Moondog: The enigmatic jazz wizard of post-war NYC

Moondog: The enigmatic jazz wizard of post-war NYC

I came across Moon dog on one of those long and meandering trips through obscure music on YouTube. He was a true innovator and an avante-garde enigma. For one he looked like Gandalf or Hagrid. Aside from that he invented several new muscial instruments including a small triangular instrument he called the Ooo and another…

Film Review: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Film Review: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Another film that featured at the New Zealand International Film Festival was The Distant Barking of Dogs. It’s the story of a young boy and his family who live on the Ukrainian and Russian border, on a slice of disputed land that is being fought over tooth and nail, for years. The people in this…

Film Review: Ancient Woods

Film Review: Ancient Woods

I saw this film at the recent New Zealand International Film Festival. The festival has grown and developed over the years and has become quite a magical event. I thoroughly recommend it if you are in Auckland. Ancient Woods is a Lithuanian production and it’s a magical foray into the flora and fauna living in…

Film Review: Cold War 2018

Paweł Pawlikowski directed and wrote this love story that’s set in the 1960’s. This film is unlike any other Polish film I’ve ever seen and I mean that as a compliment. That’s because it has more in common with one of these cool French New Wave films of the 1960’s – Bande A Parte or…

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moeringer

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer

Full disclosure, I find all of my books second hand in a charity shop which is particularly full of a lot of good quality books that are at least decade old. Thus I came upon this little gem which was published in 2005. A NYT bestseller (a stamp of approval I think actually bears to…

Reave A long and low boundary wall or bank, found especially on Dartmoor and in Devon, mostly now sunk back into the landscape. Also, as a verb, to tear, split, divide or cleave. Rof/rifa An Icelandic word meaning to rip or tear something. Rof á landi refers to the rupture of the top soils of…

A view along the Kamo River, Kyoto

Travel: Cycling adventures along the Kamo river, Kyoto

Cycling alongside calming bodies of water is one thing in life that I adore. In the past I've cycled along the Odra in Wroclaw, Poland, Tamaki Drive in Auckland and along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh, along with many other places. However the Kamo River in Kyoto tops them all. The Kamo river has a flat…

Koi fish vying for food in Kyoto by Content Catnip

Four weird unexpected things to love about Japan

Last week I came back from a three week holiday in Japan. And so here are four weird and off-the-wall unexpected surprises about Japan that you most likely don't know about yet. 1. Requiem for a washlet Washlets are one of the unexpected delights of going to Japan. The Japanese washlet is a technological marvel…

Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

With its rather dramatic title 'How Not To Die' is a timeless guide to a lifetime of good health. Although there's a lot of these dietary and nutrition books around, none are as stuffed full of scientific references and scientific evidence as this one. In fact a whole third of the book is dedicated to…

Enchanting floating ships by Italian Architect Luigi Prina

Enchanting floating ships by Italian Architect Luigi Prina

Italian architect Luigi Prina has been interested in aircraft modelling since a very young age. However, it was only after he met Venetian painter and boat builder Eugenio Tomiolo that he started to create flying ship models from ultra-thin paper and balsa wood inspired after Roman, Greek and Viking designs. His collection (or fleet) of…

Medieval Icelandic Sagas: Tales of Blood Feuds, Dangerous Women and Warriors http://wp.me/p41CQf-Iu9

Beltane of the Southern Hemisphere

Today, in the Pagan calendar, the north celebrate the coming of winter at Samhainn. And all the while the sun is peaking up from behind the lush vernal trees and dancing for us once more in the southern hemisphere, as we welcome Beltane on October 31st. Or as I like to refer to it Beltane…

Polski jedzenie/ Polish food: My om nom nom nominations

The nutritious order of things

Here's a short media consumption list, from the worst and least nutritious to the most nurturing. Rule of thumb don't eat anything that will give you cancer.  Vice - The exhaust fan of a Chinese restaurant. Buzzfeed - A soggy bagel brandished by a drunk guy who wants to fight you. Instagram - A litre…

The terrace houses of Sevilla, Spain

Travel: The Beautiful Terrace Windows of Triana, Sevilla

Back in 2010 during a particularly sweltering summer, I visited Andalucia and soaked in the beautiful architecture in Sevilla. The best way to see all of the charming neighbourhoods and historic monuments was going the tourist routes with an open-top bus. This also afforded me excellent views onto all of the terrace houses with their…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lucky's 18th Birthday

Lucky’s 18th Birthday

Lucky sadly left this planet in recent months. Here he is a year ago on his 18th birthday. I just love this look of absolute and unfettered delight at eating the ice-cream cake. He was a good boy. My parents got him when he was only a puppy from the animal shelter. He was sentenced…

Vintage textile: A treasure trove of fashion

Vintage textile: A treasure trove of online fashion from days of yore

Are you a fan of period clothing of the like seen on Downton Abbey, Poldark, Harlots and so on? I am and I'm not ashamed to admit that. Although the sublime beauty of these forms of clothing hides the fact of how uncomfortable women were, in their corsets and itchy lace and canvas constructions. Still…

Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

Travel: Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

When I was hiking in Ireland in Glendalough I saw some magical landscapes. Ireland has a beautiful soft light in the summer. The diffused sunlight is speckled with clouds that pass over the vast valleys and mountain-sides. It's possible to sit there all day and just watch the way the light travels over the trees,…

Snapshot from a zen garden in Kyoto today

Currently I am in Kyoto and today my boyfriend and I enjoyed the zen gardens of the Hogon-In temple in Arashimaya, Kyoto. Originally established in 1461 by Hosokawa Yoriyuki who was the noted deputy of the shogun during the Muromachi period (1336-1573). It is a small but majestic sub-temple within the large and beautiful Tenryu-ji…

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

The narrator of this novel is an elderly Eileen who looks back on her mis-spent youth in 1964. This book is the blackest kind of noir, but does away with the usual noir narrative tropes. It tells the story of Eileen's entanglement with the enigmatic and beautiful Rebecca who is more a mythological figure than…

Retro TV Channels from the 70's, 80's and 90's are on the internet for all posterity

Retro TV Channels from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are on the internet for all posterity

Want something a little bit different for your next party? Here's  a novel idea for entertaining guests. A modern browser version of vintage TV channels featuring soaps, ads, comedy, drama, music and even news from particular decades! Find it here The only requirement is that you use a PC for this app rather than a touchscreen…

All About Amazing Op Art

All About Amazing Op Art

Op Art descended out of geometric art of the 50's and the Bauhaus movement in Germany, which I have previously written about in the Origins of Flat Design. The 60's was a period of discovery in science, psychology and new technology. This type of art reflects the experimental mood of that era. The pieces normally…