My love affair with department stores began when I young. When I was a little girl my beloved grandma would sometimes take me, all by myself, to Ballantynes. It was wonderful. Ballantynes was, and is, the main department store in Christchurch. Christchurch is not a big town. We have shops, boutiques even, but Ballantynes is […]

In January my mother, who lives in Christchurch, was more than usually house-bound and she texted me to tell me she was “stitching and living very quietly.” At the very same time, on a summer holiday in Point Lonsdale, Australia, I too was stitching. My mother makes quilts. I’m embroidering a sampler. In that moment […]

It’s summer and we’re painting the spare room, and it’s reminding me of an unusual friendship that I made when I was much younger, and my introduction to gin. It was the end of my first year of my BA at Canterbury University and I was 19, broke, and badly needed work. A mediocre waitress […]

My PhD is about identity and belonging, and I have been reading fascinating writing about this topic and starting to get my head around it. Still, I recently received a sharp real-life lesson about belonging. I was thrilled to be invited to have a video art piece join an art show, to be shown at […]

In Australia, women aren’t in charge. The fabulous hit Chinese TV dating show If You Are The One is a world where women get to choose men and most of the men walk away spurned and dateless. So what’s so different about China? It appears women are a rare species and they are the ones […]

  In the last year of high school my favourite teacher was Mr Harris, who taught history. The highlight of the year was World War II. No other subject compared with his enthusiastic and often graphic retelling of this tale of horror. I remember the large canvas map of Europe which he would yank noisily […]

There’s nothing natural about scuba diving. You are under water, sometimes quite far down under water and you are breathing air. So far, in my two-year scuba journey, I have been terrified out of my tiny brain twice. The only thing that comes close in terms of fear was a ride to the airport in […]

From 1968 to 1971 Angus O’Callaghan spent many of his evenings and weekends wandering Melbourne streets with his two medium-format cameras, photographing the city that he loved. His plan; to publish a large photographic book. In 2015 Angus’ book Melbourne was finally published with the help of Ben Albrecht and a fund-raising campaign. Angus is now in his 90s. […]

Alfie (Lewis Gilbert, 1965) is 50 years old and so am I. What a change that 50 years has seen. Sexism and misogyny isn’t gone, it’s just gone underground. But watch a relic like Alfie and you will be pleased to see how much the lives of women have changed. Alfie is played by the […]

We were in the car recently and a distinctive voice came on the radio and I thought Santigold, and then I remembered the album that we listened to when we first got together and how the words of one song in particular seemed to speak so truthfully about what I suppose was the core challenge […]