My friend, James Taylor

After several months of counting down to the concert,  I finally got to go and see my favourite EVER musician, James Taylor, at the Vector Arena on Saturday night.  I’ve loved James Taylor’s music since my dad introduced me to it about six or seven years ago and I’d always hoped that I’d get to see him live in concert.  I’ve been to a lot of concerts over the years but James Taylor and Carole King’s Troubadour Reunion concert is the best by far.  Although I’m not a huge fan of Carole King’s it was great to see her belt out her hits and her duets with James were amazing.  I could have easily listened to both of them sing for the rest of the evening and judging from the several standing ovations and numerous encores, so could the rest of the audience. 

Watching and listening to James perform some of my favourite songs, such as Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, You’ve Got a Friend, and a hilarious performance of the Blues-inspired Steamroller, was an experience I’ll never forget.

James Taylor is one of those singers that make me feel great every time I listen to him.  The feeling that his songs and his mellow voice invoke are hard to describe but they just make me feel good about life and I know that if I’ve had a bad day or I’m feeling down, James Taylor can pick me back up again. 

Are there any musicians or songs that have a similar connection for you?

Remembering Great Uncle Tom

For a long time, Anzac Day just meant to me another public holiday and yummy Anzac biscuits for morning tea, until our family discovered a personal connection. Delving into our family history, we discovered that my grandmother’s favourite brother, my Great-Uncle Tom, had fought and died at Gallipoli on Anzac Day, which was poignant for me and fascinating for my sons!

We checked out some of the military history books in the library, in particular Bloody Gallipoli: the New Zealander’s Story and Gallipoli : the New Zealand Story, and amazingly discovered a couple of references to Great-Uncle Tom in the descriptions of what happened at Gallipoli. The description of his death was particularly moving.

Corporal Gillanders, modest and brave, was shot through the head whilst passing an order.

We also found more information about him on the Cenotaph database. Now on Anzac Day we always set up a photo of Great-Uncle Tom, with a poppy next to it. We will remember him.

Many New Zealanders have a relative who fought, and possibly died at Gallipoli or in other World War One battles. Christchurch City Libraries’ New Zealand At War and Anzac Day resources have an amazing amount of information for people interested in the wars that New Zealand has been involved in and researching the personal stories of soldiers.

Has anyone else researched their relatives who fought at Gallipoli? How do you mark Anzac Day? Is it more than just Anzac biscuits for you?