Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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Musical Monday (2022/10/31) – Victoria

One of my all time favourite songs and ranks at number 8 in New Zealand’s Top 100 songs of all time. The song tells of a real life person known as vicky who used heavy makeup to hide the bruises inflicted by her then boyfriend and pimp. Often she used makeup and unusual clothing to hide the bruises on her body, arms and legs as well. It tells of the life of many caught in the sex trade before it was decriminalised in Aotearoa in 2003.

Victoria was the debut song of the Dance Exponents when they first appeared live at the Hillsborough Tavern on 15th October 1982, making this song 40 years old at time of writing. It was written by band member Jordan Luck, who as a naive eighteen year old didn’t at first realise why Vicky wore such heavy makeup. The song is just as valid today for many people (mostly, but not always women) who find themselves in an abusive relationship but unable (or unwilling) to escape from it.

Victoria – Dance Exponents. Song writer: Jordan William Hunter Luck
Victoria

She gets glances since they first greeted
Sent salutations that can't be repeated
She's become a social institution
Prepares her prey like an execution

Victoria
What do you want from him, want from him?
Victoria
What do see in him, see in him?

She's up in time to watch the soap opera
Reads cosmopolitan and Alvin Toffler
Meeting in the places that she's never been to
She's got a mind but it's the clothes they see through

Victoria
What do you want from him, want from him?
Victoria
What do see in him, see in him?

She lives with a man who sees her as money
Laughs at his lines that aren't even funny
She's in bed but she's not sleeping
is he a customer that's really worth keeping?

Victoria
What do you want from him, want from him?
Victoria
What do see in him, see in him?

There's no such thing as romance blooming
Sundays are for washing and doing the hoovering
Talking to her friends on the telephone
Another jerk rings up who won't leave her alone

Victoria
What do you want from him, want from him?
Victoria
What do see in him, see in him?

Victoria
What do you want from him, want from him?
Victoria
What do see in him, see in him?

Victoria
What do you want from him, want from him?
Victoria
What do see in him, see in him?


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Just another statutory holiday

Today, being the fourth Monday of October, is for most Kiwis these days little more than a public holiday known a Labour day. For most its history is unknown, and the reason why it’s commemorated at all is forgotten.

Labour Day commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day in Aotearoa New Zealand. It seems that no matter what date Labour Day or its equivalent is commemorated in numerous other nations, there seems to be an individual who is acknowledged as being the catalyst for the occasion. In Aotearoa it is an individual by the name of Samuel Parnell.

Samuel Parnell. Wright, Henry Charles Clarke, 1844-1936 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-020462-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23133932

Parnell, a carpenter from London, emigrated to New Zealand in 1840, and amongst his fellow passengers was George Hunter, a shipping agent, and on arrival in Wellington, Hunter asked Parnell to build him a store. According to Kiwi folklore, Parnell responded “I will do my best, but I must make this condition, Mr. Hunter, that on the job the hours shall only be eight for the day … There are twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for men to do what little things they want for themselves. I am ready to start tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, but it must be on these terms or none at all.”

Hunter had little option but to concede to Parnell’s demands as skilled labour was critically short in supply. Parnell with the help of other Wellington workers set about making the eight hour working day the standard, informing all new immigrants that the eight hour day was the “custom” of the new settlement. In October 1840, Wellington workmen made a ruling that the working day was between 8am and 5pm, and according to legend, anyone found guilty of breaking this “commandment” was tossed into the harbour for their efforts.

The first Labour Day was celebrated on 28 October 1890 when thousands of workers participated in parades across the country. Government workers and many others were granted a day off work to attend. By this time the majority of workers enjoyed an eight hour day, but it was not a legal requirement. The fledgeling union movement wanted the Liberal Government of the day to legislate an eight hour working day, The Liberal Party was reluctant to upset the business community, and Kiwis had to wait for the arrival of the first Labour government which introduced the 40 hour week.

