Hello again Pork Pie

July 1, 2014

The 1981 movie Goodbye Pork Pie  made a comeback today with MINI New Zealand releasing its remake of the films iconic Lake Hawea chase scene.

The scene, which features a number of ‘new originals’ including a new Director, new cast and the all new MINI Hatch in place of the original 1978 model, has been created to celebrate the launch of the new model released to the New Zealand market in April.

MINI Marketing Manager Simonne Mearns says the remade scene is the perfect ‘launch vehicle’ for the new MINI Hatch.

“The latest MINI is full of a number of new features – enough to warrant us making a big scene about it. Which is exactly what we did.”

“Goodbye Pork Pie was the perfect fit for MINI. There is definitely a little ‘Blondini’ inherent in the brand; we like to test the boundaries and push the limits, and a cheeky attitude is part of MINI’s ethos.”

“In addition, like the Blondini Gang, we are always up for the challenge – which in this case was remaking one of the tougher, but more iconic scenes from what is one of New Zealand’s most-loved movies. We are stoked with the result and hope Kiwis will enjoy it,” she says.

This is a feeling that shared by remake director Matt Murphy who thinks “that most New Zealanders will be intrigued by the remade scene. The image of the new volcanic orange MINI being chased by a replica police car somehow translates to the original movie really easily. At the same time, it is also new.”

In responding to what he believes his father might think of the remade scene, Murphy says, “My father knows of the project. You’ll have to ask him what he thinks, but I’d say he’s chuffed that the Pork Pie story still generates a significant following.” . .  .

You can watch the remake and a behind the scenes video here.

You can watch it on YouTube and here’s the original trailer:

My first car was a mini so Goodbye Pork Pie had particular resonance for me.

I can remember the determination to take the car to Invercargill – but does anyone remember why they wanted to go there?

And the Oscar for . . .

March 3, 2014

. . . having seen none of the Oscar winning movies goes to me.

The last film I remember watching was The Angel’s Share which I enjoyed, but I think that was more than a year ago.

12 Years a Slave won Best Picture, Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor for his role in   Dallas Buyers Club and Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for her role in Blue Jasmine.

The full list of winners of the 86th Academy Awards is here.


Dairy farmer scores film win

December 17, 2013

Tweet of the day:

Federated farmers commenting on the news James Cameron is to make three Avatar films in New Zealand.

Monty Python Flying Circus will fly again

November 20, 2013

More than 30 years after its last show, Monty Python is coming back:

The original members of Monty Python will reunite more than 30 years after the comedy troupe last worked together.

John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Michael Palin will officially announce their reformation at a London press conference on Thursday. The five surviving members have reportedly been in months of secret talks about getting the Flying Circus back on the road. . . .

Could it be as good in reprise as it was in retrospect?

Clicking on the link above will take you to a link to the show’s five best sketches.





The surviving members of Monty Python, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Michael Palin have agreed to reunite for a new stage show

Jane Henson 1934 -2013

April 3, 2013

Jane Henson, who with her future husband and fellow puppeteer Jim Henson was instrumental in bringing the Muppets to life in the 1950s on a TV station in Washington, D.C., died Tuesday at her home in Greenwich, Conn., after a long battle with cancer. . .

I came across the theme song before I ever saw The Muppets.

One of my flatmates sang beautifully and one night on the way home we stopped to play the flax behind the Otago University registry building in Leith Street- as you do when it’s been raining and you can make a wonderful sound by sliding your fingers along them.

Not content with just doing that, the musical flatmate started singing the Muppet Song to our accompaniment on the flax.

I’ve just re-read that and will excuse you if you don’t quite get the picture – or the song. I think it was better at the time than in the re-telling.

My next encounter with The Muppets was television replays when our daughter was young. She loved the programme, not just watching it but singing and dancing with the characters.

It was also a useful tool for letting her know how long a journey would be – the trip to Dunedin was one and a half Muppet shows.

I was very sorry to read of  Jane Henson’s death but I hope those who mourn her will be comforted by the lovely legacy she’s left in The Muppets.

Richard Briers 1934 – 2013

February 19, 2013

English actor Richard Briers has died.


Racist character or racist programme?

January 26, 2013

The BBC has censored Fawlty Towers for racism.

But is it the episode which is racist or the character?

The offending lines are at about 5:40.

They could be racist if they encouraged us to laugh with the Major but most of us would laugh at him.

At about 7 minutes the Major also says he hates Germans; throughout the clip there are lots of insults addressed at women and there’s the running gag of  Manual from Barcelona but the censors must have kept their senses of humour when listening to them.

Dead rats or live maggots?

December 3, 2012

Politicians have to metaphorically swallow the odd dead rat, but literally swallowing live maggots would be a mouthful too far for most:

Eating a cricket may not have been too bad, it was the wriggling maggots Prime Minister John Key found hard to stomach.

