The timeless tradition of nearly forgetting Mother’s Day

The second Sunday of May. Or, this year, Sunday 13th May. A day which – much like birthdays and anniversaries – I usually forget until the last dire minute. Cue me rushing through the mall right before it shuts trying to find a gift both thoughtful and needed. A thing which, by the way, doesn’t exist when you’re looking for it.

The history of mother’s day can be traced back to its ancient roots. Spring celebrations in ancient Greece honoured Rhea, the mother of the gods, with offerings of honey-cakes, drinks and flowers. The ancient Romans celebrated their mother of the gods too – Cybele, or Magna Mater, ‘Great Mother.’ They built her a temple in Rome and over several days during the March equinox, the festival of Hilaria was held in her honour. Even the ancient Egyptians held their own annual festival in celebration of the goddess Isis – she being revered as the mother of Pharos and a divine symbol of motherhood.

In a more modern age, mothering Sunday in the UK (the fourth Sunday of Lent) became a day where workers could take time off to visit their mothers; and in the United States a woman named Anna Jarvis is credited with beginning Mother’s Day there from 1908, following the death of her own mother. (Find out more about the history of Mother’s Day at The Legacy Project)

These days, we don’t so much bother with honey cakes and the lighting of the ceremonial fires, but Christchurch City Libraries do have a wealth of material, images and resources to help us celebrate mother’s day the way it should be (with a good book).

We could start with this handy Staff Pickles list, along with some of my top picks:

Cover of Five forget Mother's DayCover of MiracleCover of MothersCover of Mother's Day on Coronation StCover of Mother's and Father's day treats

Here are some photos from Christchurch City Libraries’ digital collection of mothers being mothers in times past and present.

How were many Cantabrians celebrating mother’s day in 1984 you ask? By joining in a nuclear free parade, of course: 

Nuclear free parade, Akaroa, Mothers Day, 1984 from Kete Christchurch. Entry in the 2009 & 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jan Shuttleworth. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

And you thought that our Babytimes could get crowded:

Mothers and babies gathered outside St. Helen’s Hospital, Sydenham [1909]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0075
Adorable family standing in front of the United Services Hotel in the square: 

Mother and Daughters in Cathedral Square (early 1940’s). File reference: HW-08-CE-018. From Flickr.

On a final note, it can be observed that in our busy lives we often neglect to make time for ourselves. Could this be any truer than for the busy mother? Enter All Right? who have brought us a fresh new idea in the form of these popular downtime dice, to remind us to take time out for ourselves. Downtime dice can be nabbed (free!) in libraries, but get in quick – they’re going fast! Check out their website for ideas about downtime activities.

Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day!

Queens of crime combine: Money in the morgue

Taking over from Dame Ngaio Marsh, one of the original Queens of Crime, would be a daunting prospect for any writer, but Stella Duffy (winner of the CWA Dagger Award, and Stonewall Writer of the Year) has beautifully risen to this task in the new inspector Alleyn novel, ‘Money in the Morgue‘.

Set in New Zealand during World War Two, Marsh’s beloved detective finds himself called into a murder investigation, right in the middle of an espionage case. The novel opens when courier Mr Glossip finds himself marooned at a military hospital, thanks to a terrific storm. When the wages which Glossip has just delivered go missing, then an unexpected body turns up in the morgue, it is left to inspector Alleyn to unravel the nights mysteries. He does so with his usual charm, and perfect manners (let’s just say you wouldn’t be surprised to read that upon being asked by Alleyn to pass along the salt, a woman fainted by his feet).

His sidekick is a kind of inspector Fox substitute and cunningly, there are so many mentions of inspector Fox as Duffy talks about this man who is clearly not inspector Fox, that by the end of it you have somehow wound up concluding that this clearly not inspector Fox man, is actually Inspector Fox. There is also mention of Troy, as Alleyn tries and fails to pen a letter to her (but manages an epic three page masterwork to inspector Fox, just saying).

In many respects, Duffy is the ideal candidate to finish a novel started by Ngaio Marsh. As well as being an esteemed writer of sixteen novels (five of these being crime), like Ngaio Marsh, Duffy spent her childhood in New Zealand, moved to London, and as a producer, and scriptwriter, has had a long standing relationship with the theatre. There are some lovely references to the world of theatre, in particular Shakespeare, as Alleyn absently quotes the Bard to himself on several occasions, much to the bewilderment of the local constabulary.

As Eric Morecambe would have said to Ernie Wise you just  ‘can’t see the join’, when you read ‘Money in the Morgue’. The two writers just dovetail so perfectly. Later I learnt that Marsh wrote the first three chapters of this work, Duffy the rest, but had it not been for a sneaky look at a interview with Stella Duffy, and one tell tale passage toward the end of the novel (where Alleyn muses on New Zealand as being like a ‘living entity”, not the most 30s European attitude toward the land) I would not have picked this for myself.

