Telling tales @ The Pallet Pavilion Story Festival

Join The Story Collective for a weekend of storytelling. Enjoy a wide variety of performances, participatory events, and creative workshops. The Story Festival start on the evening of Friday 14 March and runs until Sunday 16 March at the Gap Filler Pallet Pavilion, corner of Kilmore and Durham Streets.

The busy programme includes:

  • Opening night Friday 14 March at 7pm “a rich show of all types of stories, spoken word and live music galore”
  • Saturday 15 March: Creative workshops including a Kakapo tale and making felt kakapo, and lassooing a star.
  • Writers’ Panel with Rachael King, Gavin Bishop, Deborah Rogers, and Anneleise Hall
  • Storytelling dance, and Open Mic;
  • Family chill-out day on Sunday 16 March including the Christchurch City Libraries’ outreach team doing bicultural story telling at 11am, and tales from Christchurch’s Word Witch.

Stories at Pallet Pavilion
StoryCollective

Safari answers your technical questions

Technology annoys me. Every time I learn something new, it changes again on me and I am left scowling at small children who roll their eyes at my incompetency. I am of the generation that had to put their finger in a hole to dial a number and wait for the big circular dial to return to the start – none of that speed dial business!

If you are more technically minded, then I have the electronic resource for you! We provide access to Safari Books Online, an electronic reference library of technology, business and digital media. Safari has it all – from artificial intelligence and mark-up languages, to desktop publishing and online security. If you know that a “Server” is not actually another name for a waitress, that “Perl” is not just a knitting pattern and “Hacking” is not just a violent cough then this resource will be for you.

You can search across all of Safari’s texts or simply flick to the page you need at any time of the day or night to help out with any issues you come across.

Personally I still preferred my old phone – I miss the whirring noise as the dial swung round.  Maybe there is an app for that?

Quite Graphically Fantas(y)tic

If anyone had told me that I would become a huge fan of fantasy graphic novels with an anthropomorphic badger and more, I would have suggested they change their prescription.

Cover of Grandville Bete NoirDon’t get me wrong – I like graphic novels, well, some anyway.  I give a wide berth to superheroes and the like, but Grandville and the nicely put together Detective Inspector LeBrock and his terribly English, monocle-wearing sidekick Detective Sergeant Roderick Ratzi have me hooked.

The Grandville books are set in a steampunk world with murder, greed and political conspiracy as the themes. When I reserved the first book in the series I had no idea they were fantasy, or that my would-be heroes were animals. While most of the characters are anthropomorphic animals, there are a few “doughfaces” representing humans.

England has recently won independence from superpower France (Napoleon won!). The far right have bombed Robida Tower, with the English being accused. Having created the fear, the scheming politicians/moguls plan to unite their citizens in a war against terrorism, thus overcoming any further socialist republic tendencies. They are working on the explosive finale, but not if our heroes have anything to do with it.

Cover of Grandville Mon AmourArchie LeBrock is no gentleman when it comes to dishing out justice and the body count is high in Grandville, the first book in the series. Think working-class Le Carré, Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming and pure fantasy. The steampunk theme is a perfect match for the characters and the stories, and adds an extra quality to the whole series. I found myself studying the background instead of just reading the words and moving onto the next frame.

The English resistance movement have struggled against France and have won independence, but at what cost? LeBrock and Ratzi find power does indeed corrupt and they have to face the unthinkable in the second title in the series, Grandville Mon Amour. Once again they burrow their way through the political system to find the rotten apples at its core. As a wee sideline, we get a small hope that Archie might find love again.

I love the sly digs, the twisted, quite fictional history and the visual and verbal puns which are a large part of the pleasure of reading these books. Despite my initial wariness (I mean, fantasy!?) I will read these books again and wait for the next two that will finish the series. I’m yet to read book number 3, Grandville Bete Noir, having saved it for a treat.

Cover of The Tale of One Bad RatI first came upon the terrific penmanship and fertile mind of the author of the Grandville series, Bryan Talbot, with The Tale of One Bad Rat set in the Lake District of England.

It would be hard to find a graphic novel less like standard comic books than this. I loved the almost Beatrix Potter-like watercolour drawings and the moving story of teenage runaway Helen and her pet Rat. Her story evolves, her past and her reasons for running away slowly becoming obvious as Helen tries to deal with her fear and self-loathing and  find her place in the world. An excellent combination of a sadly familiar story with a satisfactory ending, enhanced by beautiful drawings.

Have you ever had your reading tastes altered by a book, as firmly as I have? Ever tried reading graphic novels? Put a book back on the shelf after spotting the word “fantasy” and thought, not for me? I have enjoyed having my head turned by all of these books and will be more open-minded (I hope) in future.