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Artists & Writers in Their Own Words: Xavi Druantia

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‘Xavi Druantia’s Ancient Journey’ is a personal musical odyssey inspired by nature and ancient sounds all over the world I play different traditional instruments from all over the world. My idea is to release these songs one by one, instead of all at once on a full album. How people consume music has changed a…

10 Cool Things I Found on the Internet #29

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Ahoy there! Here is a quirky internet sea shanty, plucked from poseidon's breast. I haven't done one of these posts for a while, because I have been busy with another project to do with animals and conservation. I hope to keep up with these posts as I know some of you like them. Stay piratey…

Comforting Thought: Rangimārie

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Kua rongo ake au...Mā te karakia me te inoiMe te noho pukuKa tau te rangimārieki a tātau katoaI have learned that...everyone can do a karakia The Star Compass Atea a Rangi in Napier, New Zealand (Photo by A.Dennis) Kua rongo ake au...Mā te āta katakata āta harikoa anōMā te hiki ake i te wairuaE tau…

Book Review: The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris

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Genre: Non-fiction, medical history, medicine. Publisher: Allen Lane, Penguin Rating: * No Spoilers This is an electrifying book about the history of surgery from the point of view of one of its pioneers, Joseph Lister. A humble and unassuming Quaker, Lister managed to rise up through the ranks of Edinburgh’s…

Ancient Word of the Day: An

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An: 'To breath' from Proto-Indo-European If you empty your lungs you make an AHHHH sound on the exhale. The Proto-Indo-European word for this onomatopoeic sound is An. The word an remains the same in Anglo-Saxon, Old English, Icelandic, Swedish and Dutch. The ancient sound of an even exists within the word Human and Anmal. After…

Words and Music: Earth the slumbering pūriri

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In the Beginning Earth Breath on me Earth the cool breath of life Earth the slumbering pūriri Earth the misty valley Earth the departed sun Earth the tingling blue sky Earth the dark sheen of a woman river Earth the mottling tides tumbling ashore Earth the sweeping godwits Earth our home Earth the giving land…

The Pros and Cons of Moving to Aotearoa New Zealand 2021 Edition

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Every country has its shadow side, dark secrets, embarrassing problems and PR nightmares that governments attempt to sweep under the rug and hush-up. Here are New Zealand’s. I’m doing this so that people who have this idealised, naïve view of New Zealand as some sort of Utopia actually come here knowing what to really expect,…

Book Review: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax @jhalifax

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Genre: Non-fiction, spirituality, Zen buddhism, psychology, philosophy. Publisher: Flatiron Books Rating: Halifax with the Dalai Lama Standing At the Edge is a once in a lifetime kind of book. I don’t say that lightly either. It’s a life-changing and life-affirming book that combines philosophy, Zen Buddhism, psychology, and much more…

Book Review: Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment & Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte

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Genre: Non-fiction, Spirituality, Philosophy Rating: 1/2 stars *Contains no spoilers In this slim and elegant volume of philosophy and inspiration, writer David Whyte tackles the big topics and words that rarely get any airtime in our society, the kinds of things that haunt people but that are difficult to resolve and so…

Ancient Word of the Day: Love-Drury

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Love-Drury: n. A treasured token or keepsake given to a lover or partner. Origin: French. Comes from the French word Drut meaning a friend or lover. Drury made its way to English in the Middle Ages. In the 14th Century, a drury was a sweetheart or beloved person or a treasured object. Vincent Van Gogh's…

Book Review: The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of 70,000 Ordinary Lives by Helen Pearson

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Genre: Non-fiction, social sciences, history, public health Publisher: Counterpoint Rating: The Life Project is published by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books that focuses serious non-fiction from different realms like history, politics, science and philosophy. I really expected a lot from this book and it didn’t deliver. The Life Project is written…

Ancient Word of the Day: Darth Vader

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Fans speculate that the name Darth Vader means ‘Dark Father’ are in for a rude awakening. The real meaning of Darth Vader is actually way cooler than that. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars franchise has (according to online sources) explained that the name Darth Vader comes from ‘Darth’ (Dark Lord of the…

Barry Schwartz and the Paradox of Choice

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"We laud our almost boundless freedom of choice as if it were a good thing per se, irrespective of what the choice is between. This is of course absurd because any rational person would prefer to choose between two good things rather than between a thousand bad ones. But, under these circumstances, how do we…

Book Review: Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

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Genre: Japanese fiction, fantasy, Magic realism. Publisher: Granta *No spoilers Rating: This one is mindblowing, a solid 5/5 This is the second and much awaited fictional novel by the Japanese author of Convenience Store Woman. A book I have also reviewed and absolutely adored in the past. Earthlings traverses familiar…

