A telling moment of youth

One of the most important moments in my youth was going to my first orchestral concert, which was held at Canterbury Court around 1968.  This experience ignited a life long interest in orchestral music for me.    

The Civic Orchestra, as it was then called, performed Peter and the Wolf, the first full length orchestral piece I  had heard. The narrator, I discovered recently in a  history of  the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, was Ngaio Marsh. This was a bit of a shock because, for some reason I thought it was Ray Columbus! Presumably that was my idea of famous at the time (I was only twelve ok?).    

King Edward Barracks, corner of Cashel and Montreal Streets, Christchurch
One thing marred the performance. It rained and the rain drumming loudly on the corrugated iron roof drowned out the music at times. This was a common hazard for performances in both Canterbury Court and at the King Edward Barracks, where concerts were sometimes held before we had the Town Hall. As I remember it, even the 1963 concert  for the Queen was in the Barracks, because there was nowhere else big enough for the massed choirs and orchestra to perform.    

Sadly I can find no photographs of either the Barracks (except under construction or destruction) or Canterbury Court, in our extensive historical photograph collection. Does anyone out there have any? Or any recollections of these pre-Town Hall performances?

Invading the dreams of others: Would you do it if you could?

Cover image "Hidden minds: A history of the unconscious"If someone hasn’t already raved to you about Inception, let me! I went to see this movie on Saturday, and wasn’t sure if I should brace myself for a two and half hour blockbuster fail or let myself get as excited as a 13-year-old girl with a crush on a vampire called Edward or a werewolf called Jacob.

Inception is no fail. Christopher Nolan knows how to write and direct winners. His film The Prestige is one of my favourites of all time. I think his latest creation may have to be added to that list. I’m still revisiting certain scenes in my head, four days later. I’ve lied to friends and said I haven’t seen it yet, just so they’ll invite me along with them and I can watch it again.

Inception features the talent of Leonardo Dicaprio (I don’t think his looks are anything to lick your lips at, but the man does knows how to act), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (would definitely risk a restraining order over him, and highly recommend Brick and Mysterious Skin), Ellen Page, and Michael Caine.

I’m not going to tell you what the movie is about because I think it’s better to go in not knowing much at all. Let it unfold before you in the theatre. What I will say is that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, riveted by the dream scape the set designers and special effects artists had created and the mission Leo and his friends embarked on into the deepest parts of the subconscious. When it finished, I was surprised to find that two and half hours had indeed passed. The movie moved like a bullet train, guided through the night by a fascinating concept,  fast-paced music, clever editing, and lots of action.

Go experience it for yourselves!