Brew and Burgh


Govt must underwrite events


Last year’s New Zealand Agricultural Show was cancelled months before it was scheduled to happen.

. . . Agricultural Show president Chris Herbert explained the cancellation was necessary as preparing for a major event in November that “may or may not be able to proceed” could result in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars that may not be recouped. . .

It was one of many events that were cancelled last year owing to Covid-19 induced uncertainty.

This week’s lockdown has prompted more including Napier’s annual Art Deco festival.

Until there is a lot more certainty that cancellations are unlikely, event organisers will be very, very wary.

It’s not just the organisations holding events that miss out from events that don’t happen, it’s all the businesses that supply, service and support them and others like those in the hospitality and retail sector that would benefit from more visitors.

But organisers have to be prudent when so much money has to be spent before the events that wouldn’t be recouped if they had to be cancelled.

What’s needed is underwriting to cover the costs of planning and organising events if lockdowns lead to them being cancelled and it should come from the government.

I’m not suggesting public funds are thrown at anyone who wants to organise an event, but long-established ones like festivals and A&P shows should qualify for underwriting.

Without that insurance no-one can blame any organisation that decides that planning an event isn’t worth the risk when there’s so much uncertainty over whether it could go ahead.

Gliding On – No Smoke Without Fire


Glide Time, was the first New Zealand play I can remember seeing.

It went from stage to screen with a name change to Gliding On:

In an age before Rogernomics, well before The Office, there was the afternoon tea fund, Golden Kiwi, and four o’clock closing: welcome to the early 80s world of the New Zealand Public Service. Gliding On (1981 – 1985) was the first locally-made sitcom to become a bona-fide classic. Inspired by Roger Hall’s hit play Glide Time, the award-winning series satirised a paper-pushing working life familiar to many Kiwis. This episode features Beryl’s non-smoking campaign, Jim’s efforts to kick the habit, office sexual innuendo and a much-debated fire drill. “Morning Jim!”

Clicking on the link above will take you to the first episode.

Des O’Connor 12.1.32 – 14.11.20


English comedian, singer and television present Des O’Connor has died.

Des O’Connor once said that all he did was walk on to the stage, chat to the audience and sing a few songs.

It was a formula that made him one of Britain’s best-known stars, an old-fashioned showman who could turn his hand to almost anything – fronting his variety programme, hosting chat shows or presiding over the quiz Countdown.

An almost ever-present face on UK television, he held the record for more mainstream appearances on the small screen than any other performer.

O’Connor, who has died aged 88 after a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire, also carved out a successful career as a singer including four Top 10 hits and more than 30 albums.

Desmond Bernard O’Connor was born on 12 January 1932 in Stepney, East London, the son of a Jewish cleaner and an Irish dustman. He contracted rickets while he was a child which resulted in him having callipers on his legs until he was seven.

He was also badly injured in a car accident and spent some time in an iron lung which disrupted his primary school education.

During the war, the family moved to Northampton where he signed as a schoolboy player with Northampton Football Club although he only made the third team.

It was while working in a local shoe factory that he discovered a talent for making people laugh, once recalling his ability to reduce the firm’s typing school to giggles and to be the main source of entertainment on works outings.

His prowess as a performer came to the fore during his national service with the RAF, when his commanding officer insisted he take part in a talent show. . .



Take an Icelandic film, give it an Australian makeover and what do you get?  You get  Rams:

Kiwi actor Sam Neill is starring in an Aussie remake of an award-winning Icelandic film.

Despite being an Australian creation by way of Iceland, the synopsis for the film has a distinctly Kiwi flavour of the woolly variety.

“In remote Western Australia, two estranged brothers, Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton), are at war,” it reads.

“Raising separate flocks of sheep descended from their family’s prized bloodline, the two men work side by side yet are worlds apart. When Les’ prize ram is diagnosed with a rare and lethal illness, authorities order a purge of every sheep in the valley.

“While Colin attempts to stealthily outwit the powers that be, Les opts for angry defiance. But can the warring brothers set aside their differences and have a chance to reunite their family, save their herd, and bring their community back together?” . . 



