Open Letter to Kate Bolduan

kate 1
210 days, 6 hours, 7 minutes and 46 seconds
Kate, that’s how long you have been warming my heart, eyes, ears and mind!


  1. lively, bold, and full of spirit; cheeky.

I genuinely believe Merriam Webster, Collins and Oxford all got together one day and defined ‘Sassy’ specifically for you.

Seriously though, please do not get me wrong, this is not a smitten fan mail letter, I am not declaring my undying love for you (even though I am sure an overweight 53 year old married man is exactly  what you are looking for – despite both of us being happily married).

I love your work. The emperor is wearing no clothes and you are brilliant at pointing this out. But the emperor is not going anywhere, not in the immediate future anyway. I know you did not set out to facilitate and accelerate a regime change.  I know your job is not to effect change. However, while the President is free at large to lollop about in the nude; why not change the note from a shrill high E,

omg look at that naked buffoon!’

To a more resonate and deeper Low D Flat?

Why not change the tone from outrage and shock, to one of empowerment, in the hope this may embolden reasonable people, people who may offer an alternative on how reasonable people would act? It’s not your job to enable or manufacture an opposition, however, offering an alternative may be more constructive than constant displays of bewilderment and aghast (although absolutely justified).

I question whether the next 210 days will be more of the same? We know it will be from the Emperor. The season’s will change, the Emperor blow from hot to cold and then back again, but until he is impeached, he will still ramble, stomp and trample naked among the tulips of democracy and righteousness.

But I know from my sporting days, is that if you had a bum referee, you took him him out of the game. You concentrated not on what he was doing – but what you could do. you became positive and he became an irrelevance. For someone who loves the spotlight, for someone who loves media and fake news – being an irrelevance would be a death of a 1000 cuts. Me thinks anyway.

Anyway Kate, keep up the good work. Keep being sassy and fighting the good fight. But as I say, maybe time to pick up a new tool! After all, the voice of one should never be underestimated and it often grows exponentially into something very special.

Note: I have shared the musical clips in this post from Christopher Bill’s you tube channel. Chris is a talented young musician from Binghampton in the United States; he has been an inspiration to me as I undertake my own trombone journey – I have included these clips not as a political statement, nor a reflection of Chris’s views, but simply because of his talent and the joy his music brings to me. I thoroughly recommend you check him out.

Kia Ora




When men were men

In New Zealand, before 1970 men were men and women were grateful.

Pakeha New Zealand was barely 100 years old,  the blood of the pioneers persisting, pumping thick and strong. The land was still being tamed;  work needed sinew and muscle not fingers and pens. Apron strings were still heavily tied to the Mother Land but ultimately swiftly cast aside upon Mothers entrance into the Common Market.

It was a mans world.

Rugby, racing and beer. Sweat and toil. Men hunted, they provided, and so did women, either in the kitchen or in the bedroom.

New Zealand was and still is a land of contradictions. She was the first country in the world to give women the vote, but the first also to throw them the dish cloth and tea towel.  There was genuine affection toward Maori, but this manifested itself in condescension. New Zealanders were generous, yet unthinkingly stole land they had no right to steal. At will they bastardized and and mis-pronounced the beautiful local tongue.

Within all this hubbub though, a national identity slowly started to emerge. A strong independent stand alone culture. A rugged, ‘sort it out, she’ll be right’ attitude toward life.

Peter Cape was a  first generation Kiwi born to an English family and was the most unlikely minstrel of our early cultural emergence. Although through his music and cleverly crafted lyric he captured the essence of what it was like to be a kiwi man.

But what about the women you ask?

Well no need to worry about them, the sheila’s will be in the kitchen cutting the supper.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Peter Cape’s folk music. I believe his life’s work  is seriously underrated; while musically simple, lyrically it’s clever, and historically accurate – painfully so. His body of work is of significant importance to NZ – so on that count give me Peter Cape over Lorde any day.

