Party time!

If you missed the opportunity to make it to AFFIRM in Aranui on the 3rd of December, then make sure you get along to Westside Party in the Park in Hornby this Saturday the 11 December from 2pm-5.30 pm. Beginning back in 2000, the Westside Party in the Park is held annually at Denton Park near Hornby Library, and proves to be a popular day out for the entire family.

This free event has a variety of exciting happenings, ranging from face painting, pony rides and bouncy castles for the little kids (and the big kids at heart!) to community stalls, food stalls, and a stage for  the musical acts, with local favourites Restoration returning as the headlining act.

The Hornby Community Centre offers the chance to get photos with Santa at the event and the Hornby Presbyterian Community Church, have a link on their website for children to download a colouring competition to bring along on the day for a chance to win prizes.

Samuel Vimes, you’re my hero!

CoverI’ve never been the sort of person to put up movie star posters in my room, or sigh over rock bands.  What I DO have, though is an enduring love of some book characters.  I know, it doesn’t get much more nerdy-librarian than that.  Even worse, my current infatuation (and an enduring one, I must confess) is for a cynical, middle-aged, angrily sober ex-alcoholic career policeman, who lives in a city that he loves to hate, in a world that doesn’t exist.

I first met His Grace, His Excellency, the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes (Blackboard Monitor) in 1989 in Guards! Guards! (a book that continues to be my favourite out of all Terry Pratchett’s novels).  At the time, he was a mere Captain of the City Watch, and I a recently-married student.  We have grown up together, Vimes and I, although I have not attained the heady heights of nobility and career stardom that he has.  Like millions of fans worldwide I am worried that Snuff, the latest title by Pratchett, may also be his last, and I am both pleased and saddened that of all the characters and stories he could have chosen, it’s Vimes who is the hero of Snuff.

Cover Pratchett’s books, on the surface, are all about farting dragons and innuendo-ridden witches, very tall dwarves and orangutan librarians, and as such are frequently dismissed as being for kids or people who like to dress up in old curtains and pretend they are wizards.

But they are also full of genuinely historical crunchy bits, retellings of classic tales, myth and legend, and characters that are so real you feel you already know them.  Their foibles are our foibles, their humanity just like ours (even when they are not, strictly speaking, human), and their dreams and aspirations as valid as ours.  All Sam Vimes wants to do at the end of the day is be the best copper he can be, keep his city and home safe for his wife and son, and make it home by 6pm each night so he can read Young Sam his favourite book, Where’s My Cow?

Snuff is a delight, a fabulously funny, heart-warming tale of mystery and murder on a policeman’s holiday, that is also about justice and slavery, nobility and prejudice and standing up for what you know to be right.  It is one of the very best books I have read recently, and has only cemented my ongoing love for Vimes, Duke of Ankh, Blackboard Monitor, and policeman extraordinaire.

Now make me feel better by confessing YOUR literary crushes …

With Spirit – Dolls, goat skulls and yellow plastic tubing!

CoverDon Driver passed away yesterday.

The first I heard was Hamish Keith on the radio – they were friends, as were Jim and Mary Barr.

There will be many tributes to come. Like Courtney Johnston  I never met the man, but I have had many good, bad and indifferent experiences with his work, at many times and places. Always a twist often a challenge and a surprise.

The Christchurch Art Gallery has a few of his works (where he is know by the more formal name of Donald Sinclair Driver) and one work has a brief bio.

Driver has lived in New Plymouth since 1943. His first job was with a dental technician learning how to mould, shape and cast materials. He took night classes in drawing and later learned woodwork, welding and pottery. He has been exhibiting his work since the 1950s and has travelled widely, including time in North America, Asia and India.

With spirit: Don Driver a retrospective‘ toured New Zealand (including Christchurch) at the end of last century. Although our gallery is not open at the moment they have an eclectic selection of articles, and images to explore to help remember an art treasure no longer with us.