The Interview: Martin Freeman

The Interview: Martin Freeman

What aspects of Bilbo Bag­gins have you most enjoyed bring­ing forth across the three films, and on this one in par­tic­u­lar? I think it was after the time where he turned the corner from being fairly mild and meek to find­ing a bit more of a back­bone. I was always after that, really. I was […]

How to do Swedish drill

How to do Swedish drill

Here we are at the Wel­ling­ton Girls’ Col­lege in Thorndon. It is Par­ents’ Day, 1927, and the girls are demon­strat­ing their skill at Swedish drill. This par­tic­u­lar move was called the halfway side fall­ing pos­i­tion and was designed to strengthen the side muscles. An instruc­tion book­let of the time stresses that it should be done […]

Key makes way for “Crisis Colin”

Key makes way for “Crisis Colin”

If you missed it late last year, let me remind you. Prime Min­is­ter John Key cel­eb­rated his five years in office in a very, very odd way. In his ‘one-on-one’ inter­views with Press Gal­lery journ­al­ists, he ser­i­ously talked up the Con­ser­vat­ive Party and its lead­er, Colin Craig. Key basic­ally invited someone else to the party and […]

Bird Flu

Bird Flu

For my birth­day last year, my very enthu­si­ast­ic Irish­man gave me a won­der­ful, yet con­tro­ver­sial gift. If we lived in Karori, it wouldn’t be an issue, but we live in an apart­ment – one with many rules. “No high heels on the rooftop”, “No fire­works on the rooftop” and the clas­sic “NO PETS”. As a […]

Blow it up and start again

Blow it up and start again

Last Novem­ber, the Gov­ern­ment tightened nation­al secur­ity meas­ures, cit­ing an increas­ing glob­al ter­ror threat. Appro­pri­ately, that month marked 32 years since New Zealand’s only sui­cide bomb­ing. Neil Roberts was what today might be called a crust-punk. He wore safety pins and found inspir­a­tion in the anarch­ism of Mikhail Bak­un­in. Roberts was 22 when he blew […]

Bring on the night

Bring on the night

On sum­mer nights, some plants come into their own. Day­time flowers are bold and brash, rely­ing on bright col­ours to attract pol­lin­at­ing insects; night-bloom­ing flowers are more subtle, white or cream-col­oured to glow in the dark. Often insig­ni­fic­ant in looks, they announce their pres­ence with blasts of power­ful per­fume. One such is brug­mansia, some­times mistakenly […]