Key was “briefly” and “incognito” in the audience at television survival star Bear Grylls live show in Auckland last night, along with son Max and wife Bronagh.

“He (Grylls) got me up on stage, and I had to eat a cricket, but the worst came when he gave me a huhu grub with … live maggots that were wriggling down the back of my throat,” Key told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme. . .

Was The Hobbit worth it?

November 28, 2012

The making of The Hobbit hasn’t been without controversy and the naysayers are doing their best to spoil the party to celebrate its opening.

However, it’s hard to argue with these numbers:

<>National has been actively committed to supporting The Hobbit from the beginning.  We protected 3000 jobs for NZers. We're bloody excited for the world premier!

Don’t Panic! RIP Clive Dunn

November 8, 2012

Clive Dunn, OBE, the actor who played Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in Dad’s Army, has died.

He was 92.

Among the lines he was famous for, were Permission to speak, Sir and Don’t Panic!

There’s more at the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society.

Dame Kiri in Oamaru Update – sold out

October 27, 2012

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is to perform in the Oamaru Opera House on Thursday March 27th next year.

Her schedule allows only one concert and tickets reserved for Waitaki District residents sold out on the first day.

Remaining tickets go on sale at 10am today.


We got tickets when they first went on sale for Waitaki residents but out of curiosity I just (at 10:12)  checked if there were any more seats left – they’re sold out.

Geoffrey Hughes – 1944 – 2012

July 29, 2012

British actor Geoffrey Hughes died today.

His career included the role of Eddie Yeats in Coronation Street. More recently he played Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances.

In the latter he often wore a hat with the initials FH which stood for Fulton Hogan. The Dunedin based company gave him the hat when he was In New Zealand for a Telethon.


Farewell possums

July 9, 2012

Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson are retiring:

Prepare to catch the ‘gladdies’ one last time. Age has finally caught up with Dame Edna Everage – and she is retiring.

Barry Humphries, the man behind the glittery glasses, has announced that his character is setting out on her final tour.

And the Australian housewife won’t be alone in her retirement as Humphries’s other alter ego, the obnoxious Sir Les Patterson will be joining her. . .

Steampunk Close up

June 6, 2012

Close up took a look at last weekend’s Steampunk Festival in Oamaru.

The video is here.

Oamru Life has photos of Oamaru on Fire which opened the weekend’s festivities.

I’ve borrowed this one:



Music ages me

June 5, 2012

Looking at the line-up of performers at last night’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert makes me feel my age.

Singers like Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richards and Elton John are no longer the young men I remember from my own youth.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the younger performers – many of whom I’ve never heard of - are young enough to be my children.

Oamaru on Fire

June 3, 2012

Oamaru has been on fire this weekend as the country’s steampunk capital celebrates the 2012 SteampunkNZ Festival.

The 2012 SteampunkNZ Festival weekend will launch on Friday with the winter masquerade from Smith’s Grain Store on Tyne St, at 5.30 pm,

The Oamaru on Fire evening in the Historic Precinct $5 follows at 6.30 pm and if you were in the masquerade you have free entry.

Jason Kerrison is the headline act and he goes on to DJ at Fat Sally’ s on Thames St. after 9.00pm.

On Saturday at 11.00am in the Ink Box at the Oamaru Opera House you will be entertained with Neave R. Willoughby’s Magic Lantern  as he takes you on a journey through the History of Steampunk

The afternoon brings a Dickensian touch as we tip our hat to the Old Gent’s 200th birthday with a series of steampunk literary readings. 3.00 pm again at the Ink Box in the Opera House. This is led by worthy Professor Stansa, a poet himself who was naisant in Oamaru and has been drawn back by the lure of Steampunk.

 To dance the night away come to the Loan and Merc Restaurant on Wansbeck St. Here we have the music extravaganza and dirigible/airship racing Local bands have come together to create huge new sounds to accompany the world’s first (as far as we know) indoor dirigible racing. The inaugural world champ will be feted with whisky from the NZ Whisky Co

The piece de resistance is the Steampunk NZ Fashion Show at the Oamaru Opera House on Sunday 2nd June. tickets available from www.ticketdirect.co.nz and door sales.

Finally to complete your Steampunk filled weekend, put the cherry on the cake there is the Steampunk NZ Gala Ball sponsored by Crombie and Price. This is your chance to eat drink and be merry, show the world your steamy personality, dance the night away and connect with those of a similar mind.

If you’ve missed the celebrations, you can still visit Steampunk HQ – and even if it’s after-hours, you can play with the train outside.

Steampunk is a fantastic marriage combination of art, science and imagination and as the weekend programme shows it is also lots of fun.


