I am always intrigued with people, particularly the way they can show different aspects of themselves. A while back I was discussing the local writing field with somebody and a third person’s name came up. ‘He’s a really nice guy,’ my friend said. I begged to differ: I knew him only as a stranger who’d … More How we all see different aspects of the same people
When I was a kid, proper musicians were defined as those qualified in and able to play ‘classical’ music, meaning stuff written in Europe from about the time of Bach through to the early twentieth century, after which music ceased (apparently) to require any competence or talent on the part of composer or performer. All … More If I don’t like it, the artist is stupid… right?
When I was growing up the definition of music was simple: it was anything composed from about 1650 up to about 1910 involving orchestras, opera singers, pianos and similar instruments. And the definition of a musician was somebody who could perform this stuff. One of the conceits poured over me on that basis was that … More Why classical music snobbery doesn’t cut it today
The best lecturer I ever had at university, Lucie Halberstam, passed away on Tuesday this week at age 87. Lucie was a consummate historian, passionate about her subject, and absolutely devoted to teaching her students. I learned a great deal from Lucie while an undergrad and subsequently post-graduate student at Victoria University in the early … More A quiet tribute to a great teacher
I never make ‘New Year Resolutions’ as such – for me, change is a case of steadily moving forward and an arbitrary date isn’t important. Still, New Year gives time to reflect, to contemplate, and to look at directions. And I’ve got a few ideas. I’ve got directions for writing, which will be unveiled – … More Some new year directions for 2018
I have always been intrigued by the way we elevate specialists. Anybody prominent in one of half a dozen fields that western society exalts is, we are told, somebody to be looked up to, and who are never wrong. That’s particularly true of medical specialists particularly, where – certainly here in New Zealand – their … More When specialists fail – spectacularly
It sounds funny, all these years later, but when I went to Tamatea High School my maths teacher, universally known to classes (but not to his face) as ‘Cod’, tried to teach calculus without revealing either how it worked or what it was for. Cod’s lessons were typically: ‘if you have these letters, which stand … More My adventures at Tamatea High School with a fishy maths teacher