Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Plymouth Thursday 26th July

26 July 2007

We have seen snow!

No mountain, just snow. There wasn’t even enough of a view to bother getting out of the car and taking a photo. I think we’re going to have to get up early in the morning to see Mount Taranaki, but as the time is currently 12.07am I don’t think it’ll be tomorrow… ah, today.

Had a shower and washed my hair after breakfast this morning. I was just drying my hair and D.C. was heading for the toilet when there was a knock on the door. It was Ann Shelton here to say hi. She’d left Wellington at 4.00am yesterday morning, had driven to New Plymouth and had gone to bed and slept for 12 hours straight. She was feeling more relaxed now.

We walked to Puke Ariki and met up with Diana Gibbons who did an oral history with us about Uncle Fred (with interruptions from a P.A. announcement, a kid crying and me coughing.)

Came back to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and met up with Ann again to see the area where her exhibition of photographs of Uncle Fred’s scrapbooks and diaries is being set up. She’s even had the walls painted an aqua colour to go with the photographs. She gave us a couple of tickets to see the “Len Sings” show at the TSB Showplace – Regent Theatre and then we all went out to lunch. I had a vegetable and beef lasagne and D.C. had a stuffed kumara. We both had hot chocolates – with real chocolate! I’m not looking forward to getting back on to the scales when we get home.

Came back to the motel and changed into our sandshoes. Had a phone call from Suzette to arrange a meeting tomorrow – 10am at Puke Ariki. D.C. found a copy of an article about Ann’s show in the recycling bin so I took it over the road to the Govett-Brewster to give to Ann.

Betty and Martin Smyth picked us up at about 1.45pm and took us for a ‘Tiki-Tour’ north. We went to Waitara where Martin used to work as an electrical engineer on a power sub-station. Then we went on to the Methanol processing plant, which he’d been involved in the construction and maintenance of. We had a look around the information centre and had a cuppa in the sun. We went to a beach lookout and could see an oil-rig, which wasn’t Maui, but a new one that is possibly coming on line today. It was here that we saw the tiniest bit of Mount Taranaki.

We went to the Brookland’s Bowl and had a look through the Brookland’s Zoo. Saw monkeys, emu, parrots, pigs. The tamarins were hiding, and one of the goats seemed to be taking exception to a branch of a tree. It was head butting and pawing it until the miniature pony decided that it didn't like what the goat was doing and jumped over the branch startling everyone.

Then we went to the Smyth’s house and had a slice of bread and Marmite to keep us going until after the Len Lye, ‘Len Sings’ show.

The show was a variety of Len Lye’s films, which seemed to consist of coloured blobs and scratches on film and some jazz pieces.

len songs (New Zealand)

This performance places Len Lye’s magical film-making alongside contemporary music-making.

Beginning with a trio of his earlier films Rainbow Dance, Trade Tattoo and Swinging the Lambeth Walk comes the centrepiece of the performance, Len Songs.

This dynamic work, composed by Eve de Castro Robinson, and performed by singer Helen Medlyn, violinist Justine Cormack, pianist Sarah Watkins and clarinettist Peter Scholes, has a real feel of the jazz atmosphere of the thirties and forties. First performed at the 2004 New Zealand Festival, this is a wonderful showcase for these superb performers.

Then back into more films Free Radicals, All Souls Carnival.

And for the finale the first film Len Lye ever made Tusalava screened with Rhythmic Dance for Two Pianos, a dynamic, rhythm driven two piano work by Eugene Goossens.

Performed here by Sarah Watkins and Emma Sayers, this will be the first time this live music score has been performed in New Zealand alongside Tusalava

...a real treat lies in store.

WHEN & WHERE Thurs 26 July at 6.00pm
Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace

DURATION 1hr, no interval


Premium $35.00
Friend $32.00
A Reserve $30.00

We had the $30 tickets. Thirty dollars!

Some thoughts about the show:

  1. I have confirmed that I don’t like jazz.
  2. You wouldn’t want to watch a Len Lye film if you were prone to epilepsy.
  3. I don’t like jazz.
  4. I would like to hear the singer sing a proper song – she had an excellent voice, but…
  5. I don’t like jazz.
  6. The two pianists that accompanied the final film were excellent, but
  7. I don’t like jazz.
  8. It wasn’t something that I would want to have paid money for, but as one of the opening acts of the Taranaki Arts Festival, I’m glad we went.
  9. I hate jazz.

There’s a search light playing on the sky. Must be to do with the festival. Martin told us that the search and rescue has a huge search light (about as big as an intersection) in search and rescue missions on Mt Taranaki they can position it in the town and play it on the mountain until the team has search that area and then move the beam. They do the same with sea S&R; the search planes follow the beam. Research!

Went back to the Smyth’s after the show and had a very nice dinner of chicken (melted off the bone) kumara, mixed veg and potato, followed by home made pudding, orange chocolate chip ice cream, custard and cream. Then they showed us their workshops (Betty’s sewing room and Martin’s workshed where he’s building his loco and is housing all his radio bits.) We had a very interesting, convivial evening and came home at 10.45pm. It is now 12.31am so I am going to sleep. Night, night.

27th July

Discovered this morning that the Lantern Parade was on last nigh along the walkway, which would have been why the searchlight was in the sky. We would have rather seen that than the show, but if we hadn't seen the show we would have been with the Smyths anyway. And that was certainly an enjoyable evening.

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