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Daily Post Photo Challenge – cover art #2: the bonus track

29 Oct
Belated Apologies and Things I Should Have Said But Was Worried About Sounding Like a Dick: the bonus track. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Belated Apologies and Things I Wanted To Say But Was Worried About Sounding Like a Dick: the bonus track. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

An addendum to my funeral playlist — a bonus track if you like. Every gathering needs a sing-a-long and funerals should be no different.

At pretty much every (Christian) funeral I’ve ever been to, we sang the 23rd Psalm. While I quite like the King James version I grew up with, I really loathe the way the beautiful language of the 17th century bible has been messed with to make it — what? Easier to understand for a modern audience. Sounds like dumbing down to me. And anyway, I doubt my friends would thank me for making them feel like they’re in church.

I pondered this one for a long time. It has to be familiar, easy to sing and fun. My short list included Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun, The Beatles Hey Jude, Gloria Gaynor I Will Survive, Bonnie Tyler Total Eclipse of the Heart or The Monkees Daydream Believer. Because I’ve lived so long in New Zealand I was also tempted by The Swingers’ 1981 hit Counting the Beat (check it out here if you don’t know it).

But in the end, for sheer silliness and energy ….

… on your feet folks; clear your thoats, take a deep breath and move one pace away from your neighbour so you don’t knock them out with your flailing arms:

Y M C A

For more cover art see The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

Daily Post photo challenge: cover art

29 Oct
Arum lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Arum lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Lilies have all sorts of layers of meaning for me. My name derives from the Hebrew word for lily; the first “grown up” painting I ever bought was of arum lilies against an azure sky, and the Big T brings me arum lilies from his parents’ garden whenever he finds them. And of course, lilies are associated with death.

I took this photo a few months ago while out walking and although I can’t quite put my finger on why; it’s an image I truly love. If I were to create a mix album of songs to be played at my funeral, I’d have this image as the album cover — or at least the opening shot of the inevitable PowerPoint slide show.

The album would be called Belated Apologies and Things I Wanted to Say But Was Worried About Sounding Like a Dick.

The track list in order:

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Energy Flow.  I could probably have chosen any piece by Sakamoto; his music has enriched the soundtrack to much of my adult life.

Buddy Holly, Everyday. Such an optimistic song, and incredibly sad to think that Holly died aged only 22.

Janis Ian, Fly too High. A song that I hope will say ‘I loved you’ to someone I hurt.

Billy Bragg, The Man in the Iron Mask. Ditto; same sentiment, different person.

Slade, Everyday. I was never into glam-rock, but I do love a good ballad.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Come on Eileen. If people have sat through a eulogy, it’s time to get up and dance. If Come on Eileen can’t get them pogo-ing in the aisles, then I’d have to say the mourners must be more dead than me.

Bic Runga, Honest Goodbyes.  Because one dance is never enough, and this lovely song in 3/4 time is perfect for my mourners to reach out to and hold someone.

Henry Purcell, Dido’s Lament (sung by Jessye Norman). I really relate to this; and somehow it makes me think of many of my female ancestors.

Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, Falling Slowly. A beautiful love song from a beautiful film. A song for the Big T.

W Schwandt/F Andree/Gus Khan, Dream a Little Dream.  Recorded by Terry Hall and Salad for Help, the War Child album of 1995. This is for my son; it was the lullaby of his early babyhood and he still sings along with me when we hear it on the radio.

 

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge.

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Wordless Wednesday: hoping for sunshine soon

28 Oct
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Installation for NZ Sculpture OnShore begins tomorrow, and the exhibition opens next week. Please, please let the rain stop. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

 

Superman socks: child poverty and education in New Zealand

28 Oct

Su Leslie:

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Child poverty is a huge issue in New Zealand and yet our government has only recently — since it won the last election and is pretending to be humble, in a “oh shucks, thanks for liking us:” sort of way — acknowledged that there IS a problem. I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to do something about it. Luckily some people in this country are. We have charities that provide school meals, raincoats and shoes for children who need them, we have biker gangs who run school breakfast programmes in their neighbourhood, journalists who crusade on this issue and artists — like Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet — whose art practice works on a monumental scale to make us confront child poverty. Their installation, ‘Feed the Kids‘, earlier this year involved 83,000 plastic spoons stuck in the ground along a busy road. ‘Feed the Kids Too‘ will see Donna and Bernie hanging 6000 lunchboxes in trees and New Zealand’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition — NZ Sculpture OnShore. There is much more to it than that — more than I can write here, but as installation of this project begins tomorrow and I’m lucky enough to be one of the organisers of the event, I’ll have photos and something to hang a proper post on. Meantime, here’s some insight into the lives of nearly 300,000 kiwi kids.

Originally posted on Save Our Schools NZ:

I have a 5 year old, and a lucky one at that.  If he’s had a bad night and is tired, I can keep him home from school or collect him early.  Either way, he is warm and well fed.  Some days, even with all that, he’s not on top form.

Still, even with bad days, research shows that children like him stand a good chance of doing well in life.  He has access to a warm, dry home, to medical care, to good and plentiful food, to books and computers, and he has shoes, a coat and a bed.  Not everyone is so fortunate.

Over 285, 000 Kiwi kids live in poverty, with 17% of our tamariki going without the day to day things they need.  Three fifths of those children live like that for years on end.

Many children don’t eat well and don’t have access to proper…

View original 765 more words

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Playing with the in-between bits

22 Oct
The venetian blinds in my office don't do a particulary good job of filtering out the afternoon sun (even wheh they're tilted the right way), but I like the effect make. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

The venetian blinds in my office don’t do a particulary good job of filtering out the afternoon sun (even wheh they’re tilted the right way), but I like the effect make. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

You would think that being involved in organising an outdoor sculpture exhibition, I’d spend a lot of time, er, outside! But lately I’ve hardly left my office, let alone ventured out into actual fresh air. So I’ve resorted to playing with my immediate environment in search of photographic inspiration.

The venetian blinds in my office don't do a particulary good job of filtering out the afternoon sun (even wheh they're tilted the right way), but I like the effect make. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

The venetian blinds in my office don’t do a particulary good job of filtering out the afternoon sun (even wheh they’re tilted the right way), but I like the effect make. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Black and white photography tells stories of contrast and texture. I was surprised at how much of both I managed to squeeze out of a couple of shots.

photo 1-1

Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

The light effects are post-production. I did intend to take the same shot again and again during a day, but I sat down at my desk to just check emails … and, oops, the day was gone. So Instead I’ve worked with the same couple of shots.

photo 5

Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

photo 1

Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

This post was written for Sally’s Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Photo Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

Wordless Wednesday: climbing fences

21 Oct
Feeling

Feeling caught on small sharp things at the moment. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

So close to the opening of NZ Sculpture OnShore; too much to do and too many small frustrations. The Big T is away; so I’m playing songs that make me think of him instead.

Six Word Saturday: enjoying the blossom; hoping for fruit

18 Oct
The orange tree is laden with blossom again. Hopefully this year some of the tiny fruit buds will ripen. Sigh. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

The orange tree is laden with blossom again. Hopefully this year some of the tiny fruit buds will ripen. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

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