Geoffrey Palmer OBE – 4.6.27 – 5.11.20


English actor Geoffrey Palmer OBE has died:

With his hangdog expression and lugubrious delivery, Geoffrey Palmer was one of the best-known actors of his generation.

He cut his teeth on the stage before launching a career as a character actor in a variety of roles in film and TV.

He was perhaps most famous for a series of TV sitcoms including Butterflies, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and As Time Goes By.

A reserved man, he usually remained out of the public gaze when not appearing on stage or screen, and rarely gave interviews. . . 


Dame Edna Everage on Parkinson




Olive and Mabel


Company meeting:

Olive and Mabel


From the sporting archives:

Olive & Mabel


Scots broadcaster Andrew Cotter had no sports on which to commentate during lockdown so took to commentating on his dogs instead.


For the Longest Time


Phoenix Chamber Choir


We’re less locked up than we were, but still have at least another four weeks at Level 2.

This allows almost all businesses to operate, but there’s a big difference between being able to operate and operating profitably.

The Alone Rangers


The Alone Rangers


The Alone Rangers


The Alone Rangers


Three comedians and a filmmaker found themselves locked down together:

What do you get when you isolate three Kiwi comedians and a filmmaker on one rural property in the middle of a pandemic? 

That’s not the start of a joke, it’s how Rhys Darby’s comedy web series The “Alone Rangers” Show came to be. 

The Flight of the Concords star had been based in LA before the pandemic hit. But when things started “getting really bad”, he and wife Rosie, fellow Kiwi comic Jonno Roberts, who’d been performing in on Broadway before the theatres were closed, and director Dean Cornish decided heading home was the best idea.  . .

Now, along with Darby’s long time pal and collaborator Jaime Bowen, they’re riding out the lockdown safe and sound in Matakana, about an hour north of Auckland. It’s one big, rural bubble of 10 including the kids.

With so many creative folks in one place, the next step was an obvious one. 

“We have quite a bit of talent here, so we thought ‘well, it would be stupid not to make use of the time and make something funny’.”

That something turned out to be The “Alone Rangers” Show, a web-series made up of 10-minute clips, starring Darby’s tree-obsessed NZ Park Ranger Bill Napier, a good, keen Kiwigian bloke.  . . 

Bill Napier, NZ’s finest park ranger is in lockdown with Jason Chaseman and his nemesis, Aussie ranger Ron Bradman. Taking a break from all the park work they create a TV show to inform and entertain, The Alone Rangers. In this first episode they look at what sports they can still play, post lockdown, and Ron entertains with a song.

Please note, all crew and performers are in the same isolation bubble.

Starring…. Rhys Darby as Bill Napier Jonno Roberts as Ron Bradman Jamie Bowen as Jason Chaseman

Cameras held by Finn Darby and Georgia Hatzis

Edited by Finn Darby and Jamie Bowen Musical Adaptation by Guy and Jonno Roberts

Directed by Dean Cornish

Produced by Rosie Carnahan-Darby for Darbmeister Films

Blackadder, The Army Years


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical


Today is Carole King’s birthday which brings back happy memories from last year.

We were in Denver with an evening to spare before joining IrrigationNZ’s tour of Colorado and Nebraska when we saw advertisements for Beautiful: The Carole King Story.

Professor Google told us we were only a few blocks from the theatre and had time to walk there before it started.

There were tickets to spare, we bought them and spent the next few hours entranced.

We didn’t know how many of her songs we knew until we heard them.

From the first song  It might As Well Rain Until September  to the last encore, it was Beautiful.


Windsor Davies – 28.8.30 – 17.1.19


Actor Windsor Davies has died.

Comedy actor Windsor Davies, who was immortalised as the sergeant major in TV series It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, has died aged 88.

Davies, who also topped the pop charts with sitcom partner Don Estelle in 1975, had modelled the role on men he knew on National Service.

“Apart from the brilliance of the writing, I think It Ain’t Half Hot Mum was brilliant because that is how it really was,” he told BBC Wales in 2012.

Blame this . . .


. . . for my unrequited desire to participate in a food fight:

The Great Race was released in the 1960s. All these decades later it still makes me laugh.

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