Friends

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I attended the Vertical Aerial Dance Studio’s performance of Grease last night.  That was truly 3-dimensional as it involved athletic young women, and one brave young man, shinnying up and down poles and putting on poses to music.

The guest from the juggling club and the belly dancer who performed in the intermissions were also enjoyable parts of the night’s entertainment.  I would like to know if I could learn how to tumble my fedora down my arms like the juggler could do with his trilby.  I think it would be too old and floppy now as I’ve had it for several years.  He recovered from his mistakes by smiling at the audience, shrugging, and continuing with his performance.  That takes confidence.  Perhaps some of them were deliberate, allowing him to flip his batons from the floor with his feet.

Watching the belly dancer reminded me of the performances of the Khamzin Tribe that I attended with my late friend Grace Gardner.  I’m starting to notice the different moves that a dancer can perform.  It takes time.

Our erstwhile volunteer from the Archives was not performing last night.  She was about the studio working as the stage manager.  She tells me she will be performing for the next concert Superheroes.

I need to remember not to hurry to be early in attendance.  Their organization for time is pretty relaxed.

Made sure to be at the Farmers Market today as the Blue Oyster Art Space Project was the sponsored charity at the market this week and they were selling carry bags, a good chance to add to my collection with a uniquely decorated bag.  I came away with one labelled Berry Hadron Collision by Kristina Marotzke.  There were ten printed of each of six designs and I have number nine of that design.  I guess they had keen support from their supporters.  Apparently the ice cream in that flavour will be available next year.

Friend-Link were “at home” at Donald Beasley Hall to celebrate 20 years of their organisation  and I made sure to visit them at lunch-time while my friend Graeme Russell was there.  I spoke to him and he is looking well.  I stayed half an hour before leaving to get home and do some washing.  I may have missed out on the better weather of the day which was in the morning.

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Saying Good-bye to Grace

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I have been waiting for the news to be announced before writing this entry.  It was confirmed by police that one of my long-time friendships has come to an end in this life.  The body found in Karitane was identified as my friend Grace Gardner.  The police contacted me last Monday to see if I knew anything of her whereabouts.  We had not spoken directly for some months.  I travelled with her regularly to support her at Khamzin Tribe’s haflas.  Then, as far as I can tell, she pulled out of that to start a new relationship.  We passed occasionally on the street, going in opposite directions to our workplaces.  There was never time to stop and talk.

As the week progressed a body was found at Karitane.  I heard through other sources that she was dead.  The final announcement was by the police on Saturday in the local paper.  Her death is unusual and the police are awaiting further tests.  I expect to hear that there will be a memorial service for her.  So ends her life.  I had hoped to meet up with her again.  This is not to be.

I first met Grace at a bible study camp years ago.  She was a convert to Christianity in a country town.  We met years later when we both joined the Otago Mediaeval Society.  By that stage we had both moved into new places in our lives.  I was becoming more broad church; she had left Christianity behind.  I don’t think she could reconcile it with her life and education.  While at university she was introduced into neo-paganism and Islam.  While I did not press on her spiritual life I think maintained a tolerant magical practice to the end.

She worked at the Anatomy Department.  Her life was adventurous.  She married briefly, and after they separated amicably she had partners.  When she could she was consciously created places of sanctuary.  While I’m not a social extrovert I remember attending gothic parties in a big flat on Queen Street with some fondness that she organized.  She was a coeliac and everyday was a blessing for her.

Then she left her belly dancing group and began a new relationship which took her out to winter in Karitane.  I was tolerant of these changes as I knew we would catch up with each other again.  Her life was her own affair.  Indeed her name wasn’t the first one I meet her by.  She valued her privacy.

This makes her death all the more startling.  It turns out we will not catch up with each other again.  I do not understand what happened.  She left a note and disappeared from a relationship.  It sounded too similar to a suicide of another friend of the Archives that took place earlier this year.  Grace was extremely sensitive to the cold.  I accused her once of being an exotherm and she did not deny it.  To disappear without taking anything with her was irregular.  This is not yet a closed case.  I will await further news, and also hope to join with others to honour her memory.

She followed this blog.  There is a good chance that this entry will still arrive in her inbox.  Sadly she will not reply.  Whatever aspect awaits to receive her across the other lands I hope will receive her with kindness.

Dear Diary

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Last entry for the month, where was the Hobbit spotted in the end of October.

  • Third Wednesday of the Month is Parish Council night.  I talked in preparation for our Rugby World Cup Final night; and the Parish Self-Review, we will look at the questions when they come out, the self-review looks like too much organisation for a small parish like ours
  • Last Wednesday went and heard the Venerable Doctor Maitree Moorthi of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community in Dunedin speak on the topic How to control an agitated mind and body during exam times.
  • Last Thursday the Assisi Day of Prayer was celebrated at Holy Name Church with prayers being led by representatives of the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities.
  • Sadly missed out on the Hallowe’en Hafla at the Kasbah, I decided to stay in as I had my mother visiting me.  Otherwise I would have provided a report.  Apologies to my Khamzin tribal friends.  Perhaps next time.