Ancient Word of the Day: Serendipitist

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Serendipitist: n. A person who benefits from a chance or serendipitous event Serendipity: happenchance or providence. This beautiful term was originally coined by writer Horace Walpole in 1754. Walpole was inspired by the ancient Persian tale The Three Princes of Serendip, about some titular characters who ran around in ancient Persia having some marvellous luck…

10 Cool Things I Found On the Internet: Christmas 2020 Edition

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It has been a weird year I hope wherever you are, Yule gives you a moment to pause, reflect and eat something nice. May the gods bless you and those you love this Yule. Santa invoking the dancing imps of hell https://twitter.com/HorribleSanity/status/1341802926633717760?s=20 Ring the Bells by Jessica Marie Baumgartner So right now I want…

Artists & Writers in their Own Words: Jonelle Patrick

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Inspiring author Jonelle Patrick weaves webs of literary magic in her five novels set in Japan. She has been writing about Japanese culture and travel since she first moved to Tokyo in 2003. In addition to The Last Tea Bowl Thief and the Only In Tokyo mystery series, she produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and…

Book Review: How to be A Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

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Genre: Non-fiction, conservation, nature, spirituality. Publisher: HMH Books Rating: *No spoilers This is an extra special book. It’s filled with nourishing and kind-hearted stories of one woman’s relationships with a lifetime's worth of unique and amazing creatures. Author Sy Montgomery’s relationships with animals mirrors so many other people's stories and…

Comforting Thought: From ‘harder, better, faster, stronger’, back to circadian rhythms and rituals

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"The cycles of nature and the cycles of time predate the modern world. The world we currently live in is linear and about more, more, more or ‘harder, better, faster, stronger’. This way of thinking dictates that we should not miss out on anything. We are encouraged to grow throughout our lives, as a part…

Ancient Word of the Day: Stravaig

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Stravaig: v. to wander or amble without a purpose or destination in mind. Glad of the opportunity to explore and discover on foot, being unconstrained by time. (from Scots Gaelic) Travel: Hiking in Ireland Copyright Content Catnip 2010 Stravaig derives from eighteenth-century Scots extravage, meaning ‘wander about; digress, ramble in speech’, in turn derived from Medieval Latin extravagari ‘wander,…

Comforting Thought: Ep’humin et ouk ep’humin

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Ep’humin et ouk ep’humin (from Greek) Things that are under our control and things that are not under our control. Of things that exist, some are in our power and some are not in our power. Those that are in our power are conception, choice, desire, aversion, and in a word, those things that are…

10 Cool Things I Found On the Internet#27

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Welcome to a cosy corner of the internet where you can find a lot of wholesome and quirky picks to delight your five senses. Toshiya Sukegawa (助川敏弥) - Bioçic Music: Aqua https://youtu.be/58mhgplUCCk Maple Colour by Erin Hanson (2019) Via Erin Hanson's website Dogs to the rescue in the Wellcome Collection "Monks living in the Great…

Book Review: Standing Firm: Resisting The Self Improvement Craze by Svend Brinkmann

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‘Standing Firm’ in the sense of this book means to counter the incessant drive towards more, more, more of everything. It’s a call to action to resist and stand firm against ‘improvement culture’, not just self-improvement and personal development, but also the constant acceleration and growth in our economic systems, and the overuse and destruction…

Ancient Word of the Day: Sussurate

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Sussurate: n: to whisper or murmur. The noise produced by a hive of bees, a rustling of leaves in the forest or the crackling of a fire It turns out that elemental experiences for ancient humans echo and whisper back over aeons and are universally received and recognised. No matter where we are on this…

10 Cool Things I Found on the Internet this week #26

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Sometimes you just need a happiness infusion straight into your veins, so here is a little shot of endorphins I hope you enjoy it... A Day in the Life of my favourite artist family The lovely and soulful Bartons in their cosy den of creativity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPV-wQ4JGiM The macabre story of The Sorceress by Jan van…

Artists & Writers In Their Own Words: Kanariya Eishi

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Kanariya Eishi (鹿鳴家英志) AKA Hiroshi Nakatsuji is a multitalented performer of the ancient Japanese Art of Rakugo in English. Following a Bachelor of Performing Arts from an American university he was involved in many theatre projects in Japan, US, and New Zealand. He trained as a theatre clown under Rone & Gigi, a world renowned…

Comforting Thought: Disruptive Creators Versus Custodians & Curators

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"If we were all disruptive artists all the time – nothing in society would be coherent. No one would be obliged to do anything other than follow whatever short term whims took their fancy. Fortunately- many people are instead curators. Those who set up permanent exhibitions based on unifying themes and help to rein in…