Record Store Day – Saturday 21 April 2018

Record Store Day is on this Saturday 21 April. It is an annual international event designed to celebrate the record store as a community. For more info, read Russell Brown’s Friday Music post The Shopping news and What’s happening for Record Store Day across NZ, this Saturday? Peter McLennan on Dub dot dash.
Here is our compilation of what’s happening here in Ōtautahi.

What’s on in Christchurch

Galaxy Records

Galaxy Records on 336 St Asaph St are an “Indie Institution’ in Christchurch, selling new and used vinyl. Like Galaxy Records on Facebook.
Record Store Day at Galaxy Records: Subscribe to the Facebook event
Rare & Collectable goodies! Featuring DJs: Pinacolada Soundsystem , Missy G & Skew-whiff from midday. Darkroom Bar will be open

Lyttelton Records

Lyttelton Records have spilled out of their home recording studio to open a shop (and bar) in Woolston. You can buy merch here, guitar strings and maybe catch a live performance. Like Lyttelton Records on Facebook.
Record Store Day at Lyttelton Records: Vinyl discounts, live music, happy hour 12pm to 4pm 650 Ferry Road

Penny Lane Records

If you are a record store fan in Christchurch, you can visit Penny Lane Records – they are at Eastgate Mall in Linwood, and in Sydenham at 430 Colombo Street. Penny Lane specialise in great quality second-hand music formats and collectibles. Like Penny Lane Records on Facebook.
Record Store Day at Penny Lane Records: The crew were cagey as to what’s happening – so there might be some good surprises on offer. What they did say was they are open at 8am, there will be Record Store Day exclusives available, and stuff happening for customers, as well as specials.

(here’s a pic from RSD 2017 at Penny Lane)

Sadhana Surf and House of Creativity

Sadhana Surfboards is at Shop 52 at The Tannery, 3 Garlands Road Woolston. Like Sadhana Surf on Facebook

sadhana
Sadhana Surfboards

Another hot tip for record fans: Vinyl Cafe at 24b Essex Street is a must visit for vinyl lovers. Like Vinyl Cafe on Facebook,

Get on down to your local record shop, buy yourself some vinyl to spin while the weather goes wild. Talk to people who appreciate quality music. Who knows you may make a new connection…

Record Appreciation – Fee

I love records! I still have a halfway decent collection of records. When I had to replace my stereo a few years back, I made sure it came with a turntable. I’m a purist – like Neil Young I can hear more depth and texture of sound in an LP (Long Player), than I can on a CD or a download. Neil developed PonoMusic to develop modern sound recording formats that delivered quality of sound almost as good as the studio, or the original record. (See Waging Heavy Peace, one of Neil’s engaging autobiographies.)

Other bands and artists such as Iron Maiden and New Zealand’s Shayne P. Carter, have steadfastly resolved to continue releasing albums on vinyl as well as other formats. Shayne P. Carter has been heard to lament the difficulty of reducing sleeve artwork to fit CD cases. I sure as heck can’t read the release date on CDs, and most won’t tell you when the original album was recorded. The discussion about sound continues…

Did you know that you can still buy turntables? I’ve discovered them at The Warehouse, The Listening Post (330 St Asaph Street), the Top Hi-Fi Shop (35 Carlyle St, Sydenham), and Soundline Audio (329 Madras St), Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi.

Now to put the record collection in alphabetical order

Record Store Day resources

Vinyl and music at the library

Fee and Donna
Vinyl appreciators

Murder in the Library! A Post Mortem

A good crowd came in from the cold on Wednesday night to hear the who – and how – dunnits of the world of crime fiction writing.

A good turnout at South Library. Photo Clare Newton

The Ngaio Marsh Awards in association with the New Zealand Book Council hosted a panel discussion with three highly successful local authors, all of whom are in the running for a Ngaio Marsh Award in September.

The night’s chair was Morrin Rout, WORD Christchurch trustee and host of the Plains FM show Bookenz.

