The Power and Magic of Music: Sistema Aotearoa

Something a little different today – a photo essay from the end of year concert by Sistema Aotearoa students. Since 2011 Dr. Joe Harrop and his committed team have been changing the lives of underprivileged Otara school children by teaching them to play an instrument. Music has enriched these children’s lives and resulted in positive social, educational and developmental outcomes. Not only that, it was pure pleasure to watch and a fantastic afternoon. Inspired! Thanks to Andrea Duncan from the Michael Hill International Violin Competition for inviting me.

Dr. Joe Harrop conducting

Dr. Joe Harrop conducting

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Concert Review: The Rolling Stones, 22 November, 2014, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

Oh what a night

Oh what a night. Moi at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night to see the Rolling Stones

“We’ve been coming here a long time, New Zealand. So long that the first time we came, we were touring with Roy Orbison!” Jagger told me and 47,000 other fans. Damn right. And you know what? My mum was there. She remembers screaming her 15-year-old lungs out over Mick and Keith (Roy who?) in all the Stones’ velvet, fur and tight-panted glory at the Theatre Royal in Christchurch in 1965. Forty-one years later I first saw them on their A Bigger Bang tour at Western Springs in Auckland; and for a second, and even better, time at iconic Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.

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Concert Review: Which is it Mariah Carey – Sequins or Graffiti?

Mariah Carey, 14 November 2014, Vector Arena, Auckland.

Copyright Caroline Barron 2014

Copyright Caroline Barron 2014

“Lucky you, you’re up late and at Mariah Carey!” I say to the little girl drying her hands in the Vector Arena bathrooms. “How old are you?”

“I’m seven and my name’s Mariah too.”

“Wow, can you sing as well as the other Mariah?”

Her mum: “She can sing, she’s great.”

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Book Review: Forever Today (A Memoir of Love and Amnesia) by Deborah Wearing

This entry from Clive's 1990  diary demonstrates his constant reawakening.

This entry from Clive’s 1990 diary demonstrates his constant reawakening.

Imagine that after every single blink it feels like you’re awakening to the world for the first time. This is what life is like for Clive Wearing, after he contracted a brutal virus in 1985 that destroyed the part of his brain that retains memories. He retains between seven and thirty seconds of memory at any one time, which gives him the sensation of constantly re-awakening, confused and unsure of where he is or what has happened to him. To make the story even more fascinating, prior to his illness, Wearing was a famous London composer and musicologist at the height of his career.

Forever Today is Clive’s story, but it is also Deborah Wearing’s story – Clive’s second (and third) wife, several years his junior. Most remarkable is their pure, true love that transcends space, time and consciousness. Deborah nurses Clive for many years before finally divorcing him in an attempt to lead her own life in New York. She realises her heart will always belong to Clive and remarries him. They remain married today. Continue reading

Last Day to Enter: Win a copy of ‘The Free’ (my best book of 2014)

'The Free', by Willy Vlautin, Faber and Faber, London, 2014

‘The Free’, by Willy Vlautin, Faber and Faber, London, 2014

Tell me what book author Willy Vlautin told me I should read in my post Beer and Books with Willy Vlautin and The Delines (clue: it won the 1984 Pulitzer) and you go in the draw to win a copy of Vlautin’s latest book, The Free. I’ve read it. It’s amazing. Entries close Friday 15th November, 2014. Winners notified by email.

A big thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia for supplying the prize.



Book Review: ‘The Confabulist’ by Steven Galloway

It seems I’m attracted to books about memory – or lack of it. I’m currently reading the memoir of the wife of a man who has a seven second memory loop (think about that – dreadful); I saw Michael Corballis talk about memory and his new book The Wandering Mind at the Waiheke Book Festival earlier this month:

And earlier this year I reviewed Su Meck’s biography I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia:

Now I can add Steven Galloway’s The Confabulist to my list.

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Modelling Lorde’s Coat and Other K’ Rd Kismet

Lorde wearing the Eugenie Coat in Rolling Stone. Image courtesy of Rolling Stone magazine

Lorde wearing the Eugénie coat in Rolling Stone. Image courtesy of Rolling Stone magazine

My modelling career is long over, but last night when my good friend Sonia Gray called me out of the crowd to model the stunning coat Lorde wore for Rolling Stone magazine, to raise money for young women’s mental health, I took a deep breath and said “of course!”

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Book Review: ‘Forbidden Cities’ by Paula Morris


Three books in and I’m not finished my Morris-a-thon yet. I get a bit like that. At aged 7 it was Garfield. Aged 17 it was Plath. Aged 21, the Beat Generation. Aged 28, The Rolling Stones. And at 32 it was the Lost Generation and Paris in the 20s. I love reading or listening to everything I can by, and about, one author or one band. I love being able to recreate lives and times through a particular artist’s work and to feel the borders of my personal world bend and stretch outwards with new understanding. Paula Morris isn’t quite an ‘obsession’ to the level that F. Scott Fitzgerald is, but her voice has driven me to read three of her works and leaves me with a desire for more.  Continue reading