Yabba dabba dancing dog

May 19, 2012

Grant Tilly 1937 – 2012

April 11, 2012

Grant Tilly, actor and one of the founders of Circa Theatre has died.

His career is outlined at NZ On Screen.

There’s an interview with him on Screentalk  here and excerpts from Middle Age Spread in which he starred are here.

Should it be Redpeace?

February 20, 2012

A criticism of many green parties and organisations is that they are watermelons with a green shell covering a red heart.

Dr Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, provides support for that contention in his book Confessions of  Greenpeace dropout: the making of a sensible environmentalist.

You could call me a Greenpeace dropout, but that is not an entirely  accurate description of how or why I left the organization 15 years  after I helped create it. I’d like to think Greenpeace left me, rather  than the other way around, but that too is not entirely correct.

The truth is Greenpeace and I underwent divergent evolutions. I  became a sensible environmentalist; Greenpeace became increasingly  senseless as it adopted an agenda that is antiscience, antibusiness, and downright antihuman. . .

While it might be anti-business, Greenpeace is not above exploiting people or using dubious commercial methods to raise money and lure new recruits.

Those people, usually young, who badger you to join up in the street are on commission and only get paid if and when those they sign up don’t pull out within the few day’s grace period in which they’re permitted to do so after joining.

. . . During the early 1980s two things happened that altered my  perspective on the direction in which environmentalism, in general, and  Greenpeace, in particular, were heading. The first was my introduction  to the concept of sustainable development at a global meeting of  environmentalists. The second was the adoption of policies by my fellow  Greenpeacers that I considered extremist and irrational. These two  developments would set the stage for my transformation from a radical  activist into a sensible environmentalist.

In 1982, the United Nations held a conference in Nairobi to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first UN Environment Conference in  Stockholm, which I had also attended. I was one of 85 environmental  leaders from around the world who were invited to craft a statement of our  collective goals for environmental protection. It quickly became  apparent there were two nearly opposite perspectives in the room—the  antidevelopment  perspective of environmentalists from wealthy industrialized countries  and the prodevelopment perspective of environmentalists from the poor  developing countries.

As one developing country activist put it, taking a stand against  development in his woefully poor country would get him laughed out of  the room. It was hard to argue with his position. A well-fed person has  many problems, a hungry person has but one. The same is true for  development, or lack of it. We could see the tragic reality of poverty  on the outskirts of our Kenyan host city. Those of us from  industrialized countries recognized we had to be in favor of some kind  of development, preferably the kind that didn’t ruin the environment in  the process. Thus the concept of sustainable development was born.

This was when I first fully realized there was another step beyond  pure environmental activism. The real challenge was to figure out how to take the environmental values we had helped create and weave them into  the social and economic fabric of our culture. This had to be done in  ways that didn’t undermine the economy and were socially acceptable. It  was clearly a question of careful balance, not dogmatic adherence to a  single principle. . .

It is rank hypocrisy for people from developed countries with all the benefits of first world economies and the first world infrastructure and services that supports to tell people in poor countries development is bad.

Sustainable development is the balance between economic, environmental and social requirements. Its proponents aren’t anti-business or anti-people and they welcome science because it provides evidence-based information and solutions rather than greenwash which might look fine but might do no good and at times causes harm to the environment.

An example of this is recycling. It certainly reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills but the environmental cost of transporting and processing is sometimes greater than that of dumping.

. . .  By the early 1980s a  majority of the public, at least in the Western democracies, agreed with us that the environment should be taken into account in all our  activities. When most people agree with you it is probably time to stop  beating them over the head and sit down with them to seek solutions to  our environmental problems. 

At the same time I chose to become less militant and more diplomatic, my Greenpeace colleagues became more extreme and intolerant of  dissenting opinions from within.

In the early days we debated complex issues openly and often. It was a wonderful group to engage with in wide-ranging environmental policy  discussions. The intellectual energy in the organization was infectious. We frequently disagreed about specific issues, yet our ultimate vision  was largely shared. Importantly, we strove to be scientifically  accurate. For years this had been the topic of many of our internal  debates. I was the only Greenpeace activist with a PhD in ecology, and  because I wouldn’t allow exaggeration beyond reason I quickly earned the nickname “Dr. Truth.” It wasn’t always meant as a compliment. Despite  my efforts, the movement abandoned science and logic somewhere in the  mid-1980s, just as society was adopting the more reasonable items on our environmental agenda.

Ironically, this retreat from science and logic was partly a response to society’s growing acceptance of environmental values. Some activists simply couldn’t make the transition from confrontation to consensus; it was as if they needed a common enemy. When a majority of people decide  they agree with all your reasonable ideas the only way you can remain  confrontational and antiestablishment is to adopt ever more extreme  positions, eventually abandoning science and logic altogether in favor  of zero-tolerance policies. . .

