Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Muriwai tragedy of a fisherman and a shark

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the man who died at Muriwai today. I know the feeling of a knock on the door and the world dropping out from under you. It’s horrible to have to keep going after news that someone has been suddenly taken from you, and made infinitely worse when you know they had no support at the end.
I hope that somehow the media attention makes them feel as though they are more supported, and not that the focus is being taken from his life, through the manner of his death.

Just a gentle reminder to anyone rude enough to speak up on this topic without knowing the full facts, that humans in wetsuits have a silhouette remarkably similar to seals. It is a testament to the fact that sharks do NOT target humans deliberately that there are so few shark attacks, in spite of this similarity.

To put it in perspective, shark attacks are so infrequent in NZ we have less than one every 5 years.

In a year in New Zealand…

We have around 547 Suicides

There are around 277 hospital mistakes causing death or serious injury.

There will be around 123 drownings

There are 60 deaths related to hospital acquired Venous Thromboembolisms (VTE)

54 Workplace fatalities*

There were 27 family violence deaths reported in 2011

15 deaths of women during pregnancy*, and childbirth

8 children per year died as a result of injuries arising from assault, neglect or maltreatment

And in the hour it took for the news to break of a shark attack on Muriwai beach 22,831 sharks were killed around the world for FINS ALONE, meaning the rest of the body was thrown back into the water, wasted.

So if it is part of your job to report on this poor man’s death, please try to be reasonable and sensible. He had every right to feel safe in and around the water, his death was a tragic and unusual accident, and his family deserves peace and privacy.
Go safe my water buddies, sometimes life just kicks the shit out of you, and there is nothing you can do to see it coming.

*The statistics show the number of fatalities, notified to the Department of Labour under the Health and Safety in Employment (HSE) Act 1992. The statistics do not include: fatalities in the maritime or aviation sectors or due to work-related crashes on the road as these are investigated by Maritime New Zealand, the Civil Aviation Authority and the NZ Police respectively. Nor do they include fatalities from long latency diseases caused by exposure to hazardous substances.

*irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cameron Russell - TED talk

I rarely put links up without writing about the topic around them first.

This needs no introduction or explanation, and is worth a look.
As someone who has appeared emaciated she was so skinny, and progressed to be on the "obese" end of the BMI spectrum, what she says about attractiveness, perception and insecurity rings SO true. How I feel inside my own body has done nothing but improve, and yet the world around me is less and less accepting of my place in it.
I love how she pointed out the perception of appearance so effectively, and I adore her quick and effective points about discrimination on the grounds of appearance and race.
Thank you.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra and the amazing James Hill 15/2/13 Q-Theatre, Auckland

Tonight was remarkable.
I can’t actually find words to describe the evening in one starting sentence so I’m going to compare it to a scenario...

 hang on…

Here goes…

It was a bit like going to what you thought was going to be a panto, then realising that you were a bit overwhelmed by the talent of the actors, and it turned out there was a sexy nude scene that you just didn’t see coming. And yet it all seemed perfectly natural, and at the end, you walk out covered in glitter, voice raw from cheering, and think… What the fuck just happened?

At one point in the show my face looked like this…

It was a sort of horrified overwhelming TERROR and joy all at the same time.
Not a look you want to see on your audience’s face, but it was for all the right reasons. James Hill blew all my preconceptions about the limitations of the ukulele right out of the water.
Everything I thought I knew was gone. It was a bit like finding Jesus, and realising he was your Dad. What do you MEAN you can do all that with a FUCKING UKELELE!? What the hell have I been learning guitar for?!

The man played a bunch of beautiful songs, made all the more beautiful by the work of celloist Anne Janelle.  He then proceeded to NAIL a few popular songs, give out playing tips, and do THIS.

He gently guided us into it by showing us how a Uke can make percussive noises, but even after he showed us how he did it I was left with the urge to check behind him to figure out where the extra musicians were hiding. It was a musical magic trick and when he took it to the next level with his final number the crowd went INSANE.

In the second half, the focus was the orchestra and it was admittedly a level down from the ninja stylings of James, but just as enjoyable for different reasons.  I’m not going to get into the specific songs, because this is a whole new list of numbers for the group and I don’t want to ruin the surprise for the lucky people who will be seeing this tour. Needless to say it was beautifully performed with heart, joy, and perfect delivery. Each of the members shone in their own moments, And I’m not even going to get into the MUSICAL moments that they shone…
My highlights were;

The sultry voice of Ms Gemma Gracewood.

The fact that every time the understated Nigel Collins stepped up and did anything you could hear the audience breathe a little shallower, afraid to miss something.

