On My Reading List: Late Jaunary 2016

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Canterbury Tales is likely to be on my reading list for quite some time, although I have made it as far as ‘Sir Thopas’. Why does no-one ever think to mention the amount of rape, murder, and general mayhem contained within Chaucer’s stories? Continue reading “On My Reading List: Late Jaunary 2016”

Wine Profile: Rosé

With summer well under way, Rosé is very much the wine of the moment here in New Zealand. Even my local discount supermarket now stocks a small selection (at discount supermarket prices), so naturally I decided to hop aboard the band wagon.

Rose colours
Fifty Shades of Rosé, (c) Wine Folly

Unlike other wines that I’ve profiled, Rosé is not a type of grape, but rather a reference to the colour of the wine, which is pink (‘rosé’ in French). Being curious as to how that distinctive colour was obtained, I looked up how Rose is made and discovered that there are a number of methods, Continue reading “Wine Profile: Rosé”

Classical Music: The 20th Century and Beyond

The twentieth century saw massive change in the world of classical music. One of the first composers to seize upon the advances in recording technology that it brought was the English composer Edward Elgar. In his lifetime he oversaw the recording, and in some cases as technology advanced still further re-recording, of many of his works. Between the ‘wireless’ and the gramophone, for the first time ever people didn’t have to go out to hear orchestral music, or have someone around who could play them the piano – all they needed was the requisite technology. Whereas once you might have heard a favourite piece only three or four times in your life – if you were lucky, and if the piece were popular – now you could play it over and over again to your heart’s content.

Continue reading “Classical Music: The 20th Century and Beyond”

Wanganui Opera Week


With one of the oldest surviving opera houses in New Zealand, it is perhaps no surprise that Wanganui hosts an opera week for the New Zealand Opera School every January. Having no experience with opera, this year I decided their Great Opera Moments concert would be an excellent opportunity to introduce myself to it. Continue reading “Wanganui Opera Week”

On My Reading List: Early January 2016

I’ve always loved books and reading, and although you can learn a lot from the internet, television, and even the radio (old school? Well, many stations post their programmes online so you can hunt out the most interesting items when it’s convenient to you), books are still my key source of information for the Culture Project. Is reading time-consuming? Of course it is, but I’ve always loved it, and time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted time.

So, what am I reading at the moment? Continue reading “On My Reading List: Early January 2016”

Paintings You Should Know: The Lascaux Cave Paintings (C. 15,000 B.C.E)

Hall of the Bulls Lascaux
The Cave of the Bulls, Lascaux.

On September 12th 1940 a young man named Marcel Ravidat discovered the entrance to a cave at Lascaux in France. Returning with three friends, they entered the cave and discovered what is to date the most extensive and detailed series of Palaeolithic cave paintings ever seen. Continue reading “Paintings You Should Know: The Lascaux Cave Paintings (C. 15,000 B.C.E)”

Poet Profile: A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson (1864-1941)

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

Arguably the second-most famous of Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s poems, ‘The Man From Snowy River’ appears in anthologies of favourite poems not only in his native Australia but also in Britain and New Zealand. Continue reading “Poet Profile: A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson (1864-1941)”

Why I Drink Wine

Recently I got into what I will call a rather intense discussion with another Christian on Facebook on the subject of whether or not it’s ‘Christian’ to drink. You can probably guess which side I came down on, but leaving religion for the most part aside, what is it about wine that I find so enjoyable? Continue reading “Why I Drink Wine”

Classical Music: Beyond Romanticism

From the pre-Baroque up until the Romantic period, the history of classical music can be regarded as a pretty straightforward progression: with a little overlap as the avant garde raced ahead and the traditionalists lagged behind it goes Baroque 1600-1750, Classical 1750-1825, Romantic 1825-1875. Now it starts to get a little messy. Romantic music doesn’t simply disappear in the years following 1875 but continues to be composed even as other distinct styles enter the scene. Think of it as being a bit like popular music today. There’s pop. And there’s rock. There’s metal. Alternative. Dance. Trance. Hip-hop. Soul. Rhythm and Blues. I could go on, but you get the idea. Continue reading “Classical Music: Beyond Romanticism”