21 May 2010


All images Mr Mwezi
(from the top: doing the lawns; roasting coconuts; women walking past a car.)

We are all aware that radio is a powerful medium which can be used creatively to inspire, inform and educate young people. 
For many children in parts of the world where books are a luxury and internet connectivity is rare and expensive, the medium of  radio connects young  people to one another, broadens their horizons and opens up a world of ideas, imagination  and communications.
So, at a time when ‘coalition’ and ‘collaboration’  are  suddenly fashionable in the world of politics, I was very pleased  to hear of a collaborative partnership  between BBC and commercial radio to launch a Radio Amnesty.
The Amnesty is being supported by major manufacturers and the majority of retailers in the UK and launches this week.
The premise is that radio listeners will be invited to trade in their old portable analogue radios for a spanking new DAB radio.
.Participating retailers will offer a variety of discounts between 22nd May and 26th June on a selected range of DAB radios.
When customers hand in their old battery-operated portable radios, the radios  will be collected from a central point and those in reasonable working order will be  re-conditioned, re-packaged and distributed to children's charities in South Africa. Radios not reconditioned will be recycled under the WEEE (the Environment Agency's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive).
Amongst the projects being supported by this laudable enterprise is an initiative at the Red Cross War Memorial  Children's Hospital in Cape Town, to establish a Hospital Radio Station. The Children's Radio Foundation (CRF)  is already  working with a group of long-term young patients, encouraging and training them to produce their own radio stories which will be broadcast on the CRF  weekly show in South Africa, The Radio Workshop, 
Many of these children face not only dreadful poverty and a lack of educational resources, but also cope with appalling rates of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids
The reconditioned radios will be made available to children in hospital wards, enabling them to tune into the magical world of radio, and once the in-house hospital radio station is established, the radios will enable children to participate in and enjoy their own radio station.
Additional radios will also be distributed to children in areas of extreme poverty, such as northern KwaZulu-Natal, were the Radio Workshop helps to train young reporters to produce radio  programmes in their home language of isiZulu, and host a monthly radio show in the local community radio station.
Some of the homesteads are so poor in this area  that very few families have the luxury of a radio,  and where families are fortunate enough to own one, it is usually  the adults who choose the stations and programmes. The donations from the Radio Amnesty will give young people the opportunity to to listen to their local community station, and also to hear the voices of their peers and role models.
In addition to benefitting from  trading in an ‘old for new’ radio,  if you participate in the Radio Amnesty, you will be helping a deserving  and worthwhile cause.  Please note that only battery operated radios can be reconditioned (due to health and safety guidelines mains operated radios cannot be included)
You can get more information on the Radio Amnesty by visiting www.getdigitalradio.com
Do listen out for the trails, voiced by Stephen Fry, and which will be broadcast on Radio 2, 4 and 7 starting this weekend
The Children's Radio Foundation is a small charity, endorsed by  Kofi Annan. All the Foundation's project work is done in the poorer areas of South Africa, where they are dedicated to children learning through radio.
You can find out more about the CRF on www.childrensradiofoundation.org
As Kofi Annan states on the web-site…"…..give children a voice…or rather voices, since there are millions of them, and they will have many different and exciting things to tell us…. We should be all ears!"
Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes BBC Radio 7

Last communication from Missfreducation

A Melodrama

A mantra
that ticks
an ultimatum
in a melodrama
on top of the piano.
You don’t need to turn to Mecca
to gauge the answer.
It’s in your own back yard
flapping amongst the wet clothes
and you avoid the garden hose
As it waters the parched lawn
and I hear you moan
as the grass is mown
lower and lower
till all the short and curlies
are gone.
by Joselyn Duffy Morton ©