Bec Coogan bringing the audience (and perhaps the orchestra) to their knees with her amazing percussion skills on the spoons. But without the spoons… Basically she played the thighs, and it was awesome.

The sexiest skivvy fashion parade I’ve ever seen from Dan Yeabsley. I was disconcertingly fond of a turtleneck by the time he had finished with the audience.

Brilliant off-the-cuff dance moves

The fact that the joy of performing together literally swamped the audience within the first 30 seconds and I was grinning like a LOON by the end of the first number.

By the end of the concert the audience was clapping, singing, and laughing together. Within 2 hours the WIUO had coaxed what seemed like a rather reserved, quiet crowd out of their shells, beyond their insecurities, and into the music.
The audience felt themselves be a part of the show, and I don’t think it will be easy to recover from.

So really, in summary. Thank you. You have a new fan-for-life; I’m off to go browse WIUO on itunes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Anna Karenina film review.

It takes a gifted artist to make to feel something you can only see.
It takes a master to make you feel something you thought you couldn’t feel. Relate to something you thought you had grown out of. Anna Karenina was that for me.
I have long been criticised for being hard-hearted in and out of love. I’m sensible. A blessing really, although I suspect it’s hard to live with for those on the receiving end of my affections. This film made me hold my breath for the young lovers, root for them in a way I don’t normally do with idealistic, naive, stupid thoughtless love.  I was caught up in the intense longing; the tension was captured to perfection. The gentle, kind, obliviousness of Anna’s divinely patient husband was represented beautifully by Jude Law, with a dab touch of heart that made you care how he turned out, even while you understood how she could turn her back on him.
At each and every step of Anna’s journey I related to every single choice she made. And they are so STUPID. I mean for god’s sakes, the book is ridiculous!  It is essentially pity-porn with nice frocks. Everyone wanders around looking longingly at each other and feeling very sad about their pathetic issues. Anna makes bad decision after bad decision and the two loveliest characters (Levin and Kitty) are relegated to the back row to allow the tormented lovers more space. Tolstoy is a writer with an artistic mind, for artistic minds. Sensible pragmatists who make choices based on outcomes need not apply.  But Aaron Taylor-Johnson, UNF. There is a scene early on, where at a dance he takes a drag on a cigarette (something I usually find a massive turn off) and just the sight of his mouth makes me want to steal away to a back room and do terrible things to the poor man. I related to the undeniable passion between the two characters, in a way you really need to, to be able to join the story.
As an aside, they get ten million points for the casting of Domhnall Gleeson in the role of Levin. He is adorable, you can’t help but love his idealism. Also, GINGER BEARD FOR THE WIN! 
I’m struggling to find the words to explain what just happened between this film and I in the cinema, and as time passes I can feel the captivating magic they spun around me, slip away.
Somehow, with a sense of beauty the team that made this film helped me love a book I had previously tolerated.
I’m off to read it again.

“I love you!
You can’t ask why, about love.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not your grief? not your day to talk.

I had to share my friend’s death with thousands of others. Because it was an open funeral I had to queue just to show my respects. I stood behind a woman mouthing off about his public “history” for 30 minutes listening to her BS, just so I could say goodbye to my friend. My memories of trips together and adventures shared were being thought over as people who never even met him stood around and gaped.

 I went home full of un-relieved grief, it was the most beautiful and simultaneously the worst funeral I have ever attended. Because it wasn’t for those who mattered.
It was the public figure, public face, much loved public person who had died.
The little part left for those he cared about was so insignificant on the day, I felt like I had attended the wrong funeral.
I feel for Paul Holmes’ friends and family today, they will most likely be struggling with a similar issue. As someone who let the New Zealand public into his life, who are they to block them from the public remembrance in his death? They deserve the space and privacy to remember who he really was to them. Not to New Zealand. When a public figure resigns from their job that is the time to remember the body of work behind them.

When someone has resigned some time ago, and has just died, this is the time to remember the person. Who they were to you, what you shared. If you never shared anything with that person, no matter how familiar you are with their face, your outpourings are completely irrelevant to anyone but yourself.
By all means, send polite sympathies to the family. Talk to your friends who also did not know them, about your feelings on the matter. But please, for the love of all that is kindness and tact, keep your mouth shut in public for just a little while.

Imagine they are a much disliked work colleague but their sister works with you. No matter what you feel about them personally, you wouldn’t sit in the staffroom mouthing off about how much better it is now they are gone.

Because for someone out there it’s not better. It’s the worst day of their life. And it’s none of your damn business.