The Eastern – Genuine Christchurch Rock

album coverThe Eastern embody Christchurch spirit through and through. They’re a band of hard-working, no-nonsense folk who sure haven’t let an earthquake get in the way of making music. The perfect band to open NZ Music Month at Christchurch City Libraries at Central Library Tuam tonight at 7pm.

Chart, Christchurch’s music website, defines The Eastern as ‘ a string band that roars like a punk band, that swings like a gospel band, that drinks like a country band, that works like a bar band, that hopes like folk singers, and sings love songs like union songs, and writes union songs like love songs, and wants to slow dance and stand on tables, all at the same time.’ I think this sums things up pretty well.

I first came across The Eastern at The Mussel Inn in Takaka and was blown away by their talent, diversity and passion for music. Charismatic Adam McGrath has a voice as gritty as Waimak gravel and complements Jess Shanks who sings like a angel.

The Eastern is based in Lyttelton. Their first self-titled album was released in 2009, charity record The Harbour Union debuted at 20 in the NZ Charts, and their most recent recording Hope and Wire will be used in the soundtrack behind the upcoming television mini-series by the same name which portrays life in Christchurch after the quakes.

These hard core musos have played around NZ and the world and have opened for acts such as Fleetwood Mac, Justin Townes Earle, Vic Chestnut and Jimmy Barnes. They average 200 shows a year and will be performing along with Luckless and Katie Thompson at Central Library Tuam tonight at 7:00pm. Don’t miss them!

Why your five-year-old could not have done that

Ever stood in front of a work of modern art – all spots and dribbles, or with child-like figures and random words scrawled across it? Or been mystified by an installation of a toilet (which won an art prize and got sent all the way to Paris)? If so, you may have had three thoughts in rapid succession:

  • I could do that
  • Hell no, my five year old could do it
  • Crikey, I hope they didn’t spend any of my taxes on this

If this sounds like you, you need to read Susie Hodge’s book: Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That, in which she takes us for a look at one hundred works of modern art and talks us through  them to show exactly why our five year olds could most certainly not have produced a dribbly Jackson Pollock or even the simplest looking Mark Rothko. According to Hodge, it’s got to do with intention, technical skill, layering of ideas, sheer inspiration, pushing new boundaries and historical context. Sure, maybe little Johnny can copy it now – but that’s only because he’s seen it done already.

Cover: My Art BookIt’s a fascinating little book for anyone who is interested in art, especially art education. I read it hand in hand with with My Art Book, which is a Dorling Kindersley publication for children. In My Art Book, art masterpieces are deconstructed to encourage children to copy the techniques of famous artists like Kandinsky and Van Gogh. It is a colourful book, fun and full of ideas. But I found it disturbing where children were really just copying masterpieces, like the little girl on page 37 – earnestly hunched over her ballerina, smudging it for all she’s worth to get it to look exactly like a Degas.

Irrespective of which of these two approaches you prefer, if you come along to the New Brighton Bookish Artists Art Exhibition in May (featuring art works by library staff), we won’t mind at all if you look at our work and think: “I could do better than that”, and what is more, we’d be only too delighted if you set out to copy us!

Here’s a taster from last year’s exhibition:

Painting Painting