We have only one world and most people agree on the importance of looking after it. There is however, disagreement on the how and finding a way to do it in a way which is not anti-business or anti-people is much more likely to succeed than the radical recipe promoted by red-greens.

To a  considerable extent the environmental movement was hijacked by political and social activists who learned to use green language to cloak agendas that had more to do with anticapitalism and antiglobalization than with science or ecology. I remember visiting our Toronto office in 1985 and  being surprised at how many of the new recruits were sporting army  fatigues and red berets in support of the Sandinistas.

I don’t blame them for seizing the opportunity. There was a lot of  power in our movement and they saw how it could be turned to serve their agendas of revolutionary change and class struggle. But I differed with them because they were extremists who confused the issues and the  public about the nature of our environment and our place in it. To this  day they use the word industry as if it were a swear word. The same goes for multinational, chemical, genetic, corporate, globalization, and a  host of other perfectly useful terms. Their propaganda campaign is aimed at promoting an ideology that I believe would be extremely damaging to  both civilization and the environment. . .

Those perfectly useful terms are almost always used with negative connotations by radical environmentalists and their ideology is dangerous.

. . . The main purpose of this book is to establish a new approach to  environmentalism and to define sustainability as the key to achieving  environmental goals. This requires embracing humans as a positive  element in evolution rather than viewing us as some kind of mistake. The celebrated Canadian author Farley Mowat has described humans as a “fatally flawed species.” This kind of pessimism may be politically  correct today, but it is terribly self-defeating. Short of mass suicide  there doesn’t seem to be an appropriate response. I believe we should  celebrate our existence and constantly put our minds toward making the  world a better place for people and all the other species we share it  with. . .

Unlike those he criticise, Moore is optimistic about the future of the world and people’s place in it.

He also has some suggestions on what we could do to protect and enhance the environment at no great cost to the economy or people:

• We should be growing more trees and using more wood, not  cutting fewer trees and using less wood as Greenpeace and its allies  contend. Wood is the most important renewable material and  energy resource.

• Those countries that have reserves of potential hydroelectric  energy should build the dams required to deliver that energy. There is  nothing wrong with creating more lakes in this world.

• Nuclear energy is essential for our future energy supply,  especially if we wish to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. It has  proven to be clean safe, reliable, and cost-effective.

• Geothermal heat pumps, which too few people know about, are far  more important and cost-effective than either solar panels or wind mills as a source of renewable energy. They should be required in all new  buildings unless there is a good reason to use some other technology for heating, cooling, and making hot water.

• The most effective way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is  to encourage the development of technologies that require less or no  fossil fuels to operate. Electric cars, heat pumps, nuclear and  hydroelectric energy, and biofuels are the answer, not cumbersome  regulatory systems that stifle economic activity.

• Genetic science, including genetic engineering, will improve  nutrition and end malnutrition, improve crop yields, reduce the  environmental impact of farming, and make people and the environment  healthier.

• Many activist campaigns designed to make us fear useful chemicals are based on misinformation and unwarranted fear.

• Aquaculture, including salmon and shrimp farming, will be one of  our most important future sources of healthy food. It will also take  pressure off depleted wild fish stocks and will employ millions of  people productively.

• There is no cause for alarm about climate change. The climate is  always changing. Some of the proposed “solutions” would be far worse  than any imaginable consequence of global warming, which will likely be  mostly positive. Cooling is what we should fear.

• Poverty is the worst environmental problem. Wealth and urbanization will stabilize the human population. Agriculture should be mechanized  throughout the developing world. Disease and malnutrition can be largely eliminated by the application of modern technology. Health care,  sanitation, literacy, and electrification should be provided to  everyone.

• No whale or dolphin should be killed or captured anywhere, ever.  This is one of my few religious beliefs. They are the only species on  earth whose brains are larger than ours and it is impossible to kill or  capture them humanely.

Hat tip: Kiwiblog and NZ Conservative


Rage against the writing of a slight

September 29, 2011

Diana Wichtel was less than enthusiastic in her review in The Listener of Rage, a drama based on the 1981 Spirngbok tour.

Co-writerTom Scott responded with this letter to the editor:

I have just read Diana Wichtel’s scornful review of Rage, which I co-wrote and co-produced for TV1 (Television, September 17).
My first response was to wonder if Diana and I had just recently gone through a particularly nasty and brutal divorce, but I have no recollection of marrying her. This doesn’t mean I didn’t marry her. I’m just saying I could well have blacked it out.

I am prepared to go to counselling with her if you think this would help sort out this mystery.

I missed seeing Rage when it screened but I’m now planning to watch it in the hope that the script is as witty as the co-writer’s letter.


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