Tuesday 18 September:
Amazing how long it takes to prepare visual presentations for something like my 'New Zealand Natural World' session at the Frankfurt Bookfair on the 12th. But many thanks to John Crawford of Natural History New Zealand for coming up at short notice with a 'show reel' of NZ landscape and nature subjects. Brilliant. But will my Apple stuff work with whatever gear is over there? I'm not a technophobe (maybe technosceptic) but too much time is deleted from meaningful work periods by satisfying the demands of the latest gadgetry - like this blog!
The Frankfurt literary programme looks reasonably diverse, given the constraints and distortions of the lead-in time, tight budgets and the need to take advantage of those writers who happen to be over there at this time. The criterion of having a German publisher also means a lot of excellent writers were simply not eligible. I'm not sure that all of this explains, however, the absence of any sessions related to NZ history and biography. We have no history?? Or no-one is interested in our history?? I suspect, also, that many Germans and other Europeans travel to NZ for its scenery, natural world and outdoor attractions. And a high proportion of all this is in the South Island. Looks like I'm largely carrying the flag for both - the only other SI writer I can identify is Paddy Richardson. More to come.
I picked up the other day that Whale Oil, aka Cameron Slater, described me as a 'bearded, weirdo academic' on his blog for daring to suggest in the Herald that the current government might pay at the next election if it didn't take on board the Electoral Commission's recommendations for improvements to MMP. 'Bearded'? Full marks. 'Weirdo'? Sounds self-reflective. 'Academic?' Never attended university although, I hasten to add, some of my best friends etc... Slater reckons I'm wrong because most people out there don't give a damn about the electoral system. Given that it upsets him so much, he clearly doesn't speak for them.