Get ya geek on: Really useful resources for NCEA Art

Cover image of "How to look at a painting"Fancy yourself the next Goldie, Rita Angus or Colin McCahon? Hone your artistic talents by using these brilliant NCEA Art web resources as your muse.

Art history, art movements, art projects and artists of note

Māori art

So where did we find these great resources? On The Pulse, the library’s website for teens.

The Displaced Reader: Spreydon Library is like a tree house

With autumn here Barrington Park is a picture as you walk to Spreydon Library next door. Once inside you get that tree house feeling especially as you climb the stairs and see the autumn colours through the skylight windows.

This is a unique library (see my photos) – a seventies building given a 21st century makeover with an interesting skylight over the mezzanine floor and a reassuring amount of exposed steel beams. It also has a lift to make access to the fiction collection upstairs easy.

Downstairs the windows give views out to the park, there is a spacious deck with seating and a bright children’s space. I loved the use of orange and aubergine around the walls. Free WiFi makes this a nice place to visit with your laptop too.

There seemed to be tons of fiction to choose from and I swooped on the latest Donna Leon from the bestsellers and an old fave DVD (Since Otar Left which has an amazing 80-plus year-old actress stealing the scenes). Just the thing with a wet weekend forecast.

Depending on which way you travel to Spreydon Library there could be heavy traffic, especially coming across from north to south. I parked on Barrington Street without too much trouble but there is also the Barrington Mall car park next door. The mall seemed pretty busy, with cars coming and going. There’s a cafe nearby if you need a fix and a playground in the park very close to the library.

Find out which libraries are open and learn more about Spreydon Library

Next stop on the library tour is Hornby, which is in one of the busiest parts of the city, so keep following the Displaced Reader on her travels.

Words for Christchurch: Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell was driving through central Christchurch when the February 22 quake hit. These are his Words for Christchurch:


Driving down Lichfield Street,
that banal, modern automaton achievement,
concentration supposedly on total road awareness, defensive driving
only, deep down, even cops would admit we’re
all over the place,
thinking about an apricot and chicken Panini
washed down with a
thought about the germination of a play
or was Roy (substitute any generic Euro/Pakeha name)
giving you the evil eye because you looked
at his missus just a little too long and lateral
or a million f****** other insignificances

When Mother Nature got one s***-kicking
surprise for you, Jack (or Roy if you’d rather)
and She gonna whip your ass with some p-wave
or s-wave or whatever-wave
and suddenly I thought I’d blown a back tyre,
but She was having none of it,
raining down masonry like it was a lolly scramble
of Death.

And I, a transplant in this city, a pseud
Southern Man,
weep to see it go down, to go down
on Kai Tahu, Pakeha, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese
and so on, not the Whitebread city it used to be,
not Skinhead Central,
going down, twisting in agony over Bridle Path,
writhing in pain through London Street
and the Square, not hip, Daddy-O,
but the heart of old, white squattocracy
torn out, that heart and
trampled underfoot.

We lost, we gained,
we waxed, we waned,
we came into the heart of what it means
to be human
and we were spat out by Papatuanuku
like seeds from a watermelon.

Are you missing your music?

I don’t know about you, but I’m still experiencing withdrawal symptoms from being denied access to the Central Library music CDs and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra’s concert season. I especially regret the loss of  the chance to hear Nickolai Demidenko, whose playing held me spellbound just a few years ago when he played Prokofiev’s third piano concerto at the Town Hall.

The silver lining to this is online access to the Naxos and Music Online music streaming databases on our website. With the  inexpensive addition of some speakers from Dick Smith, my computer can now deliver me a whole library of classical music at home, giving me the opportunity to try out some new music without cost.

Listening to Demidenko playing Chopin on Naxos or Glenn Gould playing Beethoven in Music Online will never replace the excitement of a live performance, but it’s not a bad compensation prize.