31 July 2008

The Gaslight Anthem in Sydney

I’ve finally fulfilled my dream to be an official musical groupie. Well, not quite but at least I got to the Gaslight Anthem at the Annandale. For those of you who don’t know Sydney, Annandale is about ten minutes drive from the city. So enjoy one and all.

27 July 2008


I do wonder, sometimes, whether I shouldn't just stop this business of playing in the orchestra. I am not very good at it. It takes a lot of time - and a significant amount of money. There is not only the travel cost - with petrol now costing NZ$2.07/litre (for you lucky Americans that's about US$6.00/US gallon :-)), that's a non-trivial expense. And there are other expenses. Well, why do I do it? I don't know but every year I think of quitting - and I don't. So now this year's concerts are half over. We started our rehearsal yesterday for the 9-10 August concerts. We are playing two pieces by De Falla (interlude and dance from "La Vida Breve" and "Nights in the Gardens of Spain"), a short suite by Debussy (just called "Petite Suite") and (the nasty one - from the horn player's point of view) Ravel's piano concerto in G. The soloist is Christopher Hinterhuber. Though we are not the NZSO, I wish you could all come - I love seeing my friends at our concerts.

19 July 2008


A friend at work asked me why they call it "World Youth Day" when it lasts a week. I think it the official part of it lasts only four days, but perhaps the 'Day' is just the final Sunday - tomorrow, the 20th of July! It has been a whirlwind of a time. Father Bernard at the Cathedral, at yesterday's (Friday, the 18th of July) lunchtime Mass, commented that Auckland had 'survived' a hectic week :-) It is, indeed, nice to get back to something like normal, but it was a wonderful time. New Zealand accommodated, I think I have heard, something like 4,000 foreign pilgrims who came here for a week or two beforehand. I don't know how many we actually sent to Sydney of our own people. I think our parish in Pukekohe sent 18, and we hosted 46 Quebecois as well - two of them in our (my and Susan's) house. Our two were Patrick Renaud and Alexandre Bergamin (who looked the spit and image of Rémy in Ratatouille). I was impressed by the behaviour of all these young persons. There was nothing artificial about them . They were young, they played guitars, they acted exactly as you would expect young persons aged 16-25 or so to act - except that it never got over the top. We had a shared dinner at the church hall on the Thursday evening (they arrived Wednesday the 16th). I suppose, with parishioners, there were maybe 80 people there. It was fun, it was loud - but not too loud! - and not wild. It was just very good. And they sing like angels. Patrick is 20 and Alexandre is 16. Patrick is officially Alex's minder. Anyone under the age of 18 has to be supervised by an older pilgrim. There was never the slightest evidence of friction between them. I was so pleased that we had billeted them. Now they are gone, and tomorrow is the great Mass at the end of the time. Australia will surely not recover in a hurry - at least it is to be hoped not! The impact must surely be good, if the Sydney Morning Herald - a very secular newspaper - is any indication: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world-youth-day/one-good-friday-sydney-gave-its-heart-to-jesus-christ/2008/07/18/1216163156775.html I am very glad we were able to participate a little! John

18 July 2008

A new sista in the hood

I think the photo says it all. Very funny and very cute. Jersey is having a bad affect on the new addition to the Jensen family.


15 July 2008