However, the Liberal government did introduce an industrial conciliation and arbitration system in 1894 – a world innovation at the time, and in 1899 made labour day a statutory holiday, with the date set as the second Wednesday of October. Ten years later it was “Mondayised” to the fourth Monday of October.

Over the following decades, the celebratory nature of Labour Day declined and certainly from my earliest memory of the 1950s Labour day parades were all but forgotten and the day had become “just another holiday”. It’s now late evening and as the day draws to a close, I wonder how many of my fellow Kiwis realise how much our way of life, has been influenced by the those early unionists who understood better than many of us today the importance of a proper life balance.


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Musical Monday (2020-10-24) – Find You

My hearing is not the best, so when I first heard this song, I assumed it was “just another love lost” song, although one with a hauntingly beautiful melody. However once I learnt the background to the song and saw the lyrics, it became a powerful and moving narrative and it has became a favourite of mine. It’s the theme song from the film The Stolen. It is still a love song, but not one involving lovers but one of a parent towards their child – in this case a mother searching for her kidnapped baby. The film was relatively low budget ($4 million) and is set in the era of the New Zealand gold rush in the 1860s.

In an interview in 2016, the film’s producer Emily Corcoran, is reported as saying “New Zealand was the first place to give women the vote and when you look at this period you can see why. They were really very liberated.” She then went on to add “The prostitutes were kind of running the show. They were so sought after and could pretty much do what they liked.” I’ll leave it up to you as to whether to think that was a good or bad thing.

The song was written for the film by Stan walker and Inoke Paletua Finau. Stan walker’s voice perfectly conveys the loss (and hope) expressed in the lyrics. There are a number of versions of this song on YouTube, and for me it was a toss up between the clip included below and one with Stan Walker featuring Maisey Rika singing in te reo Māori. The latter includes the haunting melody of the Kōauau (Māori flute), but simply displays the album cover. So instead, I decided to use this version with scenes clipped from the film. Enjoy!

Find You – Stan Walker (The Stolen)
Find You (The Stolen)

Can't see you in the dark
I'm trying to find your light
I can't move through the dust
Getting lost in the night

The storm may come and the rain will fall
Fire and pain go hand in hand, what more
The sun will rise and I may fall
The earth will shake, but I will not be moved

Don't you worry, I'm running, I'm searching
I'm trying to find you, to hold you, I need you
Won't give up 'til I can't breathe no longer
I believe and I can't stop, won't stop

'Cause I'm gonna find you
I'll find you
I'm gonna find you
No, I can't give up
'Cause I'm gonna find you

I can't feel you anymore
Can't hear through all the noise
I'm waiting for your call
I'm searching for your voice

The storm may come and the rain will fall
Fire and pain go hand in hand, what more
The sun will rise and I may fall
The earth will shake, but I will not be moved

Don't you worry, I'm running, I'm searching
I'm trying to find you, to hold you, I need you
Won't give up 'til I can't breathe no longer
I believe and I can't stop, won't stop

'Cause I'm gonna find you
I'll find you
I'm gonna find you
No, I can't give up
'Cause I'm gonna find you

I'm closer (Come closer)
I'm nearer (You're nearer)
Feels stronger (I'm stronger)
It's better (I'm better)
Not falling (I'm coming)
Just moving (I'm running)
Can breathe now (I'm trying)
I feel now (I'm here now)

'Cause I'm gonna find you
I'll find you
I'm gonna find you
No, I can't give up
'Cause I'm gonna find you

'Cause I'm gonna find you
I'll find you
I'm gonna find you
No, I can't give up
'Cause I'm gonna find you


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Musical Monday (2022/08/22) John Hore Grenell

If I were to compile a list of my favourite top 100 songs, I had thought that there would be few, if any, country songs included. However with the recent death of a Kiwi country music icon, I am beginning to realise that there would indeed be more than a handful. I am referring to the John Grenell, who died on July 27 at the age of 78.

