My Library – James Daniels

Here’s the extended version of our interview in uncover – huraina with James Daniels, radio host of The Breeze.

James Daniels

What words spring to mind when you hear ‘library’?

Valuable, in that a library houses books, which are beautiful. Vital and Valid, as a community asset with easy online access, in-house helpful staff and providing a haven for people to not just enjoy books, but to just enjoy ‘being’.

What role does the library play for you and your whānau?

My moko read a lot and go to libraries, my wife reads a lot but she buys. For me, I buy books too, but I prefer going to the library – that helps me think about books. It motivates me to search out different books and save them to my booklist for future reading.

My favourite library is…

I love my local library at Parklands. The size, the scale, the building, the café and the ability to get any book brought through from any of the other libraries. Also love New Brighton Library, it’s pretty, in a great location by the pier. I also love Shirley Library which is on my way home from work. I’m not a one library man!

What do you see as libraries greatest contribution to community?

Just being there. They’re great places for people to meet, to use the vernacular ‘to hang out’, with free wifi access – it’s fantastic that we have so many libraries. I’m so pleased to see that Sumner Library and Community Centre are being brought back onto the scene – that’s my old community. Community centres should be based in libraries.

What keeps you in Christchurch?

Its history, pre- and post- colonisation; Christchurch is my home town. I’m a Brighton Boy, went to school here and really, really love living on the east side. Love that Christchurch is a sporting city, strong academically, with a really large chunk of the NZ economy driven from here. Loving the increasing diversity the rebuild is bringing; I love my city!

CoverCoverCover

Favourite books and why

Biographies are fascinating… and I love historical novels.  I started with the Poldark series by Winston Graham – I went to Cornwall the first time I visited Britain.  Then I gravitated to reading history with authors like James Belich… and then Michael King’s History of NZ – that blew me away – should be compulsory reading for all students.  I’ve also read most of James A Michener, Frederick Forsyth and Bill Bryson.  And the libraries’ magazine – great choices!  Always go for Train, Plane and Car magazines, Esquire and Vanity Fair!

What is your earliest library memory?

The old New Brighton Library back in Shaw Ave – the librarians seemed like serious “old women” (I was very young then!).  Everything was very quiet.  Institutional.  It was a real occasion going to the library – maybe people even dressed up to go?  I remember all the little filing cards and it was a real process getting a book, the librarians flicking through the cards to look up books, the rubber ‘date due’ stamps and the ceremony of it all.

Our new magazine uncover – huraina

Kia ora and welcome to the first edition of our new quarterly magazine, uncover – huraina. It is our newest channel to help you explore and celebrate the resources, content, events, programmes and people of Christchurch City Libraries, Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi.

Parklands enjoyed New Zealand Music Month

One of the great things about community libraries is the way we can source local expertise and NZMM was a perfect excuse for us to throw out our nets and land some sparkling talent for all to enjoy at Parklands Library.

NZMM Bryony Matthew

We opened with singer/songwriter Bryony Matthews. Just returned from a year’s stint in Europe enjoying the live music scene, including the Iceland Airwaves Festival, Bryony captivated us with a soulful presentation of original songs about her emotional and physical journeying. This gig led to live slots for Bryony on The Breeze Radio and Plains FM, a happy outcome to playing in the local library!

NZMM Matt HowesBright, smooth jazz was up next, brought to us by Matt Howes, a poised and accomplished young guitarist and member of the NZ Jazz Orchestra, who took us through relaxing and rocking pieces from names including John Scofield and Miles Davis. With great aplomb Matt turned technical difficulties with loop pedals into an opportunity to interact with his attentive and appreciative audience, letting us into some secrets of interpretation, counter melodies, and techniques of “swinging” a melody. We wish him all the best for his season with the Jazz Orchestra.

Our next “audience” was in the business of making music. Ten young people turned up to Tuesday Tunes to explore GarageBand with our own Betty Situe. Ipads were the instrument of choice and basic principles were quite quickly mastered, resulting in some interesting original pieces, which were burned to a disc to be taken home. A very successful event and hopefully to be repeated.

NZMM James DanielsPeople came from across town to hear Parklands based James Daniels of The Breeze radio station, joined by fellow musicians, Tony Clark and Malcolm Harris to wow us with “songs world famous in NZ”, the ones we’ve sung around the barbie. Old favourites from Kris Kristoffersen and John Rowles, “How Bizarre,” the theme to “Princess Bride” all created a fun, happy whānau atmosphere of joining in and clapping along to first rate singing and guitar playing. A great day out!

Music Month would not be complete without performances from our children and the Queenspark Primary School Choir was first to entertain family and friends with their enthusiastic singing of a variety of engaging songs, some featuring wonderfully energetic actions.

Parkview School Choir gave us a happy programme including “Haere Mai Everything is Ka Pai”, “Just One Earth”, “I got the Sun in the Morning”, and a swinging version of “Yes Sir That’s my Baby” obviously enjoyed by the singers and certainly by their audience. All in all sweetly satisfying.

On the last Saturday of May we brought Music Month to an end with a bang and our biggest audience yet. Friends, family and customers watched and listened and, in the case of one little girl who almost stole the show, danced to Better Than Bacon, a talented up-and-coming young rock band. Kayne Child on lead guitar, Josh McCaffery on bass, Joel Coleman on drums and Keira Jonkers, singer/songwriter and instrumentalist, had feet tapping and hands clapping with songs like “Joker and the thief” “I love Rock n Roll” and “Can to Can’t”. A highlight was Keira’s superb original song “No Noise Pollution”. With each musician gifted and committed, this band is one to watch for.
NZMM Better than BaconWhy limit ourselves to the month of May? We hope to continue listening to local musicians throughout the year. Watch this space!

For more photos of performances at Parklands and our other libraries check out our NZ Music Month Flickr 2015 set.