In reviews – 1st December ’23

by | Nov 29, 2023

Looking back over the past week and to the weeks ahead – to rate the noteworthy, the cringeworthy, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly amazing.

Not all heroes wear capes

Each week I send hours looking for appropriate stories to review and I have to admit, it can be a struggle to find the positives. I keep reminding myself of all the good that there is and all the good people who do marvellous and surprising things. Sometimes I will Google ‘good news stories’ and the results are disappointing. I avoid as many negative headlines as possible and struggle on through the mirky waters.

So this week I stumbled across a real beaut, a tale of heroics, from an Australian teen who took the initiative and saved a busload of school kids from potential disaster.

“Izzy Miller, 14, was chatting to her friend last Wednesday when she noticed the bus start moving towards the North Casino Mini Mart – with no one in the driver’s seat. Miller sprang into action, jumping into the driver’s seat and quickly finding the brake to stop the impending disaster.

“Everyone was freaking out … no one was doing anything to stop the bus, so I ran up the front of the bus and steered it away from getting hit,’ the year 9 student told The Today Show.” (Source: “Australian teen stops runaway bus from crashing into petrol station,” by Jessica McSweeney, 29 November, www.stuff.co.nz).

Top drawer stuff! We all hope we have what it takes, when it matters, to prevent something catastrophic. That a 14 year old had the presence of mind to take the wheel and avert disaster is inspiring.

5 stars – what could have been a far different story changed by quick thinking and courage.

Rock poet leaves indelible mark on popular culture

With the news today of the passing of Shane MacGowan, after the death earlier in the year of Sinead O’Connor, we’ve now lost two troubled, unique, immensely talented singers, whose work will resonate for many many decades.

I bought the Pogues first three albums in the 1980s and played them incessantly. MacGowan not only possessed an idiosyncratic voice with a peerless snarl, but his songwriting achieved the seemingly impossible – creating tunes that sounded as if they had existed for years. The Pogues took Irish music and turned it on its head and more than that, made it popular by creating songs that sounded traditional but with contemporary bite.

Whilst one of their most famous songs was MacGowan’s least favourite, “Fairy Tale of New York” is one of the more popular Christmas tunes. My mum loved it, we even played it at her funeral.

5 stars – a brilliant singer songwriter who leaves more than a mark on the world.

Seriously mate

Wayne Brown, the overseer of the ‘super’ city of Auckland has a real gift for opening his mouth when it would be more prudent not to. When asked about his plans to introduce congestion charges to users of some Auckland roads he was dismissive of any consultation.

Seemingly Mr Brown has no time for anyone asking practical questions or raising issues that he may not have considered. When probed about the equity of road charges, with tradies cited as an example, he replied: “‘Is it unfair on everybody else that has paid for that road and doesn’t use it? I mean, this equity stuff’s bollocks, this is about traffic.

‘As far as tradies go though, so $2 or $3 to get a tradie off the road, they should have been at work by then anyhow, for a start and, they could start a bit earlier. And tradies charge out at a hell of a rate these days, mate, they won’t even notice it.’” (Source: “Wayne Brown calls congestion charge consultation and equity ‘bollocks'”, by Erin Johnson, Nov 15, www.stuff.co.nz).

How disappointing that anyone in such a powerful position would be so woefully ignorant. No, Mr Brown, tradies do notice it, they also travel extensively on our clogged roads everyday, and they deserve better than the mad ramblings of someone who should know better.

0 stars – or to paraphrase, ‘bollocks’. PS – how’s removing all those cones going?

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