I will probably always remember him as John Hore as that was his stage name in the first part of his music career, which was the family name of his step father. He grew up in rural South Island New Zealand and was always a shy country lad at heart. According to those who knew him, he was a humble man, who had no ego or pretensions. He made his first recording in 1963, and by the time he was nineteen, he had sold over 100,000 records, which in those days was quite an achievement for a NZ singer of any age or genre.

John made frequent television appearances during the 60s and early 70s, and I was a fan of his “velvet” voice. He became biggest-selling New Zealand act of the decade, and his second album, Encore John Hore, which was released in May 1965, became the best-selling album by a New Zealand artist at that time. He recorded a number of singles and made 11 albums before bowing out of the music scene to concentrate on family, farming, and rural tourism. Then in the late 80s he resurfaced under his birth name of John Grenell. For a while he went by his father’s name of John Denver Grenell, which as you might imagine, was rather confusing.

Perhaps his best known song is his cover of Welcome To My World that featured on a two minute Toyota television commercial that first aired in 1990 (with slightly altered lyrics to suit the purpose of the commercial). Below are just a few of John’s songs I found on YouTube.

Past Like A Mask

I value this first clip as the lyrics are critical of what many men (and unfortunately many women) perceive what it is to be a “real man”. The stereotype is seen all to often in this country, and one only needs to look at our statistics on family violence to see that. This song has also taken on another meaning since I discovered I was autistic in 2010, but that’s another story for another time.

Past Like A Mask – John Hore Grenell
Past Like A Mask

I was told to be a man was building fences strong
Keep your woman in her place and she'll keep hangin' on
Now I've grown to realise my life's been filled with lies
The thread that I've been hangin' on has broken in her eyes
If I could let my heart be known despite of walls so high
I might taste those bitter tears that I've never learned to cry

But I've got a past like a mask
And I can see it in her face, the many years I can't erase
A broken heart I can't replace in spite of how I try
And I've got a past like a mask
And I sure took my time to understand

When I was young, not long ago, I hid my feelings well
Sometimes I let my heartaches show but I could never tell
And now I find I've been blind, insensitive and vain
Cause someone told me long ago "ignore a woman's pain"
If I could change the fool I've been, I know just what'd do
I'd give her everything I can and make all her dreams come true

But I've got a past like a mask
And I can see it in her eyes, the lonely nights, the endless lies
The countless time I made her cry when she was by my side
And I've got a past like a mask
And I sure took my time to understand

Welcome To Our World

Toyota has made several memorable television commercials in this country, with perhaps the “Bugger” commercial being the best known for those of my generation. There’s nothing particularly memorable about this Welcome To Our World 1990 Toyota Commercial, apart perhaps for it being two minutes long and for featuring the beautiful velvet baritone voice of John Grenell. It’s a slightly modified version of Welcome To My World, of which the Jim Reeves version is perhaps recognised the world over.

Welcome To Our World – John Hore Grenell

Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

It’s a real place! Taumata­whakatangihanga­kōauau­o­tamatea­pōkai­whenua­ki­tāna­tahu is the name of a hill in southern Hawkes Bay, approximately 130 Km (80 miles) from where I live. A rough translation goes something like “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his kōauau (flute) to his loved one

Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu – John Hore Grenell
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Done a lot of travellin', this great country round
Seen a lot of people, covered lots of ground
But there's only one place I'd like to call my own
So I am headin' back there, so I am goin' home

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Up and down this country, all those sights I've seen
North Cape to the Bluff and everywhere between
But you can keep your cities, they're not the place for me
Home is where the heart is that's where I've gotta be

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

I've walked the length of Queen Street, Karangahape to the sea
And I've fought the wind of Seatoun, the sights of Lambton Quay
Christchurch and Dunedin, and Invercargill too
You name a place, I've been there, and now I'm a shootin' through

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

I’ve been Everywhere

This song was written by an Australian by the name of Geoff Mack, and the original used Australian place names. Hank Snow and Johny Cash made versions with American place names, and John Hore Grenell made a NZ version:

I’ve Been Everywhere – John Hore Grenell
I've Been Everywhere

Well I was hitching a ride on a winding Hokitika road
When along came a lorry with a high and canvas-covered load
"If you're going to Hokitika, mate, with me you can ride"
So I jumped into the cabin and settled down inside
He asked me if I'd seen a road with so much dust and sand
And I said, "Look, listen mate, I've been everywhere in this here land ...