There is a strong cast of characters too including shell shocked Dr Hughes, the stern yet endearing Sister Comfort, and the sparky Rosamund Farquharson. Marsh and Duffy conjure to life an intriguing array of suspects, against the dramatic backdrop of WWII New Zealand. Readers are treated to some evocative descriptions of the land, as well as some lovely insights into New Zealand culture, as seen through the eyes of a young Māori soldier, corporal Brayling. The ending is a satisfying one (all important for any mystery) and the novel is consistently packed with all the fun and endearing Alleyn moments a fan could wish for. This is a truly fantastic partnership between two queens of crime that will leave you wanting more. With any luck, another of Marsh’s unfinished works will be unearthed soon and we will be treated to another Marsh/Duffy installment in this classic series.

Money in the morgue
by Stella Duffy and Ngaio Marsh
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN:  9780008207113

Ngaio Marsh House event – Sunday 27 May 2pm

The Ngaio Marsh House and Heritage Trust is putting on an event to celebrate the Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy’s new novel “The Money in the Morgue”:

Celebrate with style and panache the publication of Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy’s new novel “The Money in the Morgue”. Be theatrical and wear your vintage clothing, fedoras or berets.
You will get to view the improvements to the Ngaio Marsh House, and then got to Cashmere Presbyterian Church for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment. Scorpio Books will have a selection of Ngaio’s book’s for purchase.

Find out more on Facebook.

Ngaio Marsh House
Ngaio Marsh House. 15 December 2015. Flickr 2015-12-15-IMG_1617

Bloomsbury Popular Music

We are proud to present our newest eResource Bloomsbury Popular Music. This eResource has a huge amount of information on music from 1900 to present. It includes all eleven volumes of Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Popular Music of the World, over 120 titles of the widely acclaimed 33 1/3 series, and an expanding collection of scholarly titles.

Use it to:

  • Explore the historical origins and cultural impact of popular music from almost every country in the world;
  • Discover more about influential artists and albums, and local music scenes and subcultures;
  • Learn about everything from musical form and instruments to the workings of the music industry;
  • Research the social, political and economic context of different musical genres.

Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Popular Music

The Encyclopaedia of Popular Music of the World, over 20 years in the making, is a landmark reference work in its field. Each volume, authored by top contributors from around the world, includes discussions on cultural, historical and geographic origins; technical musical characteristics; instrumentation and use of voice; lyrics and language; typical features of performance and presentation; historical development and paths and modes of dissemination; influence of technology, the music industry and political and economic circumstances; changing stylistic features; notable and influential performers; and relationships to other genres and sub-genres.

33 1/3 Series

33 1/3 is a series of short books about popular music, focusing on individual albums by artists ranging from James Brown to Celine Dion and from J Dilla to Neutral Milk Hotel. Each album covered in the series occupies a specific place in music history, so each book-length treatment takes an individualized approach. 33 1/3 is widely acclaimed by fans, musicians, and scholars alike.

 

Scholarly books on Popular Music Studies

The Bloomsbury Popular Music Studies list consists of an expanding range of scholarly books ranging from edited volumes to biographies to historical overviews, and that span genres, including rock, pop, hip hop, and punk. Titles include and David Boucher’s Dylan and Cohen, James Braxton Peterson’s Hip Hop Headphones and Kevin Dunn’s Global Punk.

Undergraduate students in gowns in the quadrangle on their way to lecture rooms, Canterbury College: Picturing Canterbury

Undergraduate students in gowns in the quadrangle on their way to lecture rooms, Canterbury College [1926?]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 14 IMG0085.
Founded in 1873, Canterbury College (now the University of Canterbury) was the second oldest university in New Zealand. The university was originally situated in the precinct of heritage listed buildings which is now known as the Christchurch Arts Centre prior to its relocation to the Ilam campus (beginning in 1961).

Do you have any photographs of Canterbury College? 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.

Recent necrology, April 2018

Some well-known people who have died recently:

  • Abbas, 1944-2018
    Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism
  • Milos Forman, 1932-2018
    Czech American film director, screenwriter and actor
  • Ivan Mauger, 1939-2018
    New Zealand motorcycle racer who won six world speedway titles

Ivan Mauger Fergie The Pilot's Wife As Green as Grass

  • Emma Smith, 1923-2018
    English novelist who also wrote for children
  • Cecil Taylor, 1929-2018
    Jazz pianist whose playing defined the term ‘free jazz’
  • Huguette Tourangeau, 1938-2018
    French-Canadian mezzo-soprano particularly associated with French and Italian repertoire