Concert Review: Urban Soul Orchestra and the Eagles

“The best things always happen at the arse end of the night,” someone said. It may have been me. Whoever’s champagne-fuelled comment that was, it proved to be true as Stephen – incredible Stephen – lifted his violin out of its case, as if a baby from a cradle, and said those magic words: “What would you like to hear?”

Something special happens in that wrinkle-in-time place between where the party officially ends and the story continues, an ‘afterward’ of sorts. And that was where we, the remaining handful of guests at The Best Party of the Year, found ourselves on Friday night, huddled around the fire, listening to Stephen Hussey, violinist and arranger of London’s Urban Soul Orchestra play, unplugged. To orientate this on the fabulous and special scale, USO has worked with Mick Jagger, Robin Thicke, Maxi Priest, Leona Lewis, Madonna, Kylie, Grace Jones, Oasis and The Script amongst others. Continue reading

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Guest Post: ‘Jazz, Research and Aftershocks’ by Aleisha Ward

Aleisha Ward playing flute for students at her Laneway Learning class, 2015.

Aleisha Ward playing flute for students at her Laneway Learning class, 2015.

This week I got to meet—in real life!—two friends made through blogging and novel research: Dr. Aleisha Ward and Jonathan Burgess, both who have been incredible sources of information about U.S. and New Zealand bands during World War Two (remember, Evelyn’s U.S. boyfriend is a trumpeter in the 43rd Division). You’ll get to meet Jonathan another time (that’s an invite to write a guest post, Jonathan). But today I have the pleasure of introducing you to lovewordsmusic’s first-ever guest blogger, Aleisha Ward, who tells us about her fascinating research journey against a background of the 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes.

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My New Column in North & South Magazine: Out Now

Caroline L. Barron new columnist for North & South Magazine

Caroline L. Barron new columnist for North & South Magazine

I am delighted to announce that yours truly is the new columnist for North & South magazine! For my overseas readers, North & South is ‘New Zealand’s best-read monthly current affairs and lifestyle magazine’ (Bauer Media website) and they’ve won more than 200 journalism awards to prove it. In addition to being a fantastic read, there are three inspiring women (and great writers) at the helm—Virginia  Larson, Joanna Wane and Donna Chisholm.

My column is called ‘The Heart of the Matter’ and each month I interview a high-profile New Zealander, opening with a short bio and explanation of why this person at this time. The series’ point of difference is that I reveal the private person behind the public gaze, through a set of humanising questions that remain the same or similar each issue.

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Book Review: ‘Black Rock White City’ by A. S. Patric: Five Stars, Baby!

I’m off to Melbourne to catch up with My-Friend-Jarrod next month and what better way to ready myself than to indulge in new Melbourne fiction. And my goodness. What fiction this is. Five, oh five, oh five glorious and shining stars, Mr. Poetic-Patric.

He can’t speak to any of it because it isn’t about words anymore. It’s about another existence. Neither of them is sure about the present but this is some kind of afterlife (17).

A spot of reading. (Image copyright C. Barron lovewordsmusic.com 2015)

A spot of reading. Unposed, of course.
(Image copyright C. Barron lovewordsmusic.com 2015)

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Bravo to the Winner of our ‘Kiwi Writer in Paris’ Giveaway!

What fun we had this evening here in (freezing cold) Auckland, New Zealand, staging a little French soiree to select the winner of a signed copy of Triumph: Collected Stories by Lizzie Harwood, as promoted here in A Kiwi Writer in Paris.

I reach into the golden bowl… (Image copyright C. Barron 2015)

I reach into the golden bowl…
(Image copyright C. Barron 2015)

…and our winner is…

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Kiwi Writer in Paris: Be in to Win a Signed Copy of Lizzie Harwood’s Latest Book

This week I interview talented New Zealand writer living in Paris, Lizzie Harwood, about life before and after writing, and our mutual obsession with Paris. From pink Mini Coopers to a school for creative inspiration—Lizzie isn’t afraid to dream big. We love that at lovewordsmusic.com. 

You too can be part of the dream—leave a comment before Friday 20 June (5pm) and Lizzie will send one of you lucky things a signed copy of her book about feisty and fabulous women: Triumph: Collected Stories. Lizzie’s stories are read-past-midnight fantastic. 

Lizzie Harwood. Photo credit: sarahgardan.com

Lizzie Harwood. Photo credit: sarahgardan.com

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Arriving at the Mid-Point (and Other Tales from a Master in Creative Writing Class)

Hurrah! A profile page on the University of Auckland website (thanks Jonathan Burgess):

http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/our-students-and-graduates/postgraduate-students-3/caroline-barron.html

I am now half-way through my Master in Creative Writing at the University of Auckland. The goal: finish the novel by mid-November. 85,000 words. I’m 30,000 in and it feels like I’m just hitting my stride; after a year or more of research and thinking about Evelyn and Morgan, my two protagonists, I know exactly who they are and can hear their thoughts in my mind as I write. It’s like everything before has been pressure on the ocean, and now the wave is finally visible from the shore. The sand under my feet feels good and during the five weeks between semesters, I’m grabbing my surfboard, baby.

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Auckland Writers Festival: Lloyd Davis, Greg O’Brien and Helen Macdonald

It’s 4pm and I’ve begun to feel the insistent pressure of the festival’s hand on my arm, asking me if I’m ready for the next event; if I’ve thanked the right people in introductions; written up posts for the blog. It’s not a harrowing or unbearable pressure, but it is firm, rather like, I imagine, Helen MacDonald’s hawk, Mabel, landing on a leather-clad wrist.

Today’s events have been strangely, inevitably linked. And that link is nature. Penguins, whales and hawks. As if the air’s molecules are bristling with an importance aching to be decoded.

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Auckland Writers Festival: Stephanie Alexander and the Everyday Delight of Food

Stephanie Alexander is desperate for our children to fall madly, deeply, truly in love—with food. And with over ten per cent of Australian primary schools participating in the Kitchen Garden Foundation program (also inspiring the New Zealand version, Garden to Table) she has, shall we say, made a big dent in the Australasian food-love soufflé.

Stephanie Alexander (Simon Griffiths) 2006

Stephanie Alexander (Simon Griffiths) 2006

Here’s how to foster a child’s life-long love of food, Stephanie Alexander style:

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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.

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Image copyright: Caroline Barron, 2015

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