It’s nostalgic to  look back. But to appreciate it best you need to look back in with corrective lens of context not romance.

As for the man himself, Peter Cape was the perfect kiwi man. A complete and utter contradiction. Unusually for a singer he had a speech impediment which you can quite clearly hear in his vocals. He was Kiwi born to an English family. A man new to NZ but one who captured the essence of being a kiwi man perfectly. He was an ordained Anglican Priest, yet thought nothing of leaving his wife and children to follow the arts and crafts movement evolving in Nelson.

So what do I think of Peter Cape?

As a Musician I believe he was a talented man and I enjoy his music.

As  a recorder of history – he was absolutely brilliant with perfect insight into the psyche of the Kiwi Male.

As a bloke, well I think  he was probably a bit of a bastard.

But then again I think most men were back then.

It was all part of being a kiwi.

Kia Ora

PS: When I hear Peter’s music – I hear the song of my father’s life.


The Mod Father

I was saddened this week to learn of the death of NZ’s Mod Father; Ray Colombus.

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Ray and his band, the Invaders were the first NZ act to have an international number one hit with the song;

‘She’s a Mod.’

I was lucky enough to meet Ray once.  At the time I was part of the North East Christchurch Road Rats (NECRR). At that time he was the  host and the big star of very popular Variety Show called That’s Country.

Ray actually approached us after hearing our scooters being parked outside a local cafe. Seeing we were ‘Mods’he strode across to our group and introduced himself (he needed no introduction of course).  We were aghast, Ray was the real deal, the original!

Ray appeared genuinely interested in the second Mod Revival when he could have easily treated us as poseurs. I have subsequently learnt since his death, Ray was a great supporter of youth and mentored many young Christchurch (and NZ) acts onto bigger and better things.

Ray, to me, it was 3 minutes in person not vinyl that you proved what a outstanding guy you were. Ray you will never be forgotten, becuase how could anyone forget a song like this:

Ray was the real deal. Of course everyone only ever remembers ‘Until we kissed’ and ‘She’s a Mod’ but if you have the time please check out his back catalogue. Songs like ‘Yo Yo’ and ‘Kick Me’ are forgotten classics.

Ray’s death has stirred up memories of my time as a mod. So I have decided to reprise a post I made to this blog last year.

Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane

Kia Ora Roly

When the feeling is gone

For me; when the feeling is gone I will no longer be breathing. For there isn’t a day on earth that I can’t imagine not being in love with Betty-Anne Monga.

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I was in my late teens when Betty-Anne and Ardijah burst onto the NZ music scene.

‘Who is that ‘Atua Wahine?’ I asked myself after seeing her for the first time on Ready to Roll. Not only was she stunning, she sounded like an angel – a siren singing straight to my heart. I would have gladly drowned enveloped in her supple brown arms, be tangled and strangled within her long dark hair. God, her beauty hit me right between the eyes and the ears, and to be honest I’ve never fully recovered.

Image result for betty anne ardijahImage result for betty anne ardijah

Of course Ardijah didn’t really just hit the scenes. They had been working the pub scene in Auckland for many years – but for all of those early years they were a covers band. Not a bad thing to be, because they honed their skills, they learnt their craft. So when the big time came they were ready. By god they were ready. It was only after a wag called out during one of their gigs, ‘play something original’  did they feel empowered, did they feel brave enough to unleash their brand of music upon Aotearoa, and I’m so glad they did. Time makes a wine indeed.

Now, I’m no great fan of RnB. But when it is fused with a Polynesian back beat, reggae, funk and ska roots I’m a convert. To me Ardijah is a seminal band for NZ in the way they achieved the finest quality and subtle blend of these elements.  They coined the term Polyfonk – it stuck and it is now the name of their recording label.

Ask any Kiwi worth their salt who were their musicians of the eighties, the answers will invariably be:

Split Enz, The Exponents, Dave Dobbyn (and bands), Herbs, Dragon, Mi-Sex, the chills and Hello Sailor, The Clean and more. But where’s Ardijah? Where the hell is Ardijah?

