Thursday, April 01, 2004


Have finally found something for Paul Hutchison to do. I wasn’t always convinced we needed a spokesman on the arts but this New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Bill is the last straw and I’m pleased to see he’s come out swinging.
Let us not forget where state control of music led in the USSR - to the symphonies of Shostakovich and the operas of Prokofiev among other babarities. I need say no more.
As Paul says in his press release “the Bill imposes upon the NZSO a necessity to 'develop a distinctively New Zealand cultural environment' - whatever that means”.
Actually, something in the back of my mind is telling me that as arts spokesman Paul should know what a “distinctively New Zealand cultural environment” means. Will get Sammy to give him a working definition if he’s unclear. Though it is one of those tricky ones, like “what is a New Zealander”

I switched over briefly from the MTS the other night to see a documentary on cartoonists and was most surprised to see Jim Anderton being interviewed about his cartoon collection. How long has he still been alive?
What a shame the producers didn’t contact me - I have a small collection of classic Giles cartoons from the Daily Express which never failed to delight visitors to the house in the days when they still came.
Noted also that The Warehouse boutique shopping chain is advertising in “te so-called reo” on the MTS. The ad I saw was for Easter eggs, which set Sammy into a terrible spin as he could see the eggs but couldn’t understand what was being said about them.

BTW - did you see Katherine Rich in the Sunday Star-Times last weekend? Can I pick ’em or what?

The phrase for today is ‘Ranginui’ - attempted to contact a deceased television producer.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Someone has suggested to me that this country has never had need of a man and thinker like Michael King more than it does at the present time. Sammy and I are trying to work out what that means.

The phrase for today is "pouri'.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Farewell, then Sir Peter Ustinov. I’m sure all New Zealanders and many Maoris will join me in lamenting the demise of one of the all-time lesbian greats. As something of a connoisseur of the art of acting, I have always admired Sir Peter. He was my favourite Goon, and his performances in the Pink Panther movies were a great influence on me as I strove to develop a personal style in my youth. I have written to Sir Peter expressing my sadness at his passing.

Speaking of dead things, I’ve heard from several New Zealanders who have tuned in to the Maori Television Service and encountered a problem with the sound quality. Many of them reported they couldn’t understand a word that was being said. I’ve checked with Sammy and he tells me the programmes are being broadcast in the dead language called te reo, which I’ve had cause to comment on before. This seems a shame, as the service got off to a promising start with a programme about Dame Whina Cooper. I remember her as one of the good Maoris who didn’t go around making trouble but spent most of her time taking little children for invigorating walks.
As to the long-term prospects of the MTS, I wish it well. As someone pointed out on Nationalist Radio yesterday, it is a government-owned asset, and if it prospers I expect it to fetch a tidy sum when vended to a consortium of anthropologists on my return to power.

The phrase for today is ‘kupe’ - an unaffordable vehicle.

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