Concert for Japan

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The last of the Berlin Philharmonic concerts at the Rialto was their Concert for Japan.  The first piece was a Japanese percussive piece called Flows from me what you call time.  At one point one of the musicians was playing a hand drum.  My hands were trying to twitch in time with his playing.  I get to play with The Unfortunate Repercussions every couple of months at the end of the Khamzin Tribe hafla.  I’m looking forward to the All Hallows Hafla at the end of this month.

Their second piece was Dmitri Shostakovitch’s Fifth Symphony, a piece to which I was quite happy to be introduced.  That ends the series of four concerts from the Berlin Philharmonic.  The first opera of the new Metropolitan Opera season, Anna Bolena, does not begin until November, a birthday present to myself.  In the meantime there are two movies that tempt me: The Orator (O Le Tulafale) and Habeamus Papam.  Might have to juggle my calendar to see if I can get to the second one.

Weekend Report

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This weekend a lot happened.  I got distracted in waiting for it.

First there was a dessert evening for Opoho Church members for the book launch More Than You Know.  It is the posthumously published autobiography of Rev. Pr Albert Moore.  The family had it published after the death of Albert and Alexa Moore.  Alexa lived long enough to chose the photos for it.  I’m glad to have a copy.

I had to leave early as my mother arrived on the bus from Invercargill to stay for the weekend to go see Die Walkürie at the Rialto.  We took a taxi to my room at Manono House.  I left my gloves in the taxi, which was a nuisance.  I will have to look for a new pair.

I enjoyed Die Walkürie more than Das Rheingold.  There are times when I wish that Wagner had paced his operas faster.  He can be long and tedious.  One of the things for which Wagner is forgotten is that he can write fantastically good romance scenes.  He can pull of having two people falling in love for the first time while they are sitting side by side.  It’s wonderful to watch.

And the gods.  Bryn Terfel and Rene Fleming as Wotan and Brünhilde.  The tragedy of being immortal among mortals.  The stage machine becoming a giant winged beast as Brünhilde flees from her daddy.  Wonderful!  I would pay to watch this stuff.

I look forward to the completion of this series by the Metropolitan Opera in High Definition in the new season.  In the meantime Rialto are playing some concerts from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.  Bring it on!

In the evening Khamzin Tribe put on a Hafla to celebrate midwinter.  I got a ride out and it was an enjoyable evening.  It was a bit rushed.  They are still producing some excellent dance pieces.

I had arranged for a ride to church  on Sunday as I was on door duty and it is too far for my mother to walk.  She is approaching eighty and does not take well to Dunedin’s hills after living in the level rolling landscape of Invercargill.  It was just as well as it was a frosty morning on London Street.  Only the second that I have seen in central Dunedin this season.

In the afternoon we travelled across to St Joseph’s Chapel where the Southern Consort of Voices were putting on a concert.  It was well attended and rounded off a busy weekend that I feared I would not pull together.  Phew!

Dance Otakou Otago presents Heritage Festival of Dance To Coincide with International Dance Day

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Last weekend I went down to the town hall to watch the Khamzin tribe dancing for International Dance Day. They were on after three. The event started at one. I arrived about twenty minutes after one. I thought I would enjoy watching an afternoon of dance, even though it was one of the last fine weekends before the cold of the year sets in after solstice.

Here’s some thoughts:

First up when I arrived was Hips Infinity. They did two pieces: Ice Queen was a set piece, Deja Vu a new piece.

Next item of mention was the line dancers. I think line dancing is stepping into the position that marching girls occupied in local culture in the twentieth century. It’s a sort of a low impact exercise for older cowgirls.

The primary school kids in penguin suits were so cute. They didn’t choose to do Jive Talking sadly.

The old people’s folk dancing group is called Folk Dancing for Fun. What are the alternatives? I’m quite comfortable with the concept of folk dancing as a form of hand-to-hand combat. The idea that there might possibly be a ‘Folk Dancing for Cruelty’ group out there disturbs me a little.

I don’t think that anyone has told the Rasa Dance Company that they should pace their pieces better. They do quick sudden moves. It would be more exciting if they started slow and then built up the momentum. Both their pieces started fast and didn’t slow down.

The Irish dancers proved that they could dance to any music they were given. What they haven’t proved to me is whether they can innovate and renew their dance form. It feels like they are repeating themselves.

In contrast ballet is diversifying creating a modern form and still maintaining its classical traditions and roots. Maybe that’s because I’m comfortable with watching ballet performances.

Then the Khamzin tribe came on. I have a friend among their members and have been to several of their performances. Their introduction was confused and diffident and I think people were surprised by their dance, costume and poise. I enjoyed watching them again.

I sat up and watched the performance dancers and the rock’n’roll people. They have amazing footwork. The rock’n’roll people are managing to keep themselves young.

Notable omission: no kapa haka.

A great afternoon out for five shillings.