Max Cryer

Max Cryer, well-known televison personality, entertainer and author of books on New Zealand words and idioms and on the national anthem, has had the inspired idea of putting together a book on the stories behind popular songs. Love me tender is full of surprising facts about how the most standard of the standards were written but it doesn’t go into what makes a song attractive to many different types of singer.

Love me tender
Love me tender

My Way came immediately to mind, what with Sid Vicious‘ version being preferred over Frank Sinatra‘s by outgoing Parliamentarian Katherine Rich . How could I have imagined when the news of Sid’s death came through to the British Hotel in Lyttelton in 1979 and we all raised a glass to his memory that 30 years later he would be name-checked in a positive way in the debating chamber of the New Zealand Parliament.

Few could deny that Sid was cool in a doomed sort of way and his fashion stylings were infinitely superior to Frank’s but hoping some of his cool would rub off by claiming his version of anything was better than one of the  singers of the twentieth century seems a tad desperate to me.

It’s pretty certain that none of Sid’s songs will be in Love Me Tender but it may be possible to ask Max Cryer which version of My Way he prefers, as he will be sharing songs and stories from the book at South Library on the 20th of October at 12 pm. To book phone 03 941 7923.

Gray-haired Glamazons

As a self-proclaimed fashionista (is there any other kind?) it was with some interest that I pounced upon a new biographical offering on one of the first ladies of New Zealand fashion, WORLD powerhouse, Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, namely All that glitters.  However, rather than diving straight into the book to find out more about the “outrageous, fascinating and impish” doyenne I found myself quite taken aback by the cover photograph which features the impish one looking decidedly grey of hair.  One of L’Estrange-Corbet’s signatures, other than her bright red lipstick is the sleek black bob that she usually sports and taking into account her high-flying fashion designer lifestyle the obvious lack of colouring on her head came as a bit of a shock.

It was then that I remembered an article that I’d read some time back about a movement among “ladies of a certain age” to eschew hair-dyeing in favour of a more “authentic”, age-appropriate look (they’ve even got their own graygirls website)  So the question is, which one of the following books has Denise been reading, and as something of a trendsetter will fashionable ladies everywhere be following suit?

Oh, and I think the gray looks fabulous on her, in fact I can’t wait until the bob turns completely white.  She’ll be quite striking! And do check out All that glitters – she has had a fascinating life, dahlings.

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Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford

Did you know that 2008 is the centennial year of Sir Ernest Rutherford’s Nobel Prize win? In celebration, New Zealand’s most physics-ally-gifted son may be reaching out from the grave to murder fellow scholars. Well, so says the BBC and a lot of other news sources. Is this just classic colonial-bashing or did Sir R’s experiments leave a deadly legacy of radiation at the University of Manchester? Well the investigation is on-going but if you want to read more about Ernest, you can check out our Nobel prizes backgrounder, our kids fact sheet (with recommended reading and websites) or read some books about him.