Robert Webb: How Not To Be a Boy – WORD Christchurch, Tuesday 15 May, 7.30pm

CoverDiary this! On Tuesday 15 May 7.30pm, WORD Christchurch, in association with Auckland Writers Festival, presents Robert Webb in conversation with Kiwi comedian and writer Michele A’Court. Robert is a comedian, actor, and writer, appearing in such gems as Peep Show and Mitchell & Webb.  He will be speaking about his new book How Not To Be a Boy at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College, 12 Winchester St, Merivale. Robert will also be signing copies of his book after he speaks. Find out more and buy your tickets. 

In his book, Robert looks back to his childhood, through to his university years where he met his friend and comic partner, David Mitchell (both performing for the famous Cambridge Footlights).  We are with him for his school days, and as he grapples with grief after the death of his mother.

Growing up, Webb found that society expected boys and men to love sport and play rough, drink beer, never to talk about their feelings, and never to cry. When Webb became a father, he began thinking about the expectations society has of boys and men – and how these expectations were often at best, absurd, and at worst, limiting and emotionally damaging.

Webb will discuss, among other subjects, how various relationships made him who he is as a man, the life lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and “the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.”

More Webb

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The Killers bring Vegas to Christchurch

On Tuesday night at a sold out Horncastle Arena, the Killers took the stage in the most spectacular, Vegas-style fashion. They started off with their first single Mr Brightside (cue several audience members paying up on their bet that this would be the last number), the audience got to their feet, and remained there for the rest of the night. Immediately after, the arena went dark, a fantastic show of lights began, and the band launched into a fantastic repertoire of old favourites’ like ‘Human’, and ‘Read My Mind’, along with some great new songs such as ‘The Man’ and ‘Run For Cover’.

Brandon Flowers owned the stage, firstly in a fabulous pink jacket, then in the most glittering of gold suits that Elvis himself would have envied. If you were worried you wouldn’t be able to hear the show over the loud suits – never fear. Brandon Flowers voice was as powerful and on form as ever.

He was also backed up with a great band including 2 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and 3 backing vocals. To be very technical about it, the noise was loud, and the Killers sounded bigger and better than ever. There were some great touches of flamboyancy too with giant confetti and streamers pouring from the ceiling at a couple of opportune moments. The band seemed to be stoked to be there, and Brandon Flowers smiled, pranced, and made love to us all. He said it had taken fourteen years for the band to get to Christchurch but assured us  it wouldn’t take that long again. The entire audience will no doubt hold him to that.

The programme was truly packed, and pauses for applause were very small, almost as though the band were worried we wouldn’t applaud. There was a nice hat tip to Kiwi music, with a rendition of ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ and the band went out with a true bang, on ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’.

Not all of the Killers were there as guitarist Dave Keuning has left touring to spend more time with his family, and bassist Mark Stoermer has likewise paused touring to take up study (as my brother in law observed, this is ‘in true rock star fashion’). How unusual is it to hear of rock stars halting their careers not for rehab reasons but rather for study and their bubs? This is just another reason to love this band. Brandon Flowers in particular just comes across as a heck of a nice guy, thrilled to bits that you’re having a good time.

If you’re gutted you missed the concert, well, this blog probably hasn’t helped. Happily though, the library does have plenty of Killers albums you can borrow, and like Brandon Flowers said, it won’t take fourteen years for the group to come back. Judging by the love for Brandon Flowers bursting from fans on Tuesday night, the group are no doubt aware that Christchurch has already started the countdown.

Digging up the past

New Zealand Archaeology Week runs from 28 April – 6 May, with events up and down the country, including an exhibition courtesy of Underground Overground Archaeology at our own South Library called Pubs of the Past: the archaeology of Victorian Christchurch Hotels, so this seems like a good time to mention some of the archaeological books, magazines, and other resources that you can find at Christchurch City Libraries.

Books

The Library has thousands of books and eBooks about archaeology for both adults and children. Because archaeology lies at the interface between art, history, and science, books on this subject can be found in several different places among our non-fiction collection, so if you’re having troubling finding what you’re looking for, then ask a librarian for help.

