Tomorrow it’s the annual celebration of commuter cycling known as Go By Bike Day when Kiwis are encouraged to ditch the car or bus and get to where they’re going by the power of pedal alone.
I’ve been a commuter cyclist on and off since I got my first bike (a gold Raleigh 20) at the age of twelve and it is a terrific way to get around the city. Nowdays I often have a passenger as my 2 year-old enjoys the view from his child-seat up front, and the opportunity it affords him to wave at everything from ducks, to dog-walkers, to diggers.
It’s not without its downsides – impatient or inattentive motorists, bad weather, potholes, helmet hair, and lanes that aren’t quite wide enough because of roadworks – all hazards and impediments. But hey, what in life is perfect? Nothing. And there are plenty of reasons why going by bike is a good idea, not just on Wednesday, but every day.
Exercise – If, like me you’re a bit averse to exercise for its own sake, commuting by bike can really help you get moving and active. Commuter cycling has its own motivation built in, “Sure I can stop if I get tired…but I’ll be late for work/school so I’d better keep going”.
Money – It’s hard to argue against the money-saving aspect. No bus fare, parking fees, petrol costs, rego or insurance required. Once you have a bike, helmet, lights, lock and some reflective-wear you’ll spend almost nothing (unless you want to treat yourself to a cookie because you burned so many calories on your way to work).
Freedom of movement – Often people equate the motor vehicle with freedom to come and go as they please. In reality you’re much freer with a bike. You never have to circle the block looking for a park on a bike. If you see something interesting on your way somewhere there’s always a convenient spot to “pull over”. Depending on what kind of bike you have, you can pick it up and carry it places. Take it into a park. On a ferry. Put it on the front of a bus. You can stop, get off, and walk pretty much any time it takes your fancy. You just can’t do that with cars.
Panniers, baskets and trailers, oh my! – It’s never been easier to lug your stuff (and kids) around by bike as there are more options available for customising your ride than ever before. Not sure if a bike trailer is for you? Then try a trailer out for free.
Environmentally friendly – With a bike you supply the fuel. Your legs (or arms – hand-cycles are a thing) propel you, not fossil fuels. You’ll never run out of petrol, (though it is possible to run out of puff).
Sense of achievement – I like knowing that I got from one place to another by the power of My Mighty Legs. Also, the first time I successfully repaired a puncture on my own was one of my proudest moments.
The cool factor – I have a very cool bike. Strangers often compliment me on it. I’d never be able to afford a car that makes people envious but a bike is a much easier (and affordable) proposition. People are also really impressed when you turn up somewhere on a bike, as if you’ve done something superhuman. In some corners it’s considered novel and somewhat daring to have travelled by bicycle. Take my advice and MILK THIS FOR ALL IT’S WORTH.
The Christchurch Art Gallery re-opened on Saturday 19 December 2015, and has had record visit numbers ever since. Their latest publication is 101 works of art, beautifully designed by Aaron Beehre, features texts by Lara Strongman, Ken Hall, Felicity Milburn, Nathan Pohio, Peter Vangioni and Jenny Harper.
Lara Strongman is the senior curator of the Christchurch Art Gallery, and I talked to her about the re-opening.
Now that the Gallery is open again, what’s your feeling as to how people are using and enjoying it?
I’m a little surprised—but very moved—by the deeply emotional response people are having to the re-opening. There have been many people in tears. It’s not just that they are seeing the works they’ve missed over the past five years, it’s what it means to them to be seeing the gallery open again.
There have been many unsolicited hugs for Jenny (the Art Gallery director).
I’ve noticed lots of teenagers coming through, as well as families and international visitors. Wayne Youle’s postcard project has people sending messages all round the world to tell people to come and visit, as well as Christchurch people sending them to other family members.
Parents are showing young children works they haven’t seen, but which were very familiar to their parents. (There’s a half generation of kids who’ve never visited the gallery, or who were too young at the time of the earthquakes to remember.) There are loads of old favourites on show, but also works that are new to everyone – Unseen and The Newest new world are examples. People are also discovering unexpected connections between works:
I liked the Hotere room where the sounds of the seal breathing in the next room added something unexpected. pic.twitter.com/Nvp5Ai96v5
When the Gallery was closed, you all branched out – blogging, social media, exhibitions in different places and out on the streets, will these things still play a role? How has being closed changed the Gallery?
Now we’re open again, we’ve brought the Outer Spaces projects back into the proximity of the gallery. While we were shut, we went out into the city, and in the process learned a great deal about putting different kinds of art into public spaces. Now we’re commissioning new works for unexpected spaces around the gallery building and concourse. We’re calling them Other Spaces.
What’s coming up?
Local artist Tony de Lautour is painting a new work on the Bunker building out the front of the gallery that will be open for Waitangi weekend. We’re also opening our final summer exhibition, Op and Pop. There’s a massive interactive work called Tangle on the forecourt, especially for kids and families over the weekend. And I understand there’s going to be free gelato again, courtesy of our friends at NZI.
Over this year, our collection shows will be constantly changing. And I’m really looking forward to A Beautiful Hesitation, the survey exhibition by Ngai Tahu artist Fiona Pardington coming up mid year.
What do you think about libraries?
I love libraries! They’re my second favourite places, after art galleries. Curators spend a lot of time in libraries, doing research. And I really admire Christchurch City Libraries: the way they’re continuously innovative and put people first.
The Gallery’s librarian Tim Jones deals with a lot of research enquiries, including some extremely obscure ones. There is sharing of archival information around the world, which helps fill in gaps in understanding. By putting works online, unknown works start to be identified and our knowledge of the collection is made richer and more complex.
