Brian Edwards Media

Archive for January, 2012

How Sweeney Todd stopped me wasting my money on shampoos and conditioners.

I’m not really sure why I’m telling you this. It’s kinda personal really, but I’m a generous fellow and  like to pass on wisdom that has been passed on to me.

Michael, a friend of ours who is a well-known actor, was appearing in a stage production of  Sweeney Todd. The part required him to have lank, unkempt, greasy-looking hair. So he stopped shampooing or moisturising his golden locks and limited his toilette to simply letting the shower water run over his head.

The initial effect was that his hair did indeed fit the part – lank, unkempt and thoroughly unattractive. After a few weeks, however, the original sheen returned and, to his astonishment, his hair looked even better than it had before. It was soft, silky and luminescent. (I may be slightly exaggerating to make the point.)

When the production was over, he continued to wash his hair only in water, eschewing shampoo and conditioner. And he’s never looked back.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Occupy Protests – Cause or Opportunity?


While I have absolutely no doubt that the Occupy protestors against global corporate greed and the ever-increasing gap between the world’s rich and poor are correct in their analysis and that their anger is justified, I’m less impressed by their methods.

The logic of tent-squatting in civic squares eludes me. It serves merely to annoy and alienate the general public, whose support the squatters presumably want.

More importantly, it cannot achieve its aim which is to remedy entrenched global injustice through small scale local action. If you were to ask the protestors what they actually want New Zealanders to do, other than joining them in their protest, I doubt that you would get a coherent answer.  Read the rest of this entry »


Here it is: The Teapot Tape. Listen and marvel!

Here’s the tape that’s caused all the fuss. Fairfax has confirmed that it’s the real thing.

After listening to it, you might well decide that it is truly a storm in a teacup. But – it got Winston Peters and his motley crew into Parliament, so the PM may now be wishing he’d released it on the spot!

It’s difficult to decipher, but here’s a link to a transcript on The Jackal’s blog.



Relatives of victims of the Carterton balloon tragedy write to me about the Herald

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post highly critical of the Herald for its coverage of the Carterton balloon tragedy in which 11 people lost their lives. The tabloid had interviewed a clinical psychologist, one Barry Kirker, who speculated not only on what would have been going through the minds of the victims as they faced certain death but on how their friends and loved ones might be feeling as well.

The children who gave their parents a ride on the ill-fated balloon would, he said,  ‘be consumed with feelings of guilt and regret despite others telling them it was not their fault.  They would also be thinking that other family members would be blaming them for their parents’ deaths, even though that wouldn’t be true at all.’

Mr Kirker’s speculations also included the observation that ‘the scenario was similar to that of the 9/11 victims, and the terror attacks might have put the thought to jump in Chrisjan Jordaan’s and Alexis Still’s  minds.’

And, in case Herald readers were wondering who jumped first:

‘Mr Kirker said it would usually be the man who would take the lead in that situation and would suggest jumping from the basket to the woman.’

I expressed myself disgusted with the rank insensitivity of this piece of crass sensationalism. Most followers of this site agreed. Read the rest of this entry »


And it just keeps trickling down…


A UK TV comedy show that we really should have in Godzone

I’ve just discovered this UK comedy show on You Tube. Haven’t stopped laughing since. It’s called Mock The Week. Can we have this on NZ TV please! Here’s a brief sample:


I’m firmly put in my place at the Westmere Butcher.


I suddenly had this yen for luncheon sausage. It was the sort of yen  I still occasionally get for a cigarette after a quarter of a century of not smoking. You’re suddenly taken unawares by some distant need, some powerful repressed impulse  that has fought its way up from the depths of your subconscious to confront you. ‘God, I’d love a cigarette.’ ‘I could kill for a piece of luncheon sausage.’

The cigarette yen is no problem. I used to know a very charming, urbane share broker called Alfie Des Tombe who could smoke just three cigarettes after dinner each night and that was that. I envied him but I could never be like him. I know that if I smoked one cigarette tonight, I’d hate the taste, probably choke on the smoke and feel quite nauseous. But within a week I’d be back to 20 a day. Where cigarettes are concerned I’m an addict and I’m not going to tempt fate.

As for the luncheon sausage yen, I really don’t know where it came from. Making kids’ lunches maybe in another life.  When they’d gone, the last piece, doused with HP sauce, rolled into a tube and down the hatch.  Or maybe in a white bread sandwich with a little salt and some hot English mustard. Divine!

Well, ‘divine’ in memory at least.  I had to have some luncheon sausage.   Read the rest of this entry »


Nanny doesn’t want you smoking outside. Nanny’s a real spoilsport!









Health professionals in Auckland have proposed that smoking be banned in all outdoor public places in the city. At least I think that’s what they’ve proposed. The front-page story in this morning’s Herald isn’t entirely clear on whether the ban is intended to be universal within the Auckland City boundaries or restricted to certain public spaces.

Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether banning smoking in any outdoor public space can be justified in what we like to call ‘a free society’, a limited ban (on virtually anything) invites public confusion and is therefore much more difficult to enforce. A total ban, on the other hand, leaves no room for confusion or the excuse, ‘I didn’t realise you couldn’t smoke here.’

As I write this, a poll on the Herald’s website reports:

Excellent and sensible idea – 43%

 Good in theory –  27%

Not a fan but would go along with it – 4%

Outrageous, a step too far – 26%

That’s 74% of respondents variously in favour and 26% adamantly against. An unscientific poll of course, but indicative at least of majority support for banning smoking outdoors as well as indoors in public spaces.

So yes, if there were such a law, you would essentially only be able to smoke in private indoor locations, including your home and garden, other people’s homes and gardens with their agreement, and (I’m guessing here) other privately owned indoor premises with the agreement of everyone who ever used the premises.

