Saturday, August 30, 2014

Feet To Overrun Lyttelton Tunnel

Lyttelton Road Tunnel will be taken over by People Power on Sunday 31st for its 50th anniversary.
The nearly 2km route will be closed to cars and trucks tomorrow morning, to celebrate 50 years since the tunnel opened.
The Lyttelton Tunnel (part of S/H 74) runs beneath the Port Hills to Christchurch. It carries just over 10,000 vehicles per day and, at 1,970m, is the longest road tunnel in NZ.
Lyttelton and Chch have been linked by a rail tunnel since 1867 (when completed, that was the first tunnel in the world to go through the side of an extinct volcano!). But at that stage, road transport had to cross over the Port Hills.
Construction of the Lyttelton Road Tunnel cost £2.7 million. The tunnel officially opened in Feb.1964, but tomorrow's 50th annvsy.celebration had been delayed until a new tunnel control building (to replace the previous EQ-damaged one) was completed.
Lyttelton Tunnel will be closed to all vehicular traffic 9.30-12.30pm., so people can get 'up close and personal'. The event begins at 9.30am with the official opening of the new Lyttelton Tunnel Control Building. The tunnel will open at about 10am in both directions for cyclists to go through, followed by skateboarders and lastly walkers – for a gold coin donation. All funds raised will go to Cholmondeley Children's Centre, to provide emergency and respite care for children in Canterbury.
Motorists travelling to/from Lyttelton will need to detour along Dyers Pass and Governors Bay roads until 12.30pm...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Record Kill But No-one's Buying

Fishermen in Norway have caught 729 whales this year, the highest number since it said "F.U.!" to the rest of the world.
Svein Ove Haugland, deputy director of the Norwegian Fishermen's Sales Organisation: "This season is more or less finished and it's been very good."
The eventual figure may increase slightly before the season's end but is already the highest since 1993, when Norway resumed whaling
"Yah, just a little tickle - zey don't really feel a thing!"
despite a worldwide moratorium.
In 2013, Norway caught 590 rorqual whales, far higher than the previous year. The yield for 2014 remains far below the country's annual quota of 1,286 whales, and the govt claims the 4mth.hunt is for the "protection and sustainable harvesting of marine resources."
However, the whalers have a problem: a bottleneck in the market. Very few locals want to eat minke meat! Åge Eriksen, director of fishing firm Hopen Fisk: "We possess more meat than we can sell and that is not a favourable position." No shit, Sherlock!
Some is exported to Japan, which was ordered to end its own so-called "scientific" hunts in the Antarctic by the UN earlier this year. But the Japanese stockpile of frozen unwanted whale meat is now monstrous too.
Norway's fishing ministry claims there are 71,000 minke whales in the central Atlantic off Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Around two dozen vessels participated in its whaling season this year.
Greenpeace believes whaling in Norway is bound to die out due to lack of demand.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Art? Or Fart?

My eye was caught by an opinion piece in last Thursday's Press, by Jenny Harper, director of Christchurch Art Gallery.
Art - and the collecting of it - matters to Christchurch as the city rebuilds, she writes. Sounds interesting, methinx, as I settle in to what I expected would be an article covering the Gallery's behind-the-scenes work since it's earthquake closure.
Well, it was...and it wasn't.
More than anything, it was a justification for some grandiose purchases in the name of 'good art'.
Harper: "I'm utterly clear that good art really matters. I'm convinced that collections of art matter more than a single work or that of a single individual."
So while the city has rumbled, tumbled and started to claw its way back to its New Reality, the Gallery's been spending money, quietly gathering goodies for our cultural advancement.
You'll recall the curiosity called Chapman's Homer - a well-hung bronze bull astride a grand piano, first seen in mid-demolition site, and later the subject of a public fundraising campaign, to buy it...for our own artistic good.
It's "a brilliant reminder" says Harper "of a community-wide effort to represent the time the earthquake changed our lives forever." How a bull on a piano represents EQ devastation is beyond me! Perhaps a bull in a china shop...?
Now the Gallery's steamrolling a $5m endowement fund to buy itself lots more goodies...er, for our own good. Harper spins it thus:
"We've decided to ban the words donate and give. This is a partnership; it's mutual; it's about loyalty; it's about building our legacy; it's about art." Of course...!
And brace yourself, Christchurch, for five mega-costly art purchases
Bebop? Or be ripped off?!!
coming your way:
No.1 was the slab o' steak on the keyboards.
No.2 is described as "a marvellous and playful work" by NZ contemporary artist Bill Culbert called Bebop.
Take a good hard look at the pic: spin this any way you like...it's just some neon tube lights dangling among old kitchen chairs! Remove the rose-tinted artyfarty specs, Jen - this is op-shop junk tarted up as culture! Yet you raised over $80K just for this???
Harper assures us that Bebop will "become part of our legend: valued, loved, responded to and enjoyed for many years." Riiigghhtt...
Well, please don't buy his piece called Strait. His own publicity describes it as just a line of Anchor milk bottles with a bolt of fluorescent light through them. I'll make it for you myself this weekend! And even DONATE it!! Opps, sorry... PARTNERSHIP it!!
She says "...it's important to maintain the cultural heartbeat of the city and to represent this time. This too is part of our rebuild." Granted. No argument.
Harper: "We're here because good art matters." Terrific.
Then please will you purchase some actual GOOD ART???!!!