Stephen O’R’s Oz
Ahoy me hearties, the 18 year sailor made it around the world. 10,000 welcomed her back.
This week in Oz we are assailed with protests from the mining industry. Now for those of youse who don’t know, Australia has been living of digging up millions of tons of iron, copper, lead and coal and shipping it off around the world.
In the land of OZ Gubment gets a slice of every ton of stuff that is exported. Therefore we can live gathered around our big plasma and LCD screens to watch Avatar and the four different football codes a beer in one hand and a cheeky Pinot in the other.
Prawns are flown in from Vietnam and Thailand – the posh people eat Australian pawns in restaurants.  Fish and chips are less likely to be shark and chips nowadays and more likely to be Basa from the Mekong – laced with trace elements Giant feedlots provide us with tough beefsteak for ridiculously low prices and cheap white garlic is flown in along with everything else from China.
The easy life is no longer provided by the sheep’s back or the Iraqi wheat market, these days it comes courtesy of the Chinese economic expansion.  Some of us actually work in the mining industry earning thousands of dollars a week for sweeping up or driving digging equipment. A berth at a caravan park rents for $1000 a week and $2500 will get you a three-bed dump in a mining town. Local councils offering $34000 a year lose their clerical staff to the mines. Farmers can’t afford to compete with the miners and therefore can’t hire cowboys or pickers.  The local infrastructure in mining regions is overwhelmed and a two-tiered economy has become the norm. If you’re on a mining company payroll you can afford the rent and the frozen peas or prawns and if you’re not you can’t. The local McDonalds brings in its workers from the Philippines, pays them more than a grand a week and provides a bed for them to sleep in.
Austraya is close to China, we have a stable Gubment, heaps of iron, gas, gold for neck and wrist decoration and of course coal to heat the planet and power the steel mills and factories. We don’t have Muslim or Christian extremists, our indigenous people are too nice and too few to claim what is really theirs and everybody - well most people- is pretty happy. This is, as long as they have a plasma, a commodore (now increasing being replaced by the ‘truck’ a fat ugly vehicle with two or four seats, four wheel drive and a tray on the back) summit to eat and summit to drink.
The 18 to 30 year olds are keeping up with young people everywhere and drinking themselves to oblivion while a few film stars – our Rusty and our Kate - keep us in the movie game on the red carpets at LA and Cannes.
So it’s a paradise right! Now along comes Kev the Prime Minister who gets a major review of the tax collection business in OZ done. Out of the 140 or so recommendations Kev picks out one - a SUPER TAX on mining profits.
His point is the stuff belongs to all us ozzies and the foreign mining companies are getting more than they deserve of OUR golden goose. His experts have worked out that demand is high, we are well located, and a 57% tax is not going to knock the miners too hard, so we are going to have the SUPER TAX. This is definitely going to pay for a few plasmas and provide quite a few pollies round the world junkets.
Now Kev the PM knows the SUPER TAX is not going to go unnoticed because the miners have very full pockets and know how to hire spin-doctors and each day those of us who read, chuckle over the appalling winging protests that will give the Newspaper publishers a lift. Since the rivers of gold (classified ads) were diverted off to the net, the papers are reliant on political ads for a bit of cream.
The conservative opposition leader, Tony Abbot, mad monk failed priest, appears on TV nightly either in brief little budgie smugglers, or pink Lycra cycling gear. He won a blue at Oxford for boxing and his politicking consists of snappy little punches –some just above the belt – and quite a few below. This Rhodes scholar said on TV this Monday that “he doesn’t always tell the truth- sometimes he gets carried away a bit”. Not a bad line for someone about to start an election campaign. Anyway no prizes for guessing he is opposed to the SUPER TAX because it will kill the Golden Goose that allows him to cycle and swim instead of coming up with policies. His favourite line is Labour is just going to put a ‘GREAT BIG TAX ON EVERYTHING’. He blocked the climate change legislation and then berated our Kev the PM for not fighting hard enough for it.
We will get little updates on the TV news just before the Lotto results and just after the footy scores.  Most of us don’t read the big papers and just page three and the sports pages of the rags. The election will happen around Spring just as the weather warms up a bit and then off we will go to the polling booths – if we don’t, we will be fined $150 – that’s how keen we are on the politics in OZ.
So will the Golden Goose survive? Will the pugilist get in the knock-out blow and Govern by decree from the triathlon losers tent? Time will tell.
My cultural night out was to go to the NSW Premiers Literary Awards at the Art Gallery where excellent red wind was served with dinner. My wife was there to pick up her mate’s cheque for $30,000 for the film script for ‘Bright Star’ and the rest of the $300,000 went to a great collection of writers all of whom seemed to be real people who made good but short and modest speeches after kissing the tall American girl who is playing Premier at the moment. She is charming and good at smiling but nothing will save this disgusting corrupt State Labour Gubment. So desperate they are that they have finally chosen a woman who can talk in an attempt to divert the voters from their appalling record.
The heavy rain is here to confirm winter is close behind and keep those boxing housewives from waking me in the mornings.
Stephen O’Rourke
Holiday-makers taking the scenic coastal road between Perth and Broome used to spend the night in the Pilbara's largest town, Port Hedland. But these days, every spare bed has been taken over by mining employees.
The four youth hostels have all been leased to the mining companies. Visitors with tents can camp in the town's racetrack. Those without, however, have no choice but to keep moving and that’s not easy. Broome is 600 kilometers north and Karratha is 160 250 kilometers south. The routes are particularly hazardous at night, when drivers can't easily see bounding kangaroos before they hop onto the highway. (ed)

