Only 229 days to go until National Poetry Day!
Yep, now we've stopped counting the days to Christmas we need a new countdown – and I've picked National Poetry Day. Why not? Sadly, as a helpful reader pointed out in a Letter to The Editor last year National Poetry Day, while being celebrated around the country, remained completely overlooked by the good folk of Tauranga – poets and otherwise. But I've been inspired by Mark Gatiss, writer of television's rather wonderful ‘Sherlock' (or The Cumberbatch Porn Hour as some of my lady friends call it), who, in response to a rather snippy critique in United Kingdom's ‘The Guardian', penned a poem in response. Damn fine! What made it all the more entertaining is that exactly the same thing occurred back in 1912 when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself answered the complaints of a critic by taking to verse. Much as I enjoyed Mark Gatiss' poem it, unsurprisingly, was a pale shadow of Conan Doyle's wonderful original, entitled ‘To an Undiscerning Critic'. Here's the rollicking opening couplet: ‘Sure there are times when one cries with acidity, where are the limits of human stupidity?' Go Sir Arthur – lines to live by! It would be nice to think they were also a source for the lovely Einstein quote: “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.” But it seems more likely Einstein never actually said that, no matter how clever he and it are.
But, enough of such tangential trifles – there's a busy weekend of music coming up. No festivals per se for a change so no really, really big gigs. But there are three biggish gigs, one biggish gig in a small venue, and soloists, duos and suchlike all over the place. So let's start with today, January 13. There's a host of original music at Mount Maunganui's The Hop House, a small venue but a great intimate spot to hear bands. Kicking off at 8pm there's Derek Toner (9 Mile Stone) opening with an acoustic set, before Hamilton folk-rock duo Waiting For Alaska take the stage. They released a self-titled album in October and very good it is too. Recorded in Auckland it features the warm rich vocals of both Aaron Gott and Amy Maynard and some smooth melodic playing. You can find it online. The headline act is Apollo Steam Train, Brendan McCarthy's new three-piece who've just been down playing in Palmerston North for New Year's Eve and are getting ready for a busy 2017. They released a single just before Christmas, which you can check out on all digital platforms. Tickets are $8, a great deal for three great acts. If you want something a little more laid-back, young singer-songwriter Coral Pitcher is at The Phoenix on The Strand from 9.30pm.
Okay. On Saturday, January 14. There's a lot on, three big gigs and heaps more. The first is The Katikati Avocado Festival running from 11am to 6pm. There'll be a whole bunch of food and wine obviously and music comes courtesy of Wellington's Beat Girls and our very own Kokomo. Find more info on Facebook or Eventfinda. The second big gig is that night at The Mount's Totara Street performance venue and is a feast of reggae-based entertainment as ManaLion and Tunes Of I hit town and get local support from Big Q and Izzy Bones. Things start jamming at 8pm and cost $20. The third gig one means a drive out to the Waihi Beach Hotel, but there you can catch Dunedin indie band Albion Place doing a free gig with Auckland's Lakes. I'd say 9pm would be a good time to arrive. Saturday also has a comedy night at the Hop House and that afternoon there's bluesman Mike Garner playing with multi-instrumentalist Robbie Laven at Brew Craft Beer Pub on The Strand. That's also free. Forget Sunday, you'll be too tired. Catch you next week – enjoy the music!