Taken at 6pm on New Year’s Eve, for this is the season of pleasure and self-indulgence.
The novel in question features a man who sleeps with breadfruit. Pretty sure this is a first in New Zealand literature, if not the world’s.
“I’m terribly sorry, but I can’t remember me own verses.”
Makes the Greens look moderate
The Herald reports:
New Zealand needs to get rid of 80 per cent of its dairy cows because dairying is dirtying our water.That was the message delivered to the annual meeting of Wanganui Federated Farmers by its former president.Rachel Stewart, president of the group for four years in the early 2000s and guest speaker at Friday’s annual meeting, is an “ardent critic” of farming.
Dairy off memory is around 7% of GDP. So an 80% reduction is likely to reduce GDP by around $11 billion or $2,500 per capita.
Ms Stewart predicted there would be synthetic milk in five years, and people wouldn’t be eating meat in 10 years.
Her predictions seem as robust as her policies. I’m very very confident people will be eating meat in 100 years’ time, let alone 10.
“Rachel Stewart has been rather rude about you on Twitter, saying you must be deaf because she never said she doesn’t vote. What’s the story?”
Has she? I don't know why she would deny saying she doesn’t vote, because she did – I recorded it in my notebook because it was so surprising. The later quote, “I do vote. I will vote,” was in response to a question after her talk, obviously from someone who was as startled as I was by the remark. Maybe it was an impromptu joke that didn't come off so she doesn’t remember. We must be charitable.
We all know Karyn as a brilliant broadcaster on radio and TV. She is also a fine journalist – the interviews she did for last year’s New Zealand Women in Rock on Prime were a model of empathy – she knows the territory – but she was firm with them too. Nobody was let off the hook.
With all these talents, can she also write fiction? I’m sorry to say it, but. . . yes she can. Please don’t hate her.
Her first novel, Emerald Budgies, published under a pseudonym – she is the Artist Formerly Known as Lee Maxwell – was a cracker and won Best First Book in the 2001 Montana awards. A few years later she was awarded the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship. It’s been a bit of a wait since for March of the Foxgloves – for all of us – but it has been worth the wait.
The novel is intelligent, sexy, witty – just like the author – and is beautifully written. There is sparky dialogue, lovely descriptions of place, and the two women Frances and Dolly are great characters. You’d want to meet them.
It’s about women’s independence, how new technology can enable that, narcissism and obsession, there’s sex and drugs and music, and a whole lot more.
It was especially interesting for me because it is set in London and Auckland, cities I know, but mostly in Tauranga, where I grew up. So I knew the streets and buildings. I felt right at home.
I learned a lot while editing it. I do a lot of fact-checking when editing fiction, just as much as I do when editing non-fiction – but this one was really hard. Because much of the factual material wasn’t in my reference books, not even in the Centennial History of Tauranga. Karyn had dug it all out of old newspapers, all sorts of obscure places. When I could check something, she was invariably right. That was impressive – and very unusual in historical fiction, in my experience.
But the best part, apart from the pleasure of working on such a terrific novel, was how much we laughed during the process. Even though we both take writing and editing very seriously, it was a lot of fun. I have edited many authors – Lauris Edmond, Vincent O’Sullivan, Paddy Richardson, Graeme Lay, Lloyd Jones, Kelly Ana Morey, loads – but Karyn is, I have to say, by far the sweariest.
And now here is the published novel. The paperback looks good but the hardback looks fantastic. The illustrations by John Constantine are lovely and the photos Vicky Papas Vergara took of burlesque artist Miss Sina King are brilliant, exactly as I imagined that the photos Frances took of Dolly would look. It is a thrill to have been involved in such a superb publication. I know you will enjoy reading it when you have bought your copy. And now, here is Karyn Hay!
After the launch Karyn and I went with friends for a drink, as is customary after a book launch. Then dinner at SPQR, as is customary in Ponsonby. Then she dragged me to a bar (The Golden Dawn: Tavern of Power) to see Voom. They were much louder than my band was when I played that venue, and better. Good drummer, which is the main thing with a band. And a good night, which is the main thing with a book launch.
Kinky Friedman introduced the Frisbee to Borneo, where he ate raw monkey brains. He made his name as a country singer in the 70s with his band the Texas Jewboys and songs like “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed”. Now he’s a bestselling author of six wise-cracking mystery novels featuring a former country singer called Kinky Friedman who, like the author, keeps his cigars in a bust of Sherlock Holmes. He recently toured here with Rita Jo Thompson, Miss Texas 1987, and told Nigel Cox, “Course, in Texas we consider anyone a homosexual who likes girls better than football.”
you are one confused bag of mince.
you boil-in-the-bag rent-a-clown.
you reprehensible spam-faced tool bag!
you back-stabbing cockwomble.
you haunted pork mannequin.
