Concert Review: Counting Crows, Civic Theatre, Auckland, 14 April 2015

“Do they sell drinks here? They do? Have a drink. Relax. I’ll take care of the rest of this shit up here.”

If there was a movie of my life, I’d ask the Counting Crows to write the soundtrack. I know every lyric, and most of the chords. They’ve joined me sitting on front steps the world over. Goodnight Elizabeth, Round Here and Long December got me – and a bunch of other homesick, lovesick Kiwis – through London late 90s nights and on to good lives. I played Hard Candy so much my car CD player broke. When This Desert Life turned up in a drawer in Spain, it felt like a sign. Now my kids know the words too.


Image copyright: Caroline Barron, 2015

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Concert Review: Ed Sheeran, Vector Arena, Auckland: Saturday 11 April, 2015

“I’m perfectly up for losing my voice tonight, Auckland! Are you with me?”

Image copyright Caroline Barron, 2015

Image copyright Caroline Barron, 2015

I first saw Ed Sheeran three years ago on telly, singing A-Team at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert, a self-conscious 21-year-old with that unruly red hair. This is his fifth time in New Zealand since 2012, and the man on stage tonight – this unlikely hero – looks just like that guy from three year ago, but superhero powers gleaned from the brimming hearts of his millions of fans; twelve thousand of which sing every single word tonight. At times it is eerie, voices echoing from in front, behind – all sides – as if in a dimly lit cave, the intimacy belying the enormity of the venue. We could have been next door at the Tuning Fork.   

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Book Review: Lucky Us by Amy Bloom (2014)

It seemed to me that if you had to have a mother who’d dropped you off like a bag of dirty laundry and a father who was not above stealing from you (or your sister), you were pretty lucky to have that same sister take you to Hollywood and wash your underpants with hers and share her sandwiches with you (28).

Amy Bloom is coming to town, for the Auckland Writers Festival and will be in the audience, dangling off every delicious, erudite word. I first discovered Bloom in a fiction class – Silver Water remains one of my favorite short stories ever. I had high hopes for Lucky Us; and – Lucky Me – hope soared and found its mark in a carriage house in Ohio crowded with achingly flawed and real characters.

Amy Bloom reading book

C’est moi, sneaking in a bit of reading over Easter. Image copyright to Caroline Barron

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Short Story: ‘A Father’s Return’ by Caroline L. Barron

Finding her pet rabbit Liza murdered in the barn was the second worse thing that had ever happened to 14-year-old Harriet. When she saw the hutch lying on its side in the barn like a dead animal, she panicked. She wanted to run and search every corner, but it was like that dream where you’re at the starting blocks, the gun goes off and your legs won’t move. Eventually, a dark trail of blood lead her to the hole in the wall her father used to say said he’d fix. There was poor Liza, half way out – her head strung to her ruby throat by a mere thread. Harriet felt like she was in a scene from Evil Dead.

So now, the first worse thing that had ever happened to Harriet and her rabbit’s death were forever linked. He’d given Liza to her when he’d abandoned them. Now, Liza was dead. The whole thing felt shocking and achy like chewing tinfoil. But still, the first thing she did – after gathering up Liza into the bread bag her mum handed her, and placing her in the chest freezer next to the frozen peas and vanilla ice-cream – was phone her father. Continue reading