Bill Wicks is an ex-military man and surveyor whose book Different Shadows is part of a series centred on Sergeant Harry Brent, who has been put to pasture solving cold cases while he recovers from a hunting injury. Bill uniquely sets the action in Christchurch and Queenstown. This case has something to do with a bombed latrine…

CoverKatherine Hayton works in insurance and writes fantasy and crime in her spare time. Her newest book, The Only Secret Left to Keep, is the third book in the Ngaire Blakes Mystery series, based on a Māori policewoman based in Christchurch. Highly topical, the story begins with a body found in the aftermath of the Port Hills Fires in the summer of 2017, and traces a trail of evidence back to the divisive Springbok Tour of the 1980s.

Last but certainly not least, we heard from ex-opera singer and local historian Edmund Bohan. Unfortunately he didn’t sing for us. Edmund has written six mysteries for nineteenth century Inspector O’Rorke to ponder. A Suitable Time for Vengeance and The Lost Taonga bring this popular character back for a final two books in the series.

Katherine knew she wanted to write a trilogy so she set aside parts of Ngaire’s life; backgrounding, saving confronting moments such as her relationship and an ‘I’m going to die’ moment for other books. She feels she is finished with Ngaire, but may develop another character from this into another series.

Edmund’s O’Rorke is popular with the ladies. Edmund wanted to write a sensation novel that transferred to a New Zealand setting. In New Zealand’s quite violent nineteenth century, when there was much political and religious unrest, the Inspector is dragged out of retirement to track down the ‘dreaded Linsky,’ a stealer of bodies. The overarching theme in this series is that you can never escape your past.

Bill’s protagonist Sergeant Harry Brent is ‘basically normal’, just slightly flawed. Well none of us are perfect. Harry, unlike O’Rorke, is not very good with women. He wonders if he’s tough enough for the job. It’s a tough job. Bill’s writing has a military flavour, but this series is not gory like Bill’s first nonfiction book, A Long Way to Come to Die.

All agree there is a fair bit of not pleasant research to be done in order to appear authentic. Katherine talks to American detectives online, Edmund and Bill draw on their professional experience and contacts, while all three read widely in the genre.

When it comes to publishing, each has approached a different option. Katherine publishes eBooks, while Edmund recommends the benefit of remaining with a lifelong publisher (Hazard Press), if possible, to preserve the continuity of series writing.

Bill’s wife Gabrielle was tasked with the job of editing and getting published. She embraced it gladly, saying it was much nicer than that other horrible book” (A Long Way to Go to Die – a book as gory as a Peter Jackson exhibition). Getting sponsorship from the Spinal Trust where she had worked before retirement, Bill and Gabrielle self-published. Says Gabrielle :

” I didn’t want anyone to tear Bill’s stories to bits.”

The Ngaio Marsh Awards, to be held in September as part of the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival, were established by Craig Sisterson, in response to the literary elite’s (who remain unnamed, but may be publishers…) continued view of Crime Fiction as ‘not literature’, despite the genre’s rising popularity internationally.

Edmund Bohan, Katherine Hayton, Morrin Rout (chair), Bill Wicks. Photo Clare Newton

Sadly due to family illness, fourth author Justin Warren, author of Forgotten Lands, couldn’t be there.

Love, loss, and Las Vegas glitter: All the beautiful girls

Fresh out of the box this week is All the Beautiful Girls. This great story is the second novel from Elizabeth J. Church, author of The Atomic Weight of Love.

Lily Dekker has had a difficult start to life. Wrenched from idyllic surroundings by a cataclysmic car crash, her family “dissolve(d) like sugar in iced tea”.

She is forced, at eight years old, to start life again with her aunt and uncle; one of whom is less than affectionate, the other overly so.

Dance, and an unexpected ally provide her means of escape to Las Vegas, where she reinvents herself; becoming gorgeous Ruby Wilde, a Las Vegas showgirl.

All the Beautiful Girls addresses difficult themes of loss, abuse, self-harm, love and friendship. Around these ideas, Church creates a contemplation of life, sprinkled with deep understanding and philosophy:

A soft rain began to fall, dotting the windshield with drops that ran until they randomly joined each other. Is that what people did too? Lily wondered. Fall and drift until they collided with one another, the way the Aviator had collided with her ten years ago? p.56.