Put even more simply, you would not be able to smoke in any outdoor location where  you might come into contact with another  member of the general public – on the street, in the park, on the beach, in children’s playgrounds, tramping, climbing, jogging, playing or just plain walking.  Read the rest of this entry »


Smart Looking Rapist – I find myself for once agreeing with Garth McVicar

I rarely find myself in agreement with Garth McVicar or his ‘Sensible Sentencing’ Trust. I’m a liberal in the area of law and order and not a great believer in the value of lengthy prison sentences. But on the issue of Judge Jocelyn Munro’s remark to the 16-year-old who attacked and raped a 5-year-old girl, that he ‘looked smart’ when he appeared before her in the Youth Court, I find myself in near-agreement with Mr McVicar. I wasn’t, as he declared himself, ‘disgusted’ by the judge’s remark, but I thought it displayed extraordinary lack of understanding or empathy towards the feelings of the little girl’s parents.

I hadn’t intended to deal with the issue on this site. The nation’s ‘outrage’ about the crime and the judge’s remark have been well canvassed in other forums. But the defences of the judge’s remarks by her colleagues in the law, published in the press this morning, struck me as so inadequate that I need to respond.    Read the rest of this entry »


Random thoughts on why Labour did so poorly in the election


Josie Pagani, Labour’s candidate for Rangitiki in the last election and, incidentally, my researcher for two years on Top of the Morning, has penned an interesting opinion piece in today’s Herald  which the paper has headed “Workers lose faith in party with glum message”. Her theme is essentially that making people feel miserable about their lives is not a good way of getting them to vote for you. Helen Clark sometimes used the term ‘”shroud waving” to convey a similar message.

I think Josie has a point, though it’s difficult for an opposition Labour Party during an election to avoid talking about poverty, unemployment, kids going to school without breakfast, the minimum wage and the appalling and widening gap between rich and poor in this country.

Josie’s column led me to thinking of some other reasons why Labour did so poorly in the election. Some can be summarised in just a few words:

  • The extreme improbability of any political party in New Zealand being voted out after just one term in office;
  • The nation’s love affair with John Key, without doubt the greatest exponent of the photo opportunity and ‘skinetics’ in the history of New Zealand politics;
  • The relative lack of voter enthusiasm for Phil Goff;
  • Earthquakes, mining and shipping disasters which, in media terms, disadvantage those not in power and unable to influence events;
  • The Rugby World Cup, a convenient distraction for National shortly before the election;
  • The general euphoria that winning the Cup produced;
  • Widespread voter disengagement from politics, particularly on the Left.
  • The self-fulfilling nature of three  years of polls branding Key and National  sure-fire winners and Goff and Labour sure-fire losers.
  • Labour’s courage in advancing policies that made long-term economic sense, but were highly unattractive to voters in the short term: a capital gains tax and raising the age of eligibility for the pension.    Read the rest of this entry »


The ultimate extreme makeover




Time for a little light relief. Brilliant mock-advertisement by Jesse Rosten.



Unseemly and unhelpful speculation from the Herald on balloonists’ last moments


It is entirely appropriate that every possible effort should be made over the coming months to determine what exactly led to the ballooning accident that claimed 11 lives on Saturday. That knowledge may make a similar accident less likely in the future.

Less appropriate is ghoulish speculation on the victims’ last moments alive – were they electrocuted, incinerated or killed when they plummeted to earth? The events are simply too raw for the relatives and friends of those who died to see such horrific scenarios canvassed in the media.

The Herald, however, had no such qualms, sending its reporter Amelia Wade off to interview a clinical psychologist, one Barry Kirker, on what might have been going through the minds of the eleven people as they faced certain death.  

Mr Kirker of course doesn’t know the answer to that question. No one does. But he was willing to speculate at length not merely on what would have been going through the victims’ minds, but on how their friends and loved ones must be feeling as well.

Mr Kirker’s speculations, the Herald tells us, included the observation that “the scenario was similar to that of the 9/11 victims, and the terror attacks might have put the thought to jump in Chrisjan Jordaan’s and Alexis Still’s  minds.

“A bit like the people who jumped from the Twin Towers in New York, they might have thought, ‘What the heck, we’ve got nothing to lose – if we don’t jump, we’re definitely going to die.’”

And he had another fascinating piece of psychological ephemera to offer:

“Mr Kirker said it would usually be the man who would take the lead in that situation and would suggest jumping from the basket to the woman.”

Mr Kirker doesn’t actually know who told whom to jump or indeed whether  any “telling” was involved, but his  theory will certainly give the couple’s parents pause for thought.  Read the rest of this entry »


Milk and Honey off the menu


Photo: Dorothea Lange

Today  the Herald published a story lamenting the extra cost of local, free-range and organic foods, the very foods we’re being encouraged to buy and eat.  They estimate that the clean, green Kiwi options cost us on average 25% more. For people on a limited budget, that isn’t an option at all.

The Taranaki Daily News got closer to the heart of the problem with a story headlined ‘Free food draws poor kids to class’.  It quotes principals from Taranaki schools who say that some of their students rely on their school to provide breakfast and even lunch, just to survive.

Poverty in New Zealand is a problem we often conveniently ignore, preferring to see our country as a land of milk and honey.  Unfortunately, milk and honey are off the menu for hundreds of thousands of Kiwis. More than 200,000 of our kids are living below the poverty line; over 48,000 of them go to school without breakfast.  

This is a disgrace. No child in this country should go hungry. No New Zealand child should be cold or ill-clothed or living in an unhealthy or overcrowded house.  No child should be denied an education just because learning is too hard when you arrive at school cold, wet and hungry – if you get there at all. Read the rest of this entry »


It’s a goal!


While this website is generally a sports-free-zone, I can’t resist sharing this – possibly the greatest fluke in soccer!