Here is a list of a few of my personal favourites that have recently been added to the library’s shelves, including some fiction that features archaeologists as characters…

Archaeology

List created by robcruickshank

Books about archaeology and archaeologists for adults and children, including both fiction and non-fiction

The 50 Greatest Prehistoric Sites of the WorldCover of The 50 greatest prehistoric sites of the world – A guide book to archaeological sites

A’a – The fascinating story of a Polynesian artefact, now in the British Museum, that became an inspiration for Picasso

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes – The consequences of an archaeological hoax come back to haunt the characters of this 1956 novel

Built on Bones – What happened when we started to live together in cities? – the archaeological evidence

Cover of Cigars of the PharaohCigars of the Pharaoh – A classic!Cigars of the Pharaoh

The Incredible Cabinet of Wonders – Not just archaeology, but I love this children’s “lift the flap” bookThe Incredible Cabinet of Wonders

Keeping Their Marbles – The uncomfortable story of how archaeological objects from around the world were acquired by western museums, often by coercion and theft

Cover of A little history of Archaeology by Brian Fagan

A Little History of Archaeology – Stories of some of the great archaeologists and what they found – one of the “Little Histories” series

Lost in A Pyramid – Twelve tales from the golden age of the mummy story, collected and published by the British Library

Mayan Mendacity – The second mystery for Dr Elizabeth Pimms, archaeologist and librarian – sequal to Olmec Obituary

My Life in Ruins – What is it actually like to be an archaeologist?

Cover of The quest for ZThe Quest for Z – A delightful retelling for children of a doomed expedition to find a lost city in the Amazon jungle

The Story of Tutankhamun – A beautifully illustrated book for children about perhaps the most celebrated of ancient Egyptian pharaohs

View Full List

Magazines and eMagazines

The magazine Archaeology is available both as a hard copy and as an e-magazine through RBDigital. Check out the January/February 2018 edition for an article called “New Zealand’s First City, Uncovered”, which tells the stories of the early European colonists of Christchurch through some of the artefacts found among the rubble in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes, as well as presenting evidence of earlier occupation by Māori dating back as far as 1250 AD.

We also have many other general science and history magazines that include articles about archaeology, such as All About History, BBC History Magazine, DiscoverSmithsonian Magazine, etc., in both hard copy and digital formats. Check out the library catalogue for details.

eResources

A library card gets you free access to a huge number of electronic resources that contain information about archaeology, many of which can be accessed from home. The best way to find out about these is to log on a take a look. In particular, you might want to check out some of these:

These are in addition to our extensive collection of eResources about local and family history. If you are a Christchurch resident, but not yet a member of the library, you can join online, with the option of a digital only membership if you just want access to our online resources.

Other places of archaeological interest in and around Christchurch

Fans of Egyptology should check out Tash Pen Khonsu, an Egyptian mummy on display at Canterbury Museum. For those with more classical tastes, the Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities, run by the University of Canterbury, is well worth a visit. This relatively new museum opened in May 2017 and is located in the recently refurbished Arts Centre on Level 1 of the Old Chemistry Building at 3 Hereford Street. It is currently closed, but will re-open during New Zealand Archaeology Week on 5 May with an exhibition called “Beyond the Grave: Death in Ancient Times”.

More information about archaeological sites in Christchurch can be found on the websites of Christchurch City Council and Heritage New Zealand (formerly known as the Historic Places Trust), which has an extensive archaeology section that includes a wealth of fascinating and useful information, and of course on our own Library Website.

Happy digging!

The camel ride including two young travellers at the New Zealand International Exhibition 1906-1907: Picturing Canterbury

The camel ride including two young travellers at the New Zealand International Exhibition 1906-1907 [ca. 1906]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0005.
The three adult camels which offered rides to vistors to the New Zealand International Exhibition (1906-1907) were purchased in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to their departure to New Zealand, the camels gave birth. Accompanied by two baby camels, the three adult camels arrived in Christchurch in October 1906 onboard the S.S. Wimmera. After being unloaded they were conveyed to their destination by cattle trucks which were impractical given their long necks.

