Month: May 2015

New Zealand’s Vanishing Medium

A few weeks ago I saw Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Civic, part of the New Zealand International Film Festival’s Autumn Series. During the interval (yes, an interval, apparently the way Kubrick originally intended it to be shown) a friend observed that movie-going is becoming a special event. It’s true, going to the cinema is becoming antiquated, a non-essential mean of consuming film in an age of the Pirate Bay and, if you’ll believe them, Lightbox. Our environment naturally emphasised this view, the Civic’s warm stately glow, the glittering flamingos and crouching tigers. And then the film was introduced in person by the director of the NZIFF, and was concluded by enthusiastic applause. Definitely an event. Despite all this, as I sat watching HAL‘s murderous campaign I had a nagging feeling that my options for watching films are dwindling and that, paradoxically, going to the Civic may soon become my only option if I want to see certain films. This probably sounds crazy. The Civic may have been one of New Zealand’s first movie …

Blam Spam Thank You Sam

Spam. What is it? A question which has no doubt crossed the mind of anyone who has for the first time devoured the contents of a can of this most ubiquitous frankenfood. Spam sludged it’s way into an unsuspecting post war global consciousness (and stomach) with relative ease. It is one of a select group of consumer food products that has been absorbed into a multitude of local diets, transcending it’s role as a “Specially Processed American Meat”. The story of Spam is an American one, but it’s origins are deeply entrenched in the front lines of the Napoleonic wars. “An army marches on it’s stomach” are words made famous by Napoleon Bonaparte, words that the French Emperor had difficulty fulfilling during his conquest of Europe. In 1795 Napoleon offered up 12,000 francs as reward to anyone who could devise a method of preserving food that would help keep the troops on the front line moving forward and fed. In 1810 the challenge was taken up by a French confectioner by the name of Nicolas …