Sunday, May 18, 2008

Roger Hall - Notes from the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival

I didn't experience it this time, but two people commented to me that audiences heard the same extract from Simon Sebag Montefiore twice, read by him at two of his appearances. Such a waste and very irritating for audiences who hear that writer twice. Last year it was Richard E Grant who read the same material twice.
Let's hope in future the organisers can insist that writers never shortchange the audience by reading the same extract twice.

A couple of events that I attended and busy Bookman couldn't: Taonga in Tikiland was two glimpses into the astonishing collections held by Auckland City Library and Dunedin's Hocken Library. Both institutions have published fine books about their collections, and illustrations from these were screened as Iain Sharp and Linda Tyler lovingly and enthusiastically picked out their favourites from these books with tantalising selections. My favourite was a page from John A Lee's scrap book, a jumble of photos stuck down with elastoplast ( possibly because that was easier for a one-armed man to cope with suggested IS): a photo John A Lee about to be intereviewed by Cherry Raymond, a series of passport photos and other bits and pieces which I now can't remember.

Linda Tyler again chaired Peter Simpson's fine lecture on Colin McCahon, The Titirangi Years. Again, illustrated by slides, it was a wonderful display of perhaps McCahon's finest period, ranging from the intense proximity of the kauri trees he lived amongst, to the glorious splashes of colour in the Northland Panels, some of his finest religious works and his superb commuting series, "Towards Auckland" when he travelled by bus from Titirangi to the city each day.
At the end Linda Tyler proved as good a questionner as she was in intoducing the speaker by asking (among other things) why McCahon the commuter never painted Auckland city or any part of it, or (and I thought this the question of the week) why did he never paint Rangitoto?

My wife, Dianne, told me I missed a treat by not getting to Show N'Tell, The Slide Show. Talks and illustrations of Historic NZ houses, contemporary NZ Houses, NZ Book covers and NZ Art. Note: all the contributors stuck rigidly to their allotted time.

My quote of the week was from Simon Sebag Montefiore: "You have to write history without hindsight".

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