Cos, I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

I've been to
Kaparoa, Whangaroa, Akaroa, Motueka,
Taramoa, Benmore, Pongaroa, Horoeka,
Rimutaka, Te Karaka, Whangarei,
Nuhaka, Waimahaka, Motuhura, Waikaka,
Motonui, Hokonui, Papanui, Wainui,
Matawai, Rongotai, Pikowai, I'm a guy. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Woodville, Dargaville, Lumsden, Katikati,
Naseby, Cambridge, Porirua, Mararoa,
Hastings, Tikitiki, Tauranga, Auckland,
Naenae, Waitaha, Hamilton, Poroporo,
Taupo, Timaru, Oamaru, Tihoi,
Awanui, Wanganui, Pauanui, lot o' hooey. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Featherston, Palmerston, Woolston, Te Awamutu,
Riverton, Queenstown, Picton, Ohinemutu,
Morere, Korere, Rotorua, Kaikoura,
Matamata, Ruakura, Ikamatua, Papakura,
Waitaki, Pukaki, Taranaki, Te Kauwhata,
Ropata, Ikowai, Waitemata, what's the matter. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Ruatoki, Matahura, Taupiri, Maketu,
Kyeburn, Sowburn, Wedderburn, Mossburn,
Washdyke, Arawhata, Paparoa, Kaponga,
Teraha, Thames, Kerikeri, Kokoma,
Tapanui, Porinui, Tawanui, Otahuhu,
Ruatapu, Mosgiel, Whareroa, that's for sure. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Kapiti, Ngawaka, Onepu, Reporoa,
Tongariro, Tomoana, Renwick, Papamoa,
Karitane, Oxford, Parihaka, Karetu,
Coalgate, Whitecliffs, Urenui, Mamaku,
Waimea, Waharoa, Dannevirke, Ngahere,
Gordonton, Oban, Kingston, how ya been. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

I've been here, there, everywhere
I've been everywhere

Lovers And Losers

A beautiful song that that is made for John’s voice. The song is the creation of singer songwriter William Russell Staines from Rollinsford, New Hampshire, USA. Bill Staines was a country singer, unknown to me until I looked up the writer of this sing. From my very brief acquaintance with him, his music seems similar to that of Grenell.

Lovers And Losers – John Hore Grenell
Lovers And Losers

The singer he stands in the warmth of the doorway;
The song that he sings brings a tear to an eye,
And his smile brings a nod, and the toss of a coin there;
Another cup of coffee, or a homeward bound bus ride.

The dancer she sways 'neath the light on the corner,
Her partner is the shadow now that glides at her feet.
Slowly she moves to her sweet silent music;
The people pass her by and hurry down along the street.

Lovers and losers, Dreamers and boozers,
Pickers, singers and poets in the rain.
I love to hear them, I guess that's why I linger near them,
For I have seen their faces, yes, and I have known their names.

The sun plays a game with the tops of the mountains,
The colours and the shadows change and fade with the day.
The cowboy he sings in the cool of the evening
Some old-fashioned love song in an old and simple way.

Lovers and losers, Dreamers and boozers,
Pickers, singers and poets in the rain.
I love to hear them, I guess that's why I linger near them,
For I have seen their faces, yes, and I have known their names.

A lover she stares at the one of her loving,
As warm and as pretty as the colours in the wine.
She listens while he tells her of the joys in his keeping;
Offers him a rose to touch and hold forever fine.

