Ignite Wellington was part of Global Ignite Week, and I was invited to do a talk as part of this exciting and (as a presenter) nerve-wracking endeavour. Each presenter is given exactly 5 minutes to present, and allocated 20 Powerpoint slides which are automatically advanced every 15 seconds; the presenter has no control over the pace. My Twitter and Facebook friends helped me decide to do a talk on Creative Destruction in the Music Industry, which you can watch below.
I am a propellor on an aircraft carrier
I spin and thrust silently under the waterline
It can unleash tremendous power
It only looks like it is going slow because it is so big
I am a receiver on the dish at Arecibo
My friends and I are listening
For the others we know are there
We will wait for as long as it takes
I am the newsreader on the six o’clock news
Some hang on my every word, for others I’m merely background
Many people died today in tragic circumstances
But it was an interesting story
I am Schroedinger’s cat
I am in many places at once
I don’t want to die
I am the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil
There’s no need to eat me
My secret is no more complex
Than the Golden Rule
I am a sign language interpreter
To some I am poetry in motion, to others I just look dumb
I don’t always understand what the speaker really means
Some concepts have no words
I am a hunter
My darts are tipped with love potion
Today I got a big one
I hope it doesn’t crush us
I am a toolsmith
Some of my tools are being used every microsecond
And others are used only once
My favourite tools are the ones other people like
I am a neuron in David Lange’s brain
I participate in grand hopes and cutting wit and buffoonery
Sometimes it seems too big
Long live the tea break
I am an accountant
The numbers balance
But they don’t tell the whole story
Nor the true story
While we may have become used to the sounds of live music drifting through our city library, it is a long time since we have been treated to such a lively and spirited performance as that which the Klezmer Rebs provided yesterday afternoon.
Undergoing a revival, Klezmer is traditionally celebratory Jewish music, and, although frequently instrumental, vocal lines and song titles are usually in Yiddish. Flexible in its lineup, yesterday’s concert was by seven members of the Klezmer Rebs, who are largely Wellington based.
It was an evocative mix of clarinet, violin, trumpet, trombone and helicon accompanied by piano and guitar or mandolin, giving us a characteristically authentic sound that set one’s primal musical spirit a dancing.
All of the group joined in with vocals as appropriate as they selected much of their programme from the established Klezmer repertoire, their arrangements reflecting traditional style, while allowing the creativity of these talented instrumentalists to add their own distinctive interpretation to the music.
The music celebrates the many facets of life itself and the Klezmer Rebs brought joy and vibrancy to the performance, giving the music a captivating urgency that could not fail to set the heart and soul soaring.
While there was musical excellence on display from all members of the group, the clarinettist was Urs Signeur, who made a significant contribution to local music during his year as an exchange student in Palmerston North nearly 10 years ago. Apart from giving us some stunning clarinet solos, this talented young man also composed several numbers for the group, his work characterised by much inventiveness while still capturing an authentic style.
While it must be expensive for such a large group to travel around the country, I hope it is not too long before the group makes another appearance in our city as it was obvious that the infectious joy of this music captured the hearts of the large audience gathered in the library.
Can it get much better than that?
|1 1/2 Tbsp||Sugar|
|1 1/2 Tbsp||Yeast|
|650g||High-grade flour (6 1/2 Cups)|
|50g||Poppy or sesame seeds|
Add the boiling water to the cold water, giving 325ml in a large measuring cup. Stir in the sugar, salt and yeast (use fresh yeast from your local bakery for best results). Mix well until all of the ingredients are dissolved, and pour into a large breadmaker or mixing pan. Add the oil. Very lightly beat three of the eggs, and mix this in as well. Add the flour, and gently stir for 30 seconds. If you are using a breadmaker, set it to “dough” and let rip, otherwise knead the mixture by hand in a large mixing bowl for 10 minutes or so. The resulting dough ball should be just lightly stick to your finger when poked; if not, add more water or flour to obtain the right consistency.
Let the dough rise for an hour or so, and then punch it down. Let it rise for another hour, punch it down, and remove from breadmaker or mixing bowl.
Preheat the oven to 195° C on “fan bake”.
With well-floured hands, divide into three equal sized balls, roll them into long cylinders, and braid them in situ on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Allow the braided loaf to rise for 18 minutes.
In a small cup, beat the remaining egg with an equal amount of water. Paint this egg-wash mixture onto the loaf, and then sprinkle the loaf with poppy or sesame seeds.
Put the loaf into the oven for 18 minutes.
Take the loaf out, re-paint with egg-wash, especially the bits which have expanded and are now not covered with seeds. Sprinkle more seeds on the loaf. Put back in the oven for another 18 minutes.
Remove the loaf, allow to cool for at least 18 minutes.
Making money without adding value is like sex without love. [Dave Moskovitz]
The New Zealand Society of Authors is presenting an evening discussion chaired by Nelson Wattie with Dennis Welch, Nicky Hager, Bill Hastings, and Maureen Birchfield on the topic:
Does New Zealand enjoy freedom of speech?
When: Monday 16 November, 7pm
Where: Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St Wellington
See you there!
Te Reo Pūtaiao: A Māori Language Dictionary of Science came out earlier this month. It was compiled using the Freelex / Mātāpuna open source dictionary writing system that I wrote.
Te Reo Pūtaiao is an encyclopedic dictionary; nearly all of the info is in Te Reo Māori, and each entry contains an equivalent English gloss and a definition. Most entries also have information on the derivation of the term, an detailed explanation often including diagrams, and related terms. The dictionary covers the lexicon used in teaching the New Zealand Science Curriculum through year 11.
It’s simply brilliant. It’s funny that I never realised how brilliant it was until actually seeing the finished product. Working through the database and user interface design, I never really saw the big picture. But opening up the book caused an “aha moment” for me. This dictionary has huge potential to make science accessible to Māori kids through Te Reo and tikanga Māori. If this book is responsible for helping Aotearoa produce even one great scientist, it would have been totally worth the effort.
Kia ora to Ian Christiansen and Shirley Mullaney for having the vision to produce this, and the Ministry of Education for funding it.
I’m listed in the credits as the “Tohunga Rorohiko”, or “Computer Shaman”; this is the second dictionary for which I’ve had this honour. I feel humbled to have the opportunity to work with such experienced and learned teams on these lexicography projects which will have lasting impact on Te Reo Māori.
Our Klezmer Rebs bandmate Amanda MacLean has just produced this surreal music video. She plays the helicon for us, but in this clip she sings, plays trombone, and does a great job acting. Go Amanda!