Photo by Mr Mwezi

14 May 2010

These images of Bangkok were taken by Chris Mougne before she flew out of Bangkok at the beginning of May. Since then the situation has sadly deteriorated. The anti-government demonstrators are still there and the violence has increased. So much so that the American and British have now closed their embassies in Bangkok. According to the news, there are now sounds of gunfire every five minutes. The government troops appear to be heavily armed. The anti-government demonstrators have old tyres and sharpened bamboo sticks. I’m not sure what else. Determination?
Joselyn Morton

All images by Mr Mwezi

Jarvis Cocker

Hello again,
It’s been a week of mixed feelings: anticipation, elation, deflation, disappointment, gains, losses, hopes and joys for some.
No, I'm not talking about the political situation in the UK, but a week of extraordinary activity across the radio industry.
On Monday evening the prestigious Sony Radio Academy Awards were held, to celebrate excellence and success in radio programmes both from the BBC and the commercial sector. Radio practitioners turn out in force for this annual occasion, with awards given in 35 categories. BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans hosted the evening, and the first award, for DAB Rising Star, went to BBC 6 Music presenter, Jarvis Cocker, who gave a very stirring acceptance speech. 6 Music went on to win a second Gold in the Comedy Category thanks to Adam and Joe. BBC Radio 7 was nominated in the Best Competition Category, for Chain Gang, and we were all delighted that, in a highly ‘competitive’ category, it won Silver. The judges commented "This was a very unique competition and made great listening and, if it had run on a bigger station, maybe the whole of the UK would have been talking about it".
I was pleased to note that in the glossy programme, alongside credits for the Author, Producer, Presenter, .Broadcast Assistants and Cast, the credit for "Storylines, Series Title, and Acting Extras was: Radio 7 listeners. So, a big thank you to all our listeners who contributed to our award-winning programme.
One of the highlights of the evening was the acceptance speech from David Attenborough who was awarded Gold for Speech Broadcaster of the Year. Sir David said,
"Television is a doddle, Radio terrifies me. I think it's extraordinarily difficult. Congratulations to you all who work in it - I didn't think I'd be able to! Thank you very much indeed for this magnificent award."
For a full list of Sony winners, go to www.radioawards.org/.
The other important radio date for us was on Thursday, when the RAJAR figures (Radio Joint Audience Research Ltd) were released for the period 4th January to 28th March 2010. The results are very strong all-round, with BBC Radio 1, 2, 6Music, 1Xtra and Radio 7 achieving their highest figures ever. Our ‘sister station’ Radio 4 now has over 10 million listeners, and in the BBC's digital family, two networks have now reached that magic million figure: 6Music's audience has grown to a record 1.02 million listeners, and our own dear Radio 7 has soared to its biggest audience to date, with 1.05 million listeners. This is all good news, and I am grateful to everyone in our small team of 17 people for consistently delivering top quality programmes for you to enjoy. And of course, my thanks to you and all our listeners, for supporting and staying with us, in the increasingly competitive world of radio.
Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7
Roger Morton Photos


Andy Warhol, Jordan and Diane Vreeland (the then-editor of American Vogue).