Lovers and losers, Dreamers and boozers,
Pickers, singers and poets in the rain.
I love to hear them, I guess that's why I linger near them,
For I have seen their faces, yes and I have known their names.


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Stupid people

How many stupid people do you know of? Some of my blogging friends seem to be able to make stupid people lists many pages long. So I thought I’d try making a list of my own. Here it is:

My stupid people list

As you might possibly observe, it’s a decidedly short list. I can’t think of a single stupid person.

I can think of plenty of stupid things that have been said by a great many people (including some by yours truly).

I can think of plenty of stupid ideas that have been held by a great many people (including some by yours truly).

I can think of plenty of stupid actions that have been performed by a great many people (including some by yours truly).

I only see the words, ideas or actions as stupid, never the speaker, thinker or actor. Am I the only person with this perspective?

So the sixty-four thousand dollar question is: Is this (a) a stupid perspective, (b) the perspective of a stupid person, or (c) something else?


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Musical Monday (2022/08/08) Cassandra

I confess I’m an ABBA fan – particularly their later songs. I had a fondness for the upbeat style and fashion sense of the early ABBA era (hey don’t knock it. 70’s fashion may seem strange today, but back then it was all the rage), but my fondness of their music increased as their style became less disco-ish, less party-ish. I have a number of ABBA CDs, mostly compilations, including ABBA Gold, and still play them regularly.

Cassandra is one of my favourite ABBA songs (there are many). It tells the pain of Cassandra on the day after the sacking of Troy. She is a figure from Greek mythology who had been granted the gift of prophesy by Apollo as a token of his love for her. Cassandra spurned his advances, so not being able to take back his gift he added a curse that resulted in Cassandra’s prophesies never being believed.

A sad but beautiful song, Cassandra was released in October 1982 as the B side of their single The Day Before You Came, another favourite of mine.

Cassandra – ABBA, Lyrics and music: Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus
Cassandra

Down in the street, they're all singing and shouting,
Staying alive though the city is dead.
Hiding their shame behind hollow laughter,
While you are crying alone on your bed.
Pity Cassandra that no one believed you,
But then again you were lost from the start.
Now we must suffer and sell our secrets,
Bargain, playing smart, aching in our hearts.

Sorry Cassandra, I misunderstood
Now the last day is dawning.
Some of us wanted, but none of us would
Listen to words of warning.
But on the darkest of nights
Nobody knew how to fight
And we were caught in our sleep.
Sorry Cassandra, I didn't believe
You really had the power.
I only saw it as dreams you would weave
Until the final hour.

So in the morning your ship will be sailing,
Now that your father and sister are gone.
There is no reason for you to linger,
You're grieving deeply but still moving on.
You know the future is casting a shadow,
No one else sees it, but you know your fate.
Packing your bags, being slow and thorough,
Knowing, though you're late, that ship is sure to wait.

Sorry Cassandra, I misunderstood
Now the last day is dawning.
Some of us wanted, but none of us would
Listen to words of warning.
But on the darkest of nights
Nobody knew how to fight
And we were caught in our sleep.
Sorry Cassandra, I didn't believe
You really had the power.
I only saw it as dreams you would weave
Until the final hour.

I watched the ship leaving harbour at sunrise,
Sails almost slack in the cool morning rain.
She stood on deck, just a tiny figure.
Rigid and restrained, blue eyes filled with pain.

Sorry Cassandra, I misunderstood
Now the last day is dawning.
Some of us wanted, but none of us would
Listen to words of warning.
But on the darkest of nights
Nobody knew how to fight
And we were caught in our sleep.
Sorry Cassandra, I didn't believe
You really had the power.
I only saw it as dreams you would weave
Until the final hour.

I'm sorry Cassandra
I'm sorry Cassandra
I'm sorry Cassandra
I'm sorry Cassandra
I'm sorry Cassandra


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Vaccine resistance.

