest daughter (18 months) can now sing all the OoohOoohh bits. I feel like a bad influence – especially now that tonight she has been echoing all the last words in the lines of the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra’s Its a Heartache” (yes Tony, really!).

Anyway this leads me to my next art/culture dilemma. The Ukulele Orchestra (as above) are playing in Oamaru next Friday. I never caught them in Wellington, Oamaru is 1 1/2 hours away, I am a total fan, tickets are not outrageously priced, someoneiknow (NOT A ukulele fan) jokingly says “I forbid you to go”. What to do…what to do…?

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The ukulele blog

Today we went to a Anything Vintage day at QEII Park. Ok – not much art but I kept thinking of the video I’d just seen of Gaylene Preston’s “War Stories” and Aunty Jean talking about the Marine camp at what is now QEII park and the tragic loss of life during a beach landing practice.

And that got me thinking of this ukulele song as performed by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Ok – maybe this blog should be “ukulele music in my life”…

I’ve been trying to play this today as I’ve just restrung my uke but my finger is 1/2 a cm shorter than it used to be and still quite tender so I have to work out a whole new way of playing. Slowgoing. For now I just like listening to Iz because its such a great song.

A friend was out on the waves today and this is for him too, because “facing the ocean” is a great concept for all of us, even those not braving the aquatic food chain.

NB: Item 2 of “4 things to do before I am 40” – Try surfing

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