Friday, February 25, 2011

No words...

In the wake of the Christchurch earthquake can't think of anything useful to say, so I'm posting this piece by Zara Potts, about her experience. A piece from her heart and her gut. My blog post in November last year 'Stirred but not too Shaken' seems totally redundant in the light of the past few days. There is no old eclectic part of the central city anymore. My heart goes out to Christchurch, all my friends there, my mother-in-law who we now have sleeping properly for the first time in days in our spare room and everyone I don't know there too. Kia kaha. Everyone else, please give generously to the Red Cross.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Verse

I can't remember in the history of this blog if I've ever posted the following verse. It was created quite a few years ago in whilst living in Christchurch. There was a competition on MoreFM radio to write a poem for Valentines Day. I decided I would win it because we were desperately in need of a treat. Now I have learned a thing or two in my years on this planet and one of them is 'A for presentation'. I figured that if my poem was written as a piece of artwork on scroll of handmade paper tied up with a large ribbon, it might actually get read by the radio station. I was right, and it won.

The prize was a night for two at The Chateau on the Park complete with a fabulous fine dining dinner for two in a rose strewn gazebo, a string quartet, a magician AND our own fabulous Geraldine Brophy in a gorgeous ball gown reading my poem out loud to my loved one. We seemed to be the highlight of the night for many Japanese tourists watching us from their balcony. The radio station called us in the morning to find out if we had had a suitably romantic night. My husband had caught a red eye flight to Auckland for a business meeting and was unable to comment but I happily reported that we had slept brilliantly. It was night off from the children!

My loved one has done quite well from my competition entries; it was our 28th wedding anniversary two days ago and we went to dinner at Hippopotamas on a voucher I won at Te Papa last year in a quickfire WOW challenge. The meal and service was divine as was the 2008 Savingnon Blanc from Haythornthwaite Wines in Martinborough. And no, they didn't pay me to say that.

In the meantime, here is the poem that won us such a treat all those years ago:

A Lover's Feast

I'd like to make you dinner,
With French champagne to pour,
I'd drink in your sensation,
You'd be my Soup de Jour.

Then maybe for an entrée,
We'd try some quail's eggs,
Arranged around your ankles,
I'd eat them off your legs.

For main course you'd be something,
With oysters down your spine,
I'd smother you in dressing,
And soak your mind in wine,

Desert would be indulgent,
Quivering with cream,
I'd drizzle you in chocolate,
Then lick your platter clean.

But eating's so domestic,
With the kids at home,
They don't know were hungry,
And long to be alone.

If we had an evening,
Together, just me and you,
I'd love to turn you into,
A Valentines meal for two.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Why worry?

A painting done one day when I was feeling lonely in a new town...

I’m aware that I have not blogged for a month! This must be a record for me, but to tell you the truth, I am a bit of a facebook junkie. I can send status updates by phone ( I have a new and fabulous Android ), post pictures, let people know about up and coming events and well, generally enjoy the immediacy of it. Isn’t that funny? A couple of years ago I thought blogging was very immediate; but the reality is that people seem to like and respond more to small bites of information than long diatribes. Facebook and Twitter have become our new town criers. Should we worry?

I have decided not to.

Since the start of the new year I have attended 3 funerals, followed the news on weather disasters, observed the political unrests abroad and wondered where our cat was after he got into a scrap and didn’t come home. Worrying about any of these things makes no difference at all to the outcome. I spent much of last year in deep concern over things outside of my control or sphere of influence. The economy right now, it has to be said, sucks more than just a little bit, but fretting about it didn’t make more money come in the door. One can only be paid for the work one does, so if there is no work...well that’s not a hard one to figure out.

So it took my breath away this morning when I read in the Dominion Post the following gem from our Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett in relation to the Artists Benefit which is likely to be axed.

"As valuable as the arts are to society, now is not the time to be turning down available work to follow an artistic dream"

I posted it as a status update on facebook and had immediate feedback (this is why I love the medium; it’s a social network).
Here are some of the (abridged) comments- and I have not included names for privacy reasons.

“Calling creativity a "dream" lables it as fluffy, lightweight, fantasy or unrealistic avoidance of proper realistic goals. Now IS the time for innovative and creative answers to our problems, self generated occupation, the time to look at ideas and goals, not turning away and putting them aside.”

“As valuable as politicians are to society, now is not the time to allow the state to dictate that only those in paid employment are valuable to society”

“Then politicians turn up to arts functions and openings on their free invites and drunkenly expound on how wonderful certain artists are.”

There were plenty more, but if you want to read them then you’ll have to join facebook and befriend me.
My big question to Ms Bennett is “What exactly is the available work we artists are turning down?”
Every artist, writer and performer I have known have spent a good deal of money, sweat and time on their education in the arts. They work intensely on their practice, their networking and marketing. They invest money into their businesses and also do work that is not inspiring or particularly creative in order to invest further. Why do we do this? Why don’t we line up to apply for jobs that Ms Bennett says are out there (but in reality aren’t).

Vincent Van Gogh said it perfectly: "The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting."

If he’d become a policy analyst, he’d have died much sooner...
As I said, I’ve been to 3 funerals already this year; the death of the arts in New Zealand is not one I want to attend. But I'm not going to worry; I'm going to stand up. 

What are you going to do this year?