On Wednesday, a self-portrait of Andy Warhol was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $32 million. Warhol painted it a year before his death in 1987. It sold for twice the pre-sale estimate. A week ago, a Picasso evidently sold for $106.5 mill.


The promise of Picasso
is a slate we like to imitate.
A power-house pushing boundaries
and ivory towers aside.
In a slide that denotes
a new master.
Defying the norm,
in the eye of the storm.
Upsetting the status quo
until the bidders accept
the art and then
the price goes right
through the roof
and another promise is
a reality and now that’s
the price we pay.
by Joselyn Duffy Morton ©

Christchurch the Vatican of the South Seas - a ramble down memory road 
In the early seventies at the Royal Court in London I was in a production of an Australian Play Don’s Party and shared a dressing room with a gay guy, Max, who was not only a very interesting performer but also wrote and illustrated Gay action comics. The characters in these comics were dressed in leather jackets and leather caps and they all had these enormous penises with which they used to do the things that gay guys do a lot of.
One night after the show Max had a couple of visitors including an American singer named Johnnie Ray. JohnnieRay had been big in the 1950’s and I had heard his songs on the radio as a kid. He was a ‘crier’ – that is a singer whose voice ‘broke’ during ‘emotional’ moments. One of his hits was  The Little Cloud that Cried. Weird stuff.
Now if you just went by looks you would not have picked this guy as a rock‘n roll singer, or even gay. He was dressed in conservative ‘jacket and slacks’ and had the sort of haircut your mum always wanted you to get. I reckon Johnnie would have voted Republican because I once worked with Dennis Hopper who voted Republican and he dressed the same way.
So anyway Johnniethought I was cute (understandably) and after he praised my performance he looked deep into my eyes and asked
“how do you do that” (my performance I guess) and then
“where do you come from?”
Christchurch” says I.
“Oh - the Vatican of the South Seas” says he.
Now you have to admit that sounds cute and for many years I just enjoyed the cuteness of it but when I finally got around to asking why the Johnnie Ray web site told me he had passed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnnie_Ray
So what’s the concept of the Vatican? Lies - men in dresses and little hats - vulgar displays of wealth. Massive crowds with 5-hour of waiting to get inside St Peters where guides point out how big it is in comparison to the cathedral where you come from
“This is where St. Patrick’s in New York City comes to” etc.
What about the sheer power of the Vatican with its ability to ruin the lives of millions (contraceptives in Central America, South America and Africa. The damage done relating to spread of Aids and HIV to innocent women and children)
Was it the duplicity? 
We will never know so I guess we have to just enjoy it as a cute quote.
Christchurch still uses English signifers of class difference (for class read money) such as camel hair coats, green English wellies, Range rovers and the centrally located Christ’s College is maintained in splendid Edwardian Style - even the modern additions are Edwardian-influenced. 
The school is open down the north side as it fronts a shallow river about 7 metres wide and we across the water see the little courtyards and sitting areas where the little rich kids play happily.
On the other side of the river was the place where the youth of Christchurch weighed in for rugby season. (Christ’s teams were the easiest to beat) and just past this is the toilet block where 6 young jokers waited one autumn night in mid-nineteen sixties for a ‘poofter’ to appear so they could bash him.
A poofter did appear and they bashed him to death. The police had found all by 7am next morning and 5 out of the six gave a statement to the police outlining what they had done the night before. The sixth got legal advice and did not make a statement.
When they appeared in court the charges were dropped because the police had not carried out the interviews strictly according to the rules. So six young thugs were set free and were never punished for the murder.
Is this the sort of thing that would happen in the Vatican? Did the lawyer who instigated the request for the charges to be dropped have no sense of right or wrong or did the fact that the victim was gay make his death meaningless.