Salman Rushdie talks to Stephanie Johnson about Michelle Pfeiffer, the invisible buildings of Bombay, the colour of his bedroom — and his new novel, The Moor’s Last Sigh.
Before the troubled attachment to Colin took over, she started “going out proper” with a married friend (“So there we were at one in the morning with a bottle of scotch with Clive running after me – begging me to put me clothes on … the exact desperation in his voice floating up Hampstead Heath – ‘Do please pull yourself together, I’m a respectable solicitor’”). […] Among the thought-provoking connections to emerge from this rewarding biography is the association between Bainbridge’s self‑dramatisation and the steady discipline of her creativity. Her wilful eccentricity would sometimes disrupt her writing, but it was also central to its distinction.
With the release of the second issue, have your aims for Freeman’s changed?I guess a little bit. I’m teaching a class on the journal at the New School and doing more about the history of the journal. In the United States in particular, the journal was attached to the growth of modernism. A lot of little journals published writers like H. D. and Hemingway first—Ezra Pound was basically everyone’s contributing editor—but they had a lot more power than they had readership. All of them were attached to salons, which were run by, or funded by, wealthy individuals. And I realized that by publishing Freeman’s this way [with each issue accompanied by many events and readings] I’m trying to invert that scenario. I want the journal to feel like a salon, but I also want to it also feel like an accessible salon for readers. That if they live in Sacramento, or Minneapolis, or Miami, or Barnes, Kansas, they can go and participate in an event. That the pieces in the journal rise up through their storytelling. And I think that’s an important step for literary journals—if not mine, then someone else’s—to take forward, because I think for too long they’ve been an elitist institution. Obviously they have small acceptance rates because they get lots of submissions, but I’m talking more about their interaction with culture at large and their readers and their assessment of who their readers are and can be.
The funding for The Wolf of Wall Street, the US complaint alleges, can be directly traced to the billion dollars diverted from the PetroSaudi joint venture.
You cannot lick a woman’s head every time you mail a letter without believing that, in some small way, she cares for you.
“I think when you put literary figures in pop songs it’s mostly because it’s fun. You get to use odd phraseology, to talk about Voltaire and Diderot. If you’re allowed to do it in novels, to talk about other figures in the arts, or even in politics or history, why not in songs? It’s not so much why do I do it, it’s more why can’t I? I think an awful lot of people who write pop songs do unnecessarily censor themselves.”
Fad diets will proliferate if they have simple rules and pseudoscience justifications to help them stick in people’s minds, but examine them in detail and the logic falls apart. Take Paleo for instance, based on the premise that we are not ‘designed’ to eat certain foods. Newsflash genius, not sure if you missed the memo about Darwin and Wallace, but we are not ‘designed’ to do anything and neither is any part of the natural world. We evolved from a random sequence of evolutionary accidents, existing only because certain characteristics keep us marginally ahead in the arms race of existence. Nature is not pure and benign, it has no wisdom and it does not exist to nourish us and help us thrive. Nature is vicious, harmful and for thousands of years has been trying to fucking kill us. In the Palaeolithic period it was far better at doing this, with survival beyond thirty being extremely unlikely. Our ability to control the natural world, to process and store foods and to adapt our environment to meet our requirements is the one thing that has kept our head above the evolutionary waters and saved us from the miserable fate that befell every other hominid species in history.
I watched him and thought, that’s a way to be, that’s a way to act, there is a road to travel. To walk in gravity and lightness, to be serious but not take yourself seriously, to pay attention, to know that you shall reap what you sow.
“Bright working-class kids” lose out because they don’t know “arcane culture rules,” Alan Milburn, the commission chair and a former Labour lawmaker, said in an e-mailed statement. “Some investment bank managers still judge candidates on whether they wear brown shoes with a suit, rather than on their skills and potential.”
Food for thought
Well! It looks like the “gold old days” for tenancy-managers and their “black” ways of removing unwanted tenants, are being revisited these days.
One well known local firm has reverted to the use of centuries-old methods, consisting of the blackening of tenants’ personal character, using food supposedly given in friendship, but surprisingly, found to be containing fatal does of high toxic material, and now their latest “song and dance” item of illegally entering the rented premises with examples of dead or dying small animals (cats usually) and salting these hapless corpses into boxes of rubbish placed at strategic positions throughout the house!
(Larger animals – elephants – would be somewhat counter-productive for the manager’s ends, although the subtleness may give them away). Food for thought, eh?
As modest as she is talented, Patricia Grace doesn’t wage public campaigns, engage in literary debates or air her opinions on The Edge. She simply writes fiction. “That’s what my job is,” she tells Nigel Cox.