Posted by BE on December 31st, 2012
My congratulations to everyone named in today’s New Year Honours, but in particular to Paul Holmes. His knighthood is richly deserved.
I first got to know Paul in the early 1970s. I think he was a radio announcer in Christchurch at the time or he may have come to Wellington to work on 2ZB. I was then the Labour candidate for Miramar. I was also ‘the star’ of The Brian Edwards Travelling Road Show, a stage review dreamed up by Roger Hall and consisting of comedy sketches and music. We toured the country to ever-diminishing audiences.
The ‘we’ were Roger, Fay and Grant Tilly, Michael Noonan, Ross Jolly, singer Jenny Parkinson, Yours Truly and a new name and face to me – Paul Holmes.
Paul was a delight on and off stage. He was kind, warm and funny. His ‘flea race’, in which the radio commentator has a lot of money on one flea and systematically eliminates the others by squashing them with his thumb, was a highlight of the show. There were many such highlights. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on December 28th, 2012
Among its most recent decisions the BSA upheld a complaint from an electrician who, along with a couple of his workmates, had been filmed at the ‘Target house’ installing a heated towel rail and changing a light fitting. Target identified a couple of safety issues, involving a potential hazard (to the electricians themselves rather than to the ‘home owner’), but overall the job was well done and the company was given a respectable score of 7 out of 10. No criticism was made of the complainant. The faces of the electricians were clearly visible in the item and not pixellated.
So what was the problem? Well, the BSA decided that the complainant’s privacy had been breached. He had been clearly identified on the programme which several hundred thousand viewers would have seen and his permission had not been given or sought to show the footage on television.
Your initial response to this might well be the same as mine: the guy should be pleased his outfit did so well; what’s he moaning about? To get the answer to that question you could plough your way through the BSA’s complex legal semantics or I could try to give you a layman’s, hopefully accurate, translation. Why don’t we go with option two: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on December 26th, 2012
Though she was an Ulster woman through and through, my mother was in the habit of using that lovely Yorkshire expression of surprised disapproval, ‘There’s nowt so queer as folk.’ I was reminded of this yesterday during the Auckland City Mission’s Christmas Lunch.
In order not to take the gilt off the gingerbread, I should begin by saying that the lunch was a fabulous occasion. Some 2800 needy and/or solitary people of all ages were fed, watered and entertained in a mammoth effort that ran, as the Herald reported this morning, ‘like a well-oiled machine’.
This is the second occasion that Judy and I have had the privilege of being ‘Santa’s Little Helpers’. Our job, along with around a hundred other of Mr Claus’s staff, was to discover the gender and age of each of the diners at one or perhaps two tables before lunch was served, return to Santa’s Cave, fill our sacks with the age/gender appropriate presents – all beautifully wrapped – and deliver them at the end of lunch to the delighted diners. Joy unconfined!
It isn’t of course possible for the City Mission also to feed the 500 odd volunteers who help to make the lunch run like that well-oiled machine. But a limitless selection of Christmas mince pies and lollies is available to stave off hunger over the three or four hours required. Trouble is, as you know, I’m a Type 2 diabetic and though I might crave a diet of mince pies and lollies, it just isn’t on the prescribed diabetic menu. No problem – I made some cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwiches which Judy carefully wrapped in greaseproof paper and popped in a small green plastic bag with our fold-up umbrellas.
Now Judy is one of those people who prepares for every eventuality – in this case the possibility that, amid all the frenzied activity, the bag with the umbrellas and sammies might get misplaced. So she wrote on the greaseproof paper: BRIAN’S DIABETIC SANDWICHES. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by JC on December 16th, 2012
I don’t look forward to Christmas. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I dread it, but it looms on the horizon like a small malevolence – somewhere between weeding the garden and root canal.
I can’t remember when this antipathy started, but it seems to go back to childhood. I suppose reactions are tempered by early experience – and whether your Christmas presents tended towards new bikes or new knickers.
My British Nana insisted that we ate Christmas lunch dressed in our stiff and formal Sunday best, facing an array of roasts, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, dried fruit, nuts and mince pies – in Hawke’s Bay heat that could melt the asphalt on the roads. After lunch the men would rush to discard their suits for shorts and singlets and do mysterious things under car bonnets – headless bodies apparently being devoured by engines. The women, having spent the morning preparing lunch, spent a good part of the afternoon washing up and then preparing the leftovers for dinner.
Christmas was about the only time our family ever took a drink. Needless to say, a glass-and-a-half was all it took for euphoria to set in, quickly followed by the revival of decades-old feuds and resentments.
So when I joined the NZBC’s announcing staff in my late teens and discovered that the young and unattached were expected to cover Christmas Day shifts and release the married and encumbered into the bosoms of their families, colleagues got trampled in my rush to volunteer. Read the rest of this entry »