Featured as part of the “Wonderland” amusement park section of the exhibition, it cost 3d to ride a camel. The camel handlers were Aboriginal Australians from South Australia. The use of animals at the exhibition was inspected by representatives of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but it was found that the camels were not being mistreated.

The exhibition closed in April 1907, after which some of the “Wonderland” amusements were dismantled and removed to Wellington where they were put on display at Miramar. Although one of the camels died in June 1907, the rest were relocated to Wellington. Following the Miramar “Wonderland” show, one of the camels was given to the zoo in Wellington.

Do you have any photographs of the New Zealand International Exhibition (1906-1907)? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

The Camel Ride Including Two Young Travellers At The New Zealand International Exhibition 1906-1907

A glimpse of libraries past

As we move ever closer to the opening of Tūranga, it can be interesting to reflect and look back on how far libraries have come in the last few decades. Looking at our fabulous digital collections I hit a fascinating and poignant vein of images of Christchurch libraries past.

Particularly poignant is this image of staff in 1982 outside the new – now old – central library on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace. It feels very symbolic of change, and hope, and the unexpected – and was recreated in 2013.

IMG0091
Canterbury Public Library staff outside the new library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace [1982] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0091
Another image shows behind the scenes views of Canterbury Public Library from the 1950s. Lots of stamping and binding and indexing going on! I’m glad to say that our wonderful Bindery is still going strong, but I think we look a little different behind the scenes these days – still heaps of books, but much more technology.

IMG0090
A behind the scenes look at the day to day activities of the Canterbury Public Library 
[1954]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0090
Two more views show cataloguing and processing in the 1960s and 1950s. We still do a considerable amount of cataloguing and getting items shelf ready, but we certainly don’t have tables like that any more, nor do we wear the legendary smocks!

IMG0092
The cataloguing and processing department of the Canterbury Public Library moved to the area that was formerly the bindery, who had moved to the ground floor of the library house next door in Cambridge Terrace 
[1967]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0092

Cataloguing and processing staff of the Canterbury Public Library in their workroom in Cambridge Terrace, 1953
Cataloguing and processing staff of the Canterbury Public Library in their workroom in Cambridge Terrace 
[1953]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0093
I love looking at photos like this. It’s great to look at where we have come from as we plan our move ahead into the future. However, as much as we have changed, some things do stay the same – piles of books and librarians working hard to connect you with wonderful content.

 

Can men really write about women?

I’ve just read five books in a row written by male authors. I’ll freely admit that this doesn’t qualify as a statistically significant sample. And yet I feel compelled to wade right in and share with you my thoughts on the abilities of men to really really understand their female characters. We’re not talking Nicholas Sparks here, so Buckle Up. It could be a bumpy ride.

The Dreams of Bethany MellmothIn my fantasy “authors I have a bit of a crush on” life, for some reason I have William Boyd pegged as a Big Game Hunter type of a man – leaning nonchalantly against a muddy Landrover, smoking a Camel. As a result I’m always taken by surprise to rediscover that he writes really well about women. In The Dreams of Bethany Melmoth  the portrayal of Bethany herself is very finely wrought. However, not to move the goalposts, I think that Boyd is trying to appeal to a female readership here, I just can’t picture male readers taking to this book at all.

Colin Cotterill gets round the problem of writing about women by simply excluding them, if not altogether, in the main. In The Rat Catcher’s Olympics there are really only two female characters and they are like male characters only with female names and husbands. This doesn’t deter me from Cotterill as an author, as his male characters have quite well-developed feminine sides anyway. Colin (I feel we are on first name terms) is the only author I have ever tried to meet: in Chiang Mai at The Blue Diamond Cafe which I had heard he frequented. The Rat Catchers Olympics is a hard novel to recommend to others. Dr Siri is an acquired taste and you need to have a high tolerance level for all things Laotian and in this book, Russian.