To me they were the sound of the eighties and the nineties. Hot summer days at the beach, picnics, long drives with the window down, arm out the window and my ardijah cassettes on auto rewind. Balmy nights spent wondering where Betty-Anne was playing and wishing I could be there too. Wishing I could drown…yes, yes, heard it already Roly.

Time has flown by, I am now a 50 something overweight pakeha male, but Betty-Anne is still an Atua Wahine. She is still my imaginery 80’s girlfriend.

Ardijah still gig and make music; now they are master craftsmen who have dug even deeper into their polynesian roots. They have immersed themselves into music of the land, of the islands, of the people and themselves. They are also doing covers again, and their version of Prince Tui Teka’s E-Ipo is a beautifully sculptured piece of immense gravitias and mana – easily equal to Herb’s ‘Sensitive to a smile,’ to which it gives a well deserved nod. Bravo!

So Betty-Anne for me the feeling will never be gone. We have never met (damn-it)  but I look back at the eighties and am very grateful that you played such a major part of those years. It was a journey I loved sharing with you. And as you sang so many years ago – time does indeed makes a very fine wine.

Here’s to many more glasses on our journey’s.

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Kia Ora Roly

Bed Legs

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Quite a few years ago Keane recorded the song ‘Bed Shaped.’

According to the composer  Tim Rice-Oxley  the song is about feeling that you’ve been “left behind” by an old friend or lover, and about hoping that you’ll be reunited one day so that you can live out the end of your lives together the way you started them (…) a hope that they’ll eventually want to get away from the bright lights and come back home. it’s a sad and angry song, but also full of hope.

He said, ‘I think I’m right in saying that in hospital when someone is ill and has to spend a lot of time in bed they can become ‘bedshaped’. It sounds a bit depressing (…) but in the context of the song I wanted to suggest old age and frailty.’ (thanks Wiki)

Personally, I love the concept of being Bed-Shaped. Coffin shaped could also easily applied to those prone to lying down a lot. Of course, there’s bed heads, but has anyone ever considered being bed legged?

I have, purely because I am bed legged – I do have them! My 10 year old daughter has longer legs than me! She’s Maddie Long Legs and I’m Daddy Bed legs. Attach some castors to the ends of my limbs, cover me with a duvet and voila – a perfectly acceptable billet. Add two perfectly nobbled knees and you have an article and artifact of style and fashion.

Image result for knobbly knees

Having bed legs is not all that bad. Up until I stopped playing rugby about ten years ago, I had calves, quads and gluts to die for – even if I say so myself. My wife reckoned it was my calves that attracted her to me in the first place (something for everyone I guess).

Ben Pakulski and Friends Show off Impressive Calf Development

Nb: None of these guys are me. 

Unfortunately over developed calves often lead themselves to injury and in the the last few years of playing rugby, calf injuries were common, once even completely blowing a calf during a game with the associated ‘pop’ (more like a gun shot) being heard from 30 metres away. A wobbly bed indeed.

As I’ve aged my shapely bed legs have become more stump like, no longer am I styled like a chaise lounge, no, alas, I am now like a divan, perfectly functional, but a fashion free zone. Still having a long torso does mean I carry my weight well and look deceptively less weighty.

Buying clothes off rack is problematic. Not once have I ever been able to purchase pants that don’t require taking up. Never, have I been able to wear long shorts as they automatically become short longs.Wearing dress shorts and socks result in a 1 inch window of knee exposure. A sliver of skin contained within a frame of cotton and polyester.

On formal occasions I have been known to adorn a kilt and this is where having bed legs really come into their own. Stumpy short legs suddenly becoming sturdy supports for a tartan full of opportunity.


As I grow older, as my skin loosens and muscles fade, one things for sure, and that is that, like it or lump it,I will always have bed legs. At 52, you would have thought i would have gotten over it.