Set in the 1960s, the story exists in a whimsical time when everyone smoked, colour TV was a novelty (in-room phones!), and we had TV dinners before we had microwaves.

A  star-studded sixties cast from Sammy Davis Jnr, Dylan to Dinah Shore, parade through the pages of Ruby’s colourful and often disastrous life. Filled with thrills, spills and glitter, Church uses the setting of Las Vegas to dig deeper into the politics of the time – racial equality, women’s rights, wealth and Vietnam to name a few.

Las Vegas is a fantasy world; a plastic bubble protected from world issues, trapped in time:

“For the first time, she realised that Vietnam cast no shadows beneath the lights of Vegas; there were no flag-shrouded caskets, no hollowed, haunted eyes of returning soldiers anywhere near the casinos. How efficiently Las Vegas seemed to be able to keep hippies away from the Strip, where they might hurt business. … She’d been living in la-la land for too long.”  p.174.

Will Ruby find her way back to the real world? Would it bore her if she did?

I loved Lily/Ruby’s wee tips on makeup and fashion, and really warmed to her as a character. Elizabeth J. Church writes beautifully (I also found myself dancing in the stacks).

If you have never been to Las Vegas, let this book will take you there. Or maybe these ones…

All the Beautiful Girls
by Elizabeth J. Church
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9780008267940

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Stephen King’s Sleeping Beauties

Stephen and Owen King have gender issues.

Dooling is a place where people live on a knife edge; work hard, drink hard. Women around the world bear the brunt of this in their daily lives. Some have gone to prison for fighting back.

Tiffany lives in a trailer at the edge of a forest. She’s regularly beaten by the man who has enslaved her to drugs.

Superhumanly beautiful, a naked woman comes down from the forest and changes everything.

All over the world women succumb to an enchantment. (Or sickness depending on which books you read.) Falling asleep, they form moth-like cocoons around themselves. The women are not dead, merely sleeping.

Where has their consciousness gone? Wake them and you’ll find out – in a terrible bloody way. They turn into very angry zombies.

Lila is the local Police Chief. She loves her husband. Or does she? Suspicious of his love, resentful over the pool he made her agree to (first world problems, LOL), Lila has a choice to make.

Fighting the curse valiantly, (and not without the aid of some confiscated contraband), Lila eventually closes her eyes and crosses over… to the world beyond the huge tree in the forest; a world without men. The idea appeals to many – inmates like Jeannette, wives like Elaine.

Without their women, the men left behind get depressed, go nuts, drink and burn things. Some prepare for battle.

If Evie, the woman who began this series of events, is killed in the inevitable battle between good and evil, the women stay in the place beyond the Tree forever.

If she lives, they get to choose if they want to stay in what they have come to call “Our Place”, or come back to the world of men. It’s a difficult choice for some. (The honeymoon period only lasts about eight weeks according to S.K.)

There is a suggestion here that the characters are at war with Nature and God. Has Evie come from the Garden of Eden?

“Once I’m dead, the portal between this world and the land of sleep will close. Every woman will eventually nighty-night, every man will eventually die, and this tortured world will breathe an enormous sigh of lasting relief.” Evie, p.362

The tree motif is a great link to the world of faerie. Trees have been doors to other worlds (than this) in many stories. The Kings enchant the normal world with ‘fairy handkerchiefs’ (spider webs in the grass), clouds of moths, a snake, and a tiger…

Always an advocate for women (see Big Driver) this latest offering is well written, topical (the senior King jokes about Trump), and thrilling without being too brutal.

Stephen and Owen have crafted a riveting read with the characterisation that fans love him for. He even throws in a book group or two.

Suggested reading

Sleeping beauties
by Stephen and Owen King
Published by Hachette New Zealand
ISBN: 9781473665200

Inside the mind of a post-apocalyptic dog

At first I wondered how far a story from the point of view of a swearing cockney dog could go.

At least across post-apocalyptic London.

The Last Dog on Earth is told mostly from the point of view of Lineker the dog, but alternates between him and the journal of his cripplingly shy owner, Reginald Hardy.