The Flight AttendantChris Bohjalian in The Flight Attendant, takes the cliché of a promiscuous air hostess and weaves an unsettling murder mystery out of it. Like a lot of male authors he’s really better at vampish/bad girl females – chances are you’ll not easily recognise yourself in Cassie.

Deon Meyer in the brilliantly dystopian Fever gets round the whole issue by paring the female presence in his books right down to the bare minimum – the very beautiful and the very sporty. Post an apocalyptic disaster, guess what?  It will still be a man’s world!

Cover of Adventures in modern marriage

Only William Nicholson in Adventures in Modern Marriage comes even close to trying to get under the skin of females you might meet in your everyday life. One woman at a time he does this really well, but he too has a problem with interactions between women – which , let’s give credit here, he does at least attempt to portray.

This seems to me to be a major problem area for many male authors. They struggle to write about women in groups, they have no ear for dialogue between women.

There, I have said it. What do you think?

 

Auē! Me tangi noa ahau ki muri nei

My grandfather’s brother never came back from World War One. He’s buried in Armentières, France. My grandmother’s brother lost his leg, so the family farm in Southland had to be sold – he couldn’t take up his inheritance. My great aunt’s fiancé returned a shell-shocked alcoholic – PTSD, they’d call it these days. They parted and she never married.

In the retellings of the larger stories of war it is often these vignettes of personal loss, the consequences felt by loved ones, that speak quietly but with a universal relatability.

I found myself thinking of those members of my family, and the war that changed their lives, when listening to the beautiful lament E Pari Rā.

Written by Paraire Tomoana (Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Te Whatu-i-āpiti leader) for his relative, kuia Maku-i-te-Rangi Ellison, E Pari Rā gives a lasting voice to her pain and grief over the loss of her son Whakatomo Ellison, who died in the battle of the Somme. Its beautiful metaphor for grief as the surging tide is both deeply personal, and universal.

E pari rā

E pari rā e ngā tai ki te ākau. / The tides surge onto the seashore
E hotu rā ko taku manawa. / with each throb of my heart.
Auē! Me tangi noa / Alas! Weeping without restraint
Ahau i muri nei / for I am left behind, 
Te iwi e he ngākau tangi noa. / everyone is utterly heart-broken.

Tēnā rā! Tahuri mai! / So please come back, return
E te tau! te aroha. / my beloved, my love
Tēnei rā ahau te tangi nei. / I weep here
Mōhou kua wehea nei. / for you now far away
Haere rā! mahara mai. / Farewell! And remember, 
E te tau! kia mau ki au. / Beloved! Be true to me
Haere rā! ka tūturu ahau. / Farewell! I will be true to you
Haere Rā! / Farewell!

Haere rā e tama / Farewell young man
Haere rā. / Farewell.
Haria rā te aroha i ahau / Take my love with you
Auē! Me tangi noa / Alas! Tears fall
Ahau ki muri nei / as I am left behind here
Te iwi e he ngākau tangi noa. / the hearts of your people weep openly

Find out more

Podcast – Food waste

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

If food waste were a country, it would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States. Added to this immense environmental impact is the social impact: How much food is thrown away that could be eaten?

Join our guests as they share statistics and information about the various ways in which they work to repurpose food waste and save it from landfill.

Guests:

Transcript – Food waste

Find out more in our collection

Cover of Waste: Uncovering the global food scandal Cover of The waste not want no cookbook Cover of Scrap wilt and weeds Cover of American wasteland Cover of Too good to waste Cover of Leftover gourmet Cover of Eat it up Cover of My zero-waste kitchen Cover of How to make and use compost Cover of This book stinks Cover of Making a meal of itCover of Waste free kitchen handbookCover of Food waste

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Start your research with Credo Reference

The thought of starting research can be daunting, so a great starting place is a hidden gem of an eResource  – Credo Reference.

Credo Reference is a collection of over 800 reference eBooks with full text articles, images, and videos covering a huge variety of information –  for all ages.

To show you how it works, I have started by searching Anzac Day.

