Category Archives: Arts & Culture

William Travilla’s stunning costumes for Marilyn Monroe

The 1953  musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, screened at the Auckland Film Festival a few years ago, so I took my mum and daughter along to watch it on the big screen. There is a particular scene where Marilyn and Jane enter the ship’s ballroom and literally bring it to a standstill as they look so stunning. It had the same effect on the movie audience, who actually gasped as they appeared onscreen.

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell render everyone speechless just by walking into a room.

Although they are extraordinarily beautiful women, seeing Marilyn on the big screen brought home why she was such a massive star. No matter who she is with, she just steals the screen with a luminous beauty and presence that I don’t think has been replicated since. Continue reading William Travilla’s stunning costumes for Marilyn Monroe


The Time Richard Dean Anderson Met the Kiwi Brain Scientists


It can be a peculiar job working in communications and marketing. Most of it is writing copy for websites no one ever reads, or creating communications plans for boring products that you know are rubbish. Sometimes, however, the Gods of Marketing smile upon you and a fun gig comes along. Next thing you find yourself tootling around Auckland in your red Toyota Yaris (1.3litres of raw power) with an iconic TV star of the 80 and 90s.

So it happened that I found myself on a warm day in March ferrying MacGyver and Stargate SG1 star Richard Dean Anderson the short hop up the hill from the Pullman Hotel in Auckland City to the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland Medical School. Along with us, crammed in the back of my mum car, was his road manager and good friend Paul Brown. Continue reading The Time Richard Dean Anderson Met the Kiwi Brain Scientists

Down the Rabbit Hole With Tickled

David Farrier with the nice tickling guy.
David Farrier with the nice tickling guy.

Two years ago, on May 6, 2014 to be exact, Auckland journalist David Farrier tweeted that he was “chasing a little story about bizarre ‘competitive tickling’ videos that are appearing on Vimeo.” Last week I saw the end result of the “little story” that lead Farrier and his friend Dylan Reeve down a very deep rabbit hole that led to the dark side of the internet, sexual fetish, and human nature.
Continue reading Down the Rabbit Hole With Tickled

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

Moments In Time

The saddest thing I have ever read, but it is something everyone should read.”

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

Elie Wiesel,

From Elie Wiesel, Night (New York: Bantam, 1982), p. 32. This…

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

“Everybody loses the thing that made them. The brave men stay and watch it happen. They don’t run.”

The New Zealand Film Festival is on and a lot of great films are on show. However, I think this will be my favourite; it was so unique and such a triumph of imagination that I have been thinking about it ever since. The young actress who plays Hushpuppy ( Quvenzhane Wallis) is a force of nature and through her eyes we are transported back to the time when imagination is as powerful as reality and, in fact, merges with it. It is a magical place to return to, if only for the span of a movie. See it if you can.