Linekker calls him “Two-Plates.” Two Plates – Plates of Meat – Feet. Two Feet. Cockney rhyming slang is simple?!

I have to say of the two, Lineker is the most interesting. Once he got inside my head, I couldn’t stop imagining what it would be like to think like a dog:

“I’m skittering and sliding, halfway across the floor before I even know I’ve left my bed. And he’s rubbing his hairy face and scratching that huge arse of his, releasing that heavenly aroma of salt, peat and tripe that’s all for me and before he knows what’s happening I’m in the air and bouncing at him – bounce, bounce, bounce until he gets down and gives me a scratch…face-to-face so I get the sweet fog of his breath, a rich soup of saliva and half-digested food that’s been marinating beautifully for the last eight hours. And it’s too much, I just have to lick him…” (p.3)

The clever way that Adrian J. Walker describes a dog’s consciousness had me believing it.

Did you know that dogs can smell history? That explains why they take so long at lampposts.

That’s not all. Lineker reckons he can smell your dreams, too; memories; “the bone-bag abandoned on the moor,” and fear. Fear smells like voles.

Squirrels? Oil and eggs, of course. And spices – “like ants exploding up my nose” (p.4).

The good people of London have been betrayed by their affiliations on social media. The tension builds as Reg and Lineker attempt to take a little girl to safety, crossing the lines of two factions fighting for control and discovering a group of resistors.

But first, Reg has to get up the gumption to leave his secure little nest. And his fear of people touching him.

Walker uses a bird motif to great effect through the story. Poetic, this links events and is a vehicle for Lineker’s longing to escape the confines of regularity to explore the wildness of life.

Filled with “good bits” and “bad bits” poignant and pondering between small bouts of brutality, The Last Dog on Earth is also laugh out loud funny.

The Dog muses on the human condition since wolves came down from the hills to join the human’s campfires; his adoration for his master, and food, among other things:

“I stand on the brink of this new world of breakfast, trembling like a pilgrim father in the waters of Cape Cod. And then it comes and the smell smashes into me…my bowl’s on the floor and I’m in it, chomping it, inhaling it. By the time it’s done, I can barely remember who I am or what it was I just ate…”

Walker played with my expectations at the end, delivering a twisted conclusion. I could have (almost) killed him.

Happy Year of the Dog!

More dog stories

Two years gone: Celebrate David Bowie

Can you believe it’s been two years since David Bowie passed away?

Bowie was the king of media in many forms. A lot has been published since he died that genuinely and tastefully celebrates his life and influence on fashion, music and freedom of the spirit. Here is just a taste:

Cover of BowieBowie

This book is by Pat Gilbert, who has also covered The Clash. Its an in-depth analysis of Bowie’s music; his influence on genres such as glam and punk rock, reinvention of his image and stagecraft itself. Richly balanced with concert and backstage images, posters and tickets.

Bowie Unseen

Gerald Fearnley is the brother of a bandmate from Bowie’s early days. He shot the sleeve images for his first album, David Bowie, in 1967. Fearnley’s portraits are published here for the first time, perhaps capturing the transformation from David Jones to Bowie.

Cover of David Bowie: a lifeDavid Bowie

Dylan Jones is a well respected biographer with quite a list of names behind him. In this biography includes interviews with around 180 people who knew, loved and worked with him. Many of these tales have never been told.

When Ziggy Played the Marquee

This book captures Bowie’s last performance as Ziggy Stardust, at the Marquee Club in Soho. The year was 1973. Celebrated photographer Terry O’Neill caught the behind stage action as well as the show. At the time, nobody knew that this was to be Ziggy’s last show.

Cover of The age of BowieThe Age of Bowie

Bowie didn’t follow fashion, he created it. This book looks at how David Bowie’s freedom of expression influenced society; breaking down gender barriers in fashion, the way he perceived the world could be, and especially ways he could make music – ultimately becoming a defining figure of his age.

Cover of Bowie A to ZBowie A to Z

One for the scrapbook keeper. I admit I had one once! Chock full of facts from Aladdin Sane to Z for Ziggy Stardust.