Top result is from the eBook Holiday Symbols and Customs.
This title covers the origins of the day, and symbols and customs such as Dawn Service, Anzac Day parades, and the Australian gambling game Two-up.

From the results page, Credo offers you a Mind Map tool so you can search other related topics on Credo. Below is the example Mind Map of Anzac Day. You can then find information on certain battles, Gallipoli, and other remembrance days. List of sources will be on the right side of the page if you want to read more about any of the mind map headings.

Credo is a great place to start your research, it is easy to use and using tools like Mind Map it can take your quest for information in a different directions.

Across the wartime waves: Message in a bottle

Though hills and waters divide us,

And you I cannot see.

Remember that the writer thinks

The nicest things of thee.

The ship Tahiti in Wellington Harbour, ca 1914-1918 Reference Number: 1/2-014597-G

So read the message placed in a bottle by four Christchurch lads off on, what many had thought, would be a great adventure.

Dated 21 October 1914 the bottle with the message had been tossed overboard from the troopship H.M.N.Z.T. No. 4. Tahiti possibly while it was docked at Hobart, Tasmania, or maybe during the ship’s voyage west to Albany, Western Australia from where it departed in November 1914 bound for Egypt.

The bottle washed ashore in Portland, Victoria, where it was found on 2 January 1915 by a Mr J. Rae on a beach between Cape Grant and Cape Nelson.

By this time the four soldiers of the 1st (Canterbury) Regiment A Company, who had signed the message, George Lindsay, H Townsend, Sydney Rowe and R. Fitchett were on the other side of the world and about to enter a war which two of them would not survive.

Private G.L. Lindsay. Canterbury Times, 23 June 1915.

George Lindsay was born in Avonside. He’d been involved in farming at Rangiora but prior to going overseas he had a touring car which he ran as a taxi. He enlisted in August 1914 and by October was on his way to Egypt. George was killed in action on 8 May 1915 in the Dardanelles.

He had been a member of the Linwood Congregational Church and after his death the Reverend H.A Job recalled George as being “of a quiet and inoffensive nature, and not what is commonly the fighting type”.

Private A.V. Fitchett. Canterbury Times, 7 July 1915.

Victor Fitchett was an English immigrant who lived in Sumner, working for Gibbs Bros. It wasn’t clear when he had arrived in Christchurch but news articles indicate it was around 8 years before the war.

He was a keen sportsman involved with the Sumner Football Club, and also the Fire Brigade. Victor also served and died in the Dardanelles – his body was never found but a board of enquiry deemed he had been killed on, or about, 7th August 1915.

Private H.S. Rowe. Canterbury Times, 23 June 1915

Henry Sydney Rowe lived in Redcliffs. On the electoral roll he was recorded as a plumber but on his enlistment forms he’d been recorded as a motor driver at Sumner Garage. He had married Janey Daly in September 1914.  Henry also served in the Dardanelles, where he was wounded and then returned to NZ aboard the Maheno in December 1915, after which he was medically discharged.

After the war he and Janey continued to live in the Sumner /Redcliffs area. Henry died in 1966.

Joseph Henry Townshend. Online Cenotaph, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Joseph Henry “Harry” Townshend (Townsend) had been born in Mataura but moved to Christchurch with his family when he was 15, living in Spreydon. He’d worked as a draper at Strange and Co. before enlisting. He was injured at Gallipoli in August 1915, evacuated home, and sent to convalesce at the Trentham Hospital.

After the war he remained in Wellington, marrying Emily and working as a splint-maker – a skill he learnt as part of the vocational training course he undertook while convalescing – at Trentham and then Wellington Hospitals. Harry died in 1964.

George and Victor are among the many men and women who have been remembered on war memorials in Christchurch, and whose biographies have been shared on Kete Christchurch.

To commemorate WW100 Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre are exhibiting a display of stories of the men who enlisted from the Sumner area, and at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre you can see the stories of Halswell men who enlisted.

Follow our tweets from @100chch to discover life and events 100 years ago in Christchurch and Canterbury.