This summer I’m going to do a rewatch of Deadwood (my favourite show). I hear there’s a telemovie coming out that will tie up the loose ends.
Season 2 of Catastrophe: it’s quite rude but very funny.
And I’ve been watching Luther from the beginning — I like watching an episode each evening and becoming immersed in the story, as if you’re reading a chapter each night. It’s a very bookish way of watching telly.
Thanks to Lara, and to the Christchurch Art Gallery.
January has come and gone. And maybe you find that (despite your New Year’s Resolutions), you still feel depressingly like Nigel Marsh in his book Fat, Forty and Fired. If that makes you feel like a bit of a failure, could be you’re looking at this all wrong. Because failing is the new way to go.
It is hard to believe, but recent research is emphatic – we learn our best and most important lessons from our failures and not from our successes. Have a look at this list of recent reads on Failing.
An excellent place to start is with The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Published late in 2015, Lahey’s book focuses attention on how we raise our children. Sub-titled How The Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children can Succeed, adults will also learn a lot from Lahey’s clear message: allow your kids (and yourself) to make mistakes.
Another good read is The Rise by Sarah Lewis who approaches the topic of failure by researching the achievements of Nobel prize-winners, successful entrepreneurs and creative artists, and comparing these with their early “failures”. Her message is clear, we need to “converse with our failures”.
I remember a time, way back, when I had lost my job; was living a great distance from my family; didn’t appear to have a single creative thought to spare; kept clinging to a relationship that was long since over, and to top it all I was sporting the worst hairstyle … ever. What is more, like most of us, I was trying to make sense of it all by utilising The Power of Positive Thinking.
And it’s not that I want to knock Positive Thinking, it has served me very well. But I like the idea that there are other approaches I can take when things go wrong – which they surely will.
And these books made me look at my failures with new eyes, made me feel that instead I could be Fit Fifty and Fired Up. And that would make 2016 a very good year indeed!
Illustrated liberally and with short articles this is a great book for the armchair traveller. Chernobyl is of course featured, but there are a surprisingly large amount of places that have been abandoned because of environmental disasters as well as urban migration. Interestingly Waiuta in New Zealand is included, one of the small towns abandoned after the gold rush. With haunting photographs this is an ideal book for flicking through and choosing places that are of interest, and perhaps you might even get some ideas for your next trip overseas!
Featuring artists work from all over the world, this is also an easy book to pick up and flick through to find a piece of work that takes your fancy. The amount of art representing the biological sciences is about as broad and never ending as nature itself. Some are environmental protest pieces, others are representations of science itself. Well illustrated with informative articles on each artist.
The titles says it all! Examples from the 195’s advertising world featuring some nasty advertising for soap (suggesting that a black child needs to wash more), how smoking Camel cigarettes can cure throat irritation, and Valium can restore cheerfulness and optimism alongside plenty of examples of how women can catch a man….
Beautiful but dumb. She has never learnt the first rule of lasting charm. A long lasting deodorant. People on the go use ODO.RO.NO
No tween or teen wants to think about how quickly the new school term has arrived. Well too bad. As someone who gets four weeks holiday a year, I am struggling to feel sorry for you. Despite this I believe those who say your school years are the best years of your life are liars. They are the best years only if you like feeling socially, physically and intellectually inadequate! Well I can’t improve your social standing or your body parts as I remain even now socially awkward with love handles, but I can help you out in the intellectual category by pointing you in the right direction.
Your library loves you and wants to help so that is why we provide a multitude of eResources designed to aid you in any known subject. These eResources are mobile friendly and available 24/7. So if you have stuffed around to the last moment and it is the night before do not stress as we have what you need for your homework needs. For example we have:
Well more fool you. If you want to head upwards in the intellect category then this is not the place to start. Luckily if a one stop shop is your thing then we have eResources Discovery Search which basically searches across most of the eResources we subscribe to in one single search. So it is like Google, but without the weirdos, liars and nudey bits.
Have a look at these tools and remember life thankfully does get better after your school years. You may get less holidays but you know where you can go for answers (the local library) and where to go if you feel socially awkward or bloated (the pub) (the local library).
If the publishing industry is a literary popularity contest then these titles from our library collection are the cool kids in school.
In non-fiction last year food and health were the overriding themes. Last year’s king of the culinary castle, Simon Gault was ousted by kitchen queen Annabel Langbein in 2015 with her Through the seasons: The free range cook taking out top spot.
Honorable mention must go to Dr Libby Weaver for appearing no less than 5 times in the top 10 non-fiction.
In fiction, Personal by Lee Child finally made the top spot after getting pipped at the post in 2014.
Mysteries, thrillers and suspense titles continue to be popular and is reflected in the most popular authors for adults list which for the second year in a row was topped by James Patterson, but there’s still ran audience for perennial favourites like Danielle Steel, and even more perennial Agatha Christie, whose popularity continues unabated.
Novels by Lee Child also make a strong showing in the top eBooks list (5 times in the top 20), though the number one spot goes to Eyes on you by Kate White.
The most popular eAudiobook was cross-generational film-franchise juggernaut The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, with the three books of the series taking out the top three spots.
In fact, books with successful movie tie-ins made up a whopping 14 out of the top 20 eAudiobooks, showing that fans of franchises like Harry Potter, and the Divergent series aren’t solely interested in the visual part of “audiovisual”.
In kids books, again classic titles were very popular with Michael Rosen’s We’re going on a bear hunt, originally published in 1989, continuing to find an audience and securing the number one slot.