Bowie on CD – Try this list for some albums you might not have heard before. Notable are BRIT Awards 2017 and the New York stage show of Lazarus.

What’s your favourite David Bowie album?

My first and still firm favourite album is 1980’s Scary Monsters.

The industrial sound of this album reflected post punk experimentation, also used by the Cure in Seventeen Seconds. Fashion, of course, broke down barriers and sales records.

The album that gets played the most at my place is Changes Two. Some of the best songs on that one, from John, I’m only Dancing, to Wild is the Wind.

My personal favourite. A cover of Nina Simone’s also beautiful version.

Don’t feel sad on the 10th January. Get yourself some great Bowie media, light a candle and celebrate the Chameleon. Or Love the Alien?

More Bowie

Mona Anderson’s tale of High Country life

A River Rules My Life has been re-released!

Originally published in 1963, Mona Anderson’s unique perspective of a woman’s experience on a South Island farm brings to life the High Country of days gone by.

Deep in the Rolleston Ranges, in the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, Mount Algidus Station is isolated between the mighty and dangerous Wilberforce and Rakaia rivers.

Mona crosses the Wilberforce as a new bride in the 1930s to start her life in this harsh environment. To get to her new home she must ride a dray cart for hours in a freezing wind – perched on top of all her worldly possessions – including a piano!

Mona’s observations of everything from errant cooks to brave horses are quite matter of fact and entertaining, while sad events are accepted as a part of life.

When World War II takes away many farmhands never to return, Mona and her husband Ron are stretched to do many jobs, and Mona has to muck in – feeding the men, and working alongside them – often on horseback.

Poetry and “back country” ditties pepper the tale, including one written by the author. Most notable are these lines written by a young hand leaving to join the Army:

Oh land of river, rock and spur / Of sunkissed hills and sky so blue / I, a humble musterer, Will ever leave my heart with you. / Tho I dwell beneath some distant sky / My memory will ever turn / To mates I knew in days gone by / And evenings when the camp fires burn. / For I am leaving you this day / To return again. But who can tell, / For good or bad. I cannot say.  Mount Algidus, I wish you well.

The charm of this book includes quaint “station names” for many local features; such as Bustmegall (Bust my gall) Creek, More-rain Hut and Boulderstone Creek (the Rolleston). Mistake ‘Hill’, at 7000 feet illustrates the Southern capacity for understatement.

Filled with thrills and spills (no-one is spared a dip in the Wilberforce), this book is a cornerstone of New Zealand back country life and a must for your holiday reading list.

More information

A River Rules My Life
by Mona Anderson
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9781775541141

Fiona’s Christmas picks from the new book box

Looking for holiday reading? There are some wonderful books in our New Titles list.

Cover of Limit part twoLimit (part two) – This great science fiction novel by Frank Schatzing is the second part of the story, begun in Limit. The Chinese and Americans are competing for helium-3, an element to solve the World’s energy crisis…

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night – This book by Jen Campbell is packed to the brim with magical and spooky short stories. Fairy tales in the true sense of the word. Perfect for Christmas reading!

The Rest of Their Lives – This is touted as an unlikely love story. Unlikely because the lovers are in their eighties! Brought together by the necessity of a road-trip to Switzerland, (I love road trip stories), the pair find there is still “life in their eyes”…

Cover of The stolen bicycleThe Stolen Bicycle – This beautiful book is by Wu Ming-Yi , a Taiwanese author and environmental activist famous for his books on butterflies. The Stolen Bicycle revolves around a writer, convinced that if he finds his errant father’s bicycle, he will find him. Entwined in this story are stories from the ‘oldest elephant that ever lived,’ and from soldiers who fought in the jungles of South-East Asia during World War II. And yes, there are butterflies!

Sleeping Beauties – This new offering by Stephen King and his son Owen might keep you awake at night. Affected by a strange virus, all the women in Dooling have fallen asleep. All except one. Meanwhile, the men have gone feral… My favourite author, always a go-to for the festive season.

And while we are waiting with bated breath for the new Ms Dr Who, how about this gem?