No, I’m not referring to the ability of pathogens to become resistant to vaccines. Rather, I’m referring to those people who are resistant or hesitant about being vaccinated – particularly regarding covid. Many who understand the wisdom/necessity of taking precautions to limit the spread and harmful outcomes of the current pandemic, take a dim view of those who hold a different view. In fact some comments by otherwise intelligent people indicates that they have little to no sympathy for the unvaxxed, even wishing the unvaxxed succumb to covid as such fools don’t deserve a place in society.

While I have at times felt frustration towards those who fail to understand the benefits of health measures such as vaccinations, masks and social distancing, I do understand that how people think about various aspects of their lives are not usually based on willful ignorance. There’s usually many aspects of one’s background and experience that goes into how we develop the perspectives and attitudes we hold. An obvious example is how I, and most autistics, perceive and think of autism compared to those who are not autistic.

When it comes to resistance and hesitance towards vaccinations, there does appear to be more at play than stupidity. The University of Otago’s Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Study – an ongoing longitudinal study of children born in the city of Dunedin in 1971-1972 indicates that adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are the most solid indicator of whether or not one is likely to be resistant or hesitant to vaccination.

At the extreme end they may have been sexually abused, been exposed to extreme violence, or psychological abuse. Others have been neglected, grown up in chaotic environments, left on their own or isolated in school. The study, now 50 years in the making, has shown that victims of ACE end up being slow learners at school, and by their early teens have concluded that their health outcomes are not under their own control.

By their late teens, it is apparent that they dropped out of education early, and have a below average reading ability. They are also suspicious of the motive of others, and tend to misunderstand information when under stress. By the age of 45 they are likely to have a lower socioeconomic status, be less verbally adept, be slow information processors, and have less practical health knowledge.

What perhaps is significant is that victims of ACE see themselves as nonconformists who value personal freedoms over social norms, whose distrust of authority figures runs high. And herein lies a problem. Measures to counter the pandemic, be they mandates or advisories are viewed with suspicion. The time for reasonable dialogue is long gone – by 30 or more years. When study participants were 15 years old, they were asked to complete a checklist of “things you want to know more about if you are going to be a parent”. 73% checked immunisation. That was when the discussion should have taken place.

Let me quote from the findings of the longitudinal study regarding vaccine resistance and hesitancy:

Today‘s Vaccine Hesitant and Resistant individuals are stuck in an uncertain situation where fast-incoming and complex information about vaccines generates extreme negative emotional reactions (and where pro-vaccination messaging must vie against anti-vaccination messaging that amplifies extreme emotions). Unfortunately, these individuals appear to have diminished capacity to process the information on their own. The results here suggest that, to prepare for future pandemics, education about viruses and vaccines before or during secondary schooling could reduce citizens‘ level of uncertainty in a future pandemic, prevent ensuing extreme emotional distress reactions, and provide people with a pre-existing knowledge framework and positive attitudes that enhance receptivity to future health messaging. Moreover, many of the factors in the backgrounds of Vaccine-Hesitant and -Resistant Dunedin participants are factors that could be tackled to improve population health in general, such as childhood adversity, low reading levels, mental health, and health knowledge.

Deep-seated psychological histories of COVID-19 vaccine hesitance and resistance (unedited version) – Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ

As always, the Dunedin longitudinal study provides a unique insight into significant aspects of a cohort of individuals born in 1971 & 1972, and the findings pose as many, if not more questions than they answer. With regards to handling future pandemics (and there will be future pandemics), this particular survey points to what needs to be done. What it can’t do is provide leads into how it might be done. Any suggestions?

Sources for this blog post:
Deep-seated psychological histories of COVID-19 vaccine hesitance and resistance (.pdf file)
Covid-19: Vaccine resistance’s roots in negative childhood experiences (RNZ)
Dunedin Study sheds light on New Zealand’s successful vaccination rates (Otago University news)


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Musical Monday (2021/03/14) Don’t Dream It’s Over

Composed and written by band member Neil Finn, Don’t Dream it’s Over was recorded in 1986 by Crowded House for their first studio album, and was released as a single the same year. I was first attracted to it by the musical effects – the Hammond organ and an almost R&B baseline and I didn’t take much notice the lyrics at all, assuming they were referring to a relationship under stress.

