facebook   twitter   mail  

The Gisborne Photo News




with Uncle Wal

When pharmacist Nigel Campbell moves his shop from Ballance Street across the street to Ormond Road, he'll be taking along his collection of CD's - "I wouldn't move without my jazz!" Thousands of customers at Pharmacy 53 over the years have been treated to the shop's ambience of cool music, played continually on a rotating carousel. Nigel, who was raised at Whataupoko, became interested in jazz 14 years ago when he began taking piano lessons (as a midday break from work) from Mary-Anne Lomas, a teacher who was interested in the skills of improvisation. Nigel is now a fan, in particular, of alto man Stan Getz and composer Antonio Carlos Jobin. Through 1992-93 he sponsored and compered the weekly "Jazz Hour" on 89FM. He has also arranged concerts in Gisborne of numerous jazz musicians, among them Mike Nock, Peter Barwickand Tony Hopkins. A daughter, Hannah Campbell, now plays jazz piano. Nigel sums up: "If I've got my jazz and a good cup of coffee, I could work anywhere!"

Are exotic, temperamental (and sometimes aggressive) cats taking over in Gisborne from our ordinary moggies? A local man might have wondered that when he emerged, naked, from his shower and was confronted by a Burmese tom which had jumped in through a back window. Our man, feeling extremely vulnerable in his "birthday suit", waved his towel frantically, but the cat stood its ground, staring him in the eye. The man put the cat to flight only after his wife slipped him a walking-stick through the door. A Gisborne vet confirms that exotic breeds with fancy names, including Blue Points, Abyssinian, Oriental Lynx and Chinchilla, are proving increasingly popular. And because they are bred from a "narrower genetic base", they can have unusual traits in their character.

Motorists whose cars have failed warrant checks at the Vehicle Testing Station tend to grumble that the inspectors have "got tougher". They're not wrong. The manager, Shorty Rogers, says that as part of their national road safety campaign and the efforts of the Land Transport Safety Authority there has been some tightening up - "The regulations are the same, but checks are more thorough." And the District Council has adopted the ISO 9002 standard for vehicle safety. There are other complex factors involved in the new safety policy. Citizens concerned about the injury and death toll on the roads will not complain too much.

Congratulations are due to the various factions who resolved their differences over the Fitzherbert Street rose garden in time for the project to go ahead. Too often, in the past, wrangles or short-sightedness have resulted in lost opportunities. Uncle Wal recalls one occasion when a public-spirited gardener hit on the novel approach, as a promotional idea, of planting orange trees each side of the main road leading into Gisborne from the south. City fathers, however, turned it down flat. Why? Because children would pick the fruit! Not long afterwards Tauranga promoted the Orange Queen concept which established Tauranga as the "citrus capital". It's a bit sad when you consider that Gisborne is New Zealand's biggest producer of navel oranges.

Many years ago there was a sub-editor on the Gisborne Herald, Bill James, who was a First World War veteran. He greatly admired the poet Laurence Binyon and used to quote to younger colleagues the famous line, in tribute to the Fallen, "They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old..." He was intrigued by the positioning of the word "not" for greater emphasis. Bill certainly would not have approved of a slip in the clues of a recent N.Z. Listener crossword misquoting the line as" They shall not grow old..." A rare slip from that highly literate journal. It's likely that Binyon's poem is the most quoted of any verse in New Zealand, bearing in mind its association with Anzac Day, and its use by the R.S.A. Clubs throughout New Zealand when the Last Post is sounded "at the going down of the sun".

Speaking of the Listener, we thank writer Toni McRae for some intriguing news about British actor Geoffrey Hughes (Onslow in "Keeping Up Appearances"). Turns out that the scruffy cap which Onslow wears (in and out of bed) is a souvenir of New Zealand, given to him by a Kiwi truckie when he was touring this country with the play "Run For Your Wife" in the mid-'eighties. Geoffrey is now in Australasia with another comedy, "Only When I Laugh".

Your Uncle Wal has some sympathy for Gisborne traffic wardens who have been criticised by district councillors and motorists for being over-zealous. Surely it is the councillors' responsibility to set the policy for enforcement. Secondly, motorists should appreciate that the wardens serve them by ensuring a fair share of parking spaces in busy streets. In public relations terms, however, the wardens could help their cause by looking a little less stern as they march along the rows of cars, chalk and ticket books in hand. An occasional smile, or even a slight nod of the head to passers-by, could do wonders.

Note: Should you wish, you could write to "Uncle Wal" C/- PO Box 2010 Gisborne.