Cover of Dr Tenth Christmas surprise!Dr. Tenth – Part of a series of Dr Who Mr Men books, this is a real charmer. Also featuring my favourite Dr Who (David Tennant!). Our catalogue calls this ‘the greatest mashup in the Whoniverse. Woo!

Merry Christmas reading, folks!

International Volunteer Day: 5 December 2017

It’s International Volunteer Day today!

Volunteering is a rewarding way to make connections in your community.

It’s a great way to make friends, professional relationships, to do something interesting and challenging with your spare time.

Often volunteering leads to employment.

After finishing uni at Massey University, I worked as a volunteer. At Te Manawa, (The Manawatu Museum) I worked as a Visitor Host. Speaking to groups of children and guiding their experience in the Fantastic (live!) Fish display was challenging and fun.

Te Manawa also offered schools a ‘culture of the past’ experience where children could churn the butter, use a printing press, and do the washing the way it was done in the 1900s.

In Christchurch you can volunteer at Canterbury Museum.

While looking for work in education, I chanced upon ARLA (The Adult Reading Association). This group provided very good training for its tutors, and work with a variety of clients – I worked with three ESOL students from Northern China, and a really nice Māori kuia who had had a stroke and needed to re-establish her reading pathways.

In Christchurch, Literacy Christchurch (formerly ARAS Adult Reading Assistance Scheme) perform this function in the community.

I’ve heard of WWoofing, and now I’ve found their website. Wwoofers are welcome all over New Zealand. I know of a group in Rangiwahia in the North Island that uses them. REACT (The Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Trust) farm organically and grow wicker – being responsible for the Chinese Lantern Festival in Palmerston North. They also run groups in Wellington, making ethnic sculptures with delighted new artists.

Find other voluntary work services:

Take a trip down Twelve Mile Straight: Eleanor Henderson

The Twelve Mile Straight is as Southern as fried chicken.

Two babies are born at Cross Roads Farm – one mulatto, one white.

People come from miles around to view the babies – a miracle of nature. Born to a white woman, Elma, the children are said to have two fathers – one white; her fiancée, Freddie Wilson, – one black, believed to have been forced on her by Genus Jackson.

Genus Jackson is lynched without trial at the beginning of the book. Will those responsible get away with it?

Juke Jessup is hiding a still. His intentions towards Nan, the house girl, are less than fatherly. His own daughter Elma, is “fixin” to be wed to Freddie Wilson, the local cotton mill owner’s son. But when the twins are born, all hell breaks loose.

Cover of To kill a mockingbirdLike Light in August and To Kill a Mockingbird, this is a story of injustice for all. Racial segregation was still prevalent in 1930s Georgia, where African-American people were barely removed from slavery.

To say that women in this story get a raw deal is an understatement. Even the man pulling the strings in town, George Wilson, is not spared from the sufferings he hands down the pecking order.

Each character has a tale to tell in this riveting book. And they all have secrets. Dreams too – sometimes their dreams are all they have.

Nan has grown up on Crossroads Farm after the death of her mother, the housekeeper Ketty. She dreams of the return of her father, Sterling, but never loses sight of stark reality even while she fantasizes about the future:

She had long had a picture in her mind of his homecoming: he would come up the driveway in an automobile, a Pontiac or Chevrolet, with a licence plate that said MARYLAND. The dogs would go out to greet him first and she’d step out onto the porch. He’d be wearing a Sunday suit and a wide-brimmed hat, which he’d tip up to get a better look at her, and then he’d take off the hat and hold it over his heart, and his eyes would see and see her. And then she would know. She would recognize him. She would recognize her own face in his.

But she knew nothing happened the way you imagined it. That was how she knew it was real.

It’s not a question of whether the truth will out, it’s when – it slowly but surely leaks through the holes in the characters’ stories, gathering together to a flow as large as the local creek.

Eleanor Henderson writes with feeling, strong historical influence and an eye for a poetic phrase. Despite most reviewers’ perception of this as a tragic story, I was pleased with its conclusion.

I got lost on The Twelve Mile Straight. You will too.

Twelve Mile Straight
by Eleanor Henderson
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9780008158699

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