I didn’t see the official music video until several decades later, by which time I had become more familiar with the lyrics and saw them as an expression of hope and unity. I guess, like any great song, it is capable of being interpreted in many different ways depending on the needs of the listener.

Don’t Dream It’s Over topped the charts in Aotearoa and Canada and peaked in the top ten in Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, Poland, Belgium and the USA, and in the top 20 in Germany. In 2001 it was ranked second on the Top 100 New Zealand songs of all time.

Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House 1986

Don’t Dream It’s Over

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Now I'm towing my car, there's a hole in the roof
My possessions are causing me suspicion but there's no proof
In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the T.V. page

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Now I'm walking again to the beat of a drum
And I'm counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and release

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Don't let them win (hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now)
Hey now, hey now
Don't let them win (they come, they come)
Don't let them win (hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now)


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Musical Monday (2022/01/03) Kōauau

Creative Commons: Kete New Plymouth

Today’s music is somewhat different in that the title of this post refers not to a song but to a musical instrument – the kōauau. This a traditional Māori instrument usually made from wood or bone and often elaborately carved. It one of many types of flute used by Māori and produces, at least to my ear, a hauntingly beautiful sound.

To western ears, traditional Māori music (as opposed to modern forms of Māori music) does not use musical scales with specifically set notes or tones, but instead uses microtones that slide, instead of stepping, from one tone to the next. To the Western ear it may sound monotonous and somewhat mournful or melancholic, but then to those who are more familiar with forms of traditional Asian music, Western music sounds similarly monotonous and dull.

I frequently suffer migraines at which times many sounds become unpleasant and painful. This often includes music especially if percussion instruments are present or where the tune generates a beat or repetitive pattern. Usually the human voice is fine, but if accompanied by piano, guitar or similarly struck or picked instruments, the result is at best unpleasant during a migraine. Interestingly, during a migraine attack, most drum sounds are unpleasant, with the exception of taiko drums, which I actually enjoy. I have no idea why that might be.

I find the microtonal sliding shifts created by the koauau and many other traditional Māori wind instruments very soothing to the soul when a migraine interferes with my ability to feel human. At such times, the haunting sounds of the koauau and similar instruments provide an anchor to reality – the knowledge that I actually exist.

Here are a few Youtube video clips that convey the sound of the koauau. The first clip includes an accompanying guitar, which can be unpleasant depending on the nature of the migraine.

Traditional kōauau sound with accompanying guitar

I find this next clip absolutely beautiful. The koauau is accompanied unobtrusively by traditional percussion instruments, and if you listen carefully, you’ll also hear the purerehua (bullroarer).

koauau accompanied by purerehua and percussion instruments.

Finally, a video clip where taonga pūoro(taonga: Treasure, pūoro: sounds/vibrations of nature), Māori musical instruments, are combined through the magic of modern technology into my ideal “migraine music”. It’s doubtful that traditional musical instruments were played together as an ensemble. It seems to have been a single instrument played alone or accompanying the human voice.

Experience Jerome’s collection of around 40 unique and rare Māori musical instruments from Nguru (Whale tooth nose flute) to Pōrutu Pounamu (Greenstone long flute), Kōauau Toroa (albatross wing bone flute) to the unique Pūtōrino (a cocoon shaped bugle flute made from the mighty totara tree)


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Winter meals

Winter and Meals go together so nicely, and this winter has been no different. And we’re not going to let the inconvenience of a lockdown get in the way. The video clip is here to remind me of the pleasure I get sharing meals with the wife and whānau. If you enjoy it too, so much the better.

The meals have been made by the wife and/or myself. Care to speculate who cooked what?