The local papers contained furious letters against this injustice for a day or so and then things just reverted to normal.
I remember as a 20-year-old acting student being taking to a party by a famous man who was the quizmaster for the bright kids quiz show. We walked into a fairly crowded suburban lounge room where the GP I had been to see some days earlier was sucking the penis of what appeared to be a 14 year old boy. Weird stuff I thought.
Was I being groomed by this Max guy?
Was this what Johnny would call the ‘Vatican of the South Seas’? Given what is now coming out about catholic priests I could make the link.
Christchurch the Garden City, where ‘naice’ people greet each other with a loud ‘Hi ee’, has a great Botanical Gardens with a fabulous collection of trees especially the Californian redwood. A small version of Kew Gardens but better for it. Where people don’t say what they think or feel, where you are likely to be punched in the face before you know you have become a target. Where the cold winds blow from the south in the morning and the northeast in the afternoon.
My favourite wind was always the North Wester. After travelling from the Tasman Sea this wind dropped its rain on the West Coast before warming Christchurch for days at a time. It was wonderful – endless days at the otherwise cold beaches and warm nights where you could sleep outside on the deep wide verandahs (if only we had had them like those American movies set in the south did.)
In fact it was America that the great unwashed dreamed off, not the Vatican and I think
today it remains the same. ‘Lump without leaven’ said one poet and ‘our talent is for anger and monotony’ said another.
The director of Lord of the rings made a film a while back - Kate Winslet’s first, called Heavenly Creatures.
It was set in Christchurch and told the story of two teenage girls slip into insanity whilst developing their dream - to go to Hollywood and write songs and films for Mario Lanza, a great star of the times.
We watched as these two funny irreverent teens lost touch with reality while their parents and all the adults surrounding them looked on without intervening.
I was shocked when they beat one of the mothers to death with a brick in a stocking and freaked by the way the girls had been ignored.
As a child I often walked passed the spot where ‘the two lezzos did it’ feeling a sense of awe. I went to see a shrink to discuss my reaction to the film but the memory of that has passed.
People often get killed around the Vatican or when they go abroad like the Vatican Banker found hung under a bridge on the Thames in the financial district of London.
Whatever JohnnieRay meant, I think I get it on an intuitive level. I will continue to be drawn back for some reason or other, especially in the Autumn when the leaves turn yellow and the darkness comes early over the parks and the golf course where I made love to a wonderful girl, who later became a poet, surrounded by lights, a whirr of cars heading home for tv and mashed potatoes.  
Stephen O’Rourke, Sydney 


Kumeu vendange
I thought I'd write of the harvest and include a few pics.
It was an excellent day, cloudy in the morning, sunny for the afternoon feast. We had about 50 pickers and at least ten tiny people who belonged to them, which meant their mothers didn't pick - they minded. Most of the young (or youngish) were Sam Gribben's friends. We had Rachel, Damien and Roland to represent us and my nephew Luke for the first time. Our, not so young, ask their friends but none of them are interested whereas Sam's friends turn up reliably to every working bee. So it was quickly over and by 1.30pm everyone was ready to make merry which means drinking vast quantities of 'Applefish' and eating the food Trish and I prepare. There was an impromptu band on the lawn which added to the occasion and was inspired by the French couple we stayed with on my last weekend in France. Francis, retired engineer and rugby player (for France) had planted a vineyard near Beaumont and he had a jazz band play while the grapes were being harvested. We didn't manage anything so sophisticated as you will see by the photo.  But most important info is that the brix (sugar content) was the highest ever, 22.5  so it should be a good vintage. Look out for 2010 . We might export some!
Tonia Matthews

Text and photos by Tonia Matthews

Cover photo by Chris Mougne