“It is very queer, but not the less true, that people are generally quite as vain, or even more so, of their deficiencies than of their available gifts.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

Kia Ora Roly

Old Time Rock and Roll

Earthquake Alley

They say Oklahoma in the USA is Earthquake Alley – and supposedly it’s a result of fracking!

Well tell me, who the hell is fracking around with our Terra Firma?

Last night we received an unwelcome reminder about why Kate, Maddie and I left Christchurch in August 2011. Evidently New Zealand’s South Island shifted two metres last night. So the earth certainly moved for us in the Shaky Isles – what about you?

Words fail me today – so thank you Bob Seger who of course wrote the original music and crafted far better lyrics in his song Old Time Rock and Roll. Sing along, or dance if you want (that’s if you can stand).


Just watch those records fly off the shelf
I’ll wait till morning and pick’em up myself
Tonight the ground ain’t got the same soul
Don’t miss that old time rock ‘n’ roll

Don’t try to take me back to Christchurch
Can’t dance there, just hangon an’ lurch
After ten minutes just standing is the goal
Don’t miss that old time rock ‘n’ roll


Don’t like that old time rock ‘n’ roll
That kind of shaking just kills the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
Before that old time rock ‘n’ roll

Liquidation’s sticky as a mango
Three years of cleanups taking their toll

There’s only one sure way to get me to stay
Stop playing that old time rock ‘n’ roll


Call me a relic, call me what you will
Say I’m old-fashioned, say I’ve gone over the hill
Today’s land ain’t got the same soul
I hate that old time rock ‘n’ roll

Still hate that old time rock ‘n’ roll
That kind of shaking that kills the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
Before that old time rock ‘n’ roll


Kia Kaha Kaikoura, Seddon, the Hurunui, Blenheim, Wellington, Christchurch and of course Nelson and everyone living in the top of the South  Island and bottom of the North.

Please also be wary and heed the following from Geo Net NZ:


There are very different probabilities for each scenario; some of these are more concerning than others. We recognise that while these scenarios may increase anxiety the best thing is to be prepared. Remember: If you feel a long or strong earthquake and you are on the coast, evacuate immediately.

We’ve developed three scenarios based on what we know so far but be aware that our understanding is evolving as we do more analysis and receive more data. 

Scenario One: Very likely (80% and greater)
A normal aftershock sequence that is spread over the next few months. Felt aftershocks (e.g. M>5) would occur from the M7.5 epicentre near Culverden, right up along the Kaikoura coastline to Cape Campbell over the next few weeks and months. This is the most likely scenario.

Scenario Two: Likely (60% and greater)
In the next month, it would be likely that rupture of earthquakes of about an M6 in the North Canterbury and Marlborough regions will occur, as well as potentially offshore in Southern Cook Strait and offshore Kaikoura.

Scenario Three: Unlikely (less than 40%)
The least likely scenario is that in the next month, (it is unlikely but still possible) there would be rupture of longer known faults (with earthquakes of about M7), in the Marlborough and Cook Strait regions.  

Within this sequence, aftershocks will most likely occur anywhere in the box on the map (see image). It is this geographical region for which the modelling is done. It is important to understand that earthquakes can and do happen outside this box but the box represents the most likely area related to this sequence.

Aftershock Probabilities for the area outlined in the box shown on the map below:
  M5.0-5.9 M6.0-6.9 M ≥7.0
Range Probability of
one or more
Range Probability of
one or more
Range Probability of
one or more
Within 1 day 13 7 – 21 >99% 1.2 0 – 4 71% 0.12 0 – 1 12%
Within 7 days 28 18 – 39 >99% 2.7 0 – 6 93% 0.27 0 – 2 24%
Within 30 days 40 28 – 53 >99% 3.7 1 – 8 98% 0.32 0 – 2 32%

Forecast from 8am, Monday 14th November. These probabilities are for the area within the box outlined on the map below (coordinates -40.7, 171.7; -43.5, 171.7; -43.5, 175.5; -40.7, 175.5).